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This was the summer that I finally finished my bachelor's degree, through the white flag maneuver of signing up for lots of random classes until they gave me a degree in Liberal Studies, which is the academic equivalent of an "irreconcilable differences" divorce. I managed to graduate by riding around on a bus at odd times, and in between all of, my friend got married. And by friend, I mean "girl who I agonized over all through my late teens and early 20s", but you've all heard that story before, and that is not what I am going to talk about. Only point is: it was probably as well that I was invited to the wedding, and I did promise not to embarrass myself. I am, after all, named after the Goddess of Should-be-invited-to-weddings-to-avoid-trouble. This is the wedding that Khadija put on for my friend, out in the scenic, lahar-prone valleys of Hood River. And I am not even going to talk about that, I am going to talk about walking up by the reservoir. In the brochures, it was probably describes as a scenic, idyllic lake nestled in the hills. Actually, it was a big...hole...type...thing. Scraped out of the type of hard clay type material that comes from broken down basalt, and that turns into sloshy cloying mud in the winters (which this wasn't-this is a wedding, remember? with imaginings of pastoral bliss, and flower tiaras, etcetera?) and turns into reinforced asphalt in the summer, that is absolutely unbreakable by anything but the various sharp-thorned underbrush that bloom in Oregon's wet spring and then turn into reinforced-asphalt of their own in the Mediterranean summer. So a group of us went up there, perhaps pretending that we were still in junior high school. The interrelations of everyone there are hard to diagram, needless to say everyone used to know each other when we were little, but most of us had gone on to fame and fortune, or something like it, but the whole thing can't be explained unless I can triangulate off of SharQ and the like. But I did get to talking to the sister of the planner, who was a student at Yale. And of course, since I like to make life more exciting than it was, I asked her if she was in Skull & Bones yet, and then of course hastily added that for various reasons, (not being a gentile, not being male, and the like), she was unlikely to be their target market. And then she laughed at me and told me one of the top bonesmen (or whatever ridiculous name they call themselves...exalted waterbuffalo, perhaps) this year was a lesbian from South Korea. And I was suitably perplexed, and would have asked more about this phenomena of secret society inclusiveness that was damaging my happy notions of who us and them really were. But before we got to that point, there was an actual wedding that people had to go back to, and they also had planes to catch, school to attend, and all that other stuff after the scheduled hours of idyllic tiaras and pastoral mountain views had elapsed. So, I guess I didn't learn then exactly what the Skull & Bones were doing with their 30 Xanatos pile up of recruiting those outside of the anglo-saxon mold. But now I pass this information on to you, e2, for you are the myelin sheath of the internet, making sure that signals propagate as they were meant to.

The next year I was at another wedding, only this wedding was in Southeast Portland, so it was actually a "commitment ceremony", which means that the bride has to wear at least one piece of ironic clothing, and everyone shows up on bikes. My connection to the people at this wedding was also multifarious. I think they, too, partly triangulate off of SharQ, and also the bride's mother taught English with my ex-girlfriend down in Alabama, but that wasn't how I knew her, that just happened to come up later. Anyway, I remember several things about this wedding: first, the bathroom broke. I did a very big potty dance in the hallway waiting for some people to fix it. I think while doing so I looked at some map/graphic that displayed, in nice graphical format, the evil that the United States did, either with poisons, or defense spending, or one of the usual suspects. Having a full bladder can bring about a transcendent state of vividness and recall. Also, at this party, I got cut off. It tried to prove to the bartender that I sober the usual way: I put a pencil on my nose, and lowered myself into a supine (or is it prone? I can never remember which is which) position, and then rose up again, while balancing the pencil. This process proved to be counter-productive. Anyway, it was also crowded inside, so I decided to go out on the front porch, where a CIA contractor was talking about his job. He was a graduate student in Islamic studies, and was paid to teach a collection of intelligence agents (some of whom might have been stereotypical corn fed trigger happy rednecks) the long and complex history of Islam in such a way that they know who wanted them dead and who REALLY wanted them dead. I can't remember the time frame of this conversation, although I think it was after both the cutting-off, and the bathroom-dance/brightly-designed-lesson-about-the-costs-of-US-imperialism, which perhaps explained why I wanted to foist my pet theory on him. I had been studying 5% teachings, and wondered where they came from, especially the correspondence between Supreme Mathematics and the Sefiroth. My own guess, at the time, was that Elijah Muhammad was not actually an orthodox Muslim to start with, but was actually a Druze of some sort. Now, asking a graduate student in the history of Islam whether Wu-Tang lyrics prove that Elijah Muhammad was a Druze is a little bit like asking your doctor about colloidal silver. My initial theory was met with some skeptical eye rolling, but I think once I explained that I certainly wasn't foolish enough to believe my own theory, he warmed up to me a bit. We had a side discussion on whether the Druze were actually Muslims at all. And he then admitted that since Elijah Muhammad's place of origin (North Africa) made him an unlikely Druzim, he very well could have been part of some other Ismaili sect that had picked up some neoplatonic ideas that had been floating around the desert.

And then I left that wedding, and somewhere on the way home, thinking about Rakim's advice, I decided to go to graduate school myself, and also (but don't quote me on this), I might have peed in the bushes somewhere between Brooklyn Street and Division Street. So now, (to quote Ram Dass), you have the information that I have.

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