Bad ingestions and good intentions at the start of Spring (in the north)

I apologize, right at the start, to anyone who was disappointed that I didn’t write a blog post yesterday.  I was home sick, having gotten a bad GI reaction from some Chinese food that I ordered and ate Sunday night.  The food was the gastric equivalent of Rocky Balboa; it simply did not want to stay down.

I’m back now, though, and have just arrived at the train station after a morning walk, and am waiting for the train I would have boarded anyway had I taken the bus.  I’ve occasionally toyed with the idea of getting a bike—not a fancy, lean-over-the-handlebars type—to go to and from the train station.  But to do that entails thinking of something long-term, as a long-term solution to the problem of time in my daily life, and I have no desire to think long-term.  I honestly don’t really want a long term.  I barely want a short term.  I barely want a single day more, to be honest, especially when I’ve been feeling sick and my back is hurting especially badly.  Oh, well, that’s nothing new.

I suppose I should welcome you all to Spring, which officially started yesterday, when the equinox happened—or autumn, in the southern hemisphere, apologies for the apparent dissing.  I’m a little sad that I didn’t get to write about it yesterday.  In many ways, the equinoxes are more global than the solstices, because (although one is heading toward summer and the other heading toward winter) the two hemispheres all go through the same equinox at the same time, and it means, roughly, the same thing.

I was listening to an audiobook while walking this morning, as I often do, but this was a non-fiction book.  The author, a highly intelligent investigator, often refers to “authorities” regarding certain subjects*, sometimes seeming a bit tongue-in-cheek as he does so.  This raised for me a notion that I think is not reinforced often enough in the world:  when it comes to matters of science, there are no authorities.  There are experts, but there are no actual authorities.  No one has authorship of nature—no human or other mortal, anyway—and so no one has authority.

Stephen King can rightly claim authority over the works of Stephen King, as no one else can.  But nature, reality itself, is not subject to human authority.  And that includes other humans.  Governments also don’t really have authority, since none of them actually made society, nor do they “run” their nations.  At best, they are managers.

I’ve said this before, but no human civilization was ever created, nor is any such thing ever run, by individual humans.  They are spontaneously self-assembled and self-organizing systems.  Each individual member of the system is responding to local incentives, and this generates the overall pattern emergently.

This brings me to another issue that occurred to me while listening to the book, and that is the notion of intentions.  We all know the cliché that the road to hell is paved with good intentions, and these good intentions are mentioned frequently regarding the people who have made scientific errors or presumptions as described in the book to which I was listening.  And it occurred to me that not only are good intentions not any adequate guarantee of good outcomes; they can be actively corrupting, in many ways more so than greed or lust for power.

While a person who is greedy and self-serving can certainly do great harm, part of their very impetus is to continue getting away with what they are doing, to continue to prosper, and so they tend to want to fly under the radar—at least until they begin to feel insecure in other ways, perhaps.  But ideologues, people who truly believe that what they are doing is right and is best for the greatest number of people, can justify performing horrible acts that might put off any but the worst of psychopathic sadists.

The perpetrators of various witch-hunts and inquisitions and reigns of terror and pogroms and purges and great leaps forward and killing fields and the like—and even the less-destructive Twitter mobs—are often people who are truly and thoroughly convinced that they are acting in the best interests of everyone in the world, and possibly even in the best interests of those they torture and murder in some cases.

But the desire to do good and the question of actually doing good appear to be almost orthogonal in reality.  Certainly their alignment is not reliably one-to-one.  Thus, any person who actually wants to do good—not just to be able to tell themselves that they are doing good—must always be amendable, at least in principle, to learning that they are wrong, in their methods or even in their ideals.

Dogmatism tends to be catastrophic.  Certainty kills, in the words of a person whom I cannot recall.  Or to paraphrase another source of which I’m not certain, good intentions can be and have been used to fumigate the worst of possible deeds, even the slaughter of a continent.

As Richard Feynman** said, reality has to take precedence over politics, for Nature cannot be fooled.

Anyway, that’s enough of that.  All these things apply in the long run—relatively speaking, anyway—and while I’m interested, in principle, in long walks, I can’t actually envision a future for myself, other than the inevitable one.  I have no goals or plans or aspirations, I desire no “beliefs”, and I don’t foresee any beneficial change in myself, whether beneficial to me or to anyone else.  If I could find the will to override the irritating biological drives that lead me to keep eating and drinking and all that crap, I would do so, and would consider it sensible.  But that’s not readily accomplished, so I am forced along other, sometimes potentially very long, paths.

Ah, well.  I’m stubborn at least, even if I’m not dogmatic.  Or so I believe.

It's spring!

*I’m not going into the subject matter because I don’t want to distract from my point.

**Of course I tend to remember when I’m quoting him.

Add title – reduce heat to low – go for a walk

It’s Saturday morning, and as I warned you, I’m writing a blog post today.

I’m at the bus stop this morning, because I wanted to give my feet a bit of a break*.  They were quite achy and tired when I got back to the house last night, and I decided that, unless they felt perfect this morning, I would take the bus.  I’ve got change in my pocket for the fare**, since I let my bus pass lapse, and I have no intention of renewing it.

I suppose I shouldn’t feel too disappointed about the fact that I needed to cut myself some slack here and there.  It’s my first week of full-on walking, and since Monday I’ve already done about 48 miles.  Since last Friday, it’s quite a bit over 60 miles.  That’s not too bad.

In epic fantasy novels and such, people just up and leave home and start walking to go on some quest—I guess they might ride a horse or pony at least part of the way, sometimes—but you never really hear about them needing to get in shape as they do, and you rarely hear about things like blisters or soreness or other exercise-related troubles.

I guess, to some degree, that’s reasonable, since the people in those fantasy worlds—e.g. the hobbits of Middle Earth—don’t have cars or anything of the sort.  They walk most places they go, so they’re not at all strangers to what we would consider quite long walking in our modern, advanced world.  Hobbits always go barefoot, but then again, so would our own ancestors have done while they hunted and gathered over the course of scores of millennia.

It’s really striking to realize quite how much we’ve fallen off from our more natural tendencies to ambulate.  Humans are built for tremendous endurance in hot conditions like sub-Saharan Africa.  As I understand it, we have more sweat glands per square inch of skin than any other animal known on the planet, extant or extinct.  The bushmen of the Kalahari are said to bring down big game largely by running it to exhaustion—they can’t overtake an antelope on a straight run, maybe, but they can just keep following it until it drops from exhaustion and overheating, and then they can spear it and bring it back to their camp.

Meanwhile, in our more advanced societies, we’ve made ourselves dependent upon devices—like cars—that not only cause issues for the environment, but actually weaken our bodies.  In many parts of America, there simply is no good way to get to a job if you don’t have a car of your own.  Public transportation is only decent in select, quite big, urban areas.

I heard a podcast once in which someone discussed technologies that improve our abilities while strengthening us, and others that improve our “abilities” but weaken us in the long term.  The interviewee compared, for instance, the abacus to the electronic calculator.  Masters of the former tend to have superior arithmetic skills—even without their abacuses—while regular users of the latter tend to suffer atrophy of their basic math abilities.  He also compared the automobile and the bicycle.  A bike definitely allows one to go farther, faster, than one ever would have simply by walking or running***, but it nevertheless keeps a person exercising and in great shape if that person does it very much.

We all know, if we’re paying attention, that going everywhere using cars does not tend to improve our physical conditioning.

If we developed a culture of only using public transportation for longish distances, and walking or biking everywhere in between, I wonder how much the rate of insulin resistance—and therefore of hypertension, of heart disease, of stroke, of cancer, of dementia—would diminish in the developed world.  We could keep the fruits of modern technology; for instance, we’d still have all the medical care that prolongs our average lifespans despite diminishing physical fitness, but we would probably need much less of it.

How much healthier would we be?

It would probably also be good for reducing atmospheric carbon dioxide.  Now, it is a fact that humans do emit carbon dioxide as a waste gas, so we’re not carbon-negative or anything.  But very few of us eat food that’s derived from fossil fuels, so the carbon we expel was recently taken from the air (by plants) before it got to us.  I suspect that, just straight food-wise, we’re carbon neutral.  However, the transportation of our foods and various other aspects of it are run largely on fossil fuels, so that’s an issue.  But that’s addressable.

Imagine if we all only used mass transportation when we had far to go.  First of all, of necessity, public transportation would be better by far than it is.  And we’d all be in better shape, and probably would have better mental health, if we walked or biked for “shorter” distances.  Getting people to give up their cars might not be easy, but making it much more expensive to drive—with various taxes, and then frankly, just with the fact that the fuels to run cars will have become rarer and thus more expensive over time—can push people toward alternatives, leading to new equilibria.

I’ve often thought that it would be nice if, in public gyms, we paid people to ride exercise bikes attached to generators, which could then feed the produced power into batteries of one variety of another.  It wouldn’t pay very much, maybe, but imagine if someone who was down on his or her luck could—instead of, for instance, donating plasma—go into a public gym and earn money by biking.  Nowadays, the ambitious pay a lot of money to get exercise into their schedules.  Might they, and others, not do it more if they could be paid?

Well, that’s enough pie in the sky for today.  I hope you all had a nice, if minor, holiday yesterday.  My bus should be here soon, and I’ll be walking back from the train in the afternoon, which should bring this week’s total to about 55 miles, not counting last Sunday.  That’s not too bad, but I’ve got a long way to go…so to speak.

walker on dirt road

*Not that kind of break.

**I ended up accidentally overpaying by 50 cents.

***As long as there are paved roads and/or paths, but then again, you need those for cars, too.  Feet are, in many ways, much more versatile than wheels.

A surreal golf dream to launch Saint Patrick’s Day

Happy Friday and Happy Saint Patrick’s Day!  I’m working tomorrow, but that’s okay.  I feel less weary today than I did yesterday.  I went back to the house last night, and the walk back from the train was not as tiring as it had been before, after a night’s and morning’s physical rest.

I may even have a beer—perhaps a Guinness—this evening, in celebration of the day, though regrettably I don’t think I’ll be able to enjoy any corned beef and cabbage, and I indeed regret not being able to have the red potatoes that often come with that meal.  But, be that as it must.

Not surprisingly, I slept pretty deeply last night, though not as long as my body would have liked to sleep.  In fact, I was awakened by my alarm, which is an infrequent occurrence.  I was, what’s more, disturbed in the midst of a dream, and that happens rarely indeed.  I don’t recall the last time I had a dream that I remembered, though neuroscience suggests that I must have some dreams most every night.

It was a strange dream (though that’s perhaps redundant).  It involved a peculiar game of golf that went through a mysterious forest along a narrow path, with low but rather steep hills surrounding a thin, mostly straight main trail, which were part of the apparent “fairway”.  There were many small trees, which were nevertheless quite “shady”, though much of the game seemed to take place at night.  I don’t think I was present in the dream as myself per se, but was if anything a spectator.  It seemed almost like a set, as if for an elaborate play, though there seemed to be open, starry sky overhead.

Then, of course, an even more absurd turn of events happened, and the final shot of the golf round before the dream was interrupted landed in a changed landscape that seemed to be the interior of some impossibly huge mega-store, spread wider and higher than any real store could surely be.  It reminded me of a Meijer’s Thrifty Acres, a superstore that I think still exists up north, and that was always much more wholesome than any Walmart has ever seemed to me.

The latter stores always feel dismal somehow, rife with disorder and despair, ill-tended and bleak, with shelves rising not into displays of plenteous goods that signify prosperity, but with stereotypical discount items, things of poor quality and bare usability.  I say that only as an impression, not an actual review of the goods available in the store.  In fact, the best dress shoes I’ve ever owned I got at a Walmart for $10; the $120 Ecco shoes I was replacing with them had caused me terrible foot and back pain.  Also, the arts and crafts sections of Walmart has often surprised me with the quality (and low expense) of the materials you could buy there.  I’ve found good quality acrylic and watercolor painting supplies at Walmart for remarkable prices in the past!

Meijer’s, though, has always felt almost like a wonderland, with almost anything a person might wish to buy all under a vast, high roof that seemed too spacious to be a structure made by humans, but appeared rather like a miniature version of the sky itself, unlike the dreary overhead of gray, bare structures seen in most Walmarts.

I like Target stores, also; they tend to feel cheerier and to have higher quality stuff than Walmart (except their groceries) and they have some arts supplies that Walmart doesn’t, including a few nice options for alcohol-based colored markers.  But they remind me too much of shopping trips with my children (and with their mother), and I avoid going into them; they make me feel very sad.  I have similar trouble with Publix, and even with Walgreen’s drug stores, though I still prefer the latter to CVS, which always seems cold and detached and uncaring.

These are weird impressions to have, I’m sure, regarding chains of retails stores, but as I’ve always admitted, I’m a weird person.

Speaking of weirdness, the last shot of the dream golf match—by the apparent protagonist of the dream, who I think was a woman, though I can’t be sure*—landed on what appeared to be a checkout counter, with nondescript impulse items, a conveyer belt, and a cash-register.  The hero (or, if you prefer, heroine) got up on the counter-top, ready to hit the ball with a truly absurd, wide and fat and tall wedge club that looked almost as if it had been crafted from a snow shovel.  She was a lefty, if memory serves.

And then, I was awakened, literally, by the sound of a rooster crowing.  My morning alarm call is the Beatles song Good Morning, Good Morning, which—appropriately—starts with a cock calling out the start of the day.

Such was the start of my day, today.  I rose and showered and walked to the train while listening to The Fellowship of the Ring, from the end of the Council of Elrond until just after the fellowship is driven back by snow in the Redhorn Gate and by the cruelty of Caradhras.

It’s a brilliant story to listen to while walking, as I think I’ve written before.  One can almost feel that one is on a great adventure oneself, a quest of deep and heroic import, even though I’ve read the book so often that I can frequently recite it along with the recoding even as I walk.  And certainly, the style of the writing (and thus the reading or listening) influences the style of my own writing, as might be evident from this post.

Well, that’s enough for now.  I hope you all have a nice day, and enjoy a Saint Patrick’s Day celebration if you celebrate it.  It’s Friday, so if you like, you can even have some beer (green beer, if you must, though I think that’s perhaps a bit silly), and a lovely, appropriate meal, ideally with family and/or friends.

I’ll be writing a post tomorrow morning, barring the truly unforeseen, so, you’ll be “hearing” from me then.

saint patrick day

*I guess this isn’t surprising.  LPGA golf has always been more interesting to me than PGA golf—I’m not sure why.  It’s not just because the ladies are nicer to look at for me, as a man, than the men are.  I feel there’s less ego and snootiness among the ladies.  Lydia Ko is one of my favorite sports figures of any field, gender, time, or whatever.  She’s as enjoyable to see play—as are her competitors—as ever was Tiger Woods in his prime (though his first Masters win was amazing!), or even Michael Jordan playing basketball with the Chicago Bulls.  I’ll admit, however, that few sporting events were better than seeing the Pistons live, playing—for instance, given that this is St Patrick’s Day—the Celtics, back when they played in the Silverdome, and tickets were obtainable and reasonably priced.

In nature’s infinite blog of secrecy a little I can read.

Hello and good morning.

It’s Thursday morning once again, and so it’s time for me to attempt to create a simulacrum of what used to be my typical, once-weekly blog post, back when I used to do my fiction writing every non-Thursday morning of the week.  It won’t really live up to expectations, I wouldn’t think, since the situation is now so different.

For one thing, I can’t talk about my fiction writing, since I haven’t done any fiction writing since before I last posted The Dark Fairy and the Desperado, and previously, Outlaw’s Mind, both of which are uncompleted stories and are likely to remain that way until the end of the universe—barring, of course, the possibility that the universe goes on forever and every possible quantum state thereof is eventually realized somewhere, somewhen.

Indeed, if the universe is infinite in spatial extent, as seems to be the case, and if our understanding of quantum mechanics and the maximal entropy state of enclosed regions of spacetime are correct, or even reasonably close to being correct, then somewhere out there in space “at this time” there are an infinite number of versions of me who have completed both stories, and many others besides, and who are world-famous authors.

I used scare quotes around “at this time” because, obviously, given the finite speed of light/causality, and the flexible nature of time depending on relative motion, the concept of simultaneity is fuzzy at best.  Nothing outside one’s local light cones can be considered to be in one’s past or one’s future, but they are also not exactly “now”, either.

Still, we can give an overall statement about the age of the universe for things that have little to no “peculiar motion” relative to the cosmic microwave background and say that such things have gone through about 13.8 billion years since the hot big bang, on average, and it’s not nonsensical to do that.  So, if by “at this time”, I refer to other regions of a spatially infinite universe that have passed through roughly the same amount of local time since the big bang, I’m not incorrect in saying that there are an infinite number of “me” who have completed their stories—and there are an infinite number who have not, and there are an infinite number of every possible variation.

None of that does me (or you) any good, because—being outside my past and future light cones (and yours, which are almost identical to mine)—those distant regions are completely causally disconnected from us, past and future, especially given the accelerated expansion of the universe.  I suppose an Einstein-Rosen Bridge/wormhole could conceivably connect such distant regions, in principle, assuming such wormholes can even happen, which is far from certain.

There are those who hypothesize that quantum entanglement happens through wormholes (small ones), and there are those who have even tried to connect distant multiverses with the many worlds of a branching Everettian quantum mechanics, but I don’t think either of those things is close to having been rigorously described, let alone tested, nor are they generally accepted by the physics community.

Anyway, it still doesn’t help any of us, because clearly, if there are alternate versions of ourselves living better lives than we are*, they have no back-and-forth connection with the lives we currently are living—the wave function has split, the states have decohered, they are not the same beings, even if movies about multiverses win many Oscars and/or make a great deal of money.

What was I talking about again?

I don’t know.  I’m very tired.  I ended up sleeping in the office last night.  I did this deliberately; it had nothing to do with train problems or anything.  I just didn’t feel like going back to the house.  I was tired (still am) and there’s nothing at the house for me that is any more enticing than there is at the office, other than a shower.  And I don’t really care about a shower right now.  For whom would be grooming myself?  Whom am I trying to impress?  All is vanity, as it says in Ecclesiastes.

It’s a funny line for a religious text that some people say contains the infallible word of an all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful and omnipresent deity that made everything, deliberately and specifically.  If that were all the case, why would it say all is vanity?  Of course, the argument could be made that these were the words of some ancient human (Solomon or David, one of those kings, is supposed to have been the author of Ecclesiastes, I think), not the direct words of the creator of the universe, but if that’s the case, then clearly the bible is not literally true in all its parts**.  But that’s hardly the only case of seemingly contradictory portions of religious texts, is it?

Anyway, it’s chilly here for south Florida—about sixty degrees, which feels cold when you’re used to 70’s to 80’s, but would no doubt feel beautifully balmy to people back in Michigan or Ohio.  It’s certainly far warmer than intergalactic space, which is only about 2.7 Kelvin (so it’s about 286 Kelvin hotter here).  Then again, it’s much cooler than the heart of the sun, and cooler yet than the heart of blue supergiant stars.  And those are all vastly cooler than just later than one Planck time after whatever initiated the big bang.

Of course, there is, in principle, a maximum heat that any local region can achieve, because if the local energy is high enough, it will form a local black hole, and also the uncertainty principle will kick in to separate things.  Although…if everything is uniformly very hot, such that there is no net curvature of spacetime in one local region relative to another…maybe that’s where inflation comes from?  If there is inflation***.

Anyway, that’s enough nonsense.  I’m just jabbering and chattering, because I don’t really communicate with anyone day-to-day in any way other than this about things that interest me.  I’m very alone and very tired, but I’m also very bad at doing the whole social interaction thing, so I’m kind of stuck.

I’m inclined to say that I deserve it—that’s how I feel—but of course, as Will (played by Clint) points out below, such concepts are really vacuous.  There are a functionally limitless number of possible variations of lives that could be lived by a being that matches my rough description and/or has an identical past that diverged at some point.  I’m just living one of those possibilities, because, well, I had to be living one of them unless I were dead, which I’m not, unfortunately.

I hope most of you are having a better morning than I am.  Heck, I’d be delighted if everyone who reads my stuff always has better days than I do.  That would at least be some good news.  And, of course, somewhere out there in infinite spacetime—if there is such a thing—that situation is instantiated.

Don’t be jealous, though.  There are also places where everyone reading my blog always has worse days than I have.

Poor bastards.



*And if there are, there are also infinite numbers of versions of us living every possible worse life as well.

**If in any of them whatsoever, which is a separate but related question.

***Well, by certain definitions, we could say with great confidence that there is inflation, since the universe is inflating now—that’s the “dark energy” you might have heard about—but it’s doing it quite slowly, doubling in size over the course of every about ten billion years, I think, at the current rate, assuming it’s a constant.  But if you change the time scale, it looks much the same as earlier, more rapid inflation…I think that’s the basis of Roger Penrose’s Conformal Cyclic Cosmology, but I haven’t read his full book on the subject yet, so I may be misunderstanding.

I don’t know what my point is (in many ways)

I’m sorry in advance.  I suspect this is going to be yet another boring-ass blog post like the two earlier this week.  Something about walking from the house to the train station seems to set me up not to write very well, or at least not to write in a very interesting fashion.

Maybe it’s just that I’m not writing anything new, but am just rehashing the same old garbage that’s always moving through my mind.  I don’t know what I’m supposed to do about that, though.  I can’t move anything through my mind but my own thoughts, and I can’t simply choose those.  If I could, I would probably choose not to be depressed, as I think anyone with depression would choose.

Of course, it may be the case that I would have a hard time choosing not to be depressed because—presumably as a consequence of my depression—I often feel that I deserve to feel depressed, that I deserve to hate myself, that I am right to hate myself.  But, of course, if I could choose to change my thoughts, then surely I could choose not to think that I deserve to feel depressed, and not to hate myself.  Here we see the beginning of a potential infinite regress, one that’s related to the fundamental ontological* problems with any concept of “contra-causal” free will.

We also run up against issues of fundamental identity, relating to the concept of “terminal goals” as discussed in AI research and the like.  There are instrumental goals—piecemeal goals, objectives, chosen as steps along the way to achieving terminal goals—and then there are the terminal goals, the fundamental goals, the things that are the root drivers of a system.

Could any intelligence with true terminal goals ever opt to change those goals?  How could it choose, as an instrumental goal, the changing of a terminal goal, when such a change would almost certainly lead it to fail in its terminal goal?  I think it was Robert Miles, in one of his Computerphile videos, who proposed a fictional example as a comparable choice to a human:  consider whether (if you are a loving parent) you would be willing, for any reward, to have your personality altered such that you wouldn’t care whether your child or children lived or died, and indeed, that you would be willing to kill them.

If you’re not a parent—not a loving parent, anyway—it might be difficult to see the bone-deep trouble with this, but I suspect that most reasonably normal parents would rather die than be altered so as not to care whether their children live or die, and for good, sound, biological reasons.  I certainly meet that description.

But the point at which I’m getting is to imagine if, somehow, I could once and for all cure my dysthymia/depression, but it would have the effect of changing my character, my nature, my personality—my terminal goals, if your will—would I do it?

It’s somewhat difficult for me to imagine, because I can remember times in my life when I was not depressed, and not all of them were that long ago.  I very much think that I was the same person at those times, fundamentally, as I am now.  There’s a continuity of thought, at least from the point of view of my present memory, which is the only point of view I have.  I don’t feel in any serious way that I was a different person either twenty years ago, or thirty years ago, or forty years ago, or whatever, back to as far as I can remember, to when I started grade school and a bit before.

Of course, I apparently have always had some form of ASD**—Asperger’s or whatever—though I don’t have a formal diagnosis.  Does anyone really have a definitive diagnosis for that, though?  The criteria are semi-arbitrary and are not based on a measurable, physical structure or quantity but a constellation of attributes.  Still, whatever the case, it is something inherent to the given person’s nervous system.  And it does seem to predispose one to depression (and presumably to dysthymia, and certainly to alexithymia), so maybe that tendency has always been there in me.

There are certainly many, relatively early times when I found myself feeling burned out or washed out, or just blank and empty and exhausted, but I didn’t connect it to anything or know why it happened.  By the time I started high school I was already having periods when I would be depressed and have suicidal thoughts.

But I didn’t hate myself back then—not most of the time, anyway.  I even put on something of a show of pretending really to think very highly of myself, to be egotistical and narcissistic in a playful way.  And I did have moments of somewhat megalomaniacal tendencies, but then again, I was good at a lot of things, and I got attention for it.

I definitely always felt different and weird compared to the people around me.  I tried to turn that to my advantage, to make it a defense mechanism—to make myself seem vaguely scary and dangerous because of being sort of crazy, I guess, to make sure no one messed with me.  But it is a fact that I did feel weird; I felt like I was strange, or crazy, and I also felt vaguely hostile and even borderline hateful toward many other people at least some of the time, because what stranger in a strange land of alien beings would not feel that way?

I don’t know where I’m going with this, or what point I’m trying to make.  Again, I’m sorry.  It’s not a very good blog post.  But if it helped you pass a few moments in which you would otherwise have been staring at a wall or—cat forbid—a TikTok video or something, then I guess it’s been worthwhile.

would i lie to you

*I think that’s the term for which I’m looking.

**Apart from the congenital heart defect, I mean.  That was definitely something I had at least until I was eighteen.

WINTER forward, Fall back just doesn’t make sense.

Well, here we all are again—though I, at least, am not on the Mississippi.  I’m actually on the Tri Rail train, northbound between Hollywood, Florida and Deerfield Beach, Florida*.  But I suspect that most of you are not on the Tri Rail when reading it, though some small possibility of such an occurrence does exist.

There may well even be people reading this while on the Mississippi.  Of course, the Mississippi River is much bigger than the Tri Rail train system, and I think there is quite a lot of shipping of various kinds that goes on along its course, but I don’t know that there are very many people involved relative to the amount of traffic.  Of those people, a very small percentage are likely to be reading blogs (or other matter) relative to the people on the Tri Rail who might do so at any given time.

I’m sure there are legitimate ways to assess those numbers, but I don’t have enough information to do it.  I also don’t have enough interest to try to obtain the requisite information, even if it is available out there in the internet/web.

It’s a bit amusing to me that yesterday when I wrote my post, I was completely unaware that we had done the whole “spring forward” thing last weekend.  Part of the reason it didn’t occur to me is:  It’s not Spring yet, dammit!  What the hell is that, having the “spring forward” part of daylight savings time when it’s not even Spring?  Forget the fact that daylight savings time is a dubious practice to begin with; if you’re going to take the thing with the long-standing mnemonic “spring forward, fall back” and adjust the timing so it no longer applies…well, I can only say that such stupidity must have required an act of Congress**.

Anyway, it was funny, because I got on a train twenty minutes earlier than my usual one, and I noted, as I arrived, that the sun wasn’t even starting to come up above the horizon.  I thought to myself that it was remarkable how much difference twenty minutes had made.  But, of course, it was an hour and twenty minutes, it turns out, so that difference is less surprising.

Then, at the office, I noted that the microwave clock was off by an hour.  At first I assumed someone had just stopped cooking something and left time on it, but seven minutes and twenty-one seconds seemed like a long time to have left.  Still, people do stupider things.  I’m one of them, obviously***.

So, of course, as I reset the microwave clock, noting that no one had just left time on it, it flitted through my mind that maybe it was a daylight savings time thing, but again—it isn’t Spring yet, so I didn’t think that could be the case!

I was wrong, obviously.  It didn’t matter much to me either way, since even with the hour shifted forward, I was up earlier than my alarm by quite a bit, and I finally gave up and left, since I was up anyway, and that was why I got the earlier train.  Today, I just got up earlier anyway, again.

I’ve been walking to and from the train on both ends now.  Just since Friday, that means I’ve walked about thirty miles—twelve on Friday, twelve yesterday, and six so far today (rounded off, and with some loose change left out from the weekend).  I seem to have reached the point where I’m not troubled by new blisters, which is good, and I’ve adjusted my process the avoid such things in the future, for the most part.  I do have some achiness here and there, but it’s not that bad.  Sweat is my biggest issue, to be honest.  But I bring a change of shirt, and I have Lysol and deodorant aplenty, so as long as I rehydrate, it doesn’t seem to be much of a problem.

I am a bit frustrated that I haven’t again experienced the “endorphin rush” thing I had on Friday.  Maybe that was just me being all pleased with myself for having walked so far already that morning, and wasn’t really exercise-induced endorphins.  Over the weekend, and particularly yesterday, I’ve actually been even more depressed than usual for me.

I guess you could tell that much from my post yesterday morning, and I can only say that my mood went downhill from there throughout the day.  My mental energy today feels slightly higher, but then again, I have overdosed on caffeine already this morning, purely because I didn’t want to be quite so glum when I got to writing this post.  It was deliberate.

I’m really not prone to be kind to myself, am I?  In fact, I tend to be unkind to myself a lot of the time.  It’s not without reason that I did a cover of the song Hurt, originally by Nine Inch Nails/Trent Reznor.  I find that its lyrics more or less literally express my feelings and facts about me…except that, from my point of view, needles are for pansies.

Anyway, that’s getting too revelatory, and so I’ll draw to a close now—just for today, I mean, not permanently.  That may be coming soon, but it’s not here yet.  In the meantime, you can look forward to reading whatever I write tomorrow and the next day and for however long I keep going.  I really hope it won’t be very long.

You can place bets if you like.  I won’t do any match-fixing, or whatever the term is.  As Doris Day sang, whatever will be will be—as it must be, for once a thing happens, there is no way it can ever have been otherwise than it was.

*Actually, it runs between Miami Airport and Mangonia Park, which is in northern Palm Beach County, but I don’t go to either of those destinations.  Indeed, in all the time I’ve ridden the Tri Rail, I’ve never once gone to either of those two stations, though I’ve been to and/or through most of the stations in between.  This is perfectly understandable and predictable, given that they are the two termini of the line, and so one never passes through them en route to anywhere else.

**It is not without justification that Dave Barry once used “act of Congress” as a euphemism for “taking a sh*t”.

***Both in the sense that I do such “stupid” things and that I probably am one of the stupider things that people have done, though I shouldn’t disrespect my parents for bringing me into existence.  They had no way to know how I was going to turn out.

Sometimes jokes are expressions of desperation.

Well, it’s Monday again.  Welcome to another Monday.

I walked to the train again this morning, as I did on Friday, and since I chose to get up and go a bit earlier today, I’m actually now on a train that will arrive at my destination earlier than would have the one I would have boarded had I taken the bus to the train.

Wow, that was a long and convoluted sentence, wasn’t it?  Sorry.

I think on Friday, after my first morning walk to the train, I started the day off a bit giddy, and I think that affected the quality of my blog post that day, so my apologies for that.  I think I was experiencing my first real endorphin rush from endurance exercise in many years, and it got me rather wired and a bit garrulous and—for me—outgoing for the very early part of the day.

That didn’t last, of course.  By early afternoon my general outlook was diminishing and deteriorating and various other verbs starting with “d” and ending in “ing”.  I don’t know how well that fact came across to others in the office, though.  I seemed to make people laugh a bit more than usual in the morning, and I certainly felt less tense than I usually did, but I can’t tell at all if my personality from their point of view was any different than usual.  Even when I’m profoundly depressed—in my immediate mood in addition to my general state of neuro-psychology—I tend to say sardonic things that people find funny a lot of the time.

I think this actually impairs my ability to convey the fact that I really feel deeply horrible.  People seem to assume that if you’re making jokes and are funny, you must be doing okay.  I can tell you from personal experience, this is not necessarily the case.  Sometimes jokes are expressions of desperation.  Just look at poor Robin Williams, if you don’t believe me.

But by the end of the day I felt tired and frustrated and grumpy and gloomy.  That was me on Friday afternoon, which makes me rather different—according to popular understanding, anyway—from most people.  Friday afternoon leading into a weekend in which I don’t work is not a prospect that meant much good for me.  I just sat around in my room at the house, alone—after walking home from the train, which at least caused another, if less notable, bump up in my mood.

I walked to local convenience stores a couple of times over the weekend, and I walked to Burger King on Sunday, and of course I did my laundry, but that was it.  I didn’t really do anything enjoyable.  I certainly didn’t spend time with friends, since I don’t really have any—though I did speak with my sister on the phone on Sunday evening, and that was very nice.

But really, I have a hard time being at all interested in anything much.  The YouTube algorithm is beginning to fail me with respect to offering me things I’m interested in viewing; but perhaps it’s me failing at the algorithm, in that I simply don’t have anything that interests me, and so YouTube can’t offer me much in the way of stuff I’d like to see.  It does occasionally offer me the little option box of being shown an assortment of things that I’ve never seen so far.  I’ve used that box once or twice in the past, but I don’t remember it being particularly beneficial.  I didn’t use it this weekend.

I wish I could find some longish-form fiction that I could enjoy again, like I used to.  Back when I was reading The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever and The Belgariad, and later the Harry Potter books, and even things like The Sword of Shannara, and then The Elfstones of Shannara, or various Stephen King and related books, the books gripped my attention and could keep me occupied for quite a long stretch each.  Also, of course, in between reading books, I actually had a group of friends with whom I did things that we enjoyed.

Not so, now.  Now the only fiction that I’ve been able to stick with has been a few select Japanese light novels, most of them centered around high school kids, most of those being loners of some sort or another.  But these books, though I can stick with them, seem just to make me feel a bit more depressed when I’m done, as if they are surrogate friends or surrogate lives, and once they’re done, I’m even more alone than I was before.  And they are all ridiculously short, being light novels.

I have noticed a peculiar and rather amusing effect of reading some of these stories:  When they are written in first person, which is common, I often tend to think to myself in the fashion of the character for about twenty minutes or so after a bout of reading them, almost narrating my actions as if I were writing a first person story.  This goes away rather quickly, but it’s a bit unsettling.  It’s as though my sense of personal identity is so effaced that I just start mirroring the only identities from which I can get any inside view, which are those of first person narratives.

Oh, well, I think we’ve established already that I’m a weird person, so I don’t know why even I am surprised when I find new weird things about myself.  Maybe I’m just irredeemable—you certainly cannot save me up and exchange me for valuable prizes or anything of the sort.  If you save me up, so to speak, I just become wearisome.  Everyone who has ever spent a long time with me on a regular basis has ultimately found me not worth enduring.

I am one of those people.

I guess I don’t have an endorphin rush today.  I hope you have one, if you can.  They’re nice.

It’s inspiring stuff for an otherwise mundane journey.

I’m starting this blog post a bit later than I usually do—roughly an hour later—because, as I planned yesterday, I have walked from the house to the train station, which is about 4.8 miles, it turns out.  It took me almost exactly an hour and a half, which I guess is a decent pace, though I used to walk more quickly.

I suppose with enough training I shall improve.

Now I’m at the train station (not the one to which I take the bus, but the one from which I always used to set off), waiting for the very train I would have caught had I taken the bus to the train this morning.  So I won’t be arriving at the office any later than usual, but I may be tardy in my posting of this blog entry.

While I walked, I listened to The Fellowship of the Ring on Audible.  It’s a brilliant book to which to listen while walking any distance, because the characters are walking, themselves.  When I started, they were in the Prancing Pony, first meeting Strider (my namesake)*, and by the time I’d gotten to the train station, Frodo had just been stabbed on Weathertop and they were getting ready to repack the pony and head off the following morning.

It’s inspiring stuff for an otherwise mundane journey.

I’m not wearing my Timberland boots today.  I fear that part of the issue with them is that they don’t fit my feet quite snugly enough, and so I slide around a bit in them, and of course, that can lead to blistering.  I’m not sure why the fit is overlarge, though.  I’ve looked at the various reviews and whatnot of those boots, and people generally say that they are true to size, or else a bit small.

Whereas, for instance, the Under Armor shoes I had are actually a bit snug at my usual size, and a pair a half size up seem a more comfortable a fit around my toes.  New Balance walking shoes, such as the ones I’m wearing today, and more or less just right.

I’m leery of trying a pair of Timberlands a half size smaller, not least because they are not cheap.  Though, of course, Amazon does have a try-it-on thing you can do, but if you don’t want to keep a pair you have to send it back, and that’s annoying.  I can’t deal with crap like that anymore; it involves interacting with humans I don’t know and changing my schedule and my routines and all that other stuff, and it’s just not worth the effort.

Maybe I’ll figure something out.  Possibly just the walking itself will strengthen my feet, or alternatively will make them swell enough that they fit the boots snugly.  I will admit, after wearing the boots yesterday, they already feel much more comfortable than they did before, but I did not walk more than about three and a half miles yesterday, total.

I’d like to find something out that is more or less ideal, but there may be no such thing in the real world.  Reality is extremely complex, with all sorts of high order equations interacting with other high order equations all over the place.  It may well be that the possibility of finding something ideally suited in all aspects for any given purpose is functionally impossible.

This is one reason I dislike it when people use the word “perfect”, because in most cases it’s a notion that isn’t even well defined, let alone achievable.  Unless one sets clear and specific and precise criteria, judging anything or anyone to be perfect is just rhetoric, it’s not reason.  Powerful rhetoric can be enjoyable, like watching a boxing match or a martial arts movie, but it absolutely should not be allowed to sway one in important matters that bear on facts of reality or choices of morality.

Should we really let our politics, let alone our judgments of the facts of reality, be shaped by the words of someone who is—effectively—the best name-caller on the playground?  The difference between juvenile remarks—“Neener-neener,” “Your mama,” and “I’m rubber, you’re glue” for instance—and the words in most political discourse and debate is one of degree, not of type.

Imagine if Wiles’s proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem*** had consisted of him saying, “It’s true ‘cause I said it’s true, now what are you gonna do about it?  My grandma knows number theory better than you do.”  Or perhaps he could have invoked the seemingly more mature arguments:  “Of course, my political opponent would be skeptical of my proof, even though it’s obvious to anyone of intelligence that it’s correct.  The members of that party don’t want you to have the freedom brought by knowing that no three positive integers a, b, and c satisfy the equation an + bn = cn for any integer value of n greater than 2.  That’s because it threatens their power structure, and their special interest groups and wealthy lobbyists.  My proof may, like Fermat’s, be too big to fit in the margins of a letter, but believe me, my opponent’s brains, together with his genitals, are more than small enough to fit in such a space.”

Would that be a convincing mathematical argument?  Would it have anything at all to do with the truth of any proposition whatsoever?

Why do people both use and fall for such manipulations?  I know, I know, they’re just a bunch of tailless, nearly-hairless monkeys; why would you expect them to be more reasonable than baboons?  But it’s so frustrating mainly because nearly all of them appear to have the capacity to be rational, contrary to popular belief.

The very use of language itself requires syntax, grammar, logic, all applied at quite a sophisticated and often abstract level.  Almost all humans are capable of language starting at a young age.  They have the wherewithal to be truly reasonable and sharp-minded, almost all of them, with but a bit of effort.  This makes it all the more irritating when they don’t do so.

One doesn’t get angry at a starfish for having no curiosity about astronomy (despite what we call it), or a worm for not grasping quantum mechanics****.  And what does a sea squirt need with philosophy, especially once it’s achieved tenure?  But humans nearly all have the capacity for exceptional achievements.

Though I suppose “exceptional” wouldn’t be the right word if everyone did it.

How did I get on this subject?  I don’t remember.  Anyway, that’s more than enough of a post for today, and as I write this last sentence, having arrived finally at the office (and having now walked just shy of six miles already), I still need to do my editing.  So I’ll call it good.  I don’t think I’m going to be working tomorrow.  It would be good, after my first day of longer walking, to have a day of relative rest.  Then, next week, I shall do my walking, about 12 miles, every day.  That’s not too bad for a start, but not as much as my eventual hope.

We’ll see what happens.

*That’s Aragorn, of course, but for those of you who have only seen the movies, you may not know that his name as king of Gondor, in the fullness of time, was Elessar Telcontar.  Elessar means “elfstone” and refers to the green gem given to Aragorn by Galadriel, whereas Telcontar means, more or less, “strider”**.

**If ever I were to assume a supervillain name of some kind, I might replace my current last name with “Melkor”, because it would lead to possibly the most egotistical concatenation of name meanings ever.  My first name, Robert, apparently means “bright fame” or “bright glory”.  My middle name, Eugene, of course means “true born” or “well born”, as in “eugenics”.  And my counterfactual last name, Melkor, would mean “He who arises in might”.  That’s a heckuva collection of names.  And, of course, I’m a doctor by training and by degree, so that just makes it all even mightier.  “I’m Robert Eugene Melkor, MD.  You can call me Dr. Melkor.  Bwa ha ha ha haaaa!”

***Which, to be fair, should be called Wiles’s Theorem.

****Though they are good at tunneling.  Ha ha.

A turn or two I’ll walk, to still my blogging mind

Hello and good morning to everyone reading this, even if you’re reading it in the afternoon, or the evening, or at night, or if you’re fundamentally not a morning person and so you never see mornings as “good” no matter what anyone says.  Don’t feel bad about that, if it is the case for you.  Even Gandalf expressed his skepticism about the greeting “Good morning,” as we see almost at the very beginning of The Hobbit.

Most greetings are bizarre things, or at least many of them are.  I particularly dislike greetings that involve questions, because I have lost my former hard-earned skill, such as it was, at treating them as the vacuous, ritualistic bird-calls that they are.

If, on a Monday morning, someone asks, “How was your weekend?” I can’t simply reply with a ritual, “It was great,” and then ask about theirs, whether I care about their weekend or not.  I actually have to stop and think about the question*.  Often, I’m sorry to say, I can only shrug and quote Bart Simpson, saying, “Meh.”  This is me trying to avoid being too negative.  But, of course, humans—or at least Americans—don’t want to hear that sort of thing.  I don’t quite know why.

Similarly, some people will ask the rather grammatically suspect question, “How are you doing?” usually with some dropped consonants or strange contractions.  My first instinct, which I almost always resist, is to respond with, “How am I doing what?”  Instead, I tend just to go for the puzzled look followed by a shrug and, again, “Meh.”

The foreshortened version of the earlier question is “How are you?”  It is if anything more bizarre.  It sounds like the beginning of a deep, philosophical discussion, related perhaps to the old “Why is there something rather than nothing?”  How am I?  Does that mean “How is it that I exist?” which seems to be what it means if you take it at face value?

It’s an interesting thing—to me, at least—to think about the same question but changing “How” to various other words such as who, what, where, and when.  The first three make straightforward sense, the last one is an intriguing question calling to my mind the notion that, in GR, there is no time that passes, merely an extra dimension to reality.

They are all better questions and make more sense than the “how” one.  Then, of course, we could take our cue from the improvised, hilarious line given by Drax in Avengers: Infinity War, and ask, “Why are you?”

Okay, let’s move on to other matters besides my steadily atrophying skill at dealing with small talk in anything but a literal (and annoyed) way.

Today is the final valid day for my current bus pass.  These passes are really quite good if you ride the bus more than a few times a week in Broward County.  Unlike the Tri Rail, which charges full price for each calendar month—even if you buy the pass in the last week of that month—the bus passes start ticking (so to speak) only when you first use them, and they expire a minute before midnight thirty-one days later.  That’s it.  Straightforward.  So if you buy a bus pass and “sit on it” for months, you still have 31 days of use once you first use it.

I like it.  It’s a good system.

That being said, I think that after this evening, when I use this pass for the last available time, I’m not going get a new one.  Instead, if I can summon the courage, I’m simply going to walk to and from the train station every day.  That’s slightly under five miles in each direction.  If I can pull that off, counting the walk from and to the station up at work, I’ll be walking eleven or twelve miles a day.

I really ought to be able to do that.  Endurance is not an issue.  I just have problems with still-healing blisters.  But I can’t coddle myself with respect to those.  My blisters are all that’s holding me back, and they are annoying, but I have to push through to the other side of that barrier, because I have a task before me that I want to accomplish.

It won’t be a particularly useful task for anyone but me, and there will no doubt be those who will think it’s not good for me either, but that isn’t really my concern.  I want to try.  As I always say, I don’t want to inconvenience people I care about, so I’m thinking of something that hopefully will minimize “me-related” problems for them, though adjustments will likely need to be made at some level.

At least the number of people close to me personally and physically is small—it’s zero if you’re looking at the combination of the two attributes.  Also, at least my idea shouldn’t be messy or locally problematic.  That’s one advantage, at least.  Or is it two?

I feel that I have to do something though.  I don’t think I can endure much longer with nothing meaningful in my life in any serious way.  My foundations (metaphorically speaking) are crumbling; you can see the cracks widening if you know where to look, and when they give—I keep trying not to let it give as long as I can—the failure will probably be abrupt and messy and will cause trouble for the neighbors, so to speak.  I’d really like to minimize that if I can.  I cause other people enough unpleasantness just by existing; I’d rather not make it worse.

Of course, I’d rather do good for other people, especially the ones I care about.  I’d rather try to relieve suffering and cause joy, or at least to entertain.  I like to make people smile if I can, but I’m not good at it, and I don’t smile very well myself anymore.

I used to practice smiling in the mirror all the time, to try to get it right, but I’ve kind of stopped bothering with that anymore.  My smiles are usually façades and charades, at least in recent years.

Anyway, my bus will be here soon.  I’ll try to keep you all posted, and I’ll probably write something tomorrow again, whether you like it or not.  Have a good day, if you can, but you don’t have to have a good morning if you don’t feel like it, no matter what I said at the beginning of the post.



*Lately I’ve considered simply replying, “It was about sixty hours long”, but I always forget to do that when the time comes.

Though it’s Wednesday morning again, I’ll avoid quoting from She’s Leaving Home…

Though it’s Wednesday morning again, I’ll avoid quoting from She’s Leaving Home, or referring to my tied-for-favorite of Charles Addams’s characters.  I’m back at the bus stop, just as I was yesterday and the day before, of course, and I still feel very tired.

In fact, I feel a bit more tired than I did yesterday, though I had a nominally better sleep last night—almost five hours (it wasn’t uninterrupted, though).  For me, that’s middling to decent, but it’s very clear from the inside that it is not the amount of sleep my body requires for optimal, let alone maximal, function.  It may, however, be the most sleep my nervous system is able to accomplish without pharmaceutical intervention.

But, of course, with such interventions, I always feel more tired even after a long sleep than I would normally.  Actually, come to think of it, last night I took half a Benadryl™ before going to bed, so I did have some slight pharmaceutical influence, perhaps accounting for the fact that I got all of five hours of sleep.

Jeez, that’s all really boring, isn’t it?  I’m so sorry.  My life is boring, unfortunately, so if I talk about my life, things are generally going to be boring.  I appreciate your patience.

I also appreciate the people who commented and responded and so on to my previous two blog posts.  You’re greatly appreciated, I want that to be very clear, even if in supporting me I fear you are throwing pearls before swine.

I’m considering going back on Saint John’s Wort, which is an “antidepressant” that worked for me in the past, when I first took it (along with therapy, so it isn’t easy to separate variables).  I wouldn’t expect much from it.  I’m actually almost hoping to get that little bump in motivation that sometimes comes at the beginning of antidepressant treatment and puts a depressed person at increased risk for suicide, because before, they were too crippled by lack of energy to take action, but now that the will is growing, they can do it.

The last time I took it, though—which was far from the first—I just felt worse overall in general, even after several weeks, so I don’t even know that it’s going to do anything if I take it.  I can hardly be certain that the first time I took it the beneficial result was anything more than a placebo effect.

I’ve been on other antidepressants, of course, from Paxil to Celexa and Lexapro, to Effexor and Wellbutrin, as well as more old-school ones like Amitriptyline.  They clearly had effects (including benefits), of course, but I don’t know that they were for the better.  Coming off Paxil led me to experience the only two episodes of sleep paralysis I’ve ever had, which were utterly terrifying but still quite fascinating, at least in retrospect.  So in that sense it was worth the course of treatment.  The side-effects weren’t good, though.

I can’t really take prescription antidepressants now, though, because I don’t have a doctor to prescribe them, ironically enough.  I have neither a general practitioner nor a psychiatrist (nor psychologist or social worked, either, but they can’t prescribe anything, anyway*).  I don’t even have a dentist.  My only interaction with any medical care since 2015 or so has been the time I went to an urgent care place with a respiratory infection/complaint and was sent to the ER and admitted because I was de-satting, and they thought maybe my congenital heart defect had reappeared a bit (based on an echocardiogram, not just my symptoms and the drop in oxygenation).

That was maybe five or six years ago.  They wanted me to get follow-up, obviously, but I have no interest in pursuing it, and certainly cannot summon the motivation to do so.  For one thing, I’m unconvinced that they’re correct, though that in itself is not a good reason not to pursue more information.  For another, I have no health insurance, and I certainly have no money to be able to get involved in paying for significant healthcare myself.  Also, I don’t want to have any more cardiac interventions of any kind, frankly.  I went through all that when I was 18, and I don’t want to go through it, or anything like it, again.

I also don’t have the mental resources—in terms of will, executive function, whatever you want to call it—to be able to seek out any kind of state or federal healthcare assistance.  I’m in Florida, anyway, and the public programs here suck.  Anyway, I’m no good at taking care of myself; I see myself as a nuisance, and I really want me to leave myself alone, but that’s obviously difficult.

Yeah, Florida really doesn’t make much very easy.  But, hey, at least there’s no income tax, so people like the Donald can enjoy living here.  The government is dicey at best, of course, at state and local levels, even relative to many other states and the national government—though our representatives there also aren’t exactly the cream of the mental or moral crop.  We really are the Mordor of the United States, in many ways, and not merely because it’s down here in the southeast.  Unfortunately, there are no volcanoes, and though we have big spiders, none of them are Shelob-scale ones.

Anyway, I probably won’t take any antidepressants, and I don’t expect to seek out any healthcare or mental healthcare.  It’s too much trouble, it’s too difficult, I can’t focus or concentrate on things like that.  I’ve been dealing with that shit too often in my life, and for too long, and despite my best previous efforts, I’ve ended up here in Mordor, all by myself.  I’m sick of it.  It’s not worth the effort.

I’m not worth the effort.

*I did get on BetterHelp for a bit, and it was okay as far as it went, but some difficulties arose, not anyone’s fault, certainly not my therapist’s, and I was off it after a little over a month, I think.