For Purposes of Clarification…

It appears I have another reader, at least a one-time reader, in my buddy Michael. He commented on my grammar in one of the posts. My grammar. “It looks pretty neat. I wish I had a website I update often,” followed by “[a quote from An Itch to Scratch] – is that a correct sentence?” Is my sentence structure here of the utmost importance? Especially given all the stuff I have written about him? I proofread my entries here about twice before posting, not nearly enough to catch everything, but really it’s to check for huge guffaws and incoherence. Maybe he just wanted to point out that he was carefully reading… Maybe. It’s just desserts, though, because I gave him hell for having music running in the background of his page.

For purposes of clarification: grammar is of secondary or tertiary concern here; it’s my ideas I wish to write and express freely here. How often can I talk to any of my “friends” like this? Would any of my “friends” sit still long without writhing in agony if I went into a monologue on my feelings about race, manners, etc? Hell, no. I get scoffs and interruptions at much less, I assure you. So keep your fucking criticisms to yourself. There is no such thing as constructive criticism.

O.G.T.

Yes, I am an O.G.T. I admit it. That’s an Old Gangsta Tool for the unitiated. When I first became interested in rock music back in the sixth grade (1996), it was just in time for “Stinkfist” to be played everywhere on the radio and as “Track #1” on MTV. That video made me spit out my rather meaty dinner when I first saw it, by the way. I also sat in a stupor for the entire 4+ minutes, moved as I had never been by music. Who was this “Tool” group anyway, and what was up with that geetar and that man’s voice? No other band’s music can do to me what Tool’s can. So I loaded up on Tool CDs, anxiously awaiting Lateralus with the rest of the world until its release. How anyone can say that CD is a letdown, I don’t know. I have found that Ænima and Lateralus are two of the best CDs in existence. I listened to “Jimmy” for hours on end, for months at a time. “46 & 2” was next. Then “Pushit”, maybe the most interpreted of Tool songs. I’m extremely glad that most Tool songs are too long for the radio, as the radio butchers songs. Not only are the acoustics wrong (there seems to be a narrower band of sound transmitted via radio, less bass and less treble), but they cut out the longer instrumental stuff, ruining the effect of the song. If you have never heard Tool, download “Parabol” and “Parabola”, create a new playlist, with “Parabol” first and let the two play, one after another. Listen to the words and the music, and do nothing else (like surf the Internet or read). Just listen. It will grip you. Listening to “The Grudge” or “Reflection” on stereo headphones (the big poofy ones) very loudly can be more therapeutic than crying.

We barely remember who or what came before this precious moment,We are choosing to be here right now. Hold on, stay insideThis holy reality, this holy experience.Choosing to be here in

This body. This body holding me. Be my reminder here that I am not alone inThis body, this body holding me, feeling eternalAll this pain is an illusion.

Alive, I

In this holy reality, in this holy experience. Choosing to be here in

This body. This body holding me. Be my reminder here that I am not alone inThis body, this body holding me, feeling eternalAll this pain is an illusion.

Twirling round with this familiar parable.Spinning, weaving round each new experience.Recognize this as a holy gift and celebrate this chance to be alive and breathing.

This body holding me reminds me of my own mortality.Embrace this moment. Remember. We are eternal.All this pain is an illusion.”Parabola” by Tool, Lateralus

When I first purchased Lateralus, I listened to “The Grudge” first (it’s track 1). Then I listened to it again. And again. It was the only song I listened to for six months. No radio, no other CDs, no other tracks. From 5 until 7 in the morning (my bus ride), then from 2:35 to 4:30 (my bus ride home), and from 5 to 11 every night (my homework time). Every day, from April until the middle of September, when I moved to “The Patient”. It took me almost a year and a half to get through the entire CD (which I did shortly before attending the Tool concert in Greenville, SC this past August). I have plenty of CDs I have never heard the last tracks to, despite having for years, because I became hooked on a previous track.

“Am I crazy?” More than likely. “Do I need to be cured?” Am I qualified to answer that about myself? Probably not, on both counts.

Lois McMaster Bujold’s “The Borders of Infinity”

In this Vorkosigan short story (which takes place chronologically after “Labyrinth”), Miles infiltrates a Cetegandan prison camp in order to save a relative of his, a cousin of his mother. The problem is, the old man is dying, leaving Miles stuck in a prison of over ten thousand soldiers with plans gone awry. So what does our favorite minature hero do? Uses Dendarii Mercenary resources to save them all, executing a brilliant plan to establish order in the prison, thus making them ready for orderly removal. The escape goes off with no major, effort-stopping problems, but there are too many loses to endure for Miles.

Another great short story by Bujold; she could almost make me revise my opinion on short stories as a whole. One of the things that makes this installment so great is that we get to see the cost of some of the Dendarii operations. I know that previously there was Elli Quinn, whose face was destroyed, but in this story, the loses seem more… poignant. More touching. You can see the effort he put into gaining Beatrice’s trust, and you can see that her death will affect him for a long time.

The entire story is gripping, in that way Bujold has of grabbing the attention in her literary fist and shaking it until the end. If you’re reading the Vorkosigan books, don’t skip this story, as it contributes elements to later stories. This story is good as a standalone science-fiction short story, although if it’s read as such, you should expect not to understand all of the nuances of character and plot, as it builds upon older books.

There isn’t a whole lot of character development here, either of Miles or the supporting characters, although there is just enough development of the supporting characters that they are not flat. But the story is pivotal in the series, so the effects of the plot upon Miles are not fully revealed until Brothers in Arms.

taking joy in human unreason