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Just as I left the office this evening and got on my bike to head home, the sun was taking its last gasps, making its way down behind the hills. I didn't know this until I turned out of the parking lot, and saw the sky positively on fire, with tantalizingly brilliant hues of pink and orange and gold descending behind the recycling plant, and into the trees; I skidded my back tire briefly while deciding whether to take a photo then, and then figured I'd grab it when I had an unobstructed view around the corner.

an ebbing sunset behind buildings

I pedaled down the road, waiting for the opportunity to see it in its full glory, but there was always something in the way. I turned facing down the foothills, but by now, just a few minutes later, it had faded to just a dull glow. I took the picture anyway.

a grey sky

By the time I was nearly home, I stopped at a red light, and the sky betrayed no sign at all that anything had happened between me and it, now cold, grey, and unfeeling. "As is its nature", I thought.

But I knew, too, that even as it turned to black now, it would surely awaken again in all its radiant warmth, even if only for moments at a time.

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Oct. 12th, 2018 10:51 pm

episodic

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This post has been a long time in the works. I've had it on my disk for five or so months, and I never really got it into a state where I liked it enough to post. Oddly enough, five months ago, when I wrote the first draft of this, #DeleteFacebook was trending, and I originally wrote:

"I had been planning another post for a while, with the thesis being an answer to the question: if we #DeleteFacebook, then what? I have been meaning to sit down and write that for a while, but I either haven't had the time to do it or I just didn't want to. It might not be coincidence that this post feels more pressing and urgent at this second at my fingertips; the two are inextricably linked in my head. (T.C. Sottek's piece from 2016 in The Verge, offers a different perspective on this.)"

I didn't "#DeleteFacebook" then, and I haven't now, but when Facebook was compromised and logged me out a few weeks ago, I never bothered to log back in. I was having a rough time around then, and the escapist urges to disconnect ran high.

I've dug this out because it seems apropos for this hashtag-holiday that's trending this week. As much as I above describe a coherent structure for a post that I wanted to write at some point, this post continues in the recent trend of having no such; instead, I offer, perhaps, a collection of vignettes on mental health -- in general, and mine in specific.

--- More (1322 words) --- )
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So, last night, I went to So Stoked: Rave to the Grave 2 at DNA Lounge. So Stoked is DNA's once-a-month kandi rave; I don't usually attend, but I confess that I do really miss getting to dance to high-BPM trance. Rave to the Grave is a kind of unusual event, where the So Stoked promoters join forces with the Death Guild promoters; upstairs, are the Death Guild DJs playing (maybe a little bit older, and faster) Death Guild tunes, and downstairs, are the standard kandi rave DJs. In the two times they've done this, they've had one big-name EBM DJ and one big-name rave DJ for each one; last time, they had Ronan Harris, of VNV Nation and Darude[1], and this time, they had Daniel Graves, of Aesthetic Perfection and Kyau & Albert[2]. (Both DJs played both rooms.) The event is, anyway, weird enough, and enough fun, that I try to make it a point to attend when it comes around.

Anyway, [personal profile] jgrafton and I arrived around 10pm or so, a little while before Daniel Graves's set, and we stuck around downstairs through some of the later sets, too. As far as I can tell, the two of us were basically the only ones dancing with glowsticks, and I was dancing pretty darn hard.

Eventually, this kid walks up to me. As far as I could remember, he wasn't wearing a wristband[3]; I'd seen him getting a light show from someone with LED gloves earlier that evening. He looked impressed -- and somewhat transfixed -- so I obliged, and turned my glowsticks in his direction.

"Dude. Are those just glowsticks?" Yep. The best 4.5-star glow that Amazon can sell you for $20.

"Dude. Do you ever use gloves?" Nope. Just glow. LED gloves are after my time.

"So you never used gloves before? Just that?" Nope.

"That makes it even more impressive!" The best of the [livejournal.com profile] knightofstarz Roselawn 7 School of Dance, my young friend.

He says something. Mumble. I can't understand it over the noise.

He pulls out his phone. He opens Snapchat. I nod, and turn up my dancing a notch to give him another light show. He doesn't seem to be aiming his phone at me to video; instead, he leans in to say something. Mumble. I don't understand.

He pulls up his QR code. Snapcode. Whatever it's called. I understand.

I grab my phone and launch Snapchat, and aim the viewfinder at his snapcode. It doesn't automatically scan. I realize that I don't know how to scan a snapcode. I try going to the "add friends" tab, and tap on "snapcode". It asks me to select an image from my camera roll; I didn't capture one. I fumble in embarrassment. Clearly, I am not a very competent Millenial.

He looks at me, and I hand him my phone. He expertly finds my snapcode, and just types my name into his phone somehow. I didn't think my profile was public, but maybe I am just the only "joshua" on Snapchat. He adds me, and smiles, and goes on his way.

I now understand. He uses Snapchat and gloves; I use IRC and glow.

Tomorrow, he will see my Snapchat story, with snaps of heckling my coworkers, and shitposting about my impending disappointment with a screenshot of buying MP3s of the new Above & Beyond album on Amazon, and he will be as confused as I.

* * *

(Young raver friend, if you come across this, keep on rocking. I am at least as much making fun of me as I am of you.)

[1] You heard me. Darude. Like, Sandstorm Darude.
[2] Who, by the way, were also freakin' fantastic.
[3] i.e., he was not of drinking age. So Stoked is an all-ages event. This is, on occasion, somewhat unsettling. I am pretty sure that the song Sandstorm was older than the median age at the event when they had this last year.
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joshua0: (Default)

Tomorrow afternoon, I'm scheduled to get LASIK. I have some trepidation about this. Not, like, worried about the outcome: I'm pretty sure that, on the whole, having a LASIK flap is going to be much safer and much less of a liability than being dependent on corrective optics while I'm outside exploring. To tell the truth, I was planning on doing this last year, and backed off at the last second -- like, the day before I was supposed to come in for measurements. I've worn glasses since I was 6 or so (so, 22 years!), and glasses have just kind of become part of who I am. Who would I be if I didn't have my glasses? Who would I be if I couldn't choose to see or not see?

*   *   *

Tonight, I went and practiced asana at Planet Granite. The same studio I have practiced at for years, the same class I have taken for quite some time, with a teacher I knew well. Sometimes when I practice, I put my glasses on, and see through my glasses. Sometimes when I practice, I very intentionally take my glasses off: let my vision be blurred, as a way of turning inwards. I did today: today would be my last opportunity to do that. It felt like a turning point, and I tried to savor it when I could. The soft defocused view, the warm color temperature of the filtered floor lights, the knowledge that I was practicing in the company of many others, but without the distraction of any in particular ...

Some time ago, I used the metaphor of avidya for glasses with scars on them. When I have my glasses on and I see the outside world with crystalline sharpness, am I seeing reality more clearly, or less clearly? When I take my glasses off, and the outside world is blurred, am I now seeing reality more clearly, or less clearly?

*   *   *

In April, I talked about my experience of a morning practice. I promised myself that I would be honest when I talk about my experience of yoga, rather than trying to cultivate an image, and so it is only right to say: I haven't been doing it recently. In fact, I haven't been sitting at all recently. I've gotten out of the habit of it. Or, really, I couldn't make myself do it. For a while, I was beating myself up about it, feeling guilty after every day that I didn't sit. Then, the weeks went by, with my mala sitting on my cushion, untouched, but at least not unnoticed.

I'm given to believe that it is a very rare individual indeed who does not, at times, struggle with the practice of meditation -- or yoga, in general. I'm certainly not one of them.

I don't know when I'll come back to it. I take some comfort, though, in the knowledge that, like an old friend, it will be there for me when I return.

*   *   *

“You take practice. Practice, practice, practice. That is method.”
— Guruji Pattabhi Jois

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I have many thoughts to spill out, but maybe most are better served by my personal journal. But I have been thinking that I want to more regularly publish vignettes of thoughts publicly; less well-formed, less "pointful", less edited, less coherent, more thoughts and ideas. Here is one.

unformed thoughts: a morning practice )
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