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ALMOST AN ALMOST / OPEN CAGE / GREEN HOUSE FLOOR / DITCH SIMULATOR / SPECIFIC FITNESS / VOID FILL / TOYISHNESS / ME AT MY DESK / MY PRECIOUS ANGEL / EGG ON ME / JELLYBEAN CAROL / LINKS
I can't be the only person out there weathering strong tides of introspection... the other day I started thinking about things that "almost" happened, which is a drag, and I eventually came to the realization that things are almost happening constantly, and getting close without going over is just not that notable. Or it's fun to talk about but not worth agonizing over. Everyone has a stack of things that almost happened, that's just how you do it. Some fish nibble and some fish bite. I read a great biography of John Cage (Begin Again, by K Silverman, 2012) that had MANY juicy tidbits but one I think of often is: "John and Xenia Cage spent the weekend at John Steinbeck's Palisades home. Heavy rains deterred the other weekend guest, Burgess Meredith.". I mean what if, right? What if Cage was a big Batman fan and got Meredith to get him a walk-on? What if Cage said Actually No Thank You but suggested Sun Ra instead? Would we have, you know, world peace?
Anyway I went looking for the quote on the above (I forgot whose Palisades home it was), and I also found this in my notes, from a different Cage book (Conversations with Cage, R Kostelanetz editor, 1988):
Well I had a whole thing prepped on the subject, but now I'm moving on, that's the call. Almost.txt goes back to writing/misc, and "Didn't We" is off the playlist for the moment. I'm gonna steer into something else.
I went to the greenhouse the other day, you ever do that? It was nice. Going to the greenhouse is nice because you take your time and zoom in on each little guy, its shape, it's texture, and then when you leave and just look around at the plants that are just fucking off in some ditch, it's incredible. The plants in the greenhouse are often rare, or have a special quality, but the plants in the ditch are nice too, and even the rarest plant in the greenhouse just grows in some ditch somewhere on the planet. I mean they're not All The Same, but they are all the same in that they're all just jamming, doing their thing.
Inside the greenhouse in the cement floor someone wrote "WET", back when the cement was still wet. I've been thinking about this for a couple days. Did they write this to say "watch out, this is wet cement" when it was? For the present but in the past? Or is it more like "anonymous signature in the age of the wet cement", for the future, which exists as an eternal present? Or (most likely) for no real reason? I mean that's why I do it too. Engage in mark-making I mean. 1. this is wet cement, 2. this cement used to be wet (and I was there at that time), and 3. no reason.
I didn't get anything from the greenhouse because my interior space is kind of maxed out with plants at the moment. I'm a few years into the hobby of messing with plants indoors, and I think I'm at the first threshhold, which is pruning. It seems crazy to just cut a piece off a living thing and throw it in the compost, but some of them seem to profit from it. Really! In the wild they're gonna lose some bits naturally-- things fall in wind or get bitten off by a tortoise-- their resource management sort of counts on it. So when you grow them inside you need to sometimes be a disaster unto them. I'm sure there's a psychological term for this. Anyway it's tough but you gotta just go for it. Or you don't have to, but you can. I pruned this jade plant way the hell back, my goal is to get big fat stalks and tiny little leaves. I'm in the early stages of this very specific fitness campaign but so far so good.
The other thing I'm doing new this year is constraining them in shapes. I had two cactuses that were flopping all over, snaking around, and getting unruly, so I cut up some soda bottles and put them around the plant as a translucent enclosure. My hope is that they'll form a dense column of dense twisting columns, but old mate on the right here might just flop out and over. I'm waiting to see.
I don't have the ideal growing conditions for them on my windowsill, but I tend to gravitate towards cactuses-- they do great if you don't water them all the time, which means that they're a great exercise in patience, and at the same time good for slobs (whose vice is patience). Mainly though it's because their forms are easier to see. One has a vertical spine-packing, one has a diagonal, one is a bunch of bubbles, one is a bunch of word balloons all ballooning off each other, and so on. It's the same feeling as looking at M.U.S.C.L.E. figures-- this one's a hammer, this one's an office building, this one's a urinal man with a poop hat, and so on. The difference is you can't just pull a piece off the toy and plant it and then you have an extra toy to give to your buddy. With plants that's no problemo.
FYI I'm selling this exact cluster of M.U.S.C.L.E. figures on ebay, link below
Here's one I was calling "Me At My Desk" because for a while it looked like a chair, with a collusion of material representing me, your narrator, sitting in it. Now it looks like a weird whirlwind, or like large droplets of spinning goo, or a vegetal impression of an Old English typeface. I still look at it and think "that's Me At My Desk" but to be honest I don't know what I mean anymore.
old pic / recent pic:
I also have some big leafy numbers, or I have one anyway but there's a lot of leaves. It's a spotted begonia. Me and Arthur each bought a spotted begonia for ourselves (not for each other- a self-given present times two) on our shared birthday a few years ago, without discussing it in advance. I wonder how theres is doing. Arthur if you're reading this and your begonia didn't make it I can send you a cutting :) Offer valid to Arthur anytime a message may be read.
The spots are quite extraordinary. I guess some plants have polka dots like this because to a butterfly they look like butterfly eggs, and since the butterfly doesn't want its eggs to have to share a leaf with another set of eggs, it moves on. Leaves without dots get eaten by the caterpillar while the dotted leaves are free and easy in the jungle breeze. I've always loved a good polka dot pattern, and I love that for a plant it means "I'm Covered In Eggs (I'm Not)". I don't know if that's my vibe... I could never get polka dots to work for me. But I respect it. No Room For Eggs On Me. Sorry M8! Lot Full.
OK I have more plants in the compound but I'm only going to post one more for now, it's Jellybean Carrol. Most of these plants I get as pinches from other people or, now and then, as trash from the floor of the greenhouse. So I don't know what their scientific names are. But I call this one Jellybean Carol because it grows these little jellybeans. It's named after a therapist that Joanne used to go to, who always had a glass dish of jellybeans on her desk. That's a great vibe.
From now until whenever, anyone that donates any amount of money to the castle upkeep via the bell room, even a dollar, or anyone who does the paid level of the email list, I'll send out a little jellybean for you to grow on your windowsill. For everyone that already did, I'm mailing yours out this week. It's easy to grow, you just get a pot, put some dirt in the pot, put the put in a sunny window, and put the jellybean ON (but not IN) the dirt. Just place it on top like you were just putting it down for a sec, like it was keys, or a baby. In a week or whatever little hairy roots will start to grow out of the jellybean and down, and then after a little while more little jellybeans will grow out from the jellybean and up. Water it whenever but not every day.
At the last minute I decided to replace the picture above with just having no picture, so you can just grow it yourself and see it then. :)
misc / links
My friend Eli is raising money for a friend who is currently houseless and in need of help/funds, you can help her out here: [gofundme]
mutual aid fund for RI sex workers: [gofundme]
I'm thinking about writing something about making the switch to open source software, which is something I did years ago, mostly for monetary reasons, and it's great. But I realized that my writing could be more usefull to people out there if I addressed some concerns and problems other people were having. SO: if you're interested in saving money by using free, open source software instead of proprietary, paid software (Microsoft Office, Adobe, MaxMSP, etc.) please write to me and I'll consult with you, and we can figure out a solution! Are you paying $20 a month to use photoshop when you could be using a free alternative and spending that money on drugs or books or whatever? Are you using a free version, either becuase of piracy or a license through school or work? One day your access will be turned off, and what will you do then? My entire career in the arts is based on a firm footing of saving money wherever possible and avoiding expensive traps-- I would love to help any of my readers over this hurdle, or at least help them explore what that might look like. In return I would hopefully get a better idea of what the hurdles look like, that's all. Open source software is one of the few (?) functioning global utopias on this planet at this time, and like other utopias I have been involved in (collective living, underground raves, punk/noise, the one night I worked security in the parking lot of the sex club) there are no clear indications of where to enter and once you get inside you realize that it's corny as hell and every sign is rendered nearly meaningless by stupid puns. But also it's great! So if you're out there in the rain then I'm over here blinking a small flashlight at you, saying it's over here. Real offer!
I'm selling some MUSCLE figures, but only the color variants. I decided they were outside the domain of my collection-- I care about their forms, and while I appreciate the color variants, I'm going to keep things simple. Anyway there's two auctions up now, they end on Sunday, no reserve! I couldn't help myself when I was writing the product description, I had to just have fun. No idea if this level of playful chatter is bad for sales or what, but I'm not trying to juice ever penny over here, I'm just trying to, you know, live! [ebay 1], [ebay 2]
the other thing I wrote about M.U.S.C.L.E. figures is here: [link]
the other one that relates to cactuses and things on the windowsill is here: [link]
OK, thanks for reading! To drop a little money towards the maintenance of this castle, and get a little jellybean in return, see the temple page: [link]
. To get in contact try the contact page: [link]
. If you got here from a link, maybe you want to go outside and come back in through the front entrance? [outside]
. And to sign up to get new posts in your email, see our substack: [substack]
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