Saturday, March 29, 2008


[ = E :: Five Toothroad ]

I think those of you interested in th concept of Art in th Everyday should definitely check out th Situationists, whom I have come to adore. Th Situationists, a radical experimental group working in Paris in th late 50s (same time as th 'revelation' in th Principia Discordia, I just noticed) sought to change th structure of world culture (& thus politics) thru constructing Situations, deliberately engineered moments of life. I see it as a kind of metaprogramming.

They suggest an activity called th dérive: "a mode of experimental behavior linked to the conditions of urban society: a technique of rapid passage through varied ambiances . . . In a dérive one or more persons during a certain period drop their relations, their work and leisure activities, and all their other usual motives for movement and action, and let themselves be drawn by the attractions of the terrain and the encounters they find there." You can read an essay all about it here.

I would like to do this in Chicago. I can think of a handful of persons, here & in Urbana (ahem, Jacob, what say you?) who might enjoy a weekend of experimental wandering about.

Anyway, perhaps I will attempt to organize such a thing when Spring really starts to make urban drifting a little less unpleasant. Let me know if you'd find this of interest!

Yet another "offer" (I cannot help myself),

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Urbana & Singsonging & Synchronicity

[ @@@ Tz'i :: Three Dog ]

Good morning, Friend! I want to share w/ you my joy! I went last night to a concert in a coop house in Urbana IL, invited by microtonalist friend Jacob Barton. I had th inspiring pleasure to see & hear & meet many alive & vibrant people! Not in a long time have I found myself in such good company. I will confess, I felt intimidated!

But I played two songs on my cumbus: eight thunderpain; nine foredawn (th latter a debut). Afterward, I found myself in several great conversations about Art & Life (which have become so increasingly reflective of one another to me). I even had th great pleasure of getting called on a bit of musical BS that I let slide in my songs! I love it!

I want to get involved w/ that community. They have a school there called School for Designing a Society, & I feel like my work of late has become very much aligned w/ that motivation: to create fundamental change in th world by redefining society & its limits. How fortuitous! Magnets!

I want to continue these conversations! I don't want to lose th dialog that began last night! Please, if you read this & want to chat, get in touch:

Andrew Heathwaite (a.k.a. Nodal Nim)
gtrpkt atsign yahoo period com
315-657-6839 cell
Book of Days

Lastly, I want to tell you about my synchronicities (meaningful coincidences (meaningful because I say so - does any other kind of "meaningful" exist?)). I look for these in life, but I don't often find them.

I began my Book of Days project on 1 Toj / One Thunderpain on th K'iche'-Mayan calendar, a.k.a. February 15. Th Daysigns (th names, rather than th numbers - in this case Toj/Thunderpain) repeat every 20 days, an important cycle in Mayan thinking. 20 Days after One Thunderpain comes Eight Thunderpain. 20 Days after that comes Two Thunderpain. I had planned my set before noticing this.

1. I began my Book of Days on One Thunderpain.
2. I wrote th lyrics to th first song I planned to play on Eight Thunderpain, 20 days later.
3. Last night, I performed that song on Two Thunderpain, 20 days later.

So it happened that I had begun my project exactly two cycles before that performance, 40 days, & that th first song I played cut that period directly in half, taking its lyrics from th 20th day.

I had a higher level synchronicity in th car on th drive to Urbana. I suddenly noticed:

1. A sign said 17 miles to Urbana.
2. My clock said 7:17.
3. My CD player said track 17.
4. I happened to have an instrument in my car that I've altered to play w/ 17 notes in an octave.

I don't recall ever having experienced a level-4 synchronicity like that. While I take these kinds of things w/ a grain of salt (put enough random noise together & you will discover patterns just because of th impersonal laws of chance), I choose to find meaning in these events. It seems to me that Universe had something to tell me.

Much love, illumination & apricot,

Sunday, March 16, 2008

how to Paganize St. Pat's

For those who want an unexpected excuse for substance abuse, some alternative to everybody else's St. Pat's, consider th Bacchanalia: an ancient Greco-Roman festival to th god of drunkenness, fertility, ecstasy & irrationality, Bacchus slash Dionysus! It starts today & goes for three days. So instead of wearing green tights & shamrocks, consider leopard skins; carry a thyrsus & goat-skin wineflask. (Bacchus doesn't mind you going unvegan for three days of th year.)

Wikipedia has this to say about th Bacchanalia:

Introduced into Rome (c. 200 BC) from the Greek culture of southern Italy or by way of Greek-influenced Etruria, the bacchanalia were held in secret and attended by women only, in the grove of Simila, near the Aventine Hill, on March 16 and 17. Subsequently, admission to the rites were extended to men and celebrations took place five times a month. The notoriety of these festivals, where many kinds of crimes and political conspiracies were supposed to be planned, led in 186 BC to a decree of the Senate — the so-called Senatus consultum de Bacchanalibus, inscribed on a bronze tablet discovered in Calabria (1640), now at Vienna — by which the Bacchanalia were prohibited throughout all Italy except in certain special cases which must be approved specifically by the Senate. In spite of the severe punishment inflicted on those found in violation of this decree, the Bacchanalia were not stamped out, at any rate in the south of Italy, for a very long time.

Friday, March 14, 2008

let me tell you

a.) I love you.

b.) Happy Pi Day! You have, according to my clock, about 14 minutes left to celebrate it, if you just found out about it now by reading this sentence.

c.) I also love Maurice Merleau-Ponty, phenomenological writer extraordinaire. His works systematically approach a world not dissimilar to that of Zen Buddhists:

Th most important lesson which th [phenomenological] reduction teaches us is th impossibility of a complete reduction... there is no thought that embraces all thought. Th philosopher... is a perpetual beginner, which means that he takes for granted nothing that men, learned or otherwise, believe they know.

I want to get to that place.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

th way of circling beams

I have at this moment four songs written for cumbus, th lyrics of which I have taken from recent Day Poems. I debuted three of them tonyt: two at Tea Essence & one at Heartland Cafe. Last week, I debuted my first cumbus song at Tea Essence.

I hope to soon find th time to record these songs & get them out there for you to hear. In th meantime, I can point you to th Day Poems that I lifted for lyrics:

Nine Knowhow
Thirteen Lefthanded
Eight Thunderpain
Eleven Toothroad

Monday, March 10, 2008

I am th absolute source

I like this sentence very much, from Maurice Merleau-Ponty's Phenomenology of Perception:

I am, not a 'living creature' nor even a 'man', nor again even 'a consciousness' endowed with all th characteristics which zoology, social anatomy or inductive psychology recognize in these various products of th natural or historical process -- I am th absolute source, my existence does not stem from my antecedents, from my physical & social environment; instead it moves out toward them & sustains them, for I alone bring into being for myself (& therefore into being in th only sense that th word can have for me) th tradition which I elect to carry on, or th horizon whose distance from me would be abolished -- since that distance is not one of its properties -- if I were not there to scan it with my gaze.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

cumbusy Days

Salutations, Beasties!

I wanted to share w/ you some things. Firstly, I have a new friend named cumbus, a Turkish fretless banjo-lute of soorts! I found this friend at Andy's Music not far from my apartment here in Chi-town, just this past Saturday. He rocks my socks! He has double courses, like a mandolin, but six of them, rather than four. He has a jangly reverb, kind of like a sitar, amplified by his sleek aluminum body. & best of all, because of his fretlessness, I can play him xenharmonically! I meticulously stuck strips of masking tape onto his fingerboard to indicate th pitches of 17-tone equal temperament, one of my very favorite microtonal/xenharmonic systems. I have played many a novel scale since that time, & written one song. Last night, inspired by fellow songwriter Elisabeth Blair, I traveled to Tea Essence, at 1913 N Milwaukee Ave, for open mic, & played my one song & two improvisations (th second to accompany a dancer named Rachel). It felt very, very good to do something new. I've waited a long time for this.

Photo by Jenny Blair!

I also want to share with you a project I call Book of Days. I keep track now of three different calendars: Gregorian, Discordian, & th K'iche' (Quiché) Mayan Sacred Calendar (Tzolk'in). I write a poem for each calendar day in a physical Book of Days that I've made from scrap paper & carry in my breast pocket as I go about my business. Each line of th poems comes from actual experiences (external or internal) that I have on that day, altho I like to encode th information with metaphors & juxtapositions of things that don't necessarily go together. I've decided to keep these poems on record here: Book of Days. Feel free to browse & read more about th project! I'll give one example here. I used this as lyrics to my one cumbus song that I've written so far:

2008-2-27 :: Chaos 58 :: stinkcury.

==@@@ Imox :: Thirteen Lefthanded.

slugsin but to move furthers
he collapses, cuts, we reconfigure
gradual canopy what caffeine moves
station changes tribunals, brunches
jousting figures in how-do-I-get-there
what eight finsmake el Sol to join
(continued will-I-get-its, gots to get, unfrets)
Semicongenial, backto familiar workings
relax to Set Rendezvous, Little 44
hotxplosion! we sitconsumed bean
jolly last two & Awkwardbean hello
Wisdomutt & Manytoes for a quietude
Sinagain (o do!), Leftagain in stacks
trade tit for tat, unspendagain do
northbound philosophers mumblalienate
heart heart heart heart heart heart
exceptionally built, talking meta
time to dynamite in heaven

Altho I'd never expect anyone to know these things, I can tell you a little bit about this day. Th first line refers to that groggy morning feeling, which I've called here slugsin (I think a lot of my first lines refer to this feeling). Th next refers to Jordan having had a nightmare (he collapses, cuts) & staying home for a personal day w/ his mom (we reconfigure). Gradual canopy might refer to th roof of my car as I go off to walk dogs; I don't know for sure. Th caffeine reference definitely means my coffee. I don't know about line 4, but line 5 refers to my trying to find a way to a dog's house w/ a truck blocking part of th street (jousting figures in how-do-I-get-there). El Sol in th next line refers to a card I found on th ground, probably from th game Memory, w/ a picture of th sun & a caption reading "el Sol". (I kept it in th slot on th driver's side door to my car for a while, but it eventually fell out & disappeared from my life again.) Th next line about unfrets refers to my nagging desire to get a cumbus. I don't know about line 8, but line 9 (relax to Set Rendezvous) refers to my inviting Tiffany & Jordan to come walk a dachshund named Rocco w/ me (Jordan really likes him). Little 44 refers to th I Ching's hexagram 44, sometimes translated as "Rendezvous". Hotxplosion refers to me spilling hot sauce on my pants at a Mexican restaurant, & we sitconsumed bean refers to Jordan, Tiffany & I having lunch there after walking Rocco. Th Awkwardbean hello in th next line refers to coffee beans & my visiting Chase at th Coffee Studio where he works (it usually feels a little awkward hanging out w/ Chase there, since I distract him somewhat from working). Wisdomutt & Manytoes for a quietude refers to a dog & cat that I visited that night for a special night walk. I don't know about th next two lines, but I think I read a bit of Finnegans Wake around then. I chatted w/ a fella on th train (traveling north to do open mic at th Heartland Cafe) about Western Philosophy (I recommended that he read Robert Anton Wilson as soon as possible) & wrote northbound philosophers mumblalienate. (Th "alienation" in th last word refers to th other people on th train having no idea what we talked about.) Th word "heart" kept coming up that day, & Chase & I considered that significant & synchronous (we met up again at th open mic), so I decided to write it six times for line 16. Th talking meta bit refers, I think, to a conversation about Buddhism & Ego between Chase & me in th car after th show. & th last line speaks for itself. Or doesn't.

Basically every poem has about that much cryptic reference to th mundane events of my life. Enjoy them or don't. I think they reflect th authentic chaos of everyday life. You won't find great transcendant themes or heroic deeds depicted in my Book of Days. Unless you look for those things, of course. You can find whatever you like, really, if you decide to look for it.

I sometimes like to think of it as a post-modern Epic Poem emerging stanza by stanza. I see nothing wrong with this interpretation, & I encourage you to think similarly about your own deeds, as mundane as they may seem. By living your life, you participate in an artistic happening, th unfolding of th greatest epic poem ever written: Your Subjective Reality. So don't let your days go by without appreciation.

Enough talk. Go on to my Book of Days.