Sunday, August 30, 2009

I Will Give You Everything...

Battlestar Galactica and the Limitations of Being Human...

I just finished watching the finale of Battlestar Galactica.  My bro and I have been watching the series together on DVD over the past few years.  We spent all day yesterday watching Season 4.5 from beginning to end. I'm speechless.  I love the show.  Great writing.  Great philosophy. Great production values.  There are so many layers to BSG that I'm sure I could watch it a hundred times and still miss some of its commentary on society, religion, humanity, philosophy, life...all of it.

There are so many great quotes from the series.  But, I must admit that this speech from Cavil, who is often perceived as the villain of the series (I find it hard to cast any BSG character in the role of villain or hero), resonated deeply with me.  From the episode "No Exit", script by Ryan Mottesheard:

    Cavil: In all your travels, have you ever seen a star supernova?

    Ellen: No.

    Cavil: No. Well, I have. I saw a star explode and send out the building blocks of the universe, other stars, other planets, and eventually other life, a supernova, creation itself. I was there. I wanted to see it, and be part of the moment. And you know how I perceived one of the most glorious events in the universe? With these ridiculous gelatinous orbs in my skull. With eyes designed to perceive only a tiny fraction of the EM spectrum, with ears designed only to hear vibrations in the air.

    Ellen: The five of us designed you to be as human as possible.

    Cavil: I don’t want to be human. I want to see gamma rays, I want to hear X-rays, and I want to smell dark matter. Do you see the absurdity of what I am? I can’t even express these things properly, because I have to — I have to conceptualize complex ideas in this stupid, limiting spoken language, but I know I want to reach out with something other than these prehensile paws, and feel the solar wind of a supernova flowing over me. I’m a machine, and I can know much more, I could experience so much more, but I’m trapped in this absurd body. And why? Because my five creators thought that God wanted it that way.

I wish I had a better way of communicating my thoughts and feelings, my perceptions and hopes and dreams. As I have often expressed here, I find this language, this body, this mind, this sensory system so very limiting.  I feel so much larger than all of it.  I hear Cavil's frustration.  I feel his pain.  I understand why he shakes his fist at his creators.  I have had many a moment of cursing the sky at the limits of my humanity. And yet, I know, there is no one to blame. It is as it is.  Doesn't make it any easier though.  

tall penguin


Bodies line the wall,
Men's eyes raise
As the beautiful woman walks by.

Some things never change.

A song plays in my head.
The tiles on the platform
Create a dance floor;
I take my ballerina steps
In my ballerina shoes.

I could've been a dancer.

Downcast eyes surround me
On a crowded train.

I search.

I search for the one who knows;
Sometimes it is a man
Sometimes a woman
Sometimes, a child.

Eyes raise to meet mine.
I smile,
And my smile is returned.

We turn away
Before anyone notices.
To be found is sublime,
But, oh, the great delight
In being lost again.

tall penguin

For AJ...

I love you. Live your life.

tall penguin

Friday, August 28, 2009

Mental Note...

Letting go is not giving up.

tall penguin

Things That Make Me Go Hmm...

 "Why We Need Science: "I saw it with my own eyes" Is Not Enough," by Harriet Hall, is a very straight-forward article on why we need science-based medicine and how our minds often lead us into accepting treatments that have no evidence of efficacy.  

A related article is from Wired Magazine about the placebo effect. "Placebos Are Getting More Effective. Drugmakers Are Desperate to Know Why" by Steve Silberman, details the growing frustration of pharmaceutical companies as researchers discover that many drugs aren't performing much better than placebos.  

Then there's this great episode from Radiolab also on the placebo response.  

All of this once again makes me stand in wonder at the power of the human mind. Does this apparent rise in the placebo response mean that, as a species, we're becoming more suggestible? And what are the implications of this? 

tall penguin

Edited September 5, 2009 to add: The article Placebo Is Not What You Think It Is by Peter Lipson comments on the second article I linked to in this post and sheds some light on the whole placebo issue.  

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Takagi Masakatsu...

I think I'm in love with youtube.  I may never leave the house again.  

Thanks to Eric for introducing me to this artist.  Takagi Masakatsu is a musician and filmmaker from Japan.  Incredible work.

Osho on the F-Bomb...

Whether you call him an Indian mystic or a cult leader, Osho was one entertaining dude. Here, he discusses the finer points of the word f*ck.   

Side note: Gotta love his Star Trek-like get-up and space chair.  Khan never looked so good.


Two years later, he came back.

"I thought you were going to kill yourself," he said to her.

"I almost did," she replied.

"I'm glad you didn't."

"Me too."

tall penguin

Olafur Arnalds

I just discovered this artist.  The song and video are stunningly beautiful.  

I Can Let Go Now...

I Can Let Go Now
by Michael McDonald

It was so right, it was so wrong
Almost at the same time
The pain and ache a heart can take
No one really knows

When the memories cling and keep you there
Till you no longer care
And you can let go now

It's wrong for me to cling to you
Somehow I just needed time
From what was to be-it's not like me
To hold somebody down

But I was tossed high by love
I almost never came down
Only to land here
Where love's no longer found
Where I'm no longer bound
And I can let go now

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

I Want You But I Don't Need You...

If you haven't yet had the pleasure of hearing Momus, have a listen.  He's a Scottish singer/songwriter with a penchant for writing humorous and yet, oddly philosophical, lyrics.

This is one of my fave Momus songs.  No video for it, but the song and its lyrics are so great. Makes me smile every time.  I like smiling.

tall penguin

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Jehovah's Witnesses, Celebrities and A Whole Lotta Crazy...

I've been a bit triggered today in coming across these two bits of media.  You can take the girl out of the cult but you can't take the cult out of the girl.  

This is an interview from 2007 with actor Terence Howard on NPR, where he says that if he could be less "selfish" and give up smoking, he'd become an active Jehovah's Witness, which he was exposed to as a young adult through a schoolmate.  His ex-wife, children, and the rest of his immediate family are JW's.  

During the interview, Howard expresses how impressed he was by his JW classmate's conduct for getting up and leaving a conversation of his peers when they began speaking of sex.  My stomach did a flip at this point in the interview and I actually threw up in my mouth a little. I was that good little JW who would leave the table when my friends would talk about sex or other stuff I deemed "worldly".  I could quote scripture like Howard and defend my beliefs diligently to anyone that asked.  Sigh.  I can't believe how upset this is making me.  I don't think I'll ever be rid of this very deep response to the JW's no matter how far from it I get.   

What's worse than hearing Howard speak of his "faith"?  Reading the comments of ardent Jehovah's Witnesses responding to the interview:  

"I Hope I see you one day in the paradise Terrence. There will be people that have done much worse and have been more selfish than you there. Stay close to the congregation and keep your eye simple and you will be happy in life. Many are searching for happiness but few are finding it." (michael M)

"Terrence,I really enjoyed hearing this interview. My family has always enjoyed you as an actor. However, I would like to show some tough love to you. Don't wait too long to get "qualified". When Armageddon arrives, those who know about Jehovah, but didn't do anything about it, will be done away with. It would be a shame for you to miss out on everlasting life and for your family to live it without you. Now's the time, don't delay!!!" (Becky Dotson)

"There seems to be a misconception about being a fence sitter. It has been pointed out countless times, the fence belongs to Satan, not Jehovah so those that are not making their choice as to who to follow, are in serious trouble if they don't get it done soon.

'Foxhole' conversions may leave people in a state of shock. We must prove ourselves now, not wait till Armageddon."  (Carol Collins)

And then, there's this article from the July 23, 2009 Los Angeles Sentinel.  The article, "Michael Jackson and Jehovah's Witnesses" is written by Dr. Firpo W. Carr, author and Jehovah's Witness apologist.  I'm not entirely sure what his relationship to the Jackson family is, as Carr states only that he is "one who has tracked the family's religious progression for four decades".  Speaking of a conversation with Jackson in 2004, Carr says:

"He then told me, among other things, that he wanted me to study the Bible with his children, and that he wanted them to be raised by his mother as Jehovah's Witnesses should anything happen to him. This explains in part why these same children were being seen attending a Kingdom Hall of Jehovah's Witnesses here in Los Angeles after his funeral."

Blech.  Blech.  Blech.  I fear for those children.  

Once again, the comments after the article raised the bile for me.  Firpo Carr, who doesn't make clear whether he's an active JW or not, defends the JW's and their Watchtower organization with great fervor.  It's the same old rhetoric but it still manages to make me squidgy in the belly every time I  hear it.

Excuse me while I rinse out my mouth.  

tall penguin

Monday, August 24, 2009

Placebo Effect...

My last post sparked my thoughts on the placebo effect.  Here's a great article on the subject. Thanks J for the link.  

In the article, "The Placebo Effect", Brian Dunning speaks of some of the factors that make certain placebos more effective than others:

  • Blue pills are more effective than red pills for calming or tranquilizing. Red pills are more effective than blue pills for stimulation.

  • Two pills have more effect than one.

  • Pills with a recognized, well-known brand name and packaging are more effective than generic pills. In one large trial published in the British Medical Journal (Branthwaite A, Cooper P.), branded aspirin was more effective than generic aspirin, which was more effective than a branded placebo, which was more effective than a generic placebo.

  • Expensive treatments are more effective than inexpensive ones.

  • The description of the placebo's effect is also a powerful factor. Patients who receive a strong warning from the doctor about the strength of the drug have better results than patients who receive a weaker description of the drug's effect. Both groups show better improvement than patients who receive no information about the drug's effect.

  • Patients who receive placebos from someone in a white labcoat get better results than when the placebo is administered by someone not wearing a white labcoat.

  • Better results are obtained from placebos when the doctor spends more time with the patient explaining things.

  • The drama and invasiveness of the placebo is a significant factor in its effectiveness. For example, a shot is more effective than a pill. Electric shock is more effective than ultrasound. Acupuncture is more effective than manipulation.

  • Paradoxically, placebo treatments that produce unpleasant side effects are more effective than placebos with no side effects.

tall penguin

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Travel and Vaccinations...

With two years of possibly not having to work spread out in front of me, I am entertaining ideas of travel. This became a very real possibility this past weekend when a friend offered to show me India in November when he goes there for his sister's wedding.  I am excited about this prospect.  But it's raised a fear in me that I didn't realize I was going to have to confront.  Vaccinations.

If I'm going to experience world travel, there's a whole lot of shots I have to get. And it's not that I'm afraid of the needles.  It's my fear that vaccines could be somewhat damaging to my long-term health. Having got hit with Chronic Fatigue Syndrome in my teens shortly after having a Polio vaccination, I have had a hard time shaking the idea that the two may have been connected, even though there is much scientific research to dispel any connection.  

I have done a fair amount of research on the vaccination issue and feel that while vaccinations are generally safe, there are risks involved.  So, I'm going to book myself an appointment with a travel doctor and learn all I can about the vaccinations I'd require to travel abroad, the benefits and the risks.  All said and done,  I am of the opinion that there are always risks involved in any choice and I can't keep myself back from fully experiencing my life just because of the potential risks.  

Sometimes though, I wish life and its choices weren't such a constant cost/benefit, not to mention, existential and soul-searching, analysis. No one said the examined life was easy.  

tall penguin


In my post Cosmopolitan, I spoke of heading into a pharmaceutical intervention to halt what may have ended up in my first experience with a full-blown manic episode.  I started into the drug protocol and decided that it's not what I want to do right now.  What I really want is time and space for me.  So, I'm taking a leave of absence from my bookstore job.

I now have an outside income that will support me (albeit meagerly) for at least the next two years.  I am going to use that time for...not sure really.  Whatever I feel I want or need to do. Or want or need to be.  Or nothing at all. 

So, I and my psychiatrist have agreed to give me some time to be with where I'm at, to take a crack at re-setting my sleep clock and generally just enjoy life as it is, without any external schedule.  I had to make a contract with her that if I felt wonky in any way (beyond the normal wonky that is) I would get myself in to see her or head to a hospital.  I agreed.  I also have the support of my close friends and brother who will monitor me for any extreme changes in behavior, mood, etc.  

My intention is just to follow the experiment that is my life right now.  To be with it all.  This may be the best thing I've ever done or the stupidest.  But every choice in life, the ones worth making anyhow, can fall on either side of that fence.  You never know until you know.

tall penguin

Just as it was...

When you know you are at the end of something---a relationship, a job, a life---life becomes very acute.  All of a sudden, you notice things you didn't see before.  The glint in your lover's eye when he says your name.  The way the lights shine off the selling floor as the night falls. The way a parent's breath rises and falls as they speak.

Somehow, the world around continues.  People shuffle on the corner of your city, coming and going, waiting for lights to change.  Horns honk impatient demands.  And the clouds in the sky continue to roll on by.  

And you wonder if you lived that relationship, that job, that life with the rawness, the awakeness that you feel now.  You hope you did.  You pray upon the midnight star that you did. But you're never entirely sure.

So, you breathe in every last smell, every last touch, every last sight and sound and hope that it will be enough to cover over any of those sublime, delicious moments you missed along the way.  You linger along the length of your lover's fingers, stroking them as he sleeps.  You notice how your work vest never quite fit the way you wanted it to.  You sink into the blue ocean in your mother's eyes and wonder about all the secrets she never told you.

And when you close that chapter---that relationship, that job, that life---you breathe in a sigh of grief and breathe out a sigh of deep satisfaction.  For all that went unnoticed, unfelt or unlived, the journey was beautiful.  Just as it was.  

tall penguin

When we're old...

Maybe one day when we're old and gray,
You'll put your arms around me
Arguments to one side
Defenses down
And say,
"I don't know what it's like to be you,
I'm sure it's been difficult and confusing,
Weird and wonderful,
Completely maddening
And desperately gorgeous,
But I love you.
And that's all I need to know."

tall penguin

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Domino Dancing...

I went dancing
I looked for you.

I'm still not sure what I would have done
If I'd come upon your face in the crowd
But I was willing to take the chance of ruining everything
With the slap of my hand
Or the kiss of my mouth.

The great unknown 
Lies furled between us
Like rumpled sheets
After a night of ecstasy.

Your silence---
I am dying to all that was
Praying to the gods above
That only truth remains.

tall penguin

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Love The One You're With...

I've learned much about this thing we call love.  I'm not sure I have drawn any concrete conclusions at this point, but I will say this.  When you live in the eternal moment, you realize how much love really flows through you.  When you stop living in your head with all the ideas of how things should be, who you should be with and what you should or should not do, you find that there is more love within you and surrounding you than you ever would have imagined. And you realize that you can share a deep and profound connection with many people.  And I'm not just talking about sex here, I'm talking about love and intimacy and connection.

Actually, at this point, I'll just stop talking.  I can't put it much better than the legendary Crosby Stills Nash and Young:

Love The One You're With

If you're down and confused
And you don't remember who you're talking to
Concentration slips away
Because your baby is so far away

Well there's a rose in a fisted glove
And the eagle flies with the dove
And if you can't be with the one you love, honey
Love the one you're with
You gotta love the one you're with
You gotta love the one you're with
You gotta love the one you're with

Don't be angry, don't be sad
Don't sit crying talking good times you've had
Well there's a girl sitting right next to you
And she's just waiting for something to do

Well there's a rose in a fisted glove
And the eagle flies with the dove
And if you can't be with the one you love, honey
Love the one you're with
You gotta love the one you're with
You gotta love the one you're with

Oh yea oh yea, yea
Lord, love the one you're with
You gotta love the one you're with
You gotta love the one you're with
Why don't you love?

Turn your heartache right into joy
She's a girl and you're a boy
Did you get it together and make it nice?
When you ain't gonna need anymore advice

Well there's a rose in a fisted glove
And the eagle flies with the dove
Sometimes you can't be with the one you love, honey
Love the one you're with
You gotta love the one you're with
You gotta love the one you're with
You gotta love the one you're with
You gotta love the one you're with

You gotta love, oh love
You gotta love, oh love
You gotta love, love the one you're with
You gotta love, love

Praise the MacGods!!!

So, I finally got myself a new MacBook!!!  Can I get a Hallelujah in da house!!!

Here is my new 13-inch white MacBook:

As you may recall, my last PowerBook met an untimely demise when I tripped over its power cord two months ago and sent it crashing to the floor. It was particularly sad as I didn't have a back-up and was unsure if the hard drive could be recovered.  Well, "God is in his heaven and all's right with the world": the new MacBook is now in my possession; the recovered hard drive has been restored and all my writing, music and photos are safe and sound.  

And I have PhotoBooth!!!  Which means you will now be smothered with photos of the tall penguin in real time.  Here's a few from the last twenty-four hours to whet your appetite.

Me and my Goddess pal, G:

And I, the ever-pensive penguin, after a long day of writing, painting and contemplation:

I haven't been this happy with a piece of hardware since I got my first Hitachi Magic Wand. Go Mac!!!  

tall penguin

Creation and Letting Go...

I am fascinated by the Buddhist process of creating and dismantling sand mandalas.  The tradition, aimed at showing the transience of life and non-attachment to the physical world, fills me with awe and reverence for the cycle of creation and destruction.  

You can see this process unfold here.  The link shows the process that two Buddhist monks undertook over many weeks at the Ackland Museum of creating a large sand mandala and then finally dismantling it, collecting the used sand in a jar and ceremonially releasing it back into the elements from which it came. It is a breathtaking process to watch.  

What would our world look like if we could create and then let go of that creation back into nature with such grace and beauty?  Whether it's the death of a loved one, a relationship, a piece of art or a piece of ourselves, what would it look like to let it go with the beauty and grace with which it was created?  

tall penguin

What makes a life?

"To laugh often and much; to win the respect of intelligent people and the affection of children; to earn the appreciation of honest critics and endure the betrayal of false friends; to appreciate beauty; to find the best in others; to leave the world a bit better, whether by a healthy child, a garden patch, or a redeemed social condition; to know even one life has breathed easier because you have lived."
~Ralph Waldo Emerson

I am not sure I quite agree with Emerson's definition of success.

When someone dies, how does one judge the sum of a life?  When you read obituaries, there are usually lists of children and grandchildren left behind.  There is often a recounting of jobs and positions held. But what does this tell us about the person that lived?  

I have been writing and painting quite a bit lately.  And there is always this voice in my head that says that my work is meaningless unless it is one day consolidated and sold to a public.  I am a product of my society. I have been socialized to only find meaning in what can be commodified.  And this is a source of great anguish for me.  I like creating.  I like painting. I like writing.  I like taking photographs.  If I leave this life with an apartment full of journals, canvasses and photographs that have never been shared with a greater public, will that mean my life was unsuccessful?  Is there merit in the individual journey unwitnessed by others?  

The reality is that most of our journey goes unwitnessed in this life.  The greatest journey, the hero's journey, is taken within the mind, within the heart, and no one beyond the journeyer truly knows that experience.  We can create art, write books, leave behind children and companies and 'redeemed social conditions' but what does it all mean?  Is this what defines a life?  

Is it not the living of the life that makes all the difference?  And who can possibly judge that?  

tall penguin


A blank canvas
"Fill the space," he said.
"Why are you so afraid?"

Lines of colour
Until no space is left.

This bitter taste
I cannot deny
"Breathe it in.
Let it fill you," he said.

Everything becomes nothing
Blank becomes full
Empty becomes whole

And yet the longing persists
One last drag
One last stroke
Of a brush 
That can hold no more paint.

tall penguin

Sunday, August 16, 2009


According to wikipedia, culture shock "refers to the anxiety and feelings (of surprise, disorientation, uncertainty, confusion, etc.) felt when people have to operate within a different and unknown cultural or social environment, such as a foreign country. It grows out of the difficulties in assimilating the new culture, causing difficulty in knowing what is appropriate and what is not. This is often combined with a dislike for or even disgust (moral or aesthetical) with certain aspects of the new or different culture."

I am approaching the four year anniversary of having officially left the Jehovah's Witnesses. If you've read the blog here, you will know that it has been a long and winding road through deprogramming myself, integrating my experiences and attempting to assimilate the world that I was isolated from for most of my life. I have been a 'stranger in a strange land'. It has been scary and exhilarating. Maddening and freeing. And everything in between.

I have experienced culture shock in entering the world post-JW. I wish it were as simple as just integrating the external world around me. But the hardest battle has been conquering the 'foreign country' within my own psyche. Four years ago, when my friend J (also a JW at the time) asked me if there was anything I could find out about the JW beliefs that would make me believe it's not "the truth", he was really asking me the question that I have not been able to stop asking about everything I encounter: Is this true?

Perhaps it was a JW left-over that made me so voraciously want to know truth, to want to know what is real. I naively believed that (in my best Fox Mulder voice) 'the truth is out there'. Having entered this new world only at the age of 31, I sincerely believed that I had some catching up to do, that everyone around me knew what was going on, that they had the answers to life's questions, or at least that they were further ahead in finding the answers than I was.

So, I traversed lands far and wide. I threw myself into life, pushing my boundaries, choosing to experience first-hand the things that I judged others for as a JW. I needed to know, to understand, to feel with my own body and through my own mind what the experience of life is like. I took drugs. Smoked. Got drunk. I felt the pangs of addiction. I explored my sexuality and watched others explore theirs. I explored my concepts of love, relationship and gender. I pushed my body through pain, my heart through breaking and my psyche through splitting. I asked my questions, tested my theories, and lived my life as a social experiment.

When J and I left the JW's, he thought going to University would be a good thing for me, that it would give me an opportunity to find out what is true, what is real. I had no interest in this. Having had an unfulfilling educational experience in High School, whereby I learned that modern education is less about serious inquiry and more about regurgitating information to the end of maintaining the status quo, I preferred to handle my education directly. I followed my innate curiosity, allowing my inner questions to lead me. I have sought out a wide variety of views. I have read books, blogs, magazines, newspapers, listened to podcasts, attended lectures and workshops, and written copious notes and reflections. In the past year alone, I have read some 40 books on a variety of subjects. Always searching, searching, searching. Always asking: is this true?

And what are my conclusions? The universe is virtually unknowable. There will always be more questions than answers. It is not so easy to separate fact from fiction; perception is a large factor in constructing reality. I am content to say that life is a great mystery.

It seems though that every pursuit has a cost, even the noble search for truth. The exploration of my psyche has caused a bit of a rift in the internal chemistry of my brain. Or at least that's my sense of what's going on (there could be any other number of explanations or a combination of such...again the great mystery). Perhaps the brain, like any other body part, wearies with overuse. Frankly, mine feels a bit crispy fried these days. I am currently experiencing a hypomanic state, and teetering dangerously close to a full-blown manic episode. Since I have no desire to be found running naked through the streets of my downtown core (as fun as that would be) or worse yet, going all Unabomber on a society I both loathe and love (not fun at all), I have opted to explore a pharmaceutical intervention to bring me back into my body and bring some quiet to my mind. I'm giving myself a much-earned mental holiday.

Overall, looking back on what I've accomplished over the last four years, I am quite proud of myself. I gave myself a University education without spending $40,000. I have found a way to function in a new culture. And I have stripped myself bare. I have shed the skin of everyone I used to be. I am flesh and bones and a fractured, yet increasingly open and full, heart.

I can finally call myself human.

tall penguin

Saturday, August 15, 2009

If I Ever Lose My Faith In You

If I Ever Lose My Faith In You
by Sting

You could say I lost my faith in science and progress
You could say I lost my belief in the holy church
You could say I lost my sense of direction
You could say all of this and worse but

If I ever lose my faith in you
There'd be nothing left for me to do

Some would say I was a lost man in a lost world
You could say I lost my faith in the people on TV
You could say I'd lost my belief in our politicians
They all seemed like game show hosts to me

If I ever lose my faith in you
There'd be nothing left for me to do

I could be lost inside their lies without a trace
But every time I close my eyes I see your face

I never saw no miracle of science
That didn't go from a blessing to a curse
I never saw no military solution
That didn't always end up as something worse but
Let me say this first

If I ever lose my faith in you
There'd be nothing left for me to do


Ravished to the core
Cigarette butts
Corpses of a life unlived.

Smoke circles in the air
Been here before
Will be again.

No beginning
No end
The gods have written
And so it is
And so it shall be
It's not personal.

Let's not call it love.
Let's not call it love.

tall penguin

In Your Eyes

I had the privilege some years ago to see Peter Gabriel in concert when he came to Toronto, Canada. I have never been so moved by a live performance. He did this song during the encore and I was moved to tears. Peter and I have been through a lot together.

tall penguin

In Your Eyes(with extra lyrics from live performance)
by Peter Gabriel

Accepting all I've done and said
I want to stand and stare again
'Til there's nothing left out, oh whoa whoa
It remains there in your eyes
Whatever comes and goes
I will hear your silent call
And I will touch this tender wall
'Til I know I'm home again, oh

(In your eyes) In your eyes
(In your eyes) In your eyes
(In your eyes) In your eyes

love I get so lost, sometimes
days pass and this emptiness fills my heart
when I want to run away
I drive off in my car
but whichever way I go
I come back to the place you are

all my instincts, they return
and the grand facade, so soon will burn
without a noise, without my pride
I reach out from the inside

in your eyes
the light the heat
in your eyes
I am complete
in your eyes
I see the doorway to a thousand churches
in your eyes
the resolution of all the fruitless searches
in your eyes
I see the light and the heat
in your eyes
oh, I want to be that complete
I want to touch the light
the heat I see in your eyes

love, I don't like to see so much pain
so much wasted and this moment keeps slipping away
I get so tired of working so hard for our survival
I look to the time with you to keep me awake and alive

and all my instincts, they return
and the grand facade, so soon will burn
without a noise, without my pride
I reach out from the inside

in your eyes
the light the heat
in your eyes
I am complete
in your eyes
I see the doorway to a thousand churches
in your eyes
the resolution of all the fruitless searches
in your eyes
I see the light and the heat
in your eyes
oh, I want to be that complete
I want to touch the light,
the heat I see in your eyes
in your eyes in your eyes
in your eyes in your eyes
in your eyes in your eyes

Secret World

Secret World
by Peter Gabriel

I stood in this unsheltered place
'Til I could see the face behind the face
All that had gone before had left no trace

Down by the railway siding
In our secret world, we were colliding
All the places we were hiding love
What was it we were thinking of?

So I watch you wash your hair
Underwater, unaware
And the plane flies through the air
Did you think you didn't have to choose it
That I alone could win or lose it
In all the places we were hiding love
What was it we were thinking of?

In this house of make believe
Divided in two, like Adam and Eve
You put out and I receive

Down by the railway siding
In our secret world, we were colliding
In all the places we were hiding love
What was it we were thinking of?

Oh the wheel is turning spinning round and round
And the house is crumbling but the stairways stand

With no guilt and no shame, no sorrow or blame
Whatever it is, we are all the same

Making it up in our secret world [x3]
Shaking it up
Breaking it up
Making it up in our secret world

Seeing things that were not there
On a wing on a prayer
In this state of disrepair


Blood of Eden

Blood of Eden
by Peter Gabriel

I caught sight of my reflection
I caught it in the window
I saw the darkness in my heart
I saw the signs of my undoing
They had been there from the start
And the darkness still has work to do
The knotted chord's untying
They're heated and they're holy
Oh they're sitting there on high
So secure with everything they're buying

In the blood of Eden
Lie the woman and the man
With the man in the woman
And the woman in the man
In the blood of Eden
Lie the woman and the man
We wanted the union
Oh the union of the woman
The woman and the man

My grip is surely slipping
I think I've lost my hold
Yes, I think I've lost my hold
I cannot get insurance anymore
They don't take credit, only gold
Is that a dagger or a crucifix I see
You hold so tightly in your hand
And all the while the distance grows between you and me
I do not understand


At my request, you take me in
In that tenderness, I am floating away
No certainty, nothing to rely on
Holding still for a moment
What a moment this is
Oh for a moment of forgetting, a moment of bliss

I can hear the distant thunder
Of a million unheard souls
Of a million unheard souls
Watch each one reach for creature comfort
For the filling of their holes

In the blood of Eden
Lie the woman and the man
With the man in the woman
And the woman in the man
In the blood of Eden
We wanted the union
Of the woman and the man

In the blood of Eden
Lie the woman and the man
I feel the man in the woman
And the woman in the man

In the blood of Eden
Lie the woman and the man
I feel the man in the woman
And the woman in the man

In the blood of Eden
We've done everything we can
In the blood of Eden
Saw the end as we began
With the man in the woman
And the woman in the man
It was all for the union
Oh, the union of the woman, the woman and the man.

Love to be Loved

From "Love to be Loved"
by Peter Gabriel

"This old familiar craving
I've been here before, this way of behaving
Don't know who the hell I'm saving anymore
Let it pass let it go let it leave
From the deepest place I grieve
This time I believe

And I let go
I can let go of it
Though it takes all the strength in me
And all the world can see
I'm losing such a central part of me
I can let go of it
You know I mean it
You know that I mean it
I recognize how much I've lost
But I cannot face the cost
'Cause I love to be loved

Yes I love to be loved
I love to be loved"


She gets up to leave, folding the latest prescription into her coat pocket. She turns slowly towards the psychiatrist. She hugs him.

He holds her for a moment, then pats her softly on the back as he walks her to the door. "You're going to be alright. You know that, don't you?" he says.

"Sometimes. Sometimes I know," she replies, "And sometimes I don't."

tall penguin

What The Body Remembers...

Her fingers smell of clove cigarettes. She lifts them to her mouth running them over her lips again and again. Her lips feel soft. The smoking has not yet drained them of life. She touches them, remembering what his kiss felt like.

She stops. She raises her head. The night is damp, filled with the scent of urban life. She searches for him in the air. The smell of dal wafts from the curry shop up the street. She drinks it in slowly, remembering the nights where she would nuzzle into his neck after making love for hours.

She stands outside of herself, watching. He would not recognize her now. The memories have taken their toll. Oh, what the body remembers.

tall penguin

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Photos: Butterfly Conservatory

I discovered this weekend that I really enjoy taking photographs. Why is it that I am only discovering this stuff about myself now? Must get a digital camera. I also can't wait to start painting some of these images.

These were taken in Niagara Falls, Canada, at the Butterfly Conservatory.

tall penguin

Friday, August 7, 2009

Anybody Out There?

Okay, here's the deal. I'm in need of a sharp dose of reality and connection and hugs. Lots of hugs. So all you people who read my blog and don't comment or sit on the sidelines of my existence watching from a distance and thinking that that makes you part of my life, here's your chance to be real. Post a comment here. Tell me something that will make you real to me. A secret. What you really think about life. What your heart yearns for. Who you are and why you read here. What you look like. Anything.

I'm so tired of feeling so utterly alone--writing in my journals, writing on this blog, text messages, emails, voice mail---ARGH!!! I really hate this stupid world sometimes. Virtual friendships. Virtual communication. If you're a human being, stand up and be counted. Share something with me. Hug me. Do something that makes me feel as if you're real and not just some pixelated automaton.

I think I'm losing the plot. Or maybe I'm the only sane person left.

tall penguin

All the Umbrellas in London

All the Umbrellas in London
The Magnetic Fields (lyrics by Stephen Merritt)

"if i make it tonight it'll be all right
it'll make a good song or something
i've been trying to give myself reasons to live
and i really can't think of one thing

i drive around, i walk around in circles
'cause i've got no sense of direction
and i guess i've got no sense at all

all the umbrellas in london couldn't stop this rain
and all the dope in new york couldn't kill this pain
and all the money in tokyo couldn't make me stay
all the umbrellas in london couldn't stop this rain

i don't cry anymore, i go out the door
and i usually keep on walking
i will sit in the bar where the cocktails are
but i really don't feel like talking

i lie around and let the darkness fall
'cause i've got a sense of perfection
and nothing makes much sense at all"

I Wish I Had An Evil Twin...

"Sometimes the good life wears thin
I wish I had an evil twin"

"down and down we go
how low one would not need to know
all my life there should have been
an evil twin"

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Moving On...

At some point in your life, or maybe it's not just once but a series of times, you realize that change must occur. Major change. Not just change to the color of your hair or your job or where you live, but change to what you think and how you think. You stop and question whether the program you're currently running in your mind is really helping you get where you want to go in life.

So, you survey your heart, that mass of flesh still beating in your chest. It is that part of your soul that aches and yearns for more, even though its been raped and pillaged. Even though it's been shot and left for dead. And you lie naked, face down in the mud, cursing the sky and all of its gods. And you wonder. How the hell did I get here? And you see all the people you could blame. There's Mom and Dad and the stupid cult. There's that boy who didn't love you even though you loved him. And the pet that died long before you were ready to contemplate mortality. You know you could blame any or all of them for the mess you're in now. But it's no use. Somewhere along the way in this life, although you're not sure when, you grew up. You realized that this life was yours and if it was going to turn out the way you wanted it to, you'd better damn well take it by the reins and figure out how to get from where you are now to where you want to be.

And so, you flip yourself over in the mud, give the moon one last finger and be on your way. What else are you gonna do?

tall penguin

Monday, August 3, 2009


If there is a heaven, there's a special place reserved there for Stephin Merritt.

It's Only Time...

"Why would I stop loving you
a hundred years from now?
It's only time.
It's only time."

What's in a word?

I'm beginning to think that "breakdown" and "breakthrough" are the same thing.

tall penguin

The Book of Love

Come Find Me...

"It is a joy to be hidden but a disaster not to be found."
~~D. W. Winnicot

As a child, I would play hide and seek with my brother and his friends. I would hide so well that no one could find me. I waited and waited to be found. No one came.

tall penguin

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Building a Mystery...

I catch my reflection in a store window. I like the woman I see. I think she's pretty cool. But she's still such a mystery to me.

tall penguin