BY Michael

11/01 Direct Link

It has been a difficult week. “You have your space music on.  You must be having trouble with your brain,” Lisa observed this morning.   My housemate has an uncanny ability to read my moods.  Yes, Lisa, I am fucking drowning this week.  The space music is like a pillow for a bad headache.  No I don’t think you can help me.  I don’t know of any way you can help.  I don’t wish to offend anyone. I have been assured that these things pass if I wait. I just hate using my life this way.  Prison must be like this.

11/02 Direct Link

My son calls.  The promotion he has been working his ass off for has been given to someone else despite promises to the contrary.  How should he handled this?  How do I tell him?  He has already told me the problem.  His boss’s boss is not comfortable with him.  He is not going to get another promotion at this company.  I tell him to cut back on his hours, to take a class, and to invest in himself.  I tell him to network more effectively.  I tell him that many of my own promotions came when I least expected them.

11/03 Direct Link

I do not know how to reach beyond the borders of the limitations of my physical design.  The design is partly responsible for that, yet it gives us the means to explore beyond those borders.  Take the microscope for example, the telescope, or the amplifier.  We have instruments to measure wavelengths of light that we cannot see. So we have evidence that the physical world has dimensions that extend beyond what we can perceive.  We have all kinds of scientific theories and mathematical fingers pointing in directions that do not seem to exist.  What are we to do about this?

11/04 Direct Link

It is an odd situation.  I do not know what the source of the grief is.  I do not know where the pain comes from when it comes.  Yet, I must know.  I am the only one who can know.  And if I would let myself know, then perhaps I could get through it or past it.  I apparently must face or acknowledge it in some way, yet I do not seem to know what it is.  Yet I must know.  I must know well enough that it scares me sufficiently so that I hide it from myself so well.

11/05 Direct Link

My daughter sends me an email with pictures attributed to “men without adult supervision.”  Some of them actually show a certain creativity.  I reply with one word, “Guilty.”  She then says she will be in Brighton tomorrow and asks if I would like to have lunch.  She asks how I am getting along with the dog she has given me.  The answer is I don’t know.  The dog and I get along ok, but we have not bonded in any sense of the word.  We coexist.  But I cannot blame the dog. I think these days I coexist with myself.

11/06 Direct Link

Our library has bag o’ book sales where you go buy books cheaply in a stuffy room.  There are people to whom books are things of value greater than life.  Different people value different things.   I have been known to sit in the woods in winter reading by a small fire and feed the pages of the paper back to the fire as I finish them. Some people are morally offended by this.  These are the people who go to the library book sales and cram their cars with books they don’t read?  Or do they actually read them all?

11/07 Direct Link
I went to look at a pair of speakers advertised for sale by a local craftsman. He is selling several pair of speakers made from exotic woods at ridiculously low prices. The woodworking is meticulous. He talks about the theory of building the perfect speaker and about the beauty of music. He used to play piano. He is also building a beautiful amplifier. But he has no piano. Nor has he any way to play any music on any of his speakers. I buy a pair. A week later, I am still working on them and they still sound awful.
11/08 Direct Link

I thought I saw two entries in a row about Fireworks, but I was wrong.  My brain was playing tricks on me, or malfunctioning, depending on your point of view.  Playing tricks on me is a playful and innocent way of looking at it.  And then, yesterday, there were two entries in a row about fireworks. Now what the hell is that about?  Was there some national holiday I didn’t know anything about?  Perhaps a Canadian holiday?  It was Sunday.  Church of the Holy Redeemed Sparkler Parade?  Or in thinking two fireworks entries in a row, my mind created them?

11/09 Direct Link

I have nothing to say personally.  It is really beyond me to crawl into someone else’s mind, to creep down the moist and rotting stair treads, batting the heavy hanging cobwebs away, ducking the angular spikes hanging from the low mildewed ceiling.  That’s what it’s really like; what it’s really about.  The bare cement floor is rough, and it is always wet.  The walls are set with deep shelves that recede into darkness that swallows what little light escapes from the single dirty bulb hanging from the center of the ceiling.  Somehow, I had expected something else, something elegant.

11/10 Direct Link

I have nothing to say personally.  It is beyond me to crawl into someone else’s mind, to creep down the stairs, batting the heavy hanging cobwebs away, ducking the angular spikes hanging from the low mildewed ceiling.  That’s what it’s like; what it’s really about.  The stairs are uncertain but for one detail:  they are steep.  In one certainty they run straight down, a carpenter’s ramp, twelve or fifteen of them.  They are bare and rough concrete, always wet. On either side narrow walls rise from the ground, capped by a round cement top.  Somehow, I had expected something elegant.

11/11 Direct Link

I have nothing to say.  It is my job to crawl into someone else’s mind, to creep down the stairs, batting the heavy hanging cobwebs away, ducking the angular spikes hanging from the low mildewed ceiling.  That’s what it’s really about.  The stairs are uncertain but for one detail:  they are steep.  In one certainty they run in a tight circle and are made of strange stones and pieces of wood, with water constantly dripping down them.  You follow them carefully, hands pressed against the walls on either side, navigating in uncertain light wondering when and how they will end.

11/12 Direct Link

I crawl into other people’s minds.  It’s what I do when I do something.  It is difficult sometimes, and never what you think it is going to be.  Sometimes, it is just me, their own mind being so weak, that they are happy to let me have full control.  Sometimes it is not a surprise; them already being used to having visitors on a regular basis.  Yes, they usually know I am there.  Sometimes that causes me problems, because people in general are suspicious when someone else goes into their mind.  Sometimes they are not very nice about it.  

11/13 Direct Link

I think I was lucky the first time I hitched a ride in someone else’s mind.  Maybe I have been lucky all along, because it is not the kind of thing one should do lightly.  You, by definition, are in over your head, or at least are out of your mind, and you don’t really know what you are doing whether it is your first ride or your one hundredth.  One thing I have learned is that no two minds are alike, that each person’s experience of consciousness is somewhat unique, and their quality of understanding is certainly theirs alone.

11/14 Direct Link

It makes me wonder how much of a person’s mind is theirs alone, and how much is really shared by uninvited visitors unaware.  How many other mind walkers are out there? How many times have I unknowingly stared blankly out across the lawn with someone else looking through my eyes, frantically rifling through the files in my own mind?  Dashing out the back door and leaving a mess behind without my knowing it?  Are those the days I have inexplicable headaches or even seizures? Are those the beginning of cycles of strange mood swings— amateur mind riders with bad hygiene?

11/15 Direct Link

My own first experiences would have led me to think that this wasn’t possible.  Maybe I was more clumsy then.  Maybe the targets just happened to be more aware; can’t say.  I know for sure they knew I was there.  They knew who I was.  And since then it has been hit or miss, although over the years I have found that the times I am detected are much less often.  True, I often have clear objectives in mind, and I find the process somehow easier, but what happens on the other end still depends very much on the target.

11/16 Direct Link

I think the first time was an accident.  I was trying to meditate before going to sleep, a bad time to do this. I was maybe 19, living in Ann Arbor with a young couple, who had a visitor.  Bob was a lost soul, and he spent much of the evening sitting in a corner listening to music and smoking the reefer that always seemed to be plentiful at that place.  I was imagining myself going down a long flight of stairs, down, constantly down, and whenever I got tired or distracted, I just kept going, deeper into this well.  

11/17 Direct Link

I might have fallen asleep.  I wasn’t sure.  But I seemed to have reached the bottom of the stairs, a cramped dark place with a wooden door.  I pushed the door and it gave way, into darkness, and I stepped in.  I stepped right in to Bob’s head.  He was Bob, even though Bob was sleeping in the living room.  I must have startled him, because Bob woke up as I stepped into his head.  It seemed we were both in his head together, both aware of one another. I decided to find out just how real this might be. 

11/18 Direct Link

Bob and I looked around the darkened room.  I had Bob get up and walk back and forth.  I had Bob go to the refrigerator and open it and look in.  There was a jug of milk.  I had Bob reach in, get the jug, open it, and take a swig.  I then put the jug of milk back and we went back to Bob’s corner and lay back down.  I could feel the floor on our butt, the carpet on our hands.  It had that kind of reality to it.  I was inside Bob’s head.  I had no doubt.

11/19 Direct Link

The next morning I woke up clear-headed thinking about the night before and the “dream” I remembered having.  It had seemed real at the time, but many things do.  It was really too much to expect anyone to believe.  It was too much to expect me to believe.  I crawled out of my bed, found my jeans and dragged them on, shoving my hair back.  I shuffled to the door of my bedroom and opened it to be startled.  The opening was filled with Bob and his big goofy smile.  “Heavy man,” Bob said.  “And I don’t even like milk.” 


11/20 Direct Link

The carpets needed cleaning anyway.  It only took Zoe to leave a box of crayons on the floor and for Chey to decide they were delicacies.  It must have been a large box of crayons, judging from the size of the present Chey left in the floor the next morning.  She also dropped  five more colorful loads that day. The biggest problem was that she had stepped in it and it was difficult to get the matted crayon-feces combination both out of the carpet and out of the pads of her paws.  I had to use a strong detergent solution.

11/21 Direct Link

I think I’ve been having headaches.  I have those short flashy migraines called spikes that last for about twenty seconds and seek to bring you to your knees.  Then they go away.  These are different. I think they last longer and are more frequent.  I think I am having them several times a day, and I think they hurt, but they are frustrating, because they seem to come and go in a way that I cannot remember them too well except while I am having them.  I know I had at least one this morning, because I wrote it down.

11/22 Direct Link

I know what you are supposed to do when you are having headaches, or think you are having headaches you are supposed to go see a doctor.  This is what anyone would tell you.  If someone mentioned it to me, I would say the same thing, and I would wonder at their lack of enthusiasm for the doctor scenario.  But I understand this lack of enthusiasm.  The headaches seem to be of another place and time, not connected to me.  I don’t quite understand their connection to a visit to a doctor or how I would explain them to him.

11/23 Direct Link

It was dog walking time.  It was cold again this morning, but I didn’t feel it.  I dress for it. Fleece and winter coat.  Gloves.  It is quiet as I hit the road. Wind skitters leaves across the road.  Walking down toward the lake, dodging the same overhanging twig that nails me every day.  Daily, I threaten to cut it off.  Month after month it survives somehow.  It is so small. I could even pause, reach, and break it off.  Chey makes her deposit in the woods along the motorcycle path.  No need to access the bags in my pocket.

11/24 Direct Link

I got a new book on tape from the library. These days they come complete with the MP3 player.  All you add is the headphones, and an occasional battery. This time I got the NEW TALES OF MIKE HAMMER. With Stacy Keech, they are as corny as ever and even if they cause you to laugh as often as anything else, yes, it is classic hard-boiled detective at work.  The writing is awful, but the editing is superb, and I am not sure I could take it in anything but the mini doses in which it is delightfully served up.

11/25 Direct Link

How often is it that Thanksgiving and Christmas both fall on the 25?  My father calls this morning.  I miss the call, but I call him right back.  “Who is this?” he demands.  “It’s your son. You called me.”  “No I didn’t.”  And I was worried about my mind slipping.  My son Tom calls, “What time is dinner?”  “Uhm, what time is good?”  “Between 5 and 6?”  “Dinner is between 5 and 6.”  Dinner arrives at 5:30.  “Where’s Tom?” Zoe wants to know.  But Tom is already here, sneaking up behind her, and there are other voices at the door.

11/26 Direct Link

Buy me.  No, buy me.  Buy us. We have a new holiday in America, Black Friday. It leaves this black stain on our mind. It overwhelms like locusts.  It rots your consciousness from the inside out.  Maybe it doesn’t affect you that way, but I want to hide from it.  I find myself shrinking from all the gizmos and gadgets competing for my attention and for my money.  It’s too much.  I can’t take it.  My roommate is planning an all-out 3 AM assault with friends. She looks at me laughing.  Stop worrying.  We’re not taking you. You are babysitting.

11/27 Direct Link

I went to look at a new phone.  My contract had expired and my ATT $33 a month plan was costing $60 to $75 a month. I had no internet, and my phone was dying.  PCS is the way to go I was told.  Everything you can eat for $40 and no hidden charges I went to the PCS store.  “What do you want?” they challenged me.  “Uh, a phone.  And some service?” They whipped out a Droid. $60 a month.  “What happened to $40 a month?”  “You got to get one of those nasty phones for $40 a month.”

11/28 Direct Link

I am not completely sure what happened with the phone.  I got one phone, and then another.  Then I ended up with an Android, which turned out to not quite be an android, maybe I’m not sure, but which was very expensive, although the monthly plan was not.  And it took me two hours to turn the thing on. No it is easy to use; just won’t turn on when hooked to a charger.  And there is no user manual.  And the user manual that is on-line, the pages that refer to turning it on are blanked out you see.

11/29 Direct Link

The Wonder Phone died after two days of fitful performance.  My music servers refuse to operate correctly even with the recommended grade to a 12 mb bandwidth.  Well, at least the Best Guess people replaced the Wonder  Phone, which was nice since they had practically folded the back in half tearing it off last night.  They said to let the battery run all the way down on this one before plugging it in. I did, but it wouldn’t regognize the charger. I looked through the bag of twisted cables they gave me and tried a different cable.  This one worked.

11/30 Direct Link

Maybe the dog and I are bonding after all. I found myself talking to her this morning. What does it mean when a grown man talks to a dog? Well, the dog talks to me. She has definite noises she makes in the morning when she wants fed and this is the only time she makes these noises.  But, I am not completely comfortable with this idea of catching myself talking philosophy with a Border Collie in the middle of the woods. Did I do that with my other dogs?  I could ask my daughter, but I did, didn’t I?