Dagdha's Blog

QotD XLI

Posted in Uncategorized by dagdha on December 5, 2012

“The great enemy of clear language is incincerity. When there is a gap between one’s real and one’s declared aims, one turns as it were instinctively to long words and exhausted idioms, like a cuttlefish squirting ink.”

George Orwell

Simple Joy

Posted in Uncategorized by dagdha on November 23, 2012

As I sat in traffic on a four hour journey to San Deigo today, I read Paulo Coelho’s esteemed novel The Alchemist, which I would highly recommend to anyone who has not read it.

Although relatively short, the book is crammed with philosophical allegory, focusing largely on the theme of happiness and its seemingly unending pursuit. I won’t ruin the plot in case you have not read it, but the overarching theme is that happiness is not complicated; it’s quite simple.

Happiness is not the car you drive, the house you own, or the label on your clothing. It’s not what you will do in the future or even what you’ve accomplished in the past. The past is a subjective memory and the future is never what we anticipate. Happiness is being mindful of the present, which is certain.

Somehow we as a society have lost this notion of happiness, which has been redefined for us by advertising as the accumulation of shit we don’t need – physical and mental clutter. The latest gadgets. The newest cars. Trashy soap operas labeled as “reality television.” Facebook. Twitter. Reddit. Infinite sources of distraction away from what’s real. What’s human.

I know millionaires who never think twice about spending $4 on a cup of coffee, but they cry like a bullied bitch if their taxes go up to support people that can’t spend $4 a day on food. These men are part of the same generation that told me and my peers to work hard, go to college, and we’d be set for life. Now they call us “entitled” for not wanting to work shit jobs for shittier pay.

I find it especially worriesome when these same men recount their philanthropic trips to Africa and say how happy everyone is with next to nothing, but for some reason they need our help. The urge to save is almost always a front for the urge to rule.

Happiness is simple – it’s love. Love for friends, family, ideas, and work. Pursue these four simple things and you will be happy. If you invest your energy in other distractions, be they the consumption of goods, media, politics, or any form of “keeping up with the Joneses,” and your happiness will dwindle. A man cannot serve two mistresses and keep them happy for long.

Over the last few years I’ve done fairly well with minimizing the physical clutter in my life. My one weakness is books, which I justify as the pursuit of ideas, although I admit that does not require owning them. Only recently have I started addressing the problem of mental clutter, focusing my free time on writing or building relatinships rather than consuming endless news and digital media. It’s a slow process, but the return is priceless.

If I have offended anyone that reads this, that was not my intent. I wrote this more for myself than for anyone else, and I won’t claim to know what makes anyone else happy. What I do know, however, is that simplicity in mind, body, and ideological pursuit brings me joy and happiness. And, considering the popularity of Paulo Coelho’s novel, there must be some truth to it.

Storm’s a comin’

Posted in Uncategorized by dagdha on November 20, 2012

With the chaos of the holidays just around the corner, my next few months look busier than a porn star kiosk handing out free Fleshlights. I couldn’t be happier.

No, I didn’t buy a Fleshlight. I could never justify spending a grip of cash on a fuckable piece of plastic. I’m happy because the impending tsunami of textbook minutiae and tedious training means my exodus from cubicle hell is nigh. By February I have to earn my NASM certification and learn the finer points of managing a health club – two vital components in my position as the general manager for the new studio. I almost feel like I’m back at school, without the chaotic keggers and confused mornings.

I’m looking forward to working where I feel comfortable. For the last three years I’ve had more in common with the action figures decorating my cubicle than any of my coworkers and their cookie-cutter conservative ideologies. They mean well, but continually watching the contortions they go through not to see a point, whether ethical or operational, wears on my sanity like a cheese grater removing a tattoo. It ain’t pretty.

What has me even more excited though is my writing. Ok, maybe not the actual act of writing, which can be akin to hammering a hot nail through your frontal lobe with a banana. Rather, I’ve really started to focus my craft on a  few specific goals. And, as cliche as this sounds, intent makes a big fuckin difference.

I’ve also realized how crucial it is for me to collaborate and escape the isolated valley of solipsism that is my job, which makes it difficult to feel creative or inspired. However, I recently started collaborating with a couple friends and have written several short stories, outlined an idea for a novel, and started my own website (which I’ve been meaning to do for years).

The combination of new work, imaginative collaboration, and good friends gives me hope amid the growing uncertainty of international unrest. I take comfort in knowing that even if Israel completely loses their shit and starts the final chapter of the World War trilogy, I need only a pen and a few close companions to keep on going.

QotD XL

Posted in Uncategorized by dagdha on November 19, 2012

“It’s hard not to hate.

People. Things. Institutions. When they break your spirit and take pleasure in watching you bleed, hate is the only feeling that makes sense.

But I know what hate does to a man. Tears him apart. Turns him into something he’s not. Something he promised himself he’d never become. That’s what I need to tell you. To let you know how hard I’m trying not to cave under the weight of all the awful things I feel in my heart.

Sometimes my life feels like a deadly balancing act. What I feel slamming against what I should do. Impulsive reactions racing to solutions miles ahead of my brain.

When I look at my day I realize that most of it was spent cleaning up the damage of the day before. In that life I have no future. All I have is distraction, and remorse.

I buried my best friend three days ago. And, as cliche as this sounds, I left a part of me in that box. A part I barely knew. A part I’ll never see again.

Every day is a new box, boys. You open it. You take a look at what’s inside. You’re the one who determines if it’s a gift, or a coffin.”

Kurt Sutter (SOA)

Searching for my voice

Posted in Uncategorized by dagdha on November 16, 2012

As you may have noticed, this blog is currently in the midst of an overhaul. I’ve decided to create a separate site for my fiction, which is currently under construction but should be up by next week. My goal here is comb through previous posts with some heavy handed editing, fixing or removing the posts that lack substance or appear to be trying too hard.

Though I’ve kept a blog for many years, it has only been in the last few that I’ve taken a sincere interest in writing. I’ve made a real effort in the arena of research, studying countless columns of writing advice and the classics of greats like Thompson and Hitchens. But I have not focused on developing my own voice, unless you count the stimulant-fueled diatribes mimicking Jack Kerouac’s portrayal of Neal Cassady more than the dialectical prose of authors I admire. As Stephen Fry acutely pointed out in his first autobiography, “Mimesis is not the same as Reason,” which, at least in my opinion, requires an authentic voice.

It takes 10,000 hours to become an expert in something, so I’ve started to keep track of the time I spend writing in the hope that it will motivate me through the arduous journey of developing a style I can call my own. In the meantime, bear with me and I’ll keep posting the stages of my evolution.

The customer is always wrong

Posted in Uncategorized by dagdha on November 14, 2012

Whoever coined the asinine axiom “the customer is always right” needs to boiled alive in sulfur and tortured for the rest of eternity in a WalMart call center. Unfortunately that slogan can’t be eradicated from the medulla of tantrum-throwing zombies that roam around feeding on the sanity and self-esteem of sales reps everywhere.  So if, god forbid, you ever come face to face with these bastard offspring of Lucifer and Ayn Rand, make sure to give their wallets the good ol’ double tap.

As any server will attest, fuck with the help and expect to be fucked in return. No one is a slave, despite how loudly the rich may bitch. If people can’t get what they want by being civil, then they should take their business elsewhere. Don’t spew entitlement everywhere like the drunk epileptics in Washington.

QotD XLIX

Posted in Uncategorized by dagdha on November 8, 2012

“Writing is like prostitution. First you do it for love, and then for a few close friends, and then for money.”

William Faulkner

“Election Day” Musings

Posted in Uncategorized by dagdha on November 6, 2012

It’s finally over and I couldn’t be happier. The polls haven’t closed yet so I don’t know how I scored on my ballot bingo card. I’m just happy this shit-flinging economic piss match is almost behind us. The embarrassing behavior of politicians and their pimps, along with the vacuous substance of their agendas, has demolished the marginal international reputation we had managed to rebuild since America’s most infamous cowboy left the White House. Any enthusiasm I had for political discussion has disappeared under a thick fog of cynicism spewing from the assholes of undereducated partisan lemmings.

Regardless of who wins the presidency, the future looks resigned to economic and political slavery, which is why the Republicans have such a strong emotional foundation, one built on fear.  They’re afraid of losing their material superiority. They’re afraid of immigrants, homosexuals, and women. They’re afraid of disparate world views not found in their precious Bible. They’re afraid of equality.

For me this election was a no-brainer between Romney and Obama (sorry Johnson, next time). Despite my ever-growing collection of qualms with the President, I disagree on the most fundamental level with many of Romney’s views, particularly when it comes to civil equality. As a heterosexual, white, “Christian” male with a family history of controversial emigration and subsequent immigration, Romney has to be one of the least sympathetic people to elect if you care whatsoever about social justice. I know, because I have a very similar background, right down to his notoriously stubborn religion.

Progress requires holistic vision and self-sacrifice, two principles not found in the dogma of righteous self-interest, especially in a culture of immediate gratification provided by smart phones, social media, and unfathomable amounts of porn and other digital novelties. So for those more concerned with Facebook status updates, iPhones, and the Kardashians, than, say, basic human rights, Romney makes perfect sense.

Throughout this year I’ve been criticized as being too idealistic, notably by my father and twin brother (which is especially frustrating considering the latter doesn’t vote). They fashion themselves as political pragmatists but justify their views with the same kind of idealism, believing that Ayn Rand capitalism is the best available solution for our imperfect world. The key difference is that their idealism is steeped in pessimism, whereas, despite the sting of failure and disappointment, I strive to stay optimistic.

The historical greatness of America was built on optimism and the belief in a brighter future. If we give up striving for that kind of ideal, then we give up our greatness. Pessimism rarely achieves anything, just look at Eeyore from Winnie the Pooh. If all the animals in the Hundred Acre Woods had Eeyore’s attitude, it would have been a miserable fucking place to live. Christopher Robin probably would have passed the days drinking copious amounts of vodka until eventually dying from a heroin overdose after contracting AIDs from a hooker with a fetish for stuffed animals.

At any rate, I’m done blathering. I’m off to Target to stock up on booze and Furbies in case Romney wins.

NaNoWriMo 2012

Posted in Uncategorized by dagdha on October 26, 2012

I think it’s safe to say that I’ve failed to meet the Halloween deadline for completing my novella. In truth, I didn’t even finish rewriting the short story on which it was going to be based. I could lie to myself and say I’m in good company, as many authors I admire have been notorious for missing deadlines, but that would be a egomaniacal exercise in mental masturbation. Therefore I’m going to try a different approach.

National Novel Writing Month is an annual novel writing project held each November in which writers across the globe attempt to complete a novel of 50,000 words or more. This may seem like a nigh impossible task, requiring approximately 1,7000 words a day, but that’s because the emphasis is purely on writing, not revising. The final product is supposed to be filled with enough grammatical and syntactical mistakes to give your internal editor an aneurism, which sounds ideal considering that pedantic bastard is the Loki to my literary Thor.

It’s a daunting task and I loathe failure, but that’s something success doesn’t come without. So I’m going to give it my best shot while continuing to work on my collaboration projects. If I fuck up and don’t succeed, at least it’ll be a few more hours of experience under my belt. In the words of Wilde, “Ambition is the last refuge of failure.”

QotD XLVIII

Posted in Uncategorized by dagdha on October 25, 2012

“You realize that our mistrust of the future makes it hard to give up the past. We can’t give up our concept of who we were. All those adults playing archaeologist at yard sales, looking for childhood artifacts, board games, Candyland, Twisted, they’re terrified. Trash becomes holy relics. Mystery Date. Hula Hoops. Our way of getting nostalgic for what we just threw in the trash, its all because we’re afraid to evolve. Grow, change, lose weight, reinvent ourselves. Adapt.”

Chuck Palahniuk