Fear no more the heat o’ th’ sun Nor the furious winters’ blogs

Hello and good morning.  You should know that it’s Thursday if I use some variant of that greeting.  I got started in that habit early in the course of writing my (then only Thursdays) blog, and got myself locked into the pattern mentally.  Now it would make me very tense and stressed if I were to write a Thursday blog post without that opening.  Likewise with the title being a slightly altered quote from Shakespeare.

I’m writing this on my laptop for the first time this week, because I decided to bring it back from the office yesterday.  It was our first decent business day this week, but I still felt thoroughly rotten, in the sense of being tired and in pain.  I’d been lying awake in “bed” during the night, looking at the clock, deciding when just to give up and get up.  I had seen the time getting to about 3:50 and started thinking about the various three digit numbers coming up.

I knew none of the even numbers were prime, and I knew 351 wasn’t prime, since the sum of its digits is a multiple of three*.  But 353 looked like it might be prime, so I started checking it in my head.  Obviously it wasn’t divisible by any even number, nor by 3, nor by any multiple of 5, so I started trying from 7, then 11, then 13, then 17, then 19, then 23, then 29…by that time I was getting suspicious.  The next prime was 31, and I tried that in my head, but it wasn’t divisible, because after you divide the first two digits by 31, you’re left with 43 remainder, which is clearly not going to be evenly divisible, so I stopped there with that.  And the next prime number was bigger than 35 (it’s 37), which started making it look like 353 might be prime.

I cheated then, turned to my computer and checked with Google if 353 was prime**, and it said it was.  That was good enough for me.  I decided to get up at 3:53, which by that point was about a minute and a half away.

Thus, I got on the first train, and luckily, there were no “trespasser strikes” or any other kind of delays, and my train arrived and left at the scheduled time.  I definitely am not going to kill myself by jumping in front of a commuter train (or probably any other train).  I don’t like hypocrisy, and to be worn out by delays only to cause them oneself would be petty and spiteful in a way that I would prefer not to be in my swansong.  I need to do something less intrusive.

That’s all unless, of course, I give up on trying to be polite and just act on some impulse that comes at the right time in the right place, and fuck all the humans if it causes them problems.

I’m sitting in a different seat on the train than I usually use, because I didn’t feel up to climbing to the top level.  I worry that I’m sitting in someone else’s usual seat, but it’s very non-crowded on the midway level of this train car, so I don’t think I’m causing anyone inconvenience.

It’s probably bothering me more than it would bother anyone else that I’m not in my usual seat, but I just didn’t feel like taking 8 more stairs up.  If it had been a prime number of steps, maybe I would have done it.  Probably not.  I only just now counted the stairs to see, but I hadn’t counted them before deciding I didn’t want to climb them.

It was eighty degrees out and quite muggy when I left the house this morning before five o’clock.  Don’t envy it.  It’s not as though people are going to the beaches or sitting out in the sun and sipping cocktails, or enjoying any other aspects of warm weather.  Everyone is scratching out their livings, going through their daily routines in a grimy, overcrowded urban environment.  One of the only visible effects of the warmth is that you’ll see people wearing things like basketball shorts to work—grownups who are not professional athletes wearing baggy, gaudily colored shorts in places of business.  How is one to take any of them seriously?

At least the people who run the Tri-rail trains all wear uniforms of one kind or another.  They are quite professional and serious—and pleasant and friendly to passengers***—and they do their jobs well and with enthusiasm.  There’s even a conductor who sometimes works in the evening on the train I catch leaving work who, as we approach my station (which is Hollywood) makes the announcement, “Now approaching Hollywood…Hollywood, California, now approaching Hollywood.”

I like this because it’s similar to my own usual thoughts when we approach the station, which is to recite the words of the man on the street in the beginning of the movie Pretty Woman, who calls out to no one in particular, “Welcome to Hollywood!  What’s your dream?” and so on.  That’s a moment or two before we see a young Hank Azaria in a bit part as a detective, investigating the murder of a prostitute, astonished that tourists are taking pictures of the crime scene.  It’s an unusually dark beginning to a classic romantic comedy.

Real romance rarely begins so darkly, though it often ends unpleasantly.  It does always end, eventually, even for those who stay together for the rest of their lives, because life is no more than 120 years (at the extreme maximum) for humans, and usually quite a bit less than that.

Sorry.  That’s dreary, even for me.  I’ll try to turn it around by taking a line from the…I think fifth series of modern Doctor Who, in which the Doctor describes a species of mayfly on some planet I can’t remember, saying that they live only twenty minutes, and they don’t even mate for life!

Time is relative in many senses.  I’ve had more than one day this week that seemed to last far longer than twenty-four hours.  The faster you think, the slower time will seem to pass for you, so it may be worth practicing that, if that appeals to you.  Users of psychedelics sometimes report their trips seeming to last for eons, and meditation and similar states can sometimes produce similar experiences.  We all know that dreams can give that impression.

So, as Tyrell says to Roy, “Revel in your time,” even if all those moments will be eventually be lost like tears in the rain.


Hollywood_Amtrak_Tri-Rail smaller

*It’s actually also a multiple of 9, since its digits add to 9, but it’s 9 times 39 (9×40=360, take away a nine and you get 351), and 39 is 3 x 13, so we know that 351 is also 27×13.  The prime factors of 351 are 3x3x3x13.

**I do this sort of thing often enough that when I start typing, by the time I get to “Is 353…”, Google pops up the option (and the answer) for the question “Is 353 a prime number?”

***This is lost on me, I’m afraid, though I admire it.  When the driver waves out of his window toward passengers as he pulls in, I’ve never had the impression that he was waving at me until this morning when, for the first time, I thought it seemed like he might have turned a final wave in my direction after more obvious ones to other regulars—I always stand at the far end of the platform.  I just felt a bit frozen and stressed, like someone who’d been called on in class but hadn’t been paying attention to the lesson.  I tried not to look toward the window, but just kept kind of looking down-ish and toward my entrance to the train, and I felt like a fool.

Don’t touch that line, it’s hot!

It’s Tuesday morning, which should come as no surprise, since yesterday was Monday.  I am on the earliest train right now—I just got on board less than a minute ago, I’d say, and certainly it only just left the station.  I woke up early, as usual, and just didn’t feel like I could sleep anymore.  On the other hand, although I did wake up early, I can at least report that I didn’t keep waking up over and over again before the final time I woke up, so I seem to have had a few hours’ uninterrupted sleep.  That feels like a major boon*.

Today’s date is a little fun, if you’re using the American ordering of the numbers.  It’s 10-11-2022, which of course is a mini pattern, with a ten and an eleven doubling into a twenty and a twenty-two…all on a “Twosday”!  So, again, a bit of fun with numbers, if you like that sort of thing.  Possibly I’m the only one in the world who finds it amusing.  It wouldn’t be the first time.

I regret to say that I wasn’t able to make a video yesterday, or rather, I wasn’t able to complete one.  I started one, but we had one of our various weird situations at the office, with a potentially returning coworker, who was there quite early, and that interfered with my ability to do a video.  I got less than five minutes of talking done before the interruption came.  I did fiddle around with trying out the video recording on my tablet again a few times during the day, just for experimentation, but that was all.  I ended up knocking the tablet stand over while reaching for something else, and thus knocking over the tablet, but it was not harmed in any visibly detectable*** way.

Hopefully, I’ll get a chance to make a video today.

I think I need to update my “gravitar”, or whatever that term was, that generates the accompanying picture that goes with blog posts, because it shows a picture of me from about ten years ago, in which I was trying to look vaguely amused and whimsical.  It’s a perfectly good picture, of course—“perfectly” not being meant in its literal sense, obviously, since I don’t know what a literally perfectly good picture would even be—but I think it makes readers not quite internalize the blog posts and things that I’m sharing as serious.  I think people read my blog posts in which I try to express my distress and depression, and they see that stupid “gravitar” of me smirking ten years ago, and they think, “Oh, he’s not really all that fucked up right now, he’s just exaggerating for dramatic and/or comedic effect.”

I don’t like the guy in those pictures.  But I guess that probably goes without saying.

It’s been a long time since I updated that picture—I don’t recall even how it’s supposed to be done, frankly, but I’m sure I’ll be able to find it somewhere on the WordPress site, which is where I added it originally.  I need to upload something that’s accurate to how I am now.

I finally have returned to the particular train and the particular seat across from that National Suicide Prevention Hotline poster that I wrote about sometime in the past, and this time, I remembered to take a quick snap of it.  That happened between sentences while writing this blog post.  You probably didn’t even notice it; it was such a swift process that there was nary a hitch in my writing!

I’m not being serious, of course.  Well, I did take a picture, I’m serious about that.  But of course, the time stream of me writing this and the time stream of the final blog post are not the same.  The flow of time is different in the two, and the flow of time in the blog post per anyone reading can be entirely different as well.

That’s kind of curious to think about, at least for me.  I might have mentioned before that if our universe were simulated, down to the Planck scale in space and time, each calculation of interactions could, in principle, take billions of years for some simulating advanced civilizations, but then, after the googols of years it would take to calculate enough of them, we on Earth might still only experience the outcome as the passing of a second, for instance.

I don’t know why an advanced civilization would bother with such things.  But it’s a thought experiment, the domain of spherical inclined planes and frictionless cows, so just go with it.

Anyway, I’ll share the picture of the poster, because one thing that bothers me is that they not only split the infinitive (to be), but they underlined the word with which they split it.  I think it would have been more effective, if anything, to write “It’s OK to be not OK”.  Even the more proper “It’s OK not to be OK” would be preferable to me.

ok not ok scaled down

I truly appreciate and admire the sentiments****, but the split infinitive just makes me more depressed than ever.  The uses of this world and the usages of words seems utterly irrational and pointless to me.  There’s just nobody home.

Might as well shut off the lights.

*Not a reference to Major Boone**.

**I don’t know who “Major Boone” might be, but it would be a good name for a character.

***Nothing I could see, anyway, with or without my reading glasses.  I’m sure there were microscopic scratches and dings, the inevitable hallmarks of entropy, such as will accumulate on even the most durable of substances.  Even diamonds surely lose a carbon atom or two whenever one rubs at them.  The surface atoms, after all, cannot be bonded each to four other carbon atoms, unlike the interior atoms; some must be bonded only to three, and perhaps some even only to two.  And the ones that are bonded to four other atoms in their traditional tetrahedral lattice, are obviously not in an unbreakable arrangement, or there would be no way to cut diamonds.  As far as I know, there is no such thing as an unbreakable arrangement.

****And I don’t want to denigrate the hotline, though my personal experience with them was regrettable because the PBSO came and took me away to a shithole, which I’ve talked about before.  I was only there for less than a day, but it was humiliating and associated with nerve damage to my left wrist, and it did not end up helping me feel better in the long run.  None of this was the hotline’s fault, and I recognize that, but it was quite unpleasant, and is one of the reasons I hesitate to use their services.  I think about calling (or texting) them more days than not, but I don’t think I ever will.  I’m not worth their effort, in any case.  There are many far better uses for their resources than something like me.