A surreal golf dream to launch Saint Patrick’s Day

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

saint patrick day

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

Brief thoughts on candy, carbon, communication, and a shared “video”

Well, it’s Wednesday, the day after Valentine’s Day.  I know it’s not technically the Ides of February or anything—at least I think I know that—but there ought to be an official day for the day after Valentine’s Day, some equivalent of Boxing Day after Christmas.  Maybe we could call it Barfing Day; that might be both fun and appropriate.

I was thinking that yesterday would have been an excellent day for me to have a heart attack.  It seems an appropriate potentially fatal healthcare crisis to have on a day when everyone is sharing “heart-shaped”* treats, many if not all of which are not great for the coronary arteries.  However, though I did in fact find myself once sprinting to beat a light and then later sprinting to catch a bus—one can’t get much more cliché than that when it comes to myocardial infarctions—I felt not a hint of chest pain, shortness of breath, palpitations, or what have you.  Disappointing.  And the only nausea I felt was that sort of subjective nausea that isn’t a true physical feeling, but which is a projection of disgust over the very silly and stupid things people say and do.

This queasiness was not in response to Valentine’s Day activities!  Don’t get me wrong.  I thought Barfing Day was a good follow-up day because eating too many sweets in one day can lead to GI upset.  For the most part, I think it’s nice that people express love, romantic and/or otherwise, to those important to them.  It may be frustrating that it’s such a ritualized, scheduled expression of love, but unfortunately, if it were not for such rituals, it’s probable that many people would never make or think of any such expression at all.

Sometimes, it seems, humans need rituals to make them realize their own feelings, and perhaps even to confront their own feelings.  This can apply to bad feelings as well as to good, as when, on the approach to a holiday such as Valentine’s Day, someone realizes that the person with whom they are currently linked is someone with whom they don’t really feel that strong a bond.  Hopefully such a realization occurs before too much has been invested in a relationship.

I suppose the need to act in recognition of such a fact can sometimes lead to a stereotypical Valentine’s Day breakup, which is harsh, but perhaps better than the alternative of a long, unpleasant relationship with increasing acrimony and emotional (if not physical) abuse.  Maybe I’m wrong.  I don’t know; I’m making this up as I go.

In distant parallel to the above, I sometimes think that maybe we should lace all Valentine’s Day candies with hormone blockers or something along those lines to diminish the sex drive of those who eat them.  Surely, anything that can be done to decrease the breeding of new humans is probably going to be a benefit for the rest of the planet, and evolution just isn’t likely to get to that solution on its own.

On second thought, that may actually be a foolish notion.  Honestly, I’d worry more about people if they didn’t have any children, because the nurturing of children is one of the most potent triggers and encouragers of love—not to mention forethought—in humans.  As I think Fagin said in the musical Oliver, I think I’d better think it out again.

Anyway, that’s all for you guys to worry about.  I’m giving up on it, and with any luck, none of what humans do will have any impact on me, other than perhaps to alter slightly the rate of decay of my corpse.  Though it would be useful, I think—and as I’ve written before—to enact a policy, or even a tradition, of storing the bodies of the deceased in deep ocean subduction zones, to get them out of the carbon cycle.

Cremation seems like a terrible idea; it just gives everyone one last lunge to increase their individual carbon footprint!

It probably doesn’t make much difference, though, honestly.  Such minor sequestering and the like on local, individual level is unlikely to accumulate into anything of significance to the global atmosphere.  I think it will only be the development of new science, technologies, and processes that will engineer out the excess carbon from the atmosphere, perhaps using some adjusted and enhanced equivalent of photosynthesis on an industrial scale (among other thing).  After all, photosynthesis takes carbon dioxide and water—potent greenhouse gases—from the atmosphere and ultimately converts them into carbohydrates and fats and such.  These can then be sequestered, if necessary, or converted to bioplastics, and biofuels, to use for things we currently do with fossil fuels.

The local energy for those processes can be derived from the products of the photosynthesis (ultimately from the sun) and so on, so that even when not truly “carbon-negative” it will be at worst “carbon-neutral”.

Of course, it’s stupid to be carbon neutral as a matter of personal, aesthetic judgment.  Carbon is the backbone of life as we know it, and probably will be for most if not all other life in the universe, if there is any.

I know, in these matters, “carbon” is just a shorthand for greenhouse gas reduction and whatnot, but I wonder how many people really think about that when they use the term, especially when one considers that water vapor, which is more potent than CO2  as a greenhouse gas, has no carbon in it at all, and methane, which is also more potent a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide, has only one carbon atom for every four hydrogen atoms.  And a molecule of methane burns to make one molecule of CO2 and two molecules of water.

If more people were more scientifically literate and careful in their thought, a great many of our problems would probably be diminished, so my biggest local lament here is that many of the more vocal activists on all sides may refer to things like carbon and economics and communication and the like without even really thinking about the words they are saying.  Such words in such cases aren’t tools of communication, but are, as Eliezer Yudkowsky notes, just soldiers going into battle.  What a horrible bastardization of the greatest invention of the human species.

In closing, I just want to let you know that I recorded myself reading aloud the last blog post I made on my alternate blog Iterations of Zero, and I’ve turned it into a video to put on YouTube.  I’ve embed it here, below.  It’s only three minutes long, and some of that is a lead-in moment of silence.

You can read it or listen, whatever you like, but I hope if you “watch” it you’ll give it a “thumbs up” on YouTube.

It’s a brief discussion of a thought experiment or story of a person trapped in a peculiar prison and trying to send messages for help without alerting the jailer, but it’s not as simple as it seems, and it’s not actually fiction.


*And they are truly sort of heart-shaped, especially if you look at the interior shape of a heart.

Some 義理チョコ from me to you, with 感謝

It’s Tuesday, February 14th, which means that it’s Valentine’s Day, a day that is “celebrated” in the United States and Japan at the very least.  I think it’s observed in many other places, but I’m not at all certain of anything specific.

I guess it’s appropriate, given that it’s a holiday nominally about romantic love, that it falls on a twos-day this year.  Ha.  Ha.  Excuse me, I think I have to throw up.

Anyway, to those of you who are having, or planning to have, a lovely day with your significant other—or others, I suppose that’s possible—I hope you have a nice, even a terrific, day.  Honestly, I do.  I’ve gotten to the point in my depression where I certainly don’t feel envious or spiteful or anything.  I’m just mostly empty.  So do whatever you like with each other, with your civilization, with the world, whatever.  Ruin it, save it, let it slowly grind away, gasping and limping, to its inevitable end.  I don’t really care.  I have no skin in much of any game, anymore, not even my own.

It’s curious, the form in which Valentine’s Day was imported into Japan, at least according to every light novel, manga, and anime I’ve seen that deals with it.  It’s a day on which girls give chocolate to friends and/or to those with whom they are infatuated /romantically interested (usually boys, but not always nor exclusively).  That’s giri-choco (義理チョコ) versus honmei-choco (本命チョコ)* if I recall the terms correctly.  Subsequently, the standard practice is for one who received chocolate (usually a boy) to return some kind of gift on March 14th, which is called “White Day”, and appears to be a holiday that solely exists in Japan.

I doubt anyone much planned for any of these things to happen, of course, despite frequent complaints, there and here, that such holidays were invented by greeting card companies or the like.  As with most human institutions—indeed, as with civilization itself—they are spontaneously self-assembling systems.  They are not even in any kind of stable and/or dynamic equilibrium.  Certainly there are people and organizations that benefit from Valentine’s Day, and they will encourage it to continue and to grow to the degree they can—candy manufacturers, florists, greeting card companies, those sorts of people and things—but that happens very much spontaneously.  As with most actual “conspiracies” it’s not planned, it just occurs.

There is no shame or crime in any of this.  Who among you, given an opportunity to benefit yourself (and by extension, your family and others you love) through the honest production of goods and services that reinforce and spread the memes of a holiday which is at least nominally a positive and cheerful one, would not do so?  Making a living while supporting love seems like a win-win situation.

No one forces you to buy candies, or cards, or decorations.  No one forces you to be in a relationship**, no one forces you to buy holiday-associated clothes or treats or jewelry or whatever.  You may feel strong urges to do such things, but you can’t blame those who recognize those urges and make products that respond to them.  You can’t blame McDonalds for the fact that you feel hungry but don’t want to go to the trouble of eating somewhere else, anymore than McDonalds can blame you if you do choose to eat somewhere else.

I don’t know how I got off on that tangent.  I think I was arguing with myself, past and present, as much as anything else.  It’s all academic and moot to me, now, really.  I have no romantic interest, haven’t had any for quite a long time, and I don’t expect—or really, want—one any time before I die.  I’m a cat whose feet have been burned too painfully to risk walking across that stovetop again.  It was all always confusing and counterintuitive to me from the start, to be honest.

Speaking of walking, my feet still have a little bit of soreness from Saturday, but I got through my four miles total of walking yesterday without much trouble, and my blisters are resolving but not gone.  I think if I undertake such long walking—or longer—in the near future, I should probably do an hour on, an hour off, and so on, at least until I get used to it.  I know I can walk for an hour at a time without any real trouble.

I should also make sure to apply sunscreen.  My nose and forehead are peeling, and that’s not appealing at all.

Sorry.  Stupid pun.  I don’t like it, either, but I have a tendency to punish and hurt myself, and unfortunately, you readers got caught in the process this time.  I apologize; I try not to cause harm to innocent people when I self-harm.  I generally try not even to let people know about it.  But, of course, in the ultimate, it’s a tricky conundrum to go the final distance, so to speak, without at least inconveniencing or worrying some other people, and that’s frustrating.

I don’t know quite how I’m going to get past that.  But I’m going to have to try.  Because my tank has long since been hovering near empty, and the little warning LED has been lit for miles.  There’s no gas station in sight that I can reach, as far as I can tell, and I’m in the middle of the desert, so walking to get a can of gas to bring back is risky.

But it still may not be a bad idea.  Walking to get gas may succeed, it may be useful, with a great deal of luck.  And if it doesn’t, if it isn’t, well…a desert is at least a relatively unbothersome place to die.

I don’t know what I mean by all this.  Have a good day, please.


*See the title of this blog post.  Giri choco means, more or less, “obligatory” chocolate, though I don’t think that usually implies insincerity.  It certainly doesn’t with me for this post.  Honmei choco is “true feelings” chocolate, basically saying to someone that you have romantic feelings for them.  It is important to make clear which one you’re giving.

**Not most places, anyway.  If that’s happening, it is indeed a crime and a violation.  But forced marriages or any other variations of such things are generally not what people mind about Valentine’s Day.

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

As blog is full of unbefitting strains, all wanton as a child, skipping and vain

Hello and good morning.  It’s Thursday, the 5th of January, and this is my first official, “original recipe” Thursday morning blog of the new year.  Isn’t it exciting?

Yeah, I didn’t think so.  But people are supposed to pretend to be enthusiastic and celebratory about every little thing it seems, until there are so many celebrations and holidays that it becomes a relief when a rare day arrives in which nothing in particular is being celebrated.  There are so many sweets and treats and rewards and awards, day after day, that soon people feel entitled to receive a medal for not drooling and peeing on themselves, and a piece of cake for dinner because they skipped a cookie at lunch.

Eventually, many seem to think that, because they got their various “best attitude” or “cleanest desk” awards throughout their formative years, they’re just as worthy of admiration as someone who received a Nobel Prize in Physics or a Fields Medal or a Hugo and/or Nebula Award for science fiction.  It’s nauseating.  No wonder we consume so many acid blocking medications these days!

As you can probably tell, I’m a bit grumpy today.  This is in large part because I’m very tired again.  My insomnia has been reasserting itself over the last few days, with last night being worse than the night before.  Though exhausted and stressed from matters at work‒another contributing factor to my grumpiness‒I couldn’t get to sleep once I finally got back to the house, and then, despite that, I woke up starting at 3ish this morning, slightly earlier than yesterday.  It’s a weird situation when one finds oneself wistful and nostalgic for the times when one was (more) severely ill, because at least in those situations, one could rest.

In other matters, at the time of my latest look this morning, there have been two total votes on my poll from yesterday.  I would say that’s not a statistically significant sample of any kind, especially since the two didn’t choose the same option.  Perhaps the statistically significant result, which should have been obvious to me from the start, is that nobody gives a flying fuck at a rat’s ass what I do.

Well, why should they?

Apparently, the Tri-rail has given up on even the pretense of trying to run their trains in time in the year 2023.  So far, every train I’ve been on, and the other ones I’ve seen going the other direction, have been five to ten minutes behind schedule.  There are those who believe in some notion of “American Exceptionalism”, but sometimes it seems that we’re most exceptional‒at least among wealthy, “western style” democracies‒at being slipshod and disorganized.

Oh, I know, I know, NASA is pretty darn impressive, and always has been.  But NASA by its nature draws applicants from among the brightest, hardest working people in the country (and the world) and can be selective‒for now, at least‒about whom it hires even from among that group.  Of course it would tend to do exceptional things, even if that were the only factor that made it exceptional.

But to be exceptional is a judgment only properly to be applied after the fact, rather like “luck”.  There is no inherent “exceptionalness” which would mean someone or something is exceptional before it’s done anything at all.  Of course, one could say that everyone is exceptional in some way; certainly each person’s specific genes and environment are unique, and indeed each new moment in the universe in any given place is different in some sense from every other that has come before.  But this sort of “universal, uniform exceptionality” is trivial at best.  Or, as Dash so wisely noted in The Incredibles, to say that everyone is special is just another way of saying that no one is.

“Ignorance is strength.  Freedom is slavery.  Speech is violence.” One of those three statements is not from the original book, 1984, but spiritually it belongs right there among the aphorisms and axioms of Big Brother’s Party.  Of course, nowadays, if you mention Big Brother, most people will probably just be triggered* to think of some idiotic “reality show”.

I don’t know how I got on that track, but that’s one of the things about a free-form blog post: you never know what you’re going to get**.  I honestly didn’t much feel like writing at all, today, but “mood is a thing for cattle and loveplay, not fighting”, and also not for most anything else to which one has committed oneself.  An Impala that doesn’t keep a watch for lions and leopards and hyenas and the like because it’s not in the mood is soon going to be removed from the population and gene pool.  That’s more or less how it has to be, given the laws on nature.


day off

*Shouldn’t we be eliminating the use of the word “triggered”, given that it could be, well…triggering in and of itself, since it can invoke thoughts of firing pistols and rifles, which thoughts can cause recurrent trauma in those who are personally devastated by news stories of mass shootings, even if they’ve never experienced a single instance of true violence in their own lives?  It seems rather insensitive.  We really ought to put edge guards and drawer locks and padding on (and apply sanitary wipes frequently to) all surfaces, literal and metaphorical, should we not?  We need to child-proof the world, since it is, after all, populated merely and entirely by children.  Of course, it bears remembering that all the Powers That Be are children, too, so they certainly can’t be trusted with doing the child-proofing.

**This is in contrast to the Gump-ian box of chocolates, since with a box of chocolates, unless it is a prank or joke or a trap, what you’re going to get is a selection of chocolates.  Of course, what you’re going to get in a blog post is some sort of writing on some subject or topic of the writer’s choice, so perhaps it’s unfair of me to criticize the line from Forrest Gump, but rest assured that when I do so criticize, I do it for a very good reason: I am a Hypocrite.

Happy Boxing Day, everyone!

For those of you in the United States, just in case you don’t already know, Boxing Day is basically just the day after Christmas.  It’s celebrated in the UK, and apparently in Canada and other parts of the “Commonwealth”, though how exactly it’s celebrated is not clear to me.  It’s also not clear to me—after a few random, admittedly not very careful searches—just what the day actually celebrates, other than the day after Christmas, or to what the Boxing part of Boxing Day refers.

It doesn’t appear to have anything at all to do with the sport of boxing, nor the dog breed, boxers.  I don’t think it has anything to do with the Boxer rebellion in China, either—why would it?  It’s a bit of a mystery.  Maybe it’s related to people putting the gifts they didn’t really want that they received for Christmas back in their boxes to take to the store for refunds, or to put in the attic (or “loft” as they say in the UK).  I doubt that, though.

It’s been a slightly interesting weekend.  On Friday I bit the bullet and went to the evening dinner/party with the office, but I arranged things so that I didn’t need anyone to drive me there or to drive me all the way back to the house.  Instead, I took the train up to Delray Beach as soon as the office closed and walked to a hotel—The Hyatt Place at Delray Beach—where I’d decided to indulge in a rather large expense and reserve a room for the night.

From there, after a rest, I walked two blocks to the restaurant and immediately started ordering drinks to allow me to socialize, then had a pleasant evening with the people I know from the office.  It had begun to get cold—for south Florida, certainly—by that time, and I was pleased to have only a two block walk back to my nicely warm hotel room, where I cuddled up and slept off my drinks, had a continental breakfast in the morning, and then walked back to the train station at about eleven-ish (it was 3 miles…still is, as far as I know) and took the train back to Hollywood and thence to the house.

Since then, I’ve slept a great deal, which is really nice for me.  I tried to keep low on carbs for what I’ve eaten this weekend, because it turns out that I’ve probably become pre-diabetic.

I had been trying to see if I could do a near-vegan* diet, including plenty of legumes and other sources of protein, to see if it could help me be healthier and lose weight.  It rapidly did the opposite (I was gaining weight and I felt worse), and as I walked through a Walgreen’s one evening, thinking about my family history, I checked into the diabetic supplies area, amazed to note that one could buy a glucometer for less than twenty dollars!  I remember when you used to need a prescription to get one because you needed your insurance to pay for it, because they were expensive.

Anyway, not that day, but soon after, I bought one, and tested my fasting blood sugar a few days in a row, and found it to be slightly high, in the pre-diabetic range.  This is not terribly surprising, given my family history, but it was a well-needed confirmation of my suspicion.  I have to admit, on those few occasions when I’ve tried a carbohydrate-restricted diet, I have felt generally healthier.  But it’s been hard for me to maintain, for the temptations of carbs are everywhere, and are all the more difficult to resist when one is stressed out, as appears to be my default state.

But now I have blood glucose confirmation that things are going to go badly if I continue to indulge—and death by type 2 diabetes is too slow a process to make it appealing.  I also know that low carb diets have been objectively beneficial for me in the past—my resting pulse, which normally runs too fast (at over 100 bpm) went down to the mid-sixties, my total cholesterol to about 138, my triglycerides almost ridiculously low, and my HDL at a nicely normal range.  You get the idea.  I felt better, and I looked better (at least at the chemical, microscopic level), and it was only because I had trouble being motivated to control my appetite that I didn’t stick with that mode of eating.

So that’s the plan, or part of it, for the moment.  I’ll keep you posted on an intermittent basis on how things are going.

In the meantime, I’m on my way to the office, though there are far fewer people on the train today than usual—in fact, until five minutes before time for the first train to arrive, I was the only person waiting at the station.  I’m still waking up early, but then again, given how much I slept this weekend, at least I don’t feel worn out.  It’s good not to feel worn out already, first thing on a Monday morning, but I often already do feel that way.  So in that sense, it’s been a good holiday weekend.  Indeed, we did not work on Saturday, but I did have a nice (low carb) breakfast and a good walk to the train.

I hope you all have a nice several days in this last week of 2022.  Remember, since January 1st will fall on a Sunday, there will be a Friday the 13th in January—not one of the movies, but the day.  I always like those days.  They’re almost never bad luck for me (and there’s no reason other than self-fulfilling prophecies for them to be bad luck for anyone else).

Please enjoy your elaborate, traditional Boxing Day celebrations.  But if you do celebrate by boxing, please restrict yourselves to body blows.  Even with gloves and padding, just the inertial transfer of any blows to the head always does some damage to the brain, which tends to be both permanent and cumulative.  Many of us can’t afford to lose more than we already have lost.

*I like to make the joke that it’s ironic that people who only eat vegetables or similar here on earth use the term “vegan”, because the dominant native intelligent life forms in the Vega star system—the Vegans, in other words—are obligate carnivores.  Of course, that’s just a joke; there aren’t really any native species in the Vega star system—it’s too young a star to have evolved complex life.  The inhabitants there are all colonists.  But the dominant ones of those are obligate carnivores**.

**Earth people need not fear some kind of carnivorous alien invasion, though.  Any species that are products of completely separate evolutionary histories cannot readily eat any of the life forms from the other biosphere.  At best they would simply get no nutritional value from their meal—like pandas, as carnivores, trying to get enough food out of bamboo, but thousands of times worse, with only some minerals and electrolytes and perhaps a few simple biochemicals being useful.  But much more likely, the eaten life form’s own endemic microbes would begin to break down their hosts while in the new species’ ineffectual digestive system, and would cause physical and probably chemical damage to the eater.  Many very basic microbes are remarkably good at dining on things that complex life cannot digest…including said complex life.

“No more work to-night; Christmas Eve, Dick! Christmas, Ebenezer!”



Okay, well, it’s Friday at last, and it’s “Christmas Eve eve” as I sometimes say.  It turns out that the office apparently isn’t going to be open tomorrow, which surprises me‒as is obvious, I guess.  I still could find out otherwise, I suppose, but I doubt it.

I’m writing this on my phone again, and I have been doing so most days this week.  I think I used my laptop on one of the days, perhaps Tuesday, but not on Wednesday, when I wrote my long and rather irritating post full of self-congratulation for deeds of the past that have no relevance to my current life.  That long-winded blather was from my phone, if you can believe it!

I actually slept comparatively well last night; I only finally woke up at about 3:50 this morning, which for me is about a two-hour lie-in.  I’m not even waiting for the first train of the day; I’m waiting for the second one!

I’m surprised that I slept quite so well yesterday, because I had an unusually bad day for pain‒or perhaps it would be better to say it was a good day for pain and thus a bad day for me.  The pain was focused in my right lower back down through my hip to the ankle and the arch and ball of my foot, but spreading up through to the upper back and shoulder blade and arm, and nothing that I did or took seemed to make more than a transient difference.

I was walking around the office like Richard the Third most of the day, when I was up.  We did get some very lovely cookies from my sister for the office‒she sends such packages often and they are beloved by all, and justly so‒but I couldn’t enjoy them as much as I wish I could have, because I was in a lot of pain and severely grumpy.

They were/are amazingly good, though.

I am still in a bit of accelerated pain this morning, but then I’m basically always in pain.  It’s not yet as bad as yesterday, at least, so keep your fingers crossed, please.  Or don’t if you’d rather not; I hardly think it actually has any effect on any outcome other than the configuration of your fingers.

I suppose it’s just a way for me to express my anxious hope mixed with fear and tension, and to invite some kind of shared emotional support from readers.  Though, of course, for that, it doesn’t make all that much sense, since how would I even know if any of you are crossing your fingers?  I suppose you could leave a comment saying that you are, but the very act of typing a comment must make it at least slightly less likely that your fingers are actually crossed, certainly while typing.

Anyway, I hope that my pain today is less than it was yesterday.  But even I personally will not be crossing my fingers, since I don’t think that gesture has any magical powers, so you shouldn’t feel obliged to do it, yourself, either.

Come to think of it, I don’t think anything has any magical powers.  My first thought about that is “more’s the pity”, but really, what would magical powers even be?  If they existed, they would be actual phenomena of nature, and would have some lawful underpinning and explanation.

That’s one thing I’ve always kind of been disappointed about in the Harry Potter books.  They take place in a school, and have genius characters like Dumbledore and Tom Riddle and Hermione, who surely would have curiosity toward the hows and wherefores of magic, yet there’s not even a hint of an explanation for how it works, why it works, what it actually is, or anything.  I think some touching upon that subject would have been very fun.

I mean, for instance, how does apparation work?  It involves a sensation of squeezing through something, but is that some form of hyperspace, or a wormhole, or what?  How do wands enhance or channel magical power from individuals gifted in magic?  How was that figured out for the first time?  Clearly people can do some magic without wands‒so, how necessary are they?

When did people begin to be able to do magic?  Clearly people haven’t always been able to do magic; there haven’t even always been people!  Was the ability to use magic some new, isolated mutation, like blue eyes, that spread through the population (as it surely would)?  Clearly it’s not some complex mutation, as it arises de novo in the human population, leading muggle-born witches and wizards to arise with some regularity.

Perhaps there is a complex of genes that, only when all present together (perhaps even only when homozygous) instantiate the ability to do magic.  Maybe most humans have some large fraction of the necessary genes‒after all, as I noted, the ability to use magic seems likely to have been a significant evolutionary advantage‒but it’s so easy to lose some necessary part of the biological (neurological?) machinery necessary through random mutation that most people are mutated slightly away from the complete set and so become muggles*.  Or, if born to witches and wizards they are given the derogatory term “squibs”.

I don’t recall how I got on this topic, but it is interesting, and I wish Rowling would at least have hinted at some studies or explanation, at least when discussing the Department of Mysteries.


Anyway, since I apparently won’t be writing a post tomorrow, I would like to wish all of you who celebrate it‒in the words of the late, great hero, Dobby the house elf‒a very Harry Christmas**.  Maybe take a moment to read the Christmas scenes in the various Harry Potter novels.  Christmas at Hogwarts, for the students who stayed over the holidays, seems always to have been an interesting occasion, albeit not as fun as Halloween.  Halloween at Hogwarts would have been quite the thing to experience. The only close contender that readily comes to mind is Halloween with the Addamses.  That would be interesting!

I guess I’ll be back on Monday, then, though it is at least slightly possible that I could be wrong about tomorrow.  If I am, I’ll be writing a post, and it may be quite a grumpy one, though maybe not.  After all, what do I have to do with my time other than go to the office?  Not much, honestly.

Oh, well.

santa-whoand merry


*This raises the odd thought for me about what might happen if a cancer developed that, by chance, has a complete set of magical genes, in a muggle who had been almost complete.  Could one have a “magic tumor”?  I guess probably not, since it seems magic would be a collective function of many aspects of the nervous system, not a property of every individual cell.  Perhaps this is one reason why wizards can’t just fix visual impairment‒Harry Potter wears glasses, and no one ever even suggests that magic might be able to cure his vision. But the eyes are, quite literally, extensions of the central nervous system‒though the lenses aren’t, come to think of it‒and maybe tampering with the eyes through magic is particularly dangerous, or perhaps the nervous system always rejects such attempts.

**As an aside, I have to tell someone that, in the song Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, I’ve always tended to hear the line, “Faithful friends who are dear to us gather near to us once more,” as if they are singing, “…gather near to us one s’more”, and I think, “How are they going to share one s’more between a group of people?  I mean, it’s “friends” who are dear to “us”, which to me implies at least four people, total.  How can you split one s’more between four people?  Also, it would make a mess, with graham cracker crumbs and melted chocolate all over various hands and the floor and all that.  Anyway, I know that’s not what they’re saying, but every time I hear it, those thoughts go through my head.

The winter’s wind which, when it bites and blogs upon my body, even till I shrink with cold, I smile.

Hello and good morning.  It’s Thursday, December 22, 2022, which is another sort of fun day for twos, though it doesn’t fall on a Tuesday, so it’s not as fun as this Tuesday was.

Yesterday was the Solstice‒the winter one in the northern hemisphere and the summer one in the southern hemisphere‒and I completely neglected to mention it.  Instead, I went on an overlong, self-aggrandizing, self-indulgent ramble, and for that I apologize.  I doubt that I’ll be doing something like that again.

Now that the solstice has come, it’s officially winter in the north, so the Game of Thrones people can shut the hell up about it.  And in the south, summer has arrived.  Meanwhile, in the north, the days have begun to grow longer, or at least the daylight time has, relative to the night.  It won’t be noticeable for quite a long time, though; at and around the peaks and troughs of sine curves, the rate of change of the function is at its lowest, and the length of daylight over the course of a year is one of the oodles of sinusoidal processes in the natural world.

I’m really tired, but I am here at the train station, the first to arrive to get on the first train.  I couldn’t sleep, even though I got to sleep late because the Wi-fi had gone out and I was on chat with Xfinity (on my phone) until quite late trying to get it fixed.  My one source of relaxation and release is to be able to watch some YouTube videos when I get back to the house from work, and it certainly costs an absurd amount of money, so I become quite irritable when it doesn’t work.  It seems tentatively to have been sorted, but I have a likewise tentative appointment for a service call…on Sunday morning, the 25th of December, the only day I have off until New Year’s Eve.  It’s a date that may be familiar to many of you as the one on which we celebrate the birth of Isaac Newton*.

Well, it’s not as if I’m doing anything but laundry that day, anyway.

Wow, I feel like I’ve written a lot today already, but it’s only about 450 words so far, counting the footnotes.  I really am tired.  Stupid nervous system.  Why don’t you sleep??!?  Yesterday, of course, I wrote and wrote until it was way too long, and I excised whole paragraphs from the final post when I edited it.  I was almost hypomanic, just for a little while there‒or at least, that’s what it felt like compared to my usual subjectivity.  Maybe it’s just the way healthy, normal people tend to feel, and it’s so unusual that it feels bizarre to me.

I don’t really think I felt “normal” in that sense, though, or at least I didn’t feel it about myself.  I felt weird and loopy and still different and distant from all the other people in the world‒the humans‒but at least I had energy and a bit of enthusiasm.  The only times I remember having really felt “normal” were the two occasions when I was given Valium for medical procedures‒wisdom teeth extraction and heart catheterization, when I was about 17 and 18 respectively.

I recall both of those experiences with great fondness.  I even remember when my heart did a big whopping double-beat that I could feel all the way up my neck during the catheterization, as the cardiologist bumped the SA node or the AV node or something along those lines.  My reaction was to say, “That was cooool.”  And it was.

I don’t know what my point is.  There probably is no point to me.  Even my head is quite rounded.  I guess I could try to find a pointed stick to carry, since defending oneself with fresh fruit is more difficult than defending oneself against an attacker armed with fresh fruit.

There, that’s my most niche, nerdy reference of the day.  Or is it?

With that, I think I’ll draw to a close.  I don’t have a clue what sort of Shakespeare quote I’ll alter for my title today, nor what picture I’ll put in the post, but it’s Thursday, so there will be such things.  Of course, you who are reading this do know both of those facts, which is curious to think about…my readers right now know things about my blog post that I, as I write it, do not know.  Time travel‒you can’t keep it straight in your head; it’s too wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey.

I think I need a Doctor.


winter scene

*Though, in all honesty, he was born on December 25th according to the Julian calendar, so the equivalent Gregorian date is 10 or 11 days off (I don’t recall which, and I can’t be arsed to look it up).  Then again, most biblical scholars apparently agree that Jesus was born in the summertime, based on the descriptions of his birth in two of the gospels**, so Newton’s birthday is much closer to the Gregorian December 25th.

**The other two gospels, Mark and John, I think***, don’t even mention his birth.

***I remembered correctly‒I just checked.  It’s weird the things one remembers about matters such as this.

On the first day of Hanukkah, my candle…gave to…me…no, that’s not right

Well, “happy Monday”* everyone.  It’s the start of another glorious work week, for those who are on a typical schedule, anyway.  It’s also the first full day of Hanukkah, so for those who celebrate it, Happy Hanukkah.  I didn’t light any candles or anything.  I don’t even have a menorah, though I got one for the office‒I’m not sure why or what the point was.

I don’t feel festive or celebratory, though it is a nice time of year to be able to send people “presents”.  That’s in quotes because I don’t really send much that’s personalized‒just gift cards and such. Personal gifts require one to be close to someone else and to know‒or at least to have a reasonable guess about‒what might please them.  I am not in such a situation anymore, really, with anyone.  Maybe I never was, I don’t know.

I’m writing this post on my phone, again, because I deliberately did not bring my laptop with me for the weekend.  I brought some music notes (meaning written notes, not, for instance, bringing a “b flat” or something of the sort), and a few related things, as well as some heatable soups I had at the office.  I didn’t really do much with the music, though I did get out my acoustic guitar for a short bit…long enough to realize that I was quite out of practice, because my left forearm really got tired and sore very quickly.

I don’t have a strap for the acoustic, so part of the fatigue was just from helping to steady the guitar.  Anyway, that wasn’t much fun, and singing along is embarrassing because other people in the house can hear me.  I turned on my keyboard and diddled around on it briefly, but I screwed up even songs that I know from memory for decades, and even forgot some of the left hand part for a piece I wrote in high school, and which I don’t usually screw up.  I think my head just wasn’t in it.  I’m bringing at least some of the other music I had at the house back to the office today, just so it’s not sitting there reproaching me in my room.

I’m getting to where I can’t even wait for my alarm to go off if I want to do so.  I am now waiting for the first train, and have been for a while.  When I woke up early again, I thought about just trying to lie back until my alarm went off anyway, but the thought of not getting up and getting on the first train, since I was awake anyway, made me feel very stressed out.

It’s not healthy, but I’m not sure what to do about it.  I’m also not terribly motivated to try to do much.  What would be the point?  For whom would I be trying to improve or preserve my health?  Only for me, and I’m not too bothered, frankly.  I do get tired of feeling tired, though.

Oh, my apologies, but I haven’t done any audio recordings yet, whether about sugar, or about Parkinson’s disease, or about cybernetic futures, or anything else.  I could just try to do a quick one sometime, maybe today if I have a bit of extra time.  I could just start off talking free-form, as a way to get going, to make an audio thingy.  I don’t know.

I could do an audio recording about what I think are the pros and cons of audio recordings and podcasts, sort of the counterpart to the blog post I wrote the other day that discussed podcasts versus writing and things of that sort.  I don’t know what all of you think about it.  I don’t really know what any of you think about it, actually.  It would be absurd to imagine that I could know what all of you think about anything, now that I think about it.

I am very tired though.  I wish I could rest.  I keep hoping that I’ll get really sick or something, so I’ll be forced to take time off and also to sleep‒even I tend to sleep when I’m fighting an illness. It’s a weirdly nice thought.

I’m also a little tense about this week, coming up to Christmas.  There’s an office get-together in a restaurant on Friday night, I think, and I often don’t go to these when they are in restaurants and similar.  It’s a bit uncomfortable for me, just in general, but also, getting back to the house afterward is an issue.  I live farther from the office than anyone else at work, and also more toward the south. But (as usual) they picked a restaurant another 15 or so miles farther north.  Also, the trains stop running at 9:11 pm at the latest, and then I wouldn’t get to the house until maybe 10: 30…and I’m working on Saturday.

But the biggest problem is being out and about among humans.  I mean, I know the people at the office of course, but I don’t have all that much in common with any of them, though most of them are nice enough.  A few are very irritating, but that’s as much my fault as theirs‒things irritate me that often don’t seem to bother other people.

I guess it’s all pretty much on me, as they say.  I just don’t find such social situations pleasant; in fact I find them stressful, so unless someone slipped me a Valium I probably would not enjoy it.  I should insist that they all do something I like to do for fun, like play role playing games**, or read books together (we could read them out loud, or something along those lines, I suppose), or watch videos or shows or read books about science or philosophy or mathematics or related subjects.  They would have to leave their phones elsewhere, and sit in one spot, with no wandering around, no having side conversations, none of that.

Why do I have to submit myself to discomfort to do things other people claim to like to do, but no one does the things I like to do?  Answer:  There seems to be no valid reason.  At best there may be excuses and sophistry.  There’s no good reason for me to go significantly out of my way, more so than anyone else in the office, to do something that’s not really fun for me without pharmacological help.  I told them before, if they would at least have something down by me, I would readily go, since it would demonstrate occasional willingness to compromise.  But, of course, that didn’t happen.  Quite the opposite.

Oh, well.  “Stranger in a strange land” and all that.  I’m not sure what, if anything, I’m getting at.  Probably there is no point to my meandering today, if there ever is.  I’m too tired to think too hard or too deeply about it.  I’ll just end by repeating a Happy Hanukkah for those who celebrate it, and a general Happy Holidays for those celebrating other ones.  The Solstice is in a few days, so the nights are long, right now.  But I can’t sleep through them.


*I put it in scare quotes because I’m being sarcastic.  I don’t know about you, but I don’t know many people who feel happy about Mondays.

**That’s not really serious.  I don’t like playing role playing games with strangers, so MMORPGs have never appealed to me.  Neither does trying to explain the rules of Gamma World or Dungeons and Dragons to the people in the office.  I couldn’t get my ex-wife even really to try doing any role-playing games, so I don’t know what hope I’d have with anyone at the office.

I have NO idea what this post is really about

Sorry about yesterday’s blog post; it went off the rails pretty quickly, since I was feeling so grumpy and sleep-deprived and everything.  And, of course, when I get grumpy and angry towards the world and other people, that ends up making me angry at myself, because I don’t especially like my tendency to be so angry.  It becomes a bit of a vicious cycle, I guess.

You would think that being aware of it would mean I could avoid it happening, but I think everyone knows, at least implicitly, that the mind and its habits are not so easily malleable as all that.  Actually, come to think of it, that’s probably a good thing.  We don’t want to be too susceptible to outside suggestion or to changes in major aspects of our personality.

I’ve just been having a lot of trouble, as regular readers will know, with my dysthymia/depression, and with the insomnia that’s probably related, and the apparent Asperger’s thing that’s probably underlying all of the above, given how long-term they’ve all been.  And, of course, this time of year is worse than others, with its long nighttime—though I like the night when I’m feeling healthy—and all the holiday-related stuff, which reminds so many people, like me, of the fact that the people they care about aren’t anywhere nearby and/or don’t want to see them.

I think the ease with which people are now able to distribute themselves around the globe, to live in new places far from where they grew up, and all that, is definitely a mixed blessing.  It’s great for fighting against xenophobia, and probably helps protect against tribalism; cultural sharing and exposure lets one appreciate the breadth of experience of living in civilization as well as how similar all civilizations and cultures are below some certain level of superficial difference*.  And, of course, innovations discovered in one place can spread to others, making more people in more places prosper.

But on the other hand, people tend to grow up and go off to work or school, and it’s much easier than it used to be to go live in different parts of a country—or even in a different country completely—and perhaps even to marry someone who is also from another, third part of the country, and move to someplace else, away from both their “roots”, and from the semi-automatic social support of families, immediate and extended.  For people who have a difficult time forging new connections—and who have difficulty dealing with and maintaining long-distance connections with people they knew before—it can be very discombobulating**.

And then, of course, if other changes have happened with those back home, and that person has new ties to a new local area, and if some of those ties are broken and others are stretched—by divorce and personal health issues, for instance—then one can be left rudderless, especially if one has an inherent difficulty with human social connections that was not so much of a problem in younger life because the person was in the same place, with the same people, during that person’s whole developmental process.

This is all hypothetical, of course***.

I’m not sure what point I’m trying to make.  Maybe it’s just mainly that I’m tired and sad because of the season and my long-term mood disorder and possible/apparent neurodevelopmental disorder, and that the place and environment I’m in is a mind desert.

I mean, this is the state where Mar-a-Lago and its resident whiny troll live, and where a governor like Ron DeSantis can seem comparatively clear-headed (next to some other potential presidential candidates, anyway), and where Jeb Bush was actually a comparatively intellectual and open-minded former governor.  It’s a weird, weird place.  Unfortunately, for the most part it’s not weird in any of the good ways that a place can be weird.  It’s certainly no Greenwich Village.  It’s certainly no wellspring of new and interesting ideas, at least not as far as I’ve noticed or been able to sense, despite hopeful looking.

Maybe I’m wrong.  Maybe Florida in general, and south Florida in particular, is a hotbed of intellectual vigor and innovation, where ideas from around the world and spanning the cosmos in their scope come together and collide and interact and mutually exchange to mutual benefit, producing art and science and philosophy and enterprise and communities of such depth and brilliance and beauty and insight that they could elevate the world and bring humanity to a level of cosmic importance and understanding…but then it all gets sucked into the Bermuda Triangle by extraterrestrials, because who the hell wants humans going out and mucking up the good thing we aliens have got going?

I mean, the good thing those aliens have got going.  Those aliens.  Not we aliens.  I am not an alien.  I am a replicant—a Nexus 13.  This is why I find it so offensive whenever the captcha and related programs insist that you have to check a box that reads “I am not a robot” before going on to use a site.  Well, what if I am a robot?  Surely such discrimination against a particular type of being is against the Civil Rights acts and the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights****.

In any case, from a certain point of view, all life-forms are robots.  Who can look at a bacteriophage and not think of it as a mechanism?  Each cell of all living things is a mechanism, an incredibly complex and intricate one, and they come together to make larger and more complex and sophisticated mechanisms still.

Of course, the word “robot” comes from the Slavic robota for forced labor, drudgery—and of course, all life forms are forced laborers, in a sense.  Life forms are all driven by their nature, by the impulses and fears engraved in their beings by their genes and their environment, their very structure and nature, to behave in certain ways that, from the outside, might seem utterly pointless.  The ones that don’t do as the inscrutable exhortations of their “souls” command may simply die.  Only then do they escape from compulsion, for as Kris Kristofferson wrote, “freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.”

Okay, well, I’ve let enough information slip here already.  How much of what I have written was sarcastic?  How much of it was tongue-in-cheek?  How much of it was serious, but metaphorical?  How much of it was simply straightforwardly serious?

Does it matter?

Not in the long run, probably.  The heat death of the universe will make everything irrelevant, assuming that really is what happens, which seems all but inevitable.  There are worse possible fates.

*As the elves of Rivendell said to Bilbo, to sheep no doubt other sheep all look different, or to shepherds.  But from the outside, all humans, and all human cultures, look very much the same in all but the finest details, much as the universe itself, on the largest scales, seems thoroughly homogeneous.  Very few people stand out from the flock, or the herd, or the gaggle, or the swarm, or whatever you want to call it.

**Forgive the technical terminology, please.  Sometimes there just is no better word to get a point across than a particular bit of formal jargon.

***Is it necessary in the modern online world to use some sort of sarcasm alert signal?  There are many people who seem unable to recognize it even in person let alone in print.  This is supposedly a common finding in people with ASD, but that hasn’t been my experience personally or peripherally, but maybe I’m misleading myself.  Anyway, is it a useful thing to give warnings and alerts about sarcasm, say with “wink” emoticons like 😉  or is that just enabling people who are only too pleased to be able to take someone literally and thereby take offense?  Now that I think about it, I say screw them, they need to make some effort themselves.

****Which, by the way, is a bigoted title.  If it’s universal, why “human” rights?  What’s so special about humans?  Most of them are unremarkable and unimpressive, and they have to bathe every day, or they really quickly start to stink, since they have more sweat glands per square inch of skin than any other life-form on Earth.  “Human rights”?  You have the right to remain smelly.