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Howdy. I'm Justin Hall, a freelance writer living in Oakland California. I spent much of the last two years living in Japan, researching the social impact of new technologies and electronic entertainment. Now I write articles, contribute to Chanpon, Game Girl Advance and TheFeature.

Thanks for stopping by this old web site.



status:
from
to
My memories of

search:

Thus spake:
> syko on writing like packing
> aimee on Next Trip: AVN
> Howard Rheingold on SAME Songs
> Liza on Can you hear my keystrokes?
> katy on Turn Out My Pocket
> prema on The Religions of Google and Geocities
> liza on cold drilling
> Muawiyah Askari on winter fullest
> Abbe on ratzin fratzin
> Mathias on to be sung to
> ??? on birthday bibliophelia
> yellowpagesgirl on traveller's tales
> nekkid on Sister's Eye
> Wendy Wallace on JenniCam's Breasts
> prema on machine feedback
> Joao Paglione on third shot, corner table
> alison on rock for light
> alison on Blog Eye
> C(h)ristine on without a dream

waka waka! by Robin

Wakawaka!

Photo by: Robin Hunicke

I saw this girl at the Tokyo Game Show wearing these totally rad glasses. I asked if she was a game designer; she said she was just talent, a model, a booth babe sort of. But she looked like a young artist! Quirkily arrayed. I encouraged her to take her funky wardrobe and make some software. Then my disappointment was offset when she offered to let me wear her glasses after I heaped praise on them. And Robin snapped this photo!

October 2004

face front archives

I write for Game Girl Advance quite often - here's a list of my last few posts there:

http://www.gamegirladvance.com/justin.xml

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December 31, 2003

writing like packing

I've got a rule about packing. Always pack the night before. No matter how tired/drunk/late it is or you are. Pick up everything and put it in your suitcase before you go to sleep. Save the morning for a final check. If you have that luxury. As too often happens, your luggage will be grabbed just before the quick dash out the door when you realize you woke up too late.

Same with this writing assignment. I'm tired. I'm posting on my web site. Hard to focus. But before I can go to bed, I've got to have a decent draft done. Something I could dispatch with a reasonable amount of pride. Then I can wake up, spiff it just a bit, and mail it without having to re-enter the total research and writing zone, reinitializing my databanks and filling my frontal lobes with all the facts of this particular subject. I can just read my piece for writing and flow, taste last night on tomorrow's tongue, and make it smooth before dispatching my piece and heading into the rest of my day.

Posted by Justin at 01:10 AM | Comments (5) | TrackBack

December 30, 2003

Next Trip: AVN

A friend at the dojo this morning asked when my next trip was. It feels so long from now, but it's only a week and two days. I'm going to Las Vegas for the Adult Video News Awards - the Oscars of porn I'm told.

Looking back through my rolodex I realize I know a few people who are explorers in the sex industry. When I was at South by SouthWest a few years back, I volunteered to be a web mentor so people could come ask me questions. Only one person signed up - Jenn Ramsey, who was just leaving a life as a married office worker to invest fully in HiddenSelf, a site sharing her erotic experiences. We had a fun conversation; she showed me pictures from a porn convention party. I've been to a lot of events before, but I must say I expect this one to be somehow different. I'll have a chance to study another side of desire and technology more deeply. I'll have to find somewhere to write about it.

Posted by Justin at 05:54 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 29, 2003

SAME Songs

with wilson
index.htmlMy friend made this, I'm fond of saying, when people notice me wearing some SAME clothing. I met Wilson in the spring of 1995; he's been one of the most rewarding, high-maintenance friends I've ever had. If I let too many weeks go by without returning his calls, I'm likely to find an artful torrent of profanity in my voicemail. Or an impromteu song, like these three I've received this month, Wilson singing with Karina his SAME partner:

Wilson's Happy Birthday Ragga 167k .wav
Wilson and Karina Chester Christmas 367k .wav
Wilson and Karina Chester Molester 489k .wav)

Posted by Justin at 01:40 PM | TrackBack

December 28, 2003

Can you hear my keystrokes?

Dark was the night, Willie Johnson moaning and sliding in tandem - black lightning shoots from his fingers illuminating a bright mind. I don't play music, I work text and markup magic to make spaztext. An interior experience to make and consume. So I listen to these songs, and I wonder, can you hear my keystrokes?

At least I have strong hands, that's what she said. That was gratifying. I'm a small muscle athlete I replied. Then I wondered, maybe martial arts is making me stronger.

I had to leave, couldn't stay over. It felt nice, being that close. But I had to call India before the end of business hours on Monday. Driving down four California freeways, I had women pinned to many offramps and exits.

Posted by Justin at 11:53 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 25, 2003

Turn Out My Pocket

Finally rockin' The Streets, after hearing it first in Las Vegas in Wilson's SUV before the SAME Fashion show. Robin reminded me. Nice cheeky tude, good fun flow. "Original Pirate Material" - if you're looking for good beats and foreign word pictures.

This evening it was a choice between personal gratification or geek work. The latter - some infrastructure: /re/equip/treo, detailing my current technology fascination. I left my camera battery charger in London so I've had to use my Treo as my visual notetaker. You can see the results here:


Tonight I met a young man working on his own tracks in a bedroom music studio - he'd mixed up old blues with drum and bass and recordings of his own rap. Inspiring.

Posted by Justin at 11:16 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 24, 2003

The Religions of Google and Geocities

Mom likes to go to church; on Christmas Eve we go with her. There's a late night ceremony at her nearby church; they sing carols, hear a sermon from the smart pastor, and light candles together in the darkness. It's a charming ceremony with tasteful adornments and a healthy dose of Midwestern American Christendom.

Tonight after the service, I was chatting with my stepfather about the religions of the world; he wondered how many Christians, Jews and Muslims there were. According to statistics on Adherents.com, total Christianity leads with 2 billion, but Islam is the fastest growing with 1.3 billion. Judiasm has only 14 million adherents; just a few million below "Juche" which is the state religion of North Korea.

I was talking to a friend tonight who had practiced Subud a little bit - a spiritual tradition I'd never heard of. She described her Subud experience as an almost completely open-ended liturgy-less sharing of the devine in the presence of others. ie, let's sit here and breathe and find god together without words for an hour - dancing, chanting, meditation without prescription. She rather enjoyed it, she reported.

Then I was going some web research on sacred sexuality and I ran into Asatru (Norse Paganism). Reading over the FAQ, I realized two things. One, I'd happily attended a ritual recently that decidedly overlapped with the tenants ascribed to this faith. And secondly, the FAQ quotes the Havamál as "the sayings of the high one." I've been carrying around a W.H. Auden translation of the Havamál on my Treo for the last few weeks, enjoying a few of these rough hewn admonitions from yore.

The sermon on Christmas Eve was excellent - moving words about the Christmas Truce of WWI. Soldiers from opposing sides on the European front spontaineously laying down their arms, electing to exchange gifts and songs on the holiday instead of continuing the slaughter.

My head nodded, a touching moment. The pastor, a fantastic orator, John Buchanan, saw the birth of the baby Jesus in that moment. The mercy of a mother, the crying of a babe; simple human gestures reverberating across a battlefield.

Meanwhile I saw many gestures whirling about the church, peeking out between the lines and symbols. Each time the hymnal said "born is the son" I kept reading "sun" - Christmas falls around the time of the year the sun begins to last longer in the sky (ie, Equinox). We honor the sun, we honor the son.

I get uncomfortable when people insist that their particular spiritual metaphor is the best organizing principle for all humanity. If you look down the long list of populated religions traditions, there's many ways of saying, "let's be aware, let's be kind." Tonight I celebrated a kindly Christian Christmas; last week I celebrated a hearty Winter Solstice. Next week? I'll continue scouring Google and Geocities for my faith.

Posted by Justin at 11:58 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

December 22, 2003

cold drilling

five hours of cold drilling dental work this morning. in the chair from eight through lunch. I've been grinding my teeth down for decades it seems; my grin looks increasingly aged. He handed me a mirror - "Tell me how you want to change your smile."
I handed back the mirror incredulous, I love my smile.
So instead of having front teeth shaved and capped, to reproduce virgin teeth to hold my mastication in line, I elected simply for a crown replacement, and six fillings to be replaced. It's my parent's dentist, with an eager drill.

Tomorrow sees another three hours of ass in chair mouth open numb drooling. I requested the gas - I can't believe anyone would sit through that much prolonged dental rummaging without decent hallucinogens. My mother hasn't ever requested nitrous herself; the dental assistant says it's been months since anyone asked to breathe. They had me sit through one wisdom tooth drilling without any blissmaking air running up my nose; I had to supress an urge to rip the dessicators and scrapers from my craw and run screaming in swollen tongue panic.

So now I'm at my desk from the end of high school, surrounded by soups and fluids, sucking down excuses to pop more OTC painkillers. And I finally finished my most recent article:

Adaptive Disambiguation, a rambling exploration of computer-human textual collaboration on mobile devices that needs to be edited when I wake up tomorrow morning.

The piece is one of the early projects from the Links.net Internship program: Shelley Lloyd did extensive research to start the story, and then wrote a series of drafts responding to my questions and suggestions. I would attribute the piece solely to her, but I did three interviews and rewrote most of it based on her beginning. I hope the editing process was valuable, and I'm going to pay her cash for her efforts. Onward!

Posted by Justin at 10:03 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

December 21, 2003

winter fullest

I could say getting well is my highest priority. Sister Shingles was a mother. 2003 wrap-up: Five foreign countries and the adventures of North America have me with a perpetual cold and the edge of a sore throat.

But I get tired of saying I'm trying to get well. And really I wake up each day with a long list of errands and to-dos, phone calls, meetings and projects that devolves into web surfing and masturbation. Each day lived to its fullest.

Except that I'm in hibernation. Holding back on plans and resisting invitations to the Middle East and even Japan to nurse my frail form into long striding confidence again. Here listen - I want to be excited to move again; not defying wisdom and body logic to live experience.

But I felt so full last night - hard rain pounding black highway night driving up the mountain slow but fast, rain skidding windows open blasting heat and The Small Hours aggro depressive grooves. I was alone heading into the mountain night to ritual, invoking the four corners of binding and blessing, bowing to the darkness and the light in the presence of wiser heads. I felt full - life and blue light and noise - natural reckless correct skill.

Hard rain begs home. Celebrate human evolution and particular privilege - bond with your couch in inclement weather. I left my new car to walk down a wet hill, night dark as a laptop on standby. To stick my head near a swollen yule log with many sheathed knives nearby. Mulled wine in my hand, tossing prayer flags into the flames. Touching shoulders of old friends. Forestalling a headlong return to health. Each night I sleep less than seven hours is a tip of the hat to the devil of progress.

Posted by Justin at 11:31 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

December 17, 2003

ratzin fratzin

gol durn it I just can't stop being sick. I've cancelled travel - all I do is sit around my house. I get like seven or eight hours of sleep each night. I'm taking vitamins daily. I eat at least two meals a day. What more, I ask, do I need to do to shake this cold?

Maybe leave the computer. Sleep more than eight hours. Drink more fluids. And eat more regularly.

A step towards that today - I made chicken soup. But a little bored of my old recipe, I added jalepeno, cilantro, spearmint, lemon and ginger to the mix. And, a half a bottle of Fat Tire Ale. So it's a spicy beery soup and it tastes like health to me. Come on chicken beer soup, work your magic!

Posted by Justin at 10:39 PM | Comments (23) | TrackBack

December 16, 2003

to be sung to

I sorted my books, I worked on the computer, I napped and dreamt. I took a few phone calls.

I went to my Aikido class, there were dozens of people on the floor. I'd never seen so many white-suited hand wavers. And yet we all continued our work, throwing and hurling each other around gently, without accident or large collision. It was a miracle of blending.

At the end of the session, we sit in a circle and exchange a few words and sentences. In the large group, most were silent or terse. I announced that it was my birthday and I had a poem to share:

Natural, reckless, correct skill;
Yesterday's clarity is today's stupidity
The universe has dark and light, entrust oneself to change
One time, shade the eyes and gaze afar at the road of heaven.
(From Ikkyu)
It's been the leading verse in my life for over a year now; especially the middle two lines. Now I'm working on understanding the first and last lines.

teacher tomMy teacher Tom announced at the end of class that anyone who tells the class its their birthday deserves to be sung to. So expecting a night of disciplined practice and relative celebration deprivation, I was instead treated to a sitting circle of twenty five kneeling martial artists singing me 29th year salutations. I must have blushed, I definitely bowed.

cassidy styleI then spoke to my nine year old neice and most recent hair sculptor Cassidy. She asked after my plans for the evening; I announced I would be dining alone with reading material. "Oh no!" she cried, "That's terrible! You can't eat alone."

"But," I countered, steering back into my lane, "I'm one of my favorite people to hang out with!"

Posted by Justin at 11:08 PM | Comments (7) | TrackBack

birthday bibliophelia

The best present came yesterday, when my sister Chris threw herself into a obsessive frenzy, walking through my place. She was overwhelmed by my rundown, cluttered dwelling. But not so overwhelmed that she couldn't do anything about it. Each of us held a garbage bag and she tossed away piles of trinkets.

"When was the last time you had someone clean your home?" she asked.
"I clean it myself!" I cried.
She guffawed.

Later, she went to move the sofa, to sweep the years of dust accumulated underneath.
"Do we have to clean where people don't see?" I wondered.

And it all adds up - some how the living room shines empty. It's desolate at first, since I'm accustomed to a room full with little things. "But it's hard to clean around tchokes, so let's throw them all out." We did leave my few finger pianos, a recorder and a penny whistle. And I discovered that behind all my unopened mail, I had many books.

So today I woke up. I was supposed to go camping today, to spend my 29th birthday driving off to the desert with a friend Wayne. But I was coughing and sneezing and achy and tired so we postponed that pleasure until I am more fully recovered. So instead I'm spending the day with myself, enjoying myself. And in the morning that did mean the usual computer routine, reading and posting and communicating and shopping for presents for other people. But then I remembered all the empty shelves in the living room - that I might go and regard the poetry I've gathered! Why there's Rumi and Ferlenghetti, Akhmatova, Ammons, Smith, Hughes and Hirshfield.

The Conference of the Birds sits with West near Das Energi, just above Blonsky and ornery Abbey, leaning on Didion just down from a battered old Brown. I sat on my rump and cleaned out shelf after shelf, sorting and filing books, brushing the wood with Endust. Poetry and religion with special sections on astrology and shamanism - top shelf. Then sociology, modern America, sex and gender. Below that, biography, autobiography and memior.

And there are other bookshelves! Cultural studies, media studies, history of media, video game studies. Japan, Japanese, Scandinavian Mythology. Novels, science fiction and a special section on the healing properties of garlic. Graphic novels, comic books and manga. It reflects my friends and family, old conversations and resonant passions. Dusty volumes bookmarked and dogeared, remaindered and signed by the authors. I've been keeping them around me for years, and now I can see them. Yesterday gave me my books back!

Posted by Justin at 01:14 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

traveller's tales

Mike Pugh is back from his epic adventures: from Bangkok to Mozambique. His is the best of web journalism - exploring life with personal insights and a human tone. First person perspective in some difficult, and beautiful places. If you're looking for a good antidote to whiplash objectification and dejection common in the mass media, enjoy Vagabonding. Here's some overview entries:

Review of the Journey So Far
The Southeast Asian leg of my journey.
Review of the Journey So Far - Part Two
a quick review of the months I spent in India, Nepal, Egypt, and Jordan.
Review of the Journey So Far - Part Three
This summary of my time in East and Southern Africa.

Mike makes a good point - you could travel as he did for not much money:

For the entire trip, I averaged around $35 per day including transportation, meals, entertainment everything. $35 x 365 days = $12,775. That's cheaper than a year at most colleges, less than the cost of an average American wedding, and a third as much as a sport utility vehicle.

Posted by Justin at 10:17 AM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 12, 2003

Sister's Eye

Wednesday night nightclub dance shimmy drink no food down and dirty with the high and flighty. Thursday night landed Aikido class and board games in honor of Oasis. Watching two long-haired game developers arguing rulesets for New England, I let out a breath and rememered shaking my shoulders with a rather sharp morena at Attica hours before my flight from night life in London to day light in Oakland.

Staggering home to my airplane, I shared a moment with this drunken mannequin:

mannequin, with stripemannequin, with stripe and flash

Looks like I missed Wilson's birthday - SAMELabs collaborative 2 minute fashion .WAV voicemail - 489k. (working the "chester")

Austin is moving out. My sister Chris announces that she's going to pull a sister eye - coming in with a cleaning crew and a dump truck Monday. She gave me this list to prepare:

You need to have on hand:

1. bags for Good Will items such as clothing, paper grocery bags will do
2. Pad of paper and pen to make list of items to be donated
3. Large box of green trash bags (the kind with the draw strings)
4. post-its in case we need to mark anything as give away, throw away, etc.
5. bottled water and diet coke

So I have this weekend to help my roommate move out, and hide my most valuable momentos.

I have a few goals, one of which is to write a personal rap, a way to introduce myself. I figure that repeated listening to "The Mystery of Chessboxin'" is a good way to prime myself. Someday someone will ask politely after my hobbies or work and I'll reply with a torrent of wilson-worthy rhythmic, rhyming verbiage.

mito lecturesIn the United Kingdom, between meeting Pete at Mimi's Brunel lecture, I told people I've been busy writing poems and drawing pictures. And it's true. Next week I'm going camping - no electric data fantastic, just another person and the Joshua Tree desert. Harvey asked, with Jane? No, not Jane, Wayne.

(Photo above from "Personal, Portable, Pedestrian: Mobile Phones in Japanese Life" - a survey of Ito's ethnographic research on the social structures surrounding mobile phones)

Posted by Justin at 05:31 PM | Comments (10) | TrackBack

JenniCam's Breasts

I was almost quoted using the word "tits" about JenniCam in the LA Times, but I was saved by a pair of brackets.

I remembered how I had seen a site from Jenni, before her "cam" site, where she showed close up photos of each of her body parts. She's a long-term, dedicated exhibitionist. She says she's stopping because PayPal is cutting her off. But for a dedicated artiste? She could find other ways to make money. Maybe her soul is tired of sharing skin online. Perhaps it's just a pause, or an attempt to get attention. I wonder what she'll do to express herself next. Remember that time she "stole" her friend's fiance, online?

What crazy times we've lived through! Watch your foot, it's under the leg of my rocking chair. (exerpted from email to maz)

Posted by Justin at 05:24 PM | Comments (1) | TrackBack

December 09, 2003

machine feedback

ouch! I jerked my arm back from the laptop. I'm in the habit of typing in various states of undress; in this case I was wearing no shirt. That shouldn't have made a difference to my computer, but I felt a short sharp shock running up my right arm each time I started to type. I poked around at the body of my aging Thinkpad laptop. There was a corner that had taken a few scuffs, some light damage. Now each time the relatively soft skin of my forearm comes in contact with it, I feel electricity.

Somehow my computer has a three-year warranty - it's one of the things I love best about this device. I have had the screen replaced twice, the keyboard once. As I was composing a support request at IBM.com, figuring out how to explain my problem for a fix (instead of covering the spot with white-out or duct tape) I laid my wrist against my brother's Thinkpad, on the dining table next to me here where I was installing software on it. Ouch! Shit! It shocked me too! Ahem - maybe I'm developing an allergy.

Posted by Justin at 11:44 PM | Comments (9) | TrackBack

December 08, 2003

third shot, corner table

London still, but no trip to Paris (not even for a free night at the Hotel Costes). I had a mission there, cram reams of DVDs from GetDigital onto a single iPod for a client with expansive musical taste. But my business is writing and my latest article is late.

regardingLast night I was backed into a corner of the corner table at Ciro's Pizza Pamadoro by three well-to-do Iraqi Kurds chain smoking and shoveling fried mushrooms down their gullets. We had been crouched under celebrity photos surrounded by merriment and social upsell for hours before the place was taken over by Arab music. Taken over I say because Jobim only caused one lady to rise to her feet, to the seat of her chair, to the top of the table dancing, hips swinging, white and black striped top recognizable reflected in the eyes of nearly every man in this dark basement.

It was wild and frenzied, but entirely concentrated on this one bold lass. It was the Arabic music that called more than half the crowd to its feet. Maybe laballing music "arabic" is about as useful as saying someone is from "africa" - arabic and african are broad categories. Either way, the Kurds at our table knew the words and the most excited among them thought we did too - I looked into his eyes and as he gestured up with his hands, I sang along - "a ba ba ba ba ba ba!" and it turns out I did know something. Two tables over a man in a blue buttoned-down shirt was handed a drum and he kept rapid time. The people waiting on the stairs emptied into the club. All was swinging hips and upraised hands - things were verging on hosanna in excelsis.

Our bottle of Port had been miraculously drained, though the Kurds wouldn't touch the stuff. They were drinking exclusively sweet creamy shots, something called a B-52. I turned down my third and turned to the door. Back to the keyboard!

Posted by Justin at 04:50 PM | Comments (2) | TrackBack

December 06, 2003

rock for light

If you evesdropped on my life you might see a noticable uptick - the songs on repeat moved from morose contemplative into sheer push this week as I somehow stumbled on a dusty pile of Bad Brains MP3s. I don't know anything about this band except that I once saw a video clip of Perry Farrell describing Jane's Addiction as a mix of Duke Ellington and Bad Brains. I've spent years with the Duke; I'm enjoying the other half of the equasion.

texting My brother sending off a flurry of text messages from his seat at the Royal Festival Hall before a fantastic, frenetic Beethoven Piano Concerto.
Today I flew to London. Picked up a key in an envelope in the lobby of a large whorehouse turned apartment building and passed out in the nearest empty bed in a cramped sixth floor apartment with glorious windows. Eyes blindfolded, ears plugged, I was shocked awake when three people joined me in bed, jumping into my sleep. One had a quivering nose, pink hair and a shirt showing her shoulder; nineteen years old, she was agreed to be my fiance just before she met my parents in this living room here, I had to ask her last name after introductions were made. I did manage to fix her up a decent ring with some pliers.

So now I'm looking forward to sleep again, late it is, but I drank caffeine today. Between Bad Brains and coca-cola I'm ready to tear something up. Craigslist Casual Encounters is fun reading in any city; even London. Seems to have a better w4m percentage than many of the other cities I've been in. But where the hell is Lanarkshire?

Imagine if I could get on the mobile internet - my queen bed is empty and I'm awake only knowing my location online. It's cold on the streets but warm on the wires. I'm most jazzed to be leaning over into work again, somehow compulsively writing and drawing - paying attention, poetry. mobile.links.net.

Posted by Justin at 05:58 PM | Comments (11) | TrackBack

December 04, 2003

Blog Eye

Just think - instead of sitting at my computer working on web pages for mobile devices, I could be watching Queer Eye for the Straight Guy. Last night CHecker came over, he's normally pretty anti-television. But he was excited to see that I had a Tivo carrying a few old episodes.

So instead of our usual debate over games and devices and family and goals, we watched a tv personality assume a new wardrobe and disposition at the hands of five articulate men, who identify themselves as homosexuals. It's entertaining to watch this cultural exchange, as they've set it up: gay mentoring. The unspoken agreement of Queer Eye for the Straight Guy is that gay folks are more self-aware and work harder to be beautiful. Behind that presumption is a history of bitter estrangement; learning to wear masks in public. And now they are sharing that skill back into the mainstream?

After Queer Eye, I watched Farewell my Concubine last night, starring Leslie Chung who came out of the closet and then killed himself. Being homosexual has historically been hard! So this show is a victory? Would there ever be "Black Eye for the White Guy?" I guess that's what MTV has become, in some ways. Probably not "Queer Eye for the Straight Girl" ("cut that hair short and put a chain on your wallet?")

I like to imagine all the papers being written in English departments across the United States - "Queering the Straight Eye: Politics of Sexual Identity in Post-Don't-Ask-Don't-Tell Television." I am curious to explore how this show, and its seeming popularity, reflects changing attitudes towards homosexuality. The show serves largely as a loving canonization of "homosexual style" if there is such a thing, though even Carson seems to stay away from things like HankyCodes.

I suppose that writing is out there - in Universities, maybe in the New Yorker, probably in blogs. Like I said, if I was really interested, I would be watching, or researching the show, instead of making web pages. But I think I will go trim my nosehairs.

(Speaking of English Departments, by the way, my roommate Austin has begun actually updating his web site FrostGiant.)

Posted by Justin at 01:03 PM | Comments (8) | TrackBack

December 03, 2003

without a dream

Notes from an astrology reading with writer/artist/filmmaker Antero Alli (bio/astro) yesterday afternoon.

In his Berkeley home, cat scratching at the door, partner Sylvi practicing music downstairs. Forgot to take a picture. Note: I've never met this fellow before. We know Eve and Erik Davis in common, that's about it.

He looks over a printout showing the planets at the time of my birth. The placement of something called a "south node" tells him that I am quick to grasp things conceptually, and I have a tendency towards conceptual overkill. Too much information gathering at times, hesistant to commit to things I don't know. Moving with faith, he says, should activate my sense of meaning. I should consider moving from the conceptual towards the perceptual, following hunches.

Gazing over at Pluto and Uranus in my seventh house, he declares that I have quite a bit of intensity in my one on one relationships. I'm attracted to people with power and independence. Then I tend to project massively on those people, he muses, probably overwhelming them. I seek too much from them.

About a month ago, I was looking over my life. Broke up with my partner Jane. Not living in Japan. Not writing a book. Just writing a few articles. I had a sense that I was clearing out my life, by accident. Or it was being cleared out for me - a cosmic control-alt-delete. I'm nearly 29 years old. In astrological terms, that's about how long it takes Saturn to complete a full cycle around the galaxy. The "Saturn Return" is reputed to be a time of come-uppance - either you've been disciplining yourself and growing as a person, or something out of balance tips you over.

Alli looked at Saturn in my fourth house and mused: this is an orphan planet, he said. This placement often signifies the death of a parent when you were young, or the feeling of being raised without parents. Does that ring true? I nodded.

Saturn also suggests that my task now is to identify and meet my own needs. Alli pointed out that I would be less likely to overwhelm my partners that way. This, he suggested, would be a good barometer of my emotional health. Otherwise, success for me is subjective; I should meditate on my goals and dreams apart from my engagement with other people.

He gazed at the top of my chart packed with Sagittarius and tempered slightly by Capricorn, and said that my career would be based on developing my philosophy in public. As I summarized his remarks at the time, "The search is my future, sharing that search is my value." He foresaw? advised? movement towards higher learning and respect for the unknown. Expanding consciousness by investing faith in the unity of the existence.

What does that mean? Less analysis, more meditation. In the last few months I've heard this message from many quarters. Nice to have it affirmed by this artist. I underlined in my mind a valuable sentiment for this time: be comfortable with not knowing what I'm doing. But continue cleaning up.

This is a time of the unknown for me. An enormous amount of my productive energy was invested in my relationship with Jane. We still talk and work together on a few things. But now that I'm spending my days staring at myself, I've been unsure what to do. I have work with TheFeature and Chanpon. There are other wonderful side-projects. But I don't wake up in the morning and run to the keyboard to get tapping away on something I'm passionate about! And I'm used to that.

So when people ask me what's going on, or how I'm doing, I don't have much to say. I don't have a barometer. For a while I had shingles. Now I'm working and visiting astrologers, taking aikido, writing, cleaning up for the next incarnation.

I saw Howard yesterday after all this. After listening to me prattle on about planets and intensity, he declared "you're a young man without a dream!" And I think he's right. I have a great list of to-do items. But nothing I'm reaching towards. For now. I take a deep breath, a few maybe, and I'm okay with that.

Posted by Justin at 04:58 PM | Comments (13) | TrackBack
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