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May 2002

Metaphor Time Again

Astronomers don't expect to really see some of the things they look for. Instead, they have to reach conclusions from indirect observation to find things like distant planets or dark matter. They have to observe visible objects like stars and see how their views of these objects change as they are affected by the presence of the things they can't see directly. Changes in light levels or color, properties that can be seen and recorded and measured, can be caused by the gravitational pull of these other, unseen objects as they pull the light source in one direction or another, or as their gravitational pull focuses the light like a lens, revealing sources of light that were otherwise too dim to notice.

Which is to say, you don't always have to see something directly to know it's there. You can see how things change around that thing — how they directly respond to its presence — and the thing itself is revealed by these ripples in its environment. And then there it is, no secret at all.

Hubble's Top Ten Gravitational Lenses

Google Me, Baby

I make it a point not to look at my site logs, since the last thing I need is something else to obsess about. In a frantic search for somethign to post that wasn't all about me and how grumpy I am, though, I finally caved in and scanned for Google search results. Why now? After all, everyone else always does it when they need a quick bit of content:

Sparky sex
cheap flattery
morph changes to rogue
secret crushes
nude nerds
gut hangs over pants
secret paparazzi pictures
I didn't win a bloggie
jessie model gay
I failed my road test
one balled wonder
undersea sex
funny pictures jeans make my ass look big
don't be gay Sparky
swinging couple williamsburg horny
ultra love jeans
gay nerds
frank gehry bad atrocious
evil dave tattoo
hipster hair
Home Depot homos
crazy sex in nutley

And that barely scratches the surface. I didn't even want to get into the depths of derpavity that people thought they might find here. I hope everyone found what they were looking for!

The Bottled-Up City of Candor

It was a big decision for me to be candid here on the site about what's been happening to me lately. But considering that a lot of my struggles are about being afraid to admit to weakness or vulnerability, I thought it would be a healthy step to let it all hang loose for once and see how things go. Also, my thoughts have been so addled lately that it's been good for me to record them here during moments of clarity, or at least during the moments when I had the energy to try sorting them out. For friends and family and such, it's proven to be a useful way to take a barometer reading of how I’m doing. For other people who read but don't actually know me, I guess it just makes for a curious roller-coaster ride of depression and angst. Whee! Come watch Sparky get his crazy on!

I haven't really found it detrimental to just own up to my problems here, however. I feel a little exposed, true, but all the venting and the navel-gazing has been pretty cathartic. That counts for something, right?

102 Minutes

Almost nine months later, and a detailed story about September 11 will still make me teary and sick to my stomach. "102 Minutes" is an excellent Times feature that tells stories of what went on inside the towers the morning of the attack, pulled together from e-mails and phone calls from people trapped inside, and video footage and eyewitness reports of what went on. It's brutal to read.

The smarmy memorial pieces and the constant references to the day don't trouble me one bit. Any time I read any detailed reports of what happened that day, however — any time I’m reminded of the enormity of the disaster and the shock of the whole experience — my stomach does the same flip-flops all over again.

The Last Thursday Ever

Ah, another exhausting ride on the Kiki & Herb express train to madness. Brilliant as ever, last night's one-night show at Knitting Factory (also featuring the hot and fun and sassy Scissor Sisters) was a little more off-the-cuff than their twice-yearly productions, but a performance of theirs never degenerates into a simple drag-based covers show. No, a night with Kiki & Herb will always leave you shaky and spent, twitching from laughter and horror and emotional shock.

Last night's show loosely followed a theme of escaping from the endless grind and put-downs of life. (Very timely, to say the least, and I’m not just talking about this season of Buffy again.) Kiki made a lot of bleak jokes about this being our last weekend ever ("Thank you for spending your last Thursday night ever with Herb and I...What a Memorial Day this is gonna be!") and they earnestly and ferociously launched into a set pulling together songs and medleys of songs that railed against the ongoing pain and misery of life, and pondering the various ways to escape it: "No More Drama," "Heroin," "Walk on the Wild Side," "Creep," "Boys Don't Cry," "Get and Stay Famous," and an incredible reading of "Howl." (And keep in mind, this is all incredibly funny at the same time it's making you want to slit your own throat in a fit of existential anguish.)

Kiki & Herb are not just a drag act, or a cabaret covers act, or a novelty. They're fun as all hell, campy and cutting and sloppy, but they're also musical geniuses, and powerful performers. Every time I’ve seen them there's something — some element of madness or pain or remorse — thay they suddenly suck you into, just when you're laughing your hardest, and they manage to remind you that the world is a big, hard, messy place with no easy answers and a lot of confused attempts to find some. But at the same time, you can't leave unhappy when they come on with an excore medley of Mary J. Blige, Wu Tang Clan, and Destiny's Child, with some Kate Bush tossed on at the end for a note of weary hope.

Filtration Vexation

Lately I’ve been thinking about how people filter the information that bombards them. I’m not talking just about the usual media suspects — TV, radio, Internet, movies, newspapers, and such — but all the little tidbits of info we take in — news, entertainment, conversations, things we see on the street. We don't notice or remember everything, nor do we only process inportant things that we ought to. No, the things we take in and hang on to (at least in the short term) seem to be determined by our fears or desires, the things we're trying to believe or trying to ignore. The more prominent the topic, the more we seem to notice things that tie in. We always seem to chalk it all up to coincidence or synchronicity or whatever, but considering how much raw data of one kind or another surrounds us all the time, isn't it more likely that we only take in the stuff we're already primed to accept?

Isn't that why the world seems full of only sexy people when you're horny? Isn't that why everyone else seems happy when you're miserable and rich when you're poor? Isn't that why everyone seems to have the exact same shoes you just bought? Isn't that why everyone seems to be looking at your enormous ass in those pants? Isn't that why everyone's in love when you're lonely?

Last year, for instance, I was totally preoccupied for a while with This Big Issue and how it was going to change my life. What I really needed to do just to get by was convince myself that I hadn't been delivered a death sentence and that there were plenty of ways to deal with it all and move on and make adjustments and kick its ass to whatever extent I could. And I pretty much did that, thanks. But during the process it seemed like the entire world around me was hell bent on breaking my will with constant reminders of what I was up against, all things that were probably always floating around but didn't quite concern me directly. Little pings all day long, day after day. Suddenly, it all affected me, and I couldn't stop picking up the bits everywhere I turned. The streets weren't so full of cute boys anymore, and Britney Spears didn't seem to be lurking on the edge of hearing all the time anymore. (That, at least, was blessed relief.)

When I’m particularly addled, this drives me absolutely crazy. It makes it impossible to distract myself from my troubles or my troublesome fixations. Lately, I’ve been spending a lot of free time in my dark, cozy room with a pair of ear plugs and some reading material (or Internet porn — I’m only human, after all), avoiding unwelcome, invasive noise and thought provocation.

The reading, of course, is fraught with peril, but it seems so much more uplifting and respectable to have novels rub your nose in your own life, rather than having the WB do it.

Up Again

It's getting the point where waking up in the middle of the night pretty much means there'll be no getting back to sleep. No matter how tired I may be, no matter how groggy I feel, the sleep just doesn't come. Instead, I have a lovely time tossing and turning, feeling the Celexa gurgle in my stomach, trying to stretch out the knots in my shoulders, and trying not to think too much.

Not think too much? Hah! Fat chance, loser. With everything on my mind lately, I’d have better luck trying to teleport to Venus. Tonight's topics? (1) How demoralizing it is to get romantically and sexually rejected so regularly by men who are otherwise so fond of me (making me feel entirely unsexy, much more maddening and depressing than getting rejected by men who never got to know me better or never showed any interest in the first place). (2) But yet knowing it's not that simple, just a seductively simplistic interpretation that lets me feel sorry for myself. (3) How often I feel lonely in a crowd, no matter how well-regarded I may be, and how closely tied that loneliness is to all that rejection and all those guys liking me, but just not quite enough to choose me. (4) Hating that it's that simple. And (5) how wise it is to vent all this publicly: It's cathartic and saves me from repeating the whining too much, but it's such bad P.R.

Grumpy Sparky

More Whining, But Not From Me

I’ve been astoundingly sensitive to noise lately. Maybe it's just my body's way of trying to avoid additional stimulus. Whatever. It's a pain, that’s all I know.

For instance, right now the ventilator by my desk is emitting a whining mechanical drone that keeps reminding me of the Venus probe from The Six Million Dollar Man. It's making me daffy. I haven't been able to watch TV or listen to music except with the volume really low, and that’s only when I’ve even been able to tolerate them at all. My next door neighbors have either invested in a serious subwoofer, or I’ve also become hypersensitive to the noise their TV has been making all along. And don't even get me started on how I feel about car horns or percussionists in the subway lately.

I needs me a decompression tank. Maybe I can get Glenn to build something....

And From the Department of Rude Surprises

Just so I don't have to repeat the news too often when I’m in no condition to do so: I’m still having panic attacks, I still love him but he's decided that he can only be my friend, I just told my folks I’m positive, and I’m a complete fucking mess.

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