Here we go again, still.

It’s Monday morning, and I’m on the train as I write this, though I had meant to miss the train that I rode on Friday and start writing while sitting at the train station, because that somehow feels better to me.  I’m not sure why it feels better.  Maybe it’s because, for a long time, when I got to the train station early, it was where I started writing my fiction on a given day.  I don’t know.

Anyway, I dilly-dallied at the house for a bit, doing some minor chores that I don’t normally do in the morning, before leaving a little later than usual.  But it turns out that the train was, as the automated announcement said, “fifteen, twenty minutes late”.

I don’t know why it’s not programmed to say, “fifteen to twenty minutes late”.  The way the announcement comes across, one might be excused for thinking that the train was going to be one thousand five hundred twenty minutes late.  That’s 25 hours and 20 minutes.  One might as well take an extra day off today and come back tomorrow!

So, I got on the train I had tried to miss by a bit, after waiting…well, about fifteen or twenty minutes.  And now I’m writing this blog post, for which I have no particular topic, on the train.

I don’t understand why even a relatively well-run system like the Tri-rail in south Florida is so often behind schedule or has trains cancelled and so on.  This is not the norm in many other parts of the world*.  In some parts of the world, they don’t even have to punish people who screw up and make a train system late, thus inconveniencing thousands to sometimes tens of thousands of people and more.  The people running it would be ashamed and humiliated to allow the trains to run late on their watch, and if something unavoidable were to happen, such people would scramble and struggle to correct it as fast as humanly possible, and not rest until it was fixed.

I’m not, in general, a fan of the emotion of shame, but a little bit of shame in the right place can be a good thing.  It exists because it can serve a purpose in social animals, and humans are social animals.  A person should be embarrassed and even ashamed if, through laziness or carelessness or inattention they cause problems that affect the lives of a large number of people.  If that seems like too minor a thing about which to worry, remember, statistically speaking, if one causes delays for enough people, often enough, there will be consequent serious suffering and even premature deaths—deaths that would not have happened if one had done one’s job**.

Speaking of deaths:  honestly, I didn’t really expect to be alive, myself, at this point.  Or, at least, I didn’t mean to be continuing to muddle through on my usual daily so-called life.  But I’m still here just standing on the ledge or the balcony, or the bridge-side, or whatever, looking down, trying to decide what to do.  It’s scary to jump—for good, sound, biological reasons over which I have very little control—and so I hesitate.

But I don’t have a strong desire to turn around and walk away from the edge, either.  I guess, at some level, some part of me is wondering if someone can give me a good, motivating, convincing reason to step away from the edge.  Not a request, not a cajolement, not an emotional appeal, not a pep talk—none of these things are means by which I want to be easily influenced.  I’ve looked at most of them already, and in any case, they don’t really solve the problem, they just push it back a little.  I don’t want to believe, I want to be convinced by evidence and reasoning, or by something that doesn’t rely on the exhortation just to keep buggering on because that’s what you’re supposed to do.

I’ve been buggering on against dysthymia and depression for almost forty years, certainly since my early teens, and against chronic pain for about twenty.  I don’t seem to have gained much ground, if any.

If I were still in medical practice and were treating a patient like me who came in, I might well recommend hospitalization.  I’m certainly a danger to myself—I hate myself, I consider myself my enemy.  But I cannot afford some kind of voluntary psychiatric hospitalization, certainly not in any kind of very good facility, and I don’t have any insurance.  And, of course, I’m not in medical practice anymore.

I don’t know what to do.  But my train stop is coming up next, and since I have to pause my writing at least for a while when I get there, I might as well stop this post now.  I hope you had a good weekend and that you have a good week.

no belief

*Though, admittedly, there are also parts of the world in which this is much better than the norm.  But the US is the world’s largest economy; we like to think of ourselves as advanced and innovative and productive and “great”, but—to reference a cliché that wasn’t even true about the person about whom it was often said—we can’t even seem to keep the trains running on time.  It’s embarrassing.  Or at least, it ought to be embarrassing.  If we are not embarrassed by it, that fact should be embarrassing, too.

**It’s possible, of course, that there are deaths that will happen when the trains run on time that would not have happened if they had been late, but people don’t tend to see as morally culpable on the people keeping things running on time when there are benevolent reasons for doing so.  Running things on time was the intent of the system, it was part of the stated goal from the start, and it was thus because it was potentially useful for many people.  It’s not a bug, it’s a feature.  But when it fails in its promised service, and because of that failure someone dies (or suffers) unnecessarily, it seems reasonable to consider it a morally culpable situation.

I had rather than forty shillings I had such a blog

Hello and good morning.

It’s Thursday, so it’s time for my traditional-format, “weekly” blog post, which is not terribly different from my other daily ones anymore.  I’ve just been doing it longer.

It’s the first day of Passover (Pesach) and I ought not—if I were observant, anyway—go to work today.  But the fact is, I am sitting here at the bus stop, way too early for the bus to arrive, and writing this blog post, because I want to continue to give my knee and ankles and feet a relative bit of morning rest.

Yesterday’s plan worked quite well, foot-wise.  I walked back to the house from the train station, making my day’s tally only about eight miles of walking total, and my feet and my knee felt comparatively good by the end of the day.  This may be because the new shoes I was wearing turned out to be particularly good for my feet and my walking style*, but I figured one more bus stop morning shouldn’t be too bad, even if I wear a different pair of shoes.

I took delivery of my new bicycle seat yesterday.  It seems nice, and it may perhaps be less tempting to thieves than my other one was.  Anyway, the seat post will be arriving today, if all goes according to Amazon’s stated intention, and so with a little luck—assuming I have the will and energy to do anything at all—I will be riding the bike to the train tomorrow.  If I do, when I do, I will thread the steel cable that is part of my lock through the base of the seat as well as around the bike rack, so that it will not be stealable without serious tools and/or time.

I noticed last week that riding the bike seems to be better for my flexibility than walking is, in the sense that it’s easier to bend down and or squat when necessary after riding than it is with long walking.  I’m not sure why that is.  Maybe it’s just that riding works the quads so much that they’re well-conditioned for squatting.  I don’t know.  I don’t suppose it matters.

I really hope things will go okay with the bike seat and seat post, because I would like to use the bike this weekend to go for a longer distance meander on Saturday and/or Sunday.  That twelve mile accidental walk I took a few months ago would be a fairly minor trip on the bike.  I could even, in principle, go to a mall or something—though I think I would not go to a mall on a Saturday no matter what, since there tend to be far too many people in such places on weekends.  Sunday, being Easter, might be better, but I need to do my laundry on Sunday.

Holy schlamoley, this blog has become really boring, hasn’t it?  I don’t even know what I’m trying to accomplish with it anymore.  Then again, I don’t know what I’m trying to accomplish with anything anymore.  “Nothing much” is the probable answer.

At the office, I took my black Strat and tucked it away behind the partition beside my desk, along with its cord and the little practice amp I have always used when playing at the office.  This makes a little more space for me.  No one has noticed its absence, but I guess that shouldn’t be too surprising.  It’s not really relevant to anyone but me, and—obviously—its relevance to me has all but vanished.

I really wish I had the energy or the will or the wherewithal to go somewhere, to do something, to visit someone, but I don’t.  I probably won’t even go for that longish ride on the bike this Saturday, even though it’s in my head that I would enjoy doing it.  I would be inclined to walk longer distances, but the fact that I keep having trouble with my knee and ankles—and the chronic pain in my back—makes that difficult.  Also, I just feel mentally tired, probably as part of my chronic depression, since I’m obviously physically up to the challenge—as witness, I consider yesterday’s total of eight miles to be comparatively light walking.

A person who used to work with me, and about whom I hear via another coworker, had a heart attack last week, apparently.  He’s only a year or two older than I am, but he has had an unhealthy lifestyle, so it’s not too terribly surprising, though I say it as shouldn’t, perhaps.  Anyway, it was apparently fairly serious (even as heart attacks go), but I have to admit to feeling just a little bit of envy, laced with a bit of irony.  He probably does not like the fact that he had a heart attack and will be going through rehab and everything, but for me, one of the big advantages of a major illness or injury or whatever would be simply not having to keep going.

I can’t just lie around on my own.  I don’t do leisure time well.  I can’t just relax—I always feel a sense of urgency, of stress, the idea that I really ought to be doing something, that there are responsibilities I must meet, something like that, some feeling of ill-ease that prods at me, like trying to sit on a cactus.

This hearkens back to the topic of yesterday’s post, I guess, and Sisyphus.  I am the source of my own forced labor, it seems, to the extent that any one, local thing can be ascribed that responsibility.  I just wish I were able to rest without guilt and anxiety about the fact that I’m resting.  I want to be able to let go, to be empty.  I’m not asking for joy or euphoria or eudaimonia.  I’d like just to have a bit of oblivion.

I don’t know what to do.  I keep playing with the idea of doing audio recordings for a bit, especially when I happen to be listening to a podcast or something, but so far I haven’t gotten the gumption up to do it.  I don’t know.

Oh, well.  To those of you who are observant, or celebrate it, or whatever, I say, “Chag Pesach Sameach”.  Many of the rest of you will celebrate “Good Friday”** tomorrow, and Easter this Sunday.  I hope you all have a nice holiday weekend, if it is a holiday weekend for you, and that in any case, you have a nice weekend no matter what.  I wish you nothing but the best.

My best wishes aren’t worth much, but they are sincere, at least.


Passover mosaic with words

*Are there styles of walking, like the kung fu styles in movies and things like that?  If so, would they be named after animals?  I think mine would be something a bit ungainly.  Not quite “penguin”, maybe, but perhaps “pangolin”, though of course, I walk on two legs, not on four.  Anyway, no one has ever been struck by the beauty of my gait.

**A day on which ones is crucified doesn’t seem like it would be a good Friday to me, but what do I know?

Was Sisyphus afraid of moss?

I’m sitting at the bus stop this morning, waiting for the morning bus.  There are a few reasons for that.  Actually, I suppose if one were to drill down, one could probably find many reasons—or at least, many causes­—but the main ones are:  1) I’ve walked over 24 miles in the last two days, and though my left knee support thingy is helping, there is still some twinging in the knee, and B) I am trying out a new pair of shoes.

By that, I mean, I am trying a new model of shoe, so to speak, though they are from the same company as usual.  I didn’t want to give them the full 12 miles on their first day, in case there is any chafing or rubbing in new areas that’s going to be likely to cause new blisters.  I really don’t want that, since my other shoes—the ones I haven’t discarded—are not causing blistering, even with the new ankle supports, even with a full 12 mile days.

I should let you all know, I have bitten the bullet and ordered a new bike post and seat.  They don’t come together as one “item”, which strikes me as odd, but maybe it’s not; maybe that’s the usual way things go in the world of bicycles.  There may be good reasons for it.

Anyway, I don’t know if reading Matthieu Ricard’s book is helping me, or if it was a comment/suggestion of encouragement from my cousin—most likely some combination of both things and just a general stubbornness on my part—but I decided to try it, to get a new seat.  It’s nice to be able to get back to the house before eight o’clock sometimes rather than at about nine (or even later).  I just have to remember to run my locking cable through the seat base when I park the bike.

I don’t know that this will change any of my long-term plans (if that’s even the right term).  Certainly if I get this new seat and post and something else goes wrong, I’m going to be quite perturbed.  That interference with my expected plans is a large part of what made me so upset—maybe that’s part of my possible undiagnosed Asperger’s or something, I don’t know.  On the other hand, a large part of it is certainly down to my dysthymia/depression, with which I’ve had to deal since at least my mid-teens.  As it turns out, that can be secondary to/a complication of Asperger’s, so it could all be intertwined.

I’ve recently come to the realization, which I’ve commented on before, that apparently I have a rather blank expression on my face a lot of the time, even when I feel like I’m conveying severe misery.  The closest I came to being expressive, recently, was last week, when I was having an exceptionally bad, three-sigma at least, outlier day with respect to pain, and I was just miserable and in agony, despite far too much medicine and stretching and back massage machines and whatnot.

Someone in the office asked if I was tired, because apparently that’s what my face was expressing.

I’ve never really thought of myself as expressionless, but I do remember, for a long time, practicing smiling in the mirror, partly just so I could think of myself as someone who was happy (or at least looked happy) and partly because I wanted to have a good smile.  That’s long gone, of course; I don’t tend to smile at myself in the mirror anymore.

If anything, I feel rather surprised sometimes when I look in the mirror, as if thinking, “Oh, yeah, that guy.  I forgot that’s what he looked like.”  You would think I would be used to my face by now.  But it very much doesn’t feel like me when I see it, though as my sister has pointed out (quite correctly), that is not so surprising since I don’t normally have access to it; I’m on the inside, or words to that effect.  Maybe this is everyone’s experience, I don’t know.

It’s been a very long week so far, already, and it’s only now Wednesday morning*, which means today I have to do the payroll.  I haven’t even gotten started on the payroll this week so far, because I’ve just been too discouraged and despondent and tired.  Hopefully, taking the bus this morning will conserve at least a little of my energy and make things somewhat easier today.

Either way, I’ll do it, and I’ll probably do it quickly and accurately and well, and it will look easy to those on the outside, because I’ve been doing it for a while, and I know how to do it.  When I’m supposed to do something, however miserable I feel, I just tend to do it, to keep going, and only occasionally grumble a bit but not really make any kind of stink—and apparently it doesn’t even really show on my face that I’m in despair.

I’ve mentioned it before, but I think it bears repeating, or re-exploring, that the horror of Sisyphus’s punishment in the myth is not merely that he was forced to keep rolling his boulder up the mountain, or hill, or whatever, only to have it roll down again each time.  The true horror was that he felt compelled to do it, somehow.

It’s not as though an ordinary person would keep doing it, surely.  They’d be all, “Blow this for a lark” and let the boulder fall.  I’m sure that some other punishment would be enacted, but even Prometheus could recognize that, though he suffered horribly every day, it wasn’t his own doing.  His own mind had not been made into the vessel and source of his torment.

Sisyphus was a bit like all those people who walked calmly to the stake or to the gallows or to the guillotine or to the electric chair or whatever.  Why did they do that?  Why do people not at least force their executioners to drag them to the place of execution?  Why do they not fight?  Would I be the same in such circumstances?

It’s bizarre.  I mean, good luck trying to get a cat or a wolverine, or even a squirrel, to go along with you toward a situation that it even suspects is a danger to its life.  You will not come away without wounds.  Yet even unjustly sentenced humans go quietly most of the time.

It’s pretty stupid, if you ask me.  Which may in turn sound stupid coming from someone who often feels suicidal.  But if it’s my choice and I’m the one doing it—to whatever extent that even makes sense—then that’s at least a choice of some kind.  But you can’t tell me that, if Prometheus got a hand free, he wouldn’t have done his best to throttle Zeus’s eagle.

That, again, is the horror of Sisyphus, even though his punishment is less gory.  He has become his own hell.  Maybe that’s true of us all.  It’s certainly often true of me.


*A fact that I cannot state without triggering the beginning of the Beatles song She’s Leaving Home in my head.  As my ex-wife might have said, this is one of my buttons, and when you push them—even when I push them myself—there will be a programmed response.

Never mind

I’m not sure at all what I’m going to write about this morning, but it’s a work morning, and I’ve just arrived at the train station, so writing my daily blog post is what I’m going to be doing, at least for the time being.

My hands and fingers are a bit sticky and sweaty as I start this.  Obviously that’s not going to be evident in my writing—other than the fact that I’m telling you about it.  I walked just under 12 miles yesterday, total, since my bike is no longer an option, and I’ve already walked about 5 miles today, which explains the sweatiness.

17 miles isn’t all that much when you’re riding a bike.  Even I could probably do it in an hour.  But my bike is inoperable right now, and when walking, 17 miles is the work of over five hours, which is a fair chunk of one’s time, even over a day and a bit.  Not that I have anything better to do with my time.  My time is pointless.

I more or less deliberately arranged things to get here just after the time for the train I caught yesterday, because I wanted to have a moment in the station where I could start writing this post.  I like starting my posts at the station better than starting them on the train; I’m not sure why.  There is an occasional nice breeze blowing at my back and cooling me down, but it wasn’t blowing when I made my decision, and it hadn’t occurred to me that it would happen, so I don’t think it was part of the calculus.

I’m working on adapting to new, slightly larger (and thus less tight) ankle braces, and the knee brace I got seems to be helping my left knee, though I woke up in the night last night with marked left knee pain, and had to put Icy Hot with lidocaine on it.  I think that was mainly because I had been sleeping with my ankles crossed, as I often do.  I guess I should probably break that habit.

It doesn’t really matter much, of course.  No habits really matter much right now.  I don’t expect to have any long-lasting habits.  What I’d like to do is be able to summon the gumption just to walk until it kills me (or to walk until I get back to where I grew up, or something along those lines).  That would at least be an interesting way to go.  The main obstacles to starting have been blisters and so on, and soreness in my knees and ankles.  But I think I’m at least getting past the blisters, mostly, and trying to find ways around the soreness.  If I pace myself, the soreness shouldn’t get in the way.  I hope.

I had almost, after getting myself into better condition by working my way up toward this idea, decided to take “another route”, what with the bike and all, and see if I could make it through to continuing with life.  I have even started reading one of the books by Matthieu Ricard, the French-born Buddhist monk and so-called happiest man in the world.

It’s an interesting book, but he isn’t saying anything I haven’t heard before.  I’ve done meditation, quite a bit; when I was younger, I used to meditate and/or do self-hypnosis every day, usually more than once a day.  Weirdly enough, meditation seems to tend to make my depression worse, though it does calm my anxiety somewhat.

Anyway, I doubt I’ll find any worthwhile answers.  I don’t expect to find any, though I’m not ruling it out.  But there needs to be some better reason to carry on than just the vague notion that “people care about you” or “people would miss you”.  While there are people who will be saddened if I am gone, it’s not going to be a deep or very direct sadness, because there’s no one with whom I spend any significant time.

No one else’s day to day experience will be changed significantly whether I live or die or whatever.  The vague notion that there are people who care about me is a nice thing and a good thing, as far as it goes, but it has no local consequences, and it’s not a strong enough reason to stay alive.  It’s like the old saying, “That plus a buck fifty will get a cup of coffee.”  Of course, nowadays it would be more like at least “that plus five bucks”, but the idea is the same.  It’s not really consequential, because it’s really just an idea, some kind of abstraction.

The vague fact that there are people hundreds and even thousands of miles away who care about you and would be sad if they learned that you were dead is not enough of a reason to be alive.  After all, they would only be sad if they learned that you were dead.

And they would only learn it indirectly, because they are not actually present here in my life.  No one I really care about is actually here, nearby, and frankly, I don’t blame them.  I don’t want to inflict myself on other people.  I hate myself severely.  One of the last (or least) things I would want to do would be to inflict myself upon those whose happiness is important to me.  I don’t bring people happiness.  People who are around me tend to become more unhappy.  I’m no fucking good, and I never have been.

Anyway, I don’t know what I’m getting at.  None of this makes very much sense, and it’s certainly not worth the effort to try very hard to make sense of it.

I hope you have a good week, and if you’re celebrating any of the upcoming holidays, I hope you enjoy them.  Take heart in knowing that that they’ll be a little bit better than they might otherwise be because I won’t be present at your celebrations.


Well, it’s Monday, the beginning of the first full week of April in 2023.  I walked to the train today.  This was not out of any cross-training notion or related goal.  Rather, it was a consequence of something that happened on Saturday.

When I arrived at my destination train station after work on Saturday, walked to where my new bike was double-locked to the bike rack right at the main entrance of that train station, and where people are coming and going and waiting for trains all day on the platform, I found that my bike seat had been stolen, post and all.  Since I am nowhere near good enough a rider to bike back to the house in a standing pedaling posture, I had to walk the bike back to the house on Saturday evening.

So, that’s that.  I give up.  I’m not going to get a new seat or anything; just flush the money I spent on the bike down the toilet, and good riddance to it.  I’ve mentioned before that I don’t like relying on external, physical mechanisms, because worrying about maintaining them makes me tremendously stressed out.  Well, that was true, and this whole debacle has driven that point home.

I don’t mind relying on my computer only because computers are so comparatively easy to replace nowadays, and the information in not solely locally saved but is online in various senses.  If all of that goes haywire, the problems will be very large scale indeed, and personal irritation and inconvenience would probably be only a minor part of the situation.

Anyway, I’m writing this on the train now—not the first or second train of the day, but still one earlier than I would have caught if I had taken the bus to the other train station.  I’ve already walked five miles, so that’s good exercise, at least.  I have a new spandex knee brace on my left knee, because that knee has been given me some trouble with all the walking.  I think the brace is doing me some good, so far, but I’ll know better at the end of the day.

I don’t really see too much point in trying to avoid pain.  I’m never going to be able to avoid it, anyway, and my attempts to do so seem often just to trigger worse pain of new kinds.  Not that I think I deserve any better, but pain does get in the way of some things.

There’s only one way to escape pain completely.

I’m trying to read and listen to some heartening books and/or podcasts and so on, but it’s getting harder and harder for me to find books or podcasts or blog posts—or shows or videos or anything else—that are interesting.  The world basically feels like a wasteland; it’s dry and barren and dusty and dismal and as far as the eye can see—my eye, anyway, and its paired partner—there is no source of life, no oasis, no water or food.

It’s not even particularly hot or cold; that would make it more interesting than it is.  It’s just stupid and pointless, and so am I.  I’ve failed at all the things that matter the most to me in the world, and at many things that matter less.  I’m no good at taking care of myself, and frankly, I don’t feel motivated to try.  I’m just eroding and decaying and cracking into bits, slowly but inevitably.

I should be angry about having my bike seat stolen.  I’m mostly just discouraged and fatigued.  Not but what I think whoever did it should be punished, though I doubt they ever will be.  I sometimes think I would gladly kill the person who took it if I could do so without any chance of facing legal consequences.  I recognize that it would be out of proportion to the specific action, of course, but little, petty thefts like these undermine the very substance of civilization, and lead people like me steadily and inexorably closer to despair, and for what?  Someone gets a new bike seat for which they didn’t have to pay.  Maybe they pawned it for a small amount of money and used that to buy drugs or alcohol.  If the former, I can at least hope that they got something laced with enough fentanyl to kill them.

I probably wouldn’t kill such a person even if I could get away with it, to be honest.  I have very strong impulse control, and as I think I’ve said before, I don’t think I have any right not to be uncomfortable.  The inability to feel self-righteous prevents a lot of terrible deeds in the world, I think.  So many atrocities are committed by people who believe they are good and are doing good, or doing right, or think they are justly vengeful because they think have been wronged in some real, important way.  And so they will wrong others, propagating cycles of cruelty and revenge and malice.  It’s pathetic.

The world is a shithole, and there are fewer and fewer things in it that make up for that fact for me.  But it’s not as though I deserve anything better.  I give up.  I’m not going to try to improve or grow or entertain any possibility of reclaiming or rebuilding my life.  The Second Law of Thermodynamics always wins, anyway.  It always will.  I’m tired.  I’m tired of trying.  I’m just about out of gas.  And the week is only just starting.

weird wasteland

Move along; there’s nothing left to see. Just a body. Nothing left to see.

Well, it’s Tuesday morning now, and I’m writing this while already at the office, because I didn’t leave last night.  I should have gone to the house on my new bicycle and ridden it to the train this morning, but unfortunately, there were snags.

First of all, the bicycle was delivered after our normal business hours.  Amazon allows us to put time constraints into the delivery instructions, and we have done so, so it would be nice if they attended to them and made sure to get things to their destinations during delivery hours, especially when they are expensive items.  I waited around after work for it arrive.  Then, unboxing it, I saw that it wasn’t technically the color I had ordered, but it wasn’t too far off, so that didn’t bother me all that much.

Then, after reading all the way through the instructions once before beginning, I then began to reread and do the necessary assembly.  However, the bike seat post clamp, or whatever it’s called, turned out not to be the kind actually described in the instructions, and as I was realizing that there was no slot in mine for an Allen key, I fumbled about and the seat post slipped and fell down into the frame of the bike.

It fell deep down.  And though it slid in quite easily, somehow, it does not slide out nearly as readily.  Indeed, it doesn’t seem to want to slide out at all, not even a millimeter.  The company’s website just recommends turning the thing upside down and using a rubber mallet or something similar to hammer at the base until the post falls out.  It hasn’t budged so far.

This is a problem that has been occurring frequently for some time, apparently—there are complaints or inquiries on their site going back three years and more—yet there has been no such simple preventative fix as to, for instance, put some kind of barrier in the structure so the post can’t slip past its top into the frame.

Of course, if I had put the seat on the post first, this wouldn’t have happened, but the instructions tell you to put the post in first.  I’m not sure why.  I’m not sure if there is a reason.  This does, apparently, occur often enough that people in YouTube videos advise putting the seats on first.

It’s maddening.  Anyway, I was working on the stupid thing, trying to figure out how to dislodge it, until far too late to catch the last train back toward the house.  So, I “slept” on the floor in the office again.  I just wanted to have the bike to ride home; it was the first thing to which I’ve looked forward in I don’t know how long.  My coworker said it’s literally the first time in 2023 I’ve said there was something I was anticipating positively.  He’s probably right.

Also, yesterday we missed another potential palindromic number sequence in our recording numbers for verifications.  Don’t worry about the specifics too much, just know that I decided that, if one would come up before too long a time had passed, I would take it as a message from the universe* to try to decide to live.  But the chance passed, yet again, not to my surprise.

And this last Saturday was the “anniversary” of the destruction of the One Ring in The Lord of the Rings.  I wish I had just killed myself then, as I considered doing.  I’m so frustrated.  I haven’t been able to get anything right in I don’t know how long.  Like the song True Love Waits says, “I’m not living.  I’m just killing time.”

And time is killing me, but it’s doing it too damned slowly.  I’m tired and I’m in pain and I’m trying not to give in, but it’s so much effort, and there’s no fucking payoff.  Am I just staying alive today so that I can just stay alive again tomorrow, then the next day and the next week and the next month and the next year…just staying alive because people think that’s what you’re supposed to do, and biology builds those drives into everyone?  What is the point?  I hate myself, anyway, and all that I’ve become.

Oh, and in case you’ve recently joined the readership of this blog, you should know, this isn’t about the bike, per se.  I mean, the bike is frustrating because it was an instance of me trying to do something proactive and positive, and then via fumbling, stupid mistakes I made it go wrong and made it more frustrating than it ought to be.

It’s not that I don’t think I can fix the problem.  Obviously, I can fix the problem.  I just don’t want to have to fix the stupid problem.  I’m tired of fixing problems.  I’m tired of effort, of trying to achieve…well, anything at all.  I feel like my life has been a constant attempt to build a sandcastle while the tide is coming in.  Oh, and there’s a hurricane coming.  And I don’t have any tools.  And the sand is basically really gravel.  But mainly, I’m just rotten at it, and I don’t seem to be getting better over time; rather, I am getting worse.

Oh, well, enough melodrama.  Sorry, everyone.  I really ought just to bring the show to a close.  It’s pathetic.  We’ll see, I guess.


*Though I don’t actually believe the universe sends messages; it’s just a conceit, a sort of reverse Russian Roulette.

Dreary is as dreary does, as we say in…well, nowhere. But it’s true nonetheless

Well, it’s Monday morning again, and I’m sitting now at the train station.  I seem to be getting in better shape.  Though I left at the same time as usual, I’ve arrived at the station in time for the train earlier than I usually catch—only to hear the announcement that this particular train has been cancelled.  That means I’ll be catching the next one, which is likely to be more crowded because of the cancellation of the prior one (and I really hate crowds) though there seem to be rather few people waiting at the station than usual.

It’s not an auspicious way to begin the week, though I suppose an optimist might think that it’s likely only to improve from here.  I am not an optimist, however.  Maybe I used to be, but I’m not one now.

Anyway, I’m on my way in to the office, one way or another.  The blisters that had formed on my feet when I wore the shoes that I’ve since thrown away have mostly resolved, or are on their way out, and they certainly didn’t trouble me on my walk this morning, though my right ankle is twinging.

That’s my old injury from college, acting up.  Ithaca, New York, it turns out, can be a perilous place to play an aggressive game of catch, because the land is hilly and irregular, and if all your weight comes down on your right foot after it’s reached an unexpected dip in the ground, well…let’s just say that when it happened to me, it made a sound that my friend, with whom I was playing catch, heard from where he was, quite a ways away.  We thought my ankle might be broken, but it was just a very bad sprain.

Of course, student health was partway up Libe Slope, so it was good that I had friends back then to help me hobble up.

Today my new bicycle is supposed to arrive, so I don’t expect to be walking back from the train station this evening, but rather to be riding.  I’m sure there will be at least some minor soreness related to using a bike for the fist time in nearly a decade, but at least it’s low impact exercise, and I’ll gain some time back from my walking.

I’m still listening to The Lord of the Rings as I walk, though I also listen to some podcasts sometimes.  This morning I heard the entire chapters relating Merry’s and Pippin’s meeting of Treebeard, all the way to and through the end of the Entmoot, and on into the beginning of the next chapter, to just before Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli meet “the White Rider”.  It’s an exciting part of the story, and we’re approaching the bit that I usually like best, the battle of Helm’s Deep.

Unfortunately, I found myself feeling very melancholy as I listened this morning.  That may be partly because I’m starting a new work week, even though Saturday was supposed to be a day of portent*, and I was really hoping for something momentous or dreadful or revelatory to happen to me.  But at least part of my melancholy is just that The Lord of the Rings was a love I shared with my ex-wife, and I have a hard time still enjoying the things we used to enjoy together.

That’s rather dreary, I know, but I’m just not the sort of person to make deep attachments easily, and especially not to be able to let them go easily, and without much severe pain.  Reminders of them make me rue my ongoing life.  Certainly it hasn’t been worth much since at least the time I was invited to be a guest of the Florida DOC.  I have experienced much more negative than positive since then, and really, it was mainly negative (though with more positive to counter that) for quite a long time before then.

Alas, I have not yet been cast into a volcano, but we can always hope for something of that sort to happen.  There was a time, as I said, that I was relatively optimistic, but now I feel just worn out, and in pain, and even my attempts to get into shape cause issues for me.  And before me I face only the rolling, grinding, dreary passage of the weeks to come, doing the same pointless things, which bring no ultimate benefit to anyone.  I don’t write fiction or play music or draw or anything of that sort anymore, and I don’t have any friends, and I don’t see my kids, and the rest of my family is far away.

I really ought just to call it quits here.

Of course, I’m hopeful that I’ll enjoy riding my new bicycle enough that it’ll at least give me some fun for a bit.  I don’t want to get my hopes up too much.  But at least it should give me some extra time, and a bit of freedom to go farther in the time that I have, while still exercising, and that’s something, at least.

Of course, what I really want is to go very, very far from where I am, so far that I can never return, even in principle.  But I’m a bit of coward, and I also don’t want to be rude.  So, instead, I’m trapped where I am, hoping for illness and/or accidents.

It’s annoying.  And, again, it’s a dreary way to start the new work week—as is, no doubt, reading this blog post.  I can only apologize; but I can’t pretend to be other than as I am.  What would be the point?


*Nothing interesting happened then, though.

For a blog of powerful trouble, like a hell-broth boil and bubble.

Hello and good morning.

It’s the first Thursday of Spring in the northern hemisphere, and of Autumn in the southern, so I’m writing my more traditional Thursday blog post, though there will be little to set it apart from all those that I write on any other day.  For that, I apologize.  I think my writing must grow tedious after a while (if not sooner).  My own words are nearly always tedious to me, as is my own thought.

I’m sitting at the bus stop, today, because yesterday I decided to re-try a pair of shoes I haven’t worn in a while.  They are quite nice in that they are lightweight, and also because they are porous, and so “breathe” well.  However, after my eleven miles of walking yesterday, they gave me several new blisters, albeit small ones, and that’s terribly frustrating at this stage.

I’ve treated the blisters, more or less, but they are still annoying, and today I’m wearing my Timberland boots, which at least didn’t give me blister when I last wore them.  But they definitely don’t have the porosity of the other make of shoe, and they are heavier as well, though for boots they are remarkably light.

I threw away the shoes I wore yesterday, and the other pair I have like them.  I don’t want to be tempted to try them again after a few days.  They had done their time, in any case, and the soles were getting rather worn.  They weren’t bad shoes, by any means, but for longer walking—at least if you’re using my feet, about which I have no choice—they seem to cause trouble, even after long months of use.

I know, I know, this is all very boring, and again I apologize.  I’m a boring person; what can I say?  At the very least, I’m certainly not pleasant.  I’m just a glitch in the program, a flaw in the crystal, a smudge on the written page, a grain of sand in the bottom of a shoe, or a spot of bird droppings on an otherwise beautiful painting.  I might be a curiosity for a bit, and even, from certain angles, seem to add something here or there, purely by chance.  But after a while, there’s only so much interest anyone can have in looking at feces on a canvas or tolerating the effects of buggy computer code.

Before long, everyone who is very close to me much of the time gets weary, and they go away, to save their sanity or their mood or whatever.  Apparently, I’m something of an emotional toxin or allergen.  I’m even allergic to myself, frankly—which makes me a sort of mental autoimmune disorder.  Well, I can’t change the nature of reality, I suppose.

This Saturday is the 25th of March.  According to Tolkien’s calendar, that is the day on which the One Ring fell into the Cracks of Doom and was destroyed, causing the final downfall of Sauron.  It’s an auspicious day.  Regrettably, there are no handy volcanoes in Florida—nor anywhere reasonably close to Florida, as far as I know.

I think I’ve heard that people in Japan sometimes throw themselves into Mount Fuji, but I may be misremembering that.  Anyway, falling into an active volcano is not a peaceful sort of thing, unlike what happens to Gollum in the end of the Peter Jackson movies.  One doesn’t have a soft, gentle landing on the surface of the lava, to sink slowly into it, apparently not even quite realizing what’s happening.  No, this is molten rock we’re talking about.  It is much denser than any flesh, and a human—or other animal—will not sink into it at all.

The initial impact of a fall onto lava seems likely not to be much gentler than a fall onto solid rock.  And then, of course, it is very hot, searing and boiling the flesh that hits it almost instantly.  There are YouTube videos in which you can watch this demonstrated (not on a live creature, but on a bag of stuff that’s roughly the same composition as a living animal), and it pops and skips about, flaming and sputtering like splashes of water dropped onto a very hot pan bottom.  Only worse.

One wouldn’t suffer for long in such a situation, of course, and it would certainly be quite spectacular, though I doubt a participant would appreciate the spectacle.

But anyway, though the Ring might of course first rest gently on the surface of lava before melting into it, Gollum would not sink at all.  He would, rather, be incinerated violently.  In this, interestingly, the makers of The Rings of Power, seemed to understand volcanoes better.  They trigger the initial eruption of Orodruin by rerouting a river so that its water flows through underground tunnels before emptying into the lava chamber and boiling explosively, setting the whole thing off.

It wasn’t quite a realistic depiction of such an event—I think if water fell on a flat, placid lake of lava such as we see in the show, it would certainly boil, and probably explode, but I don’t think it would trigger a general eruption like we saw, since it was above the magma, and would remain so, because of comparative density.  But they had to make it clear what was happening, so I guess we can give them some slack on that front.

Also, I don’t think the surface of the lava would actually be red hot liquid, unless it was actively flowing.  If it were exposed to the air, as it seemed to be, I would think it would crust over a bit, with the very surface darkening.  But I might be wrong about that.  I suppose that depends on just how hot it was.  I’m no volcanologist or geologist or whatever, so if anyone out there is an expert, I would welcome your input.

It doesn’t really matter, though.  I’m not going to be encountering any volcanoes, I shouldn’t think.  And though I have often toyed with idea of going to stand before the entrance to the Palm Beach courthouse, dousing myself in lighter fluid and gasoline, and setting myself on fire, I don’t think I have the willpower to do it.  It’s an intimidating prospect.  It would be hard for people to ignore, I have to admit, and maybe it would make people stop and think about the horrors perpetrated upon so many people by Florida’s badly managed criminal justice system, and the flawed priorities of such systems in general in the modern world.

More likely, people would just think I was crazy.  They would, no doubt, be correct, as far as that went.  But that wouldn’t necessarily mean my other points were wrong.

Anyway, I don’t expect that I’ll do that; I’m a bit too much of a coward.  But it would be nice if something momentous happened this Saturday.  I won’t be at work, so I won’t be writing a blog post, which means I’ll basically be lying around with nothing of interest to do.

What else is new?  Hopefully the rest of you are enjoying the beginning of the new season, whether it’s Spring or Fall.  Some major holidays are fast approaching, at least among the western religions.  If you celebrate them, and have family and/or friends with whom to share them, I hope you look forward to them and enjoy yourself tremendously.  You might as well.


volcano 3 in 3D

A rough bot slouching through the murk

It’s Wednesday morning, and though it’s actually slightly after six o’clock, I think it’s still reasonable to add, “as the day begins”.  Certainly the sun is not yet rising; the eastern sky isn’t even lightening yet.  I’m waiting at the train station, as I was when I began writing yesterday, and I’ve already walked five miles so far today (having walked a total of about eleven yesterday).

My endurance is definitely improving over these past few weeks, which is good.  It would be puzzling and perhaps even distressing if my endurance were getting worse.  I can, however, imagine my ability to walk long distances deteriorating because of injury or arthropathy—also, blisters and similar, and indeed I’ve had to deal with those over recent months, which is why it has taken me so long to get even to the point at which I currently reside.

But I think I’m getting past that particular barrier.  In fact, this Sunday, while my clothes were washing, I walked to the local convenience store barefoot, just to see how sturdy my feet were*.  It was fine, though I walked more slowly than usual.  I also, apparently, walked quite differently, with my left foot at least, than I do when I’m wearing shoes, because my left foot and hip got quite achy and sore a bit later that day, as though I’d put unusual strain on joints and muscles.  It’s an interesting realization, and it makes me want to experiment a bit more with barefoot walking.

One good aspect of all this walking is that I can listen to audio books and, to a lesser extent, podcasts as I do it.  I like audio books; the experience of listening to an audio book is very similar for me to the experience of reading a book in print.  I tend to read books in a very “audible” way, in that I tend to sound out the words in my head as I go along.  I think they call that “subvocalization”.

Apparently the old “speed reading” concepts recommended against this habit, but I disagree completely.  I don’t read particularly speedily, though I don’t read slowly, either.  But I do read deeply.  My ex-wife was always a very fast reader—she even took speed reading courses when she was younger—but she often did not recall many details of the things that she read for very long.  At least, she didn’t recall them the way I recall them.

I think one learns better with the combination of visible and audible (even if imagined audible) processing of the information.

That being said, even when solely using audible input, I of course form visual images—not of the words, usually, but of the ideas, or of the scenes, or what have you, depending on the subject matter.  There are also books and podcasts that I’ve listened to multiple times, and I think—as I do with books—that I get more out of them because of the repetition.  It may not be super-fast or anything, but I am pretty sure that I understand the things I take in more deeply than many people do, and I make connections rather easily from one area of knowledge to another.

Today I listened to Sean Carroll’s most recent podcast—about artificial intelligence, which is of course an au courant subject.  I also recently listened to a “Making Sense” podcast by Sam Harris in which two AI specialists had a discussion with him, and I subsequently bought their most recent books:  Human Compatible, by Stuart Russell, and Rebooting AI by Gary Marcus and Ernest Davis.  I’ve read the first and begun the second.  It’s certainly a fascinating subject.  I don’t think it’ll ever be as interesting as fundamental physics, but that’s not a terrible insult.  What is, after all?

It’s all pretty pointless no matter what, but at least it’s distracting.  I need something to pass the time, since I don’t have any friends or anything—other than “work friends” I guess, but that’s not exactly the same thing.  I’m still very discouraged and despondent, and I see no future** for myself.

I feel rather as though I’m walking in a metaphorical fog.  I don’t even have any image of my immediate surroundings, nor of anything that lies ahead.  As far as I can tell, there is nothing that lies ahead.  There is certainly nothing toward which I can make any deliberate path.  I know the ground about may well be treacherous, with pitfalls and cliffs and quicksand and even dangerous predators; and I am not-so-secretly disappointed that I haven’t encountered any of the f*cking things yet.  Dangerous wildernesses aren’t what they used to be, it seems.

Well, that was a wholesale slide into clunky metaphor overlapping with reality and with slightly abstract conceptual space, and it’s a bit opaque, I’m sure (though I guess that is appropriate, given my metaphor).  Sorry about that.  Even I’m not sure what I mean.  I’m not sure about much.

I need to quit this stupid world.  Every day, its idiocy seems to grow—“the best lack all conviction, while the worst / are full of passionate intensity.”  But no revelation is at hand, I’m afraid.  There’s nothing waiting to be revealed.  Behind the curtain is just another curtain, and another one after that, ad infinitum—row upon row of tattered, moth-eaten, pseudo-velvet, gaudy and tacky material.

Wait, what the hell do I even mean by all that?  Sorry, I’m just indulging my own stupidity here.  Try not to let it bother you.

foggy road

*I brought a pair of crocks with me to put on once I got to the store, because they don’t want people without shoes to come in.

**Though I do pay rent.

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.