Let’s have a Black Celebration by dixē.flatlin3

Let’s have a Black Celebration by dixē.flatlin3

This morning I came across something a friend had written yesterday regarding those who may have not celebrated and shared with their families the American holiday known as Thanksgiving. First, let me acknowledge that I do not presume that every person on the planet knows there was a holiday in America yesterday. Secondly, regardless of where you live, if you are on social media, and have American friends, it must have been nearly impossible to ignore that the most Yanks were über friendly and not talking about politics for most of the day.

Yesterday was the American holiday known as Thanksgiving. A holiday celebrated on the fourth Thursday of every November. A day we eat a lot of food. I believe there was once some sort of bullshit history lesson wrapped into the gluttonous holiday, but given the historical facts of how this nation was stolen, er, I mean settled, they’ve sort of glossed over that part. There is also the matter of how to accurately depict the oft referred to celebration between the involved parties. Pilgrims and Indians are all wrong for the whitewashed 21st century. It is not politically correct; does not adhere to the Newspeak standards and offends the delicate sense of many of the comrades.

As a child in the American school system we use to dress-up for the holiday. Including those for whom English was a secondary language. We were directed by school officials to put on plays in honor of this day. Can you imagine how this would ruffle the feathers of so many gluten allergy affected patrons in the year 2014? America is no longer a melting pot; it is now one big salad bowl of pluralistic inclusion. Gone are the days of immigrant grandparents telling the children to speak English because they are Americans. This is how my peers and myself came to lose the native tongues of our ancestors. Italian, German, Gaelic, Slovak, Vietnamese, Chinese, Hindi, and many other dialects went the way of the dodo bird with our parents, and perhaps their parents’ parents. The customs associated with Thanksgiving have evolved. It has shifted away from a nationalistic, family-centric celebration to more of a day full of preparations for an imminent capitalistic spending frenzy.

My friend and I worked in the same industry for many years. This industry in particular was once known for drawing in the disenfranchised, artistic types. People who typically did not have strong family ties to begin with. Which was why I decided to host what I labeled the Freak Holidays. In the weeks leading up to Thanksgiving, I had noted that a lot of our coworkers had no intention of spending time with their families. This could have been due to the fact that many had come from other states for the opportunity to work in a particular business. However, many simply preferred to not spend time with their families, which was my personal preference as well. I then decided to invite every person I knew to come and celebrate the holidays of Thanksgiving and Christmas at my home. I did the majority of the cooking and provided the staple items. The only items I did not supply were booze and drugs, but I did have a room we called the Playroom. A room dedicated to the art of smoking pot, which was where most of attendees congregated

The first Thanksgiving was a huge success. I cannot remember how many people came and went that day, but it was a lot. We did not have the luxury of having Black Friday off because we were expected to helm the various shops where consumers would be looking to part with their hard earned cash. But the amount of food leftover meant that after-hours my house was full of people. This extended the holiday and drew out some who had chosen to avoid the initial celebration itself. Between Thanksgiving and Christmas, word of the event had spread. There was a shitload of people at my house for Christmas Eve and Christmas Day. Of which more than a few slept wherever they could in my apartment.

I continued this tradition for several years. The transitory nature of the industry meant that there were always new faces in the crowd. And eventually there came a point when I no longer felt a strong enough sense of camaraderie to open my home to strangers. The floodgates to the industry had swung wide open, and those coming in were not cut from the same cloth as those I had grown up with. The invites became limited to a select few, and then that list dwindled as my years in the industry grew. But my memories are fond ones, and I was reminded of these by another friend yesterday.

I received an email from someone I had not heard from in a very long time. She wished me a happy holiday and reminded me of these gatherings of yore. She said that she had heard a song and it brought back memories of spending Thanksgiving at my house. She had fallen into the job opportunity bucket and did not have the funds or time to venture home for the holidays. She explained that she had felt like an outsider upon her arrival to work amongst us, but that after spending time with others in a non-work environment, it had been easier for her to adjust to her temporary home. That was 18 years ago, and it was a song that initiated her contact. She asked if I could still be found dancing around the kitchen and singing horrific pop songs while I cooked. This made me laugh because I suppose that image is hard to juxtapose against a house full of heavily tattooed, mostly male guests.

The words of another friend on social media caused me to contemplate this all. What exactly does Thanksgiving represent to Americans in the 21st century? What will become of the once sacred traditions now that they have been tainted as exclusionary by some? What does it mean to be American? I do not I pretend to have any answers, but I do know that the visage of my country has evolved into one that is frighteningly reminiscent of Big Brother. There is very little meaning left that is not directly consumer related. All of humanity’s woes fall to the wayside when Americans are given an opportunity to buy another television set at a slightly discounted price. That can then be put on display somewhere in their home, which they likely cannot afford, and they can gather around and watch the images of lives they cannot afford. But it is America; everybody has the exact same opportunity to be that special, little snowflake deemed worthy enough for mass consumption. Every American has an equal opportunity at being exploited by the machinations of the Capitalism. Regardless of whether or not they know it.

Now, leave your families and go forth and buy something, for fuck’s sake! This is ‘Murika! We’re at war! Feed the machine! And may gawd help us all as we slide into the holiday that celebrates the destruction and assimilation of paganism worldwide. Do not let the pangs of separation stop you! You have a device in your pocket that keeps you connected. And I assure you that connection is felt more deeply than any familial ties any human has every experienced.

Blessings upon you all.

<3

 

The Nude Bowl by dixē.flatlin3

Shields600x339The Nude Bowl by dixē.flatlin3

Recently I had the pleasure of enduring a drunken phone call from an old friend. To say that she is less than pleased with her current circumstances would be an egregious understatement. Not that her present environment is unpleasant, it’s actually one that many women, especially mothers, would envy; she is a properly kept woman living on acres in the Deep South. She is married, has two children and does not work, but she does drink. Oh dear god does she drink. Sadly, I am her go-to whenever she feels the need to discuss nostalgia, which correlates to her consumption of Courvoisier and moonshine. I should know better than to answer the phone, but we all love a good train wreck, don’t we?

Thankfully, her most recent drunk dial was not to rehash the details of abortions of yore. One can only discuss the vague details of driving a friend to several clinics, when they were teenagers, so many times before it grows tiresome. And we have had these discussions many, many times over the years. But her most recent phone call was for a completely different purpose altogether.

There is much notoriety and mythology surrounding the area where we spent our time together. It seems that the desert east of Los Angeles has become somewhat famous, in purely musical terms, which never ceases to amuse me. I fucking hate the desert cities that are Palm Springs to Coachella and beyond. The fact that hipsters pay, out-the-ass, to see bands performing in a field, in fucking Coachella, still makes me laugh out loud. Trust me when I tell you that I am not alone in this point of view. But whatever, everything is fucking ghey now, and I expect nothing less from the 21st century.

You see, she and I attended [redacted] together, and are quite familiar with many of the individuals who have seemingly ascended to the plateau of fame. If you’re from the area, The Plateau is something completely different, but I digress. To me it is nothing more than faces and times that I care to forget. Obviously, to some, it has become a moment in time that they wish to relive. Regrettably, I am often forced to discuss this topic.

In this distressing damsel’s case, it involves a few tales of the ones who got away. You see, she completely fucked her full-ride sponsorship with the successful music producer. A feat the involved no less than fucking an industry drug dealer and being seen in public with the pariah. Even I knew her goose was cooked once this had happened, but to this day, she is unaware of her flagrant transgression. Another bone of contention between us, but I can be too kind with morons. I am working on it, trust me, but it’s hard.

After a few rounds of on the phone with her, I was finally able to discern exactly why she had reached out to me on this particular evening. Getting to the point with sycophants and narcissists is key, it saves energy, but again, I digress. Turns out she had come across yet another trust fund baby, and this one was fascinated with the desert rock or stoner rock scene, but she could not verify her existence within it. Naturally she turned to me for validation because I was her only true connection to any of the parties. Well, the only one without a dick, who still speaks to her.

During our conversation I realized that in our desert years, she had never been more than some girl one of my friends was fucking. And one who accompanied me, usually at the request of said friend, but she had never been more than that. She never made it safely into the friend zone. She always got stuck at cum dumpster, a position that I am woefully unfamiliar with. I eventually asked her if she needed me to vouch for her with this new guy because I was willing to do anything to get off the phone at this point. I even offered to write her a letter of recommendation because she is not in any of the pictures I took at the numerous gigs at The Colony that I attended. As a photo geek in high school, I always had a camera, and it was only ever pointed at friends when there was nothing better to capture. This was never the case at the generator parties, and thusly, I have no pictures of her to use as evidence.

I suggested that she perhaps use the article I wrote back in May to segue to the desert scene, but that would require her to give-a-fuck about someone other than herself. Let’s be honest, that ain’t ever gonna happen with anyone who has ever spent time in SoCal. Especially in the I.E. and other desert cities.

 

Cray*2 by dixē.flatlin3

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Given our overall temperaments, I must admit, that as a member of the human female network, I am shocked that more of us do not kill. That is to say, that more of us do not give into the murderous impulses that we naturally repress. The urge to open up a throat with a razor, rather than smooth the ruffled feathers of yet another ego.

Given to whims of fancy; hormonal; bodies and minds at the mercy of the universe; the source of hysteria; dangerous creatures. I have known more than one man who has lived to tell the tale of his encounter with a knife-wielding member of the fairer sex. Both awoke to find themselves straddled by a pretty, broken doll; both happy to have survived their brushes with batshit-crazy death; both shaken, but not defeated.

I never allowed myself to sympathize, much less empathize with them because in female transgressions of this nature, the batshit-crazy had been thinly veiled in their partners of choice. Sadly, I have learned that this is not as easy for others to spot. Hard to believe, I know, but life is weird that way.

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Fruitcake by dixē.flatlin3

Fruitcake by dixē.flatlin3

I have spent nearing eight weeks researching an article for my column, so I need do a warm up exercise to prep for writing. That is, I need to warm up on a machine. I have been writing by hand a story for an upcoming anthology for the past month. That is going to be a motherfucker to transcribe, but I digress. I need to warm up the old fingers on a keyboard. Lately a visit I made to a friend of yore has come into mind. Not sure why, but it has. And thus, I am going to share it with the anonymous masses.

I recall receiving a message on my answering machine (remember those things?!) during the holiday season. It was from an ex-boyfriend, who detailed that he was in the hospital and would like me to visit. I believe that he left a room number, and I believe that I called and spoke to him to arrange the visit. It was in the evening when I went to see him, and a few days before the Christmas holiday. I vividly recall how the hospital was festooned in holiday cheer. I inquired at the front desk and was given directions for how to locate him.

He had warned me that the he was in the psychiatric ward, and that the visiting hours were more stringent than usual hospital visitation. I had allowed myself enough time to get lost and still spend at least an hour with him. We had not parted ways under malice or acrimony, at least not on my part. I presumed he was cool with it, given the recent phone call and request to visit him in psych ward. It had been several months, if memory serves me, and we had always enjoyed the time we spent together. Lets just say things were complicated…

So, there I was, standing at the nurses’ station, waiting to get clearance to enter into the land of the unknown. I don’t recall much about the staff or the other patients. I wish that I did, but alas the effects of drugs and the passing of time have taken their toll. Or perhaps I was in detached mode and not focusing on the minutiae, I do that sometimes. I do recall that after I was allowed into the secured area and taken to the area to meet him, the sight of him gave me pause. He was wearing a hospital gown and looked very much the invalid. He typically dyed his hair a vibrant shade of blue and sometimes styled it into a Mohawk. His hair was disheveled and a sad shade of waning blue. He smiled to greet me and we immediately went out to smoke. Again, this is back when people could still smoke in designated areas of a hospital. Because of his confinement, which I assumed to be involuntary, there was a secure area for us to use. It was outside and had very high walls, for obvious reasons I suppose. He had to light his cigarette in the hallway of the facility using an electronic device on the wall. “We are not allowed matches or lighters,” he laughed. “For obvious reasons.”

We spent the entire visit out on the patio, He informed me that he was one of the more sane patients there and he wanted to shield me from the “insanity. I don’t really remember what we talked about. I don’t know that he ever explained why he had asked me to come visit him. He did admit that he had voluntarily committed himself to “get a break” as he put it. Explaining that sometimes life just got the better of him and going away for a bit usually sorted things out in his head. He was a musician (the one I had forgotten about when I boasted that I had never dated one) and I suppose that lends itself to the realm of psychotic episodes. I don’t know really, we never discussed that part of his life. We mostly just hung out during the few weeks we dated.

A nurse came out to inform us that visiting hours were ending soon and invited me to join them for a snack of some sort. I politely declined, but it’s what he said at this point that has always stuck with me. There was a serving tray in the middle of a common area and on it there were paper plates and a desert cake of some sort. He smiled and then winked at me as he said to the closest nurse,

“Fruitcake, isn’t that like cannibalism in this place?”

That was the last time I saw him. And I have yet to come across him again in the digital realm of social media- a desolate landscape of faces I never wanted to see again, but sadly lacking those I wouldn’t mind running into.

 

What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been by dixē.flatlin3

What a Long, Strange Trip It’s Been

Here I am, at the end of a path I set out on several years ago. Seems rather anti-climatic, I don’t feel any different. The world did not suddenly open up and drop opportunities upon me. Not really sure what direction I am headed now. I suppose I will keep showing up to work, in spite of the fact that I hate it. It’s a paycheck, and it’s better than a lot of my peers have, but it’s not what I want. However, I do not know what I want. Well, I guess that is not entirely true. I do, but it requires much effort on my part. And I am barely able to compose sentences lately.

I ended up where it all started this past weekend. Amongst faces I had not seen in a very, very long time. It was oddly soothing, but I remain forever the outsider. I never cared enough to engage others, except the random few who didn’t spew drama. Otherwise, I was, and remain, content to let sleeping dogs lie. I was unrecognizable to most because I had always sought to remain anonymous, just another face in the crowd. However, I am a fastidious note taker, and I have gathered much data during my observations: many tales to tell, webs to weave.

I made it out with my sanity and sobriety, no small feat I might add. After revisiting the battlefields of yore, I can say there were more casualties than originally projected.  A lost bunch then, and now. Some managed to find a way. We are all making the same perilous journey to oblivion. We all owe a death for this life we have.

Fuck it. Whatever.

Queen Bee by dixē.flatlin3

Maynard James Keenan of Tool and A Perfect Circle brings Puscifer to Portland 2009Today was my first day working with a hive.  I went to assist to two people who have very little experience, and were only after the honey.  I knew this because the male did nothing but speak about the sticky substance the entire time we were there.

 I am not in search of honey.  No, my goals are loftier and somewhat altruistic.  I am more concerned with preservation of bees.  More the matter of how we have managed to kill-off the fucking honeybees.  How modern man has fucked things up so badly that the bees are dying off, but I digress.

I had prepared myself as best as I could; I purchased the highest quality beekeeping equipment that I could find.  I did my research, and it paid off.  Today I was the only person who did not get stung.

I arrived at the site and met up with the others who were there to assist me.  One is more experienced than I, having attended one day of a two-day beekeeping course at a local farm.  Me?  I did my research the same way I always do, via the Internet and libraries.  I had done a lot of reading, and I attended a local beekeeper association meeting.  And again, I approach the entire matter from a conservation perspective, not purely the harvesting of honey.

The uncapping of a hive is quite an event.  The initial rush of bees is a moment that I will always remember because I immediately thought to swat them away from my face, but my face was protected.  Once I was comfortable within my protected skin, I began to really focus on the insects, and they were amazing.

We killed quite a few, unfortunately, but I suppose that is a part of beekeeping.  I had my own opinions on how things should be done, but again, I am not after their honey. I have taken this a step further and consulted with people who are studying the subject.  Had I ever given a fuck to study, I probably could have been a scientist, but again, I digress.

I had been told that the noise from the hive was quite a sound, and it was.  As we removed the boxes, one-by-one, I could see the natural order that all bees maintain.  And it only left me wanting to know more, which I will.

One thing is for certain, I will be the Queen Bee of that hive and it is only a matter of time until I make it my own.  I knew from the moment I saw the overall condition of the hives that no one currently cares about the bees, but I do.  That is why I have been given this opportunity.

Anyway, I wish you all a purpose.

Namaste.