Archive for October, 2009

JetBlue Flight 292 (Part 3, Conclusion)

Friday, October 30th, 2009

“Brace!  Brace!  Brace!…”

The front landing gear touched the ground and the plane began to shake.  We were still going so fast, and the temperature in the cabin of the plane was rising.

And then, we stopped.

I have never heard such sincere and grateful applause.  We had landed.  The plane had not split in half, and we were not spinning out of control.  We were alive.

My phone rang.  I looked at the caller ID.  It was my friend Allison’s boyfriend, Kip.  Allison and Devin were roommates, so she knew that we had missed our morning flight, gotten drunk, fought in the airport, and were taking a later flight.  About an hour after she told Kip this information, he was watching TV and the news broke showing live footage of a JFK bound flight about to attempt a very dangerous landing at LAX with a broken nose wheel.  He had been attempting to call me.

I answered the phone.  “Hello,” I said.  My voice was shaky.

“Are you and Devin on that plane?!” he asked frantically.

“Yes, yes we’re on the plane,” I told him.

“Holy shit!  I just knew you were on that flight!” he exclaimed.

“Kip, I’m not gonna lie, I cried like a little bitch,” I admitted.  He laughed.  “I should go.  I want to call my mom,” I said.

We hung up and I called her.  She answered quickly.  “Mom, I’m okay,” I blurted out.

“You were on that plane?  I can’t believe you were on that plane,” she said.

“I was but I’m okay.  I have to go.  I’ll call you back soon,” I assured her before ending the call.  We hung up.

Suddenly, I realized how hot the cabin of the plane really was.  It reminded me of opening the oven while food is cooking and having that initial blast of heat rise out and smack you in the face.  (Later, I would see the video of our landing and understand that it was so hot because the rubber on the front tire had worn down to the metal, creating sparks followed by a small fire below us.)

The flight crew opened the main cabin door.  “Everyone off the plane!” a flight attendant instructed.  There was intensity in the way she said it.  Passengers enthusiastically did as she instructed.

On my way up the aisle I spotted the carry on bag containing my mother’s and grandmother’s rings still underneath my original seat.  I grabbed it.

When I reached the exit, the flight crew was standing by the cockpit to bid the passengers farewell, just as they normally would.  But needless to say, it was different.  When the people deplaning flight 292 passed the pilot, we thanked him for saving our lives.

Emerging from the plane was surreal.  Stairs from the exit door led down to the tarmac.  Emergency crews hurried us into standing-room-only trucks while news vans and reporters captured every dramatic moment.

When we disembarked the vehicles, the Red Cross was waiting with vans of food.  Inside of the airport, we ended up in a private baggage claim area.  There were boxes of McDonald’s cheeseburgers.  “This is better than Katrina,” Devin commented.

We waited.  People representing JetBlue were extremely kind.  They stressed that we didn’t have to talk to reporters if we didn’t want to.  The told us that we would be refunded whatever we paid for flight 292, and we would also be given vouchers for free flights.  They assured us that once we got our luggage, JetBlue would arrange for us to get back to New York however we wanted – an immediate flight, a rental car, or a train.  They also offered hotel rooms and transportation to anyone not wanting to travel right away.

Devin and I decided to take the flight back to New York that night.  Our luggage took a few hours to find its way off of flight 292.  In the meantime, I talked to a reporter from The Washington Post (she practically mauled me on my way to the restroom), we waved hello to Sally, and Devin ate enough cheeseburgers to make himself sick.

The flight back didn’t leave until about 9 p.m.  JetBlue had a private plane fly back any passengers of flight 292 who chose to take it, which wasn’t many.  Aboard the plane, everyone had their own three-seat row.  Devin and I lied down on rows across from each other.

A JetBlue representative boarded the plane and addressed the passengers.  He reiterated that we would be refunded and receive free flight vouchers.  He told us that our current flight would be catered and include unlimited free movies and alcoholic beverages.  He said that there would be reporters waiting for us at JFK, and that we didn’t need to talk to them.  We were assured that JetBlue representatives would be awaiting our arrival to make sure that we received cab fare or money to pay for any parking fees incurred at the New York airport.  Basically, JetBlue was willing to give us anything that was in its power to give.

Flight attendants came through with pillows and blankets.  Devin and I both took three of each.  He slept while I took advantage of the movies and booze.  As I watched Mr. & Mrs. Smith on the headrest television, I remembered what I was watching on the same kind of screen just hours earlier.

“Would you like some more wine?” a flight attendant asked me.

I looked at my cup.  It was still half full.  “I’m not even done with-”

“That’s okay, take another.  Take two,” she said with a smile while handing me two little bottles of red wine.

Because of the time change, we didn’t land at JFK until about 7 a.m.  We got our luggage.

“Where do you live and how are you getting there?’ a JetBlue representative asked us.

“Brooklyn.  And I guess a cab?” Devin suggested.

The man handed Devin a wad of cash.  “Is that enough?” he questioned.  It was more than enough.

Forty minutes later, I walked in my front door.  It felt good to be home.

JetBlue1JetBlue22

JetBlueletter

The end.  (Finally.)

Click here to read Part 1.
Click here to read Part 2.

JetBlue Flight 292 (Part 2)

Thursday, October 29th, 2009

I was slowly sobering up.

There really wasn’t anything to be afraid of while we were circling LAX.  The plane was in fine condition for flying.  It was landing that would be the problem.

I started to think about my carry on bag.  During the chaos of relocating to the back of the plane, I had left it under my original seat.  The ankh ring my mom had custom made in the 70’s was in it, along with a ring I had inherited from her mother when she died only four months earlier.  I imagined what my mom would feel like to lose her mother and daughter in the same year.  After all, she had been the one that convinced us to get on stand-by instead of paying for the 11 a.m. flight.  I couldn’t bear the thought of her blaming herself.  Then I realized that she had no way of knowing what flight Devin and I actually ended up on.  And even if she was aware that we were on flight 292, she had no way of learning about the current situation with the landing gear.

That’s when I looked past Devin across the aisle.  People were watching the televisions on the back of the headrests.  The news stations were showing coverage of an airplane flying around the sky.  Our airplane.  Okay, I thought, maybe my mom does know what’s going on.

It’s impossible to say which passenger discovered the news coverage first.  Soon, everyone’s headrest-sized screens were tuned in.  We watched ourselves fly around and around.  Reporters, staying true to their trade, didn’t have a very optimistic view.  In my mind I envisioned families sitting around big screen TVs, waiting to witness a plane crash in real-time.  I started to understand that this was not just a countdown for everyone on the flight, this was a countdown for television viewers, rescue crews, and reporters.

This was a big deal.

The man to my left wasn’t looking at his television.  He was sitting with his forehead on the window, frantically pushing buttons on his cell phone.  Suddenly I became aware of the fact that he was alone.  A lot of people on this flight might be alone.  I looked over at Devin.

“How you feeling?” I asked Devin.

“I’m okay,” he said.  “I’m really not scared.”  Devin had been in Mississippi a month earlier during Hurricane Katrina.  I guess he figured Death was coming for him one way or another.

There was a report on television that zoomed in on our faulty landing gear.  I saw the wheel turned the wrong way.  It was an unsettling sight.  I felt like I was looking down the barrel of a gun.

A flight attendant started addressing the passengers.  “Please everyone locate the exit closest to you at this time.  There are eight emergency exits…”

We had been flying around LAX for over two hours.  The flight crew kept telling us that we would be fine, but our little televisions kept telling us that we had a problem.  Considering the amount of ambulances and fire trucks awaiting our arrival, it was hard not to believe the news reports.

The pilot announced that we would be landing in approximately 30 minutes.  The notice sounded like it did on any other flight, only in my head I heard, “In 30 minutes, you might die.”

We waited.  “Fifteen minutes until landing,” the pilot said.

Devin turned his phone on.  No signal.  The televisions were turned off by the pilot.

“Ten minutes until landing.”  It was so quiet.

“Five minutes until landing.”  The flight attendants told us to keep our feet flat on the floor.  They reminded us how to brace our bodies.  I tried to fight it, but fear was consuming me.

“Flight attendants, prepare for arrival,” we heard over the intercom.

“Brace, brace, brace!…” the flight crew chanted.  Everyone put their heads down in their selected position.  I heard my own crying along with the sobbing of other passengers.  “Brace, brace, brace!…”

As the airplane approached the runway, Devin’s cell phone rang.  His ringtone was “Cemetery Gates” by Pantera.  The song distracted me; I found it a funny.  It was like the universe had a dark sense of humor, and it decided to deliver the punch line to the joke that is my life at that exact moment.  “Devin…,” I said.  My voice sounded like I was choking on tears and laughter, both of equal intensity and at the same time.

The sound of crying around me was getting louder.  I felt the back wheels of the plane touch the ground.  We were going so fast.

At any second, the pilot was going to lower the nose of the plane.

To be concluded.

Click here to read Part 1.

JetBlue Flight 292 (Part 1)

Tuesday, October 27th, 2009

“I’ve been wanting to write the story for a long time,” I told Rona.

“It was the first conversation we ever had!” Rona said.

“You’re right!  At the Blarney Cove.” I responded.  “It was just fate.  Not that I totally believe in fate.  But I was destined to be on that flight.”

I had booked Devin and myself on JetBlue flight 292 departing Burbank at 3:17 p.m. on September 21, 2005.  The guy I was dating at the time was in a band, and they had a gig in Manhattan that night.  When he found out that I wouldn’t be back in time for his show, he got upset.  To appease him, I paid $50 to change our reservations to the first flight leaving Burbank on September 21.

That morning, Devin and I were driving to return the rental car.  We were going to take the free shuttle provided by the rental car company to the Burbank Airport.  It was a little after 7:00 a.m.  I remember him asking me what time we arrive in New York, and then us doing some math.  “Well,” I was saying, “if you factor in the time change, then, wait, this can’t be right.  Oh fuck.”

Our flight was departing in 15 minutes.  There was no way we were going to make it.  I had never missed a flight before.  I called my mom.

“What do I do?” I asked her.

“You can either pay to get on the next flight, assuming there are seats, or you can get on stand-by for free and just wait for a flight to have room,” she advised me.

At the Burbank Airport, I found out that we could pay $100 each to get on a flight leaving around 11:00 a.m.  I called my mom again.

“Don’t do it,” she said.  “Save your money.  Just get on stand-by, something will open up.”

Now Devin and I just had to kill time.  Luckily, airports serve liquor at 8:00 a.m.  White Russians seemed like a good breakfast, so we drank.  There wasn’t room for us on the 11:00 a.m. flight, so we drank more.  We drank so much that we managed to get in a huge fight about the ease and efficiency of using prediction text.  The fight escalated.  Devin ran away.  I chased him outside where we quickly reconciled.  Then, while chain-smoking cigarettes, we made an amazing discovery: an abandoned airport wheelchair.  We were so drunk that it seemed only appropriate for Devin push me around in it.  He rolled me inside.

“I’m happy you and you friend made up,” someone called to Devin.  In my inebriated state, I couldn’t tell if the person was being sarcastic.

We heard our names being called over the intercom.  It was 3:00 p.m.  Flight 292 was leaving soon, and there was room for us on it.  The announcement repeated our names along with the gate number.

I did not get out of the wheelchair.  Devin pushed me (rather quickly) up to the security line.  A TSA agent approached us.  “Mam, are you capable of walking through security without your wheelchair?” she asked me kindly.  I was so intoxicated, it isn’t hard to believe that I looked like I needed the wheelchair.

Devin came to my rescue.  “Here, I’ll help her,” he said as he took my arm and walked me through the metal detector.

The TSA agent brought the wheelchair to the other side of security for me.  I sat back down.  We heard our names again over the intercom.  It was the last call.

Devin was running while pushing me in the wheelchair.  We ran into a man in a suit and he said something snippy to us.

Fortunately, the area around our gate wasn’t crowded.  I jumped out of the wheelchair while it was still moving.  We had made it to the gate in time.

On the plane, we took our seats next to Sally, a middle-aged lesbian with a masculine haircut wearing a polo shirt and khaki pants.  She sat by the window, I was in the middle, and Devin had the aisle seat.  I slowly started to pass out.

I awoke not long after takeoff to an announcement from the pilot.  He said that there was a problem with the landing gear.  The plan was to lower the plane in front of the control tower at the Long Beach Airport so officials could assess the damage.  I was still drunk and not worried.  Devin was unconcerned as well.  I began to thumb through a magazine while awaiting the next announcement from the pilot.  There was a photograph of a handicapped person in the periodical.  “That’s what you looked like when you boarded the plane,” Sally told me, supporting my theory that I was plastered enough to look disabled to the TSA agents.

The pilot was speaking again.  He explained that the front landing gear managed to turn 90 degrees before folding up into the airplane, only it failed to actually retract.  Basically, the wheel was useless.  It might as well have been nonexistent.

Passengers, including myself, started looking concerned.  It only intensified when the pilot said that we were going to circle Los Angeles International Airport for a few hours to burn off fuel before making an emergency landing.  He said they would attempt to land the plane using only the rear landing gear.  At the last possible moment, he would lower the nose of the plane.

“Alright, everyone to the seats in the back of the plane!” the flight attendant instructed.  “We want to get all of the weight in the rear of the plane!”

Everyone did as they were told.  Sally began passing overhead luggage back.  Devin and I were separated.  He ended up a few seats away from me, and my eyes started to water.  “I want to be by my friend,” I said aloud to anyone who would listen.  The man next to me understood.  If we’re going to die, I want to be by my friend.

“I’ll switch with him,” the man said.

I was still in the middle seat and Devin was on the aisle again.  There was a man by the window to my left.  He had turned on his cell phone along with many other passengers, hoping they might get a signal to call their loved ones.  Just in case.

“They’re burning off fuel because we’re going to catch on fire,” the man to my left said.

I heard people talking behind me.  “When he lowers the front of the plane, the broken wheel is going to snap the landing gear and the nose is going to crash into the runway and crack the plane open.”

A woman across the aisle from me was crying softly.

“No,” I heard someone else say.  “When the wheel touches down it’s going to cause the plane to spin out of control and it’s going to flip and explode.”

The flight attendants positioned themselves in the aisle and demonstrated how we should brace our bodies when it was time for landing.  “You can cross your arms with your hands on the top of the seat in front of you, and then put your head down…”  There were other positions to choose from, but I didn’t hear them.  I figured the first one was as good as any.

I envisioned the cabin filling will fire.  I thought about how much it might hurt and what it would sound like when we crashed.  I assumed there would be screaming.  I wondered what it was going to be like to die.

Everyone was seated, and we began circling LAX.

To be continued.

jetblue in air

Click here to read Part 2.
Click here to read Part 3.

Myra

Thursday, October 22nd, 2009

When Myra Hindley was 8 years old, a neighborhood boy approached her on the street and viciously scratched both sides of her face. His fingernails were sharp enough to draw blood, and Myra ran home crying. Upon her arrival, she was greeted by her father, Bob Hindley. He was angry. His indignation was not a result of the young boy’s treatment of Myra. Bob Hindley was disappointed in Myra’s reaction to the attack. He was known as a tough man, and he expected his daughter to be equally as strong. He had taught her how to fight, and he demanded that she go find the boy and stick up for herself. “Go and punch him, because if you don’t I’ll leather you!” he told his daughter.

Myra did as she was told. She found the boy who had assaulted her, and hit him repeatedly until he fell to the ground.

Approximately ten years later, Myra Hindley met Ian Brady. She quickly became infatuated with Brady. Soon, they were dating. Two years after that, in the summer of 1963, Hindley and Brady murdered their first victim, a 16-year-old girl. Four months later they killed again, this time a young boy. Over the next two years the couple murdered five children total, aged between 10-17. At least four of the children were sexually assaulted.

Three of the bodies were found buried in graves dug by the couple on Saddlewood Moor in northern England. The body of their last victim was found in their home. Hindley’s brother-in-law, David Smith, had witnessed the murder and called the police. The discovery was made hours before Brady was going to bring the body to its final resting place at Saddlewood Moor.

However, the body of 12-year-old Keith Bennett has never been found. Bennett has been missing since June 16, 1964, four days after his twelfth birthday. Brady confessed to sexually assaulting the boy and strangling him with a piece of string before burying him on the moor, but neither Hindley nor Brady have been able to assist authorities in finding the grave.

On October 1, 1986, Keith Bennett’s mother, Winnie Johnson, wrote the following letter to Hindley, who was incarcerated at the time:

Dear Miss Hindley,

I am sure I am one of the last people you would ever (have) expected to receive a letter from. I am the mother of Keith Bennett who went missing, no-one knows where, on June 16, 1964. As a woman I am sure you can envisage the nightmare I have lived with day and night, 24 hours a day, since then. Not knowing whether my son is alive or dead, whether he ran away or was taken away, is literally a living hell, something which you no doubt have experienced during your many, many years locked in prison.

My letter to you is written out of desperation and faint hope, desperation because I know that for so many years neither you nor Ian Brady has ever admitted knowing anything about my son’s disappearance, and hope that Christianity has softened your soul so much that you would never any longer knowingly condemn someone to permanent purgatory. Please I beg of you, tell me what happened to Keith. My heart tells me you know and I am on bended knees begging you to end this torture and finally put my mind at rest. Besides asking for your pity, the only other thing I can say is that by helping me you will doubtless help yourself because those people who have harboured so much hate against you and prevented your being released a long time ago would have no reason left to harbour their hate. By telling me what happened to Keith you would be announcing loudly to the world that you really have turned into the kind, caring, warm person that Lord Longford speaks of. I am a simple woman, I work in the kitchens of Christie’s Hospital, it has taken me five weeks labour to write this letter because it is so important to me that it is understood by you for what it is, a plea for help.

Please Miss Hindley help me.

Mrs W Johnson.

Hindley appeared to be incredibly moved by the letter, but Winnie Johnson later said that she believed Hindley was trying to manipulate the media and law enforcement into feeling sympathy for her as she claimed to be reformed.

Hindley and Brady wrote letters to each other from prison until 1971 when Hindley ended the relationship. She died on November 15, 2002. Six people attended her funeral service, none of which were relatives. The house in which Brady and Hindley lived was demolished by the local council.

English artist and painter Marcus Harvey created a portrait of Myra Hindley painted entirely from the hand prints of children. The piece was included in the 1997 Sensation exhibition at the Royal Academy of Art in London. “Unless you tell me it’s withdrawn, I’m coming round to the academy and I’m going to stab the first person I see,” was one of the many threats received by the Royal Academy concerning Myra.

“I just thought that the handprint was one of the most dignified images that I could find. The most simple image of innocence absorbed in all that pain,” Harvey said about his controversial work.

harvey myra 95

Myra, by Marcus Harvey

The Three Types of Girls & Another Electronic Music Composition

Wednesday, October 21st, 2009

“To a guy, there are three types of girls upon first impression,” Ken offered. “Beautiful, hot, and cute. And they’re all damned.”

I invited him to explain his theory further.

First, there is the beautiful girl. Most men see her as untouchable. For this reason, she usually ends up with the wrong guy. She may be the most unfortunate of the categories.

Next is the hot girl. She emits sexuality, even if that is not her intent. This girl is often viewed as a one night stand.

Finally, there is the cute girl. She is most likely to get married and easy to bring home to the folks.

In addition to these classifications, there are subcategories. In other words, a girl can bridge between the types. For example, a hot girl can also be cute based on her personality. Also, subcategories may be affected if a girl is unattractive in high school but later develops.

“So what am I?” I asked Ken.

“You’re a hot girl bridging over to cute,” he told me.

“Great,” I said, somewhat disappointed. “My dad was right. All boys want from me is sex. What if I stop wearing fishnets? Will that help?”

“No,” he replied. “It’s your body type. It’s the way you carry yourself. You exude sex. Just remember, if you like a boy, don’t sleep with him right away. Give him a chance to see the cute girl in you first.”

After this lesson in ladies, we went to my apartment and ate grilled cheese while watching Tales From the Crypt. I told Ken that I needed a sentence for my electronic music class. Our next assignment was to record a vocal track, and then cut it up and make a beat. We could use effects, but no other sounds.

“You should say rocket ships and wizards with guns,” he suggested.

So I did. The composition is below.

Rocket Ships and Wizards With Guns

If that link doesn’t work, try this one.

Or maybe this player:

Or maybe this player:

(Obviously I am having issues with technology right about now. Please let me know if none of these links/players are working for you.)

Attack, Sustain, Decay; Infatuation

Monday, October 19th, 2009

An envelope of sound is composed of the sound’s attack, sustain, and decay. Sound envelopes vary depending on the instrument and the player. Additionally, a player may use something to purposefully alter these components.

An infatuation is composed of consuming thoughts caused by illogical feelings of attraction. When these feelings begin, they are often intense. Usually, there is an obsessor and a person who the obsessor desires, with no clear reciprocation of the adoration.

Sound envelopes and infatuations are easily relatable.

The way a sound is initiated and how quickly it reaches its full volume is called the attack. Attacks can be either fast or slow, like the start of an infatuation. The feeling of propensity towards someone you barely know can be quick to devour you. On the other hand, it can also appear gradually, at first imperceptible until you catch yourself thinking about him/her, initially sporadic but consistently as the days persist.

Once a sound has reached its climax, the length of time that the sound will sustain is determined by the energy from its vibrations. When an infatuation reaches its peak, how long it continues is also dependent on pulsations within the obsessor. The gravity of the tremors felt upon seeing the one who is desired can make the sustain of infatuation seem perpetual. A sound’s sustain can be manipulated, as can the sustain of an infatuation. Conversing with him/her is a sustain pedal; briefly touching his/her arm is a sound loop.

A sound’s decrease in amplitude is its decay. The rate of decay can be sudden or slow and can depend on the location in which the sound exists. (In an average room a sound may decay quickly in comparison to the rate of decay in an open, unconfined area.) Infatuations also deteriorate as their magnitude lessens, and the speed of this decline can vary. Many things can aid this collapse, including location, distraction, and reciprocation. Location because infatuations may be quick to crumble if the object of desire is never present (out of sight, out of mind). Distraction because averting one’s attention to another is a common way to break the spell of fascination. Reciprocation because I imagine that the return of this feeling would create something greater than its original sound.

In any case, I enjoy hearing sounds and I appreciate being infatuated. Even when they cause pain in my eardrums or an ache in my chest. I’d rather feel everything than feel nothing at all.

Piss Christ (interpretation, introspection)

Saturday, October 17th, 2009

“I pee so much when I drink.”  This seemed an appropriate topic of conversation, as I segued from telling Elliot that my next blog was going to be about Piss Christ.  “This one time – ah nevermind.  I shouldn’t tell you about that.”

“What?” Elliot asked.

Now I had to say it.  “Well now I have to say it,” I said.  “One time when I was at my family’s cabin in Maine – it’s in the middle of nowhere and they have an outhouse – I filled up a 32 ounce styrofoam cup with pee throughout the course of the night because I was afraid to go outside.  I emptied it in the outhouse the next morning.”

If I were Andres Serrano, I may have used this container of waste for artistic purposes.  In 1987, Serrano placed a small plastic crucifix in a glass of his own urine and photographed it.  The result was a beautiful piece entitled Piss Christ.  Obviously, there was great controversy over the photo.  The debates escalated when the National Endowment for the Arts awarded Serrano $15,000 of the taxpayers’ money for the piece.

“I do not know Mr. Andres Serrano, and I hope I never meet him,” Senator Jesse Helms said in response to Piss Christ.  “Because he is not an artist, he is a jerk.”

However, Serrano also had many supporters.  Sister Wendy Beckett, a Catholic nun and art critic born in 1930, spoke about Piss Christ in a television interview with Bill Moyers.

“Were you not offended when you looked at Andres Serrano’s Piss Christ?  Didn’t you find that denigrating of the simple figure of your faith?” Moyers asked her.

“Well actually, no,” Sister Wendy replied.  “Because I thought he was saying, in a rather simplistic magazine-y type of way, that this is what we are doing to Christ.  We’re not treating him with reverence.  His great sacrifice is not used.  We live very vulgar lives.  We put Christ in a bottle of urine.

“It’s what you make of it,” she continued, “and I could make something that made me feel a deep desire to reference the death of Christ more by this suggestion.  This is what in practice the world is doing.”

Art is about interpretation and introspection.  What one finds in a photograph, a painting, a song, or a film is a reflection of oneself.  The people who consistently find a sinister and hateful meaning in everything conventionally ugly or offensive frighten me.

“I have always felt that my work is religious, not sacrilegious,” Serrano once stated.  “I would say that there are many individuals in the Church who appreciate it and who do not have a problem with it. The best place for Piss Christ is in a church. In fact, I recently had a show in Marseilles in an actual church that also functions as an exhibition space, and the work looked great there. I think if the Vatican is smart, someday they’ll collect my work.”

Piss_Christ_by_Serrano_Andres_(1987)

Piss Christ, photograph by Andres Serrano

Syntax Without Semantics

Thursday, October 15th, 2009

I decided to do an experiment in which I would compose a list of sentences with syntax (proper grammatical formation) but no semantics (sense or meaning). What I came up with is below.

Pensive bullets comfort wistfully.
Orphan dreams scream electrically.
Awkward beds walk incompatibly.
Beautiful phobias kiss metallically.
Maimed shoes confer ruthlessly.
Selfish nails materialize impolitely.
Lavish entrails smile violently.
Piercing tasks crumble intentionally.
Filthy eyes pulsate shamefully.
Suede letters hunger deceptively.
Mournful keys love sluggishly.
Unruly ammunition listens tightly.
Friendly bruises pause humorlessly.
Sweet rivers decipher tolerantly.
Shallow funerals amplify strenuously.
Instrumental elephants conjure justly.
Plastic alliterations crawl honestly.
Tangible memories hide bravely.
Climactic sugar whispers enormously.
Helpless lies abandon gently.
Passionate thighs succumb aesthetically.
Addictive fingertips march blindly.
Philosophical tendons reveal cruelly.
Comfortable possibilities echo accurately.
Jealous appliances applaud digitally.
Ghostly unmentionables consume firmly.
Mysterious lanterns billow authoritatively.
Odorous glass inspires recklessly.
Meticulous guns affirm congruently.
Tasty premonitions hang obnoxiously.
Cynical music decorates timidly.
Ignorant chairs cure drunkenly.
Bloody trees evacuate accidentally.
Intense doors mend breathlessly.
Melodic roads replenish softly.
Dramatic sands repeat colorlessly.
Rhythmic windows drown distortedly.
Lovely cages transpose damply.
Green ideas sleep furiously.
Damaged hearts speak silently.

After forming these sentences, I decided I don’t believe that there is such a thing as syntax without semantics. Because nothing makes sense, it all makes sense. Life is simply syntax, without semantics.

Philosophical Idealism; Phantom Limb Syndrome (Reprise)

Tuesday, October 13th, 2009

I was one of four people in the bar, including the bartender.

First, his new girlfriend walked in.  I assumed he would be soon to follow, and he was.

They walked up to the bar.  I began to put on my coat.  He was standing about three feet to my left.

I tapped him on the shoulder to say hello on my way out.  “Oh, I didn’t see you,” he claimed.

“Right,” I replied.  This was hard for me to believe.  There were so few people in the bar along with his proximity to me, and his roommates were with him and they had both said hello.

“No, uh, I really didn’t see you,” he repeated.  The tone of his voice was unkind.

“Okay,” I said, and I left.

I guess I really did make myself not exist.

In retrospect, I am starting to realize who I really don’t want to exist and therefore the person who I choose not to exist to: her.  Not because I want to be with him.  Because it’s terrible to feel so easily replaced.

Philosophical Idealism; Phantom Limb Syndrome

Monday, October 12th, 2009

In philosophy, idealism is the view that reality consists entirely of minds and their experiences. Extreme idealists will deny that the world even exists outside of our minds. For example: as soon as I leave this room, it will cease to be. Or, if I do not see something and I am not thinking of it, then it is no more.

The best way to mend a broken heart is by using an “out of sight, out of mind” mentality. As I exercise this method, I have taken to avoiding someone. If I do not see him, then he does not exist. All of the hurt and disappointment slowly subside as my attention is drawn away, until I don’t think of him anymore and everything we had together vanishes.

However, most people who know heartbreak understand that to stop thinking of someone is not so simple. Many find it difficult to completely eject another person from their minds. And even if stopping these thoughts in the daytime proves successful, it’s impossible to build a barricade around your dreams while sleeping.

As I relate idealism to this method of coping, I consider phantom limb syndrome. Most amputees, especially in the early months and years after limb loss, experience phantom limb syndrome. Often an individual feels sensations in an arm or a leg that has been severed from the body and long removed from the hospital’s pathology lab to meet its fate. The majority of the time, the sensations are painful.

A patient can also choose to have the limb sent to a funeral home for cremation or burial. A person who chooses to do this must truly value the body part that has been sliced from his/her life.

So, as I avoid someone in order to eradicate him from my mind, I regret that I am also denying myself existence. Essentially, if my not seeing him causes him not to exist, but as a result he does not see me, then I have inadvertently caused myself not to exist. It makes me question how much I value myself. Additionally, I wonder if I am allowing myself to depreciate in the mind of someone who I care for.

Yet I can’t determine if facing him will be redeeming or forfeiting. He is my phantom limb. There has been some deviation from the initial hurt following the amputation, but it still itches and trembles.

Phantom limb pain, like heartache, is usually not perpetual. Past cases show that the regularity and intensity of onslaught by the once-existent object lessens with time.