Well…

Watching the world as I knew it disintegrate.

COVID-19 is bigger than anyone will admit. America will be changed by this as much as Europe was changed by the world wars.

You’d think I would suddenly “see the light” and come running back to my past life claims, wouldn’t you?

I’m too jaded now. Nothing matters. The world order since 1945 is coming undone and we have no clue what the dice will roll on this one. Anything like god or religion or reincarnation or the I Ching just feels like a childish distraction from the stark fact of the matter, that it was only a matter of time. I knew it since I was old enough to understand that cultures just vanish sometimes, and it’s usually not any one thing that did it but a series of bad turns. Bad leaders, bad decisions, bad habits, bad planning, bad actors, and bad conditions. That’s all a pandemic is, it’s bad conditions. It’s not a sign from God or some excuse to fall back into the fantasy of reincarnation.

I guess there are atheists in foxholes after all.

Freedom

Disabusing myself of the notion of reincarnation has proved to be every bit as liberating as I had hoped.

I think, for most of my adult life, I preferred to believe that there was nothing after death. I’ve said as much. The notion of reincarnation was always inconvenient to me and I don’t know how I so thoroughly convinced myself of something I never wanted to believe.

But I’m free of that delusion now. Free of ghosts and spirits and the curse of Samsara. When I die (and I hope it comes sooner rather than later) I will greet death as the supreme rest, the dreamless sleep that tired wanderers like me spend all our lives craving.

And how tired I am! The world bores me. People exhaust me. Eating food is like shitting in reverse, and every breath is a tiresome gasp of foul polluted air.

To hell with childish fantasies of the soul and gods and spirits. I am free now. Free to sleep without fear of being reborn into this cursed world, if I so choose.

In Search of Lost Time- Dinah Shore

In 1947, Disney released a feature film starring Edgar Bergen, a VERY young Candace Bergen (yes, the one from Murphy Brown), and the music of Dinah Shore called Fun And Fancy Free.

Some time probably between 1985 and 1987, a copy of this film was recorded on VHS for me along with one or two other Disney films from the 40s and 50s (I think our copy of “Dumbo” was on that tape).

Why is this significant? Because I think it may have been where I imprinted emotionally on the music of the late 1940s, the singsong vocals, gentle orchestra with a heavy wind section, and occasionally a chorus. At least, it makes more sense than saying I imprinted on it in another lifetime.

Here’s one of the songs that stood out for me: https://youtu.be/vXQKR69MBkU

Range Time

I managed to put 40 rounds through the SKS at an indoor range, so I was limited to about 15 yards which was just enough to get a feel for the thing.

On the one hand, I was only about as accurate at 15 yards as you would expect someone 10 years out of practice to be (the last time I fired any kind of gun would’ve been a little Bersa Thunder .380 I owned in 2010 and got rid of in 2012). On the other hand, at no point did I feel out of my element working the rifle and the spread you see is only because I wasn only aiming for the general center of mass on the target:

That’s what I can do at very short range with minimal effort with a rifle I have never fired before. Not “excellent” or even “good” by most measures but effective. And with practice and a longer range I could be even better.

But as for physical and emotional sensations? Nothing negative. Loading from a stripper clip didn’t give me flashbacks or anything like that. But it wasn’t the least bit foreign to me either. Just normal, satisfying even. And I must admit, having the loudest gun in the range was a bit of an adrenaline rush that I’m still riding a good hour later.

I’ll call myself agnostic about whether there was another life where I lived and died by an SMLE. All I know is I am very comfortable with my SKS and look forward to honing my skills at the range.

Rifle

Well, I recently acquired a rifle.

It’s not the first time I’ve had a firearm but owing to unfavorable circumstances I haven’t always been able to keep one. But my life and finances are now stable enough that I can get back into shooting as a hobby.

The rifle is a Chinese Type 56 Carbine, a variant of the venerable SKS rifle. Mine has an interesting story. It was made, according to the serial numbers, around 1966. It was sourced from an armory in Albania, a country that produced its own unique SKS variant from 1967. Some in this batch had stock carvings, including one I heard of that was looted from an armory in the 90s by a notorious bank robber after the Albanian economy collapsed.

Mine has no such trench art; it’s in very good shape overall with matching serials and good bluing. I had to melt a ton of cosmoline off it (tip: a hair dryer works great) but all in all it’s very nice and I’m seriously thinking about getting into curio and relic collecting now.

Still haven’t had a chance to get to the range. I don’t know how I’ll react emotionally when I load it as it uses stripper clips like the SMLE.

I do know that I tried the old rifle drill (at ease, port, shoulder, present, fix bayonet) and it came so naturally I was a little shocked. My husband was more taken aback by how serious my expression was.

Gonna try to get some range time in. Finding a range in the Portland area that meets the needs of casual centerfire rifle shooters is a challenge.

In Search of Lost Time- Bon Voyage Charlie Brown

I’m not done playing devil’s advocate with what I thought were recollections of a past life. Far from it.

I don’t know how old I was when I first saw “Bon Voyage Charlie Brown,” a slightly obscure Peanuts movie. It was on an old VHS of other stuff my parents or grandparents had taped, probably between 1984 and 1986. In it, several of the Peanuts gang travel to England and France after Charlie Brown gets a mysterious invitation.

The invitation turns out to be from a girl who lives in a chateau with a cranky old man who doesn’t want Charlie and his friends around. Later on it’s revealed that the reason for the invitation was that Charlie’s grandfather, one Silas Brown, had met the little girl’s grandmother.

It’s a movie I have forgotten about twice but maybe it’s been more influential than I gave it credit for.

For example, I already knew what a Citroen 2cv looked like (the cars had made an impression on me as a kid living in Spain in the 80s) but this movie no doubt kept my longing for one alive until I finally got one in 2000.

I already wanted to see the UK and France (any number of things could have fed into that) but I think this film enhanced that a little when I was younger. In fact when I finally got the chance at age 16 (a little while after I got my Citroen) I had a wave of nostalgia for this film after all but forgetting about it.

Also, there’s just something about the reveal at the end; there’s not even a hint about reincarnation and the events prior to the film took place in WW2, not WWI, but there’s something about the mood of the scene that makes me wonder if there wasn’t a degree of cryptomnesia.

Oh, yes, then there’s Snoopy and his roleplaying as an American GI which to my younger mind no doubt ran together with his WWI flying ace schtick. Though I do have to wonder, if it was Snoopy to blame all along, why didn’t I seem to recall the glamorous life of a pilot instead of the gritty life of an infantryman?

Watch the film and judge for yourself if it was all childish nonsense that percolated out of a half-forgotten animated feature.

Part 1:

Part 2:

In Search of Lost Time- 3 Musketeers

So I’m a bit behind on the whole Netflix thing and it’s only been about a month since I got started watching “Stranger Things.”

In S2 there’s some close-ups of a white 3 Musketeers bar wrapper with a picture of the Musketeers on it.

When I saw it I swore I had seen that style of logo in the very early 90s but unless they carried on using it for the fun size versions a little longer, best evidence I have is that it wasn’t used after 1988. By 89 they seem to have gone to a chrome wrapper without the Musketeers on it.

I would have been 4. I don’t know if I would have been allowed a whole candy bar at that age.

I think I do remember this commercial from that year though. I remember it because the 57 Chevy was one of the first classic cars I could recognize.