We are all too human

On the political sickbed, society rejuvenates and rediscovers its geist (after gradually losing it by seeking and preserving power). Culture owes its peaks to politically weak ages.

This quote is from Nietzsche's book Menschliches, Allzumenschliches (Human, All Too Human) which he published in 1878. Although his use of the word geist can vary to mean 'intelligence', 'wit', 'mind', and 'spirit'; I think our society's spirit is it's overall demeanor. This quote is very pertinent today.

The current positve American cultural attitude and our difficult but eventual economic recovery caused by an eight-year loss of America's geist would not be possible, if it were not for the previous administration's unhealthy and politically-weakening attempts to seek and preserve power.

In this 131-year-old light, I wish to say: THANK YOU, PRESIDENT BUSH.

Portland OR — Reasons (#1)

Proximity to MOM and POP

A dozen rational reasons to enjoy living in Portland, Oregon: number one

Mountains, Ocean, Meadows, & Parks, Orchards, Playgrounds—the outdoors is really the main reason to love it here.

• Mount Hood, OR and Mount St. Helens, WA: Both are visible on clear days, both are 90 minutes away, and although both offer hiking and outdoor exploration, Mt Hood offers wonderful winter recreation areas (the Timberline Ski area on Mt. Hood has the only year-round ski resort in the continental US).

• The Pacific Ocean is two hours away. The Oregon coast is 363 miles long and the entire coast, by law, is public land. Because there are no private beaches, it’s possible to drive your car onto every beach with an access point. The longest driveable beach in Oregon is 17 miles long (110 miles away, in Washington, there is a longer one).

• With many hundreds of city, county, and state parks you are never more than a half-mile from a public green-space. The largest urban forest reserve in the US (51,000+ acres), is Forest Park—it is 8 miles long and contains 70 miles of trails. Once you begin hiking in this densely forested area, it’s impossible to remember you’re inside a large metropolitan city.

• Within a fifty-mile radius of Portland, there are hundreds of orchards and fruit/vegetable farms (U-pick seems to be available for everything) as well as dozens of city fountains that are not only for watching (in warm weather everyone climbs in, dips their feet, or splashes through).

• The Oregon outdoors is a playground for everyone. Add to this list two major rivers (Columbia and Willamette), waterfalls, gorges, an uncountable number of streams, creeks, lakes, ponds, marshes, dune areas, a dormant volcano in the center of the city, as well as quite a few nature preserves scattered everywhere and there are thousands of answers to the question, "where do you want to go-do this weekend?"

[NOTE: There is a unkept secret that 'it rains all the time' here. When people ask about the amount of precipitation (and how we deal with it) I've heard others foolishly try to quantify the 'all the time' portion. What I've learned, however, is qualification of: 'it rains' is more informative. If you've experienced the monsoons of the American southwest, the thunderstorms in the midwest, or the torrential downpours in the eastern or southern states, you know rain. Real rain—for those who have no understanding of the term (native Portlanders)—is a large quantity of water falling hard enough to soak your clothing all-the-way-to-the-underwear if you're stupid enough to dash to your mailbox without an umbrella. That is rain. Here? It drizzels some. It sprinkles other times. Some days it can be misty-foggy for hours and hours. Mostly, it never rains. When the weather forecast says 'rain,' I no longer bring a raincoat or umbrella. If I walk two miles 'in the rain'—the roots of my hair will be dry. It can be dismally grey here for many daze. It can be chilly and windy and damp-moist for weeks. There may be precipitation slowly drifting downward and accumulating on the ground a lot of the time. But. It. Rarely. Really. Rains.]

The secret of realizing the greatest fruitfulness and the greatest enjoyment of existence is: to live dangerously! Build your cities on the slopes of Vesuvius! Send your ships out into uncharted seas! Live in conflict with your equals and with yourselves! Be robbers and ravagers as long as you cannot be rulers and owners, you men of knowledge! The time will soon be past when you could be content to live concealed in the woods like timid deer! — Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)


Thanks to Catherine for this snappit of hypertexture du jour. Make your own at obamicon.me.

The best friend is likely to acquire the best wife, because a good marriage is based on the talent for friendship. — Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)

The Yiddish Policemen's Union

The Yiddish Policemen's Union The Yiddish Policemen's Union by Michael Chabon

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Chabon is the master of metaphor, simile, analogy and description-with-flare. His alternative-history, speculative fiction, murder mystery is wonderful. This is NOT a quick-easy read; pages go down like massive overstuffed apple fritters and after a few too many it is wise to allow digestion time.

Winning both the Hugo and Nebula Awards, this is a book for writers and serious readers, because The World Science Fiction Society (Hugo) and the Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America (Nebula) are, mostly, writers recognizing good writers (and give, collectively, two shits what the general public likes).

I call Christianity the one great curse, the one great intrinsic depravity, the one great instinct for revenge for which no expedient is sufficiently poisonous, secret, subterranean, petty—I call it the one immortal blemish of mankind. — Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)

Sketch of Portland

digital rendering by veach st glines — 2009

Man believes that the world itself is filled with beauty—he forgets that it is he who has created it. He alone has bestowed beauty upon the world—alas! only a very human, an all too human, beauty. — Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)

Portland OR — Reasons (#2)

Ingrained Optimistic Long-Term Outlook

A dozen rational reasons to enjoy living in Portland, Oregon: number two

Every city may be a melange of windswept scents, familiar neighborhood sounds, preferred flavors, and an ever-present feel under one’s sole—combined with spaces wrought by people and time; but the “thing about” Portland (easy to know but difficult to glimpse) is that a conglomeration of intelligent decisions (past and present) were made by people, concerned about individuals and their 'rights' (never easy), which has formed this city’s je ne sais quoi element. Maybe some of those decisions can be appreciated in these snippets?:
  • In the 1970's a two-mile section of highway adjacent to the Willamette River was demolished; in its place, a 22-block long/29 acre public park was built.
  • The Oregon Lottery has grown since 1984 to encompass: video lottery machines, keno, scratch-its, megabucks, and powerball.
  • Begun in 1917, the International Rose Test Garden covers 4.5 acres and contains over 7,000 rose plants of approximately 550 varieties.
  • Although domestic partnerships and civil unions are legal, Oregon still has not legalized same-sex marriages (like the more forward-thinking states of Massachusetts and Connecticut).
  • Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden, a 9½ acre garden adjoining Reed College, features more than 2,500 rhododendron, azalea, and companion plants.
  • Oregon's Death with Dignity Act allows physicians to assist certain terminally ill patients (who request it) to end their lives with a lethal prescription.
  • Oaks Amusement Park and Skating Rink has been open since 1905. The Oregon Zoo has promoted conservation since 1887. Founded in 1944, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry is one of the nation's leading science museums.
  • Capital Punishment (currently by lethal injection) is legal in Oregon. The death penalty is a jury-option for the crime of Aggravated Murder only.
  • Hoyt Arboretum, a 187-acre refuge with 21 trails covering 12 miles and containing over 1,000 true species, began in 1930. All specimens have been grown from seeds collected in the wild.
  • Recently Oregon joined the smarter-half of the US by banning all smoking in every public location, including bars and restaurants.
  • The Portland Classical Chinese Garden opened in 2000. Almost an acre in size and located in historic old town Chinatown, the teahouse brings together the beauty and symbolism of the garden with Chinese traditional tea culture.
  • In 1973, Oregon became the first state to decriminalize cannabis. Possession of less than an ounce is a misdemeanor (like a traffic violation). Medical marijuana is legal.
  • The 5.5 acre Japanese Gardens have delighted visitors since 1967. All five: Strolling Pond Garden, Natural Garden, Sand and Stone Garden, Flat Garden, and Tea Garden, are peaceful and tranquil.
  • Carrying a knife of any length (switchblade to sword) is legal—as long as it’s not concealed. Oregon is a shall-issue concealed pistol license state, and has very few restrictions on where a concealed firearm may be carried.
  • The Keep Portland Weird slogan has its roots in:
    1. Voodoo Doughnuts, open 24 hours for unique pastry treats and wedding ceremonies.
    2. For indoor, glow in the dark, pirate-themed, mini-golf, try Glowing Greens.
    3. We have an annual Adult Soapbox Derby, and yes there will be injuries.
    4. Exploring the Portland Underground or Shanghai Tunnels is weird-worthy.
    5. Of course, this list would not be complete without including the smallest park in the world.
Art is not merely an imitation of the reality of nature, but in truth a metaphysical supplement to the reality of nature, placed alongside thereof for its conquest. — Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)

Unauthorized Portrait of MontiLee

I perused a photo of Ms MontiLee Stormer a week ago on her blog at Little Black Duck, noticed it was a particularly attractive photo and moved my eyes and brain forward. Yesterday I was "tanking" (meditating in a sensory deprivation tank) and the photo kept pestering me. Why? It could be that she is peeking around expertly disheveled loose hair and her lip color is slightly caught in her scarf — reminiscent of Lisa Bonet in Angelheart (...We don't go round murderin people allright Mister Angel?..) maybe it's a combination of the back and top lighting with her hand held just so, or that the fleur de lis pattern on her long-johns draws the eye back toward a stuffed bear who is also peeking around a pair of TV rabbit-ears. I just can't figure it out. So I do what it is I do...to rid me of my daemons.

This digital rendering was compiled from photos in her photostream. The only rule I set: use only photos of MontiLee with no others (cats or stuffed animals from a fair don't count as others and were included); a little over 20 photos were poached from her flicker site.

As the creative process took less than three hours (more a sketch) an overall theme of creepiness came to the surface. I don't know why. Point of fact: although there is an angular man's face apparent in the upper right, and a few other vague faces elsewhere, they are all artifacts of the compilation; honest, Nosferatu and his fiends were not in any of her photos.

Note to MontiLee: I apologize for not getting your permission first, but I don't think an apology is required for my 'creepy' description, because, well, you are a little creepy and that's just what floated to the surface here.

I smile when she looks at me because it’s how I was taught: you acknowledge when acknowledged. She then taps her husband on the shoulder, leans in and says in a stage whisper they probably heard in the stockroom, “Never seen one like her before.” He turns in a shuffle, and his feet drag dirt across the floor in a circle to face me. He then shuffles back to the cashier and says, “Nope.” — Excerpted from "Never seen one like you before" by MontiLee Stormer

The Story Behind the Sign

A many few years ago there was a night spent in a drinking establishment with a handful of co-workers (the story begins).  A many few beers had gone down and we were walking back to the house of the nearest member of the intox-o-me-cated (mine).  As we were walking I noticed a sign stuck in the grass betwixt sidewalk and street.

Although I dis-recall what the sign was proclaiming (which may have more to do with beers than years) I remember it was just like a realtor's temporary signage—black metal angle iron frame jammed in the ground; top-edge about waist high.  So I said..."this sign is hil-air-i-ous.  I want it."  And I began to reach down.  My friend stopped me.  Instead of don't-steal-the-sign he said, "Let the strongest man here get that for you."  Then he bent, gripped the bottom edge of the metal sign, and lifted with his knees—not his back—in a practiced clean-and-jerk motion.

The sign didn't budge a millimeter.  Of course he sliced all eight fingers; six to the bone and the two pinkies only half-as-deep.

I only retrieved this memory from long-long term storage once I saw this (photo-shopped) picture while poaching for my last digital rendering:  sharp edges.

Epilogue:  we got him to the hospital, he got stitched and bandaged, his wife hated me from that night forward, because—obviously—it was all my fault, and...I still can't recall what the sign said.  I think it was something like:  PORN KILLS.

sharp edges

digital rendering by veach st glines — 2009

He who fights monsters should see to it that in the process, he does not become a monster. And when you look into the abyss, the abyss also looks into you. — Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)

Larytta music; körner union video

Thanks to Centripetal Notion, for this kanimaleidascope—the first hypertext effluvium art of 2009 worth sharing.

There is one thing one has to have: either a soul that is cheerful by nature, or a soul made cheerful by work, love, art, and knowledge. — Friedrich Nietzsche (1844-1900)