the tao of jaklumen

the path of the sage must become the path of the hero


Suzie has Questions and I have Answers

So suzie81speaks has written a post called Questions, Questions, Questions: The WordPress Community Experiment and I am honored that she asked me personally to respond to it.  It’s a series of questions that I know as a “getting to know you meme”.   I admit that “Community Experiment” had me hoping for something bigger, but I like these questionnaires nevertheless.

I like them because the answers can be thoughtful, and pleasantly revealing; more so than the quizzes you might find on Facebook now, or the ones I remember when I first started out on LiveJournal 10 years ago.

On to the questions:

1. How did you create the title for your blog?

I settled on the title when I was still blogging on the VOX platform.  Giving a blog a name was a new idea to me in 2007.  I was still with the idea that blogging was like a personal diary when I started with LiveJournal in 2002, and I didn’t have a title for that blog until later.

I experimented with different titles– “the world of jaklumen”, “the eccentric world of jaklumen”, “the eclectic world of jaklumen”, and so on.  Blogging was moving away from personal writings to niche interests, but I insisted on writing about whatever caught my whimsy.  Things were a bit looser and freer at VOX– I really didn’t see anyone that was trying to settle on one particular look.  We were actually encouraged to change our headers as we felt like it, although that was about all we could customize from the interface.

A friend (whom I have called my “Sifu-of-sorts”) at that time turned me on to studying the Eastern paths, and I became very interested in the Tao Te Ching and philosophical Taoism.  I decided I wanted to reflect that in my blog title, and settled on “the tao of jaklumen”, which I carried over to WordPress when VOX closed in 2010.

2. What’s the one bit of blogging advice you would give to new bloggers?

I reckon I’m pretty bad at giving advice; I’m still trying to figure this all out myself.  But I followed the Zero to Hero course at The Daily Post on WordPress, and I found it very helpful.

3. What is the strangest experience you’ve ever had?

What is THE strangest experience?  Hmm, can’t think of one that I’d call the most strange, but, these sorts of experiences seem to happen in my dreams at night.  Relatively few are ones I’d call cool or inspiring; they tend to be bizarre on average.

4. What is the best thing that anybody has ever said to you?

I can’t think of one.  I’m tired, grumpy, grouchy, hurting… and this answer isn’t coming easily for me.

5. When presented with a time machine, which one place and time would you visit?

I’m not sure if I’d go– I’ve consumed enough sci-fi that explores all sorts of chaos that could ensue with interfering with the space time continuum.  I figure I’d be even more awkward than Marty McFly in “Back to the Future”.

6. If you had to pick a new first name, what would you choose?

Oh, I don’t know.  I rather like my first name.  I figure it’s much easier to say I want to choose my next nickname.  Jack (or as I spell it, “jak”) is a nickname of my real first name.

7. If you were a B Movie, what would it be called?

What kind of B Movie?  If it’s the 1950’s campy invader type, it’d probably be something like “Revenge of the Lab Wererat”.  If it could include late ’70s and ’80s sci-fi and comic book movies, it might be “Song of the Stars”.


Spin this one up for me, DJ Matticus: The Depths of Funk

Loosely based on the Trifecta Challenge and The words wouldn’t come. at the Matticus Kingdom.  All definitions at

English: A multi-volume Latin dictionary (Egid...


(noun) a strong offensive smell

Code of Conduct: Don’t be a pinhead. RadCon recommends that everyone follow the 3-2-1 rule. Everyday, aim to get three hours of sleep, 2 solid meals and 1 shower.

See also How the Journal Jar REALLY celebrated V-Day


(intransitive verb) to become frightened and shrink back
(transitive verb)
  1.  to be afraid of :  dread
  2.  to shrink from undertaking or facing

I don’t think I can express to you all how personal this is, how… I can’t. I don’t seem to be able to express how much this is moving me without seeing who is ready and willing to dig down in a much more esoteric way. (The Hero With A Thousand Faces)



  1.   a :  a state of paralyzing fear b : a depressed state of mind
  2.   one that funks :  COWARD
  3.   SLUMP <an economic funk>  <the team went into a funk>

The words wouldn’t come.  They felt forced.  They felt false. (The Matticus Kingdom, The words wouldn’t come.)

RadCon was nice, but often after a convention… comes con crud.  (jak’s homemade chicken noodle soup)

Ugh, I’m sorry you’re sick. I hate being sick. I would be the character in a zombie apocalypse movie that survives all of the slashing and biting and then dies of indigestion. (Aussa Lorens, Cross Examination: HOOKER, in comments section)



  1. music that combines elements of rhythm and blues and soul music and that is characterized by a percussive vocal style, static harmonies, and a strong bass line with heavy downbeats
  2. the quality or state of being funky <jeans … have lost much of their funkTom Wolfe> (which references back to Funk Level 1)


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The Sunshine Blogger Award (because Cimmorene figured I needed it)

This came about when Cimmorene told samara that she’d never been nominated for a blogging award before.  And then Cimmy, my dear wife that she is, decided that I needed some of this.  I probably do need some sunshine, because I tend to have a perpetual storm cloud over head with all this pain.  Also, I put this off long enough.

Because jak can't be damned to have a storm cloud brewing over him forever.

Because jak can’t be damned to have a storm cloud brewing over him forever.

Post 11 random facts about yourself:

  1.  I don’t wake up “bright-eyed and bushy-tailed.”  Family that knows says waking me is like trying to wake a hibernating bear.  See also question #1 further below.
  2. I have a scar that covers most of the width of the inside of my right hand:

    Vox Hunt: Like No Other

    Work accident- I’ll tell you dear readers about it later.

  3. I was falsely accused of rape.
  4. I grow facial hair full in mid-autumn and shave much of it off in the summer, including close-cropping the hair on my head.
  5. I have full, kissable lips.  (Where did that thought come from?)
  6. My beard is redder than the hair on my head.
  7. The nails on my right hand are longer than the nails on my left, because I used to play classical guitar.
  8. I maintain my own computer and run Linux.
  9. I have a blog, TechsWrite, that was given to me from a friend on the VOX blog platform.
  10. I have a few Southern affectations in my speech (howdy, y’all, calling my son “boy”)
  11. I’m tired of giving 11 random things about myself now.

And then, 11 questions:
1. What is the first thing you do as soon as you wake up in the morning?
Wake up?  Good Lawrd Almighty, what’s that?  I’m never fully awake in the morning, and haven’t been since, I dunno, 1992.  I don’t do mornings.

2. What is your greatest fear?

3. Do you have a new years resolution for 2014?
I resolve to be less of a grammar nazi… erg, no, I’m just going to fix a few things in that question…

3. Do you have a New Year’s resolution for 2014?

That’s better.  No, I’m more in favor of setting goals throughout the year, and not necessarily at the beginning of January.  I want to renew my commitments to injury recovery, which have lasted about five years so far, I think.  I’m reminded of people observing the spike in activity at their local gyms in January, and that amuses me.  Gym-goers would mention that from time to time, and I said I was just there to get better.  I got great support year-round from all sorts of people at the gyms I attended, and yeah, I’d like to continue that.

  1. What is your favorite song at the moment?

  2. What is your favorite childhood memory?

shudder There’s so much pain there that it’s really hard to think of any memories I’d call my “favorite”.

6a. Facebook or Twitter?

Cimmy changed this question, but I wanted to address this anyways.

I had a really bad experience with Facebook.  Now, there’s a new trend (new to me, anyways) for bloggers to promote themselves by way of Facebook.  I get that this is part of the “branding” process, as well as widespread promotion, but… ugh, no, I can’t think of using Facebook again even to merely promote my blog.

I do have a Twitter account, to follow a few blog friends in particular (I think it’s just Jack Yan now, really) and I do promote this blog on it.  I don’t know how effective it is.  I don’t actively use it– I just can’t generate enough chatter to keep myself above the fray.  It feels like an extroverted response to this so-called flat medium, and I’m introverted.

6b. What’s your favorite social media platform and why?

This is Cimmorene’s modification.  I do like WordPress!  It’s my favorite platform so far, because not only do I enjoy using it as part of my writing process, but because it has the best options for me of all the blogging platforms out there.  Now, Facebook and Twitter are sometimes called “short-form”, in contrast to blogs, which are called “long-form”.  So, just for fun, to keep to the spirit of 6a, I say that 43Things is my favorite “short-form” social media platform, or to be more particular, I’ve really enjoyed 43Things best of all the goal-setting sites out there.  I think it’s the best so far in helping me achieve my goals.

  1. What did the last text message you received say?

“Your new month starts now!  Your monthly plan is good through 02/06/2014.  Enjoy!”

This message came today, like it does every 7th of each month.  I don’t do texting– I can’t afford it.  I have my cell phone through a government subsidy, because I’m poor like that, and this message comes to let me know I got my allotment of 250 minutes.  I do get severe weather warning alerts, so that would be the only other possibility.

  1. What bugs you the most?

Hasn’t it been said that what we despise in others is really what we despise in ourselves?

Let me guess… the award doesn’t allow me to answer a question with a question.  Okay, fine.  Ignorance, probably.  I don’t want to find that I am ignorant.

  1. What do you consider to be the most important appliance in your house?

It’s a toss-up between the heat pump HVAC and the stove/oven.

  1. If you could have one song that would play whenever you entered a room, what would it be?

It wouldn’t.  I don’t want a song playing every time I enter a room.

But if I was FORCED… well, it would probably be the 1982 Naked Eyes cover of “Always Something There to Remind Me” by Burt Bacharach and Hal David.  It would be always there to remind me!

  1. What’s your favorite movie quote?

I’m having a hard time thinking of one.  What’s crammed into my brain right now is this:

“Man, I can’t fucking believe this.  How can the same shit happen to the same guy twice?”

as sampled on Positive K’s track “I Got A Man” on The Skills That Pay da Bills

but according to IMDb, the full quote, from Die Hard 2, is this:

“Oh man, I can’t fucking believe this. Another basement, another elevator. How can the same shit happen to the same guy twice?” — Bruce Willis, as John McClane

No, I’ve never seen the movie.  I’ve got a boatload of movies I need to catch up on once I can afford a Netflix subscription again.  So, if you’d like to tell me I need to see this movie, please take a number– I’ve got a long line of other movies from other folks on the Internet.

Nominate 11 bloggers.

Some of these will be repeats from Cimmorene’s nominations, because, I would like to see responses from these bloggers.




Oh, screw this, I’m tired and grouchy still… the sunshine isn’t quite enough. I want to be done with this post already.  I’m sure I’ll come up with the required 11 bloggers eventually, but right now, my head and various other parts of my body, including my scars on my back, and probably the screws in my spine, hurt.

The questions I would have bloggers answer can be exactly the same as here, as Cimmy passed them on to me, as samara passed them on to her, or any damn thing they please that tickles their fancy until their fancies can’t breathe and plead for mercy.


A Blogger’s Journey: The beginning

I still have trouble believing it.

I think I realized how long it’s been when Aussa prompted comments with a “How long have you been blogging?” question, in one of her posts.

Then I was reading Rara’s blog and saw her mentions of being 29 years old.  Looking back, I slowly realized that I started blogging when I was 29, too.  I had tried to think of what was happy when I was 29.  I thought of my daughter, when she was born, but that was a year earlier.  She brought such joy, but 2003, the year I began blogging, was filled with sadness and sorrow.


I created my account at LiveJournal on the 12th of November, 2003.  My first public post was the next day, with this quiz meme (reconstructed as the original code has been taken down):

You are Morpheus, from “The Matrix.” You have strong faith in yourself and those around you. A true leader, you are relentless in your pursuit.

It was a time of fluff– lots of users did these quizzes, posting the result.  Although some users wrote about their lives in the old journal/diary style that was common for the time, others were writing in the same style, for fictional characters.  I’d been drawn into LiveJournal by LARPers (Live Action RolePlayers).  The organization they were part of was known as the Camarilla (at that time), and so users were writing diaries as development for their characters– usually vampires and mages, for a horror-based setting.

I will save tales of woe concerning them for another time.  Know simply this, dear readers, was that so very many of them blurred the line between fantasy melodramatics and drama in their own personal lives.  And it brought out some of the worst in me.  I’d already been with them for about three years, if I remember right.

Anyways, I continued on with the meme fluff at LiveJournal until November 18th:

I got a job for the holidays! It’s work with Noerr Programs ( working as a Santa at the Columbia Center Mall. It’s full-time hours, Monday-Thursday, 10-8, $10/hour. My final interview included two hours on the floor playing the actual role and I got a photo of my daughter on my lap, which was actually sent to the regional manager, which I’m sure sealed the deal. I’m very excited.

Not to mention I can get off the dole for December and be rid of my case manager at DSHS for a little while…

This is the picture in question.  Smarty-pants here later figured out too much about the Santa myth, so we used it to reveal the reality of it all.

This is the picture in question. Smarty-pants here later figured out too much about the Santa myth, so we used it to reveal the reality of it all.

This was the first time I gave a hint to the ugly reality of that year.  The year previous, we had been homeless and bankrupt, and so we had stayed with a friend, whose marriage was ending while we were there.  We had moved to a fourplex, which brought horrors detailed in the 5 Truths, 1 Lie meme.  Both Cimmy and I were in welfare-to-work, because we were valiantly trying to be self-sufficient.  This dragged on until Cimmy had a nervous breakdown in the middle of the DSHS office, and Rhenda Stewart (the “battleaxe” of a case manager I mentioned in the quote) wormed it out of me that I was on psychiatric medicines, and then they pushed us to apply for Social Security disability benefits.

I had worked as a mall Santa before, but I didn’t get the job that year.  I had been walking the mall and an employee at the Pepperidge Farm kiosk tried to give me a sample, and I just couldn’t manage with that fake beard.  Noerr normally insists Santas have real beards, bleached white, but I did not have a long enough, full enough beard at that time.  This was my post on December 5:

Well, I found out the Santa gig won’t pan out… I got grounded because of a background check, and they just kept me hanging forever. I had to play phone tag between my case manager and the set until I finally found out the background check would take too long (and my case manager called me to tell me this… no, my employer couldn’t tell me that. Meanwhile, I was five days without money). I wish they would have just been straight with me. I had to reapply for benefits today, and the whole thing just rather cheesed me off.

By the way, Princess was only a year old in that photo.  Cimmy was worried she might freak out, as young children that age sometimes do, but she was fairly calm and serene.  She told me today that she knew it was me with my kind, smiling eyes.  (Tell me, how many of you are saying “Awww…” right now?)

Now what does this have to with the Hero’s Journey?  Well, this time I started blogging– I was already past The Ordinary World (outer), and the Limited Awareness of the Problem (inner).  This was well into the Call to Adventure, with its increased awareness of the need for change, but also the Refusal of the Call, with fear and resistance to that change.

Inner steps: 2. Increased awareness of need for change 3. Fear; Resistance to Change (from Christopher Vogler)

Inner steps:
2. Increased awareness of need for change
3. Fear; Resistance to Change
(from Christopher Vogler)

Next post in the series: A 10-year blogging journey: The hidden beginning

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Re: 5 Truths, 1 Lie — Backstories

Once again from the archives, the answers.

Only one person offered a guess this time… what’s up with that?

the tao of jaklumen

All right, since enough time has passed since I made this post, I thought I'd publicly reveal the full truth about them.

(Whattya know, no one pointed out I only told four truths!  I appreciate that you participated and thought it was fun, though.)
1.  About the downstairs neighbor running a brothel– yep, that one's true, although I usually get a few shocked reactions when I tell the story.  It wasn't exactly a nice place to be– our landlady at the time had moods that changed on a dime.  She also took the liberty to explain to our public housing specialist that a past tenant felt the need to streak around the parking lot buck naked.
Besides this story, the county sheriff's department staked out the complex, even knocking on our door and asking us questions about some neighbors.  I was so embarassed when my sister said our fourplex was…

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Re: 5 Truths, 1 Lie– The Missing Item & The Bonus

I found out recently that I had an answer post to this meme, that was also in the archives with the original post I reblogged.

Since I rather liked Aussa’s idea of splitting answers out to two posts, I’m going to start with answer to the sixth item (that I edited in), and the answer to the “bonus” item that appeared in a few Community blogs.

6. Crime and wild children at the apartment complex

True.  This was at a low-income apartment complex, just across the street from a local middle school.  There is something about poverty that brings trouble and cops, like wolves at the door.  My mother was opposed to us living here.  She said she figured the place would go ghetto in about another 10 years.  Granted, it was likely nothing like a real inner-city ghetto, and one of our early neighbors said as much.  Unfortunately, I didn’t have the heart to tell him that perhaps his kids were inviting some of the trouble– like the burglary of their unit.

The kids were indeed wild.  My father tried to be friendly to some of them on one of the days we were moving out, but the manager said flatly, “Don’t bother.  They may be nice to your face, but as soon as you turn around, they’ll say ‘Fuck you.'”

Bonus: False accusations of rape

True.  Please see my comment on Women, rape and restoration… at Kenneth Justice’s blog.  It was most definitely a physical relationship.  I would write more… but it’s too personal right now.

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5 Truths, 1 Lie

I’ve linked up at a few blogs already, but I figured that I’d reblog for “C’mon, pay attention to this post” reasons and redundancy’s sake.

Blogarockstar Rarasaur put the spotlight on this old meme, but she credits Jen & Tonic.

the tao of jaklumen

As seen at Skoolie‘s VOX.  She says:

So what is truth and what is fiction? What is the one lie?  and I want all of my friends to do this. It should be fun so even if you don’t comment here, do your own, I’d love to see it.
As some of you know, dear readers, I do enjoy memes and quizzes of this sort.  Its original form is “2 Truths, 1 Lie”, so if you wish to share only two and not five, that’s fine, but for curiosity’s sake, five helps that “getting to know you” objective so I do invite you to give five if you can.
1.  An apartment we lived in was quite an experience.  It was a fourplex on the corner of a busy street and a quiet one.  One of our downstairs neighbors just below us decided to get the bright…

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Getting To Know You (Again)

DISCLAIMER- I don’t expect any of my readers to feel obligated to participate in memes, for two following reasons:

  1. I know that one of them is weary of these memes (and has said so publicly). I wish to be respectful of that.
  2. I am not sure I know eleven people (according to rules I was tagged with) who would be interested in participating. See also #1.

Any rules I might cling to would be opt-in, much like Stevil did them. If you want to participate, say so, if you don’t– then don’t. I am willing to ask each willing participant separate questions. Please see this post, at least if you want to know a little bit more about the Ex-VOXer who tagged me. Many of you, I think, already have an idea on how these memes typically operate and this should be so much gravy anyways.

On to the questions!

1. What’s your least favorite food or drink and why?

I have consistently disliked raw celery since I was an infant. It is the intensity of flavor, the texture, and most especially the strings that are left behind if the preparer does not remove them.

I have learned to be okay with celery in some things, like vegetable juice, soup, or something where it blends with other flavors AND it is chopped or diced to the point that texture and strings are gone.

2. If you could be a literary character for one day, in that character’s world (not ours), whom would you choose?

I think it would be fun to be the Incarnation of Time from Piers Anthony’s Incarnations of Immortality series, or even Hypnos, the Incarnation of Sleep (a lesser incarnation). But I would choose to to stay within the mechanics of that universe, and remain a semblance of myself. For example, if I had a day as Time, I would not be the character Norton, who is the mortal that takes on that office. There would have to be some sort of exception, however, since mortals take on offices of Incarnation for life.

3. What person who was born before 1800 would you like to escort around our world for a week, if you could?

George Frideric Handel.

4. Are you left-handed? Right-handed? Both?

I am a boring rightie. My father is left-handed, although his neurologist reports him as ambidextrous. (He is not categorized as naturally ambidextrous, I suspect, and may be considered cross-dominantcross-dominant by other criteria.) My son, who is almost 5, seems to use both hands, even with his rudimentary writing (writing “H” and “O”) a lot. This is something we might ask a specialist about when he is formally diagnosed for Autism Spectrum Disorder.

5. If you have to go outside in heavy rain when you’re wearing very expensive new shoes and have no other footwear available to substitute, what do you do?

What a dandified question. (The less-refined and impolite part of me says, “What a girlie-girl question!”) Interestingly, my current pair of Sketchers dress shoes were damaged by slightly melted snow a few months ago, as its lug soles had the best traction of all my footwear. But they were NOT expensive, and they were purchased by way of an employment program.

I would like my next pair to be very durable, perhaps something from the Doc Marten line, which would be expensive by my own resources. I own a pair of Doc Marten boots, although I don’t wear them as much due to fat and swollen feet (the boots also run a bit narrow). I think they’d be able to survive a heavy rain just fine, particularly if I was careful to clean them afterwards. Good footwear should endure the elements, I think.

6. What’s the food or drink that first pops into your mind when you think of your favorite holiday, and why?

I thought of Chex Mix when I read this question enough times to make an association. I made some last Happy Hallowthankamas with flaxseed corn chips. I think there is great satisfaction in making it yourself, and coming up with your own variations. My paternal grandmother’s recipe, “Nuts & Bolts”, uses Cheerios and pretzel sticks. I often follow it to a degree, but will use a generic/house brand version of Honey Nut Cheerios.

It is possible to substitute Chex with similar cereals like Crispix (Krispies) or Shreddies.

7. Do you yell at other drivers when you’re behind the wheel? If no, why not? — OR – If you don’t drive, do you ever yell at other people when you know they can’t hear you? If no, why not?

I am known to curse, swear, and show rude gestures to people driving poorly. I am working on that, however. I do not want to become a road rage statistic– either as an aggressor, or as a casualty. I can’t control drivers “driving like bozos”, but I can work on my attitude about it.

8. What’s your least favorite day of the year and why?

I don’t know.

9. How much starlight do you think you’d need in order to get a star burn?

I don’t know. Sol, our sun, is classified as a yellow dwarf. It would probably depend on the star and my proximity to it, wouldn’t it? It’d also depend whether I was within the atmosphere of Earth, the emptiness of space, or on another planetary body (moons as well as planets).

10. What do you do when you stub your toe so hard that it feels like you broke it?

It hurts like hell, but I usually try to pull or gently stretch it, particularly if it’s “jammed”. Usually, though, I just get an awful bruise, particularly on pinky toes. I’ve worked very hard on my balance since my back got really bad, but sometimes I stumble anyways, particularly when I’m tired and/or stressed.

11. How many blogs do you think there are on the internet?

I won’t attempt to speculate. There might be as many as the four billion people on this Earth, but I’m certain some have none and others have a handful they’ve created. Some are for individuals, and some for organizations. There are too many variables to consider, especially as “blog” is not well-defined here. Can “social networks” be included? Is it a “short-form” or a “long-form” blog? It all depends.


A Month of Letters

I have not blogged about this marvelous project until now, but I quietly communicated to lauowolf and rossruns that I’d very much like to participate.

Explanations can be found here and here, respectively.

You may not need such, dear readers; I do see that quite a few of you who comment here regularly are on that list. If you are not on that list… please, do not feel bad. I am certain you have your reasons. You also know who you are… and I appreciate you regardless. (You also need not reveal yourself, but just know that it is fine by me.) If you decide otherwise, however, and that you will participate, that is great too.

I am not sure if mail will be postmarked today but Cimmy and I do plan to write something before the day is done.

Cross-posted to the Journal Jar.