Saturday, March 28, 2009

Ice Wine, Lamb, and Substance D

I'm checking out my site's visitor stats, as I do once every couple of months. I don't imagine I get a lot of traffic, but it's a source of tame fun for me to check in and see who's reading me. The stats would suggest I have two particularly active fans in Hudson, Wisconsin, and Bedford, England. I know someone who used to live in Hudson, and I know two people who are on the opposite side of England from Bedford, so I can't guess who they might be. They could also be automated services, too, as I've seen an influx of referral activity coming to me from Netvibes, a Web site that functions much like Google Homepage. It tickles me to believe, however erroneously, that I have a fan in England: generally I consider their humor superior and believe that they hold us, on this side of the pond, largely in contempt. That someone over there might view me with some esteem would certainly be a feather in my cap.

If this is not so, I request that none speak up to disabuse me of this pleasant little notion.

I'm inordinately delighted that Trader Joe's offers ice wine (my delight will, as my wife reminds me, guarantee that they will soon run out of stock and never replenish their supply). This is a delicious treat first introduced to me by my close friend Heidi, a remarkable woman of perspicacity and judgment. I hadn't heard of it before and, after I finished the bottle she gave me, didn't see it anywhere. Now Trader Joe's has three varieties of it and... I suppose I should stock up before they decide no one wants it anymore.

Many of the things I love end or run out: the anime Gunslinger Girl only lasted two seasons, as did Witch Hunter Robin, Last Exile, and Read or Die, while a completely crap anime like Prince of Tennis can run on for a couple hundred shows. The Herkimer used to make an amazingly delicious Darkwinter Ale, spicy and lovely, and that was several years ago. They only made it during the winter, but after I discovered it for myself it never returned at all. (For that matter, Fate begrudged me a scant three months to date Heidi before she departed our nation.) All of this wells up in my subconscious and I've had a couple terrible nightmares where I've lost my wife, in the worst sense, and most days I find myself walking on eggshells in order to avoid tempting Fate any further. I would rather it take the ice wine.

Today was a productive and then useless Saturday. Rebecca went with her sister to attend a conference on Alzheimer's disease, and I cleaned up the house very thoroughly. When she returned we cooked peppered lamb tips for dinner and watched Through a Scanner Darkly, which was technologically interesting but otherwise complete crap. "Oh, my poor drug-using friends," is P.K. Dick's dedication at the end, "please feel sorry for my helpless drug-damaged friends who, despite noble and high aspiration, only fell prey to addiction." Bleh. I experimented with--and rejected--marijuana, never tried coke or heroin or acid. I have a hard time sympathizing with people who retreat into recreational drug use and suddenly find themselves in over their heads. That's like cheering someone on for playing Russian roulette and then lionizing them after the completely unforeseen circumstance in which they blow their fucking brains out. There's no difference, outside legality, between someone dropping acid and going on the Atkins or South Beach diet: they're both people, lacking discipline and imagination, looking for an artificial shortcut to something that could be had with the effort they can't be arsed to expend. Fucking shortcuts, instant-gratification society. I guess I kind of do have to feel sorry for someone born into the society that ultimately victimizes them. It takes an exceptional sort to defeat that system and, by definition, most people are not exceptional.

Wow, where'd that soapbox come from. It's surprising to discover what's lurking around the corner, waiting to present itself at the slightest provocation. Suffice it to say I'm tired of latter-day hipsters soliciting alternately admiration and pity. I'm tired of hipsters in general, come to that...

This isn't going anywhere. It's almost 11:30 PM but I'm unwilling to cash it in and call it a day. I keep checking my e-mail but no one's writing; nothing's happening on Facebook; less than nothing's going on MySpace, of course. I don't feel like playing World of Warcraft or any of the free MMOs I downloaded, nor the Wii or PS2. I guess I could read, this would be a good night for reading, though if I were very responsible I'd be working on my novel. Three chapters are due in about a month and I've got one done and an idea for the second. I've got to crank out the rough drafts to give my instructor enough time to offer her feedback on them. It's times like this that I wonder why I think of myself as a writer at all: no one else has this trouble, no one who's been published. Gaiman, Wolfe, even on their worse days, they wrote something for the sake of writing something. I don't think blathering into this blog counts as creative exercise. It's writing, only technically, but this is just pointless rambling. Nothing good will come of this.

And yet I don't stop. I don't change direction and do something I perceive as more useful. I can even look at my own process, floating a few feet above my own head, see all the pieces in play and continue referring to it like a color commentator lost for adjectives. A play-by-play by Hemingway. Awesome. I guess I will find a damned book and take a stab at it.

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