Wind turbines and renewable therapies

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On an Aimee Mann listening kick. It has been years since I paid attention. I think when I first moved to Oslo almost ten years ago, Mann had released a new album, and I swallowed it whole. And then nothing. She recently released a new album, Mental Illness, which is quite good, but the final track, “Poor Judge” is superlative.

But I’ve gone deep into the back catalog:

Just one question before I pack – when you fuck it up later, do I get my money back?

Heavens… such memories, both of listening so intently and relating to Mann’s clever, cutting lyrics and then seeing Mann live with Naomi oh so many years ago. Some other life, really.

If you really pay attention to Mann’s lyrics, you actually can get a little mini-therapy session, I think. A glimpse into how things go. But we don’t listen.

Just as we never can take even our own advice when the rational side of ourselves tells us what to do. If such a thing exists.

the bottom fell out and i became withdrawn

Many people, even those I barely know, with many different problems, ranging from nymphomania to fear of death, from existential maladies to relationship woes (infidelities, parental lack of communication, getting dumped, etc.), keep turning to me to discuss these issues. Some in a therapeutic way and some in a misguided bid to send me into some kind of (mental?) overdrive. But all I can come back with is the question, again and again, “What is it you want to achieve?

“My parent isn’t coming to visit this year and didn’t bother telling me. Should I confront?”
“That depends. What do you want to achieve?”

“I want to fuck every person I see. Is there something wrong with me?”
“That depends. What do you want to achieve?”

“My latest boyfriend, who was also my lawyer/contractor/plumber/boss, dumped me. Should I just give up on dating?”
“First of all, don’t date your —- (anything that you rely on). Second of all, that depends. What do you want to achieve?”

There will also be some curious reader who will see all these descriptions/scenes and imagine that everything applies to them. But no, not everything is, “Me! Me! Me!” and the world does not revolve around you. But still I’d ask the same question: “What do you want to achieve (by imagining everything is about you)?”

You can keep talking, exploring, finding out what you want to achieve through your actions – or letting what you want to achieve dictate what course of action you choose to take.

But the questioning will grow wearisome. (I guess that’s why people ask me; it’s wearisome to ask oneself endlessly without a wall to throw the ideas against.)

It all brings to mind once more the words of Pessoa:

“What men wanted and didn’t achieve, what they killed in order to achieve, and all that souls have secretly been – all of this filled the feeling soul with which I walked to the seashore. What lovers found strange in those they love, what the wife never revealed to her husband, what the mother imagines about the son she didn’t have, what only had form in a smile or opportunity, in a time that wasn’t the right time or in an emotion that was missing – all of this went to the seashore with me and with me returned, and the waves grandly churned their music that made me live it all in a sleep.” -from The Book of Disquiet

“There are times when everything wearies us, including what we would normally find restful. Wearisome things weary us by definition, restful things by the wearying thought of procuring them. There are dejections of the soul more subdued than any kind of anxiety or pain; I believe they’re known only by those who elude human pains and anxieties and are sufficiently diplomatic with themselves to avoid even tedium.” -from The Book of Disquiet

Music falling on the spooky, dark, winter-wonderland drive

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I arrived home after three+ hours of driving to trudge through ankle-deep snow – snow is everywhere. No big surprise. I cannot complain – winter did not come until late this year.

To get here to this calm, quiet, still cottage in the woods, I drove through some unpleasant conditions. All day in Gothenburg the temperature hovered around 0C while a snowy-sleet fell all day, creating a dubious, slick concoction on the road. It was a harrowing, treacherous drive at various points.

I actually break the trip into thirds. The first third is all motorway, which was largely clear – but it was extremely windy, trafficky and the further north I drove, the thicker the snow that started to fall (and the thicker the layer that already covered the ground).

The second of the three parts of my trip starts to become more winding and rural but is still not the worst part. There were a few blinding snow flurries, and the wind, particularly when crossing large open fields, blew mountains of snow up from the roadway into the line of vision.

By the final leg of the trip, which consists of considerably more rugged roads, winding, hilly and unkept, snow and wind were whirling, mildly blizzard-like, the roads were covered – no lines visible at all. The two vehicles that got behind me expressed their displeasure and impatience with my caution with some angry tailgating. My caution was warranted – in three different spots on the road, large groups of deer were just standing in the road. If I had not been going as slowly as I was, we’d have just plowed right into them.

There was a time, long ago, that driving in these kinds of conditions would have scared the hell out of me. I have let go of the fear and nervousness and embraced a healthy respect for the force of weather and just moved forward. Good advice for most things.

Yo – here’s another little piece of advice…Reggie Watts – “Fuck Shit Stack

Advice: “Sing your life – any fool can think of words that rhyme

I ask virtually every person I meet to sing for me. Mostly to see what their reaction will be. I like to know what people will do in that kind of unexpected situation. Most people are pretty shy and won’t just break into song. Some need coaxing, such as the shy boy from Karlstad who eventually sang – and once he started could not stop, with lovely patriotic songs about Värmland. Some, like an old ex, would never do it at all. Others burst into enthusiastic singing immediately, such as an Egyptian doctor I once met who sang a long and mournful-sounding song in Arabic; my lovely French friend who regaled me with a most rousing version of one of the worst songs I have ever heard, “Mon fils ma bataille” while waiting on the train platform at Aulnay-sous-Bois after he misguided us and put us on the wrong train to the airport, and then the people who are musicians already – they are always ready to go with a song.

Of late I got to hear the most intentionally whiny, horrible version of Snow Patrol’s “Chasing Cars”. I can’t stop thinking about it and laughing. It is especially good because the guy singing it to me is Scottish, and he is snide and sneering about it and puts a special emphasis on the word “world” – making it sound like it has a whole lot more syllables in it than it actually does. My god, I love it.