Bus stop, waiting, she’s there, I say, “I think you’ve mistaken me for someone else.”

I considered writing this post this morning directly onto my WordPress site, which is something I almost never do.  But that would require a change of pace from my usual practice, so I’m not going to do it this time.  That’s largely because I have an already existing “change of pace” today, in the form of some person yet again lying down on the bus stop bench.

It’s very annoying.  I mean, I’m sure it’s probably annoying for that person, too, but I’m not the one that put them in that position‒I am all but mathematically certain of that‒but that person is the one who put me in the position of having to stand at the bus stop (and finally sit cross-legged against a tree, which put one of legs to sleep) with my back and hips and knee and ankle really giving me trouble already, writing my stupid ass blog post that maybe 5 people will actually read if I’m lucky.

By the way, there’s even someone at the “alternate” bus stop as well, apparently.  It never rains but it pours, as they say.  They talk too much.

I don’t know if anyone has actually read The Dark Fairy and the Desperado so far yet, but I’ve seen no feedback on it.  Maybe it’s so bad that no one can get through even the modest part that I’ve written so far.

I’m still struggling to find interesting things to read; most of the science books I have are dull to me now, though I reread The Coddling of the American Mind recently, almost all the way to the end, and it was good again.  I also got a new “biography” of Radiohead, titled Radiohead: Life in a Glasshouse after one of their songs, but it took me less than a day and a half of highly interrupted reading to finish‒maybe three hours, tops‒so it was engaging, but very brief.

I’m trying to start rereading Stephen King’s 11/22/63, which I remember being quite good when I read it once before.  So far it’s not bad, but I don’t know how long I’ll stick to it.

I have a modest amount of trouble with the premise.  Not the time travel thing, even in the atypical way King sets it up.  That’s fine.  It’s imaginative, and he recognizes and has the characters recognize‒and mainly just shrug in confusion, which is appropriate‒the apparent paradoxes.  It’s a horror story, not science fiction, so it’s not important to get into the nuts and bolts of this curious phenomenon.

No, I have trouble with the notion that changing any event in history could have any impact on any cosmic level of stability whatsoever.  I think the question of whether JFK hadn’t been assassinated only seems Earth-shattering to people who lived through it, and for the most part, the course of events doesn’t change much in any case.  I suspect most Gen Z “kids” barely know who JFK was, any more than they know who Andrew Johnson was, or Pepin the Short, or Phillip of Macedon.  Really, why should they know or care?

I mean, yes, history can be quite interesting, and it is good to know history, so we can try to see‒to the best of our ability‒the way events have flowed, and the sorts of mistakes and failures and successes are possible.  But this is all still parochial knowledge.

The universe wouldn’t care at all if the Cuban Missile Crisis had led to World War III or if a much more devastating all-out global thermonuclear war had happened at the peak of the arms race in the 80’s and wiped out civilization*.  Frankly if another asteroid the size of the K-T asteroid hit and drove 70% of all Earthly species extinct, including humans, it wouldn’t matter to the universe…indeed, if another huge impact such as the one hypothesized to have created the moon literally wiped out all life on Earth and reduced the surface to a new, partly molten “Hadean” phase again, the universe would not notice.

Probably.  Very probably.

I think this notion that human deeds could endanger some kind of cosmic balance is just hubris and delusion, harking back to pre-Copernican worldviews, though I’m quite sure King is not literally so deluded.  But this focus on humans (and human-like) things may be why King can never quite pull off the Lovecraftian, cosmic type horror, in which humans come to realize just how tiny they are and that even the “gods” of reality are not in any way anthropomorphic.

Though even in Lovecraft, having such “gods” is a bit of anthropomorphizing of the universe.  But then, a merely dead and bleak universe does not make for a very interesting story.

Still, maybe that’s one of the reasons Stephen King is so much more generally popular than Lovecraft‒because in his worlds, the deeds of humans are not only important to humans, but they can have cosmic significance.  And his bad guys are mostly very much human as well, in their character and motivations‒even the Crimson King and It.

His scariest stuff, to me, anyway, is his material along the lines of The Shining and Pet Sematary, where the evil forces are quite otherworldly, quite different, and though they certainly have malice toward humans‒the Overlook does, I’ll be bound‒even the “ghosts” in the hotel are not really the source or center of the evil.  They are, if anything, just the spiritual husks of souls that the hotel‒whatever it is‒had devoured in the past, like the empty carcasses of insects in a spider web, or perhaps like trophies on a hunter’s wall.

Well, that was a meandering and surprising turn through my head.  It’s curious sometimes to see what will trigger what.

By the way, I think that was the same woman from before who was sleeping at the bus stop, because she woke up just before the bus came, and she asked me something.  I thought she was seeking bus fare at first, and I had to tell her that I use a monthly pass, so I don’t have any cash, but then she said something about needing to stop the buses running because of something to do with a wedding.  I tried to tell her I didn’t understand, and she repeated part of it and then asked if I had heard from the children about the bus and the wedding.

All I could do was tell her I think she had mistaken me for someone else.  As I suspected before, I’m pretty sure she is mentally ill, with some manner of schizophreniform disorder.  Though I’m not a fan of interacting with strangers, she certainly didn’t make me feel frightened at all.  She just made me feel sad.

It’s very sad to think that not only is there nothing I could do for her in my present state, there would be little anyone could do for her even in the best of circumstances available in the modern world.  Mental illness is terribly difficult to treat, and it doesn’t get nearly as much scientific interest and resources as it should merit, as with so many other things.

It’s far more “important” to humans to have brand name shoes and mocha lattes and Frappuccinos from Starbucks** and to own the newest iPhone (same as the old iPhone), and to follow “celebrities” and to buy their ghost-written books.

That’s probably part of why even “cosmic” level horror stories, with rare exception, make humans so important.  Humans are delusionally self-important in reality, and want even their fictional horrors to be likewise.  And so, humans will continue to deceive themselves about their inherent importance, and vanishingly few of them will realize that, if humans want to become cosmically important, it’s going to be up to them to make it happen.

They aren’t inherently important, except to themselves (which is perfectly reasonable), and it seems vanishingly unlikely that any space faring, extraterrestrial civilization (if such a thing exists) will come to save humans and show them the way.  Why would they?  At most, they might send some disguised observers, anthropologists in the literal, outside sense.  Xenobiologists, from their own point of view.

All right, that’s enough for now.  It’s too much, actually.  I don’t have any idea what my point is.  Which may, ironically, be the point.  Or maybe I’m crazy, even beyond the illnesses of which I’m aware, and this is all just a hallucination.

What a dreary, disappointing hallucination that would turn out to be.  It’s not even scary.  Even the truly dangerous things in the universe are banal, dreary, and not all that impressive.  One would expect paranoid delusions to be frightening.  But I guess that would depend on how much the amygdala and related structures are involved in the disease process.

Enough.  ‘Tis done. 


*That’s the sort of thing I grew up being afraid of and feeling completely powerless to prevent.

**Why is there no apostrophe in the title of the coffee giant chain?  Is it meant to imply that there is more than one Starbuck, or indeed that each customer is a Starbuck?  It strikes me as lazy and slipshod.

Cycles both vicious and viscous

It’s Monday again, the start of a new work week.  I guess this must be the 4th week of the year, since Saturday was January 21st, and 21 is 3 times 7, and this year and month started on a Sunday.  I’m at the bus stop again, writing this on my phone again while waiting for the first bus.  It’s generally better, for me at least, to wait somewhere to which I’ve already traveled, rather than waiting before I travel.  That way I can just sit still until the next stage of my journey.

Unfortunately, this bus stop has a strong smell of human urine this morning.  I don’t know if that’s because the weekend just passed, and people get drunk and pee in inappropriate places on the weekend sometimes, or if that homeless person spent more time here than expected and had to pee during that time.  I’ve not noticed the smell before, so it doesn’t seem to be a frequent thing.  I suppose if it had rained there would probably not be any residual odor, but it’s not the rainy part of the year down here in south Florida.

I had thought to myself, if the homeless person were to have been lying out at the bus stop again, I would go to the other nearby stop that I had (internally) recommended to her a few days ago.  That’s where I usually get off the bus at the end of the day, so it wouldn’t be a strange one for me to use.

It is curious‒I don’t know if other people do this or notice it or what have you, but I often take slightly different routes when going to and from a place.  Some of that is probably just a byproduct of perception, in that certain paths look or seem easier from one angle compared to another.  They can even be easier to see from one direction compared to another.

Sometimes it’s a matter of lighting and timing, such as the fact that, on my way back to the train after work, I take a slightly parallel portion of the route (which in the morning just goes on down the main road) because there’s a nice, quieter, tree-lined block behind the regional courthouse, and in the evening, when there’s light and I’m done with the work day, it’s more pleasant to walk there.  It also goes directly to the side of the tracks where I catch the train in the evening, whereas when I’m getting off the train, it would require a significant detour.

All this is trivia, but my point is that having these different routes when going one direction compared to another seems to be ubiquitous, at least for me, and I suspect I’m not alone in this.  This means, of course, that the routes become a kind of circle, rather than simply a reversible, oscillating process.

Of course no macroscopic processes of that sort are actually reversible, anyway, because of friction and the creation of increasing entropy, but even if one could eliminate such things, a to-and-from trip that takes different routes could have a net gain or loss*‒I think loss would be most likely‒and this loss could be perpetual and steady.

It’s a bit like that economics or game theory or decision theory idea whereby if someone prefers place A to place B, and prefers place B to place C, but prefers place C to place A, one could effectively be induced to pay to go in an endless cycle, from A to C to B to A to C to B, etc.  Of course, it would be profoundly irrational for someone to do such a thing, but people get caught in even stupider cycles all the time, which are even more costly, but because they rarely pay attention to the nature of their actions as if from the outside, they often don’t even realize they’re doing something thoroughly irrational.

I return again to my musings on the myth of Sisyphus‒the actual myth, not the book by Camus, though I still haven’t answered his main question to my own satisfaction‒and how horrifying it is that Sisyphus is the one doing his own punishing.

Say what you will about the horrors of Prometheus’s fate, at least he was the passive, chained victim of it**.  That may not make it better, and it may indeed be worse, but it is different.  Sisyphus’s very mind has been changed, so that he feels an irresistible urge, or drive, to push his boulder, despite the fact that he never gets it to the top of the hill (or mountain or whatever) without it rolling back down again.

But, of course, we all do very similar things all the time.  We eat to stay alive, and that eating gives us some pleasure, but the pleasure is transitory (as it must be) so soon we feel the urge to seek food again, and continue the cycle, which just spirals its way from bassinet to coffin, with the only certain outcome being that entropy in the universe will have been increased as part of the process.

Of course, the very universe itself may well be Sisyphean in nature‒see for instance my musing on Conformal Cyclic Cosmology, though even Inflationary cosmology can produce endless recurrences and infinite repetition.  Heck, even the old-school Boltzmann type of heat death of a universe implicitly produced endless cycles as, eventually, entropy would occasionally dip low enough to regenerate all the “stuff” in a universe, before making its way back up again.

And, of course, if the universe were “closed”, which it doesn’t seem to be, it could expand, collapse, “bounce”, reexpand, etc.  And if some of the “braneworld” scenarios in M Theory are right, there’s a cycle of brane-universes smacking into one another, restarting the hot Big Bang conditions over and over as they do***.

I don’t know where I’m going with this discussion, but in a way, that demonstrates my point.  I write my blog post every workday, for no particular reason, but because various confluent and complex drives in my nervous system lead me to do it.  Lather, rinse, repeat as needed.

Except, it’s not really “needed” in any deep sense.  It’s just an urge.  Even life itself is just a habit.  And it’s not always a good one, is it?


*Of course, one’s potential energy returning to it’s original point in a reversible system means that no net “work” has been done, no matter what path has been followed, but I’m leaving aside such idealized systems…though at the tiniest level they may be more accurate representations of reality than any more “realistic” macroscopic analogy.

**Who else thought of The Big Lewbowski when reading that line?

***This is the sort of “collision” to which the title of The Chasm and the Collision refers.

Another restless wind inside a letter box

Okay, well, it’s Saturday, and I’m now, more or less, at the bus stop, waiting for the bus.

It’s mildly interesting that the Saturday schedule for my first bus of the day is the same as its weekday schedule.  That will get me to the Tri Rail station in time for the second train of the day‒they run on a reduced schedule on Saturdays‒which will board only about 20 minutes later than the one I’ve been catching during the week.  So that’s rather nice.  I don’t even really have to change my commuting schedule, even though it’s Saturday.

I appreciate not having to change my routine.

Speaking of not having to change my routine‒and of being “more or less” at the bus stop‒I’m not sitting down to write this because someone is using the bus stop bench as a place to lie down, or at least to recline.  I think it might be that shouty lady from earlier this week.

I’m quite frustrated that anyone is using a public spot, paid for to at least some degree by the people who ride the bus, as a place to lay out, but when I calm myself down, I can sympathize with the fact that she doesn’t have anyplace to go.  Still, why lie out at the bus stop at an intersection that’s busy even on Saturday mornings?

The main road is six lanes wide here, and though the crossroad is not as big, it’s still a pretty busy road.  I would think it would be preferable to go someplace where there was greater peace and quiet.

I suppose one might be more vulnerable in more secluded places, but one could pick a spot with relative care, and I would think it would be more pleasant.  Heck, just on the other side of the crossroad, there’s another stop with a bigger bench and a better shelter, where one would still be close to the intersection and protected by the relatively high traffic from at least any unobserved crime.

Sigh.  It’s so wonderful to have worked hard all one’s life and tried to do the right thing and be very highly educated and to have striven to be a benefit to the world and then be stuck at age 53 not being able to sit at the bus stop early Saturday morning because a homeless person is using it to recline…and to muse about the ins and outs and safety concerns for such a homeless person, because it’s not completely impossible one might be such oneself (I have been in close to that situation, sleeping in the back of a rental vehicle for which I was not paying on a few nights while out on bail).

I know that the universe promises us one thing and one thing only, and it certainly doesn’t make bargains or special deals with anyone.  But it’s still frustrating.  I feel like I’ve wasted so much time and effort.  I feel like I’m still wasting time and effort.

Of course, all time is wasted in some sense; in any case, it passes‒or we pass through it, or whatever‒no matter what we do in it.  And, of course, even the nature of time itself is unclear.  It certainly isn’t one vast, monolithic, singular thing that is the same for everyone in the universe.  As I’ve speculated before, it may even have more than one past-future orientation, just as up-down changes depending where you are on the surface of the Earth.

It’s partly because of that fact of time’s locality that one can actually model a universe that begins at a finite place‒say, the isolated collapse of a hypothetical inflaton field‒and yet becomes an infinite space to those within that bubble.  Because time is local and causality only proceeds at the speed of light, at least in our part of the universe, it can all depend on one’s point of view.

Of course, it’s by no means certain that inflationary cosmology describes the way our universe came to be, though it is internally consistent.  Other possible models include Roger Penrose’s Conformal Cyclic Cosmology‒which I like a lot, aesthetically*‒in which the accelerating expansion in a universe, leading to eventual increase of entropy to where nothing can really exist any longer, leads to or simply becomes the highly uniform, comparatively low entropy state of the next universe, just on locally small scales.  Entropy, after all, is not necessarily on a fixed, absolute measure, nor is space itself.  Entropy can be small in a tiny region that then expands to become a much larger one, still with low local entropy.

It’s a bit analogous, I think, to taking a number line and multiplying everything in it by two, so that the space between any two previously chosen points on the line is doubled, but the number line itself is just as infinite as it was before.

The nature of the real numbers being what it is, there’s an uncountable infinity of numbers between any two points on the real number line, and so there’s room to grow a universe of any size you might like from the space between any two locations on a number line‒or in a 4-D spacetime.

Penrose has posited that it would be conceivable for the residents of such a universe, if they knew and understood the kind of universe they were in, to leave behind messages in the very fabric of mass and energy arrangement in their universe for the people in the next universe‒nothing very complex, I would guess, but maybe just enough to make it clear that they had existed.

I’m not sure why people who were approaching the heat death of their particular universal iteration would bother with doing that, but maybe they would.  A bigger question to me would be, how would they target it?  If spacetime were expanding exponentially, as it seems to be doing even now, then every future “observable” universe would lie only within a tiny tiny tiny chunk of what was left of the previous universe.  So how would a previous universe’s intelligent life choose where to leave the message?  Would they try to encode it in every possible tiny region of their spacetime?  That would require engineering on a cosmic (but highly detailed) scale, and if you can do that, why not alter the expansion of the universe in the first place?

Of course, that’s not relevant to whether the notion of CCC is correct, just to the question of if such messages would be possible and how they might be carried out.  My more itchy question is, whence would the energy and particles of each new iteration of the ever-expanding universe arise?

In the Inflationary model of cosmology, all the immense energy that suffused our early universe was “created” when the hypothetical inflaton field underwent a phase transition and dropped to a lower energy state, so the local inflaton particles quickly decayed into all the particles of our more familiar quantum fields.

Inflation is not universally (ha ha) accepted, but certain aspects of it are certainly plausible and are supported by at least some data.  For instance, our universe is currently inflating, based on our best data and understanding.  That’s the Dark Energy stuff about which you’ve probably heard.

Exponential expansion is exponential expansion.  The doubling rate can change, but it still blows up at ever-increasing speeds.  If you compress or stretch your time axis, all exponential growth curves look the same.  It’s a little like that Conformal Cyclic Cosmology notion.

Anyway, as far as the source of the “reheating” of the universe in CCC as opposed to inflation, I doubt that Sir Roger Penrose has overlooked or missed that question.  He frikking brilliant‒even when he’s wrong he’s smarter than most of us are when we’re as right as we ever get**.  I just need to read a little more deeply into his model to figure out where that comes from.

Perhaps that will also allay my puzzlement about the “leaving a message” notion.  I simply haven’t finished his book on the subject.  It didn’t help that, as of last check, it wasn’t available in e-book format, and so I only have the paperback.  Not that there’s anything wrong with paperbacks, but it’s less convenient to carry 400+ of them around with you at any given time than Kindle format books, and so you’re less likely to have any one of them with you on any given day.

Oh, well.  I’ll see what I can do about learning more.  That’s rarely a waste of time, at least.

Wow, this post has really meandered from one thought to another, going truly across the universe‒and beyond, depending on how you define the word “universe”.  Perhaps it would be best to use “Omniverse” when describing the totality of all possible realities, as the wizard does in DFandD.

Speaking thereof, if any of you have read it and would like to make any comments about it, I’d be delighted to receive them, either here or on the blog post proper that entails my sharing of that story (so far).

In the meantime, my train should be here in 5 minutes (I rode the bus in between these two times).  My estimate of the schedule was correct, as is usually the case when I bother to check and when people and organizations keep to their own, voluntarily chosen schedules, on which numerous people act in reliance.  Don’t get me started on that topic.  I’ve already written way more than I would have expected from such inauspicious beginnings.

Have a nice weekend, all.  I won’t be posting tomorrow, barring the unforeseen, but I will be back on Monday‒again, barring the unforeseen.  Those unknown unknowns can strike at any time.  Take care, and be as prepared as you can reasonably be.

penrose by any other name


*This is no reason to think it’s more likely to be correct than any less aesthetically pleasing model, but it keeps it fun.

**He also looks rather a lot like my former Uncle Barney.  That’s neither here nor there, but I wanted to make sure I said it at some point.  So, there, now I have.

Where does a true blog wait? At the bus stop, sometimes.

It’s Friday again, and‒again‒I’m sitting at the bus stop, writing this blog first thing in the morning while waiting for the bus.

That woman who was screaming on a few previous mornings is screaming in a different region of the intersection now.  At this point, I honestly suspect she’s actually mentally ill.  There’s also a person with some form of fidgitiness or movement disorder or just some anxiety syndrome who has come and sat on the (small) bus stop bench not far from me.  I suppose he might either be on some kind of drug or withdrawing from some kind of drug, rather than having a primary disorder, but the woman is almost certainly mentally ill.

Of course, there’s not much one can do for her unless she asks for help or is openly a danger to herself or to others.  Actually, in Florida, even if she needs help, and asks for it, she’s probably out of luck.  Public services are rather limited here, despite this being the third most populous state in the US, and obviously quite wealthy.

The man I mentioned before couldn’t sit still for long before he got up and walked away, across the road to some other place.  I don’t know if he was hoping that I would speak to him or some such, and gave up when I didn’t even look at him other than in peripheral vision, while writing, or if he really was just stopping to rest.  If that latter, well, more power to him.

This end of the nation’s dong isn’t especially hospitable, so you should find rest when you can.  I would like to find some rest.  It would be so nice to go to sleep and to stay asleep through the night and wake up in the morning feeling refreshed rather than just groggy and resigned.

I do wish at least that this state were just a little less full of desperate and disgusting people.

I’m talking about the people in the state government when I say that, by the way, not people such as I mentioned above.  Also, some of the voters are a bit contemptible, the ones who imagine that they are solely responsible for all their own prosperity, even though the vast majority of them have not even a superficial grasp of how the universe into which they were extruded functions, from the subatomic to the cosmic, from the unliving vastness of intergalactic space down to computers and medicine and information technology and chemistry and biology and electricity and automobiles and the internet/the web and even television.  I don’t know how so many people can apparently stand not to know about these things, let alone sometimes still act smug and self-righteous.

As for troubled people like the shouty woman and the fidgety man, well they just make me feel a bit sad, really.  I mean, I don’t want either one to intrude upon me writing this blog post‒and neither one did, by the way.  Even when the shouty lady ended up walking past, in front of me, she was just muttering something about “catching the bus when it’s free” or something (as far as I know, it’s never free).

If I had unearthly powers, I would probably try to provide some help to either or both of them; I certainly gave a lot of money and stuff away when I was in medical practice.  That’s a big part of why I had to go with the public defender’s office (well, it’s an adjunct office, actually, but it’s the same idea) when I was charged with the bullshit I was charged with.  I was never very good at taking care of myself for my own sake, and I’ve gotten worse at it even since then.

So many people are so grasping and parasitic.  There are people in the office who regularly come to me for medical advice‒and even OTC treatment‒even though it’s thanks to the government of their poxy state that I can’t practice medicine anymore.  Cat forbid that they take responsibility for learning about and seeing to their own health.

From time to time, I think that I’m too high-functioning a person really to have any autism spectrum disorder‒but then, looking back at the things that happened to my life, and the way I have done things, especially once my separation and then divorce happened (and at many of the ways I managed things before then) when I was down here in Florida, far from my family and friends and everything, and when I realize how hard it is for me to arrange and keep track of the functions of daily life, I think…yeah, that ASD stuff actually explains a lot.  Knowing it doesn’t make it easier to counter, but I prefer to understand things as much as I can.

It’s not as though I don’t understand, intellectually, how things are done and how to do them.  I’m able to understand a lot of things.  But I can’t seem to pull myself or anything together, I can’t seem to organize my life or deal with ordinary things.  I can write novels and stories and blogs, I can write and perform and record and even produce songs (the latter not to a terribly high standard), I can draw, sometimes pretty well, and I can practice medicine and do science and operate computers…but I can’t promote my own works or stand to seek out anyone who would help me do so.  The social aspect of such things veers toward horrifying for me.

I’m able to survive‒often I don’t really want to survive, very often I don’t want to‒but thriving seems beyond me.  As Radiohead sings, “I’m not living, I’m just killing time.”. That’s from True Love Waits*, their last song from their most recent album, though the song itself has been around a lot longer.

Anyway, the bus will be here soon, and I will ride it, then ride the train, then walk, the trudge through the day and reverse the commute process at the end.  And tomorrow, since I have work tomorrow, I will do much the same.

And on Sunday I will do laundry, and then on Monday the cycle will begin again.  Sisyphus, eat your heart out!

Actually, that sounds more like a job for Prometheus than Sisyphus.  Are there any mythical figures who specifically eat their own hearts?  Whence did that expression arise?  I have to admit that I do not know.  It doesn’t really matter, but if anyone has any reliable information about the origin of that expression, I’d be glad to learn.

In the meantime, have a good day.

my bus stopadjusted

P.S.  The fidgety man just got on at a later bus stop from where I waited.  I think he just didn’t like sitting still, or perhaps he didn’t like sitting next to me.  It’s hard to hold it against him.


*It’s not a promise or anything optimistic.  The full title verse goes, “True love waits in haunted attics.  And true love lives on lollipops and crisps.”. In other words, the notion of true love is not something to be taken very seriously.  It eats like a child and “lives” like a ghost.

Picture and Shakespeare “quote” deferred due to mechanical difficulties

Hello and good morning, everyone (or at least, everyone who’s reading this).  It’s Thursday, the 19th day of January, which means it’s also the 19th day of 2023 by our standard dating system.  And I suppose you could say it’s the 384th day of 2022, if you were being rather unorthodox…though that might lead one to ask what day it is of 2021, and of 2020, and so on.

That way madness lies.  I ought to know.

Yesterday, I published the draft of The Dark Fairy and the Desperado as far as I’ve written it‒about 100 pages worth on MS Word, single spaced, in Calibri 11-point.  I included quite a few “illustrations”, which is another way to say that I posted quite a few of the drawings* I did way back when I was first thinking of the story.  As you may be able to tell, I had planned a lot of the things that have happened so far in the story even 10 or 15 years ago.

There were a few drawings of the meeting of the Desperado and the wizard that I haven’t been able to locate‒some of them are probably on my old MySpace page.  Yes, it’s out there still, MySpace, but it’s sure as hell not what it used to be.  More’s the pity.  I liked MySpace in its original form.  It was much more wholesome than Facebook or Twitter, and for my money (so to speak) mostly more interesting.

As an aside, the same idiotic, loud and screamy woman I mentioned the other day is having another piercing, shouted conversation on the other side of the road again this morning‒or who knows, I guess it could still be the same conversation.  Maybe she really is mentally ill.  Why else would someone have prolonged, shouted discussions at 5:22 in the morning more than once in a single week, even if they are talking on the phone and there’s some real person on the other end?  Surely any grasp of decorum at all‒indeed, even the slightest functioning of the mediating aspect of the frontal lobes‒would make a person refrain from such displays.

Oh, well, anyway, back to DFandD.

I reread much of what I have written so far in the process of posting it and especially of inserting the pictures.  There is much editing that could be done, of course, but then again, it really is a first draft.  Still, I thought it was reasonably good.  Certainly, it’s a more light-hearted story than Outlaw’s Mind, but then again, it’s not a horror story.  Even though the two main‒indeed, title‒characters are a supremely deadly gunfighter and a fairy who hates humans and likes hurling magical fire at them, and it begins with the Desperado nearly dying of thirst in the desert, it’s actually comparatively upbeat, at least for my writing.

I’m not the greatest self-salesman, am I?  I have a difficult time saying positive things about anything that I’ve done or made, even when I actually am trying to promote them.  I have a very hard time talking myself up, even to myself.  I’m not my own biggest fan.

In any case, yesterday I effectively took the day off from writing, since I posted that draft.  I had a brief return to my prior commute for the day, which was a little easier, but it also left me feeling a bit stiff.  Today, I’m back to the bus, as you may have (correctly) inferred from my mention of the screaming woman, just a bit ago.

I do like the extra walking that I get from taking the bus to the train, and then back again at the end of the day.  It’s a bit more pleasant today than it was most of the last week, because the temperature is in the sixties.  Also, of course, my commute is relatively environmentally friendly, since I’m using mass transit (though, she below).

All that is surely fairly uninteresting to all of you all.  It wouldn’t be interesting to me if it weren’t happening to me, honestly, and even that barely brings it into the level of being worthy of my own notice.  I would love to be able to sleep through it all, though I don’t know what type of blog I might write if I did it in my sleep.  Who knows?  Maybe it would be better than it otherwise is.

Anyway, back to the main point.  I would be interested in what anyone thinks who reads The Dark Fairy and the Desperado, especially as compared to Outlaw’s Mind (or any of my published stuff, too, I guess).  So please, feel free to share your reactions in the comments below, or on the actual posting of the story.

And, still, if anyone out there knows how to check the results of WordPress polls from the inside, I’d love to know without having to go to the trouble of trying to contact the “happiness engineers” at WordPress**.  Though, in all likelihood, there have been no more than 4 people responding since I posted the poll in the first place, and one of those people was I.

I voted for me to stop writing, for Cat’s sake.

TTFN

[Note:  I apologize for the relative lateness of this post.  The train I rode this morning had a mechanical failure, in that the engine died, and we had to wait for a (delayed) subsequent train, which was very overcrowded, and I arrived at my stop about an hour later than I would have otherwise.  This is the third time this week that the Tri Rail system has had delays or cancellations of trains I’ve taken.  If any of you know any of the responsible people behind this, please give them a stern talking-to.  Thank you.]


*Some were just in pencil, some in plain ink, and some colored either using colored pencils or watercolor paint/ink or even using Photoshop.

**Honestly, can you think of a more nauseatingly pseudo-positive euphemism for customer service?  Jeez, Louise!

The Dark Fairy and the Desperado – so far

[Please note:  This is very much a near-first-draft of this story, so take that into account when reading it.  It will be far from perfect.]

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Sooner or later, the hammer drops on everyone.

This was the thought running—sometimes repeatedly—through the mind of the man in the long, faded yellow duster and the black hat as he walked through the desert, somewhere between Texas and California.  It wasn’t really a mantra; it was more of a truth that he’d gleaned through a life that so far had entailed more than its share of dropping the hammer on others.  He had always been good at dropping that hammer—uncannily good, right from the start.  It was good to have a talent, he supposed, but it was a shame that it had to be a talent for killing.

If he thought about it, he was sure he could recall the first time he had dropped such a hammer on anyone.  And, indeed, as soon as the notion of his very first killing came into his mind, images flashed up from the occurrence.  He’d been very young—still a boy, really.  He’d been old enough to be smitten with a not-as-young woman who had treated him kindly, even despite his lack of status and prospects.  He’d been innocent and naïve enough to think he was protecting her when he’d picked up the gun of a man that he’d presumed had been assaulting the woman—the man had been otherwise occupied, and his gun was not at his side—and had shot that stunned man.

He hadn’t known at all what he’d been doing, and yet…and yet it had felt only too perfectly natural and instinctive when he’d fired the gun, and it had apparently struck some vital organ, presumably the man’s heart, right away, when he’d pulled the trigger after forcing back the stiff hammer of the revolver.  There had been no time for the man even to cry out in pain before he had dropped to the ground, twitching only a few times before he became still. Continue reading

Introspection, Extrospection, Emergence, Reductionism…let’s call the whole thing off.

I’m sorry about how long yesterday’s post was.  It’s amazing, as I think I’ve mentioned before, just how much I can write‒on my phone, no less‒when I literally have nothing planned about which to write.  Small wonder that, when I do have a subject, or a story to tell, I tend to write perhaps too much.  Though I guess that assessment is really the individual reader’s to make.  Some may think I’ve written too much, and some may think too little.  Most will never know because very few people know about my books at all, and I have no knack, nor money, for self-promotion.

Speaking of stories, some woman was standing in the street median across from the bus stop, screaming as if in heated conversation at 5:20 this morning (just now, in other words) about someone having cheated on her after having gotten her pregnant.  If this were twenty years ago, I would have thought she was psychotic.  Nowadays it seems safe to draw the tentative conclusion that she is actually talking to someone on her smartphone‒though perhaps that’s a misnomer for such devices when they are used for such purposes.  Honestly, why do people even want to be with other people?  Everyone is so pathetic, and I’m certainly no exception.

There are those who say that an appetite for delusion is necessary for people to find any will to live at all‒from delusions about their driving abilities and personal attractiveness to delusions about meaning in the universe.  And there are those who speculate that one of the hallmarks of clinical depression is a diminution of that ability to delude oneself, particularly about oneself.  Perhaps.  It’s probably not quite so simple as that, but that does capture at least part of the character of the experience.

Oh, well.  It is whatever it is at root.  The underlying causal structure may have little resemblance to the overarching phenomenon.  Nerve cells don’t resemble little brains, individual starlings don’t have the appearance of tiny murmurations, and water molecules do not in any way resemble ultra miniaturized oceans.

The materials to which the laws of quantum mechanics directly apply do not behave in ways that are analogous to any “large” phenomenon which they engender when gathered together and interacting in their trillions of trillions of trillions of trillions, etc.  Anyone who finds this surprising at all has really not thought about things very hard or very clearly.

It may be fallacious to imagine that a wave function collapses when measured, or when it interacts with other “particles” and decoheres; it may be that our experiments of such things are simply too artificial to capture the nuances of the immensely common submicroscopic interactions of such fundamental things (though I don’t doubt that they actually have bearing on how quantum mechanics behaves).

The problem with concepts like imagining that, for instance, the Copenhagen Interpretation is “correct”, and that measurement and observation is what causes the wave function to “collapse” is its implicit assumption that if we cannot “see” something in any strong sense, it can’t be considered “real”.  To me that seems an astonishing level of hubris and narcissism, especially from a species as pathetic and benighted as humans.

By this I do not, by the way‒and this is very important‒mean to open the door to subjectivism and any relativism of objective facts, or any version of the “perception is reality” bullshit.  There is all the evidence anyone might need that there is an external reality, utterly independent of any consciousness that might or might not perceive it.  But its nature is not necessarily directly perceivable all at once, or understood at first glance.  It requires rigorous detective work.

How did I get on that subject?  By stream of consciousness, I suppose…or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that it was by the stream of the unconscious, bubbling away and spilling over onto the surface of thought.

That stream is not like a stream of clear water, though.  Perhaps it might be said to resemble turbid water, but often it seems more like thick paint.  We can only see the surface of the stuff, but that doesn’t in any way imply that the interior doesn’t exist.  It’s merely not directly accessible to our eyes.

Then again‒and this applies also to what I was writing earlier‒the process of seeing and experiencing that sight is a neurologic process that is constrained by inputs from sense organs, not a direct, unmediated apprehension of the world outside.  Mere photons, unprocessed, can only deliver chaos to any random bits of photosensitive material they might encounter.

Thought‒of some form or other‒is required for sight to be in any way useful, or even actual, to any organism.  A closed-circuit TV camera and monitor do nothing but send signals, and cannot interpret or act upon the information.  If no one, or no program, or no other mechanism is being influenced by the information in any sensible way that affects its outcome, it might as well be a camera pointed at the surface of an uninhabited planet and sending those signals to a screen on some other uninhabited planet.

Again‒or still‒I don’t know what, if any, point I’m trying to make.  Probably nothing worth delving into too deeply, so I won’t bother with it much more, I think.  Instead, I’ll switch topics.

In the past, I’ve asked about whether people would want to have me write more of Outlaw’s Mind or The Dark Fairy and the Desperado.  One particularly astute reader pointed out that it was impossible to make any reasonable judgment without having the opportunity to read any of the latter story.  So, I think I’ll post that story here, all in one go, if I can fit it.

Don’t worry, I’ll insert one of those “continue reading” clickable thingies after the first few paragraphs.  Otherwise, it would be a ridiculously long blog post to get past if one wanted to scroll down to the previous one.

This doesn’t mean I promise to write more of it or of Outlaw’s Mind, or to write Changeling in a Shadow World, for that matter.  I haven’t yet figured out even how to check the results of my poll, and I’m pretty sure that it can’t be all that difficult, so don’t expect much.

Hell, I don’t even promise to keep writing this blog.  I’m getting tired of it, as I’m getting tired of pretty much everything, and particularly of myself.  There’s very little to be gained by pursuing anything at all.  But, perhaps, by posting DFandD, I’ll at least create the pseudo-closure of having all of my fiction to date be out there somewhere to read.  In case anyone wants to read it.

So, either I’ll post that later today, or I’ll just use it as my post for tomorrow.  I guess you’ll find out, if you care to look.

A passion for timeliness and a late-appearing fruit of passion

Well, it’s Monday again, to the surprise of essentially no one.  That’s just what happens after the weekend, isn’t it?

I’m starting this post while still at the house, sitting on the “piano” bench in my room, because it’s too chilly to sit at the bus stop for too long and do the writing.  This is not merely a “chilly for south Florida”* chilly.  It’s about 45 degrees Fahrenheit out.  I don’t know how windy it is‒I haven’t been out yet‒but that’s not shorts-wearing weather even for snow birds.

Thankfully, fleece hoodies with the hoods up are more than adequate against such modestly cold temperatures, and walking is much warmer than riding a motorbike.  I have more extensive covering I could wear in a pinch‒a long, black duster I got originally to be part of a costume, but which is also quite handy for cold weather.

Anyway, there’s not much going on.  I had thought last evening about writing a topical blog post this morning, something relating to a book I’m rereading, called On Being Certain, but I’m not terribly into that right now.

I didn’t do anything useful at all this weekend, really, apart from getting some physical rest‒well, I walked 3 miles to 7-11 yesterday, but that was because I currently have no better means of travel, and I had some things I wanted.  It was worth the trip, I’d say, though 7-11 is pricey.

Still, the good thing about my current disrupted commute really is how much I’m walking.  Twice last week, I chose not to ride the buses back from the train station in the evening.  The first time was just because I wanted to do it, and was early enough for it to be workable; the second time because the bus that had been scheduled to come just hadn’t shown up, and the next one wasn’t for 30 minutes.

I made a good deal of progress before that next bus finally passed me:  more than half the distance I would have ridden it.  I felt quite smug, as though I were the one passing it, not the other way around.  On each  of those two days last week, I walked more than 8 miles total.  All the other days I walked more than 4.  So my walking really is getting boosted.

It occurs to me that I still haven’t done any of my “audio blogs” or podcasts or whatever one might want to call them.  Maybe I’m setting my bar too high.  I’d been planning to record them using Audacity and a decent mic, at least, but maybe I should just use my phone.  I’m using it for this, after all.  What do you all think?  Which should I do?

***

Okay, well, now I’m at the bus stop, but there’s still a good fifteen plus minutes to wait until the scheduled time for the first bus.  That’s just the way I do things.  I hate to be late to nearly anything, and at least since the time when I was in junior high, I always tended to get to school before nearly anyone else.  I just preferred the quiet solitude before the cacophonic arrival of all the other people into the area.

This has continued through pretty much the rest of my life (so far, anyway), and has, if anything, become more pronounced.  Indeed, my early awakening may well be distantly related to that sense that I can’t stand to be late (and being on time = being late to me).

If it’s related, it is pathologically so.  For instance, I first woke up last night at around 12:30.  I swiftly went back to sleep, at least, but still woke up more or less at least once an hour, and it became harder and harder to get back to sleep‒and it took longer each time‒such that by about 3:30, I mostly gave up.

But there was not too much point just to getting up and leaving early.  Oh, I suppose I could have walked all the way to my old, standard train station, and I would have arrived in time at least for the second train, if not the first.  But then, even given the weather, I probably would have started the day all sweaty.

Ending the day sweaty is okay‒you can shower and change clothes and all that‒but starting it that way can be a bit unpleasant.  And in Florida, at least, it leaves you at increased risk for skin fungus, or at least for mildew smells in your clothes, and there are very few smells that I find more repulsive than the smell of most fungi (though baking and brewing yeast are exceptions).

***

Okay, well, now I’m a bit anxious.  I looked on the “Myride” site and though it shows that there’s a scheduled bus arrival at 5:49 (in 2 minutes now) there’s no “estimated time” of arrival actually given until the next bus arrival time, which would be 15 minutes from now.  It’s really not cool for them to fail to have the first bus actually run, especially on an unusually cold morning.

Getting on the next bus will mean getting on an even later train, and so on.  Maybe I should have walked to the train station after all.  But if I left now for the train station, I’d be much later.  And there’s always extra work to do at the office after a weekend off.  But when one bus (or train for that matter) ends up canceled, the following bus (or train) is always that much more crowded than usual, and I hate that.  If it’s always crowded, at least I know what to expect, and I’m mentally prepared, if not exactly happy about it.  But if it’s a change from usual, it’s stress-inducing.

BCT used to run a pretty good bus service, but it seems they’ve been slipping lately, because this is now 2 different buses in the space of 4 days that are late or canceled.

***

Okay, well, the first bus wasn’t canceled, but it was five to six minutes late, and I can’t say that I’m okay with that.  It’s one thing for buses to be late when it’s rush hour‒such traffic is a chaotic system, and it can be effectively impossible to plan for every contingency when one has limited resources, as everyone does.

But at well before six in the morning, even in south Florida, there is barely any traffic at all, certainly not the kind of traffic that would slow a bus down.  People don’t tend to get in the way of buses, and police rarely pull them over, and the number of stops they make has a theoretical maximum, and they almost never have to stop at every stop.

Oh, well, what are you gonna do?  My boss at work sometimes sarcastically asks if I really think that the other people in the office are going to be able to do things to a level that I tend to do them, but my response is that yes, I do.  I’m not expecting people to grasp science and the like as well as I do, or to have the same enthusiasm for reading, but the things I ask for are things that should be graspable and doable by nearly any “normally” functioning human, since even I can do them, and I’m far from normally functioning, and barely human.  If they don’t succeed, it’s because they aren’t trying, or at least not very hard.

It’s like something I used to say to my kids when they would say they would try: “Good.  That means you’ll succeed, because this is something I know you can do if you actually try.”  Or words to that effect.

***

Anyway, that’s nearly it for today.  The bus arrived‒late‒but it looks like I’ll be able to get on the scheduled train, at least if it’s running on time.  Surely a simple 44 degree temperature isn’t enough to throw off all the public transit in south Florida?  Yes, it’s chilly for down here, but it’s not that cold.

Okay, well apparently the train is running about 3 minutes late.  That’s not horrible, but I still don’t think it should be considered okay.  Those responsible should feel embarrassed, though perhaps not ashamed.  People plan their days around the freely published schedules of the transit companies.  They make the schedules‒those schedules haven’t been forced upon them by a consortium of riders‒so they should stick to them.

The same goes for people at the office, come to think of it.  But apparently that’s just too much to ask of ordinary human beings.  If that’s really true, then ordinary people are not worth keeping around.

But I don’t think it’s true.  “Ordinary people” will for the most part live up to the standards to which they are required to live up, barring disease and disability.  And even people with chronic pain and dysthymia and depression and insomnia and apparent neurodevelopmental disorders can make it their business to get places on time and even early, and then to stay until all the work is done, even if everyone else has already left.  All that’s needed is just a little bit of passion**.


*Well, compared to whatever the temperature is currently in Michigan, or New York, or North Dakota, for instance, it would probably seem nice.  But you still wouldn’t want to sit at a bus stop for 45 minutes with just a hoody for your jacket in such weather.  And believe me you wouldn’t want to drive a motorcycle without layers and gloves and so on…though a good helmet will keep one’s head nice and toasty, at least.

**If that ending seems like a bit of a non sequitur, that’s because it was written in response to the fact that the person sitting in the seat in front of me on the train had a carton of passion fruit juice, and that made me think, “If there’s a passion fruit, why is there no ‘apathy fruit’?” which seems it would be much more an appropriate foodstuff for humans.  I put that last sentence in the main body of the blog solely for the purpose of writing this footnote.

There’s a black hat caught in a high tree top

Well, it’s Friday, the 13th of January, and I don’t have any idea what to write or what to write about today, but I’m writing anyway, as you can plainly tell.  That’s a metaphor for life if there ever was one, don’t you think?

Of course, I could write a bit about the fact that it is Friday the 13th, but I’ve mentioned that previously, and it’s not all that interesting.  There’s no such thing as an unlucky day or an unlucky number; that’s all just superstitious, magical “thinking” stupidity.  But there are numbers that are interesting, and the the prime numbers are interesting to me.  I feel a sort of peculiar, protective affection for 13, since so many silly humans think it’s an unlucky number.

For similar reasons, I’m slightly less fond of 7 than I am of most other prime numbers.  It’s sort of the numerical equivalent of Prince Harry or, to pick an older comparison, Paris Hilton*.  It’s already receiving plenty of attention and support, far more than it deserves, so I won’t waste my effort.

There was an update overnight to my phone’s operating system, and now some “buttons” such as the return key, are no longer slightly-rounded rectangles but are more precisely slightly rectangular ovals.  I don’t like it.  The background colors are also slightly altered, and that’s frustrating, too.

In addition, the app buttons are changed, including the text app, and the phone is trying to push all sorts of new apps that it recommends “for me”…but of course, it’s not actually for me (or for you in case you think otherwise) it’s actually for the companies that make the apps, who have paid a premium to have those apps promoted.  

The system forces you to go through their stupid update-based notice thingy to decide on new apps, and many are pre-checked, so you have to opt out of them actively.  Similarly with their “bookshelf” function or whatever it is, and when you close the apps, the screen doesn’t go away, you have to dismiss it separately, which makes no sense and was not that way before.  The people responsible for all this should be burned to death with flame throwers as soon as possible.

I don’t know why companies do that sort of thing.  Gmail has done it with its updates, turning all the nice, well-demarcated shapes with edges and corners into soft, gooey, Play-Doh looking things, as if they really are trying to “child-proof” the world.  I don’t enjoy change without good purpose, and I think there are good reasons not to enjoy it.  If something is functioning reasonably well, most changes will be for the worse, especially if optimality is something not simply and easily achieved.

Just look at genetic mutations to get a clear example.  In an organism that’s functioning well enough to survive and reproduce in its environment, most changes in general are not going to be beneficial.  That’s one reason I hate social movements that say they are pushing for “change”.  Well, what kind of change, in particular?  I mean, the global Covid pandemic was/is a change; the war in Ukraine is a change; the diminishing respect for rule of law and the constraints of the U S Constitution are changes; an asteroid impact that wiped out civilization entirely would be a change.

Well, that last one would be beneficial, so it’s probably a poor example.

Anyway, I wish that people like Android** and Google (are they part of the same company?) and Microsoft and all those would reserve their updates to those changes that are at least attempts to improve functionality, not cosmetic nonsense or transparent and pushy marketing.  It’s very irritating to get used to the color scheme and key layout of a computer system and then wake up to find that it’s different, as are some of the basic functions, and for no good reason.

Even the icons to start writing and to save writing on the Google Docs app are different colors.  Why?  I mean it would be one thing if the previous color were some frequency of X-rays, and using the app was causing cataracts and retinal deterioration and even ocular cancer.  But it was just a sort of neutral blue or gray color, and was reasonably pleasant.  Now it’s sort of a yellowy orangey beige that looks vaguely like something you might heave out after you’ve already vomited all the food contents of your stomach but your body still wants to throw up some more.

It’s unnecessary.  I don’t like surprises, usually even when they’re positive ones.  And this is not a positive one.

Oh, well.  What else is new (ha ha)?  I had a brief glimmer of hope that my enforced change of commute might come to an end today, but it looks like that isn’t happening.  I’m not really surprised, but I am mildly disappointed, and it doesn’t help my energy level.

Oh, I did have a slightly interesting thought about Friday the 13th, thinking of the movies by that name as compared to the Halloween movies.  I had thought for a brief moment that at least the Halloween movies are named after an actual holiday, and it was also one that comes around a bit more often than Friday…the…

…then I caught myself, because I know that any month that begins on a Sunday is going to have a Friday the 13th in it.  And on average, one in seven months will begin on a Sunday, and so there will be, on average, just under 2 Friday the 13ths every year‒the day, not the movies, thankfully.  And in non leap years, if February has a Friday the 13th, so will March!  So there are quite a few more Fridays the 13th than there are Halloweens.

Just imagine if we had 2 Halloweens every year.  Wouldn’t that be great?

Anyway, that’s a lot of writing about nothing. I apologize for the last few days, and for my foolish notions of seeking help, when I don’t think I deserve, or merit, or am worthy of help, or frankly that it would be a good use of anyone’s resources.  Also, I probably would/will not know how to accept help.  Sting had a great line from one of his songs*** that feels pertinent to this: “And I wriggle like a fish caught on dry land, and struggle to avoid any help at hand.”

Of course, if someone could offer me a goodly dose of Valium and Fentanyl that I could use in a pinch to make a basically painless exit, that might at least be worth keeping in my pocket, just in case.  But otherwise, I can’t really imagine doing anything that would involve serious changes.  I don’t like change, and I don’t like surprises, and I particularly don’t like phone calls out of the blue, especially from someone who has in the past made me feel guilty for being depressed.  It all just stresses me out and makes me feel worse about myself.

I mean, if my son or daughter called me, that would be a different matter.  That would be brilliant.  But I would be deeply ashamed if they did so out of a sense of obligation rather than just because they wanted to do it.

I don’t know what the hell I’m getting at.  Nothing much, probably.  Anyway, it’s Friday, and I don’t work this weekend, so you shouldn’t be seeing any new blog posts from me before Monday at the soonest.  If something catastrophic‒depending on one’s point of view‒happens and I don’t write anything even on Monday, well…that’s a change that most people wouldn’t find too unpleasant, unlike the stupid muddy, puss-like color and shape changes on the phone apps and keyboard.


*Interesting…both examples have “initials” P. H.

**And that name doesn’t makes sense.  Android means “man-shaped” and nothing about the operating system or the phones is man-shaped.  Even their little symbol isn’t really man-shaped.  I’m android.  Nothing about the phone system is.

***Be Still My Beating Heart

The satirical rogue says here that old men have grey blogs

Hello and good morning.  It’s Thursday, and so it’s time once again for my traditional Thursday blog post, which always starts with some variation of “Hello and good morning”, as you have just seen.  It’s the second Thursday of 2023, and it is the 12th of January, meaning that tomorrow‒as I’ve noted before‒is Friday the 13th.

I apologize for the tone and content of yesterday’s blog post, which feels to me as though it was unusually dank and dismal.  I’m not apologizing because I didn’t mean what I wrote; I did mean it.  If anything, I tend to understate things.  But I’m sorry to have foisted all that on you lot.

What I wrote yesterday is true, though.  I have a difficult to terrible time seeking out help, so when I get even the slightest urge to do so, I have to try to get it out there.  Because the fact is that I could really use it.  But my mental resources‒and my physical ones, let’s be honest‒for seeking help are stunted or crippled or maimed or whatever you would want to call it.  This blog, at least now that I’ve made it “daily”, is to a large extent my attempt at a proverbial cry for help.  But it’s not doing very well at that.  Not even close.

Maybe I always suspected that would be the case?  Well, no, I think it’s more accurate to say that I feared it might be the case.  If I had truly expected there to be no benefit, I wouldn’t have bothered.  I don’t have quite the kind of mental twistiness that leads one deliberately to do things one doesn’t think have any chance of working.  I really do (and did) wish that somehow this daily blog writing would help me gain some form of mental improvement and possibly even entice someone or something somewhere to help me…somehow.

It’s vague and nebulous, I know, and rather laughably optimistic.  I might as well just play a random Powerball ticket.  Getting millions upon millions of dollars would certainly at least give me greater freedom and resources to seek out help than just about anything else that’s physically possible to have happen to me.

And if wishes were horses, we’d all be hip deep in horse shit.  In which case, climate change would be much worse than it is, because all that horse shit gives off a lot of methane.  And even if you burn the methane, that just gives you a molecule of CO2 and four molecules of water for each molecule of methane burned (in oxygen, anyway), and each of those new molecules is another greenhouse gas*.

Anyway, that’s my mea culpa for yesterday, sort of.  Not that I think I did anything truly wrong, mind you.  I mean, it’s my blog.  It is whatever I want to make of it, and no one is forced to read it**.  If they choose to do so, well then caveat lector, or whatever the appropriate Latin would be.  Let the reader beware.

But the reader doesn’t have to beware all that much, because, in the end, these are words, words, words, as Hamlet said to Polonius when asked what he was reading.  I love words, and written language, obviously, but it is nevertheless true, as we used to say in grade school, that “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” And by hurt, I mean literally, physically.

Of course, words do have power.  Language can affect the world, and is the means by which we exchange, record, and pass down knowledge and other information.  Written language is the lifeblood of civilization.  But it is only the blood.  It is not the muscle or sinew or bone.  Words cannot conjure magical beings or events, as they can in stories, other than in the sense that they can be used to make such stories.  Perception is not identical with reality, speech is not violence, and as DMX said, “Talk is cheap, motherfucker.”

I don’t know how I arrived at that point in this blog, but it is a message I try very hard to get across.  We can be glad indeed that words cannot literally hurt people, because if they could, it would make the picture of a world in which wishes were horses, complete with their copious excrement, seem almost paradisiacal by comparison.  I know that my wake would probably be littered with corpses.

Hey, maybe that would be a good idea for a horror story (probably a short one): someone discovers that their words literally have the power to hurt people or make other things happen.  It could be called Sticks and Stones.  Actually, I’ve already written a story that has some of that aspect, in The Death Sentence, and I think H. G. Wells wrote a story about a guy who could make things happen by speaking, quite a long time ago.  Not that the concept is exhausted, of course.  There are many things, potentially, one could do with such a story idea.

I don’t think I’m going to be the one to do it, though.  I don’t think I’m likely to write any fiction again, or even live all that much longer.  Not without some kind of help, which does not seem likely to come.

Oh, well, whataya gonna do?  I hope you all have a good day today, and look forward to tomorrow, which is a Friday the 13th, but has nothing to do with the overworked movie franchise.  That’s got to be worth celebrating, right?

TTFN

words words words


*The “m” is right above the “period” on this phone keyboard, so I briefly made a typo, which the autocorrect showed no sign of changing, that read “another greenhouse gasm”. This sounds like something that might happen to a truly passionate plant lover upon entering a lush, indoor botanical garden when it was deep winter outside.

**Not by me, anyway.  And I don’t think there are any sadists out there cruel enough to make someone read my blog when they have no interest in it.