Ktismatics

9 September 2010

Off The Air

Filed under: Reflections — ktismatics @ 4:14 am

Yesterday one of my neighbors told me he was gnostic, and another neighbor gave me a radicchio. Those of you following along with the recent discussion threads will appreciate the coincidences.

I’m shutting down the blog for now; maybe one day it will come back yet again. I’ve also disabled the comments function, but feel free to email me. I’ll be in touch. Thanks for the conversations.

John Doyle

portalic@gmail.com

6 September 2010

Urban Dreamscape

Filed under: Reflections — ktismatics @ 11:43 am

I had gone to bed early, feeling achy and feverish. After reading several pages of Proust I fell asleep. An hour or two later I woke up drenched in sweat — the fever broke, I figured. I mopped myself off and went back to sleep. I awakened again in the middle of the night, with my last dream still quite vivid in my awareness. Acknowledging that dreams are of interest primarily to the dreamer, here it is anyway.

I’m driving a car in downtown Indianapolis, on my way to a meeting. (In my consulting days our biggest client was headquartered in Indianapolis, so I traveled there often.) I park and walk along a street lined with tall office buildings. I go through the glass doors of the building where my meeting is to be held. As I stride across the pinkish-gray polished granite floor of the expansive lobby, I realize that I’ve forgotten who it is that I’m supposed to be meeting. The information is in my notebook, but I discover that I’ve left my notebook in the car.

Now I’m up a few floors inside this office building, walking along the corridor. I enter the door to an office, large and well-appointed in dark wood and leather. It seems to be the office of Hutch, or someone quite like him. (Hutch was my boss in the first job I had after grad school. He was a living stereotype: a red-faced, corpulent, loud-talking, back-slapping, hard-drinking, hard-driving businessman. Hutch and I got along great, as it turned out.) There’s a meeting going on, with three or four other men I don’t know in addition to Hutch. I take a seat at the conference table and join in. The meeting seems focused primarily on the planning of some vague and shady scheme. The discussion goes on for some time; at some point I move from the table to one of the leather-upholstered armchairs. Finally I get up, leave the meeting, and head back downstairs.

I pass by a receptionist who is evidently surprised to see me. Where have you been, she asks me; Dr. ___ has been waiting for you. Ah, Dr. ___: so that’s who I was supposed to meet. I go down another corridor looking for Dr. ___’s office, only to find myself in a locker room. Two women, partially undressed, pass by without acknowledging me: I realize that I’m in the women’s section of the locker room and that I shouldn’t be there. I find a door and walk out.

I’m back on the street. Now, however, instead of the busy downtown office-scape from which I’d first entered, I find myself entering into a carnival. It’s crowded, lively, noisy, colorful, filling the street. Puzzled, I walk back through the door and into the office building again. I find another door and exit through it: this time the street is deserted, ominous, lined with the boarded-up, ill-maintained buildings of urban decay. Again I pass back through the door and into the building. Now, though, instead of an office building it’s a hospital. I wake up wondering whether the same building has offices on one side and a hospital on the other.

What’s odd is that I’ve remembered three dreams in the past week in which I’m confused or lost and in which the world I occupy suddenly turns into something else altogether.

3 September 2010

American Dream

Filed under: Reflections — ktismatics @ 10:06 am

“The small is, and the big ain’t.”

– aphorism attributed to Abe Lincoln by someone in my dream last night

1 September 2010

Lime-in-the-Coconutism

Filed under: Movies — ktismatics @ 10:50 am

The other night my daughter K and I watched Tarantino’s Reservoir Dogs. The final credits scroll up the screen to the accompaniment of Nilsson’s “Coconut.” Why this goofy little song? Is it just one among several seemingly random 70s pop songs that pepper the soundtrack? Besides, what does the song even mean? You put the lime in the coconut and drink ’em both up, you get a bellyache, you call the doctor to see what to do, the doctor tells you to put the lime in the coconut and drink ’em both up.

After some preliminary diner chitchat the real story begins: a botched jewelry heist leaves two of the gang members dead and one writhing in blood and pain, shot in the belly. By the end all but one of the gang survivors are dead. So: through violent confrontation and armed showdown one guy gets a bellyache. He and his partner wait at the rendezvous for Joe the gang leader, who will call the doctor. When Joe shows up he accuses the gutshot guy of being the rat who tipped off the cops about the robbery. The remaining gang members are divided over whether the injured man is or is not a rat. Violent confrontation culminates in a Mexican standoff. Bang bang bang bang, they kill each other off. Cue the Lime in the Coconut song and the credits.

So basically Reservoir Dogs is a parable illustrating accelerationism, which from now on I’m bound to think of as lime-in-the-coconutism. Cause is also cure: if something makes you sick, do it some more. The bellyache will go away eventually, one way or the other.

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