A Brief Rant

First of all, let me say that for the most part, I liked “Blade Runner.”  I thought it was a really well-done film and I’m proud to have had a hand in a production like that one in my previous life (though an interesting fact: I finally saw this film in 2013 in its “Final Cut” edition; I never got to see it in my previous life).

That being said, it annoys me somewhat that when I mention that I was Phil, the usual reaction is “I haven’t read any of your work, but Blade Runner was a cool movie!”

Now granted, that’s better than bringing up “Total Recall” which was undoubtedly the most confused and incompetent adaptation of my previous life’s work I’ve ever seen, but it kind of tells me my writing didn’t have the impact I would have liked.

Please, if you liked Blade Runner, read some of my previous life’s other work.  Yes, some of it (especially the Valis trilogy and the Exegesis) is a bit dense and hard to get into, but there’s plenty of other novels and stories worth a look.

If nothing else, if you liked “Blade Runner,” at least take a look at “Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep?” and if you like that, try “Ubik” and “The Man in the High Castle.”  I had a substantial output and you might be surprised just how much Hollywood has either gotten wrong or glossed over completely.  And if you’re feeling adventurous, please give my realistic fiction like “Confessions of a Crap Artist” a chance.

I’ve got some new stuff too, from this life, but I don’t feel like it’s half as good as what I wrote back then.  Please, give my previous life’s work a serious look.

Cat Update 2

I think he’s going to be alright.  He’s improved noticeably, he’s drinking water and still eating a good bit, and he’s actually starting to show signs of his usual rowdiness.

I’ve decided not to worry about him.  It seems that whatever happened, he must have been in some kind of shock and now seems to be on the mend.  Still, this is probably a sign of things to come; he’s not getting any younger and I know I’ll have to say goodbye some day sooner than I’d like.  I already dedicated my next book to him a while ago (since he hardly left my side the whole time I was working on it) but I hope he’s alive to see how happy I’ll be when that book is out.

Cat Update

The cat seems to be gaining his strength bit by bit, but still isn’t 100%.  Long hours waiting for some kind of answer on his condition are wearing on me.  He’s eating, but I haven’t seen him drink since last night.  Can’t rule out the possibility that he drank something while I was sleeping but I’m concerned nonetheless.

Mostly, I just want to know what to expect next.  He seems like he could recover in a few days or crash at any moment.  The wait to see what becomes of him is agonizing.

Cat Having Troubles

I’m in no mood to type much about it, except to say that the cat I’ve had since I was 12 is clearly injured (probably a spinal injury after getting his claw stuck in the bed spread and falling off the bed) and in need of intensive nursing.

He’s 17 now.  I don’t know how much time we have left.  I’ll be devoting the next few days to giving him as much supporting care as I can but the day I’ve feared may be close at hand.

I always felt guilty for leaving him while I was in London, Las Vegas, and Little Rock.  I wanted to bring him with me to London and I was so afraid I’d lose him while I was away.  I finally got him back in 2010 and the last four years have been mostly trouble free for him.

All prayers, thoughts, good vibes, and votives for his recovery are much appreciated, though at his age I can’t hold it against him if he decides it’s time to cross the divide.

I’m Back

Back from my semi-hiatus.  The puds were small but cheerful and the meal was a big success over all, even if my custard turned out a little lumpy.

Today I cashed the checks I got for Christmas and was going to take care of some unfinished business with my name change but the fax machine at the Kinko’s downtown couldn’t get hold of the party in Arkansas I was trying to reach (possum must have chewed the wires or something), so I have some errands to run Monday.

Going with my fiance tomorrow to look for holiday candy and treats on sale.

A couple of memories that came to me-

*I recalled a plate with rosebuds on it and a silver (or very light gold) edge that was embossed with a sort of seashell-like flare on either side that had a flaming pudding on it and immediately guessed it was Edwardian rather than Victorian.  Could not find that exact design but a brief survey of Edwardian dessert dishes returns a result of “plausible” since they typically had some or all of the elements I saw.

*Listening to an audiobook of “We Can Remember It For You Wholesale,” the conversation between Quail and his wife about going to Mars suddenly reminded me of a conversation from about 1962 with Ann, when I wanted to go to France and she insisted that we hadn’t even seen all of the West Coast yet.

On Holiday

Unless I get an earth-shattering memory that needs to be jotted down, there will be no updates here until after Christmas.

It’s been 100 years since that last stressful Christmas in England and I want to make up for that.  My current life is still ongoing and I want to fill it with pleasant memories of a Christmas done with a mix of traditions from past lives and the joy of creating new traditions my fiance and I can share in the future.  I can’t change the dark shadow that hung over 1914 but I can light a candle and a Christmas pudding and burn away the darkness now, in 2014.

Christmas Eve Dinner

I decided to splurge and put together all the stuff for a very special Christmas Eve dinner for my fiance and I!

Here’s what we’ll be having:

*Stuffed Portobello mushrooms with savory breadcrumb stuffing
*Mashed potatoes
*Mushroom gravy
*Sweet rolls

And for dessert:
*Imported English Christmas pudding served with flaming brandy
*Bird’s custard
*Raspberry Chocovine (dessert wine)

This will be a lot of work to cook but so worth it!

The Middle Way

The Buddhist idea of the middle way is simple: you cannot force yourself to let go of more than you’re ready to.

Part of me is still a science fiction writer yearning for recognition.  Part of me is still a displaced Tommy who just wants to go home.

I cannot deny that nature, and so I make small concessions.

This year, I decided to buy a Christmas pudding to share with my fiance.  It’s certainly no surrogate for the life I lost nearly a century ago but it’s a piece of that identity that is still firmly within my reach and doesn’t cost a great deal.

I’ve paid online and I’ll go to pick it up at a Scottish shop in Southeast this coming week.  Somehow, it just feels right.

Long live the middle way.

By Way of an Answer…

As if by way of an answer to my previous post, a major attachment that refuses to die with my previous lives just wafted to the surface.

I went downtown yesterday evening to get a prescription filled.  I normally go to a pharmacy in downtown Portland to get my hormone pills because it’s on the way home from campus.  They had the tree lit, stands selling roasted nuts, and on every corner someone singing a different Christmas carol.  Something about it really struck at me harder than usual (last year I don’t think I got this depressed) but I didn’t know why.

Then this evening, I was watching a video by a British Youtube user who mentioned Christmas crackers, and it hit me just what was behind my generalized melancholy this holiday season: I’m homesick.

It’s been a hundred years since I’ve had a Christmas in England.  My last one would have been 1914, only a short while before shipping off to France.  I’ve been back to England since but I was never there for Christmas, though one year at my university they did serve us a Christmas dinner (it just wasn’t the same though, being surrounded by strangers and eating a very institutionalized version of the traditional classics).

Some of my strongest attachments are turning a century old now.  Why can’t I just let go?  I thought I was done crying for that life.

Maybe I won’t be done for a while yet.  That’s why I can’t transcend: I still want something I lost nearly a century ago even though I go through life trying not to think about it and I’m not always aware that it’s bothering me.

I thought I was doing well at not letting the war get to me until tonight.

Semi-Coherent Rant About Reality

The more I look into the ideas I had in my previous life, the more terrified I am, if for no other reason than they seem to be the topic of serious discussions.

The universe as a simulation?  There are people who have treated that as a serious topic of discussion.

The universe as a hologram?  That’s pretty much considered a solid theory.

And what’s beyond this hologram or simulation?  Are we all dead and lying in cold pac?  Or is that what the Black Iron Prison really is, a false reality that we’re stuck in?  If our world really is a simulation, who is running this show and what do they want?

And how did I end up here, if I was Phil?  Shouldn’t I have transcended?  Unless there really is no hope of transcendence or unless I was captured before I could ascend…

I’m beginning to wonder if anything matters, or if there is any way off of this ride.  That’s the leap of faith that Gnosticism, Buddhism, and Hinduism ask of us: to believe that it is possible to wake up from the endless dream and return to our true home in literal union with the divine.  But I know from my previous life’s writings that I thought for sure I was free and I didn’t fear death.

Was I cheated?  Was I foiled?  Or was I just deluded into thinking I’d be free when I had too many attachments and flaws to work out?  I know in Buddhism it’s believed that it takes many enlightened lives to achieve freedom from Samsara and become a Boddhisattva who can either return at will or leave as they please.  But what if that’s just a meaning-defining myth to mollify those who thought they were going to escape, only to reincarnate and remember that their hopes had been dashed?

I could go in some dark places with the likely conjectures from all of this.  I could eventually drive myself insane trying to figure it out.  I could also go about living my life trying to forget what I’ve learned about the path my soul has taken, but that feels unnatural and so unlike me.

I hope that everyone who said that this reality is a simulation is wrong but I have no reason to disbelieve them.  Whenever my current avatar dies, I’m constantly rebooted into another with a partial memory wipe and only a vague sense of who my previous avatar was.  But who is the player behind these avatars?  Who am I, or is there an “I” behind them at all?  What is real and how do I wake up, if I choose to reject falsehood?

I just want the truth.  I want to live beyond illusions.  I want to transcend.  I want to end this cycle of rebooting into a pointless realm of surrogate activity.  It’s fun being a science fiction writer and all but the real intelligence behind me, I think, must be so much more than that if it can be all these things I remember being.

Buddhists say that by wanting enlightenment, you become attached to the idea of enlightenment and defeat your own purpose.  But is that true?  How can I not want the only thing that, so far as I can tell, is real?

I’ll play out this scene where I’m a struggling writer one more time, but I don’t want to do it again.  I hope I figure out a way to either fade from the picture and unexist, or else a lasting solution to not mind existing so much.