Shadow of the Groundhog # 19: All Roads Lead to (and from) Zero


Latest developments, worldly and otherwise.

There was the exodus from Zer0 as reported in SOTG #17. This gave me a partial feeling of being back to “square zero.” The weather meanwhile was well below zero, hence the frozen pipes already mentioned.

Then there is the Patreon campaign idea, reported in SOTG # 18, which was all about numbers. The aim of the Patreon campaign is to increase my income from zero to . . . something. (Eventually I will need to earn at least $2000 a month to live on.)

My article on Kubrick—a two-thousand word cull from the much longer work-in-progress—was accepted by The Quietus, a fairly well-established UK music and culture website. (No pay, but exposure.) The day before I got word I found out that Tariq Goddard—the founder of Zer0 Books, and the one who’d quit—wrote for TQ sometimes, and that TQ was the first site to report the split. This clued me that I was circling the right water hole in the desert of the literary world.

TQ asked for an overtly autobiographical passage to be excised, and while I was going over the piece again, now I knew it would appear at a mainstream site, I found that I didn’t like the piece so much. It was like I was reading it with new eyes, the eyes of an unknown, potentially hostile audience. Theory of mind. I rewrote the piece attempting to appease this imaginary audience and minimize what I felt sure would be a defensive reaction. (I’d found out recently how many people out there think that finding obscure clues in Kubrick’s films is the sign of an obsessive loser in need of a life.)

I talked to my wife about this odd experience and what it implied, and the next day I messaged Phil Snyder. He agreed that writing for a larger, potentially “unfriendly” audience might be just what I needed.

Here are a few slightly revised notes from our chat:

It is like taking the car on the highway instead of forever pootling about town; my anxiety helped me see part of the mechanism by which I have avoided success. It is good to have a support network [i.e., this blog] but not if I get dependent on it; I have to leave the nest eventually, otherwise I will just end up creating another consensus.

When small bands make the shift to big gigs they often fail horribly; the stakes get higher, and of course, when people perceive you as being more of a “big shot,” they become much harsher judges. It is going from the safety of being an amateur to being a “pro.” [Which is essential to start making a living.]

My wife brought my attention to something the night before which I had never fully considered. I was conditioned from birth to be a leader/ruler —a somebody; the psychological conditioning of being a rich kid goes much deeper than for a poor one, because it’s not just, “Hey kid you gotta earn your bread to live,” it’s: “YOU HAVE TO CARRY THE DYNASTY FORWARD!” I have been both carrying this deep feeling of entitlement—as if I am supposed to “rule”—and a deep resistance to it, to succumbing to that program.

The next day, my wife traveled across Canada to spend time with her sick mother. It was the first time I had been alone in the house, the first time it was her and not me going on a trip, and the first time I’d been alone in my own space since I’d lived briefly in Estonia, in 2012.

The temperature had been gradually creeping back to zero, meanwhile, and the pipes finally unfroze soon after my wife left. I went to look at them to see about insulating them before the next big chill. The crawl space under the house—and especially the access to it—was so small I could barely even get my head under to see. What I saw was massive ice sculptures under the kitchen area, and a soaking wet joist! There appeared to be a copious leak under the kitchen, and I could hear the hiss of a burst pipe and see water dripping off the wooden joist.

No sooner was I alone than—CRISIS!

I wasn’t even sure I could get under the house, much less fix the problem. I was reluctant to try in case I got stuck there. (I don’t own a cell phone so I would need to leave word with someone in case something happened otherwise I’d probably die under there.) I decided it might be beyond my skillset and to find a plumber and see what he said. It looked like a major job, and if I got a professional in I’d probably be looking at upward of $1000. But whatever happened, it had to be fixed pronto. I didn’t even know how long the leak had been there, but the joist would rot in no time if it continued to be soaked, and then the kitchen floor would collapse.

The house we’d built back to shape with such tender loving care, that had seemed finally so solid and secure in time for winter, was suddenly looking like a potential disaster area.

A couple of days went by, during which the plumber I called did not return my call. I got the first electric bill since the cold hit: $554 for two months! The prospected next bill was well over $700. I was starting to feel creeping despair.

Meanwhile, I put together a 3000-word piece on extra-consensual perception for Pijama Surf and edited a new video for the Patreon campaign. The launch date I was aiming for was December 7th, which was the day in 1991, 23 years ago, I left a life of wealth and comfort behind me forever, and moved to Morocco. Maybe it was time to un-renounce my worldly wealth?

This morning, I called two more plumbers and a local handyman I know called Dan. On slightly more than a whim, I checked my astrological transits. This was the main one.

saturn midheaven

So there it was. Good news on the other side of difficulties. It was time to get back to the basics.

The phone rang and it was Dan. He was free—in fact he was out of work—and he said he would come right over.

I put on my work clothes and went outside; Dan arrived in his blood red truck and I showed him the crawl space. Dan is a hundred pounds heavier than me, and a few inches shorter and he didn’t even try to get under there. After some thought, he said our best bet was to cut a hole in the kitchen floor, in the corner where the fridge was, create an opening to go through, and tackle it that way. He said we could replace the parts of the pipes that went under the kitchen so that they would then run inside the house; that way, not only would we fix the leak but also prevent further problems when the temperature dropped again.

I gave the go signal and we went to work.

The whole job took less than four hours and cost me $120, including parts (plus a $10 tip for Dan).

While we were going back and forth from the hardware store, Dan told me he’d developed a stomach parasite and lost about twenty pounds over the past couple of months. He was glad I’d called him, because it meant he’d have money for medicine. (The doctor had recommended antibiotics.) I said that if a stomach parasite was causing him to lose weight, then it sounded like a tape worm. He admitted they hadn’t ruled that out, and added that his father had had a tape worm when he, Dan, was a kid.

I got Dan’s card and told him I’d do some research. I thanked him. I could sleep easy at night now—until the next thing happened. He thanked me back and off he went.

The above is of course a meta-narrative, and as such no doubt it’s full to the brim with clues. I am too tired to even think about analyzing it, but if anyone wants to give it a shot—be my guest.

But now I must eat.

24 thoughts on “Shadow of the Groundhog # 19: All Roads Lead to (and from) Zero

  1. Berberine tincture is excellent for intestinal parasites!!!!!

    There is a big bottle in the fridge and a dropper bottle up where the vitamins are!

    It worked for me after I came back from the Tulameen with a bug!

  2. Dan helped you reclaim flow, in the pipes of your kitchen. In the house, the kitchen is the digestive system where building blocks arrive, then are processed and consumed by the body to provide energy.

    You have also helped Dan unblock his pipes (via medicine/knowledge) in his ‘little house’, the body.

    The lack of flow was hidden from you, until you went down to prepare to protect your flow in future. (You were initially thinking ahead when you checked the pipes?).

    I was reading today about the norse ‘The Norns and the Well of the Wyrd’. In the Norse myth, the water flows underground and all our deeds fall into it, this underground stream waters, nourishes and sustains the World Tree. The Deeds of the past feed the tree and influence the future. The water is collected from the stream by the ‘Norns’, from what I can gather they are supernatural women, who use the water of our deeds to water the World Tree.

    The myth says that human life is so complicated because the Norns are also weaving tapestries that determine human destiny- The Three Norns; ‘one young and beautiful, One old hag and one older than time itself’ get frustrated and destroy the tapestries because they are so complex and impossible to understand. The Myth says that if the tapestry is ever completed, humans will know peace.

  3. Hi Jason,

    Something doesn’t pass the sniff test for me here.. I must be reading it wrong.

    Did you just write that you changed your article, after reading everyone else’s, and decided to create a work that would be more pleasing to your [planned to be] mainstream Mass audience… I have major trust issues over that , if it’s the case.

    And this is on St. Nick’s Day.. Yes, it does seem a bit Faustian, especially since your motive is first and foremost is admittedly popularity and making a living at writing..i.e. $$$$

    And the tie – in with the renunciation of your inheritance, back 23 years ago?

    That’s stinks.. In other words, you renounced your family’s money , so you could be like any other hack – and just pander to the crowd?

    I haven’t been feeling that great lately either.. I can’t get enough done.. I’m always able to shake it off.. I think my own stress does have to do with other people’s expectations.. And how those expectations run counter to my own goals and ideals.

    When you first started asking for money, a few posts ago, I did get angry.. I thought: Jeez, this guy could likely sell one piece of his family’s furniture and create enough money , wherein it would be enough that I could live on it for years, and start my business without starving and getting sick….. Yet he’s asking me for money.. And then , even causing me to feel guilty for not helping him.. Sheesh.

    I think your wife is/was onto something when she noticed your expectations derive from the underlying assumption of entitlement.. Usually people who feel so entitled, don’t talk about it publicly.. They have a sense of shame and fear.. Shame because they know most people in the world have it “worse off” than they do.. And have had less chance to succeed than themselves.. So they don’t bring it up..

    Also, fear, because they know that their privilege creates jealousy and even sometimes hatred, so they prudently do not call attention to their privilege, in public.

    The fact you are totally shameless about it , doesn’t work in your favor, for me. “At least he’s honest” doesn’t always work if one truly feels harmed by another’s self centered behavior.

    I guess I am “just being honest” here.. But it’s probably just a tit for tat?

    I don’t know your personal situation nor finances, nor do you know mine.. Or what has happened to you, around your family’s wealth [or not, as the case may be] in the past 23 years. But I saw your brother’s funeral procession and I’m not an idiot.. I know your family is in a total different stratosphere than myself, and likely, in a different entire universe than most of your readers. Can’t you get an annuity.. ?

    The rich are always sucking off the poor.. Yet when the times comes and someone who is “without” needs.. The wealthy are the last to help That’s Why They Are Wealthy!

    So this hit a nerve for me.. I chose to ignore it.. But the deal with the Devil.. you know,, “People who research minutiae in the works of Kubrick are considered losers” ~So, um, I’ll go along with the mainstream to get my paycheck.


    Hey just do that! Just as everyone else does! But why publish that insult?

    The Devil will not be your friend; I’ll tell you that.

    • this is so overflowing with misunderstanding and faulty judgment that I don’t even think it is worth addressing it ~ it would take too long. And you wonder why i dont take your criticsm well, Pearl!

      Maybe if you read it again and parse out your triggered reactions from what’s actually been said, we can dialogue about it?

      For the record, I’d never consciously compromise my writing to please people; but I would tailor the message to reach them, if you see the difference.

      Your judgment against me for trying to earn a living writing seems pretty messed up, if you don’t mind my saying so..

      Count to ten thousand…

      • One irony here: by sharing my feelings of trepidation about writing for a potentially hostile audience, and mentioning that this blog is a safe space for me, I have unwittingly evoked hostility inside the nest!

  4. actually it wasn’t so much lack of flow as an overflow, uncontained flow; the leak Dan found was of mysterious origin, not caused by freezing; a worn away piece of the plastic pipe and a hole, almost as if a rat had chewed it, tho Dan thought it had been worn away, which i questioned since there was nothing it was rubbing against, even if it had been moving.

    I havent helped Dan yet, unless it was just by talking about it; but I will try & get the Berberine to him.

    First I have heard of the Norns, but our electrician is called Norm, and I just did an interview for Wyrd Daze.

    Nice to see you at the blog, Dicko.

  5. So your destiny had more potential than the pipes could handle :-O.

    None fear-based advice is like gold, especially when shit’s getting real with health etc. (hard for folk to stay rational with fear/loss minimisation based info coming from all sides).

    Interesting that you both had mystery culprits chewing at your pipes.

  6. I apologize for going overboard on my criticism.. I was angered.

    I touched upon the same irony when I wrote it up on the Forum; with my apology included.

    .. “The article seemed to say that those who look at minutiae around Kubrick are thought of as losers. And as he needs to make money by writing for a large audience, he was changing his writing so as not to attract [what he would anticipate ] as dislike / hate / attack.

    Unfortunately, him writing that ,angered me.. Since being hated-on by the society , in general, for being labeled a “conspiracy theorist” for my research and writing, is not only unpleasant, but potentially dangerous. ”

    I’m am also with a broken pipe which is leaking onto a Beam in the Floor.. And a leaky faucet which I don’t have the tool to fix, which is leaking hot water. And is therefor very expensive.. And these are things I have neglected for a long time..

    Also, today, the heat went out in the building..this morning.. St. Nick’s Day.. just sayn’.

    • Thanks for the apology; it helps.

      This seems to be the passage that caused the confusion:

      while I was going over the piece again, now I knew it would appear at a mainstream site, I found that I didn’t like the piece so much. It was like I was reading it with new eyes, the eyes of an unknown, potentially hostile audience. Theory of mind. I rewrote the piece attempting to appease this imaginary audience and minimize what I felt sure would be a defensive reaction. (I’d found out recently how many people out there think that finding obscure clues in Kubrick’s films is the sign of an obsessive loser in need of a life.)

      I think the bit you skipped over, and that maybe helps contextualize things, is “Theory of mind.”

      For me this was a very unexpected experience. It wasn’t like I was reading the piece and thinking, oh, people won’t like this, I need to change it. It was as if I was reading it through a different set of eyes and experiencing a wall of resistance, scorn, judgment, and hostility. I didn’t want to have to deal with that kind of reaction (in the comments section at Quietus) because it upsets me; but more to the point, I wanted my argument to reach the people it was aimed at (Quietus readers). I had a pretty good idea (based on web surfing of the past few weeks around The Shining and Room 237, see for example this inexorable piece by an established critic, Armond White, “Locked Inside the Kubrick Cult”) of how closed-minded many people are to the suggestion that things are not what they seem, or of hidden narratives, etc., and how quickly and easily this sort of searching gets lumped in with “conspiracy theorists” (i.e., right-wing nut-jobs!). This is a trap I want to avoid falling into and a net I don’t want thrown over me! At least not right away. (My first gig at TQ, remember.)

      My desire to reach a larger audience isn’t simply a desire to make money; it’s also, primarily, a desire to reach a larger audience. When I had money I was just as driven to communicate big ideas to the world as I am now. The need for money only grounds it in a practical reality.

      When I write this response, even though it’s for public eyes, I am also addressing you, Pearl, shaping my use of language, etc., in the hope of connecting to you and being received. Communication isn’t what’s said but what’s received. I felt strongly that the piece as it was wouldn’t be received by its target audience. Maybe this was false, maybe I was imagining an audience that existed only it my own psyche (interesting you mention my brother, as it used to be through his eyes that I read back things I wrote, always with an imagined close-minded, hostile response). But I think, at least to some degree, I was tuning into a future audience, intuitively and maybe bodily, and getting a sense of how best to make it past their defenses.

      It’s more than ironic (borders on tragic) that you would see me as siding with the crowd and belittling c-theorists or sync-heads; while I might not put myself in that somewhat imaginary camp, I certainly have strong reactions of anger at the arrogance and ignorance of the “intelligentsia” (like White—and they are legion) who want to stick an arm band on me and march me off to the internment camp.

      When the Greeks built a horse for the Trojans, were they catering to them? Whatever works is whatever works; it might look like compromise but it doesn’t (so far) feel like it. It feels like the opposite. To compromise would be to be too proud to adjust my message when there’s a chance it will reach people who need to hear it by doing so, or too ashamed to ask for financial support when my continuing to create and transmit may depend on getting it.
      I could say more but I’ll leave it at that for now.

      Take care of those pipes!

  7. Mice were given hexagonal water while a control group given de-ionized. After two weeks, cell culture analysis of the spleen (immunity) indicated immune modulation.
    Structured water (corrected…) is able to be compressed to a greater degree than normal water . Maybe by being the old you are a victim of the outside s molecular order in relation to your own pipes and breakages thus holes of cold water leakage and discomfort. The overall bedding of warmth is of hope and comfort connected to a vast thread of futuristic development.

  8. Jason, I think you mentioned somewhere, maybe twitter; about the rift between brilliance and recognition.

    Had a big discussion with Deborah this morning about the line between marketing and educating. I watched some materials by Dan Kennedy (marketing guru who also seems a bit psychotic). He says that marketing is just as much about eliminating the customers that we don’t want as much as blanket attraction.

    The business of money getting is just as mysterious to me, now that I am in it. Although still technically too dependant on Deborah who is the established one financially. Having to face all kinds of ‘self valuing’ issues, developing projects into packagable products etc. I’ve found that people love to just be told what to do, in fact there is more money in just telling people what to do than empowering them not to have to be told what to do.

    So based on that logic, you would sell more books if your book was called, “The Stanley Kubrick Deception”, or something horrendous like that, giving people a frame from which you would then prove to them that argument (even if the process of researching the book reveals that ‘deception’ is an inadequate word for what he actually did) [What am I talking about?].

    Seems like the bulk of money getting is in the presentation of findings “Do it this way, you will not hurt your knees because X piece of evidence”. But the bulk of quality work is in sensitive research/discussion.

    Can feel myself being pulled towards qualitative/quantitative stuff. Sort of like when people pay us for something the main quality they are looking for is quantitative- how will this save me money/time/confusion/pain etc.

    The obvious quantifiable stuff I am aware of from you is the renovations of your house. How do you source materials? Approaches to going in ‘skill blind’ etc. (are you a trained carpenter?). Coming up against obstacles. Only reason I mention is that there is something in you that I see value in; So if you did a book called “Guerrilla DIY” or something and explained the design process and how the hell you keep yourself motivated etc I would buy it.

    So I sort of have a 2 stage strategy; 1 ‘yoga’ classes (main income- anyone welcome, vaguely telling people what to do within the frame of not hurting themselves). This is serves the purpose of not being too hardcore, for people who want to say they do yoga, but let that be an hour or two per week and then just be ‘normal’ again. Then there is stage 2, which is 1-1, and considers the whole person (1-1s feel more in line with ‘my passion’). Although 1-1s are much less frequent, this structure helps me to remember that the real nitty gritty stuff is individual, but most punters don’t really want nitty gritty; just the words ‘I do YOGA’- which on a business level, as my student, they are entitled to, and I will play that game with them as long as the theory of the class is accurate, and we both know that 1 or two hours a week isn’t really enough for any processes to get going. To get really ‘real’. would involve a consultation (to begin with)… Where the ‘sensitive research/discussion’ can happen.

    I don’t know why I felt the need to share, and what the relevances between ‘Movement/Yoga teacher” and Writer are but hey there it is.

    Still don’t understand what is happening.

    Good luck with the pro writing bid.

    • Read with interest; lot to think about here; I only do an hour or two yoga a week. I am a dilettante. It’s more like damage control/fear of aging than of Way of Life.

      Whats happening is we are slowly recognizing and verbalizing our inability to say what is happening.

      • It’s a slippery word, ‘YOGA’ I sometimes think I don’t want to call what I do that- but it is a word that has financial advantages, while being big enough to encompass lots of creative stuff (matching yoga for the modern yogi while basing it on original principals etc.). I went to work with Godfrey Devereux in France last summer, he’s sort of a renegade. Describes it as ‘Self Enquiry’. Interesting parallels with your embodiment stuff & Godfrey’s talks.

  9. ” Sort of like when people pay us for something the main quality they are looking for is quantitative- how will this save me money/time/confusion/pain etc. ”

    i really liked this! ^^^

    Thank you for the clarification. Jaysun. I have to muse on it, reflect more.. And have it seep in..

    I’m uncertain what “Theory of Mind” is.

    Also, you made a good point to me when you wrote that the “other side of the coin” to having someone admire you, is that they could “turn on you” , with a lot of psychic / emotional energy – when there is a perceived failure to “live up to” expectations [~to paraphrase].

    That was “right on”

    And I over-reacted..

    Reality is: The exact reason I respect your writing, practically, is because you seem to arrive at truth, just to be blunt. And I know you have a sincere wish to escape from your pain, which is difficult to understand [another person’s pain, that is]. So the idea you would assuage your pain by “joining the club” of the Mainstream, just hit a nerve; as you can read.

    So my reaction was the [imagined] threat that you would change.. But you likely can’t do that, anyway.

    I was feeling really “cross” for a couple of days.. I was trying to figure out why.. There are many things I could tag it to..

    One was: What I wrote on Kubrick, which took a lot out of me energetically.
    Another was: Stress on the homefront..[won’t get too detailed for privacy concerns of my family] Constant challenges.

    . I amaze myself that I stay balanced.
    But I know what it’s like not to be..
    The same things that will make me sick when I am “cross” Will make me laugh when I’m feeling good. Sometimes it’s just down to Eating enough and Eating well, And sleeping.. I finally caught up on sleep the last few days.

    Naturally, if you look at all on what I write about on Facebook you will see that the material is very stressful. And not likely to win me any financial gain; actually the opposite.Or even long life.. So why do I do it?

    It’s a commitment. And it’s a Karma Yoga.

    So because I’m suffering with this political writing, everyone else has to.. (Uh H’uh. )

    As far as “Have other people found me harsh in speech?”

    I know that when I used to flier and leaflet in NYC around the 9/11 event-reality, I would become iso mpassioned in my speech sometimes that I would become ill!

    And I know that I am someone that it is best not to anger.. I know that..But I do not anger easily , as I see it. And am slow to anger.. But, of course, those are the people to watch out for [those with a placid disposition, who are slow to anger], if you do anger them.

    I do have physical courage, there is no doubt.. And that has been proved more than once.
    But “COINCIDENTALLY” a man who I knew of from High School, who serendipitously enough, not only married someone from our same class, but met her through the Yoga Group I was attached to, for many many years [“my cult”]..

    So it was, all very rare that we also went to the same school .in the same grade.. I re-met him recently.. He remembered me, not at all. But it came back to him, how I was in High School. And he asked me about my sharp tongue.. ”

    So there you have it! Ha! Just a few days ago too!
    (I think my tongue got “way” softer, after the “Yoga Awakening” thingy. And as a Sidereal Astrologer, my birthday makes me “Sun in Pisces” and I do not Identify as “Aries” .. As far as planetary goes , my temper, when it does happen, is the Mars – Uranus ~exact opposition. 7th and 1st house. )

    • I very much appreciate this Pearl; for me it’s a sign that certain old patterns are changing, that we were able to reach understanding via disagreement and get past the rocks of our emotional reactions, which were also strong on my part, to a higher plateau (as you know I felt attacked, wounded would be putting it to strongly, but certainly hurt & indignant).

      “Theory of mind (often abbreviated ToM) is the ability to attribute mental states — beliefs, intents, desires, pretending, knowledge, etc. — to oneself and others and to understand that others have beliefs, desires, and intentions that are different from one’s own.[1] Deficits occur in people with autism spectrum disorders, schizophrenia, attention deficit hyperactivity disorder,[2] as well as neurotoxicity due to alcohol abuse.[3] Although there are philosophical approaches to this, the theory of mind as such is distinct from the philosophy of mind.”

      So the idea you would assuage your pain by “joining the club” of the Mainstream, just hit a nerve

      I understand, and you are not wrong, either that some part of me thinks that I’d be happier if i could get ‘established” in the mainstream or that this is a dangerous delusion (aren’t they all dangerous?). But at the same time, wanting to have access to a club is different from wanting to join it; also, don’t the reasons would have to be factored in? What if, say, a friend or relative had been abducted by the club and the only way of getting them out was to enter in?

      While I write partly because I suffer (writing alleviates confusion and pain), I don’t think that means I need to suffer to write, or to suffer because I write. In fact, it’s the writing-to-escape-suffering that I think compromises what I do, that element of for me neurotic need for validation. What would/will I write if and when I ever free myself of that conditioning?

      But I’ll continue this is the next post…

  10. Patreon does look like a good possibility since it looks like you can “subscribe” (or rather become a patron as implied) at different levels, for example with Wyrd Daze you can choose $1 or $2.50 or $5 depending on what content one is interested in

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