Archive for the Journals Category

Writing, Podcast & News

Posted in Books, Inspiration, Journals, Life, Poetry, Writing with tags , , , , , , on July 21, 2009 by blakejohnson

Disclaimer: This post will not resemble the title’s order of topics.

Now then, I’ve been getting out a lot more recently, I’ve taken to daily walks down to the waterside, picking different sitting-and-watching-spots each time I go to the park by my house. It’s about 6 blocks away, down the hill and across the streets, and I go when the sun is almost setting, to soak in the last few rays and feel the breeze on my cheeks, to breathe the fresher air and remind myself that there are other people living and moving around me, no matter how I shut myself up in my apartment room.

On these walks, I bring a book – Dune, for you curious types, and I’m almost done with it…a review should follow, but that simple mention is not a promise – and a notebook for recording ideas and thoughts, describing the sun and the mountains, the waves that lap the rock-cement seawall, or for remembering the old couple who wander down the path at sunset. I’ve begun writing much more, much like I used to, endeavoring to rediscover that spark I had before, the endless flow of ideas and thoughts that formed themselves into words, phrases, the lyrics of my mind that came pouring out like fresh, cold milk, coating and soothing and solidifying into a sweet cream… letting me understand their substance and intent.

And even now, inspired by a podcast series from the Open University (hurrah! for open learning initiatives) on creative writing, I’ve decided to link said podcast and some new writing of my own.
Continue reading

I’m in town!

Posted in Friends, Journals, Life, News, People, Realtionships with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2008 by blakejohnson

Staying in Seattle with my brother and his wife was wonderful.  Now, living in my apartment, I realize and admire how comfortable of a life they’ve built for themselves.  It was great.  They’d be at work, and I’d be home.  I ventured off a couple of times and found a bookstore, a music store, a cafe.  Most of the time, I was home on the internet, or watching one of the hundred movies we pulled out for me to see, just the classics I hadn’t seen like Jaws, Predator and Alien.  And then there was The Usual Suspects, the Bourne movies and the Goonies.  Most all of the movies I watched there I liked.  Tuesday nights were game nights, so I met their friends I hadn’t seen since the wedding ceremony.  We had an action movie night one night, and a few other friends came over then.  Their two housemates were great as well, always friendly, always interested and joyful, joking.  And of course visiting Vancouver with them was even more fun then sticking it out alone.  I’ve seen a ton more movies since being up here, and rated and reviewed around 350 more online in the last 3 weeks or so.  Tuesdays were pie-making days also, when Juliana didn’t work she’d stay home and we’d make pies from her massive pie book together.  She’d really make them, I’d just help.  But it was fun.  And they usually tasted quite good by the end.  That was Jesse’s favorite part about Tuesdays.  He’d come home from work, say hi to me and the dog, and walk straight into the kitchen for a plate and a fork and dig in to the pie of the week.  It was fun.  We also did a baking day on Superbowl Sunday one weekend.  Nobody was interested in the Superbowl, but the food was excellent, so they made chili cheese dip, popcorn shrimp, bacon and potato skins, all the good parts of a Superbowl celebration.  And us guys watched some good action movies in the living room while most of the women cooked.  It was a good day. 🙂

Vancouver.  Vancouver is awesome.  The city itself couldn’t be more gentle or fun.  The apartment I’m in is just the right size for three guys who don’t typically cross paths for more than a minute.  My room is nicely sized, comfortable and well-lit…now.  And the people… Canadians blow me away.  Why aren’t Americans this nice to random people?  Maybe it’s because we’re roommates or maybe it’s because they’re friend of my family, but everybody I’ve met so far has been more than willing to drop whatever they’re doing and help out in some way.  It’s shocking, but nice.

I start school in about a week and a half, so I’m still getting used to the area around the apartment, finding new places to get groceries, household things like tape, light bulbs, etc.  I just got the internet set up today, and the roommates will pay me back for the router when I see them later tonight.  So far it’s been pretty quiet days at home, since the roommates have school and/or work, and I’ve got neither, and then some movie and food later on, with the occasional interest of one of them.  Tim goes to the school I’m going to be going to, only he’s in the Game Design program, so he’s doing a lot of 3D modeling and texturing, making characters and stuff for games.  He’s almost done with his clay version of a character, he said, and he’ll be 6 months through the program once I start.  Andrew’s finishing his masters in Health Economics.  That was a shock to me, since when I saw him he looked like he was just out of high school and starting college for the first time.  It was also a field I never thought existed until he mentioned it, but it’s something I now can’t imagine not existing, even though I’m really not sure what it is.

I moved up on Sunday, and it’s Wednesday now, so I’ve got no good excuse not to learn the bus routes soon.  Tomorrow I’m taking the closest one down to my school to see where it is, and meet one of my brother’s friends or a brief visit in the middle of his work day (see what I mean, and he’s not even Canadian!)  I’ll wander around and explore the area a bit, and finally come back home when I’ve explored enough for the day.  I hope it’s just so exciting I go back again on Friday, only it’s supposed to rain Friday, so maybe I won’t.  I’ve always got the apartment to stay in.  It’s still surreal, being in the apartment, thinking it’s partly mine.  Walking into the kitchen thinking it’s my kitchen, my living room, I don’t know if it’s sunk in or not, but it’s an odd feeling.  It’s kind of a feeling like I have this freedom, this ultimate freedom where my life isn’t determined by the schedules of other people, my daily life is completely and entire up to me, down to the absolute minute details, and yet I haven’t changed anything about my habits yet.  Maybe I will with time, and maybe finding new friends will cause that, but for now, I’m happy to have a place to sleep and eat and a brand new city to explore.

I'm in town!

Posted in Friends, Journals, Life, News, People, Realtionships with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on February 14, 2008 by blakejohnson

Staying in Seattle with my brother and his wife was wonderful.  Now, living in my apartment, I realize and admire how comfortable of a life they’ve built for themselves.  It was great.  They’d be at work, and I’d be home.  I ventured off a couple of times and found a bookstore, a music store, a cafe.  Most of the time, I was home on the internet, or watching one of the hundred movies we pulled out for me to see, just the classics I hadn’t seen like Jaws, Predator and Alien.  And then there was The Usual Suspects, the Bourne movies and the Goonies.  Most all of the movies I watched there I liked.  Tuesday nights were game nights, so I met their friends I hadn’t seen since the wedding ceremony.  We had an action movie night one night, and a few other friends came over then.  Their two housemates were great as well, always friendly, always interested and joyful, joking.  And of course visiting Vancouver with them was even more fun then sticking it out alone.  I’ve seen a ton more movies since being up here, and rated and reviewed around 350 more online in the last 3 weeks or so.  Tuesdays were pie-making days also, when Juliana didn’t work she’d stay home and we’d make pies from her massive pie book together.  She’d really make them, I’d just help.  But it was fun.  And they usually tasted quite good by the end.  That was Jesse’s favorite part about Tuesdays.  He’d come home from work, say hi to me and the dog, and walk straight into the kitchen for a plate and a fork and dig in to the pie of the week.  It was fun.  We also did a baking day on Superbowl Sunday one weekend.  Nobody was interested in the Superbowl, but the food was excellent, so they made chili cheese dip, popcorn shrimp, bacon and potato skins, all the good parts of a Superbowl celebration.  And us guys watched some good action movies in the living room while most of the women cooked.  It was a good day. 🙂

Vancouver.  Vancouver is awesome.  The city itself couldn’t be more gentle or fun.  The apartment I’m in is just the right size for three guys who don’t typically cross paths for more than a minute.  My room is nicely sized, comfortable and well-lit…now.  And the people… Canadians blow me away.  Why aren’t Americans this nice to random people?  Maybe it’s because we’re roommates or maybe it’s because they’re friend of my family, but everybody I’ve met so far has been more than willing to drop whatever they’re doing and help out in some way.  It’s shocking, but nice.

I start school in about a week and a half, so I’m still getting used to the area around the apartment, finding new places to get groceries, household things like tape, light bulbs, etc.  I just got the internet set up today, and the roommates will pay me back for the router when I see them later tonight.  So far it’s been pretty quiet days at home, since the roommates have school and/or work, and I’ve got neither, and then some movie and food later on, with the occasional interest of one of them.  Tim goes to the school I’m going to be going to, only he’s in the Game Design program, so he’s doing a lot of 3D modeling and texturing, making characters and stuff for games.  He’s almost done with his clay version of a character, he said, and he’ll be 6 months through the program once I start.  Andrew’s finishing his masters in Health Economics.  That was a shock to me, since when I saw him he looked like he was just out of high school and starting college for the first time.  It was also a field I never thought existed until he mentioned it, but it’s something I now can’t imagine not existing, even though I’m really not sure what it is.

I moved up on Sunday, and it’s Wednesday now, so I’ve got no good excuse not to learn the bus routes soon.  Tomorrow I’m taking the closest one down to my school to see where it is, and meet one of my brother’s friends or a brief visit in the middle of his work day (see what I mean, and he’s not even Canadian!)  I’ll wander around and explore the area a bit, and finally come back home when I’ve explored enough for the day.  I hope it’s just so exciting I go back again on Friday, only it’s supposed to rain Friday, so maybe I won’t.  I’ve always got the apartment to stay in.  It’s still surreal, being in the apartment, thinking it’s partly mine.  Walking into the kitchen thinking it’s my kitchen, my living room, I don’t know if it’s sunk in or not, but it’s an odd feeling.  It’s kind of a feeling like I have this freedom, this ultimate freedom where my life isn’t determined by the schedules of other people, my daily life is completely and entire up to me, down to the absolute minute details, and yet I haven’t changed anything about my habits yet.  Maybe I will with time, and maybe finding new friends will cause that, but for now, I’m happy to have a place to sleep and eat and a brand new city to explore.

Feminine Opression

Posted in Get Meta!, Inspiration, Journals, Life, School on December 3, 2007 by blakejohnson

I would personally like to know why in a class like Sociology, we’re simply learning about the history and the psychology and the sociology of gender conflicts. It makes sense to approach the topic from such an angle in such a class, but think about it…if all we’re talking about is the history and the dynamics of inequality in gender issues, then who the hell is doing anything about them? Honestly, for me, reading almost two pages (not even), I got sick and tired of what i was reading, fed up with simply learning constantly, through life, about the damn gender issues that permeate our society. Right, I fucking get it that women were oppressed, forced into conditions they often didn’t like and were even more often unfair, but you know what, teaching me about it again isn’t going to make me any more sympathetic towards the issue! If you want me to get the point then fucking send me out to some women’s rights group so I can actually, you know, do something instead of just hearing about it and developing this intolerance for constantly hearing about gender issues. You’re being counter-productive by teaching me again and again and again about the same shit and not making people go out and do something about it. To be completely honest, I think it’s pretty fucking obvious that women have been oppressed, and there was a movement, and there still is a movement, but analyzing it in a controlled environment like a classroom is the entirely wrong direction to go now, I think. Technology changes wicked fast, and so I think should education techniques. We should adopt to the new society where most people can presumably k ow that at at least women weren’t treated well, they are fighting for better rights, and now things are getting better, but just learning about it doesn’t contribute to that effort, nor help anyone in truly raising awareness or really getting into the thick of the battle to see what’s really going on there. It helps us see the issues, sure, about 5 years after they’ve been through the tabloids and the press and had the time to get into some textbooks for us to read in class…but things have changed since then! And now I think it’s time to teach activism, not just analytics, in school…especially in a college environment, where you’re teaching them for their life, where they’re learning the most adult methods to grow up and live their own lives before they are truly on their own. It’s time in college to teach things like “Today and tomorrow we’re looking at the history of gender issues and how it affects us in society. The rest of the semester, we’re going to talk about ways we can make a difference, talk to people we know about what’s going on in gender issues around here, and globally. We’ll have guest speakers coming in from around town and nationally to speak about different issues, and every time we’ll have a discussion and follow-up paper, combined at the end of the semester with an activist project of your choosing, all relating to gender issues and the topics and people and instances we’ve discussed in class, as well as some broader brainstorming as to what can be done to help the society and the world in it’s super-fast changing movement we see every day. We’re making a difference, not just talking about it.” And yet, we don’t do that in my class. It’s about knowing your stuff, reading the textbook, and passing the tests. Sweet. Well I’ve got that part down. And while I’m at it, I’ll probably develop a little bit more of a dislike for hearing about gender issues because of the class and it’s lack of effort and energy to get me involved in something that actually matters on a larger scale than my presumably lacking intellect. Thanks, guys, for a casually wasted semester in classic Sociology 101.

Pure Green Poison

Posted in Get Meta!, Inspiration, Journals, Life, People, Realtionships, Writing on November 26, 2007 by blakejohnson

I’ve been obsessing over a certain actress recently in my life whom I’ve never met, hardly seen, since she’s not huge, and doesn’t desire to be, something I admire about her.  But the temptation to simply look at her face, to see the smile and feel the gaze, to daydream about the companionship she might bring if ever we were to meet is intoxicating.  Poison slipping and oozing down my throat, its green and gooey texture filling up my lungs until I can’t breather without her face before me; it coats my veins until I feel I can’t live without feeling her fake digital gaze on too my face, and into my eyes, filling with the cold, dark green of the poison she envelops me with.  It spreads throughout my body like a cancerous growth, but unseen and untouchable, simply there, asphyxiating in its uncontrollable and un-understandable power.  And it finally comes upon my heart, and hardens around my strongest muscle, my life source, and turns a cold, hard, black color that clenches tighter and tighter, every moment away from her digital face force its grasp to hold tighter and tighter to the only warm thing in my body, the only thing trying desperately to reach my brain with its pure bloody thoughts of life beyond her life-saturating face.  Only to become mixed and overcome by the poison of the obsession before it even reaches the outside of the heart from which it comes.  The cold dark green obsession with someone I’ve never met, in some place I’ve never been, in a field of work I’ve never felt comfortable in, and in a state of mind I know I’m not in.  She sits atop a throne while I cower at the base, not even daring to look up, to gather the resources around me to fly up and finally see the surroundings of her childhood, her upbringing and the country that she calls home.  Nothing do I want more than to escape the wretched cocoon of my room where I retreat each day, all day, to call my infinite palace of knowledge and growth, my social life extends into the vastness of the world, but only through the tentacles of a digital age’s capabilities.

My social interactions are limited, and mostly with my family.  The cold room where I sit, day after day after day after day, contemplating my life and how much I would adore soaring away from this cold, dark place.  I can’t bear to be here any longer.  I feel only unsatisfied with every moment, every second passes through me a dark and wintry second as if they were snowflakes passing through my veins, and the poison had frozen them up so cold that the snowflakes didn’t even melt through their journeys.

Something whispers to me in the night, and I perk my ears up to listen, only to find that it’s the simple longing for something new, for someone new, for some warmth that is not familiar, some strange loving care that caresses my shoulders, my head, my legs, my whole body and wraps me up, embracing me for a full twenty minutes with no selfishness at all, and nothing to tear it away.  Simply loving me.  Simply caring enough to exude the warmth of the sun a thousand times over with nothing held back, no otherworldly goals, no shadows in which to hide its secrets.  The only thing that whispers to me in the night is the lack of that warmth, day in and day out, again, and again, and again.

And so I wake up the following morning, retreating to me screen and my keyboard like someone out of the Matrix in their control room, ready to take on the world, only I am already full of the realization that the world has no knowledge of me, that I matter not to the way it functions, to the way it turns and spins.  If I simply disappeared it would not lose its course in the universe.  If I simply disappeared people would not fly to the streets with signs and banter about the right cause of the life and the necessity of the unity of man.  My leaving would cause no such fuss.  My leaving would simply be that: me leaving.  And I think that, day in and day out, that my leaving may simply be the best thing I could do in the world, for the world, for myself.  Maybe some time in some distant land that I know nothing about would be my savior, would find me that warmth, would bring me closer to the sun and to the cure for this poison that rots my insides as if they were already dead.

I’m wrapped up in my own private world.  Nobody sees it, nobody knows it, and yet I tell people almost every day what parts of life are like.  What parts of my life are like.  Hopelessness, the other poison, must be the fermented version of this green gooey obsession, this sadness that fills my being.  The inescapable torture that it brings with it, the desire for difference, for life, for something warm and something new.  The rotting insides of my cold, hardened body all completely unseen by any innocent bystanders.  The daily ritual is suicidal, and the urge for random, eclectic travel seems out of my reach, and so where do I possibly go to for a source of life but the digital fakeness of imagery and audio that is simply replication of the beauty I see in the digital versions of something that must in real life be utterly incomprehensibly gorgeous.  I’ve been told not to get too obsessed, not to let it get under my skin, to seek help if things get “out of hand.”  Life is already out of my hands.

I don’t want to fight this poison here, on my own ground, I want to fly away, soar through the clouds as high as possible, as close to the sun as I can reach, and to touch its rays with my hands, my face, my shoulders, my legs, as if it were holding me itself, as if I were simply a cloud on my own, floating around through the sky, oblivious to life and sorrow, obsession and poison, hardship and suffering.  As if they didn’t even exist.  I would much rather make a stand on foreign soil against this beast of green obsession than remain here in quiet isolation, joyless, friendless, loveless aside from what the typical family can give.  That almost doesn’t seem to matter.  I know it’s there, and I know I’ll at some time come out of this haze of infection and back into the world of reality, and I know they’ll only have noticed quietly, waiting for a word or a desire for help to be uttered from me, the quiet and isolated member of the family.  Only I won’t.  And so they won’t.  And I will move on into some other chapter of my life, into some new place of my life and hope that the poison will not envelop me again.  And I will strive for work or play in some foreign land where the sun always shines and the weather is always warm and the love simply flows from all people, smiles and friendliness are never surprising to find and the common sit-down coffee-shop really is the beginning of a long and blissful relationship, no matter who with, but someone who provides something of that warmth of heart, the beginning of the cure to the cold, hard heart that I’d acquired through strict obsession with the digital face of something rare and remarkable.

But until then, I suppose I just wait out the days and do my best with what I can.  Even if at times it seems that may be nothing.  I just travel on through the tunnel of life with the occasional beam of light bouncing off my now hardened and reflective surface, long enough for me to gaze in wonder and glory at the sight of someone else’s fortune, and then it’ll disappear, forcing my mind to race with methodical and spontaneous courses of action to achieve my own glory, to cast my own beam of light, and perhaps warm the hearts of others, less fortunate, who feel as I do now: loveless, lost, alone, cold, and empty.