Screams that last long enough just end up sounding like murmurs

It’s Tuesday again, the day after Labor Day.  I wrote a surprisingly long post yesterday, considering I didn’t have anything at all in mind when I started.  Today, I’m not so sure.  I barely feel able to say or do anything at all.

The coworker with whom I share duties at the office is scheduled for surgery today, apparently, and he won’t be back at the office for a while.  This means I’m going to be doing extra duty, so to speak, for at least a few more weeks.  In a certain sense, that’s fine, because I don’t really mind working hard, and I want him to be okay and everything.  It’s not like I have anything better to do with my time.  On the other hand, I really just want to be able to “disappear”, if I feel that I have to, without causing too much inconvenience for other people, at least for people I like and/or with whom I work.

This coworker of mine has a new baby, and he (the coworker, not the baby…the baby is a girl) has been working a second job part-time at nights to make extra money, since his wife can’t work right now, being rather immediately post-partum and, of course, having a baby of whom to take care.  I had figured that, well, if I’m gone, then he can just take up more duties and a bit more time at the office, and he can make somewhere between his current pay and double his pay, or something like that.  Anyway, he would be ripe for a raise, especially since I wouldn’t be getting paid anymore.  That would be useful for him and his family, at least.  And, after an initial shock, I don’t think anyone at the office would actually miss me much.  It’s not as though I’m a pleasant or fun coworker.

But now I’ve got to push back at least some potential plans, and it’s very frustrating.  Still, there are 16 days until September 22nd, which is Bilbo’s and Frodo’s birthday, the day that Frodo sold Bag End to the Sackville-Bagginses and headed off on his quest to destroy the ring.  I’ve thought that would be a good day for momentous events to take place or at least to begin—momentous for me, anyway.  I don’t think anything I do will matter to anyone else in the world at all, except perhaps as a cause of a passing “huh,” followed by an oblivious carrying on with normal, day-to-day activities.

I’m tired.  I’m really tired.  I don’t have any good reasons to keep pushing myself, even though I continue to do it.  It’s madness; and though I’ve always been a bit mad, to say the least, I am very tired, and have diminishing motivation.  Right now I’m only moving at all because of habit, but maybe it’s a bad habit.  I don’t know.  I only know that it hurts, physically and otherwise.  Everything hurts.

Of course, we can fall back on the quote from The Princess Bride, that “life is pain…anyone who says differently is selling something.”  I would quibble with that statement, taken on its face, though that might surprise some people.  It isn’t correct to say that life is identical with pain, as the statement seems clearly to imply, particularly with the spoken emphasis on the word “is”.

I would say, rather, that life requires pain.  Without a sense of pain, living things would not avoid damage and injury, or death for that matter.  All life—even artificial life—that lasts for any considerable time must have some equivalent to a sense of pain, and it must be potent and unpleasant and very difficult to ignore, like a fire alarm.  And, like a fire alarm, it should be more prone to false positives than false negatives.  You would prefer your alarm to go off when you merely burn the toast than to have it less prone to go off during a real fire.

But there must be a differential.  If life was merely a constant, steady state of pain, then there would be no impetus to do anything at all.  The pain of hunger must be relieved, at least temporarily, by a good meal, or else no one will bother eating.  The pain of exhaustion must be assuaged, at least partly, by sleep, or else no one will find any reason to rest.

That’s the problem with chronic pain, really.  Our ancestors evolved the ability to feel pain in circumstances in which it could, for the most part, serve some benefit.  But in the modern world, we survive injuries that would have led to immediate or at least relatively short-term death in our ancestors.  But our nervous systems can’t be updated in real time to adjust their settings to the fact that, hey, you don’t actually have any debilitating or dangerous thing happening to you right now, so you can stop sounding the stupid alarm.  We can feel pain that lasts for years and even decades, and yet it doesn’t directly kill us.  That’s to say nothing of psychological pain, which also can last for a long, long time, and at times can feel eternal.

The whole system is not in equilibrium, so we shouldn’t be too surprised that it’s very maladapted in many ways.  It may never reach a long-term equilibrium again.  If technology and science keep advancing, if humans expand beyond this planet and from there spread out further, the state of life will be in constant flux, and it will never be able to reach a stable point at which things settle out, at least not for a long while.  Maybe that’s good; it depends on your criteria, I suppose.

But it means there’s no present, reliable, durable solution to pain-without-purpose, both physical and psychological.  If anything, it just keeps going and often growing.  I am stubborn, and I have a strong endurance, whatever that means, but it is finite.  Even mountains can be worn down in the end.  And I am no mountain.  Not even a mountain of doom.

Chaos surfing is difficult, but it’s the only sport there is

Happy Labor Day to those of my readers who live in the United States.  If any other countries celebrate a similar holiday on the same day, well, happy holiday to you as well.  And to everyone, Happy Monday.

At my office, we’re celebrating workers’ rights by working a half day today, and based on the fact that quite a few other people are at the train station already—though it’s operating today on a weekend schedule—we’re not the only ones.

It’s just another case of competition leading to inadequate equilibria of over-exertion, to the relative detriment of everyone in the system, like trees in a forest having to compete against each other for light, so they all have to keep getting taller, even though it would be saner if they could somehow agree to stay shorter and collect the light of the sun without wasting so many resources on competing with each other.  But they can’t and even if some of them could, they would be vulnerable to any mutant tree that grew taller than the others, and then that one would outcompete and out-reproduce, until all the trees got taller again, until they reached the point where the costs of getting taller were greater than the benefits, on average, and they would level off there, in a state of mutual strain.

Evolution is a bitch goddess, that’s for sure.  But trees are very pretty and majestic, so there are at least minor compensations.

As with trees, human businesses compete with each other, and the ones that stayed open on holidays had advantages over ones that did not, until a great many businesses—ones not constrained by laws forbidding it, otherwise, or union rules and agreements—stayed open on holidays, and ultimately, there are essentially no holidays on which everything is pretty much closed, when everyone stays home with their families.

That’s assuming, of course, that people have families with whom to stay home.  As for me, the only people I really interact with personally anymore are the people at work, so going in to work is my only serious socialization.  When I had my family around, I would have been happy to stay home; my family was probably an equivalent to one of my “special interests”, as they describe it for people with the Syndrome Formerly Known as Asperger’s and related disorders.  Now, though, I mainly just loll about on days when I don’t work.  If I didn’t have my chronic back pain problem, I might feel like doing other things—maybe going to bookstores or something similar.  But as it is, I just try to rest and not pay attention to how utterly empty and pointless my life is.

Hopefully, most of you who are celebrating this holiday are going to spend time with your families and/or friends, maybe having a cookout or something.  That’s the way it was when I was a kid.  Most of the people in my family worked for General Motors and related businesses, so they had the day off, thanks largely to union efforts and the like, such as—I believe—are celebrated by Labor Day.

However, businesses obviously lost money by having their factories idle when they could otherwise be productive, and so once they could transfer at least some of their manufacturing to other countries, they did, and got more work with less cost, and then so did all the other companies, and the equilibrium led to anyone who wanted to stay competitive keeping their businesses open as often as they could for as long as the costs of staying open were lower than the costs of being closed.  And the wheel turned, grinding ordinary lives into powder underneath it.

Okay, that’s a bit melodramatic, but it still does in fact suck.  In the past, there were those who predicted that rising technology would lead to people having more and more leisure time, and yet still being able to produce more than ever in the past.  These people had never studied evolution and natural selection carefully enough, it seems.  Success is always relative to other success in the environment; there’s always an arms race.  Now we work longer hours than ever before, and the most successful people are often the people with the least leisure time as opposed to the other way around.

That’s a bit ironic, I guess.  Success breeds more work rather than less, and the society it creates is so mind-numbing and stressful that hundreds of thousands of people every year die prematurely simply from drug overdoses, because drugs are the only reliable source of any solace or escape many people are able to find.  This is, of course, one of the reasons drugs are illegal; they harm productivity.  Why else would a society be against people doing something to their own bodies, as long as they don’t directly harm others by doing so?  The most popular drug in the world by far—caffeine—increases people’s productivity, at least temporarily, and there is no serious thought of restricting it.

Many of the costs of people’s drug problems are entirely due to the fact that some drugs are illegal.  In many cases, having been convicted of a felony related to drugs makes a person less able to get gainful future employment such as they might otherwise be able to do.  It likewise affects what kind of housing they can get.  And so, far from having “paid their debt to society”, these people never stop paying, for the rest of their foreshortened lives.  Why would one not be willing to risk death by taking unregulated drugs, when life is an empty competition without any good reward even for the most successful?

Then again, life has never really promised any good and lasting reward.  Any creature that found truly lasting satisfaction in a meal, for instance, would live a happy but short and less-reproductive life.  Lions and gazelles don’t have job security, and they don’t get to take vacations from each other.  Every day is a struggle to survive and if possible reproduce, no matter what or who you are.

Economies no more have souls than ecosystems do, because they are both spontaneously self-assembled systems in which whatever survives is just, well, whatever survives and becomes self-sustaining.  They’re conspiracies without conspirators.  There is no master plan behind it all.  Most conspiracies—even ones that would be recognized by all as such—were not nefariously planned by any cabal behind the scenes.  They just happen, and the ones that persist do so because they become self-sustaining, like bureaucracies and governments and businesses and whatnot.

It shouldn’t be too much of a surprise that we aren’t able (so far) to throw off such self-created situations.  Each person and thing can only act in response to the vector sum of all the forces acting on it locally.  Even the laws of physics only act locally.  Gravity doesn’t actually reach across the universe; each change in a local bit of the gravitational manifold affects the bit next to it, which affects the bits next to it, and so on, spreading out at the speed of light as it changes.  This is why there are gravitational waves, and why black holes continue to gravitate even though nothing can actually pass through the event horizon outwards.

Likewise, each bit of the electromagnetic field influences the next bit, which influences the next bit, and spreads along, again, at the speed of light.  That speed of propagation can fool people, whose reactions happen at most at a few meters a second, into thinking that things are truly and directly interconnected instantaneously, but they are not.  Every point in spacetime is influenced directly—as far as we know—only by the points immediately around it at any given time.  The universe itself is, in a sense, just a spontaneously self-assembled system, an unplanned conspiracy.

Humans have the advantage of being able to think about such things and their implications more deeply, and a few of them even do so.  But it’s hard for one bit of water in the middle of an ocean to deliberately change the specific configuration of the world’s seas by the effects of what it can do locally.  A butterfly flapping its wings in the Amazon Rainforest™ may indeed affect whether a tornado happens somewhere thousands of miles away months later…but the butterfly doesn’t know this, nor does it know how to flap its wings in just the right way at just the right time to cause or prevent any weather formation.  It just flutters around looking for nectar and looking to mate and lay eggs and so on.

Humans are more sophisticated than butterflies, but the equations that govern the interactions of the world are generally higher-order, emergent equations that cannot be solved even in simplified forms, not within the lifetime of the universe.  Only the universe itself has the processing power to compute them, and even it can do so only by enacting them.

And while the Schrodinger equation is, apparently, a linear equation, and remains so in perpetuity, it’s still not readily solvable for anything beyond the simplest of systems.  And anyway, people are not completely sure what it really represents, they just know that it works really well.

Oh, well.  What are you gonna do?  Have a hamburger or a hot dog or some potato salad today with your family if you can.  Give a hug to someone you love and who loves you.  The chaos may be inescapable, but there are still benefits that can be squeezed out of it, if you can learn to surf it for a while.  You might even be able to have fun doing it.

The fickle moon, the inconstant moon, that monthly changes in her circle blog

Hello and good morning, all.  It’s Thursday again, the traditional day on which I’ve written my formerly-weekly blog for a few years now—I’m not sure precisely how long—and so, obviously, it’s time for my weekly, bog standard blog post.  Welcome.

I’m not sure that this will be much different from just the posts I’ve been doing semi-daily.  I suspect it will be less grumpy and irritable than the ones I’ve done the last few days, though I still am somewhat ill, and that fact influenced the tone of my previous two posts.

I don’t have any particular topic in mind, which is a bit of a shame.  My post about Blowin’ In The Wind has continued to be quite popular (relatively), even though it was rather long.  Probably that’s because it had a definite subject, but I can’t be sure what really makes it appealing.  There are no comments on the post for me to be able to discern readers’ reactions other than their “likes”.

I understand readers’ reluctance to comment.  At least, I have such a reluctance, myself.  Whenever I comment on almost anything*, whether it’s a YouTube video or a Facebook post or, more commonly, a post on WEIT, I almost always feel stupid almost immediately, all but certain that I’m just annoying everyone, including the poster of the video or the writer of the website (e.g. PCC(E)).  I almost always feel that my comments add absolutely nothing to the discussion and are just stupid, free-association, weird verbal tics that other people are just going to be confused by, at best, or will otherwise sneer about.

Then, if someone else replies to my comment and I see a notification of that fact, I start to feel tense and even nearly panicked.  I worry that I’ve landed myself in what’s going to be some drawn-out, stressful, potentially acrimonious discussion, and I can barely even talk comfortably to people I’ve known my whole life anymore, let alone relative strangers.  But I don’t want to be rude and not at least look at what’s been written.

So, I don’t take it personally that people don’t comment—except to the extent that I take everything personally.  But when I do, I almost always blame myself, so don’t worry about that.  It would be nice if I could have interesting and engaging conversations in the comments of my blogs, but I guess the blog itself doesn’t engender such things.  There’s not much to do about that except encourage people to comment if they feel like it.

So, by all means, comment if you feel like it.

As for other matters, well, there’s not much going on in my life other than this blog, work, and being ill at the moment.  I haven’t written any new fiction, nor played any musical instruments of any kind since the last time I mentioned not having written any fiction or played any music.

I did make a mildly amusing but very niche meme from that new, beautiful photo of the moon that those astrophotographers made.  It’s a very nice picture, I must say, perhaps the nicest image of the moon I’ve seen, but being who I am, I was reminded of a character in Stephen King’s The Stand, and so I added my two cents to it.  I’ll use that as my picture for this Thursday, so you all can either enjoy it or not, depending on how you react to such things.

It would be fun if the picture “went viral”, but I suspect my tastes are a little too weird for that to be likely regarding anything I find amusing.  Anyway, if anyone doesn’t understand it and needs clarification, feel free to let me know—but use the comments here to do that, please, not the comments of Facebook or the reply function on Twitter.  I come to WordPress every weekday, usually several times during the day, and obviously I note comments that are made on my blog.

I don’t even like to check my notifications on Facebook unless I’m feeling particularly mellow, because I feel thoroughly stressed out that someone is going to be chastising me for being depressed or something similar, which will only make me feel angry and more depressed, or saying something that I’ll find irritating, or whatever.  Facebook seems to bring such things out in people.  I don’t know the specifics of why, but the broad explanation is that it monetizes outrage, so of course people will be “rewarded” for acting in such ways, and this will tend to engender that overall attitude on the site.  For many people, outrage seems to be pleasant, or at least “ego-syntonic”, but I hate it, and feeling it makes me hate myself ever more with each new occasion.

So, to repeat, if you want to ask me a question or to comment about something I write, please do so here, and don’t bother doing it on Facebook, and probably not on Twitter.  Though, one-liner type jokes are decidedly welcome on Twitter!

That’s about all I’ve got—or “all I have”, to be more grammatical.  I’m really tired and near the bottom of the tank in general.  I really wish I could just go to sleep and stay asleep until I feel rested, or forever, whichever comes first.  The world in general feels to me like I’m being rubbed all over by sandpaper soaked in lemon juice that’s squealing with a mosquito-near-your-ear noise and giving off a smell of mildew.  Acid-covered sandpaper will tend to wear you down before very long.

I hope all of you, however, are feeling as well as you can.  I hope you’re getting at least some enjoyment out of the summer and getting to spend time with your families.  Labor Day (in the US) is coming up in less than two weeks, and I hope you’ll have family get-togethers, cookouts, and loud, happy conversations while the younger generation play outside and get dirty.  Have some burgers and hot dogs and potato salad for me, would you please?  But above all, please be good to those you love and to those who love you.


that spells tom cullen

*Frankly, it’s true whenever I say much of anything at all to anyone, verbally or in writing.

Excuse me, Miss Anthrope? The doctor will see you now.

It’s Wednesday now—hello, Wednesday, you’re my second favorite member of the Addams family—and at least I think I’ve figured out why Monday night/Tuesday morning was particularly bad for sleep for me:  I’ve been coming down with the respiratory virus that’s now going around the office.

It’s not COVID—we’ve been tested and all that—it’s just an annoying cold-type virus, but one that nevertheless made two other people in the office who had it stay home.  Unfortunately, I could not stay home (or leave early) yesterday or today, despite feeling crappy, because one of the people who was out yesterday is the only other person who shares a crucial function in the office with me.  And today I am even less able to stay home from the office, because in addition to the other work—and the fact that, for all I know, my coworker will be out again today—I have to process the payroll today.

Of course, I wear my mask on the train anyway, just as a general precaution, so I’m doing that today, even though by court order the CDC (or TSA, maybe) had to revoke its mandate about wearing masks on public transport.  Because, you know, masks are a cruel and unusual imposition on the delicate faces of the great American pubic…I mean public.

I can’t believe what a bunch of panty-waisted whiners so many people are about wearing effing masks, if only just to at least decrease a little bit the odds of them spreading stuff to other people in the world (and with the added bonus of sparing their neighbors from having to look at their unimpeded faces).  And a lot of these wimps are gun-toting Republicans, people who imagine themselves to be rugged, independent, frontier types.  But they’re afraid of needles and afraid of masks, and afraid they can’t defend their homes and their Wal-marts and their ways of life without dozens of firearms each*.

I hope—I wish—that the next time any person who complained about mask wearing needs serious medical interventions, such as surgery, the whole surgical and medical team decides that masks are an unreasonable imposition from the Nanny State, and that avoiding increasing the risk to these patients’ lives is not worth their minor inconvenience and discomfort…and then proceed to cough and sneeze into the open abdominal cavity or chest or whatever part of the body that is getting treated.

And hand washing—that’s got to be an unconstitutional imposition as well, isn’t it?  George Washington fought the Nazis at Gettysburg not just to throw off the yolk of the Roman Empire, but also to give all Americans the freedom not to have to wash their hands at the behest of dictatorial scientists who use their imprimatur of authority to seize and maintain their control of the top corporate and government positions all throughout America and the rest of the world.  Just look how many top scientists are running nations and major corporations, making billions upon trillions of dollars each, every year…money that’s taken from hard working Americans on farm subsidies and disability, money that’s taken from their houses in the middle of the night at gunpoint, while they sleep, by Islamic terrorists who are part of the International, global Zionist conspiracy.

Okay, sorry, enough of that pretend rant.  I just have no respect for wimps who can’t stand to take a little personal responsibility for tiny bits of inconvenience to help protect themselves and their fellow citizens.  They’ll make all sorts of excuses—not very clever ones, usually—but ultimately their protests and complaints come down to tantrums about not getting everything their way.  Most of the pundits in the media have all the character of spoiled toddlers who don’t want to brush their teeth and go to bed.

When I think about ways to kill myself, which happens rather often, I frequently rule out a lot of them right away just because they would inconvenience too many other people**, and I wouldn’t want to do that.  But maybe I shouldn’t bother to take that into consideration.  Humans in general don’t seem to worry too much about other humans being inconvenienced; why should I worry about inconveniencing them?  Let them (hypothetically) deal with my messy corpse in the middle of their workday.

On the other hand, maybe the rude and irritating people, the people who are whiny and inconsiderate—not wanting to be inconvenienced themselves, but entirely willing to cause trouble for others—are simply noisier, more noticeable than all the other, finer people out there.  After all, one doesn’t tend to notice the countless members of the public who go through their days quietly, politely, doing their part and yielding the right-of-way as it were.  That’s precisely because they try not to cause unnecessary inconvenience to other people, but it makes them lower profile.

And the small fraction of people who are disgusting, whiny brats get noticed precisely because they are disgusting, whiny brats.  And they make the rest of the human race look bad, and also they do far more than their share of damage to the world and to others.

If only we could find a way to isolate these people and prevent them from breeding.  Oh, well.  We’ll send at least some of them off to hold political office in the meantime, which at least gets them away from trying to do anything productive, where they’ll only make things worse.

Huh, that’s weird.  I seem to have talked myself around to at least considering that the majority of the human race might be less reprehensible than I sometimes feel they are.  I really must be sick.  Anyway, try not to be too put off if I occasionally indulge my instinct for misanthrope; believe me, the one person in the world I hate most of all is myself.

*I am not a dogmatic anti-gun person.  I’ve owned a few guns when I could, and I enjoyed target shooting; I shot competitively, in fact, and successfully.  But there’s a difference between shooting recreationally or owning a weapon for potential personal protection (and training appropriately for that purpose, since otherwise it’s more likely to do harm than good) and fetishizing guns, the bigger the better.

**To be honest, though, it’s also often at least partly because I can’t see myself quite being able to work up the nerve to do them, at least not without getting supremely drunk or similarly impaired.  For instance, I wouldn’t want to throw myself in front of a train partly because it would inconvenience a great many commuters…but it’s also just too intimidating a prospect, viscerally, when I consider it.  Setting myself on fire with gasoline would probably be easier.

What does the moon think it’s smiling at?

It’s Monday morning again.  This keeps on happening, no matter what we try to do about it.  Somehow, we’ve got to get together as a civilization to end this disastrous, senseless litany of workweek beginnings.

Human civilization is about as likely to be able to do that as it is any more important or “realistic” goals it might want to achieve.

That reminds me—I followed the YouTube channel of that guy who did the video on the strong force (see this post), because I thought he seemed like someone worth checking out.  I was right.  He has another video, not as popular, but which I think is even more thought-provoking.

It’s about seeing our governments as a kind of AI (Artificial Intelligence) which have, as a part of their nature, the same issues we have with AI alignment in general:  that unless we are very careful with what terminal goals we give our AIs, they are likely to find the easiest workarounds—cheats, if you will—to satisfy the letter of their terminal values, because they certainly are not capable of grasping the “spirit” of them unless we are smart enough to give them that nature.  The same is true of governments.  The video maker brings this up as a way of possibly explaining the so-called Fermi Paradox*.  His conjecture is that perhaps all governments in the long run tend to evolve into dystopias, and dystopias are not going to colonize the galaxy, and all alien civilizations that might have done so are stuck in dystopias.

I’ll embed the video here for your delectation.  It’s not as polished and fancy as the one about the strong force, and it has no animations, but I think it’s an original, interesting, and troubling idea.  I’d be curious to know what you all think.

Let’s get back to Monday, though, and what we can do about it.  One possible solution to Mondays would be to develop our technology to the point where we don’t need to work at all, where all our actual goods are produced by robots and AIs and the like, so there’s no longer any need to get up and go to “the office” on Mondays.

I don’t think that’s going to work, so to speak.  There’s the alignment problem mentioned above, of course, but there’s also simply the fact that we don’t work merely for sustenance.  If that were the case, many people in the western world, at least, would only have to work 10 to 15 hours a week, maybe, if that.  Unfortunately, humans are competitive—for individual resources, yes, but also for status, prestige, sex, power, all sorts of other things that will always be, in effect, scarce resources, because success in such things is always relative to other people.  We work longer hours now than people did in the 1950’s, despite all the technological advances we’ve made since then.

Maybe we’re already in a dystopia.  Maybe dystopia is the natural state of human civilization, just as it’s (arguably) the state of all those monstrous, gigantic trees, growing ever taller and taller only because they have to compete against other trees for sunlight.  Humans are, after all, really just souped-up chimpanzees with delusions of grandeur.

Maybe the proverbial “quiet desperation” of daily life is the natural state of humans, because, even when basic and not-so-basic needs are met—food, shelter, water, sanitation, protection from most natural disasters, all that stuff—people always want to do more, to compete for higher social status, bigger houses, sexier mates, more “important” jobs, flashier bling, fancier cars, “better” smartphones.  And, of course, like everything else in the universe, people can only respond to local forces, local incentives, so fixing things that are out of whack but in an equilibrium state (of sorts, anyway) is hard even to get started.

Ah, well.  Life is complicated.  We didn’t make the world, nor did we make civilization; it made itself, as I think I’ve mentioned before.  It’s a spontaneously self-organized system.  We’re ants in ant-holes.  And remember, the queen ant, or queen bee, or queen termite, is no more in charge of the ant hill (or beehive or termite mound) than the Queen of England is actually in charge of running the day-to-day business of Great Britain or the British Commonwealth.

Even Putin isn’t really in charge of the moment to moment happenings in Russia.  He has great influence, of course, but it is tenuous, and it is ephemeral.  When he is gone, Russia will still exist, as it existed after Stalin, after the Tsars, after Genghis Khan, and so on.  Essentially no one who was alive during the reign of Queen Victoria is alive today (no human, anyway—there might be a tortoise or two), and that includes Queen Victoria.  And by the year 2150, unless very surprising things happen with respect to trans-humanism, no one will be alive who was alive during the reign of Queen Elizabeth II.  Though she herself is surprisingly durable.

I don’t know what point I’m trying to make.  Maybe I’m trying to make the point that there is no inherent or meta-level point at all, and I’m doing that by not trying to make a coherent point.  That sounds cleverer than I’m likely to be, but maybe my subconscious is smarter and cleverer than I am consciously—well, it almost certainly is those things—and it arranged this on purpose.  I doubt it, but I don’t completely rule it out.

In the meantime, though, remember that Monday is the day of the moon—the moon that was smiling madly but cheerily down at me this morning when I looked up.  It should have looked much the same for anyone else seeing it at that time.  And the moon is pretty cool.  Remember Sting’s description of the moon, by way of Shakespeare, when confronted by a drunk who asked him to describe it:  “My Mistress’s are nothing like the sun.”

*Basically, that our galaxy is at least twice as old as our solar system, and there have been potentially billions of years for other planetary systems somewhere in it to develop first life, then multicellular life, then intelligence, then civilizations, then high technology, and then presumably space-faring civilizations.  Even at a slow rate, any one civilization—and there could have been countless such civilizations, potentially—could have colonized the galaxy by now, or least have produced technology some of the signatures of which we should have been able to detect.  Yet we have found nothing.  So, where is everybody?

And careful hours with time’s deformed hand have blogged strange features in my face

“Hello” and also “good morning”.  It’s Thursday again—this time the 18th of August in 2022 A.D.—and so it’s time for another daily post and also for another edition of my longer-standing weekly blog post.  And, of course, this being my Thursday, longer-standing blog post, I almost always start with some variation of “Hello and good morning”, so that’s what I did.  It’s good to try to be consistent, all other things being equal.

I’m very tired, both physically and mentally, so I’m not sure what I’m going to write about.  I certainly don’t have any fiction writing to discuss.  I doubt whether I’ll ever write any fiction again.

Yesterday I very briefly picked up my guitar at work because I wanted to play the opening riff from I Feel Fine, since I’d started using it as one of my alarm sounds on my new phone.  I ended up playing a bit more of the song than that, and then the opening of Wish You Were Here, and then I got tired and didn’t do anymore.  I think that’s all played out for me, if you’ll pardon the pun.

I don’t really feel like I’m ever going to do anything that brings me real joy anymore.  I doubt that I’ll ever see my kids again, though this is thankfully not because they’ve suffered any tragedy*; it’s simply that they have their lives and their pursuits and I’m not part of them and not particularly wanted.  As I think I’ve said before, my son has only interacted with me once—to send an email to thank me for this year’s birthday presents—since about 2012 or 2013**.

I do have a knack for causing the people I really love to hate me or at least to hate having me around.  Does that mean that I must love myself, since I certainly hate having me around?  No.  I’m a special case.  I’ve never been able to get away from myself.  I can’t even get a good night’s sleep to get away from myself for more than an hour or two at a time.

So, as I said, there’s no new fiction, no new (or rehashed) music, no new insights.  I have some new puzzlements and minor irritations.  For instance, in thinking about why people prefer some blog posts to others, I’ve noted—or been told—that having images mixed in with the post helps, and long ago I started putting pictures in my Thursday blog posts.  Now, my popular Monday post this week didn’t have any image, but it did have an embedded video, so I thought maybe that at least helped explain its relative popularity.  So I embedded one video in Tuesday’s post, but it didn’t seem to help that one.

Evidently, the things that make posts relatively popular are more complex or at least more chaotic than my simply hypotheses would support.  This should come as no surprise.  I doubt anyone has undertaken any rigorous, thorough evaluation of the nature of the popularity of blog posts or the like.  There’s lots of data available, but it’s very messy, and the system is nowhere near any kind of equilibrium, so trying to figure out where it goes for what reasons would require real sophistication in statistics and related matters, and I doubt anyone who’s tracking blog posts is really bothering with that.

As I said, I’m tired.  And that being the way things go, since I have no source of relief or rest, I’m getting steadily more and more tired.  I’m tired, and I’m sad, and I’m lonely—but I can’t really stand being around most other people very much either, at least not the ones I see and encounter nowadays.  All my old friends are thousands of miles away, and they have their own lives, and unfortunately, I’ve never been good at maintaining friendships with people at a distance.

It’s not that I don’t want to or don’t think about them.  I just don’t really know what to do, or to say, or how to deal with such things, and I get very stressed out by them.  I also don’t feel I have any right to intrude on other people’s lives and time, or anything to offer anyone.  It’s presumptuous for me to imagine that anyone would want to interact with me at all, and I find most people inexplicable and unpredictable.

Being in the world these days feels for me like being one of those wild animals you sometimes see in news stories—a bear, a coyote, something more unusual, maybe even a tiger—that’s wandered down from the mountains, or out of a forest, or was released from someone’s private “zoo” and has found itself in an urban or suburban environment which is not where it’s adapted to be.  Everything around it feels potentially hostile—and is potentially hostile—and so it must always be on its guard, always trying to avoid even those who might be benign, because it cannot be sure, and it’s made the mistake of thinking other creatures were benign before, only to have them become hostile (or reveal themselves to be so), and to damage it, leaving permanent pain and deep scarring.

Better to avoid everyone and to be avoided than to face more of that.  There are no other creatures out there that seem safe or beneficial or even familiar enough to be worth the risk.  Better just to lurk in the shadows, scrounging through scraps and garbage to find minimal sustenance, and simply to continue, until starvation or disease or something else gets you; it might even be something of a relief when that happens.

So, no fiction or music, but merely this metaphorical morosity is what I have to offer you.  I’ll understand if this post isn’t popular, but I don’t really give a fuck at this point.  It doesn’t matter.  I’m sick of caring about things.  And I’m tired.


cougar in town

*Other than having me for a father, which I suppose is tragedy enough for anyone.

**Prison sure does wonders for making non-violent “offenders” shape their lives up, doesn’t it?  We should send everyone to prison for a while, or maybe just select people randomly for the reward (as often seems to be the way things are done, anyway), and make sure it affects the rest of their lives afterward, curtailing their possibilities, making them unable to practice their professions, severing their ties with their loved ones, restricting their employment and other prospects, and just generally pouring concentrated acid all over their lives.  If it’s good for part of society, it must be even better if it’s done for more people, right?  Yeah, prison for the nonviolent non-criminals (in any legitimate sense) teaches important lessons, the main one being that “civilization***” is a fiction and/or is fucked, and it should probably be wiped from the surface of the universe.  Possibly, even life itself is a bad idea.

***Which, remember, is just a spontaneously self-assembling structure, no more deeply important or planned or meaningful or ideal than a school of fish, or a flock of starlings, or an ant colony, or a “flange” of baboons, or a hurricane, or crystals of saltpeter that form in bat guano.

Methought I heard a voice cry, “Sleep no more!  Microsoft does murder sleep!”

I occasionally have my bones to pick with Microsoft, though on the whole I think they do a good job and make products that I use all the time, and that I have used since I was maybe 12 years old.  But last night, my Windows-based laptop did an automatic update at around midnight or twelve-thirty, and the consequences thereof made me feel less-than-charitable toward the company and its people.

I had gone to sleep watching a YouTube video of a British comedy panel show (one I’d seen many times before, which was why it helped me go to sleep), but once the aforementioned update was over and everything restarted, that show restarted, from its beginning, along with its raucous opening music.  This, weirdly enough, woke me up violently out of what had been, up until then, a reasonably sound sleep.  I had to scramble first to figure out what was happening, then to input my password just so I could get to the screen with the video and stop it playing.

I’m not saying I would have slept through the night like a log otherwise; that almost never happens.  But I was asleep until then, at least.  I had gone for a nice long walk in the evening after work the night before, which helped make me sleepy.  And once I’d been startled awake by the video, it was a long time indeed before I was able to get back to sleep, and my sleep was intermittent after that, as it often is after the first few hours of the night.

What I don’t get is, why does the system trigger a re-starting of such videos after it updates, even if the lock screen is up so that one cannot access it without entering the password?  It doesn’t make sense.  If one’s computer is dormant after restarting, such that to use it one must input one’s password, then videos certainly shouldn’t be relaunching until and unless someone returns to the relevant page.  Surely the code for this can’t be too hard to add to the system; I’m amazed that it wouldn’t simply be the default setting.

Maybe it’s not a problem with Microsoft as much as with Google, who produced the browser I was using and, of course, who owns and operates YouTube.  If they’ve deliberately made it so that videos start playing when a system has restarted after an update, even when the lock screen is on—knowing that most automatic updates are set to happen late at night to minimize user inconvenience—then they need to rethink their software, and indeed their very lives.  Those of us who already suffer from insomnia would be delighted to be tasked with keeping the responsible programmers from ever having more than one hour of daily sleep for the (very brief) remainders of their lives.

Perhaps I should only speak for myself.  It’s not as though anyone else has nominated me to speak for any group, and I certainly haven’t been unanimously elected to represent all the insomniacs of the world or even the USA.  Still, it’s irritating.  This isn’t the first time it’s happened, but it happens intermittently, and rather unpredictably—since updates happen irregularly, and I don’t tend to notice ahead of time that they are coming.

And I enjoy using such YouTube videos to help me go to sleep.  Dropping off at night to a favorite British comedy panel show is at least a pleasant beginning to a night’s slumber, even for those of us with both difficulty falling asleep and difficulty staying asleep.

You would think that such an issue would be a minor problem, and I suppose it would be, if not for my already troubled sleep.  But, as I’ve mentioned before, I can literally remember the last time I had a restful night’s sleep; it happened in the mid-1990’s.  I’ve had general anesthesia since that time, but it’s just not the same.

And though I can induce somewhat longer sleep using medications, they don’t make me feel rested—I don’t know that they make anyone feel rested, since they tend to screw up the normal sleep processes—and I really can’t use them during the work week, because they all make me feel foggy and woozy the next day.

Sorry.  Here I am complaining again.  But I guess I can do that if it’s what I want to do.  As I’ve said, I hoped to use at least these daily (nearly-daily, anyway) blogs as a kind of therapy or catharsis* of some kind, and so, given that, well…it’s my blog and I’ll whine if I want to.

I don’t know that any of it is doing any good one way or another, though I suppose if word of this happens to reach someone at Microsoft or Google (or both) and encourages them to change their software so they don’t further damage people who are suffering from insomnia on top of dysthymia/depression and ASD, decreasing such people’s chances of survival past the end of the present month, which was already not terribly great, then maybe—just maybe—it will have done some good in the world for someone, even if it hasn’t done any good for me.

For me, it’s doing about as much good as the dream-voice that troubled Macbeth did for Duncan after he had already been murdered.  It might almost just as well be a dagger of the mind, proceeding as it does from this heat-oppressed brain.

*Though I’m pretty sure the more or less literal notion of catharsis as a psychological process has been disproven, at least in its semi-literal idea that some form of “pressure” builds up and needs to be released.  But maybe I’m conflating catharsis with something else.

En route.  En passant.  En Comète, en Cupidon, en Tonnerre et la Foudre

It’s Wednesday morning, but it’s slightly after five o’clock as I write this, because I’m moving a bit slowly today, and if you find that this post is more disjointed or peculiar or bizarre even than is usual for me, that may, like my slowness, be because my sleep last night was even worse than usual.

I’m almost always plagued by early and frequent wakening, as I’ve described before, but last night I had trouble even getting to sleep before one thirty in the morning.  Then, of course, I woke up starting at about two-thirty and then three-thirty and so on.  So I’m feeling very frazzled and fuzzy and mentally fatigued, and that may come across in my writing.  I’m not sure, though.  Maybe there won’t be any difference that the unprimed reader would ever catch.  Though, since I’ve given you warning, you may be more likely to draw the conclusion that I seem tired than you would had I not let you know about my worse-than-usual sleep.

We’ll never know now, will we?

I think maybe my sleep is worse than usual partly because I’m now sleeping in the “new” room that I’ve moved to, and perforce, my sleeping position is on the opposite corner of the room relative to what it was in my prior room.  Also, the previous residents had cats in the room, and I’m allergic to cats (though I love them).

Anyway, the transition is irritating, partly because I didn’t have a great deal of choice in the matter.  In the first place, I only moved into the house I’m living in now, several years back, because I was asked to move there by my now-former housemate, because he was moving there at the end of work release, which I was ending also.  His friend, Barry, was the owner, but he (the housemate, not Barry) couldn’t afford to rent it on his own.  The location is really not terribly convenient to where I work, as you might be able to tell from the fact that I can write a daily blog post—and before that, quite a few long short stories and several novels, including one very long novel—during my commute.

Nevertheless, as I tend to do, I adapted myself to the situation as well as I could, and became used to the commute and my schedule.  Then, of course, my now-former housemate became my former housemate, with all of a week-ish’s notice before he moved out, and then I had new housemates who were terribly messy, so much so that I retreated even more completely than before into my little room.  I could hardly stand even to pass through the kitchen.  I’m not the neatest and tidiest of people in the world, but this was just intolerable.  There were fruit flies actually breeding in the food they left out on the counter.

Anyway, they moved out, and the landlord wanted to rent the rest of the house as one unit, and so “asked” me to move into the back room.  Most people would like this, I guess, because it is a bit bigger and there is an “en suite” bathroom, but the shower is tiny, and I’m going to have to go out of my area of the house to use the kitchen (including the refrigerator) and the laundry room, into the area that’s supposedly being rented “en bloc” to the other people.  I also am going to need to enter and exit at the back of the house, walking through sand and dirt to get there.

It’s far from a concentration camp or anything, but I wish I had just rented someplace a lot closer to work in the first place, or taken up my father’s offer to stay with him and my mother and sister after getting out of work release, to do my writing and spend time with them in their final years and so on.

I elected not to do that partly because my soon-to-be housemate was counting on me, but mainly because I hoped that by staying in/returning to Florida, I would be able to see and spend time with my own children.  That’s a bit of an unpleasant joke, looking back on it.  My kids didn’t want to see and spend time with me; my son doesn’t even want to interact with me*.  I could have forced visitation, but by the time I was done with work release, my children were both well into their teens, and more than capable of knowing and expressing what their preferences were.  I was hardly going to try to use the law—of which I had become less of a fan than previously in my life—to coerce them to disrupt their lives when they would only resent it.

I’ve never felt it acceptable to force my presence on others if I could help it; I dislike myself too much to think I’m doing anyone anything but a disservice by pressing myself upon people’s lives, even from a distance.  I had, in fact, just expected that my kids would want to see and spend time with me.  This, it turns out, was a foolish notion, which is not unusual for me.  I don’t understand people very well, it seems, including even my own children, whom I love more than anyone or anything else in the universe.

So, I missed out on the last few years of my parents’ lives, other than phone calls, and I’ve continued to miss out on my kids’ lives, including their entire teenage years and now into their early twenties (so far).  My brother and sister are in Michigan and Ohio, in that order, and they have their own lives and families.  And I’m still here in what I refer to as America’s syphilitic penis**, commuting a stupid distance daily to a job where at least I honestly like my boss and many of my coworkers.

I’ve made good use of my commute to write my books and short stories, at least; indeed, I’ve always said to myself that my reason to work is just to keep me alive, which I only want to do so that I can write my stories.  But now I’m not writing fiction anymore, and I suspect I never will again.  I’m also not doing any music.  The whole situation has been a rather dull farce perpetrated upon me mainly by myself due to my inability to grokk humans.

Partly because of that, I had been unable (and indeed, unaware of the need) to protect myself against a legal system that doesn’t really care that I never wanted or tried to do anything but take care of people who were suffering from chronic pain (like I was and am), because everything the system did was merely the politics of shit-throwing apes, not the workings of honest, reflective, intelligent life forms seeking something like actual justice.  I’m also apparently unable to be able to maintain personal relationships with other people—these beings who are becoming ever more inexplicable to me, or so it feels, as is the world itself.

To be clear, the physics and math and chemistry and biology of the world, and all that, are comprehensible.  All that stuff is straightforward.  And I suppose human behavior is no more inherently bizarre than the bobbing and bounding of bower birds and baboons.  But I don’t think I’d feel very at-ease living with bower birds or baboons for long, either.

I certainly can’t “feel” human behavior, even though I can see and understand it from an outsider’s perspective.  I used to be better at it, but then, I used to be either the youngest of a family of five, or a member of a group of friends and/or college roommates, or the member of a family of first two then eventually four.  So I’d had my built-in groups from whom I could learn, and to whom I could adapt, and on whom I could rely to accept and even embrace my weirdness—I’ve always known I was weird, but I thought that was “just one of those things”, and not necessarily a bad one—and love me for who I was.  I thought I could rely on such things, anyway.

All of this was, as I think I wrote earlier, farcical and foolish, and I’d laugh at my past self if it weren’t for the fact that it’s not even very good farce.  It’s all just rather pathetic, really—and, as with its farcicality***, it’s not even very good pathos.  It’s all just rather unpleasant and tedious, even to me.

I’m tired of it.

Or maybe I’m just tired.  Maybe if I could get a good night’s sleep from time to time everything would be easier—easier enough at least to make it tolerable.

I doubt that I’ll ever know whether that’s the case.

*I guess I can’t blame him.


***Is that really a word?  Microsoft Word seems to think it is.  Go figure.

Warning: Dysthymic/Depressive Thoughts Follow – Read at Your Own Risk. (Further bulletins as events warrant).

Well, it’s Monday again, which seems to keep happening every week, no matter what people try to do to stop it.

I took the weekend off writing because I had the weekend off work, but now I’m back at the train station (and then back on the train, but thankfully not back on the chain gang) so I’m writing.  I still don’t have the will to write any new fiction—nor to play any music.  But I seem able to do this, at least.

I didn’t get anything useful done at all this weekend, including getting a good rest, because I’m thoroughly washed out, physically as well as psychologically.  I’m not entirely sure why.  Maybe it’s just a physical manifestation of worsening dysthymia.  Traditionally, I’ve been quite an energetic person, really.  Ask anyone who’s known me for a long time; I’m not usually lazy, though there are things I don’t like to do because they’re psychologically unpleasant.  But I’ve never been averse to work, per se.

Now, however, I’m barely inclined to get up and go to the office, or to write even this much.  But even lying in bed* is frankly uncomfortable for my back after a while, though being up and about is likewise eventually uncomfortable.  So, I have to keep switching it up.  Anyway, just not working, and not writing, and not doing anything at all would probably shortly become more irritating than doing those things.  I don’t have anyone to do anything fun with, because, unfortunately, I find dealing with most people more and more stressful as time goes by (and my masking skills atrophy), and that makes being with me frankly not much fun for other people, either.

Sorry, I realize this is turning into just a complete bummer of a post.  I apologize.  I’ll try to put some warning** in the title for the sake of those who are easily upset by what the thoughts of someone suffering from potentially-terminal depression sound like—or, well, look like, I guess, since this is written.

I don’t know, do most people read by “speaking” the words in their head, so that reading is like listening, and reading someone’s thoughts is like hearing them?  That’s how I read, a fact which probably arises from the prior fact that my parents (and my older siblings, too, if I remember correctly) read out loud to me when I was very young.  I get the impression that not everyone experiences this.  I personally think any parent who doesn’t read aloud to their children should not be called a parent, and indeed, probably ought to have their organs of generation removed and burned on a sacrificial altar.  I am biased in this, of course, but I also think I’m actually right***.

For those of you who haven’t heard (or read) yet, the new 988 hotline number has gone into effect, or so I understand, starting on July 16th, 2022.  This is a new way to access—by phone and by text—the national Suicide Prevention Lifeline, or whatever the official name of the thing is.  It’s good to know and have available, though evidently the old toll-free number (1-800-273-8255) is still extant and is hooked into the same system.

This is the sort of stuff to which I pay attention, for what are probably obvious reasons.  I skim over to the associated website a couple of times a week, weighing pros and cons.  Unfortunately, I had a very bad experience after calling the original number a while ago****, so I don’t think I’ll ever use it again, though I have in the past (obviously).

Anyway, I hate myself far, far too much, and I don’t honestly think I deserve to get help, so I’m highly unlikely to seek it in any straightforward way.  The best route for me is probably the Shakespearean bare bodkin…though honestly, the idea of using a dagger for such a purpose is intimidating, to say the least.  But I think Hamlet was speaking somewhat figuratively when he said that.

Anyway, that’s enough from me for now.  If I’m still doing this—or anything at all—I suppose I’ll probably write something tomorrow, and maybe it’ll be a bit cheerier than this.  I would say it couldn’t be much less cheery, but this is me we’re talking about; I don’t think there are any limits to how gloomy and dismal I can be.

A person has to be good at something, I guess*****.

*I sleep on a futon on the floor, actually, because it’s a bit better for my back and saves space.

**I did, see?

***Okay, perhaps not about the burning on the sacrificial altar.  But I think the rest is correct.

****This was NOT the fault of the helpline, however!!  I want to make that clear, and I do NOT want to discourage anyone from calling or texting any version of the helpline.  If you are in doubt, use it!  It’s a brilliant organization, and the people involved are wonderful and do a terrific job providing a very beneficial service that saves who-knows-how-many lives.  My bad experience was with a couple of imbeciles in the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, who handcuffed me because I was feeling suicidal—which I guess is scary, because it might be, I don’t know, contagious?—and did nerve damage to my left hand in the process.  They do seem to let a lot of pussies become cops these days, but I have no doubt at all there are good cops out there, and I’d be willing to accept that most cops are good cops and good people, or at least try to be such.  Who knows, the guys who cuffed me for being depressed might have gotten forced into early retirement after shooting someone for having partial complex seizures or something.

*****That’s not of necessity true as a matter of physical law or logical necessity, but I think it’s almost certainly true that every reasonably functional human has abilities that could be considered “good” at a significant number of things.  The ability to speak, let alone read and write, in a complex symbolic language alone is unprecedented in the natural world.  No other species before us seems to have done it, and as far as we can tell, no other species alive right now does it.  On Earth, anyway.

It is the bright day that brings forth the blogger, and that craves wary walking.

Hello and good morning.  It’s Thursday, as you probably know, and‒as you probably also know‒because it is Thursday, it’s time for my weekly blog post.

This may be a somewhat unusual post, not so much in content as in style, because I’m writing it on my cellphone/smartphone/mobile phone using the Google Docs app*.  Why am I doing that, you may ask? Well, it’s been a helluva week…

Through various misadventures, some due to my own failings, others due to the slings and arrows of truly outrageous fortune, I’ve been stuck commuting via various combinations of buses and trains (and a lot of walking), and though I do own a mini laptop, if I’m going to be walking around a lot, then having that little rectangle poking me right in my back surgery scar is just too much.  Maybe when I’ve gotten as fit for walking as I intend to become it won’t be a problem, but during a week in which I’m already quite stressed out, I prefer to avoid the amplification of my baseline back pain that such poking entails.

So, I’ve decided to try writing on my smartphone, and for creative writing at least, it’s been working fairly well.  The first day I did it, I wrote about 1700 words on The Dark Fairy and the Desperado even as I went through three bus transfers.  The next day I wrote 1400 words, on bus and train**, but I think the decrease was partly due to the fact that I was particularly stressed out that day.  As I said, it’s been a helluva week.

There is precedent for me writing books at least partially on my smartphone, of course.  I wrote a good chunk of the first draft of Son of Man on a much tinier and less advanced phone than I’m using now (while still on work release!), and I think that’s one of my best-written novels.  It’s one of the few for which I’ve received personal praise from a coworker who actually read the whole thing and enjoyed the twists and surprises in it.  So, I’m okay with writing first drafts on the smartphone.  It’s a lot easier to carry than a laptop, and I would have it with me anyway, whether I’m using it to write books or not.

In all this personal chaos, such as it has been and continues to be, I’m afraid I neglected*** to post the latest part of Outlaw’s Mind this week.  My sincere apologies to any and all of you who were looking forward to it.  I will return to sharing that story next week.  In the meantime, if you want to reread last week’s part, you can go here, and if you want to see all that I have posted of it so far, you can go here.  It will be listed there in reverse order I’m afraid, and for that I apologize.  I need to go back and at least add a “click here to read more” tag in those posts to save on scrolling.

There is a potential extra benefit to writing on my smartphone, whether I’m writing fiction or nonfiction:  I cannot write as quickly on my phone as I can on any normal keyboard, since I’ve been using those at least since I was eleven, and so it may force me to be more concise.  Maybe it doesn’t; perhaps there’s no appreciable difference whatsoever in my writing length and style from phone to laptop.  It feels that there is from the inside, of course, but as I had one of my characters say once, “The inside view is always the blurriest.”  I don’t unreservedly agree with that character’s statement‒it’s too absolute in two places for my taste‒but I think it’s a good reminder of how difficult it is to be objective about oneself.  In any case, I don’t think my stories will suffer.  I may even decide to keep writing this way when I don’t need to do so.

And…that’s about all that I think I have for right now.  I hope you all had/are having a good holiday, and that you got to spend time with your families and/or the (other) people you love.  The world continues to be unsane, but who could expect otherwise from a place absolutely riddled‒nay, infested‒with naked house apes?  Some of those apes are at least tolerable, though, and hopefully, being in the presence of those ones will make putting up with the rest of them likewise tolerable.  Maybe.


hollywood train

*Which seems appropriate for me, since my nickname is Doc, and that’s the only name I go by at the office.

**I have been working to find the best route for me.  The three buses are not the ideal choice, though I enjoy being able to look at shops and stuff while on the bus.  I experienced a curious visual illusion while we were going north on 441 just before the Hard Rock casino the other day.  Up ahead I saw a lit store sign.  When we reached it, I think it was the quite ordinary display for a vape shop, but as we approached I could have sworn it read “Sliced Cod Live”.  I don’t know how my brain produced that illusion, but it sounds like the name of an indie band.  “Performing for one night only:  Sliced Cod, Live!”

***i.e., I forgot.