May, 2010 Archives


Another Surgery For a Battered Soul

by aragorn in personal

Just about exactly 20 years after a “Skinhead brawl” put my roommate into a grave and me into “stable condition with stab wounds on his left side” I might be seeing the end of the second chapter of the complications the incident on my life. While on the one hand it is easy, and true, to blame the aleopathic approach of treating symptoms in my situation for it coming back to haunt me 20 years later I am also feeling pretty thankful for planning ahead on this situation.

I have always been committed to not living “life as usual” from fighting Nazis as a young man, to rejecting the nuclear family (and relationship), and the life of criminal boredom (read: career) I’ve made choices that made some sense to me even though there have been consequences. The primary consequence, one I usually share with 40 million other residents of this country, is a habitual lack of health insurance. I survived the initial stabbing because of a California program around “victims of violent crime” but as my old wound began to herniate I wouldn’t have such honor. I’d either have to suck up tens of thousands of dollars in medical bills (probably six figures due to the complications) or get a job with seriously good health insurance. This I did and continue to be trapped in until I am fully recovered from this second chapter.

As you can read in my old blog (which I am going to migrate to here one of these days) the first part of this chapter didn’t go so well. Perhaps I’ll do an equivalent of Bad Medicine in a pamphlet form with some of this material. BTW if you haven’t read the Spring 2010 The Match there is a fantastic (quality) and terrifying (in content) article on hernia surgery that coupled with my story should put the Fear into all men.

But I believe that this time the surgery went well. The massive distention I’ve had in my belly the past 6 months is gone. I can imagine a non-mutant future for myself. I think I will heal. Last time I wasn’t so sure.

That said today was the first time I really examined myself without bandages and materiel. I am going to be a very different creature emerging from this whole situation. My belly, still stapled, shaved, and pasty from my hospital visit also has a kind of un-living characteristic that I am really disturbed by. It is flatter but I can feel the sides of the surgical material under my skin still not integrated into my body. I will survive but I will be beyond scarred. I will be transformed. The new me will be physically weaker (no more Muay Thai for me!). I will have to slowly strengthen my core to achieve baseline. I am, on some level, middle aged before my time. I am not ready.

I am about to hit 40. I am going to have a funny birthday party where people I have made fun of get to respond in kind. I am ready for the next stage of life but not quite for the implications of being not just not-young but actually old. I figured I would be able to fake it, on some level, for another 5-10 years. It just isn’t true. I have some thinking to do about how few peers I have, about how that isn’t going to change anytime soon, and how about my body isn’t going to win me any medals at any future derby. I will have to make do with the steel trap inside my head. Obviously I am going to be just fine but the illusion, the imagination, is gone. Regards.


End of the chapter where a couple things happened of no consequence

by aragorn in personal

Spring is about over and to close it out I took one last trip before my next hospital visit. If all goes well I will emerge from this visit healthier, stronger, and without the absolute need for bi-weekly medical visits (and insurance). I am getting nervous about abandoning these golden handcuffs but can’t wait to have time again to think outside of the 40 hour a week monotony.

Last weekend I was in the Olympia-Tacoma area giving a presentation at the Northwest Anarchist Conference which was a small event funded by the Evergreen and attended by around 50 people over the course of the weekend. I wish I could say that it was a swimming success but I am pretty critical of my own presentation (which I’ll dig into) and am not sure how convinced I am that this kind of a conference is worth the time and energy put into it. That said I continue to really enjoy the people who live in the NW and look forward to the possibilities of further collaboration with them.

Check out to see many of their projects advertised.

I am starting to think about taking a bit of a different approach to presentations. I have, for years, started every presentation with something like a “postion paper” in mind. I prepare, more-or-less from scratch, every presentation with the goal being the writing of some sort of 2500-3000 word essay. I spend a few days mulling the implications of what I want to say and the framing of the presentation to a different/new audience. I try to be contextual. I always take on a far bigger speculative project than I am capable of presenting honesly in a limited period of time and never make enough time to write enough words to share a document of my ideas. This is bad and neither benefits an audiece as much as limited essay writing would OR take advantage of my own conversational skills as much as I’d like.


I was somewhat inspired by the presentation Magpie did around his Mythbreaker and Lawbreakers tour. He goes for cutsey a bit more than I think is necessary but I guess it fits into his style. I do think I would benefit a lot from the kind of presentational logic that Magpie used. Even though there is a war against it.