Sunday, October 30, 2011

Halloween 2011

I have made it through another Halloween retail season. Halloween has yet to come, as I begin to write this, but most of this season's parties have passed, and so too the peak of Halloween purchasing. I have survived quite unscathed, the crucible that is the Wed-Saturday prior to Halloween. Americans are such procrastinators, is the new cliché. Sales were brisk, but still only 40% compared to last season. People loved the shop, many remarking what a cool store we had built, many hoping we would continue. We built the coolest Halloween store in the Twin Cities, and if it is indeed that, it can be said to be the coolest Halloween store in the Midwest. Sales per customer were high, a high percentage of those walking through did buy; had we had the traffic we had last year in Uptown, I'm confident we would have had the $400,000 October I speculated about, in a previous post. Instead, by most accounts, the Twin Cities emptied out the corporate costume boxes Halloween Express, Party City and Spirit Halloween, and left our locally owned and operated one-site shop looking like it was day one.

The reasons for our low sales are many. There is the economy, of course, a general sentiment of dreariness about the future of the economy, and a sense of malaise about the future of America. There was road construction clogging an already difficult series of intersections. There is a glut of Halloween merchandise in the metro, every corporate retail outlet feeding at the $6-7 billion trough, a bubble of pop-ups dotting the landscape not five minutes drive from any of the 2.5 million people living in suburbia. The Vikings have sucked, literally attempting to siphon a billion dollars through the funnel that is the State Legislature, to fund a fancy new stadium, at the same time they are playing some of the worst football in franchise history. And the great x-factor that I could not fully admit until recently, that many people have a deep aversion to traveling downtown to shop, no matter that we are at the edge of downtown right next to I-35, and there is plenty of parking. Despite that there were cameras and reporters from three of the four major local stations in the building, one of them twice, in our 45 days of operation. Only some x-factor greater than this deeply ingrained, mostly unconscious aversion, could overcome it, turning collective consciousness our way, which at least this one radical anarchist gorilla gardening Halloween store manager couldn't quite provide.

Though there must be some new kind of x-factor I can't quite name, at play, as this past week, one woman gave me her number without me asking, and another woman asked me out - neither of which experience has ever happened to me - and I asked out another woman who said yes, which hasn't happened in more than three years, and there is another woman who is clearly interested, and another I am very interested in who seems interested in me. All of them strong, independent, beautiful women. Though not a one of them really knowing anything about my life away from the Halloween store - and that bit of magic, and the meager income stream it provides, is about to dry up. And it's not clear that it would be good to inflict this blog on any of them. And certainly not the condition of my house.

I went with one of the partners to several neighborhood bars, Saturday night, at the end of our passage through the crucible. I wore the orange afro and the funky jacket and shoes, he wore a high-quality chimpanzee mask and shirt. We found very little joy where we went. We found partially empty, and out-of-business bars. We found exceptionally drunk people. In one bar, we were roundly ignored, with a low-grade sullen hostility. The partner remarked on it, and I reminded him that there is opportunity in every moment, and I closed my eyes and danced at the bar to the band playing in the next room. One guy approached the partner in awe, astounded that any man would wear a full-on monkey mask to a bar. It's Halloween, I thought, and kept dancing.

I didn't actually dance much, the last two weeks, outside the store. We found two young men whose child-like enthusiasm was a better fit, than my curious style that is as much a challenge; their joy was more appreciated than my, do you see what joy looks like. That, and I've eaten more CAFO beef the past two months than I have the past four years. And my tolerance for alcohol is higher than it has been since college. And the weed has passed from ally to something like a habit. I never did put together that band I kept thinking about. My memory has been less than pristine, in the minutia. I'm glad, actually, to be done with the store, though just as sad, to have to tear down something that in a way is so beautiful. Glad to be done with it though, so I can move on. HD Masks is calling. So to, the OWS. And some quiet solitude to clarify a few things, to pull back a bit and think. There are some writing ideas floating about, trails to be followed. Though I'd rather get laid this winter and otherwise actively participate in the world, than do the semi-dissolute monk thing like I did last winter. There seem to be some women who might like to help me with that. I'd rather not muck it up with gloom.

(Have I been as mistaken about the future of this country, as I have been about the immediate potential of this business, and consumer spending this Halloween?)

"It's hard to dance with a devil on your back," sings Florence and the Machine, at 12:51 am. "Shake it up, shake it off," I hear her singing, or something like that. That same partner of the monkey suit called me a fatalist, the other day. I couldn't disagree with him. It's true, my perception of the collapse of the culture has led me to darken my outlook about my own path, to dissipation. The call to dissolution has been loud. And then I awaken to discover anew that my life is full of beauty and abundance, and I am grateful, and whole new paths of opportunity open up that I had not previously considered possible.

Would I manage the coolest Halloween store in the Midwest, again? The only reason I do it, aside from the fact that it is my only money making opportunity right now, is the people. I love the people, the customers and my staff. I am also sick of them, at this point. It seems to me that many in these new generations, the Y and the millennial, think that showing up when you say you are going to show up means showing up when you feel like it. That, and confiscating their phone might be the only way to keep their consciousness out of it. Many people walking through the doors are deeply disrespectful, opening up random packaging and throwing the contents on the floor, stealing accessories from costumes, stealing wigs and anything small enough to conceal. I have hired six black folk the past two years, good people, and every single one of them skipped out. I have met a few good, solid black folk, and a great many who feel a sense of entitlement as egregiously foul as any, equally unearned. Despite the considerably fewer numbers of people walking through the doors, there have been a far greater number of people this year who were simply difficult, acting like if we didn't take 50% or more off every item, we were stealing from them, whining and contemptuous like little brats. That, and the point of sale system we use is designed by Canadians, who do not know the meaning of the word efficiency, who also feel themselves superior. How many people came to the counter, acting like they were forced to buy a costume?

Still, my favorite thing is standing at the register, talking with and teasing and flirting with the customers, with those who are open to it. Many are surprised to find the staff so friendly. It really is a different place, where people love to be, and the staff mostly do love to be here. There is more joy in this building than in any retail establishment I have ever encountered. Having facilitated that is worth something, I think.

Happy Halloween.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Black Death

I consume very little visual media.* I do have a very large tube television in my house, given to me by a friend, a massive TV that takes at least two, if not three men to move any distance. There is a groove in my maple hardwood floor, to remind me of the time I foisted it alone, from the floor to a short, sturdy oak coffee table. Where it sits, a blank screen staring darkly out, at my living room where I dance and sing (and sometimes lament my station), cold and without life but for a few hours this past year.

There are times when all I want to do is disappear into that television. These times are rare, and I indulge that desire even more rarely. The only movie rental option I have right now is Red Box, of which there are two within easy biking distance from my house. There was a Blockbuster Video. Last winter I enjoyed perusing that selection, which I exhausted in a month. Blockbuster, like Hollywood Video before it, and just about every independent video shop, evaporated into the wind of technological annihilation, in the last decade. I might try Netflix - I could probably hook my computer right to the TV - but Netflix is not a company I choose to support, I don't need to be watching that many movies, and streaming video on the public wifi is an exercise in frustration.

I have already exhausted the Red Box option. The Eagle was fun, a nice picture of the ancient landscape of my Celtic ancestors, a strong reminder of how much more vigorous that time was, how much more unjust and violent. The Green Hornet was emblematic of a more optimistic time in America, a more immature and self-congratulatory time. Being so far removed from the reality of the day, and so cartoonishly nihilistic and juvenile, it is one of the worst movies I have ever seen. The Social Network was an excellent piece, well acted - also one more reason I am indifferent to Facebook, and it is not a film to hold up as a model of entrepreneurialism, as some have suggested.

The Red Box is no joy, waiting in line as people browse. I typically order mine in advance, on-line. That, or I know what I'm looking for. One day recently, I selected True Grit. The Coen brothers are masters at their craft, and Jeff Bridges at his (though Tron was boring), and little Ms Hailee Steinfeld was awakening in her grasp of the character Mattie Ross. We forget how effectively lawless we have been in America, for much of our history. And how captive we have been to a dreary Judeo-Christian ethic, that really isn't much of anything but a means of coercion and control. As a companion, I randomly selected Black Death, having never heard of the film, which I expected to be bad.

Black Death is set in the British Isles, in 1348 at the onset of the bubonic plague. For those unfamiliar with history, the bubonic plague ravaged Europe in the 14th century, killing anywhere from 30-60% of the continental population. It reappeared periodically, spread by rats and fleas and filthy conditions, until the 19th century and improved sanitation. It weakened the power of the church, and restructured society from a feudal state, to peasants rights and an awakening in individual consciousness.

It is something indeed to see it on the screen. The film follows a band of mercenaries in service to the local Bishop, with their world-wise but young and unavoidably conditioned guide, an initiate monk, Osmond. These mercenaries are seeking a village that is rumored to be untouched by the plague, due to the machinations of demons, and a necromancer: sacrifice, the dead enlivened, men eating men, etc. Born and raised near the village, Osmond volunteers to guide the Bishop's Envoy and his men, because he believes it to be God's will; and, he is secretly following a woman.

(If you intend on watching the film, and I highly recommend it if you appreciate period films and can handle the violence, I suggest not reading further until you have.)

On the way to this village, Osmond attempts to intervene, as villagers are about to burn a supposed witch. She is no witch, but a just, kind and generous woman who lives close to the earth, and knows something about plants and the power of blessing. The scene is a reminder of how much European consciousness was twisted by Christianity, and the presence of mass death - that any woman not wholly controlled by the consciousness of the Church was suspect of witchery, many good women tortured and burned in the name of God, literally millions. The Bishop's Envoy, Ulrich, knows the woman is no witch, but he kills her anyway, because letting her loose, the crazed villagers would only track her down and burn her, and it would put Ulrich and his men in danger, because the Villagers are convinced burning the woman is the only way they will be saved from the plague.

Osmond leads the men to the village they seek, where they find not a necromancer or demons, but a simple village led by a woman. In contrast to the madness and sickliness we have seen elsewhere, this village is clean, calm, pleasant and abundant. There is no plague. There is a nice scene, these soldiers, covered in armor and blood, wielding their weapons, standing in the middle of the village, as the villagers gather, curious, wary and yet somehow unafraid, unarmed and seemingly peaceful.

The woman, Langiva, played by Carice van Houten, is luminous, like the goddess Brigit herself, in all her beauty and nurturing and sexual aspects, and also in her viciousness. She is no necromancer, but she has played the role. She tells young Osmond that the villagers have found the woman he is looking for, dead in the woods, and shows him the body. Later that evening, she presents him with a compelling scene, raising his lover from the dead. Her magic is no match for his embedded notion of the afterlife, and instead of running to his lover as she supposes he would, he runs away, terrified; thereby stumbling into the original party of four sent by the Bishop, before the arrival of the current rabble, previously missing - hanging by their wrists, bloody and dead, crucified. Osmond is captured. The soldiers are drugged and captured, and a kind of psychological battle ensues, over control of the the consciousness of the villagers - between the dominion of God or the dominion of the Goddess (though She is not named, and these villagers are said to be godless).

In that epic scene, Osmond is presented with his lover. She has only been drugged, but she is not yet fully herself (damned belladonna, datura?). Conditioned by the church, rather than trusting his senses, Osmond imagines her spirit residing in purgatory, that the body in front of him is not his lover. He kills her to save her - thereby tipping the balance in God's(dis)favor. The pagan, God-forsaking village is brought to ruin.

Osmond learns of his error - that his lover was never dead, that he killed his lover - and in that knowledge he grows cruel, he takes up the sword in the name of God, and spends the rest of his days hunting and torturing and killing women who threaten the dominion of the Church, with their beauty and independent ways.

Black Death is a study in the power of ideas. It is a reminder of what happens, when a masculine God is worshiped and the feminine Goddess is denied, no matter the intention. To place a male God at the pinnacle, is to give sanction to the men of violence, who seek control and practice domination. Just as it would be, in any village where the Goddess is revered at the expense of the masculine divine. It is similar to the ideological divide in modern politics, insofar as the rule of one side over the other is still rule, domination by coercion and control. We can't seem to fathom a village in which the masculine and the feminine are equally revered, where one is necessary to the other in every aspect. Instead, we follow those who divide, who practice control, filling our heads full of demons we are meant to perceive, in whatever Other that is to be subdued, destroyed, crushed, killed.

In America, the idea that there are demons is rampant. One cannot be Christian without believing so, and at least half the nation identifies as Christian. Notice too, the popularity of films in which some kind of otherworldly presence appears, in the flesh, able - in itself - to do physical harm. It is equally conspicuous that hardly any of these emanations are in any way good; they are almost always of evil intent.

Meanwhile, we are almost wholly ignorant of history, and so very much at threat of repeating it. What really is the wide use of antibiotics for everything viral, in humans and our pets and our feed animals, than the putting off of the inevitable, exacerbating it the longer we put it off? What really do we suppose will happen, if more and more Americans, in this ruthlessly global economy, cease to have access to the most high-tech synthetic antibiotics? And when these plagues inevitably come, is the American mind capable of resisting those who will tell us that this is the work of demons - when it is really only a function of our ignorance of physical processes? What really is the difference between the necromancer who pretends to raise the dead, and the man of God who raises the imagery of demons, as a means to control the many?

There may be demons, somewhere. But they have no power, here on Earth in this Universe, but what we do, perceiving them..

Poor Osmond. So able to see that the "killing of witches serves men more than God," yet unable to see how deeply ingrained in him, the ideas of those who claim to speak for God. He sees his lover not in the flesh but through the prism of his training, and so believes her to be dead, her body inhabited by something unnatural. Having been drugged, she may well have been between worlds, or dimensions - but not in any way he could imagine. And in his naiveté, believing himself good, he does something awful, and a crack appears in his psyche, allowing 'demons' in. Thereafter acting in every way demonic, in the name of God, with the full sanction of the men of control and domination.

What is astounding to me, is that even today, knowing what we know about the Church and its persecution of women, that these villagers cannot be said to be of the Goddess, but only without God. If you go to the web site for the movie, you will find descriptions of the male characters who are in service to God, but not a single word about Langiva, or even Hob, the powerful man in service to her. Reading the website, you might think a woman does not appear in the movie at all, as if this were some sort of buddy film. Similarly, reading about the bubonic plaque on-line, you will find very little mention of any burning of witches.

I recognize Ulric and his band of mercenaries. I see their humanity, despite their butchery. I see the stories they use to order their lives. If there can be said to be anything like reincarnation, I suspect I was part of such a rabble, in some former life. But in this one, I am an Anarchist in service to the Goddess, which is to say, I am not in service and will not serve any tyrant, man or woman, pretending to act under the auspices of God or Goddess or no-god, who seeks to fill peoples heads with ideas as a means to control them, and hold oneself above. And on the whole, if it should come to pass that we repeat the story of the Black Death here in America, as it seems to me we very well could, then you will find me protecting women and children and the Earth from predation, by the men and women of God; speaking and writing about the ideas that enslave us, speaking and writing of my life in service to the Goddess, if for no other reason than hardly anyone will, and there is no balance one without the other.

Though that said, after more than three years in service to the Goddess, I cannot in good conscience recommend it to anyone. I have only gone there I believe, because the world is out of balance, and as far as I know, no one else has ever claimed to be an anarchist in service to the Goddess, explicitly. Undiscovered territory, so-to-speak, and I go there to see what might be found. I can say it has been lucrative, insofar as a means of ordering the Self. But I have found very little comfort in that service - nor can I say that I am not mistaken. I am my only evidence. And honestly, I don't much care anymore if anyone else believes as I believe.

*What a load of BS, I thought, as I read this later. How much time do I spend meandering through the Internet each day? Hours. One more reason not to take me too seriously.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

OWS, Violence and Consciousness

I passed by the Occupy Wall Street (OWS) crowd hanging out in Government Plaza, here in Minneapolis, this morning. It was very quiet. There were a surprising number of police*, not as many as there were protesters, about half as many it seemed. As a movement, the OWS has a long way to go. There was talk on public radio this morning that protesters were planning to erect tents, in defiance of a County order. They will be arrested, apparently, if they do. It seems an overwrought response, seeing as winter is approaching; they aren't going to be camping there long. That, and a too aggressive response could swell the numbers, considerably. Or not. We are a very polite people, here in the Midwest.

I couldn't help think of Glenn Beck, watching these protesting Americans. These are the people who are going to reign terror upon the wealthy, pulling them out of their houses into the street? The people who require a military response, who will have to be "purged", in a "night of the long knives"? Oh, and that taut rack of Aryan flesh, Ann Coulter, saying this is the beginning of totalitarianism? It may be, but not in the way she is implying. If there are any more public anti-America Americans than these two reactionary wrecking balls, I'm not aware of it. Prepping their followers to be agents of the will of dominators and destroyers, these two Apostles of viciousness and violence and greed. Can you imagine the likes of these, leading a purge? A good god does not exist anywhere in any dimension, if that should ever come to pass. If there is ever totalitarianism in this country, it isn't going to have the flavor of the Left. Contrast all the people who listen to and read Beck and Coulter, with all the OWS protesters in America, and ask yourself, who has the guns?

Guns. Word is, Americans are providing Mexican drug cartels with heavy weaponry, no Americans more so than those, apparently, working for our government. I read an opinion piece in a local paper recently, extolling the virtue of the Iraq war, rationalizing that the rest of the Middle East is in turmoil and Iraq is now nominally Democratic, therefore that venture was good. One of the writer's points in support of this virtue was, that Iraqi's are now buying 10 billion in weaponry from us. No less a luminary than Bill O'Reilly has come to realize that the Iraq war was a bad idea. It was not just a bad idea, it was the epic hubris of the world's greatest Empire ever, and one more reason we are headed for collapse sooner rather than later. As for our ability to export weaponry as evidence of any kind of virtue, that is the kind of thinking that will lead to the whole world being blind. But goodness knows, it is not for an anarchist in service to the Goddess to be paraphrasing Christ.

Speaking of the Goddess, I have been wondering lately if I have offended Her. We do not have in-house, the statue of Nike that we had last year. One of the owners refused to pay any fee to rent the statue, in effect, in my mind, rejecting that goddess of victory. I've been wondering too, if money is a manifestation of some kind of daimon, and so little has flowed to me of late because I have refused to bargain with him? And last year, that this energy flowed to us in some abundance, perhaps because the goddess allowed it? I know I have not been dancing through the building naked, with my deer horns, like I did last year. One of the partners thinks the problem has been signage. I brought this argument about the goddess to him last night, as we were drinking, planning the next two weeks. It is a testament to his virtue that he could hear me without judging, actually listening, and evaluating the decisions he has made, the attitudes he has assumed. Of course, I don't know anything about any goddess or daimon, actually - though I do know I chopped the head off a dragon recently in a dream. I had a steel sword, which would not cut the dragon's flesh, but then I took my Brazilian ironwood sword into my left hand and I drove it through the dragon's skull, and then with the steel sword I chopped off his head, which was the size of a mini-cooper. I'm not sure what to think about that, seeing as I wrote a book which I titled, The Dragon: Balance, Wholeness and Healing. Some in my culture have begun to think of the dragon as a potential ally; chopping off the dragon's head, the failure of the wine I made, the failure of my potato harvest, the slack income Monster Halloween is generating, it would seem I have been rejected by life, or am somehow rejecting it. Or maybe the economy is just shit and there just aren't enough people willing or able to buy costumes of goddesses and daimons and superheros, etc; or the Twin Cities simply will not support a downtown Halloween store.

I heard another bit of magic on the radio recently, word from the Consumer Retail Association that Christmas spending would be up 3% this year. Really? Maybe, but that's not reflected here. I can tell you this, if the numbers come back from Halloween radically lower than projections, that will put a serious damper on Christmas sales. If the numbers are bad, I bet the numbers collectors and purveyors will be tempted to fudge them. Because as you may recall, this economy is 70% consumer spending, and they are now trying everything they can to bolster consumer confidence, except creating actual jobs, or increasing income for those with a job. As I replied to a reader, if the consumer stops spending at the same time the Financial class is gutting the economy, what sort of magic is going to prop up the economy? And then of course, if you are thoughtful, you have to ask yourself, if the only solution to a healthy economy is Americans spending as much as possible, how can that be sustained? Well, you don't have to ask yourself that, but you should (though if you've made it this far in this piece, you probably have.)

I started this piece off, talking about the OWS, and violence. I see increasing turmoil, at least the next year. Most of the economy at this point is a fiction that has to be believed in, or it ceases to exist. Almost all of the wealth of these idiot Financiers who are undercutting their own base, is an illusion that disappears the instant the power goes out, the power in this case being either the literal power of the grid, or the power of consciousness. Should either cease to support this system, it would collapse in an instant. In either case, with as many guns as there are, and the cities and suburbs full of lost and angry people utterly dependent on the system as it is, well, I'm sure you can or have elaborated on that particular vision. You probably don't need me to paint that picture. If there was ever a time for a Messiah that time is now. And as I pointed out in a previous post, there is no looking to any Messiah that is not an abdication of the divine in you. And whatever any Sage has ever said, there is not any salvation that is not also an immersion in the material Earth, and that has to do with skills, and a celebration of the flesh, and a caring and a concern for the Other. There are the purveyors of manipulation and separation, and there are the people of joy, beauty and abundance. Consciousness is the vehicle no one else can control but to bring me to ruin. Consciousness is the reality that I may direct as I will. The violence that floods my consciousness can be joy instead, and vision, and calm.

There is always a choice. Always, even in that darkest hour.

* Minneapolis Police Officers and Hennepin County Sheriff Deputies receive 20% off, at Monster Halloween. Because, despite the heat showered upon MPLS PD, I have yet to meet one I thought wasn't basically a good guy, I admire their service, and it is better to be on friendly terms with such men than not (when they are basically good).

Wednesday, October 12, 2011


Here I am, dear readers. Thanks for reading.


Saturday, October 8, 2011


It's the morning of the Zombie Pub Crawl, and I have stepped out of the building awhile, as we are staffed to the hilt, I'm on overtime hours, and would-be zombies were not waiting for us to open the doors as they were last year. They did not come last night either, in the droves I had hoped for. They will come today, and whether we sell a great deal of merchandise or not, awareness will be heightened. But we have come to a point at which, we will have to do almost as much business each day as we did last year, for the partners to break even, as we have tracked to this point at less than 50%, compared to last year.

This news, despite that two local TV news anchors called me this week to schedule interviews in the store. Yesterday I fitted two reporters dogs with costumes on camera. Monday morning another will come, to tour the store and talk about HD Masks. I feel like I flubbed the first interview, though it was my second on-camera local TV interview this year (the first being Fox News, when the city tried to condemn my house for not having natural gas hooked up in the summertime.) Maybe I did, maybe I didn't. What really can one say about dog costumes? I'm not even especially fond of dogs, at least not so much as my fellow Americans are, spending more on our pets than the Gross Domestic Product of some nations of the world. One of these dogs once had a surgery, the cost of which would have corrected my eyesight. But then, I have never given comfort to that reporter, though I have long considered him as having more substance than most of the TV people in this town*.

John Michael Greer in his most recent post talked about initiation. I have been through several formal initiations in my life, all of which were transforming for me in a way that brought me to a more powerful, clear place in my life. I have made a practice of transformation, recognizing change as inherent to the human experience, and facing that change with intention, as opposed to what most do, avoiding it or denying it. I am in the midst of one now, I suppose, though this one is far more intense than any I have ever faced, and I have faced initiations that most would assiduously avoid. I have not chosen this, per se, and there doesn't seem to be a damn thing I can do to avoid it, this new financial reality, this place in which no rule that ever seemed to apply can be applied with any confidence anymore. What appears to me to be the impending dissolution of everything we have ever come to expect as normal, this unraveling of civilization that not a one of us is prepared for.

In the midst of that, I had a dream last night, feature length, following the long, tedious, collapse into insanity of a man who was like some aspect of myself. If I had to name him, I suppose I would call him my wounded victim, the Loser, that part of me that says I have always been a loser and a failure, as a son, as a brother, as a student, as a writer, as a builder, as a businessman, as a manager, as a baseball player, as a citizen, as a homeowner, as a lover, as a human. All of which are true in part - though I could build a comfortable off-the-grid house with hand tools from salvage, I could probably survive in the woods for a year with little more than a knife if I had to, I could feed far more people than myself if I had the seed, I'm a better writer than anyone I know personally, I dance in a way that stops people, I can sing extraordinarily, I have a fairly clear sense of who and what we are as a species and where we stand in relation to the Earth, I care about people and the Earth, and I am not afraid of anyone. But the Loser wants to die, because he is tired and he can not see anything but continued failure. He wants to give up, because he is a loser and there is no destiny for a loser but to give up and waste away and die.

I woke up finally when the Loser had come to a place in which he was nearly insane and ready to die, but he stopped because there was a young child who would find out and that young child would see, and know what he had done. I laid there a long time thinking about the Loser, wondering what to do about him. I still don't know. I don't want to kill him, I want to heal him, but I can't see yet how to do that, in the midst of all this upheaval and uncertainty in my life, this upheaval and uncertainty in the culture. It is a tremendous challenge, and I am stupefied. I am facing that challenge without any clear sense of what to do about it, except that I want to get clear so I can live.

Thirty-eight years old without children or a partner, without money to pay the bills for the house I cannot sell but at a great loss, without a stock of food, facing the Minnesota winter, managing a business that appears on the verge of failing, disenfranchised from the credit system, in the world's great Empire at the edge of dissolution, among a people who are waiting for a spiritual, or technological, or political, or alien Messiah who will never come.


It is the Monday after the Zombie Pub Crawl, and while it was a success, there was still only 60% of the traffic through the store, compared to last year when we were in Uptown, though this year we are located on the route of the Pub Crawl. That speaks directly to the economy. Some are acting as if there is no problem with the economy, many are not. I heard on the radio this morning, a piece on Halloween spending, something to the effect, "The economy may be sluggish, but Halloween spending is not..." The voice went on to claim that Americans will spend 7 Billion this Halloween season. Maybe we will, but I thought when I heard this, that it wasn't anything but incantation, an attempt to influence, a kind of shamanic trick. Go forth and spend. Which may work when people have money, but it doesn't when they don't.

I recently watched Inside Job, the Academy Award-winning documentary on the financial crisis of 2008. Such information in the past would have infuriated me, but it's worthy of a shrug at this point. There is no undoing the path we are on. The Occupy Wall Street and the Tea Party people are basically fighting the same thing, only the one wants a government solution, and the other wants to give the country to God, which is to say, to those Americans who propose to speak for God. Somebody dropped a pamphlet in the store the other day. The cover said something about five prescriptions for Joy in service to God, but all five are prescriptions for tyranny, as in, bow down to the will of the powerful, and expect to be destroyed if you don't. As for government prescriptions, two recent Federal bills proposed, involve the spread of American drug policy world wide, and the other is a bill to prevent bullying - which are two sides of a coin called delusion. Two perspectives on the exercise of power, neither clear enough to see that the problem is the will to exercise it. Tyranny, one way or the other. If you think our drug policy is healthier for this country than drugs, then you are a tyrant or a sycophant or a fool. And if you don't know what I mean by a Federal bill to prevent bullying as an exercise in tyranny, then you have never had to deal with the myriad petty bullies working for government at every level.

The unraveling of civilization is going to be an exercise in responsibility, for every one of us. We are seeing currently, all around us, people defaulting to methods of command and control, or collapsing into subservience to the powerful, grasping and clawing, or simply collapsing. The Loser in me sees it coming, and he does not want the responsibility. He is tired of thinking about it. He is tired of writing about it. He knows he will not likely live to see the Eden that is possible, in the aftermath of contraction. He has been waiting for a Messiah.

I know that I have not been practicing the art of transformation to simply give up and waste away and die. I know that we humans can create Eden, if we will only get clear about reality. I know I am here to treat this life as an artwork, to transform myself with each new reality I am faced with, to create the beauty and abundance I envision, to share and to give. I know that I am my own Messiah, and I cannot be one for any other. I know that I create my own reality, out of my experience. I know there is not a one of us who understands fully, or can.

I am alive. I am.

Oh yeah. And I did another local TV interview this morning. It went very well, I think. Better than the first two, for sure. I know this much about that - if anyone had told me last year I would be interviewed for television three times this year, I would have called them insane. None of these interviews make me want to do TV. And really, if I were William Hunter Duncan to these people, instead of Hunter Duncan, they wouldn't interview me. As far as Google is concerned, Hunter Duncan does not exist. "William Hunter Duncan" leads you here.

* I would like to say, if not for this reporter, we would not be on TV. And I still think he is one of the most solid and substantive TV anchors in this town.