Wednesday, August 27, 2008


I'm here.

Friday, August 22, 2008

How to Make Decisions

I remember BODO telling me more than once that he liked this thought process I developed, so now that I've finally thought of posting in the Blogblister again, I'm going to explain it. The purpose of this thought process is explained in the title of this entry. The process itself is almost as simple a notion, yet a powerful one, oh indeed, so powerful... for silly as it sounds, I feel that ever since I happened upon this idea (and even before then, actually), really everything I've done has been shaped by this system. In fact, it's probably true for everyone, but most people don't carry it to the level of actually mapping it out like this, so here we go.

Whenever I'm in a dilemma about whether or not to do something, or what choice to make out of many (when it actually matters--that's an important part), I ask myself three questions:

1. Am I obligated, for better or for worse, to do this as a result of an outside force I have no control over?
2. Is it Good? (I.e. will it be truly beneficial, for me or for others, on a level higher than that of immediate visceral pleasure?)
3. Do my appetites desire it?

The problem here is that a ton of interpretation can go into the definitions, e.g. what really constitutes obligation or "the Good." And of course #3 is totally up for grabs and is far too easy to get carried away with and put far too much weight on (the three should either be weighted equally, or #3 should get a little less than a third). That's why we have people with different opinions and people who do stuff that's just plain evil. Therefore, I can't claim to have solved every problem of human existence with these three simple questions. BUT, I've found that always keeping this in mind really helps the process of making healthy choices. I envision it as a sort of triangle, with circles at the corners, each representing one of the three questions.

To put it into a realistic context, let's say I have a tedious math assignment on Taylor's formula due tomorrow. Triangle #1 would have a huge green spike going upwards because I am very much obligated to do it, regardless of how Good it is or how much I "want" to do it. Triangle #2 would still be in the positive zone, because I feel that doing tedious exercises for school is good for you most of the time, but since it's on Taylor's formula, it wouldn't be that high. Finally, #3 would be unquestionably negative, with a red spike going downwards, because my deepest appetites do not especially relish writing out "0!" just because Ms. Oakes has insisted that on this assignment we write out the whole formula and take no shortcuts. But even still, the amount of red in #3 does not beat out the green in #s 1 and 2, so I do the assignment and I make the appetites tough it out.

Now obviously, someone who cared less about academics would have a very different picture. #1 would still be in the green, but nowhere near as highly. #3 would be much farther into the red, and there's a good chance that for many people, #2 would also be in the red. That's why you have to be careful in using this system--you have to be able to judge your own judgements, which no one can do perfectly, and why I, despite being, in a sense, the creator of this system, still make more than my share of vital mistakes. No matter how refined your definitions, you still will slip up at some point--but trying to minimise such happenings never hurts.

Lil Mugi

Thursday, August 21, 2008

a more nuanced view of things

I think that everything both is for the best and isn't for the best. Here is what I mean: I think that things in my whole life, and things in the world in general could have gone a lot better. It would be fine if the Holocaust hadn't happened, good even. If any number of terrible things that happened could just be erased from history, that would be great. By erased from history I mean just didn't happen. On the other hand, these terrible things in the global past and in all of our individual pasts have come to shape who we are, and we are doing very well now. You can see the terrible catastrophes of the past as tests, trials that God or whatever you believe in put us through to make us better. So basically, yes, the Holocaust was terrible, and it would be awesome if it hadn't happened, but now that it has happened, it's unlikely that such terrible ethnic cleansing will ever happen again, and I exist, because my grandfather in all likelihood never would have left Germany and married my grandmother if it weren't for Hitler and the Holocaust, so good things that are inextricably part of the fabric of the world now also occurred pretty much directly because of the Holocaust. That was a pretty terrible sentence. Let me be clearer. It's fine to look at past events and say "that was bad." It's not fine to look at past events and say "I want to go back in time and prevent that from happening." Nor is it fine to say "I'm so glad that the Holocaust happened because look at all these wonderful things that came about because of it." Somewhere in the middle, between "I want to go back in time to change things" and "I don't even give a shit about all those dead Jews because all this right now is so fucking awesome" is the best place to be.


Thursday, August 7, 2008

The Traveller

Although she could see nothing but blackness from the window of her cottage, Maglana had already known for quite a while that a traveller was approaching because of the faint sound of weary, beating hooves, so she was not at all surprised when a rough knock on the door roused her from her midnight slumber. She pushed the fraying, wooden portal open, sending a single, wailing creak out into the abyss of night. Standing in the doorway was a man who easily could have been forty years her junior, yet already grey streaked his thick beard and he somehow gave off an aura of tired familiarity with all about him.

“Hello?” said Maglana with a little uncertainty.

“Greetings,” said the man, with little expression. “I require a place to sleep tonight—I assure you that I shall be as little trouble as possible and plan to depart before the sun rises next morning. My horse will stay outside.”

“Why certainly,” replied Maglana, her heart somehow going out to the odd traveller. “Come in. Would you like some milk? I just got it from the cows this morning. You seem tired after travelling for so long—please, sit here.” She gestured towards a chair and went to prepare the milk.

“Thank you,” replied the man, quite surprised. Over the uncountable years during which he had journeyed across the land, he was all too familiar with the painful process of asking people if he could stay in their houses for a night, and usually, he was lucky to get even a grudging agreement. Most simply told him to find another place and slammed the door. This old woman, all alone in this ramshackle cottage on the heath, was nearly one of a kind.

“Here you are,” she said with a smile, placing a large earthenware bowl full of fresh, warm milk in front of him on the candlelit table. She sat across from him as he eagerly supped it. “What name do you go by?”

“My name?” he asked, as though it were a difficult question. After a brief pause, he said, “Läkken Helmsbrödlyren. My mother gave me the name when she christened me at the river, or so the story goes. She was taken by raiders the next day.”

“Ah, I’m… sorry,” said Maglana, her eyes shifting uncomfortably.

“What is your name?” asked Läkken, not seeming in the least affected by the story of his mother’s cruel fate.

“Maglana Ashenhacker—my great-grandfather was a fletcher, you see,” she explained. After a brief pause, she looked over and noticed that the bowl was empty. “Did you enjoy the milk?” she asked.

“I did, thank you,” replied Läkken. “But tell me, Maglana, why do you receive me so freely, and with such kindness?”

“You are a weary traveller—would it not be a terrible sin to refuse such a person shelter?” said Maglana, spreading her arms as though it were an obvious conclusion.

“I suppose…” said Läkken, looking off to the side, “but how can you be perfectly sure that, after I have left tomorrow, you will not find your most valuable possessions taken and your home ransacked?”

“Well, of course I cannot be sure…”

“Then perhaps you should be more careful.”

“Would you prefer it if I had not let you in? I am sure you would have had a much harder time of it.”

“Of course I am grateful for your help—but how can you ignore this possibility, Maglana? Are you not at least a mite suspicious?”

“Suspicious?” Maglana laughed. “I cannot think of a single great deed that has been accomplished out of suspicion.”

“Yes, but a great many have been broken for want of it,” countered Läkken.

“Then should I live my life in fear of the mere possibility of being broken?” Läkken was silent, so Maglana continued. “Let us assume for now that you do perform such terrible acts as you mentioned earlier. Let us assume that next morning, I awake to find the emerald rosary that my grandmother left me stolen, and my windows shattered. What then? Can I decide retroactively that I actually did not let you in the past night?”

“Of course not.”

“Exactly—the only direction, for me at least, is forward from there. I will always remember my grandmother’s goodness, and I believe Our Lady will hear me say the rosary even if I am not at the moment holding a string of beads. Windows? It is a simple matter to ask Mr. Sithwelder in the valley to make me new ones. Yes, Läkken, there is always that risk, but let me ask you now: why did you approach my house? How could you have been certain that it was not inhabited by a violent horse-collector, or perhaps a flesh-eater?”

“Such things do not exist in this land.”

“I have never encountered an evil-spirited traveller either—perhaps they as well do not exist in this land.” She fell silent, and for a long while, the two of them stared out the window into the blackness. Finally Maglana spoke again. “Here, Läkken, if we stay like this much longer, the sun will rise, and the whole purpose of your coming will be wasted. To bed with you now; you can sleep where my grandmother once did, in that room facing the east. And in case you were curious, her emerald rosary is in the box under the bed.”

“Please don’t worry—I have no intention of taking such a thing,” replied Läkken with a smile. “Thank you again for your hospitality.” He rose, walked into the room, and was soon lost to sight. A moment later, Maglana rose, snuffed out the candles, and retired to her room. On moonlit nights, the cottage stood out like an old, stooped guardian on the heath, but tonight, it was indistinguishable from the surrounding dark.

Lil Mugi

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

kick the can

My life is kind of like
a big game of kick the can.
I leave the can to go exploring, but try
rather hard
to get back to it
before someone kicks it
when I'm not looking.


Tuesday, August 5, 2008


We all live in a town
Where all our fears
The fears can kill us if we let them
But if we want to live
We have to just go and walk around and just
Cause once you start getting afraid
Once you shut yourself in your house
Once you stop
That's when they get you
So just keep moving
And they can't touch you
Well, they can.
And you have to accept that.
But you can control the chances maybe
Like you can never get it down to zero percent,
but you can sort of reduce the chances
maybe I DON'T KNOW
but maybeeeee
maybe you can.
But enough for now about fears
Enough thinking for now.
I will sleep.
I will sleep well.
I will well sleep.
( )


Everything that rhymes with Mitch is bad

Why the fuck would anyone name a kid Mitch?


Monday, August 4, 2008

Extremes are easy

Extremes are easy
The middle is the hardest
Extremes are easy


Sunday, August 3, 2008


I can't believe old people who drive luxury cars and make a big point out of going to Florida every year to play golf talk about how extravagant and shallow rappers are. Does this actually happen?