"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."

Calmer Now. Total Control.

By means of assuaging my mother and anyone else who might be tuning in, in spite of my angsty posts I'm not going to collapse into nothingness or the like. I am getting a lesson in "how much is too much" from a work/stress standpoint, but things are actually progressing well on that front, and I'm about to escape — succurro! succurro! — to Hawaii for a wonderful (wedding) celebration of life.

I may be hailin' from the edge, but I'm pretty sure everything is gonna be alright.

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Focus, Davidson. Focus.

Having a lot of trouble focusing, my mind skittering around the edges of what's to be done. Feels like personal failure. I'm a little sad, caught here outside the perimeter, alone.

In the grand scheme of things I know I'm one of the luckiest people alive, that This Too Shall Pass, but it's just not a great Sunday morning.

On the one hand, I believe that good things require some amount of pain and sacrifice — A Grand Don't Come for Free, after all — I also believe that the most important thing is to stop struggling.

When struggling, there's a pretty good chance that "You're Doing It Wrong."

Not sure how to do it right though.

Not super happy that Rina is moving to London next week.

Not feeling very much in the flow, or where to go to get picked back up into the stream.

For the moment, it's a world of TODOs and trying the best you can, trying the best you can, hoping the best you can is good enough.

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Another World Is Possible?

I've been slowly making my way through First as Tragedy, Then as Farce, which I picked up while browsing the Strand back in the spring and then purchased as a supplemental counterweight to the delightfully light/fun Shantaram. Žižek isn't really breezy, but he's certainly brilliant, and more importantly willing to ask pretty hard questions.

The book is part dissection of the contemporary neoliberal status quo ideology, and part argument to revive the idea of (haunting music) Communism. It's already delivered a few gems, such as this explanation of the uselessness of the modern Leftist opposition:

In the good old days of Really Existing Socialism, a joke popular among dissidents was used to illustrate the futility of their protests. In the fifteenth century, when Russia was occupied by Mongols, a peasant and his wife were walking along a dusty country road; a Mongol warrior on a horse stopped at their side and told the peasant he would now proceed to rape his wife; he then added, "But since there's a lot of dust on the ground, you must hold my testicles while I rape your wife, so that they will not get dirty!" Once the Mongol had done the deed and ridden away, the peasant started laughing and jumping with joy. His surprise wife asked, "How can you be jumping with joy when I was just brutally raped in your presence?" The farmer answered: "But I got him! His balls are covered with dust!"

A lot of the rest is somewhat remedial for anyone with a critical eye for the world: how a "kinder" — or more recently "greener" — capitalist status quo has taken hold and is recycling its opposition into its own system, etc. The interesting piece to me is not this critique, but the argumentation to seriously (re)consider the Marxist alternative.

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Trends: Positive

Positive things:

  • Back up on the bike! It's hard to underestimate the value of getting natural endorphins in the mix, and circulating the lymphatic system.
  • After a weekend of feeling sort of like a shut-in, having much better social times at work and at home.
  • I (heart) the world cup. It's better than the Olympics, I think.
  • Pandora radio on my Android as I walk and cruise. The two "stations" I am rocking now are Mark Ronson and Wolfmother. I particularly like thinking about the physics of listening to that as I ride said bike.

I know I'm in a better mood because I see beautiful people around again rather than inhabit a dark grey ugly zombieland, and I'm tolerant of failure and setbacks. It's a better way to be – more effective, not to mention more pleasant — and I'm hoping I can sail through the storm like this.

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Refreshing The Old Design In A Bid To Break Bloggers Block

So, in addition to tuning a few things up under the hood and getting my blog posts going back to ye olde Facebook, I decided to bust out some Variation on the Theme in light of the solstice.

I've been noodling on a real redesign with one of my mother's students for a while now, but it's not the sort of thing I've had a ton of time to invest serious energy into, and ergo things have kind of stalled.

But I want to write more, and have been sort of hating on my old rust-colored sexyface theme. Maybe this is part of what's blocking, I think, and I went ahead and cropped myself out a new photo, generated a little background to match, and set some new colors. New coat of paint on this lonely old town; inspiration, I'm ready for ya!

The bigger changes I want to make are about content organization and whatnot, but I think the sad fact is that until I start generating said content, energy invested in organization would be questionably allocated. There's always more time for fancy-pants layouts and whatnot. The more pressing question is what, pray tell, would fill the boxes, and how might it get written?

Scouring The Sources Of My Windless Sails

After yesterday's post, which looked at how my working life was sucking my will to live, I started thinking a bit bigger. Work is top of mind at the moment, so that's the first thing to come out, but getting that out of the way made room for deeper/better reflection.

The existential crisis is of course about more than just my jibity job; it's about who I am as a person, and the world around me.

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Net Worthless

Existential crisis of meaning. Four years in Chapter Three. Leaving Westhaven. A new life is coming, but what sort? Well dude, we just don't know.

So here's this table from a slide from a presentation my business partner sent me as part of our ongoing project to raise the level of our entrepreneurial game. It's about people's motivations for starting businesses:

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Who Said It?

How does this sound?

“The state should not tear down the apples from the tree of economics. What the government should do is help grow our apple orchard, develop our economic environment.”

That's Dmitry Medvedev, the Russian president, aka shift manager for Boss Putin.

The question I have is why does the President of Russia (in translation, even) seem to have a better grasp of post-free-market-fetish economic rhetoric than our own progressives? I mean, it'll be really unfortunate if the Left in the US doesn't come to articulate a competent vision alternative vision to the current "world order." Though maybe not all that surprising.

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I'm A Bad Blogger

Apologies again for absenteeism. I've been on the run and under the gun. Catching bits of the world cup and feeling nostalgic for what was, after all, four years hence.

A new day will come.

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Hey New Yorkers, get your shit together and go see my hombre Andrew Dinwiddie and his resurrection of Jimmy Swaggart. GET MAD AT SIN!:

In meticulously recreating one of Mr. Swaggart’s early 1970s culture-war sermons (from a vinyl record) in “Get Mad at Sin!” Andrew Dinwiddie reintroduces us to a gifted orator, compelling performer and thunderous moralizer in his prime. It’s a surprisingly generous act of resuscitation.

Strutting back and forth on a pink carpet, kicking up his legs and swooning at his own rhetoric, Mr. Dinwiddie as Mr. Swaggart breaks into a sweat but never loses his cool. He tosses in theatrical pauses and even some slang to attack the evils of homosexuality, premarital sex and acid rock. Mr. Dinwiddie’s powerful voice contains the echo of the great Baptist preachers as well as a breathy rumble that approaches the erotic.

But this is no Reverend Billy-like satire featuring winks at the hipster crowd or political cheap shots. The director, Jeff Larson, lets this fascinating historical document, which diagnoses a culture lurching toward oblivion, speak for itself, absent biography, context or comment. It’s an interesting strategy and emphasizes the stemwinder as a work of theater.

I'll spare you the lengthy cultural diatribe, but I'm fucking pissed that I'll miss this by a week. It's exciting to see my erstwhile creative peers begin coming into their own, and I really like the sound of this work. First of all because Andrew could conjour humidity on stage like nobody's business, and I have no doubt this performance is something of a tour-de-force; but moreover because of how it's constructed.

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Political and Funny

I got handed a voter guide from The League at the 24th and Mission Bart today. Gave me a warm and fuzzy. Love this stuff:

How crazy is San Francisco politics? We're endorsing Gavin Newsom, a guy who blocked us on twitter! We disagree with Gavin a lot. He talks a good game at being progressive, but most of the time he's on the "big money" side of crucial local issues: selling out Bayview/Hunters Point to Lennar, siding with PG&E against public power, etc. His policy of reporting immigrant youth to ICE before they've been convicted of any crimes is horrible. But when you take him out of SF and compare him to the usual hacks who run for office statewide, Gav looks pretty good. He supports reforming Prop 13 and is semi-serious about addressing climate change. His opponent in the primary is Janice Hahn. Her politics seem pretty good, but we don't think she's ready for prime time. She's gotten by on her family name and just doesn't have the experience.

Pssst! Here's a poorly kept secret: the main reason we want Gavin to become Lt. Governor is because if he wins, the Board of Supervisors gets to pick his replacement, and we're hoping that would mean that we'd finally get a Mayor we could be excited about! Some of us are afraid this could backfire on us: Gavin goes on to become Governor or Senator and uses his clout to support candidates and policies that we don't like. Hmm. It's a tough call.

And then there's the comedy. Here's a real ad:

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