A blog that used to be about things

Monday, May 15, 2023

Flamingo Bowl Spring 2023 League Week 7 5/9/23


Ritual is important. Rituals let our brain shift and squirm until it is in a place it can focus without focusing. Depending on what our ritual is preparing us for, once we reach this state our brain can react without wasting time on cognitive thought, or on the other hand it can open itself to less-than-visible sensations and connections. Ritual is a training for our brain. An exercise. It connects our tenuous present with the comfort of the past and the mysteries of the future, allowing us to escape the constraints of linear time and instead utilize time's non-existence to our benefit.

Alcohol's use in ritual is as old as civilization. We use it to unlock connections in our brain that are sealed off by conscious thought. The time and ritual used to prepare alcohol for consumption mirror it's use to free us from time in ritualized use. One sip and we can connect with ancestors and descendants. Two sips and time unfolds itself and reveals the illusion it is. Three sips and you can really start rocking.

It's never just you and the pins. It's also not just you and the pins and your ball. It's not even just you and the pins and your ball and the lane. Nor is it you and the pins and your ball and the lane and the approach. It's not even you and the pins and your ball and the lane and the approach and the rest of your team. It's not you and the pins and your ball and the lane and the approach and the rest of your team and the opposing team. It's not even just you and the pins and your ball and the lane and the approach and the rest of your team and the opposing team and some other random people bowling. It's not just you and the pins and your ball and the lane and the approach and the rest of your team and the opposing team and some other random people bowling and the quantum connections between the you and the final resting place of the pins. Nor is it just you and the pins and your ball and the lane and the approach and the rest of your team and the opposing team and some other random people bowling and the quantum connections between the you and the final resting place of the pins and the genetic imprints left by past bowling experiences and your ancestors. It's not even just you and the pins and your ball and the lane and the approach and the rest of your team and the opposing team and some other random people bowling and the quantum connections between the you and the final resting place of the pins and the genetic imprints left by past bowling experiences and your ancestors and the cultural expectations of your bowling. It's also about you and how hungover you are.

Monday, May 8, 2023

Flamingo Bowl Spring 2023 League Week 6 5/2/23


There is no use lamenting a lost past. As creatures of the never-ending now, we must fully immerse ourselves in the raging maelstrom that is the present. Yesterday has given birth to the monsters of today, and we must decide for ourselves whether we will cower in fear of these beasts or show the beasts what horrors the present can actually create.

A split in the road. What looks like opportunity to change the path seemingly decided for us can often be nothing more than a diversion. Temptations that only a fool would indulge - and here I am, gleefully leaving all calls for reason behind.

A slumber that even midnight storms cannot disturb.

Tuesday, May 2, 2023

Flamingo Bowl Spring 2023 League Week 5 - 4/25/23


One of the difficulties in large-scale quantum communications is that all the particles have to be the same frequency. Scientists around the world are working on projects to stabilize these particles so they remain on the same frequency. Quantum Diamonds - diamonds that maintain the same carbon chain throughout space and time - are one solution to this problem. Once this stabilization accomplished, near-instant communication across vast areas will be possible. Everything can be on the same page. A universal understanding.

What if the diamond's were not crucial to this transmission of information, though? They may present an avenue for stable particles, but they do not have to be the only path. Occultists use chants and mantras to "vibrate," which is the same idea as getting all associated particles to operate on the same wavelength. Religious songs and chants are based on the same idea. A woman was outside the bowling alley, saying some sort of ritual or prayer, when suddenly a cyclone of confetti sprung up and tried to entrap me. Her ability to operate at the same vibrations as the air (and perhaps other unseen items) made the air behave according to her thoughts. These diamonds are not necessary, then.

If these quantum diamonds can transmit information instantly, they are also receiving information instantly, and who makes this distinction? Is there even a distinction? In the Diamond Sutra, Sakyamuni Buddha explains that there is not actually an escape from the transience of life, as the transience of life is an illusion. How can I be cursed when "I" don't exist? When a diamond can transmit information to all points instantly, then there is no transmission because all points instantly know and already knew. The end to suffering is to break down these distinctions between "I" and "that." There is no diamond, and no information to transmit.

Monday, April 24, 2023

Flamingo Bowl Spring 2023 League Week 4 - 4/18/23


Why try? Why put in any effort? Just cuz Hamlet's dumbass did? How'd that end up for him?

We won scratch on all 3 of these, though, so I guess that's worth something.

Monday, April 17, 2023

Flamingo Bowl Spring 2023 League Week 3 - 4/11/23


    In the first few months of 1946, Jack Parsons performed extensive ritual work in the Mojave desert, which he called the BABALON Working. His notes on the process record several physical encounters with unseen forces, as well as auditory phenomenon. At the end of this ritual, he met Marjorie Cameron, whom he identified as the elemental that he was attempting to summon. For her part, Marjorie Cameron seems to not have entirely agreed with Parsons, as she had an entire life prior to their meeting, although her interest in Thelemism did grow during the course of their relationship.

    There is no summoner without the summoned, and no summoned with the summoner. No observer with the observed. Our chosen roles in these relationships crumbling into dust under the slightest scrutiny, as we instead are dragged toward an inevitable future that has already decided its past. The preparations were done before we thought of them. The groundwork laid while we slept. The decisions made before we even arrived at the questions. 

Our present manifesting its past to justify its existence. Our future manifesting this present to the same end. Samsara's grip. The pins know, though.

13. Thou shalt offer all thou art and all thou hast at my altar, witholding nothing. And thou shalt be smitten full sore and thereafter thou shalt be outcast and accursed, a lonely wanderer in abominable places.
14. Ye Dare. I have asked of none other, nor have they asked. Else is vain. But thou hast willed it.
15. Know then that thus I came to thee before, thou a great Lord, and I a maid enrapt. Ah blind folly.
16. And thereafter madness, all in vain. Thus it has been, multi- form. How thou hast burned beyond.
17. I shall come again, in the form thou knowest. Now it shall be thy blood.


(from LIBER 49, by Jack Parsons)

Thursday, April 6, 2023

Flamingo Bowl Spring 2023 League Week 2 - 4/4/23


    The distinction between ghosts and memories is arbitrary and falls apart under a bit of scrutiny. They are both methods in which the "past" extends its influence to the "present." Warnings, lessons, hauntings - all functionally the same things. The precise nature of these communications are similar, too. A memory from my past can be shared if I tell it to you, much like a haunting can be transferred from me to you (or shared, even), if the haunting spirit is capable of doing so. 

    So, when we look at our past and see failures, we can treat it like a ghost and exorcise it from our lives. Some believe that hauntings occur when an entity has left something unaccomplished in this world, and is seeking assistance in its resolution. But what if we treated these hauntings more like the memories they resemble? What if, instead of fearing a haunting and being terrorized by the past's horrors made corporeal, we accepted these terrors as a normal presence in our world? Not in an exploitative way, but in a way where we respect all aspects of life, even those that are no longer alive?

    The memories/ghosts of a losing season will forever be with us. It is important that we use these ghosts to live out a best life. Erasing them cannot change the past's reality. The ghosts of the losing league are us, and we must use this haunting to win in the present.

Wednesday, December 21, 2022

Flamingo Bowl Fall 2022 League Week 9 12/20/2022


 "Do we in our time have an answer to the question of what we really mean by the word 'being'? Not at all." - Martin Heidegger, "Being And Time"


The Winter Solstice as a time for rebirth and renewal - a recognition that night is not eternal and it's defined by its phase into dawn - is the basis for cultural and religious ceremonies from all over the world. Although the details differ, reflections on and gratitudes for night's temporary nature are practiced in variety of cultures. Even the in christian ritual of Christmas, practitioners are celebrating their now-present capacity for salvation, which was unavailable to humanity before Jesus's birth. A day following a long night of a different sort. But praising the cyclical nature of our lives is a clinging - a renunciation of the true nature of things by extolling samsara, the reality that we need to escape from to find true happiness. 

We'll bowl again and win again and bowl again and lose again. This the all the universe knows.

We've bowled before and won before and bowled before and lost before. This is all the universe knows.

And someday, we'll attain enlightenment and escape this cycle of suffering. Or maybe bowl 300.

Wednesday, December 14, 2022

Flamingo Bowl Fall 2022 Bowling League Week 8 - 12/13/22



In "Killing Commendatore" Haruki Murakami takes his standard storytelling world full of oddities and abstractions that his characters accept with limited protest, and this time uses it to explore the act of artistic creation. Much like the way characters in Murakami's novels have vastly different experiences with these oddities, though, different people seem to get very different results from this work. 

The protagonist of "Killing Commendatore" (unnamed, in typical Murakami fashion) is a recently divorced portrait painter. Murakami is in his comfort zone here, writing yet another male protagonist recently severed from the woman that seemed to keep his life grounded and now drifting through an increasingly dream-like world. These criticisms of Murakami (that he writes flat, male protagonists and the women in his stories are little more than plot devices to either spur the male character along or serve as a temporary object of desire) contain degrees of truth, but they tend to inject a goal into his writing that Murakami is never aiming for. He does write flat male characters, namely because he is writing for a flat, male audience from his flat, male perspective. Murakami's worlds have hidden undersides and fantastic, transformative abilities, but the point is that these are still somewhat mundane revelations. It's somewhat fantastic to find out that your backyard has been a mystical prison for an Idea that can become corporeal, but you still have to get up and work in the morning, you know?


So, in "Killing Commendatore" not only does Murakami tackle the criticism of the depth of his characters by leaning into that criticism even more so, he attacks the very idea of novels needing to be About Things in a hilariously literal way. The protagonist is dealing with his life being disrupted in a decently healthy way, only to have his life further upended by an Idea that has become physical and can visit him. What exactly causes this to happen is left deliberately vague - a choice that works well in a story where every details is meticulously documented - but it has some connection with the protagonist discovering a new piece of art and becoming entranced with it. Murakami's deadly serious tone telling us the dangers of looking for too much meaning in art, in a somewhat silly and playful way. This Idea isn't the only oddity the protagonist encounters, as he later has a hilarious conversation with a Metaphor, leading to the climax where he must avoid the deadly Double Metaphor(s). All of this is presented matter-of-factly, of course, and to the protagonist is an odd experience but perhaps no odder than other, "realistic" life events.

At about 700 pages, Murakami has plenty of space to muse on ideas (lower-case) about time, legacy, secrets and how these define our life and relationships. Oh, and also about a 13-year old girl concerned about her breast size, in another example of Murakami seemingly considering the criticisms of his work and leaning further in to them. In that regard, parts of "Killing Commendatore" are very combative. Murakami staking out an identity agreed upon by himself and his critics, and saying "your move." In another way, this is a quiet masterpiece by Murakami. 700 pages that drift by without the messiness of Idea or Metaphor to constrain it - to grab hold of the narrative and twist it into a direction it does not naturally want to follow. Ultimately, this is a very touching novel about how secrets and oddities define a life, and is worth reading to think about what we all leave unsaid.

Saturday, December 3, 2022

Flamingo League Fall 2022 Bowling League Week 6 - 11/29/22





When you are bowling and the pins won't fall,

Do you think about the times they did, or

Curse any and all gods and then your ball?

Or, wait, maybe it is time to explore

An alternate universe where bowling

Is unknown. Is their really bliss in such

Ignorance? No spares, the only rolling

Is E, and never from a bowler's touch.

A world missing emotions and colors.

I'll stick with our world of strikes and gutters.

Wednesday, November 23, 2022

Flamingo Bowl Fall 2022 Bowling League Week 5 11/22/22




Game 1:

On January 5th, 2003, Ken Jones was caught in two avalanches, which broke his legs and pelvis, and was able to climb free and drag himself for 4 days to the nearest town.

On July 27th, 2006, Tom Boyle saw a driver hit a bicyclist, pinning the cyclist underneath the Camaro. Boyle was able to lift the car up so another person could pull the cyclist free.

Tsutomu Yamaguchi was in Hiroshima, Japan on August 6th 1945, when the United States dropped an atomic bomb on the city, killing between 70,000 and 80,000 civilians and destroying 70% of the city. Yamaguchi survived and returned to his hometown of Nagasaki, where on August 9th, 1945 the United States dropped an atomic bomb, killing 50,000 civilians. Yamaguchi lived until 2010.

On November 22, 2022, the Flamingo Bowl bowling league offered a bottle of tequila to whomever first bowled a turkey. Jonathon Hunt rolled a turkey in his first 3 frames, and was presented with a bottle of Hornito's.

Game 2: Free will is a myth, but not in the sense the deists think. Anaximander may have been the first to write down his ideas about "multiple worlds," which would contain every conceivable outcome of every decision, but the idea surely predates him. And survives him. And is contemporaneous with him, as time does not exist as we experience it but instead exists all at once. There is no "now" there is only now. So, given that everything and every time exists at once, our specific experience of any one event is the result of a multitude of chances and occurrences, selected from an assortment of possible occurrences so numerous as to be basically infinite. And we don't get to do the selecting. It's still tight to bowl 200, though.

Game 3: Daily samsara. We have bowled this game before and will bowl it again and are bowling it now.

Wednesday, November 16, 2022

Flamingo Bowl Fall 2022 Bowling League Week 4 11/15/22


we lost all 3 games


And when our final hour comes, we shall meet it humbly, and there beyond the grave, we shall say that we have known suffering and tears, that our life was bitter.

- Sonya's monologue from Uncle Vanya

    Sonya is, of course, able to bear her suffering with the grace that unequivocal faith in a Christian god and heaven brings. But when that Christian salvation is exposed as a dream or a lie, where can we look for the strength to get through this suffering? The league will end and our record will be all we have. The record is our life and afterlife - what we know and how we are known.

    Should we then revel in this misery? Unable to attain the eternal bliss of the Christian heaven we instead praise our miseries and sufferings as divine manifestations of a universal truth? The Noble Truth of dukkha teaches that birth is suffering, death is suffering, bowling 180+ and losing is suffering and bowling 180+ and winning is also suffering, as suffering is a fundamental aspect of our universe. Joyous moments, such as bowling 180+ and winning the game, are impermanent and their absence, then, can cause suffering, so this suffering is part of their totality. So, as beautiful and improbable creations of this universe who are capable of exploring its truths and singing its glories, should we not celebrate suffering as the ubiquitous component of the only universe we know, which has directed itself to allowing us to be in this moment? No. Of course not. Attachment is attachment, no matter how unorthodox the object of attachment, and the Noble Truths teach us that this attachment is itself the mindset to be overcome to escape samsara. Suffering is there but we must not revel in it nor give in to desire and luxury and avoid all suffering but instead follow the Noble Eightfold Path and recognize the impermanence of even suffering as we will bowl the next game and if there is no next game we will bowl the next week and if there is no next week we will bowl the next league.

Friday, October 28, 2022

Flaming Bowl Bowling League Fall 2022 Week 2 - 10/25/22




Game 1: She came from the depths, like he said. Like he knew. Timeless rage purified by the ocean, free from the Sun's luminous knowledge. Righteous anger, harnessed and twisted to base aims. How did he know so much about those depths, and why did she respond?

Game 2: One day, Edshu was walking among the fields, noticing each farmer at work in their own field, when he decided that he would play a trick on them. He made himself a hat that was white on the front, red on the left side, green on the right and black on the back. When he walked between the fields different farmers only saw one side of the hat, depending on where they were working. That evening, after the work was done, the farmers were together eating and drinking when one asked "did you see the odd fellow walk by with the white hat today?" Another farmer responded "I saw an odd man, but his hat was definitely red." Another responded that the hat was clearly green. They began to argue over the hat and ultimately broke down to fighting and brought out knives. They were arrested and brought to trial, but the judge could not decide who was at fault. Edshu was in the crowd at the trial, and eventually revealed himself and his hat, saying "spreading strife is my greatest joy." - adapted from Joseph Campbell's telling in "The Hero With A Thousand Faces

Game 3: . . .

Sunday, April 17, 2022

Bowling Notes - 4/12/22

 Week 8? Linear time has no meaning anymore, but we have not yet escaped the dogged grip of relational time. So we wait for a "finals" that has already occurred, is presently occurring. The pins know this truth, and will make sure they get to the destination they were always at.

In "Object-Oriented Ontology: A New Theory of Everything," Graham Harman says "there are just two ways of telling somebody what a thing is: . . . what it is made of or what it does."

Two ways. What does it leave behind? What is it's favorite record? Does it know how to keep a scorecard at a baseball game?

Two ways. Did it remember your birthday? Bring flowers? Look in to your eyes and recognize the emptiness not as a loss but as a path?

Two ways. Will it break a toe or scatter to the wind when errantly left on the floor and later kicked? Will it leave behind a jisei that helps you reflect on your pained attachments? Does it believe any of this matters?

Friday, March 11, 2022

Bowling Notes 3/8/22



 Bushido, I have found out, lies in dying. When confronted with two alternatives, life and death, one is to choose death without hesitation. There is nothing particularly difficult; one has only to be resolved and push forward.

While some say, "Death without gaining one's end is but a futile death," such a calculating way of thinking comes from conceited, citified bushido. Pressed between two alternatives, once can hardly be sure of choosing the righteous of the two. To be sure, everybody prefers life to death; he tends to reason himself into staying alive somehow. But if he comes out alive without gaining his righteous end, he is a coward. Therein lies the crucial point to consider.

Conversely, as long as one's choice is death, even if he dies without accomplishing his just aim, his death is free of disgrace, although others may term it as a vain or insane one. This is the essence of bushido. If one, through being prepared for death every morning and evening, expects death at any moment, bushido will become his own, whereby he shall be able to serve the lord all his life through and through with not a blunder.

- from Hagakure, by Yamamoto Tsunetomo 


Thursday, February 24, 2022

Bowling Notes 2/22/22

 After a brief delay . . .

Under new direction, the lanes are excitedly oiled and the league is eager to resume. We've all changed and been changed over the past 2 years. Is this even the same league? Are some things so constant as to deny time's dogged progression?

Game 1

Stallings. Hauntings. During practice, the pinsetter unexpectedly lowered right after I released a ball, and these hauntings continued in to the game itself. Where does tradition turn into haunting, and is there even a good distinction between the two? The accumulation of unique  disturbances is all we have to distinguish us from one another, and so we give thanks and/or memories to those disturbances for allowing us to fall into a delusion of self. Therefore, "we" can't even exist without these pains and traumas. But who asked for that in the first place?

Game 2

At some point, if you're going to be constrained by linear time, you should make a decision to leave "the past" in "the past." Experiences make you and may even better inform your present choices, but they are the past and if you're going to make any attempt to enjoy or learn in a present or future moment, then you must make a conscious and deliberate break with past events. Easier said than done, though. The past isn't gone, it's just past, and since it still exists it can still affect us and therefore render itself new again. And what better way to do that than to intentionally draw attention to the "past-ness" of it's present actions? And thus, the pinsetters break and break again. Splits and splits again. Frustrations lived before and lived again and lived.

Game 3

As with any endeavor involving time, endurance becomes an issue. Rhythms that had been turned into sick parodies of themselves were now allowed to regrow, as if one can recreate a "moment." Ample opportunity to "return to form," as if doing so were not a mockery of linear time itself. We have chosen this path "forward" because of the unknown and constant changes it brings. We'll return in death.