The Epic of IKEAmesh

•2016 May 5 • Leave a Comment

I took a walk today
In Little Sweden
Though little
You were not
Sure, your looming exterior
And complicated parking entrance
Should have been a warning
IKEAmesh stands above others
Literally and figuratively
I’ll just pop in
To look at dressers
Or so I thought
But “popping in” is not what one does
Within your walls

A grand, whirling entrance
Totally separated from the humble exit
(another sign, I suppose)
I was slightly confused by
The initial emptiness
“Showroom Upstairs”

Everyone ascending
And so I followed

It was all very controlled
A little obsessive-compulsively, actually
First up: Living Rooms
And many a patron relaxing already
Trying out your wares
A little longer than necessary
Perhaps they were daunted too

Where’s the bedroom stuff?
I cannot see past living room
Upon living room
Upon living room
Surely they must have more
(an understatement, of course)
Like others (still standing)
I followed the grey winding road
And its giant guiding arrows

And so I became ensnared
In a labyrinth of home furnishings
Living Rooms
Living Room Storage
Work Spaces
Occasionally veering off the path
Looking for shortcuts
Only to hit dead ends
That felt like home

(Except not
Because my place is nowhere near
That stylish and controlled

As my journey forward
Began to weary and worry me
I contemplated
Multiple emergency exits
Unsure I had the mental stamina
For such an expedition as this
I decided to stop
To smell the roses
Or, rather, the accoutrements
In your tiny sustainable home
(One of them, anyway
There were multiple…
I think…

I emerged refreshed
Even slightly delighted
By the perfect use of space
So back on the path, traveller!
No time to dawdle
This quest must continue!
I have an appointment
(in 2.5 hours
but I saw no end to the maze
and was not sure if this would become
a Confucian journey
or was it Lao Tzu?)

Some beds!
And more!
And more…
And more
But at least the harbingers
Of dressers and chests
(I hoped)
Nightstands a taste
A whetting of the appetite
For what was to come

Bedroom Storage!
Various dressers to peruse
(but surprizingly fewer
than expected
given the dizzying scale
of what lay in my wake)
Item selected.
All details noted.
(in pen on my own paper,
not in pencil on one of their cards,
which I had decidedly ignored upon embarking
a secret act of rebellion
in this police state of style)

To the Check-outs!
(after several more departments)
Down the stairs
Momentarily tempted
By the scents of lunch
As I passed your Restaurant & Cafe
Luring visitors into its clutches
With its fine offerings
But no time for that –

Where are the checkouts?
What’s this, “Market hall”?
Is there any other path?
Well, maybe I’ll just look a little
I grabbed a yellow bag
And ventured forth
Into ANOTHER maze
Of (smaller) home decor

My choice near instantly regretted
The sparseness of the sustainable home
Would never tolerate
Nor accommodate
Such abundance
(also, <600 square feet is admirable
but where is the storage space?
or is one to become Spartan as well?
because your main floor
does not jibe with that philosophy…
unless it is a paradox:
infinite options
for simplistic living)

And on and on down the path
Yellow bag soon ditched
In one of many convenient yellow bins
(contrary to their intent, I suspect)
And so I considered
Each emergency exit I passed
Once more
But no!
Soldier on!
It can’t go on forever
Please don’t let there be
Another mandatory level…

I arrived in the Stock Home!
(stock home…
get it?
self-amusement was all I had
at that point and
there is no humour in
“Self-serve furniture area”)

I stopped to ask a man in a fluorescent vest
Where I might arrange delivery
And assembly, ideally
He appeared confused
Despite this being his realm
And not mine
He handed me a map
(and I chided myself for having missed it
when I embarked on my pilgrimage
not because it would have changed my path
but because it would have reassured me
that an end existed
and that resisting the path laid out
was futile)

“Can’t I just take this information
To the checkout?
I have all the information here.”
Jotted on my own paper
In my own pen
No longer a secret
Yet no Agents of Order descended
To correct my free thought
Perhaps this was what
Democratic socialism is like

(my emphasis, not his)
Has to fill out a paper
For you to bring
To the checkout.”

I felt faint
My despair surely visible
On my face
Is that even possible here?
Am I allowed to openly disobey
The giant arrows?
Or must I start afresh
Like Sisyphus?
He pointed to a shortcut
(of sorts)
Avoiding the first floor forest
I had just escaped

I thanked him for his kind counsel
And carried on my journey
Left at the Check-outs
(their spelling, not mine)
Back up the stairs
Arriving by the Restaurant & Cafe
As though it was bidding me to stop
For provisions before continuing
But I did not

I approached the labyrinth’s exit
Wary of openly flouting
The prescribed order of things
Arrows be damned!
Time’s a-wastin’!
I ventured forth
And worked my way back
To Bedroom Storage
Passers-by surely judging
My inability to comprehend
Directional arrows

Finally, I was in the vicinity
Looking for an employee
Are they camouflaged?
Because I swear I never passed one
The first time through
Up ahead, a man
In a stylish yellow print shirt
Straightening a bed covering
Surely his attire was too fashionable
To be a uniform
Perhaps just an OCD patron
As I approached, I spied
A square of plastic
Pinned to his chest
A name-tag, I presumed
“Do you work here?”
(tentative relief)

And so he guided me
Through the ritual
At his tiny computer kiosk
Like a temple
That had suddenly materialized
From the aesthetically-pleasing ether
I presented my crumpled paper
As an offering
And finally

Enough to proceed to the Check-outs

After I wound my way back out of
The Elevated Forest of Furnishings

Restaurant & Cafe!
A now beloved sign-post!
Whose tantalizing aromas
Were welcome
But would not delay me
As I approached the end

Oh no!
Is that my ex-boss just ahead
Limping toward your siren smells
Like a defeated ogre
Wishing to commune with humans
Or merely sit in judgment of them?
Down the stairs!
Lest she turn and become another
Herculean feat I must overcome
Where’s a sustainable hideout
When one is needed?

I flitted down the mountain
Er, stairs
And managed to escape unseen
I retraced the “shortcut”
To avoid having to endure
The Web of Wares
A second time as well
I passed checkout upon checkout
Are any non-self-checkouts open?
Does that sign include these ones?
Is that an employee or just
someone in sunny summer attire?
A light!
On the horizon
A line of other pilgrims
At journey’s end
With more to show for it
Than me
And my papers

“Just papers?” she asked
Who cares?
She scanned them
And behold, one last chance
For enlightenment this day
Another unknown revealed
“Let me try
this 6% Mastercard
I haven’t used
in ten years”
But it says 03/17?
I guess they expect you to use it
More than once
Every ten years
Oh well
Alright, my usual Mastercard then

And with that
My quest completed
Until they visit me
In my territory
On the morrow
I imagine it will be
Far less daunting
For them

I retired to my transport
And wound my way
Out of the parking lot
Foolishly following
A fellow pilgrim
Who was going the other way
But soon enough I was back
On Route 90
Heading north
To familiar surroundings

Oh, IKEAmesh!
Your wares are impressive
And extensive
(oh so extensive)
But not half as much
As your orderliness
Your entire being
A macrocosm
(is that a word?)
Of your famed
Assembly instructions

Alas, I will likely never
Become one of those
Who make –
And enjoy
The pilgrimage
Several times
Per year
My first ever trip
To the much touted holy land
Surely to be my last
But I wish you well
You noble behemoth



Damn Emotion

•2014 October 30 • Leave a Comment

(one of my many wrote-itself depressive poems, this one from years back… but it still applies.)

I want to stop feeling
It only ever hurts
Leaves me tired and reeling
And at a loss for words

Reach into my head
And remove what gives me heart
I want to feel dead
Instead of torn apart

Find the amygdala, rip it out
Other guilty neurons too
They are responsible, no doubt
For my tears, depression, and rue

But then what will remain?
A shell, a casing for an absent soul
Incapable of compassion, joy, or pain
A biological machine that will never be whole

So instead leave my neurons in tact
Why should I exist if I feel not a thing?
I suppose depression is for me a simple fact
And I need those neurons for the good life may bring.

Nature and spirituality

•2013 May 20 • Leave a Comment

Perhaps aboriginal people were far far FAR more advanced than our European ancestors gave them credit for.  I’m thinking North American aboriginals because I have a slightly better sense of their beliefs than others, but I imagine it is the case for most aboriginals around the world.  I’m not arguing that they were more technologically advanced, or even necessarily more socially advanced (that’s more of a grey, subjective area anyway) — I think they were more spiritually/philosophically advanced.

It seems that so many religions took a wrong turn with spiritual beliefs when they became separated from nature and centered around a mythical being modelled in our image — or vice versa, as most religions would say.  This isn’t to say that the personification of natural forces (sun, moon, stars, weather, rivers, plants, animals, etc.) is accurate or true, per se, but more that if you are going to base spiritual beliefs on something, wouldn’t the power and wonder of nature make far more sense than a being that can’t even be proven to exist?  We can all directly experience the power and wonder of nature, and our inability to control it, or the inability to control the consequences when we do make attempts to control it.

Part of the impact of spiritual/religious beliefs is how we act in accordance with those beliefs, i.e. where we direct our respect, our passion, our loyalty, our efforts.  Isn’t it better to direct such things toward the natural world and its wonders than mythology or historical figures long since passed?  Even if the whole of nature isn’t necessarily conscious, thus making personification inaccurate, wasn’t aboriginal spirituality’s personification of nature a better way for us to live our lives?  Respect for nature, living within it and not outside of it, only taking as much as we need and using as much of what we took as was humanly possible — can one really argue that such a belief system and its practices isn’t better than one that sees us as above all else in nature and entitled to using it as we see fit, and discarding the “waste” out of laziness or lack of effort or supposed “inefficiency”?  At the very least, the most widespread religions of today put an additional step of separation between us and nature in that they direct our respect toward a being we believe is controlling nature rather than toward nature itself.

I’m not saying that the aboriginal way of life prior to European colonization was the best way to live our lives forever — I appreciate science and technological advances that can extend and better our lives.  I just think we may have been better off giving more regard to aboriginal beliefs (or any nature-centered spirituality) as a guideline when pursuing technological advances, a way of filtering which inventions/changes would be beneficial and which would do far more damage than they were worth.

Hope for the best, prepare for the worst

•2013 May 20 • Leave a Comment

I sometimes wonder whether climate change is coming to pass before our very eyes, but because it is on a somewhat longer time scale than the human brain is capable of fully processing (even if just decades), there is enough uncertainty to fuel the beliefs of those who do not wish to believe it is happening or that we may be responsible for the speed of it.  Even those who do wholeheartedly believe that it is occurring and is man-made will not have 100% confirmation of their beliefs until more time has passed and it is painfully obvious retrospectively.  Even the beginnings of it seen in data spanning the past century or so are disputed because it is so much slower than the technological advancement needed to monitor it; people question the readings from the past because they seem technologically archaic compared to our equipment today.  Add to that the distrust of everyone and everything that seems so prevalent these days and even experts trained in interpreting the data are assumed to be manipulating it for their own ends.

And so climate change is disputed, and likely always will be.  I find it interesting that many people can believe in “hoping for the best, preparing for the worst” when it comes to more immediate threats (e.g. damaging weather systems), yet many of those same people cannot apply that adage to longer term threats, or will vehemently deny such threats even in the face of the data.

(This could even be applied politically too — there is evidence of many modern governing decisions/practices starting to resemble the beginnings of fascism from years gone by, and yet, despite documented similarities, people will argue passionately against such an idea.  We will likely never revisit fascism in its earlier form, but that does not mean a new type of fascism may not spring from our complacency.)

I certainly don’t have a solution to this issue, as I do not believe there ever will be such a solution.  It is the nature of humans and our psychology.  Seven billion (or more) people will never perceive the world and events the same way due to the myriad of influences in our lives.  The diversity that makes humanity so interesting and remarkable also makes it wholly unlikely that it will ever agree in total — it should astound people that even a large majority (e.g. 80%) can agree on any one thing.  And so there will always be dissenters who have their reasons for dissenting — some will be based on hard evidence, some on their distrust of others, some on the absorbed opinions of others, and so on.

So it may well be that climate change will have to lay waste to the world as we know it before the majority (not even the totality) believe it, at least the majority of those responsible for it and thus in a position to have a greater impact through changing their lifestyles on a widespread scale.  And thus it will always be a struggle for those who do believe it is happening, happening because of us, and that we should take steps to mitigate and slow/stop the damage to get the point across to enough people to “hope for the best, but prepare for the worst”.

Stepping Back From The Brink

•2011 October 1 • Leave a Comment

There is a lot of talk these days about economic woes, what with the Western capitalist economy faltering.  And while there are many large-scale socioeconomic issues to deal with, the masses need to step back and think of things on a personal level.

A lot of psychological research is behind the current system.  It isn’t just a coincidence that almost everyone is having personal financial issues when such issues weren’t common in yesteryear.  The current system has normalized debt so it doesn’t turn people off like it used to, and has made it far too easily accessible to most people.  Likewise, the consummate consumerist society we live in has resulted in the masses (especially newer generations who have known nothing else) engaging in constant one-upmanship, feeling they can’t live without the latest toys, competing for the most/best stuff, worrying what others will think if they don’t have the same things, etc.  None of this mattered nearly as much (it always mattered a little) in the past.

It’s a perfect equation for those at the top of the corporate ladder (and their politico bedmates).  Unnecessary but attractive wants + easily accessible destigmatized debt = a financially enslaved population.  Why wait for people to save money so they can buy your product when you can loan them the money instead, and collect even more money as they pay it back?

It seems a lot of people don’t recognize these psychological underpinnings of the current system.  Whether people want to admit it or not, humans can be easily conditioned, especially when it’s indirect conditioning.  Neuroscience proves it.  The desire for things we really don’t need and which really don’t make our lives any better after the initial honeymoon period has been conditioned into us through advertising and media.  We are so technologically connected nowadays that it’s hard to escape those forces.  And the fact that it’s been this way for decades now does not help.

So the answer, if you don’t want to become a Luddite, is to consciously reject the desires the system is ingraining in you.  Start looking at advertizing for what it really is – a ploy to get you to buy a product, whether you need it or not.  Understand that the mainstream media is controlled by those who benefit most from the current system, and thus their stories and reporting are at least somewhat biased by it.  Stop and really consider what you need or really desire for your life, and act based on that.  Think of the long term consequences of relying too much on debt, and/or spending beyond your means (even without debt, failing to save for the future is a problem).

Beyond that, take a further step back and look at what is important to you in life – really important, not what you do to appease/compete with others.  For most people, time spent with loved ones, meaningful (or at least somewhat enjoyable) work, pastimes that enrich your life, and a particular few luxuries are what their desires boil down to.  Everything else isn’t really necessary and is only sustaining the broken system we have in place.  The first three really can’t be bought, though obviously some costs are involved, depending on how you spend time with loved ones, what type of work you do, and what your hobbies are.  As for the luxuries – they are far more satisfying when you have to save for them and delay gratification; the anticipation involved in having to wait and the effort required in having to work for them make them all the more appreciated when they finally are achieved.

I find it funny that many understand the point of delayed gratification when it comes to sex, and how much better it is when one avoids it (intentionally or circumstantially) for awhile, or even when one delays orgasm as long as possible.  Yet these same people cannot see the parallel in our financial lives.  Perhaps it’s simply because the powers that be have not focused as much on sex, other than to use it as a marketing ploy.  Or maybe people are just less easily influenced by such powers when it comes to sex.  Or maybe fewer people understand delayed sexual gratification than I realize.

Regardless, we currently need both political & socioeconomic shifts to deal with the problems, but also a shift in individuals’ consciousnesses to extricate themselves from the current system as much as possible and determine what they really need to have a good life.  Many won’t fully be able to determine such needs until they have tried living more meagerly and/or without relying on debt (as much as possible) for awhile.  I suppose therein lies the rub.  We’ve gotten so used to instant gratification in our lives that it can be a very difficult task to learn to delay gratification.  But it is well worth it.

I’m not sure what the solution is, how you get the masses to take a step back and really consider how they’re living their lives and whether they’re on the path they want to be on.  For many it’s painful to think about how far off their desired path they are, and what it will take to get back to it.  But to ignore it and roll along with the status quo is far more damaging in the long run, and far more likely to lead to regrets in our later years as we approach our individual ends.

Why I Gave Up Dating…

•2011 July 20 • 5 Comments

I tried the online dating thing on and off for 6 years or so.  It was great in the very beginning because I finally realized there were plenty of guys who find me attractive, and so my previously horribly low self-esteem was lifted up substantially – I finally felt like there wasn’t something “wrong” with me.

But as it went on… ugh, it’s just nauseating.  Not only do I find people are even more shallow online now (which is irritating, because I sense in the beginning, before there were many dating sites, people cared more about finding kindred souls online… but maybe that’s a myth; I never tried it til I was 27), but I find that the dating sites also end up making me more shallow, which makes me irritated with myself.  Often there are just SOOOOOOOO many people on there, you have to filter somewhat to get a handle on it — and often the easiest things to filter on (website design-wise) are the trivial superficial things that really don’t matter to me in real life.  But with no sense of chemistry, and knowing that not all of it is truthful…

The last guy I dated from an online site I went out with three times — and as much as being rejected/dismissed out of hand hurt, it actually bothered me much more (to the point of tears) that I could tell the guy really liked me, but I found him somewhat dull and not engaging.  I stuck it out for three dates in the hopes that he’d have a chance to relax and I may find him more interesting, but while he did seem comfortable enough by the end of the second date (I conversed fairly easily, since I wasn’t all that interested, and so we talked a lot), he just didn’t get much more interesting to me.  In the end, I just knew I wasn’t that interested in him, something wasn’t clicking, despite him being a really nice, responsible guy with some shared interests of mine.  I figured it would be worse to lead him on with more dates when I had no real interest in him, but could tell he was hurt when I confessed I wasn’t interested — because it’s hard for dating rejections not to be taken personally.  But oh did I cry that night when I got home, I felt like such a jerk.

That distressed me so much that I stepped back and really looked at what I was doing.  All online dating (or fix-ups, or whatever) can do is increase the number of people you meet — but then it seems you have to try so hard to market yourself, which is even more difficult to do without lying if you’re deemed “deficient” in the superficial stuff by our culture (ie. my size)… and even when you do find a few to meet, you have to go through the awkward “interview” process, and then if one likes the other more than vice versa, hurt feelings are inevitable…

I just started to think of all the time & effort that would have to be put into such a dating system to meet someone I even remotely clicked with (inasmuch as wanting a relationship with them), and figured I have other things I’m far more passionate about that don’t make me feel bad, rejector or rejectee, that I’d rather spend that time on.  And after reading an article about some survey that found that the average online dater will meet ~30 people face-to-face before they find someone they’re willing to date (not necessarily long-term), and knowing I’m far weirder and probably pickier personality-wise than most since I’m not looking to “settle down” to get married/have kids, I figured I was probably looking at more like 50-100 guys, assuming I could find that many to even meet me face-to-face.

(Funny aside — I did the eChemistry site’s EXCESSIVE >200 question quiz, and it told me I was compatible with 1 out of every 125 guys… and that it had no matches for me, haha… what a waste of time.)

The article about online dating was actually advocating using multiple dating sites and going out practically every night of the week and really “working at it” — UGH!  No thanks, my self-esteem’s either too fragile or far too important to me to put myself through that.  And being an introvert, I find meeting new people (too many/too often) very tiring and somewhat unsettling.

I’ve never had a serious relationship nor fallen in love, and I would very much like to find both someday, but the current dating culture is just not the way to find someone I really connect with… unless I want to spend all my free time for YEARS sifting through profiles and going on date after date after date after date in an endless search, all the while stressing myself out for going against my natural introverted tendencies.  And even then, I may end up having to to choose between staying single and hooking up with someone I’m just not that into, which is a recipe for disaster.  I’d most definitely choose the former, and then I’d be kicking myself for spending so much of my precious free time on that rather than taking classes, pursuing hobbies, volunteering, etc.

So I quit.  Now I’m just letting life happen and trying to forget about finding anyone, and if I happen to stumble upon someone someday that I really feel a connection with, then I’ll go from there.  (It happens once in a blue moon, but they’re invariably attached, so not an option.)  I have had to accept that some things in life you just can’t force — people can go out and find companionship and someone to share a life with, but real chemistry and love are far more random.  I suspect many are eventually okay  settling for the former after giving up on the latter because they desire a conventional life.  I’d rather hold onto the possibility for the latter, and accept that there’s a good chance I’ll end up single forever because of it.  Far better single than in an unhappy/unfulfilling relationship, since I wouldn’t stay in such a situation anyway.

Though I still hold onto a tiny bit of hope that my luck may change someday and I’ll find that random intense connection that they write the songs and stories about.  A romantic, through-and-through.  🙂

an angry agnostic, haha…

•2010 May 15 • Leave a Comment

So I was emailing a friend back this morning, after he sent me to reddit to check it out, and thought I’d post it here, as it was a bit of a clarification of my beliefs & my issue with atheists:

i found the initial disjointedness of the home page a little “argh!” for my inherent orderly-lovingness, haha, but i checked it out… searched for “agnosticism” for kicks…

and realized what a bunch of haters most atheists are!  haters of agnostics, that is… that they really don’t get the stance at all, that they’re tied to black & white belief/non-belief thinking…????  kinda reminds me of the life of pi…

an article linked said this:

“Atheists assign the probability of god’s existence to be infinitesimally close to zero. I doubt that the lack of commitment by agnostics to god’s existence or non-existence means that they assign 50% probability to each option. Agnostics clearly think that god’s non-existence is far more likely than his existence.”

i mean, wtf???  says who?  i really do feel more 50/50 on the whole thing, mostly ’cause i realize i’m limited to my 5 senses and there’s a vast universe of possibility that i can only tap into with my biased senses & brain.  then again, i’m also the type that will consider that an apple is only an apple because we understand it as such, but some other being with different sensory organs (and ability to digest) may experience it totally differently.  or a worm, for that matter.  that’s where philosophy starts to take over, haha…

i guess, atheist or theist, 99% of people prefer black & white to grey, and living within the limits of our own senses and experience rather than considering infinite possibilities.  but i’d be part of the 1% who prefer grey.  possibilities are far more entertaining than absolute knowledge.

thanks for indirectly making me angry this morn, danno.  ;D  maybe i’ll check out a diff topic there next time, haha…

Yep, the whole “agnostics are just cowardly atheists who are afraid of admitting it because of what others may think” idea prevalent in most of the reddit threads on this topic (& linked articles) REALLY REALLY irked me.  Like I’ve ever been afraid to debate and explain my beliefs to others, regardless of their stance.  Why are people so ignorant as to not actually ASK people why they hold such beliefs before they choose to judge them or assume they know why?

<sigh>  Atheists who believe all agnostics are just cowardly atheists can go to hell.  (even if they don’t believe in it, haha)