Get up get over and turn the tape off

Well, it’s a shitty, shitty day today already.  I realize that’s redundant, of course.  I could simply say that it’s a day today.  They’re all pretty shitty a lot of the time, which is a phrase, at least, that sort of rhymes.  Pretty shitty is kind of pretty; one could use it in a ditty.

That’s enough of that nonsense.

I awoke very early, even for me, with worsening pain than usual in my right lower back and hip, radiating down into my foot and calf, with spasm and tenderness in most of the muscles.  I’d had a decent pain day the day before—which I guess would be yesterday, duh—partly because I took larger than normal doses of naproxen, in addition to aspirin and acetaminophen, and as always I was trying some behavioral interventions such as those with which I constantly experiment.

But I think I was lured into a false sense of security; probably the relative decrease in pain was as much a random fluctuation as anything else.  Also, I realized by the end of the day that I had started to develop edema—accumulation of fluid, that is—in my legs, especially the right one.  I suspect that’s partly due to the effects of the high-dose NSAIDs and other meds on my kidneys’ clearance functions.  So, last night I held off on the naproxen.

While trying to massage out some of my pain, I noted that my son, to whom I had sent an email a few weeks ago, had replied at last to that apologetic note.  But though his email was polite and kind, he basically said that he didn’t want to pursue any relationship with me, at least for the time being, and that he hoped I would respect that.  I can do so, of course; if I didn’t have to have a relationship with me, I wouldn’t do it, either.  He even said he didn’t hold what had happened, what with my arrest and time in prison, against me, which is nice, and that he had fond memories of me and of his childhood with me.  He’s a good person, he works hard and is smart, and all that, like his sister.  I want him to be happy, and I would never try to force my presence on him.  I’m just not built that way.  So, that’s that.  Not a great thing for me, but probably the wise choice for him.

I did record the video I mentioned yesterday, and I already started editing it, which is basically just removing long pauses and umms and coughs and the like.  If I finish and upload it today, I’ll share it as part of the post for tomorrow—I’m scheduled to work—and you’ll be able to see and watch it if you wish.  In case you do, I’ll add now the request that most YouTubers give (which I neglected to do during the recording) which is please, if you’re so inclined, like the video, share it if you’re willing, subscribe if you’re interested, and do please feel free to comment.  All those requests apply here as well, though I guess most of my readers are already subscribed, now that I think about it.

And here I am, at the office already and writing this, quite a bit earlier than I usually arrive, because there was no point just lying around in my room and watching random YouTube videos, some about science, some of British comedy panel shows, and occasionally some about autism/Asperger’s.

It’s the last day of September in 2022, and tomorrow begins the month of October—the month of my birthday, and of Halloween (my favorite holiday), though honestly, right now, I couldn’t give a shit about either one.  Next week is both Yom Kippur and my father’s birthday (I think they’re both on the same day this year, though I may be off on that).

I wish I could see my father, and my mother, but of course, they have both “passed on” as the euphemism goes.  I’m afraid I was probably a very disappointing son for them, not least because I had seemed so promising.  I’ve basically let down all the people who are most important to me in life, regularly and consistently.  Consistency is good, I guess, as far as it goes.  I just wish I had a drug or alcohol problem to hang it all on, so that I could have hope of conquering the problem and receiving minor accolades for the success, a la the famous Christian parable of the prodigal son*, or just succumb to an overdose or something if not.

Unfortunately, my problems are basically internal and inherent.  I’m just not very good at humaning, it turns out, if you’ll pardon me for using the au courant contrivance of turning a noun into a seeming gerund of a verb, as in the expression “adulting”.  Adulting, by the way, does not get a red squiggly underline in MS Word, but humaning does.  I guess that means I really did just make it up.

I’ve been trying to do it all my life, of course, and I have put a lot of effort into it.  But my return on investment has gone deeply in the negative, I’m afraid, though that’s only if you discount the fact of my two children.  Anything I went through up until they were born was repaid at an unimaginable rate, so I can’t complain about that.  But that’s all past, now, and they are alive and well, and they’re doing their thing and living their lives and that’s good, that’s outstanding.

I wish I could have been there to witness more of it.  But if wishes were horses, we’d all be waist-deep in horseshit.  Which we may be in a metaphorical sense—more than waist-deep, I would say—but obviously that’s not literal.

Anyway, that’s all I’ve got for today, and it’s nearly all I’ve got, period, full stop.  I don’t see how I can possibly go on much longer.  I hate the world, I hate my life, but most of all, I hate myself.  I’ve got to find a way to escape.

Which word makes me think of the Radiohead song, Weird Fishes/Arpeggi.  Here, I’ll embed some version of it in “video” form below, so those of you who are interested can listen.  It’s a beautiful song.


*Which I’ve always hated as a clear case of injustice and even cruelty.

Blow, winds, and crack your cheeks…yadda, yadda, yadda

Well, it’s Wednesday morning, and it’s sloppy and wet, but the trains are running on time and so is most everything else here in southeast Florida, though the wind is a bit irritating.  Because of it, I was only able to write that first sentence while at the train station, then I had to close up the laptop to protect it from water damage, even though the train stations have roofs.

I’m sure it was a sensible decision for them to make the Tri-rail stations basically open-air with only an overhead covering.  This is south Florida, where it’s rarely so cold that heating is an issue, but on days like today—when it’s wet and windy because a hurricane is approaching the other side of the state*—I do curse the decision.  But I only curse it half-heartedly, because I can’t in good conscience really hold it against someone for doing something efficient and long-term sensible.

There are almost no courses of action, even ones that are clearly the best choices in the long term, that don’t have occasional drawbacks.  Life is complicated.  The universe is complicated, at least if you look at it very closely.  Actually, I guess you don’t have to look all that closely.

I thought about not riding the train today, but I couldn’t justify it.  The Tri-rail is running, and at a normal schedule, so I could hardly give myself an excuse for slacking off in any way.  Also, given the weather, there are a certain percentage of other people who will not go to work today, and that means the trains will be less crowded than usual—which, so far, mine is—and that’s kind of nice.  It’s not as though one gets any kind of extra service, since there is no “service”, but there’s less worry about not getting one’s usual seat, and it’s just generally less crowded.  I don’t know if this will be the case on the way home, but it is right now.

I was weirdly pleased to have a reason to get out my rain jacket, which is designed to be worn while riding on a motorcycle, and so is quite snug and water-repellant.  I don’t wear it much anymore.  I came close to wearing my long, black duster, which is also quite good against the rain (contrary to its name).  But the duster is cloth, and it’s heavier, so it’s likely to have been hotter to wear.  It is a very nifty coat, though, and I’m slightly sad that I don’t get to use it more often.

I got a slightly better sleep last night than the night before—maybe as much as four hours, though not continuous.  There were no issues with power or with cable, but then again, I didn’t honestly expect any.  This is south Florida.  The state and its utilities are far from beyond criticism, but rainy, windy weather—yeah, they’re pretty well used to handling that.

It’s a bit like Houghton, Michigan, which is on the upper peninsula of the upper peninsula of Michigan, and is where Michigan Tech is located.  They get absurd amounts of snow and cold every year, jutting as they do out into Lake Superior, but I’m told that Michigan Tech never closes for snowy weather, despite a reputed more than 16 feet of snowfall every year on average.

I can only imagine what would happen if any significant snow fell down here in the Miami area.  If any snow at all fell, it would be remarkable, but if it was a lot, well, it would be stunning in many ways.  One thing it would also be would be a problem for heating, since, basically, houses down here don’t have furnaces of any kind.  There are a few days early in most years where that actually becomes an issue, and it honestly gets too cold at night.  This is made worse by the fact that many of us don’t really have extra-warm blankets or the like.

And, again, here I am “talking about the weather” like the absolute cretin that I am.  I suppose that it can be excused a bit, given that there’s a hurricane passing near, but I’m embarrassed.  Still, embarrassment is a fairly normal state for me.  I’m almost always tense and anxious and uptight.

Twice in my life, while I was still a teen, I was given Valium, the actual name-brand pharmaceutical, for medical procedures—once for a heart catheterization, once when I had my wisdom teeth taken out.  I remember feeling ever so remarkably at ease and comfortable, even with my mouth full of gauze and blood, or with a wire going into my femoral artery and snaking up to my heart.  I wondered—and still wonder—if this is how some people feel all the time, or more of the time.  I basically have never felt anything like that way except on those two occasions.

I almost hit on the hygienist at the dentist’s office after my procedure.  I didn’t, but the fact that I even had the urge and would have been able to do it if I had so chosen is so unlike me that it’s astonishing.  And while I was having my catheterization, apparently the catheter bumped against some part of the conduction system of my heart and I had a very powerful double-beat, one so strong I could literally feel it up into my neck.  The cardiologist was plainly mortified and apologized sincerely, but I just smiled and said, “That was cool!”

This is how I knew I must never, ever get a prescription for Valium, despite chronic anxiety and stress.  It would simply be too easy for me to become psychologically dependent on it, for one thing, and for another, I know it would inevitably have diminishing returns, and stopping it would then make me feel worse than before.  That would be a true, ironic Hell.  No, thank you!

Drugs in general seem to affect me differently than most people, which may be a good thing.  I took opioids for chronic pain for some time, and they definitely worked to help the pain, but never for as long as hoped, and the side-effects were trouble, so eventually I had to wean myself off them, though not without some regret for the worsening pain.

I also do enjoy a rare alcoholic beverage—someone as tense as I am would be prone to, wouldn’t he?  However, I tend to feel rather unpleasant almost immediately after, and since my back problem, I’ve noticed that alcohol intake makes my pain flare up afterwards.

And I think I’ve mentioned the time I tried a hit of a friend’s marijuana hoping it would help my pain, but instead it left me vomiting for about two hours (and still in pain, though I was at least distracted).  THC is supposed to suppress nausea most of the time, for most people.  I really am alien, it seems.  At least, I’m atypical.

I will admit that mindfulness meditation does help my tension and anxiety in the short-term, but it seems to make my dysthymia and depression worse.  Maybe being too aware of my own thought processes makes me realize how unlikeable I really am, I don’t know.  It’s weird, but apparently there is some literature about Vipassana not being too useful for actual depression, though it may decrease the risk of relapse in people who are in remission.  I’m not up to date on the latest research, but it does disappoint me, because I’m fairly natural at meditation and self-hypnosis and the like.

Anyway, that’s enough for today, I think.  I’m getting close to my stop, and that seems like a good indicator that I should stop writing.  No, not for good—don’t get your hopes up—but for today, anyway.  I’m also, by the way, going to try to stop commenting at all on other people’s blogs and websites, after something that happened yesterday.  Apparently, I give minor offense or am rude, even when I certainly don’t mean to be, and then I feel both stressed and mortified as well as angry about being misunderstood.  Oh well.  Life is hard, but there are alternatives.  At least there’s one.  It becomes more enticing by the day.


*I added this footnote later to note that, as I walked from the train to the office, the clouds overhead were all moving consistently and rapidly west-northwest, which seems to indicate, if my reasoning is correct, that the center of the hurricane is still southwest of here, probably out in Gulf of Mexico for the moment, though I haven’t checked the reports yet this morning.

[Added note:  Since there’s a hurricane a-blowing, I decided to embed my cover of the Radiohead song “How to Disappear Completely” below, because the third verse includes the words, “Fireworks and blown speakers, strobe lights and hurricanes.”  I’ll also embed the original below that; it’s one of Radiohead’s most beautiful songs.]

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.

His intellect is not replenished; he is only an animal, only sensible in the duller blogs.

Hello and good morning.  It’s Thursday, the “traditional” day for my “traditional” weekly blog post, and so I began with one of the variations of my traditional “Hello and good morning” greetings.  I’m probably the only person even to notice such things, let alone to care, but I can’t seem to help but do both.

I don’t have many interesting things to report about myself lately, as you probably know, since I’m still not writing any fiction, and I haven’t played any music—either in the sense of playing an instrument, such as a guitar or cello or keyboard, or playing music on a device just to listen to it—in recent weeks, either.

Yesterday, though, when I was taking out garbage from the office, I encountered the little owl below, of whom I got a few grainy pictures and even a grainy video (it was still pretty dim out, and I didn’t want to try to get too close and scare the creature).  The video is silent because my phone, due to the humidity, had done as it often does and gone into headphones mode, even though there were no headphones attached to it.

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The owl and I startled each other nicely, because when I came out, it was barely three feet from me.  We both jumped a little, almost identically and simultaneously.  I’m pretty sure, after doing some Google searching, that it’s an Eastern Screech Owl, perhaps a juvenile one.  It didn’t fly away from me, just sort of hopped and trotted, but its wings appeared functional and symmetrical from what I could see, with no clear sign of injury.  After I made the video, it let me get about 4 feet away, where I knelt down and said hello.  It looked healthy and not terribly alarmed.

There is quite a lot of wildlife in south Florida, and particularly there are many birds and reptiles.  In fact, I wouldn’t be surprised if the owl and its ilk are gorging themselves on the many lizards, including the unusually large number of young iguanas we’ve had lately.

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Earlier this week, I saw the subject of this picture outside in the back, and it ran and ran, then I went past a construction dumpster, carrying garbage destined for a more standard dumpster, past where it had been.  I thought it might have already headed toward the little, wooded seating area in the shopping plaza, but then I realized it had tried to climb away only to find itself in the pictured basket, apparently puzzled about what it should do next.

Iguanas don’t seem to tend to be that all that bright.

We’ve had some other life in the long alley behind the office, including some good-sized frogs and their tadpoles, and what I think is a Cuban Knight Anole, pictured below, and one of which I saw quite a while back on the fence beside the house in which I live.

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But perhaps the most interesting—in some senses—life form encountered was that seen in this video, in a wooden fence behind the aforementioned slightly wooded, rather pleasant, outdoor seating area in the shopping plaza/strip mall.

There was a time in my life when I would have been terrified even to get this close to such a swarm, but nowadays I just find it fascinating, and I wasn’t the only one.  I’m not sure what I meant when I asked about where the bears are in the video—apparently it was a sensible joke, because my coworker laughed about it.  But all I can think of now is fictional bears trying to get honey from beehives, a la Winnie the Pooh or similar.  And I don’t know why I should have thought of such a thing, even for comical purposes.

Oh, well.  I say and think a lot of things that are bizarre and peculiar, even to myself.

Of course, there is other “wildlife” in south Florida, both native species, like the owl, and invasive species, like the iguanas, the anole, and the humans.  There are other mammals besides humans, as well.  Around the house in which I currently live, there are of course quite a few semi-stray cats, and last night when going out back, I encountered a youngish male raccoon, who was at first nervous of me, though he hadn’t even realized I was there until he practically walked into me, at which time he retreated a bit—apparently I’m pretty quiet.  I spoke calmly to him, and he seemed reassured enough to come back past me to go wherever he was going, through a gap in the fences.  I took no photos, but who hasn’t seen raccoons before?

There’s plenty of food in the neighborhood for an enterprising raccoon or twelve, so I’m not surprised he looked quite healthy.  I know he has older kin, because I’ve seen other, chunkier relatives (presumably) of his in the area in the past, including once what I believe was a mother with her child.  There are also at least two opossums, probably a mother and child based on their relative sizes.

It’s all rather interesting, I suppose.  Unfortunately, nothing about me or my life is nearly as interesting as these animals, except perhaps in the “Chinese curse”* sense.  I still have my usual chronic pain, and this morning my back and side were quite stiff, so before I got dressed I rolled on lots and lots of “Icy Hot”.  I don’t think that was a good idea, because all I have now is that irritating, burning sensation all around my skin in the left half of my midsection, overlaying the stiffness and pain that was already there and persists.

Maybe such products do their work by making you feel relief when they fade away, so you think you feel better when you’ve just reverted to baseline.  It would be a pretty good joke by way of a pain-treating product.

Icy Hot does actually tend to help when I’ve got inflammation and soreness in joints, such as the base of my thumb, so I don’t want to denigrate it too much.  I’m just speaking tongue in cheek—which is a good way to set yourself up to bite your tongue badly if you hit a bump or just forget what you’re doing with your tongue.

That’s about all I have for today.  At least there are some interesting animals, and some exceptionally mediocre pictures and videos of some of them.  If it weren’t for all the people (me included) south Florida would be a really cool—though actually quite muggy and hot—place to be.

Wherever you are, please take care of yourselves and your loved ones.  Relish the time you have with them; it is finite, and you will not necessarily have any warning before it comes to an end.  Revel in your time, as Tyrel said to Roy.

TTFN


*I.e., “May you live in interesting times.”

You Were and Have Been Warned

Well, as I warned you would happen, it’s Saturday, and I’m doing a blog post, because I work today.  And, as I also warned you, I did in fact post my video The Superman Neutrino Hypothesis to YouTube yesterday afternoon, and I’ll embed it here, below this sentence.

As you’ll see when you watch it (or have seen, if you’ve already watched it), it’s just a bit of meandering, rather silly stuff, with me applying scientifically valid physical thoughts and questions (and making a few arithmetic errors along the way) to the nature of a comic book hero—the most archetypal comic book hero, though never one of my personal favorites—whose powers have always been rather puzzling to me.

Not that such puzzlement is surprising or unusual.  There’s no good explanation for most of the many powers superheroes have.  I think the closest I’ve seen to someone trying to give a “mundane” physical explanation for a superpower was when, in the first Spider-Man movie, they zoomed in on Peter Parker’s fingers and we saw squillions of tiny little gripping projections growing out of his fingers.  Presumably the same thing was happening with his toes.

But then, if that’s the explanation for his ability to stick to and climb walls, how does it work when he’s wearing gloves and boots?  Did he somehow design a special fabric so fine and porous that it would let this “stickiness” come through, undiminished?  How in the world did a teenager from Queens, however brilliant he might be, come up with such a thing?

At least Sam Raimi had the sense not to have Peter Parker just invent his webbing—which would be an almost Nobel-worthy breakthrough in materials science and engineering and possibly condensed matter physics—in his little house in a poor neighborhood in Queens.  Then again, Raimi still had to make the webbing come from Peter’s wrists, for valid, story-based reasons, but that fact is rather odd.  No spider secretes web from near the ends of its legs, but rather from glands in its posterior (or “abdomen”).

If Peter had developed a more natural bodily location for the production of his webbing, that would have made for an awkward superhero, huh?  Raimi was probably right not to do that.

Anyway, that’s pretty much all I have to talk about for today.  This is quite a departure for me in terms of post length, and I don’t know if people in general will be happy or disappointed that it’s so comparatively short.  It doesn’t matter much, either way, though.  I’m just not interested in writing much, today.  I’m not interested in doing much.  My back and legs have been acting up even worse than usual these past several days, and that’s saying something.  In addition, and possibly exacerbated by that pain, I’m almost always stressed out, whether at work or at the house or even during my commute, though the latter is perhaps the least stressful time.

It really gets old.  I’ve got to do something about all this; it’s just not worth the effort to keep going, especially when there’s really nothing at all to which to look forward.  My “epic quest” looks harder to carry out when my pain is so severe, though I’m trying to find ways to counter that.  Otherwise, I feel like just giving up on it, and on everything else, and just shutting down the game.

I guess we’ll see what happens.

Faces Look Ugly When You’re Alone

Well, it’s Tuesday, it’s morning, and as usual, I don’t have any idea what I’m going to write about today.  That didn’t stop me yesterday, of course, from writing quite a bit about various numbers and digits and physics and whatnot, and even choosing a nice paraphrase of a lyric from a song by the fictional band Spinal Tap as my title.  But I don’t think I’m going to have anything nearly as fun (to me) to write about today.

I suppose this is the sort of issue my therapists have had to deal with at various times in the past*:  is he just going to ramble on about some curious set of facts that popped into his head and struck his interest, and that he wants to share with someone else because he thinks it’s interesting, or is he going to be utterly—and sometimes contagiously—depressed?

Actually, for some people, even the first option might be depressing.

Of course, therapists get paid to deal with such things, so it’s hard to feel too sorry for them, though I always kind of did, even so.  I’ve usually felt bad for almost anyone who finds themselves forced to deal with me, even if they’re being paid to do so, and even if they are (like you) coming to read my words voluntarily.  I suppose it’s probably a kind of projection; I don’t like myself, nor do I like to deal with myself most of the time, so I assume other people find me as unpleasant as I find myself.  Of course, they at least get me in smaller chunks than those in which I get myself, which is basically a continuous stream**.

Still, I suppose being exposed to my written thoughts in chunks of 1300 words or so (I think that was about how long yesterday’s blog post was) isn’t so bad.  At least you don’t have to live with me.  Everyone who has ever had to live with me, from my parents to my spouse to my children, has ended up deciding that it was not worth the effort, and they didn’t want to do it anymore.  So they don’t.  To be fair, my parents have since died, after having reversed course and helped me out through some real difficulties, but they still didn’t have to live with me.

It’s weird, isn’t it?  There are people who don’t really want to be around you…but they don’t want you to kill yourself, either.  And all the various clichés about why you shouldn’t commit suicide talk about how it will hurt the people who love you and whatnot.  Okay, probably not all the clichés.  But a lot of them.

Weirdly enough, it has traction, that argument.  The anticipatory guilt actually gets in the way, that feeling of not wanting to cause sorrow for people who don’t even want to be around you, and who in fact are not around you, but who don’t want you to die, because then they would feel “sad”, which I guess is a euphemism for “guilty”.

The funny thing is, if you simply disappeared—not in any kind of dramatic sense, but simply in the sense of no longer being someone they heard from or about—they probably would never even notice that you were gone, except maybe, upon rare occasion, when something triggered the thought, “I wonder what ever happened to him?”  Then they would shrug and go on about their day.

It’s bizarre to feel bound to the world by ties to distant people whom you don’t want to hurt or inconvenience, and who would ask you not to die if given the chance, but who don’t seem to mind thereby condemning you to a life of daily suffering, all alone, without any apparent available cure or recourse, just because your death would cause them a passing pang.  It’s very strange.

It doesn’t exactly seem moral to me.  I mean, I know there are people who say that depression is a passing thing, that suicide is a long-term answer to a short-term problem, all those trite memes, but I’ve had dysthymia (aka chronic depression) since I was a teenager at least—so, for more than thirty years—and apparently, I’ve had “ASD” since I was born (or before, technically), and trust me, nature is NOT guaranteed to give you only problems that you can handle or solve.  Nature is allowed to destroy you—indeed, it will destroy you eventually—and it is allowed to do so swiftly or slowly, mercifully or with Lovecraftian cruelty.

Believe me, I’ve seen it.  You have, too, though you might not be willing to admit it to yourself.

It’s so very strange.  We don’t want other people to destroy themselves so they can at least escape thereby from a life dominated by suffering—from whatever source, of whatever nature—but we don’t want to go to the trouble actually to try to relieve such people’s suffering.  That would require a lot of work.  So we’ll manipulate and cajole and occasionally reach out and try to discourage someone who feels suicidal from going through with their escape plans.

Sometimes we’ll even lock them up by force (or, well, we’ll have someone else do that for us).  And we’ll thereby leave them suffering because, I’m sorry to inform you, we don’t have very good and reliable treatments for depression/dysthymia, particularly associated with “neurodivergent” circumstances***, or for many kinds of chronic pain, and so a life can be both solitary and dominated by discomfort (mental, emotional, and physical) for decades at a time without significant respite.  And while Cognitive Behavioral Therapy, with and without SSRIs and other antidepressants and whatnot, can improve things to some degree, none of them have been studied for very long-term outcomes very well—there’s no money for that—and there’s no treatment that works for everyone.

It gets old.  It’s a lot to handle on one’s own.

Anyway, I don’t know the point of all this, but really, if you’re trying to talk someone out of suicide or something like that, don’t tell them not to do it because it would hurt you unless you’re going to put your money where your mouth is, so to speak.  If you are able and willing, then yes, for God’s sake, do help!  PLEASE!  Don’t expect people who are mentally ill to be able to help themselves.  That’s absurd and frankly idiotic.  It’s like typing the words “Change your operating system from Android to iOS” into your smartphone’s search bar and expecting it to do so.  It’s like telling someone with a severed leg just to grow it back and expecting them to cast aside their crutches or prostheses, to rise, and to walk away on a new limb, as though the notion just hadn’t occurred to them until you suggested it.  It’s like telling someone just to choose to stop having lupus, or asthma, or cancer and expecting them to be all better.  It’s not something a person can just bootstrap themselves out of.  Such people are going to need initiative from other people if those other people really, actually want them to survive and (perhaps) thrive.

But if you’re not actually going to try to help, then maybe you shouldn’t try to guilt someone into not killing themselves.  Maybe you should just shut the fuck up.

Actually, maybe I should do that.  I’m not being very positive and I’m not getting anywhere.  I apologize.


*That’s “in the past” because I no longer go to therapy.  It’s too expensive, I don’t have the time or the wherewithal to get to a therapist, the BetterHelp online experiment I tried didn’t last long before my therapist had to take maternity leave, and I hate trying to start all over again with someone new; difficulty feeling comfortable with other people is one of my big problems.  Anyway, obviously it has all never had many long term benefits.

**One might imagine that it’s broken up by sleep, but weirdly enough, I never feel that I “get away” from myself in sleep, and I certainly don’t sleep very continuously.  I rarely sleep for more than an hour or so before waking up at least for a moment, looking around, realizing that I’ve only been sleeping for an hour or so, and that there was no reason to wake up.  Then I try to go back to sleep, succeed for a short while, and begin the cycle again until finally it’s late enough that I might as well just get up.  The last good, restful night of sleep I can remember happened in the mid-nineties, in White Plains, New York, at 205 Pondside Drive.  It was amazing!

***This is neither surprising nor anything for humans to feel too bad about.  The brain is the most complicated thing humans know in the universe, by a significant margin, and everyone is a very long way from understanding it fully.  Rocket science is easy.  Neuroscience is hard.

He’s back…and this time, it’s personal (like all the other times)

It’s Wednesday morning (just shy of five o’clock this time), and I’ll begin this blog post by apologizing to anyone who has been reading my near-daily posts, and was expecting a blog post yesterday, and was worried about me when none arrived*.

I’m afraid that either something I ate Monday, or perhaps the side effects of a rather gooney bug bite or sting that I got on my left forearm and that had swelled quite a bit (or both things, perhaps) caused me to have both some tummy trouble and some general agitation and restlessness overnight on Monday, to the extent that I got—I don’t think I’m exaggerating—fewer than twenty minutes’ sleep, and so I was simply exhausted and washed out Tuesday, though thankfully most of the other symptoms had resolved themselves.

It’s a bit frustrating that I felt so bad Monday night, because during the day I did quite a nice job of being reasonably healthy.  After walking four and a half miles each on Saturday and Sunday, I walked a total of about eight and a third miles on Monday, with only some very minor blistering between the first two toes of my right foot as side-effects.  I think that’s not half bad.  I certainly was more than adequately re-hydrated by the end of the day, because I’d been fairly aggressive about that; it was around ninety degrees here for most of the day, and the humidity was at least that high a percentage, so I wanted to make sure not to sabotage myself.

For those of you who may be wondering about the possibility that my extensive walking had been responsible for what happened Monday night, I can only say that I have considered that possibility and think it unlikely.  The symptoms were not typical of those that I’ve had previously after overexerting myself; indeed, in those types of circumstances I tend to get tired and sleepy, not tense and jittery and belly-achey.

If anything, I felt particularly healthy once I arrived at the house and got hydrated.  It was distantly akin to the runner’s high I used to get when I was able to run a lot, though it was less impressive.  Whereas the way I felt on Monday night was…well, markedly unpleasant and different from any of those kinds of sensations.

Anyway, that’s passed, and now it’s just a matter of getting beyond the minor blistering, which really only happened because of the increased amount of walking I did, not because of any inherent shoe problems.  I think I’ve adjusted for all of those, and certainly I had no shoe/foot difficulties on Saturday or Sunday, which is worth a cheer from me.  In a sense, this is me cheering.  It’s about as enthusiastic as I get for anything, anymore.

I’ve also got a new backpack that I need to test out to make sure there’s no chafing-related or other adjustments needed (though, to be fair, that’s the sort of thing that can be done as one goes along).  It’s pretty neat, though I feel almost disloyal for getting it.

You see, I’ve had the same black Adidas backpack for several years now, using it every workday, and while it’s clearly not brand new—the shoulder straps show that they’ve been used, and are more supple than those of a brand new backpack would be—it’s in terrific shape.  The zippers are all perfectly functional, all its interior separations are intact and effective, it has decent water resistance (it’s not waterproof, of course, but it’s not meant to be), and its computer carrying section is in excellent shape.  I would recommend it to anyone who was looking for a daily use backpack that is going to see reasonably heavy employment.

Regrettably, it’s no longer available, but this is what it looks like.

my backpack

Unfortunately, though that backpack is quite roomy and excellent, I fear it doesn’t have enough room to carry all the things I’m planning to bring when I go on a long trek.  Those things will not be particularly heavy—I don’t want to make the burden too great and thereby create worse obstacles to my progress—but they may be rather bulky, so it would be good to have enough space to work with.

Of course, through all of this, whatever I end up doing, whether on this blog or through any high-risk undertaking I mean to take under, I hope to find either a new desire to live—which I don’t have now—or to die trying to find it.  I’m fully aware, though, that I might achieve the ironic outcome of learning to want to live again…and then dying right after that.  This would in some ways be a shame, but in some ways, it would also be fucking hilarious.

In any case, it would be better than my current daily internal experience, which is one of quiet** disintegration, disorientation***, anhedonia, isolation, neurodivergence (apparently, though I suppose that has always been there if it’s there), and above all, a profound and persistent and occasionally violent self-loathing.  It would be worth the irony of dying right after learning to love and desire life, just to have achieved that love and desire even for a moment.

Of course, I don’t honestly think that’s likely.  I will probably never again have any serious intellectual attachment to my life****, and I doubt that I will ever again feel any real joy in existing, but past performance is no guarantee of future results, as all those investment firms are forced, by law, to say, really quickly, right at the end of their ads.  I hope to find out if I’m wrong.


*Ha ha.  Don’t be silly, right?

**It must be quiet, because it doesn’t seem to disturb other people much.

***Why is that word not “disoriention”?  We don’t say “disintegratation”.

****The biological utility functions that drive one to fear death and pain are not easily shut down, unfortunately.  But they can be worked around with enough determination and effort.

It’s the end of the (modern, neotraditional, work-) week as we know it, and I feel…

It’s Friday again.  I’m making that announcement right from the start, in case anyone is surprised by that fact, or wasn’t specifically aware, or—I suppose—is reading this on some day other than the day I post it (or some multiple of seven days after that).

There’s nothing much new that’s good going on in the world since yesterday.  Or, well, there’s nothing new that’s good going on in my life, nor among the events that I see and read about in the news or perceive from the other people with whom I interact.  I would guess that there really are probably quite a few good things, new and otherwise, in the world, by most any reasonable definition of the word “good” you might choose, as long as you’re not being contrary.  Unfortunately, for me anyway, few to none of those good things—new or otherwise—seem to have much to do with me.

For instance, I haven’t written any new fiction.  That may actually be a good thing in and of itself, though.  I don’t know that my fiction is a net good in the world, or even a gross good, though sometimes it is definitely good and gross (ha ha).

I haven’t said or done anything pleasant or positive when interacting with other people since yesterday, that I can recall.  I also haven’t played any music, though I have listened to some, briefly.

Between the last sentence and this one, I just ran my thumb along the surfaces of the fingers of my left hand, and they feel very close to being as smooth and thin as those of the right hand.  Similarly, typing feels almost the same in both hands, though there’s still a residual difference of feeling.  My calluses are fading quickly.

It’s not “the last day of the week” for me—I will work tomorrow, which means I’ll be writing another post tomorrow, if all goes as expected, and WordPress will congratulate me on a new streak of writing.  It’s just as well that I’m working tomorrow, since it’s not as though I have anything better to do.  And it’s not as though I would be able just to lie around quietly in the house in which I currently live, because of the various and sundry things that are being done regarding updating and improving it and getting ready potentially to move other people in and move me to another room.

That house itself has become a nearly constant source of annoyance in recent months.  It’s certainly not someplace to which I can retire in peace and quiet at the end of the day.  I need to get away from it.  I need to get away from everything.  Or I need to get everything and everyone else away from me, but since it’s much easier to remove myself than to affect literally everything else in the universe, that’s probably the best approach to take.

I’m in quite a lot of pain this morning; I don’t know if it’s apparent in my writing.  Probably not, unless I explicitly write “I am in pain”, or words to that effect.  Written language doesn’t carry any embedded, secondary signal about pain or the lack thereof.  I suppose some fictional, superhumanly perceptive psychologist might well be able to infer the fact that I’m in worse-than-usual pain by my general attitude and word choice and the like, but I’m pretty convinced that such Holmesian mind-sleuths are entirely fictional.  Real world neurotypical people do have some innate ability to “read the room”, as they say, but it’s a very coarse instrument, and none of them seem any good at reading me, let alone getting messages from my writing.  Even when I write something that feels flagrantly over-obvious like, “I want to die,” my words seem to fall upon deaf eyes (so to speak).

Of course, there’s been no day for many years now that I haven’t started in pain (and continued thusly), but some days are worse than others—this is almost inescapably the case regarding any multifactorial aspect of the world.  Even in Antarctica in the winter, some days are colder than others.

Still, today’s pain is rather above the mean, at least subjectively.  And the main issue with pain, as a source of suffering, is the subjective experience, which is not anything currently measurable from outside.  I know that no new, serious damage has been done to my body since yesterday*, but nevertheless my pain is significantly worse now than it was when I went to bed last night.  These things happen, and often.  They don’t really help me stay cheerful, so I apologize to anyone who came to this blog hoping for some whimsy.

I think I’ll start to end now—with the blog post, at least.  I hope to draw to a close on all other things in the very near future as well, if I can only work up the gumption to do it, but there will probably be further bulletins about that as events warrant.  Or maybe the only bulletin about it will be the sudden cessation of bulletins, from which readers will be forced to draw their own conclusions.

It’s not likely to happen between today and tomorrow, though, because that would be rude to people at work, especially to the person who would have to fill in for me tomorrow.  I don’t like to be too rude if I can help it, and I don’t like to inconvenience the people around me more than necessary.  I’m already an unpleasant enough presence to have to endure on a regular basis; I can at least try to avoid making too big a mess for other people to clean up.  Still, I’m quite certain that, after a brief period of minor inconvenience, it will be overall better for everyone else for me to be removed from their equations.


*Well…I’m pretty sure.  I suppose I could have had some suddenly worsening degenerative process, or a malignancy, or some infection that could have developed rapidly overnight.  Still, most of those come with other symptoms and/or signs that I think I would notice.  Also, this exacerbation is within the character of innumerable other localized pain exacerbations that I’ve experienced in the past, so I don’t think it’s unreasonable to conclude provisionally that no new damage beyond the steady daily accumulation of entropy has happened to my body.

Random thoughts about nothing on a Tuesday morning

It’s Tuesday, June 28th, 2022.  It’s not the day for my usual blog post, (that’s on Thursdays).  I don’t currently have any more of Outlaw’s Mind to share, since I posted the rest of what I had last week, and I certainly haven’t written any more of it since.  Heck, since last Thursday, I’ve only written about 800 words on The Dark Fairy and the Desperado, and I haven’t decided if I’m going to share that at all or not.  But I felt the urge to write something to share for this blog, so I’m writing now, though I don’t have much more idea what it will say—despite the fact that I’m writing it—than you probably have while reading it.

I did an “extra” post last weekend, sharing the YouTube videos of a couple of Shakespeare soliloquys I did on my cell phone camera.  Those were somewhat fun.  In the interim, I did another quick video of the opening soliloquy of Richard III and posted that to YouTube.  Here it is, in case you want to watch it.

I’ve also, since that time, recorded videos of myself “performing” the first act of Macbeth, with the idea that I will edit it down and put in some captions and subtitles and title cards for scene changes and character identification, and then share that, and if people like it, continue to do so with the rest of the play.  I even started editing the video, but then yesterday, I had an issue with saving it, and I lost a good chunk of the editing I’d done, which is very frustrating.

Victor Frankl famously said that humans can endure nearly any hardship* if they have a reason to endure it, a meaning behind enduring it.  Conversely, however, if one has no meaning, no reason to do things, then even minor setbacks can be utterly enervating.  So right now, I’m feeling a bit deflated regarding my Shakespearean ambitions.  Anyway, I’m sure no one really wants to look at my face for too long at a time.  It’s probably an environmental health hazard.

I also haven’t really played my guitar(s) in over a week, now that I think about it…or at least nearly a week.  I’ve been getting soreness/inflammation in the tendons of my right hand and forearm from picking strumming, etc., which would seem absurd to me, given the paucity of my playing ability, if it weren’t for the fact that it is indeed happening.  Anyway, I’m getting tired of doing it, so I suppose it’s just as well.  I’m getting tired of practically everything.  If I were one of those people who stop eating when depressed, at last I would lose some weight, but I’m one of the ones who tends to gain weight, which leaves me feeling worse about myself than I already did.  It’s most unsatisfactory.

I have an idea for a sort of “epic quest”—it would really only be epic to me, frankly, and it would probably have no impact on anyone else whatsoever—and I’ve even solved many of the problems I had with shoes/feet that were getting in the way of it, which I tested a bit this weekend.  So that’s good.  If I decide to undertake such a thing, I’m sure I’ll be sharing more about it here, so you all will come to know it—those of you who actually read my full blog posts, anyway.

Deep down, though, I think I’m just feeling very discouraged, and very alone, and yet I don’t have the capacity to reach out and make friends and connect with people, let alone to ask for help; I don’t even frankly feel like I’m the same species as the people around me.  I feel like a changeling, like some different kind of creature than all the other creatures in the world—an alien whose mind got accidentally implanted in a human body…or perhaps it was implanted deliberately, as part of some scientific experiment, but one which requires the subject not to know of the experiment, to avoid bias.  Or perhaps it’s an experiment for which the funding was cut off right in the middle of the process, and the whole apparatus was just packed up, and all testing and connections were shut down, without anyone remembering to rescue the subject of the test.

I know this is all not really the case, just in case you’re wondering.  I don’t really think I’m a changeling, or an alien emplaced here either deliberately or by accident.  I may be a mutant in a sense, but only in a boring one, a mundane occurrence found throughout biology.  Mutants are real things; they really happen.  If this weren’t the case, there would be no evolution, and there would be no cancer.  But I don’t really think that I’m an android or an alien or some supernatural thing.  I may be unsane, but I’m not insane—not that way, anyway—as far as I know.

Anyway, I’m just writing this because I want to write something, but I have no interest in writing fiction right now, any more than pretty much anyone has in reading my fiction.  I’m tired.  I’m bored.  I’m uninterested in the things in the world, because for the most part, they seem stupid and chaotic and utterly pointless, and yet people don’t even realize just how stupid the things they do seem to be**.  This doesn’t apply to everyone, all the time, of course.  There are people who are not stupid, at least not all the time and not about everything.  Perhaps no one is stupid all the time about everything.  But the people—or the moments of non-stupidity—are tiny little flecks of diamond in a very large, very pungent, and extremely putrid dung heap.  It’s almost worse to know that they are there and will be not only overwhelmed and squashed but utterly unappreciated by the apes around them, including themselves, than if they weren’t there at all.

“How weary, stale, and flat seem to me all the uses of this world,” as Hamlet said, in another of his soliloquys, earlier in the play than the most famous one.  I can relate.  Except that, I know, it is I who am weary, stale, and flat—which makes sense, given that it’s more likely that the way the universe, or at least the human race, seems horrible is in the eye of the beholder than in the actual entirety of the human race.  Occam’s Razor, though it is double-edged, and can cut you if you use it carelessly, is nevertheless a useful guideline.  It’s more likely that I am pointless than that the world is—though of course, it’s entirely possible for both things to be so, and in fact, from a certain, objective point of view, I’m reasonably convinced that this is the case.  And it’s certainly more ethically tenable to say that, if the existence of most of humanity causes me pain, it is I who should vacate the premises, not try to destroy the rest of the human race, satisfying though that possibility might sometime seem to be.

I’m so tired; I don’t know what to do.  I’m so tired; my mind is set on…who?  Or, rather, on whom?  “No one”, is the answer.  There is no one there.  I am alone.  The air bites now, the sky is grey—as is the forest and the field and the ocean and the river and the lake and the cities and everything else—and I am alone.


*And he would know.

**And maybe, to them, those things don’t seem stupid.  I must be fair and consider that possibility.

An old man, broken with the storms of state, is come to lay his weary blogs among ye

Hello and good morning, as always.  It’s Thursday—the first Thursday and the second day in June of 2022—and so, of course, it is likewise time for the first edition of my weekly blog post in June of 2022.

I posted a section of Outlaw’s Mind on Tuesday of this week, but it was still May then.  It was quite a short section; not much happened in it other than Timothy exploring some of what goes on in his titular mind when he practices mindfulness meditation.  It’s looking good for him for right now, and he will find meditation both interesting and beneficial, but of course, this being a story by me, it’s wise not to become sanguine.  It won’t be too long before things take strange, dark, and unexpected turns.

I’ve also been working well on The Dark Fairy and the Desperado, having written almost six thousand words already this week so far, and that’s without writing on Saturday or Sunday*.  Our heroes are now on their way to their first quest and have just encountered one of the characters I’ve been planning for this story almost as long as I’ve had the story idea.  That’s kind of nice.  I’m looking forward to their interactions.

I do wish that I could write full time**.  Then I wouldn’t be commuting as much (obviously) and thus I wouldn’t take the pounding that appears to be worsening my back and leg and hip pain daily, and I could also write most of my stories and books and everything even more quickly than I already do.  That would be nice, because I have more stories to write still than I probably have time in my life.  I guess that’s better than being in the opposite situation, but it’s still a bit frustrating.  I’m sure you can all relate.

It would be nice to win the lottery, not so that I could be idly rich, but so that I wouldn’t have to keep my “day job” (though I do like my boss and most of my coworkers).  That’s not likely to happen, since, as in the joke about the devout religious man who prays to win the lottery, I never buy a ticket.  I understand the mathematics of the situation too well ever to play it except as a lark, and I just don’t find it interesting enough to bother doing it for fun.

As for everything else—well, that’s mostly it, I guess.  I’ve done no new music recording, but I still diddle around on the guitar for a bit more mornings than not.  But the recent and ongoing exacerbations of my back and leg issues are really taking the wind out of my sails with respect to doing much of anything at all.  Also, I’ve had a secondary change*** in my living circumstances that, being the way that I am, I find quite stressful, so that coming home from work is no more a thing to which to look forward than is going to work in the morning.  It’s not seeming to get any easier over time.  I guess this is part of being apparently “neurodivergent” as they say…because we must have identifying labels for ourselves and our tribes****, mustn’t we?  Heaven forbid that we should simply be individuals without some external form of “identity” to separate us and alienate us from whole masses of other people.

That’s a sore spot, obviously, and I’ve got enough of those already, so I’m going to leave that topic.

And that’s about it for the moment.  I don’t want to bring everyone down too much, so I won’t talk about certain other things that always preoccupy me.  I’ve been tilting at that windmill for months, now, without much measurable benefit to speak of—mostly without people even seeming to notice—so fuck it.  I’m giving up.  I guess I never really expected anything to come of it in the first place, and goodness knows I don’t deserve any help or rescue or even sympathy.  Not that “deserve” is a concept that makes sense, anyway.  All such notions are mere fictions—often useful ones, admittedly—created by humans who made the error of thinking the words represent something real, something overarching and even cosmic, rather than a provincial, parochial custom or ritual relating to the social structure of a single primate species on a single world orbiting a single sun among hundreds of billions in its galaxy, which is one of possibly a trillion galaxies in the accessible universe.  It’s not important.  Maybe nothing is.

Nevertheless, I’m sure there are people who are important to you, and it’s perfectly reasonable for you to reach out to and look out for them, and to enjoy their company and be thankful for their existence.  If you’re up to it*****, look out for yourselves as well, and try to be as happy and as healthy as you can.

TTFN

empty hall (2)


*Most people don’t count Saturday as this week, and I don’t really, either, but I just wanted to make it clear that I’m referring to my writing since last Friday, and I did not write last weekend at all.  I didn’t really do anything last weekend but try to rest my back and legs, which may sound good, but it gets old after a very short while.

**Of course, if wishes were horses, we’d all be shoulder deep in horseshit.

***By which I mean that it was not I who changed anything, but the person with whom I had been living, and those with whom I am now living, all without input from me.

****To be fair, I don’t have a “tribe”.  I’m not really a member of any group or collection or way of thinking or identity agglomeration, or whatever.  I don’t even feel like a human, to be honest.  Not that it’s any big loss not to be part of that disg-race.

*****I’m not.