Meta-Mongolia

_The hottest new thing,
Meta-Travel. Always slightly
Above, floating feet
Not quite touching the dusty ground._

Flip through the study-abroad brochures advertising semesters in Prague, Vienna, Amsterdam. Flip to the next page.

Now you are in the Exotic section. Beijing, Hangzhou, Dakar, Yaoundé. Wish you hadn’t dropped Chinese. It couldn’t have been _that_ bad.

The Dark Continent and the Exotic East, like two stepchildren. Appreciated intellectually, but when it comes down to the wire, people’s loyalties reveal themselves, and align conveniently with the flows of capital and genealogy.

You have narrowed your selection to two choices: Vietnam or Mongolia. Or Nepal. But you eliminate that because you’ve been, if only briefly. Feel bad for not wanting more to go to Africa. You must be an Orientalist asshole, or something. Make a note to work on that.

Vietnam, home of rice paddies and shards of American shrapnel embedded in jungle soil.

Mongolia is nowhere, nothing. Marco Polo and Genghis Khan. He is still Genghis to you.

Mongolia gives new weight to the phrase “Golden Years”. Nostalgia on a new plane.

But _now’s your chance_ to see Vietnam. _Before it develops_ they say.

Realize there is something morbidly fascinating about (post)-communism.

Choose Mongolia because you get to spend two weeks herding sheep and goats, and living in a yurt in the countryside. This appeals to you, but seems to be lost on others.

Develop some stock answers to the question, _Why Mongolia?_ Your favorites are: _Why not?_ or even better, _Because it’s fucking awesome, that’s why._ Deliver these with an air of definite confidence, as if the subject should require no further exploration.

you become a minor celebrity in certain circles. Your mom’s email list. Your sister’s friends. Relatives. No-one at your school cares, or they hide it well. It is likely they resent you for out-exoticizing-internationalizing them. This makes you happy.

Go away–far, far away. You are tired of living comfortable. Which is ironic, since for a rich white male, you’ve had it less than _easy_. Then again, that’s not saying much. You long for culture shock. To be hung by your feet and shaken until everything falls from your pockets.

_You are going to Mongolia_. Repeat 3 times. The words fail to become any less surreal. Two months later, you will echo this experience in downtown Ulaanbaatar, _You are in Mongolia_. Repeat 3 times.

All illusions are dashed,
Upon that first encounter with the infamous phantom
That is Montezuma’s Revenge.

Or the sting of your hands,
As they freeze one morning
In October.

Poems for ENAM170

Learning’s Irony

He dons his plate-mail, sword and mounts his steed;
Towards battle rides with grim-set eyes ablaze.
‘Tis time for learning to commence, yet not
Without the pain of blood lost for the grail.

How much suffering will learning’s name impose,
Until at last these learnéd things fall short
And fail to pacify the hell,
Of life in educated misery.


I

A brain floats behind these eyes,
a storm of sparks thrown
from woven currents—
A writhing mass of computational fury.
An enigma; yet just as bound
by laws of flesh and bone;
We only fool ourselves with fantasies
Of evading the world’s corporeality.

There is no transcendent
I
afloat somewhere in static space.

I
am merely a fragile pattern,
set amidst the chronologic
noise of existence.


Beneath Horned Roses

I ask only that this,
The ache of losing the ground beneath,
Soften its incessant throb.
Take pity on a punctured heart.
Allow for peace, however brief,
To set itself upon me.

I close my eyes and see her,
Perched atop a throne of horned roses.
She looks upon me with eyes of drowning pity
When all I long for is to see her pain.

Journal of a Voyage out to New Zealand, 1840.

This totally reminded me of Oregon Trail. ‘Cept it was some guy with my name. And it actually happened. (in New Zealand).

Still, it’s kinda freaky/cool.(A Contemporary Take on the Name Game)

JANUARY 15th, 1841.—Went to Wellington. Epuni and the natives took Awhanga before Mr. Murphy, who awarded the pig to the natives, who had brought it from ”Waiderop.“

16th.—A child drowned in the Hutt, aged two and a half, belonging to a Scotchman named Alexander Yule; buried next day.

[From Journal of a Voyage out to New Zealand, 1840. | NZETC]

He wrote further from St. John’s College on July 3rd, 1846: ”I hope Mita Uru (Mr. Yule) will look out for a comfortable vessel for you to come up in, at any rate more comfortable than the Swan for she was wretchedly uncomfortable, and I hope that he will not trade along the Coast with you on board and make a floating pig-sty of her, for if he does that will be another source of discomfort as it was with us.

[From Chapter X. | NZETC]

Inner Peace Through Metal [Revisited]

Black is the night, metal we fight
Power amps set to explode
Energy screams, magic and dreams
Satan records the first note.
–VENOM, “Black Metal”(Black Metal, 1982)

When metal is viewed from the outside, the observer first sees its titanic rage. The music is so powerful that it is difficult to get past this quick interpretation… [note]Harris M. Berger. Metal, Rock and Jazz: Perception and the Phenomenology of Musical Experience. Hanover: Wesleyan University Press (1999), p291.[/note]

Some have eyes but still can’t see
Their plastic noise is anything but music to me
Mechanized and computerized
Switch off your brain and make sounds that dehumanize.
–KREATOR, “Love Us or Hate Us”(Extreme Aggressions, 1989)

* * *

A Guitar tech tests a majestically evil-looking guitar while the crowd mills about, postures awkwardly, cheering as the nondescript man plays some scales. The venue is small. Dingy would not be an understatement, and we can feel that we are in gritty Worcester, Massachusetts[note]The heart of the Industrial Revolution. Local companies were known for developing: process to extrude steel wire (see: the American West and World War I); the monkey wrench; the first envelope folding machine, and two textile loom manufacturers.[/note]

* * *

It all began some time between the third and fifth grades with the Smashing Pumpkins’, Tonight, Tonight; I was enraptured. And so I did the next logical thing: after having heard one song on MTV I went out and bought the entire double album… Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. I did not understood the title. I couldn’t have… Can one be an angsty 4th grader? Was I weighed down by weariness, my heart heavy with the troubles of the world? What about this melancholic, harsh music appealed to me, not even in my expectedly (clichéd-ly) dark teenage years? Looking back, there is no process to extract meaning from the music. We use our logic and cause-and-effect to posit how I must have felt, what the music would have elicited. The angst seems impossible to miss when you hear the music. I quickly realized I had struck gold; “Tonight Tonight” was just a warmup, quite an epic one at that, but still–very much still a warmup for the main event: the buzz-sawing Zero; the crushingly distorted Bodies; Bullet With Butterfly Wings, with its hilarious chorus, “Despite all my rage I am still just a rat in a cage”.

The social waters chilled as I unwittingly alienated myself from peers with exuberant Attention Deficit-fueled abandon. I didn’t inspire active, aggressive animosity; just a general distancing and idle, abrasive needling, teasing.

I was the fastest kid in school. We played touch football every day at recess, and I’d run for the hail mary, churning past the helpless defense. This was before puberty passed me by but took everyone else with it, leaving me small and irrelevant. I had a classic crush on a girl in my class named Claire.

The boys I played football with had figured out my little secret and so, naturally, they felt it appropriate to use this information for their own enjoyment.We were walking out to the football field one afternoon; the teasing banter continued to rain. I’d accepted futility of defending myself, and so tried instead to ignore.

I am my father’s son, and my mother’s father’s grandson; our blood boils hot and boils fast.

* * *

Time present and time past
Are both perhaps present in time future,
And time future contained in time past.[note]T.S. Elliot, “Burnt Norton,” No. 1 of Four Quartets. Published online by Tristan Fecit, at http://www.tristan.icom43.net/quartets/norton.html (June, 2000)[/note]

* * *

Time blurs; I see myself struggling with forces I do not—can not, will never—comprehend. Turn and face the cackling jokester, watching the last flippant jibe float off his lips into the air between us.

He was down, us both
Reeling, my world
Distilled into edged clarity, a cooling breeze across my neck.

One fist clenched to the gut, as I
Watched; spectator to my own
Actions.

I offered him my hand, and he took it; we exchanged looks of mutual disbelief. Maybe I apologized; told him ruefully that he did ask for it, didn’t he.

* * *

Most adolescents begin to break down the ‘fourth wall’ in their teenage years. Humans are nicely equipped with tools for navigating the social landscape. People like me, with AD/HD, are a bit behind. We get there eventually, I’m told; even now, at twenty-two, I only have carefree interactions with a select few.

* * *

There are several major rock stations that are receivable over Frequency Modulated, full Stereo radio broadcast in the Greater Boston Area. Each tries desperately to define itself as THE DEFINITIVE SOURCE OF ROCK!!! in the area, no matter how similar their mindless blathering DJ’s, or commercialized programming.

[T]he politics of music is grounded in the consequentiality of that music for the lives of the participants and other members of their society, and that that consequentiality is always mediated through the participants’ experiences [note]Berger, 1999. p 301, note 11[/note]

There is no metal radio in Boston. Yet the metal scene is far from dead in Boston’s rougher blue-collar ex-urbs. The western cities of Worcester and Springfield are world-famous for their propensity to churn out solid metal.

[M]ost scholars of metal have interpreted the music as an expression of the frustrations of the blue-collar young in a de-industrializing society that neither requires their labour nor values their presence.[note]Berger, 1999. p169.[/note]

So I moved on to a private mini-prep-middle-school (the only school that could keep my ADD ass in line), a climate where working-class music like metal is alien and strange. So I spent those years listening in isolation to crappy alternative rock/Hard Rock radio.

* * *

A fan: [S]ince heavy metal is set apart from the mainstream, it can be a powerful vehicle for those who feel socially marginalized. From the actual sound of the music, to the lyrics, to the attitude of bands and fans, many of life’s oppressive forces are confronted, from the concrete figures of political and social authority, to organized religion, and then on to more abstract concepts—isolation, fear, violence, death. The theatrical and over-the-top posturing of being “brutal”and “extreme”may be laughable sometimes, especially to those outside the genre, but I think that confronting these negative powers, one CAN have a better sense of how to handle them and to be more independent.

I made the transition from dabbling in distorted guitars to immersion in mainstream hard-rock—and eventually, to full-blown heavy metal— during middle school.

Middle school was a stinking sulfurous hell on earth. A bastion of privilege, entitlement and pestilent wealth. And fucking asshole bullies.

And now I was small; I’d gone from 75 percentile to 25 percentile in both height and weight, and into a world where it mattered more than ever.

By 8th grade, I found myself with one real friend, and more than one enemy whose favorite pastime was to remind me of just how many friends I didn’t have. They were bigger than me, so no quick punch to the gut was going to solve anything.From punk (Offspring) and grunge (Nirvana) to hybrid grooving nü-metal (Sevendust) and gothic industrial (Marilyn Manson), my music darkened with each passing year.

* * *

It was my first real experience in romance, at summer camp the summer before 9th grade. Me and this girl’d been going out for about a week, I’d just been informed of the ending of our little arrangement by one of her friends. Devastated, I returned solemnly to my bunk, crawled in bed shoes clothes ‘n all, and turned up the Marilyn Manson (c’mon, it was the closest I had!). My friend stopped by and asked if I was alright. I said sure and he left. I laughed out loud, sardonically, to myself. Of course I’m not ok, I’m lying in bed, clothed, in an empty bunk, at 7pm, and listening to Marilyn Manson…

* * *

The next year at camp METAL, as I know it today, anticlimactically entered my orbit. There was an animal magnetism to these harsh, strange sounds; from the grim solemnity of growling death metal, to the epic and fantastic bombast of its cheerful cousin, Power Metal.

Jesper was 16, I was 14. When you’re 14, 2 years 5% more of your life than it would be to me now, at 22. Jesper was from a band called In Flames, from Sweden, what I now know to be the second most metal country in the world. He had long dark brown hair and a dry, caustic sense of humor. He owned a stunning guitar: a red Gibson SG. Jesper started a band and recorded a song with them. I tagged along and gained my eventual nickname, “roadie.”

The next summer Jesper showed up with a CD and a story. The opening song on the CD, was their song in a strange new form. Gone were the clean luke-warm vocals and mellow interludes. The guitars were thicker, harsher, and the only voice I could hear was all but demonic. Of course he had used the same main riff from the song he recorded the previous summer. There he was in the liner notes, Jesper Strömblad. But the picture didn’t quite fit. The Jesper Strömblad in the liner notes had long blonde hair and was… a different person. Our Jesper told us about the strict Swedish laws — that prohibited minors from publishing music, thus forcing the band to use a stand-in for the photos (and live shows? So he could goto school or something?). In any event, it’s unlikely I believed him then. I believed parts. I wanted to believe. I also don’t remember when, exactly, the illusion dissolved and he shed the identity of Jesper, but at some point he resumed his identity. But never lost that aura.

* * *

The crowd is filled with an unusual assortment of people. They are mostly men, and mostly white. The air is thick with the dropped R’s of anti-suburbia. Some have girlfriends or wives by their sides. The whiteness of the crowd is accentuated by the blackness of their attire: black shirts, black jeans, black jackets, long black hair. There are a few latinos, and one black man.

Maybe.

If he is there, people come up to him with curiosity and congratulations for upending the stereotypes of those who revel in subverting stereotypes (yet never really escape them).

* * *

While it is not clear to me if the motivating power of death metal is generating a vanguard of energetic youth or drawing artistic and creative young people into a trap of naive individualism, I believe that the political significance of musical sound is rooted in the meanings that the participants constitute and the consequences of those meanings for the participants’ lives and the larger society.[note]Harris M Berger, “Death Metal Tonality and the Act of Listening,”Popular Music 18, no. 2 (May 1999), p175. (Emphasis Added)[/note]

* * *

10 more minutes of standing, shuffling for a better spot, and fighting valiantly to protect the spots that are already had. A restless whisper rises throughout the room, it is not clear where it starts, or to what it refers. The stage is now dark. Necks crane and eyes strain to make sense of the fresh, shifting darkness. The shapes on stage begin to congeal into outlines, and the murmur of the crowd grows louder.

The music begins with a soft, symphonic scape of oscillating synthetic tones. The darkly peaceful chords weigh down on the restless bodies, which grow quiet.

tss… tss… ts ts ts tsh

* * *

Not merely a continuous stream, our experiences of the possibilities of the near future and the certainties of the immediate past exist simultaneously with the experienced events of the hair’s present… This living present is the temporal window of the phenomenal world, the arena within which… experiences exist for us as numerous facets synthesised together, dynamic gestalts moving from protention to retention.[note]Harris M Berger, “Death Metal Tonality and the Act of Listening,”Popular Music 18, no. 2 (May 1999), p168. (Emphasis Added). are referred to as protentions, and experiences that have just passed through the now-point are referred to as retentions. Within this living present[/note]

* * *

six taps of a hi-hat later, the destruction begins.

* * *

Metal. I can qualify it endlessly: Death, Black, Power, Progressive, Avant Garde, Symphonic, Viking, Doom, Folk, Nü, NWOBHM (New Wave of British Heavy Metal), Pagan, Christian, Shred, Neo-Classical. It becomes absurd if it wasn’t already.
What remains when the modifiers are removed?In my current context, one where metal is an extremely strange and alien concept, most of the people with whom I interact don’t see much of that emotional core. Finding out that I <3 metal can come as a bit of a shock for those who don’t already know a bit about me. But we all have our ways to excise the demons the world inspires within us. So I wonder, is that all this music serves to do? Does my love for metal extend beyond the realms of negativity?

* * *

Alexi Laiho, formerly the most gifted songwriter in the metal world (he sucks now), is a clown with a guitar as he admits during their epic live DVD in Stockholm, “So you see, basically we’re a bunch of fucking idiots… [proceeds to launch into a passionate stream of typically brilliant, pummeling, yet melodic face-melting metal].”

Poise and hubris in extreme. Superlatives ‘R Us.

Death be not proud,
though some have called thee mighty and dreadful,
thou art not so.
–Children of Bodom, “Follow The Reaper” (Follow The Reaper, 2000)[note](quote originally from John Donne, [“Death be not proud, though some have called thee”](http://www.bartleby.com/105/72.html))[/note]

* * *

A certain bleak cynicism. A morbid fascination with the dark, undesirable; a simultaneous familiarity with the emotional equivalents from a life of alienation and depression. A need for personal reality corroboration; art metaphors reflecting and reaffirming perspective validity.

Metal is about action and action denied; it is about frustration and about exploring and responding to the whole emotional complex that emerges from that frustration. Metal is not a mechanical venting of psychosocial steam… [note]Berger, 1999. p291[/note]

In the metal universe, there can be no pleasure without acknowledging first the pain.

[T]o say that people are driven by their emotion is to say that they are determined by them; metalheads use the music precisesly so they won’t be driven by their emotions, precisely so they won’t be driven by rage or held back by depression.[note]Berger, 1999. p291[/note]

* * *

End of serious 2.5 year relationship. Abruptly. Destabilization imminent or already occurring. I lay on my bed in the holistic organic hippie house and listen to my numbness and the tickle of my stereo spinning up to speed.

A gated gauze of steel shredded, spinal cranial pulses alternate with delicate cymbal splash.

SPI
RAL
ING

IN
TO
DE
PRES
SIOOOOOOOOONNNNNN

XXX

The perfect mix of tone and anti-tone: texture and full, pseudoarticulated power. And they resound through, across the void—a gaping maw of negative space—the phantom tempo echos across in protending waves of crushing.

My face defrosts into a demonic grin as the negative space of the bridge explodes into a mechanized chaos of terrible sound; tension, and release; tapping in somewhere deep wounded within.

Still you cannot bear all this pain
Still you cannot bear to walk away
Darkness still rips silently within
Still you cannot bear all the shame

I listen to the album Buried in Oblivion by Into Eternity in its entirety. Twice.

  1. Splintered Visions
  2. Embraced By ‘Desolation’
  3. 3 Dimensional Aperture
  4. Beginning Of The End
  5. Point Of Uncertainty
  6. Spiraling Into Depression
  7. Isolation
  8. Buried Into Oblivion
  9. Black Sea Of Agony
  10. Morose Seclusion

Alone in your circle of despair
Your dreams are discarded
Clinging to a sterile existence
Self-pity and lingering grief
Depleted and beaten
Depleted and beaten

I manage to summon some non-destructive energy, just enough to drag my piteous self down to the kitchen for some much-needed sustenance.

I have stared my pain in the eyes
Breathed its stale breath
Felt the contours of its face
And lived to tell the tale

* * *

By 20, perspective reaches a critical breadth. Introspection becomes transcendental. Not I need more, but is this it?

* * *

I would be lying if I said I don’t enjoy the look on people’s faces when I casually mention that I listen to metal,
Wait, what? But… you’re not… like… tha head explodes

Difference is gold; nobody wants to wear a generic label, fit the mold.

How many hippie buddhist metalheads do you know?

* * *

In life, I have no religion
Besides the heavy metal gods
–Dream Evil, The Book of Heavy Metal

Does music satiate the same urge, the same hunger, as God? I was at Sunday service at a Mongolian Evangelical church where my host father, the pastor, lamented the youth’s finding God in ‘fun’. He used music as his prime example and mimed it out for the crowd, hands cupping imaginary headphones and head bobbing to an imaginary disco beat, he grinned absurdly, “Xogjim sonsdog…!”[note]Listen(ing habitally) to music[/note] The service concluded with the parish band resuming their places on stage behind the illuminated clear pulpit, and leading the crowd in yet one more enthusiastic round of Jesus-loving song.

But their needs were being filled by the Jesus part, not the music, right?

Then why are there Christian death metal bands?

* * *

I discovered Buddhism; the un-religion; the anti-ism. I saw in it the intense introspection and honesty that I’d been forced to learn through years of social self-discipline, trying to learn the unwritten rules of society for which my brian found itself less than ideally suited. Yet there was also a belief in the ultimate power of human compassion to counteract our toxic egos and thought-demons. I felt a fit with my not un-ironic mix of cynical optimism.

Can I be Buddhist — live a life filled with compassion and happiness, and listen to Death Metal?

* * *

Music is cathartic; it allows one to virtualize the expression of emotions without the usually requisite associated experience. Thus pent-up anger is released when exposed to violent/angry music — as the mind sees the musical stimulus as violence in sonic form, allowing the listener its cathartic effects while avoiding its anti-social tendencies (that is, violence).

But now I am a metalhead. Metal is not therapy, it is part of who I am.

* * *

I step through the doorway; the shrine room swallows me in darkness glowing with dim fluorescent tubes, mounted bare to the wall. My eyes adjust to the cool light and suddenly I find myself face to face with a scowling demon — its face twisted in agony. Beneath his feet were tiny people, frozen in their desperate dash to escape his thunderous ego-crushing step. Then it hit me, all at once, in one contained this is metal thought.

* * *

The music excises the demons; so without the demons, can there be meaningful music? Isn’t it all about the music?

It’s not the music, but the feelings of the people we hear playing that are important to us… it is not the music as a physical stimulus that manipulates our moods, but it is using the music as a communicative offering to influence our feelings in a re-creative process.[note]:Oliver Grewe et al., “Listening to Music as a Re-Creative Process: Physiological, Psychological, and Psychoacoustical Correlates of Chills and Strong Emotions,”Music Perception 24, no. 3 (February 2007).[/note]

Good art conveys the message, conveys a message, makes the consume-er feel as though a message was communicated to them. We appreciate that which tells us what we already know.

Death metal is a creative response to difficult conditions with real benefits for the participants’ lives. In a world with little hope for social change, in a world where class is occluded[note](to use the terminology of phenomenological Marxism)[/note], the liberating emotional exploration of death metal performances serves genuine needs…

Picture the scene. Akron, Ohio, was once the tire capital of the world. Hobbled after years of deindustrialization, the children of tire workers stood that night bathed in the sounds and images of a glorious rage. The room itself, once home to a force for labor equality, is not merely crumbling, but completely unrecognized by the participants. All of the elements of social change are present—rage, community, skills, and talent—yet things remain the same. Death metal is neither an example of false consciousness nor a coping mechanism for the stresses of an unequal world. It is a promise unfulfilled.[note]Berger, 1999. p291, 294[/note]

This music acknowledges the darkness of the world; it is dark, but that is ok.

* * *

[The great Tibetan yogi Jetsun Milarepa] lived in utter solitude, in caves and isolated mountains. His clothes were very poor; he had no nice clothes. His food was neither rich nor tasty. In fact, [for a number of years] he lived on nettle soup alone, as a result of which he became physically very thin, almost emaciated… And yet, as we can tell from the many songs he composed, because his mind was fundamentally at peace, his experience was one of constant unfolding delight. His songs are songs that express the utmost state of delight or rapture. He saw every place he went to, no matter how isolated and austere an environment it was, as beautiful, and he experienced his life of utmost austerity as extremely pleasant.[note]The Venerable Thrangu Rinpoche, [“The Reason We Practice Meditation”](http://www.rinpoche.com/reason.html).[/note]

* * *

The tonal dimension of music and the meanings that emerge from it are constituted by the subject’s active, perceptual organization of the sound in time.[note]Berger (1999), p161.[/note]

This is negative space — clusters of machined rips, lip-biting silence punctuates the in-between waiting spaces drawing pulling ears into false-comfort, tension to be delivered cosmically by the protending riff.

* * *

Metal

down

beats

Gods stomping, stampeding, galloping across aural scapes–malevolent keyboards synthesize towards anticipation — and recreate the virtual stimuli that would have instilled such unease.

* * *

What is the meaning of a wrathful Buddha? We see all these wrathful images of Buddhas (gesturing around the temple). But in truth wrathful Buddhas have nine qualities. Their bodies are wrathful, heroic, and frightening. Their voices are laughing, threatening, and fierce. But mentally they are loving, peaceful, and powerful. Like all enlightened beings, their minds are peaceful, compassionate, joyful, and wise. If a being is wrathful on the outside and also angry in its heart, then it is a real monster — not a Buddha. Wrathful Buddhas look wrathful for a purpose: for pacifying, for taming negative forces. [note]Tulku Thondup, “Tulku Thondup’s Talk in India 2003.” http://www.khordong.de/Engl/News/Tulku_2003/tulku_thondup_2003.html (2003)[/note]

* * *

One distorted chord. 1 and 5. Hold.
Channel the oppressive rumble of terrible empty space, of aural impartial Dionysus, the only God in a world of cellular automata. Carve dark the force through air-confined electrocuted sonic chaos. A glimpse of the Dionysian divine.



“God help us…”

Most people don’t believe in ADHD.

    AD/HD Inattentive Subtype

  1. Six or more of the following symptoms of inattention have persisted for at least six months to a degree that is maladaptive and inconsistent with developmental level:
    1. Often fails to give close attention to details or makes careless mistakes in schoolwork, work, or other activities
    2. Often has difficulty sustaining attention in tasks or play activities
    3. Often does not seem to listen when spoken to directly
    4. Often does not follow through on instructions and fails to finish schoolwork, chores, or duties in the workplace (not due to oppositional behavior or failure to understand instructions)
    5. Often has difficulty organizing tasks and activities
    6. Often avoids, dislikes, or is reluctant to engage in tasks that require sustained mental effort (such as school work or homework)
    7. Often loses things necessary for tasks or activities (e.g., toys, school assignments, pencils, books, or tools)
    8. Is often easily distracted by extraneous stimuli
    9. Is often forgetful in daily activities
  2. AD/HD Hyperactive/Impulsive Subtype

  3. Six or more of the following symptoms of hyperactivity/impulsivity have persisted for at least six months to a degree that is maladaptive and inconsistent with developmental level
      Hyperactivity

    1. Often fidgets with hands or feet or squirms in seat
    2. Often leaves seat in classroom or in other situations in which remaining seated is expected
    3. Often runs about or climbs excessively in situations in which it is inappropriate (in adolescents or adults, may be limited to subjective feelings of restlessness)
    4. Often has difficulty playing or engaging in leisure activities quietly
    5. Is often “on the go” or often acts as if “driven by a motor”
    6. Often talks excessively
    7. Impulsivity

    8. Often blurts out answers before questions have been completed
    9. Often has difficulty awaiting turn
    10. Often interrupts or intrudes on others (e.g. butts into conversations or games)

(American Psychiatric Association: Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders IV. Washington, DC: American Psychiatric Association, 1994.)

Then they meet me.Ohhh, now I get it…!
Yeah. Now please shut up and go away. Only the introductory lesson is free, sorry. Come back next week for our Ritalin™ special and get a free spin in the Distractadome™ May not be combined with any other offer. Virtual Deficit, LLC. takes no responsibility for any negative social consequences that may result from the residual effects of our programs. Free after $50 mail-in rebate. _Haha, suckers._

“Elinor saw nothing to censure in him but a propensity of saying too much what he thought on every occasion, without attention to persons or circumstances. In hastily forming and giving his opinion of other people, in sacrificing general politeness to the enjoyment of undivided attention where his heart was engaged, and in slighting too easily the forms of worldly propriety, he displayed a want of caution which Elinor could not approve.”
-Jane Austen, Sense and Sensibility

There is no way to diagnose AD/HD without a frame of reference.
There is no value judgment, just a comparison and then an observation.
Right?
Right.
An impaired ability to parse culture
Individual A is an aberration, though they belong to an identifiable sub-group with defining characteristics

Read
I stare at words
Ticks and scratches with hats and feet
Marching my eyes
Dart laughing behind, voices
Whispers, phone
Screaming, Slash
the pages, Drown
it all in Muted
rage.

The old VHS tape clicks into motion—rotational to lineal to magnetic to image.

The air is filled with echoes of deep past—I feel reverberations, but this video is my primary source. The camera settles on a fidgety boy of about five years that is not me, happiness and innocence bubbling from his grinning face. He begins his joke while my parents film and chime in at the appropriate moments and feigning just enough surprise. But only one eye is ever on this boy, for their attention is demanded by a more awesome force: ME.

There is a cartoonish blur; a body, celestial or earthly it cannot quite be told, streaking across the background. Light is faster but sound is not far behind, the words rattled off form a blur of their own. One parent’s voice splits off to the side, and we hear a stern, embarrassingly simple instructing only barely clinging to a distant pleading, to desperate God help us and our hellion of a child. The first boy completes his joke, delivering the punch-line twice, this time getting it right.

There is a disconnect between intention and behavior. Between your perception of your behavior and its perception by others. Between your perception of others and others’ expectation of your ability to perceive them.

I am five, in Kindergarten, and it is still two long years until my meetings with the school counselor, Mrs. Whiteside. Her kind dark brown face, one of only two among the lily-white faculty, and perhaps a dozen more among the 500+ students—heard first as a firm yet gentle rapping on the classroom door. Out I go, excited to be missing class, boring class. Mrs. Whiteside is slow and deliberate, but it is okay; she brings calm to my rough seas. She gives me blocks to fit together, pictures about which to tell stories. At some point the visits stop, and my parents tell me somehow (though I have no memory) that I have been diagnosed with ADHD. Their bookshelves sag with newly purchased tomes espousing the best way to “deal with your hyperactive child.” 15 years later my girlfriend will find these books on the shelf in our tv room and giggle in delight. I smile with a strange sense of pride in my hellaciousness (and repossessed “otherness”).

If life was a board game, and you had a different set of rules, what would happen when you tried to play with others? What would they think about you? About your intentions? About you as a person? Where does personality end and disorder begin?

I’m sitting in a Starbucks™, my eyes are fixed on the trail of ink left by my rhodium nib. My ears dart back and forth, from the the Starbucks™ brand Musak to the clang of a nearby cellphone. “A dysfunctional group, or a core group…” A meeting. A child eating, a cookie. A barista laughs, “It really is!” he chortles. “A life coach” “Cause I know a lot of people who are stuck…” Tamborines, the scent of coffee, the buzz of refined sugar and amphetamine derivatives dancing their dance with my neurons. My savory soup of neurotransmitters churning away inside my braincage. The pungent air holds the snarl of coffee. I’m wondering how the corporate bozos at Starbucks calculated that this “music” would make anyone want to buy coffee. It makes me want to buy an ice pick and a smile. Everyone else is writing more than me. not really, but my brainvoice is telling me so. I snarl, and with a wimper it retreats back into the damp cave from whence it emerged. The grind of beans splintering floats above the din. It isn’t quite a din. the music continues. How many cycles do I waste on hating it? How many process moments — bits of ethereal phytochemical liveliness? My mother wishes she could ask them to turn it off.

“Do rock climbers dream of falling or flying? Do hyperactive kids dream of solitude on a granite mountain? Or do they dream of this: dancing and laughing, surrounded by friends, the mountains a distant mirage?”Michael Shay, “Are We Distracted?” from In Short, Kitchen and Jones, Eds.

Michael Shay is distracted by his 8 year-old ADHD son, who is not me, but happens to be scaling an 80-foot sheer face of granite with reckless abandon. He was also distracted when, at two, his son began displaying his climbing proclivities by scurrying up a 50-foot spruce at the playground.

Why do we climb? To escape this world, with its hard chafing edges; to conquer the ultimate contain-er… gravity.

Attention; alertness, awareness, mindfulness, presence of mind, intentness, advertence, heed.

Individuals with AD/HD are often severe underachievers.

AD/HD has been associated with certain personality traits that can be seen as other defining “symptoms”: High energy, creativity, alternating extreme empathy/unempathy, strong sense of intuition, trouble/frustration making self understood…

Someone once posited that ADHD is a genetic remnant from our primal hunting days. Hyper-vigilance. Obviously, this person did not have Attention Deficit (Hyperactivity) Disorder. Michael Shay used his experience with his 8-year-old ADHD son to intuitively reject the Hunter Hypothesis, on the ground that impulsiveness is not beneficial in such a context: i.e. Charging head-first into a herd of mammoths without forethought. But this misses the point almost entirely. Would he send an 8-year old non-ADHD kid out hunting? Surely not, at least if he was worried about impulse-control… Every child is impaired (undeveloped) in this regard, the ADHD kids just fall behind in their development (and may never fully catch up). While impulsiveness is at the core of what it means to be/have ADHD, in the hunting context, it is the much more bland distractibility that would be our downfall. Here’s how it would really go:

Me go hunt now. Oooga oohoooh.
…Uh, tiger! I go other way…
nice birdiees me smell boar, yes, mmmm. Me hungry.
(boar tracks! follows them…).
Ooh, flowers! Pretty flower! I pick some. mmm smells nice, Me make bouquet.

At this point the story takes on a familiar theme: insert Little Red Riding Hood, except instead of finding a wolf posing as my grandmother, I would return to the tribe with no food—but a very nicely styled 1/2 bouquet of flowers (got distracted), and some pretty rocks. Maybe I shot a bird, but forgot to bring it home. That would be my last time on hunting duty.*

Confidence, self-evaluation, judgment. The inner editor. The inner critic. Impatience. High levels of impatience. No ability to wait to see how things turn out. Why bother? We’ve seen this movie before; we know how it’ll end…

*Part two: Village elder is furious, throws rocks and flowers into fire pit. Flowers are incinerated. POOF. Rocks slowly crack apart, turn red, and start to ooze. One of the children notices, and is pulled back by his parents before he can lose a finger demonstrating the effect of molten copper on human flesh. ADHD was the true source of copper discovery.

“Neurology offers a biological explanation which distinguishes between the ‘maladjusted’ child and the AD/HD child.”(Rafalovich, 411)

There is a look that I have grown to recognize; one that creeps up mid-conversation and fills me with dread. It says “Ok, I hear you. Uh, yeah. Okay. I get it already”. It says “Why is he still talking?“ It shows a polite disinterest, a rising level of conversation-fatigue. My mind floods with questions: How long have they not wanted to listen? How do I rescue the situation? Why aren’t they interested? Was it the way I was explaining things? Did I say too much? Too fragmented? Too much detail? Too tangential? It only happens at parties, or at dining hall.

Attention: The span thereof. The ability to regulate and allocate the necessary attentional resources. Impulse supression; the ability to resist extraneous stimuli and retain task focus.

AD/Hyperactivity has several real-world manifestations beyond is theoretical murkiness, and perhaps more importantly, its skeptical appeal. Some of these effects are blatant and thus find remedy (for the lucky ___ %) in panaceaic medicines such as Ritalin™ and Adderall™.

Over 70% of all individuals diagnosed with AD/HD are also diagnosed with a related disorder. Depression. Mood Disorders. Conduct Disorder. Depression.

Depression: A rotting twine’s torsion, that one impossible organ deep within my chest where the feelings lie. lay. lye. lae. lae man lay-man serviceman. its spiny tendrils slowly killing cells, one at a time-mechanically tightening with each breath. In come the happy pills-Boom. Everything goes

Enter the blessed ones
Methylphenidate methyl a-phenyl-2-piperidineacetate C14H19NO2 Molecular weight: 233.31. Bioavailability: 11-52% when taken orally. dextro,levo-methylphenidate 50:50 racemic mixture: Ritalin® (Ritalina®). dextro-methylphenidate: Focalin. Also Concerta® (time-release), Metadate®, Methylin®, Rubifen®.
Adderall 25% Dextroamphetamine Saccharate 25% Dextroamphetamine Sulfate 25% Amphetamine Aspartate 25% Amphetamine Sulfate. Amphetamine 1-phenylpropan-2-amine C9H13N

“Attention-Deficit/Hyperactivity disorder is a neurobiological disorder. People with Attention Deficit/Hyperactivity disorder tend to have inordinate amounts of trouble maintaining attention-discipline, may be impulsive, and especially at younger ages are often hyperactive-uncharacteristically so for their age and level of development.”

disorder: lack of order, our minds are disorderedwe like to think they have thier own unique order.

This, the age of doom and destruction, the failure and betrayal of humanity by reason and modern progress—now the innovators are brought into the folds. We, the “thinkers outside the box,” are the prophets of the 21st century.

No-one has yet to recruit AD/HD-ers outright, and perhaps they never will, but we can dream…

REVIEW: “Vale” by Orden Ogan

Given the 12 years it took Orden Ogan to release two full-length albums (their first, “Tesimonium A.D.” landed in 2004), the maturity of their sophomoric release, “Vale” is only slightly less surprising than it otherwise would be. Appearing (for me) from seemingly out of no-where, Orden Ogan have rekindled a sense of excitement not often felt in the cloistered world of niche heavy metal.

When “Vale” first landed on my desk(top), I was most intrigued by the band’s strange name, and their unusually cheese-less cover art (this is relative, folks). Then I began to listen. Orden Ogan have been around for a while. While I have yet to hear their first release, I can only assume they spent those first 8 years finding their sound (while releasing three demos, about which I know equally little); now, they are one of only a few bands playing melodic metal with a maturity and skill that gives their work weight and depth. Following the delicate, then epic opening intro, we segway into the sawtoothed intro riff of _To New Shores of Sadness_.

The first track on the album sets us up for what will become a somewhat tiresome series of dissapointments: tight, catchy intro leading to tighter, catchier opening verses, leading to… utterly mediocre chorus… then some catchy bridge-action, and more mediocrity. For those who are unfamiliar, it is simply _not okay_ to have a weak chorus in a heavy metal song. Some of the more extreme or proggy genres can get away with no clearly delineated chorus, but if you _go there_, you can’t go _halfway_.

They are not a power metal band. This is, I increasingly feel, a good thing. Their sound is rawer, harder, heavier; I would say _melodic metal_ if anything. Or so I thought, until the second song kicks into power-cheese mode, and I fast-forward to the third track. But the rest of the album mostly steers clear of any blatant power-metal clichés.

Orden Ogan has the critical element—the ability to write catchy-ass riffs that are fresh and inspiring. The keyboard parts combine with the guitars to create some fantastic arrangements—now if only they could follow thorugh. Good intro, shitty verse, meh chorus, great bridge… so they’re a bridge band. They write great intros and bridges. WTF?

If nothing else, this album has served to introduce Orden Ogan into the field of Melodic Heavy Metal, and should allow them to expand beyond their borders (Germany) to the greater metal community. With time, one can only hope that they find their _mojo_ and manage to balance out their sound, even after 12 years (hey, why not?).

Songwriting: 3.5/5
Musicianship: 4/5
Lyrics: N/A (I don’t care)
Originality: 3.5/5
Overall: B

To Add

The old VHS tape clicks into motion—rotational to lineal to magnetic to image.

The air is filled with echoes of deep past—I feel reverberations, but this might as well be my primary source. The camera settles on a fidgety boy of about five years, happiness and innocence bubbling from his grinning face. He begins his joke while my parents film, chiming in at the appropriate moments and feigning just enough surprise.

Then there is a cartoonish blur; a body, celestial or earthly it cannot quite be told, streaking across the background. Light is faster but sound is not far behind, the words rattled off form a blur of their own. One parent’s voice splits off to the side, and we hear a stern, embarrassingly simple instructing only barely clinging to a distant pleading, to desperate _God help us and our hellion of a child_. The first boy completes his joke, delivering the punch-line twice, this time getting it right.

I am five, in Kindergarten, and it is still two long years until my meetings with the school counselor, Mrs. Whiteside. Her kind dark brown face, one of only two among the lily-white faculty, and perhaps a dozen more among the 500+ students—heard first as a firm yet gentle rapping on the classroom door. Out I go, excited to be missing class, boring class. Mrs. Whiteside is slow and deliberate, but it is okay; she brings calm to my rough seas. She gives me blocks to fit together, pictures about which to tell stories. At some point the visits stop, and my parents tell me somehow (though I have no memory) that I have been diagnosed with ADHD. Their bookshelves sag with newly purchased tomes espousing the best way to “deal with your hyperactive child.” 15 years later my girlfriend will find these books on the shelf in our tv room and giggle in delight. I smile with a strange sense of pride in my hellaciousness (and repossessed “otherness”).

This, the age of doom and destruction, the failure and betrayal of humanity by reason and modern progress—now the innovators are brought into the folds. We, the “thinkers outside the box,” are the prophets of the 21st century.

No-one has yet to recruit AD/HD-ers outright, and perhaps they never will, but we can dream…

AD/Hyperactivity has several real-world manifestations beyond is theoretical murkiness, and perhaps more importantly, its skeptical appeal. Some of these effects are blatant and thus find remedy (for the lucky ___ %) in panaceaic medicines such as _Ritalin_ and _Adderall_.

And some fade with age. Even the ADHD’d young man who is hyperactive to the highest order will not ‘run and climb about’ when ‘expected to be seated.” Just as even the most docile, obedient child cannot reasonably be expected to remain seated and rapt for more than a short while. And so we can appreciate this creature’s developmental nature…

Our brains have certain structure designed to act as an inhibitor over the other, more ‘creative’ functions. We are constantly parsing, permutating, impulsing, repulsing to and from, against, forward, with and to the world around us. But something acts to prevent those most ludicrous of impulses—c’mon, I know you have all had them—from taking actualized form. Usually.

But what if such a structure were missing? Or only half effective? What then…?

IDENTITY CRISIS! Welcome to blog.writeNOTHING.com……

As part of my gradual shift from the cute, but useless/pointless domains I registered at first, to something more sensible (hehe), I have now officially moved this blog from writing.yulebomb.net to blog.writenothing.com — the http://writenothing.com identity is now pretty much self-contained (at least the two main pages it links to are now on the same domain). Yay.

Oh, and say _hi_ to WordPress 2.5
>hi!