I hardly know ‘er.
One of the defining analytical explosions in my life happened as I wandered by the books at the Goodwill.
An intense binding pattern, deep black, with thick red lettering:
How intense, and yet generic, I thought. What is this curiosity?
Flipping through the Table of Contents, I fell in love.
- The Organization as a Machine
- The Organization as an Organism
- The Organization as a Psychic Prison
From competent and analytical, to melt your brain philosophy.
It was destiny.
Sure, I read it plenty, and it’s chock full of factiods, analytics, and deep rationalizations. Versus gigabytes of occult manifestos, novels, text books, and research papers, I’ve seen no match in the level of condensed wisdom.
The thing is, for all of the reading, and information, and expansive discussion, that first moment, paging through an index, peeking at the outline, that was the moment that shot me forward. Like a blasted cannon that rung my bell. Everything else was just looking down from above, explaining with words that I had in my heart, the minute I gazed into the facets of a gem.
The essence of the tome is simple.
There is a spectrum of perspectives on any concept. That spectrum ranges from the impersonal and mechanistic, to the reactionary and subjective. Sliding between those perspectives, we can see how each is fallacious in its own way.
I’ve always been a visualizer, haunted by the quest for the perfect metaphor, the perfect diagram, the perfect poetry of expression. I had been told there was no perfection, and some might call that poetry, but for me, it was too crass. Now, I could see the beauty.
There is no perfection in expression, without dynamic in perspective.
And tying those shifting views together, from a rational perspective, the most tangible, concrete, discrete layer of it all.
A stage name, an ephemeral idea, a dream of self expression and accomplishment, Jimmy Universal first became a part of myself as a young man watering and seeding bagels with furious fancies dancing in my brain.
I had become enamored with the wordplay of hip hop, finding in it a discrete passion and applied intellect of stark dichotomy to the simplistic meanderings offered by the traditional genres I had been raised on.
In my youth, I saw nothing but the trite offerings of its public face, and in turn I paid it no mind. Where I would later come to notice depth of applied ideas, my young mind failed to notice nuance behind veneers of puerility. As I entered the world at a large, seeking independence and blossoming socially, I was asked by those I respected and looked to, to try and take it seriously, to look deeper.
And as I explored the mountains of offerings before me, I did begin to see. The visceral expository and delivery often promised but seldom conveyed in poetry. The complexity of thought expressed more tangibly than the careful pacing of traditional music allows.
There was so much to admire, so much to cling to, so much to digest, and yet, something was lacking. A depth of ideas was missing by my own standards, even as shallow waters were beyond my skills. But even if I might never achieve the potential I felt, the mere act of trying felt so vigorous. Even if I might play no part but the fool, the spirit of self belief ringing in the voices of the beggared bards healed a soul fractured with doubt and isolation.
So as a fiery young mind, hungry for creative expression, bursting with desire to prove and apply my intellect, the gears of war began to turn. The bagel baker sang songs under his breath, and rambled and rhymed. He trained a mind keen at reaction to struggle at self expression, and he sought to learn through imitation of his new pantheon of inspirations.
And through the days of hard and lonely labors, he dreamed to be seen, not as the meager man he was, but as the dream constantly summoned. When the art was ready, it would be performed.
And on that day, when they were awed, they would ask, “Who is he?” His simple name wouldn’t do.
So he dreamed of names, as he dreamed of songs. So many felt right, but only one rang true.
It seemed so strange. Too long. Too pretentious. Ever slightly off.
But as he spoke it under his breath, he felt so in touch with an awareness that spread and captured the gravity and size and depth and flux of an inner spirit he yearned to understand as much as it drove him unquestioningly.
Always he was searching, but nothing else quite won. So he held it close, and time passed and he practiced.
Till one day, among musician friends, among his idols and his mentors, a song was recorded in jest.
Timidly, he sat to the side, as he always tended. But their encouragement to participate found that delicate balance between soft support and playful pushiness. He labored at his paper as all the others gave their jolly mockeries and laughed in the delight of casual fun and clever nuance. And when it came to be his turn, he stood as tall as a timid man can, never expecting to be revered, only hoping to be accepted.
He returned from the microphone to a hero’s parade, to praise, excitement, to cheers and drinks. The star of the show they told him. The hidden gem. Guests of mild interest grew quirk eyed for the finale and heaped him with praise. It was too good to be true, but god it felt good.
The word genius was thrown around, not an uncommon scenario among this circle of peers. In a ring of alcoholic musicians, a studious academic often found himself charmingly victimized by exaggerated expectations. But this night was different. He had not only impressed upon them, he had shocked himself with even meager accomplishments. And he wondered, am I truly as great as I might have dreamed? Can I truly fill that ephemeral void in the content of hip hop? Can I make hip hop that calls to me and have it seen for something great?
The time had come to say the name, but even in the excitement and praise, it didn’t feel safe. It wasn’t in the spirit of the game.
The song was a sequel, where he had watched but hidden for Act I. There was time to prepare something more appropriate in between, and he played that card instead. On the first go, each player had chosen a pseudonym that included a place: Tommy Bahama; Joey Panama… he chose an exotic location notorious for its counterfits, action, and science fiction motifs: Jimmy Hong Kong.
They loved it. I loved it. It was good. Fun to say. Full of imagery. Fitting. It would do nicely.
But as the work days returned, and he tried to play with my new identity, it never quite had the same pizazz. The syllables were wrong. The symbolism was wrong. It was fun, but it was us. It wasn’t me.
Soon it would be time to prove it was not a fluke. The first solo song. The pieces were coming together. Joey had a sly beat on the machine when he got home. Choice lyrics had been piling up in his mind. And as they talked and schemed about it coming together, the Hong Kong moniker kept coming up, and finally he found the courage to say.
Actually, I’ve been thinking about something else.
And the eyes were on me. Not with enthralls and cheers as before, but with suspicion, for now they not tell whether I was threatening to sabotage the game with something lame or offer a stroke of genius.
“Well, let’s hear it, Jim…” Joey, always the pusher.
It came out too timid. It all sounded wrong to wrong. I knew there was something wrong about it. I always knew. Damn-it. I always knew. But at least the band-aid was off.
Except their stares were slightly frozen, in a way that twisted my insides, even more as their eyebrows began to shift with a cringe of suspicion and doubt.
But even as they swallowed a sour pill and all of the ways it was wrong, their expressions began to contort in an opening awareness. And in those plodding micro ticks of the clock stern stares turned to grins and began to grow with excitement.
And they repeated it in turn.
With widening smiles.
Joining each other.
At me, firmly.
Jimmy Fucking Universal
With fisted beers in cheer.
Jimmy God Damn Universal
In serious, softly.
You did good, Jim. They told me.
It was good.
Fuck yeah Fucking good.
And it was perfect. Not just the name, the moment. Subtler than I could have ever imagined. Softer, more forceful, more personal than any scenario I dreamed, all at the same time. Every bit as validating as I needed and hoped for.
I was Jimmy Universal.
I was potential.
I was power.
I was clever.
I was coy.
I was everything I almost was.
Every dream that had carried me away.
I was a journey about to begin.
So excited right now. As you may know, my business is called Jolly Wizard, a delightful title from which I draw on several sources.
One of my personal favorite Wizards, is an album, so titled, by a fellow name JD Emmanuel.
The album was first shared with me by a friend with a mutual passion for the bizarre and the lucid, a magical friend who I consider a fellow wizard for sure, Mr. Christopher Balint, previously of Charlottesville and now casting mischief in Baltimore.
For several years now, I’ve carried the mp3s with me, and called upon the magic of Youtube when my personal supplies were lacking.
Because the album is so old, circa 1982, I never considered that the man might still be making music. The only other albums I had seen were also from the 80’s, and Wizards is older than I am.
Today, I went looking for a video again, only to discover that JD has a Bandcamp with brand new albums. Exactly 6 months early for my birthday. Score! And on Chris’s no less. Turns out I’m not the only one who didn’t know where Mr. Emmanuel’s been hiding.
How fortuitous, indeed.
With jams like:
And, of course, old faithful:
Check out the man. Dig the man.
Two thumbs way up!
So I’ve been working on my dual websites, business and pleasure. In the process, I had to use my skills of research and development to stop having to go through so much crap to get them secured properly.
In the process, I developed some decent bash scripts, learned how to install them the Linux way, and now I have a kind of product, almost. !wow!
So I took the time to publish them, for the benefit of the world and my ego.
Check it out: csr-tools
I learned how brutally dysfunctional and confusing the SSL process could be when I was working on alveare.org (which is a project I’m participating in and I set up the website for).
Things were all kosher in OpenShift with my easy-bake WordPress server. Menus were evolving, forums were getting set up. It was hunky dory glory for sure-y.
Then I bought the domain, and got slapped in the face with the browser screen of: Everything will die, run!
I hadn’t really thought about how the SSL certificate is tied to the domain you see, rather than the server, so I had to go and get one. Easy peasy, I figured.
I shopped around and bought some discount certs from a big name, Comodo. I figured it would all be gravy. You know how it is: big boys + big boys = fancy toys with no noise.
The gift of WTF just kept on giving.
All of the documentation everywhere is half baked and confusing, but simple, but different, and missing conceptual information. Such a hassle. Even when I did it right, I wasn’t sure. There are warnings at every stage, and I had like 10 bucks on the line, you know what I’m saying. Very stressful.
But I got it done, and I hosted my personal sites the same way, so the process was the same, and I was doing all of this cutting and pasting. It really wasn’t a lot overall, but you know… the world shouldn’t be like this, it’s like frickin’ Brazil or something.
So I worked on scripts while I was putting up JollyWizard.net, but they weren’t quite done. When it came to go real domain on this guy, it was time to put up or shut up.
Guess which one I did?
- Jolly Wizard, Baby!
We’re here to rejoice in all of my tangible accomplishments, so that I can make a feel good scrapbook of all my little codies and sprinkle them with glitter and pictures of my favorite heart-throbs who have rippling furrows in their foreheads, from where I got sloppy with glue and just slapped them on there in a hormone fueled explosion and danced around the room to my favorite song, about how we’re meant for each other and parents just don’t understand, and I won’t stop jumping while I’m talking to you. SQUEEL!!