The wine of life is drawn, and the mere lees is left this vault to blog of.

Hello and good morning, all.  Though I suppose I should leave it up to each of your own individual intuitions and criteria about whether it really is a “good” morning, and indeed, what such a term even could mean.  But, really, it’s what they call “a polite nothing” I suppose, because it has no other purpose than being a ritual greeting.


It’s June 8th.  In 10 days it will be “Fathers’ Day” (I’m not sure about the “official” placement of the apostrophe).  In 21 days it will be my wedding anniversary, so to speak; anyway, it will have been 32 years since I got married, and I will have been divorced for 2 years longer than I was married, which is a crappy, crappy milestone.  I’ve also already gone roughly 10 years without seeing my kids in person, which is getting close to being as long as I was a part of their lives.

What an utter waste of years and effort it has been for me to be alive since then.

I’m writing this on my phone still/again, at the house, before heading for the bus stop.  There’s not much going on so far today, except to note that I had an unusually bad sleep last night, even for me, so I’m starting the day already feeling exhausted.

As you may recall, yesterday I did not take any “antidepressant”, and I likewise have not taken any today.  I did feel less tense yesterday than I had the days before, and that was certainly a relief, but it’s the sort of thing that happens whenever I change something like that.  I had a brief elevation in my mood when I started the Wort, also.  I suspect it’s just a placebo effect, and/or a reverse version of the same.

Anyway, I can’t blame either starting or stopping the stuff for my sleep problems.  They were there before any meds and they’ll be there after them, probably for the rest of my life.  Hell, I wouldn’t be surprised if I were to keep having sleep problems after I die.

Well…yes, I would.  Both the fact of still having sleep problems and having the ability to be aware of them would be quite surprising to me after I’m dead.  In fact, the ability to be surprised would be quite a surprise after I’m dead.  It would certainly be intriguing, as would the fact of being capable of being intrigued.  In fact, it’s hard to see that, if one is capable of surprise or intrigue or any other emotion, one should actually be considered “dead” in any useful sense.

Of course, I don’t think any of that is possible, really.  I’m quite convinced (provisionally, as always) that death entails merely oblivion, which is one of the things that makes it so appealing.  Indeed, my “Bayesian Prior” on that is so high that I would, so to speak, be willing to bet my life on it.  Admittedly, that’s a cheap bet, from my point of view, but I don’t have any right to bet anyone else’s life, so it’s all I have, worthless and disgusting though it may be.

Almost none of the various antidepressants I’ve taken have ever seemed to help my sleep.  Tricyclics, Effexor, Trazodone, Wellbutrin, Celexa/Lexapro and most other SSRIs…they didn’t make it better and some made it worse.  Only Paxil seemed at least to make me enjoy sleeping, which had never happened to me before, but its other effects were not good.  One downside was that I gained a lot of weight, and that’s not good in someone like me, who is constitutionally prone to overweight and its related effects.  That wasn’t the only problem, either.

Anyway, I don’t know why, but my depression, after initially responding to meds and therapy, has become tougher to treat over the years.  I don’t know if this is partly related to my apparent ASD, or whatever form of atypical, non-human neurology I have, or to something about the nature of depression, or to these and other factors mixed together.

What’s more, I don’t think anyone else in the world could actually know, either.  At most, at best, hypotheses could be made and tested, by me and by other medical/scientific people.  But it’s simply a fact that “we”, meaning all consciousnesses of which any of us are actually aware, don’t know well enough the nature of the normal functioning of the brain, let alone the nature of things like depression, dysthymia, autism spectrum disorders, insomnia (or in fact what sleep really does at all levels) very deeply and/or causally.  It’s extremely complex, and not enough resources have been or are put into the study.

We do spend a lot of money on science, but still more on war, and on politics, and on sporting events and so on.  Actually, I don’t know which if any of those things receives a greater proportion of civilizational resources than science does, but it feels as though it would be nice to divert at least some of the resources away from such things and into science.  The advancement of science is something that can benefit everyone, current and subsequent, especially since, once the information is learned, is discovered, it can (in principle) be shared at vanishingly small cost, to the potential benefit of the whole planet and its future inhabitants.

Of course, the company Elsevier apparently owns many of the premier scientific journals‒it did not originate them, it just bought them and is now rent-seeking through them‒and it not only charges a frankly obscene amount for subscriptions, but it even charges scientists who want to publish in the journals.  That is, in a sense, an actual white-collar crime against humanity, against civilization.

Such people deserve to be strapped down onto tables and have one drop of liquid Drano applied to their skin every hour, or perhaps even just every day, or somewhere in between, until it finally dissolves them away enough for it to kill them.  They could be kept alive in the meantime, and suffering for as long as possible, by IV infusions and naso-gastric feeding.

It’s just a thought.  Probably, even if I were given the power and resources to do so without the risk of consequences for me, I wouldn’t actually torture such people.  They’re just monkeys doing what monkeys do, after all.  But I might take away all their wealth and make them work at subsistence level jobs for the rest of their days.  It’s not the worst punishment, maybe, but getting medical and scientific knowledge out of the control of such people would be the real goal.

Anyway, I’m going to need to head to the bus stop here in a moment.  I feel tired and grumpy, and I’m not looking forward to anything about today at all, not even to its end, since the end of each day is merely a prelude to the dismal cycle of the next day and the next and so on.

I never look forward to going to bed, because going to bed merely ushers in the beginning of the next dreary, worthless day, probably to be faced with too little, too fragmented sleep, and with ongoing pain, and without being around or with any of the people I love.  It’s not the sort of thing to which one would look forward with anything better than weary resignation, and often with frank horror and disgust…and sometimes, honestly, with something akin to terror.

What are you gonna do?  That’s life.  It’s not for the faint-hearted.  And I cannot, in good conscience, recommend it without significant caveats and reservations and misgivings.


broken wine glasselectronic

The General Relativity of life-threatening depression

There’s a moment in the movie version of Interview with the Vampire in which Lestat and Louis are sitting around a table and the latter is looking at a candle flame.  Lestat begins, “There’s nothing in the world now that doesn’t hold some…” and Louis finishes “…fascination.”

I used to be sort of like that, I think.  I’ve since become much more the opposite:  There’s nothing in the world now that doesn’t hold some irritation/frustration.

Of course, I can’t blame the world, especially not given my prior converse (or obverse or whatever the hell the proper term is) attitude.  The problem is clearly with the eye of the beholder, and more importantly, with the mind to which that eye is attached.  I know this.  But knowing it doesn’t change the fact that each waking moment‒and I have far too few non-waking moments‒is at least a minor form of torture.  And the only escape I get from my mind is in the precious few hours of interrupted sleep I have at night.  I need a better solution.

Speaking of that, as I said in my impromptu post yesterday afternoon, I haven’t taken anything for depression today (unless you count caffeine, which does have some benefit for depression, according to some studies).  The Wort wasn’t helping and may have been making things worse.  It’s far too early to notice any difference so far, but hopefully by the middle of the day to the afternoon, I might at least feel less tense.

As I said yesterday afternoon, a work situation got me so frustrated that I kicked my black Strat, briefly kind of hoping to break it*.  All that broke was the high E string, which needed changing, anyway.  I did, as part of the collateral chaos, break my PSP, which I had bought so I could play Pangya, but that’s no big loss.  I also really bruised my right big toe (not my left one, as I mistakenly wrote last night in my obviously quite severe mental confusion‒I don’t think I’ve ever confused my right foot for my left foot before) but I don’t think it’s probably broken.  It’s black and blue, but not as painful as I would expect it to be if it were broken.

That wasn’t the only frustrating thing at the office.  In the morning, I tried very hard to convince one of the office workers that they shouldn’t come to me and say “we need paper cups for the front”, because that’s just trivia, and it’s inaccurate and exaggerated.  After all, no one will die or even become ill without paper cups, and I don’t use them at all, so there’s no “we” in that situation from my point of view.  I just keep track of the cups and order them for the office when they get low.  In any case, the word “need”, in my perception, is usually manipulative.  I find myself reverting to my old Ayn Rand reading and thinking about the fact that each person’s need is their particular problem.  But I couldn’t get her just to ask for cups instead of proclaiming a need.  Next time I should just say, “I’ll alert the media.”

Anyway, it’s not as though I won’t keep providing and doling out cups as long as I’m around, and I was probably the rude one in that situation.  I just have a pet peeve about people not being able to ask for things directly and politely.  All this isn’t helped by my chronic pain and sleep deprivation and the horrible, high-pitched tinnitus in my right ear that’s been going on for 15+ years (objectively) or forever (subjectively).

I’ve also recently taken to burning several mosquito bites that have been really bothering me.  It’s been raining a fair amount lately, and it’s hot, so the mosquitoes are out and about in force, and I’ve always been particularly tasty to them, it seems.  Finally, I got so frustrated with all the itching** that, over the past few days, I’ve taken to holding the end of a paper clip briefly in a torch type lighter and then pressing it against a mosquito bite.  This worked in the past, when I tried it once, and it has seemed to help some, but it does tend to leave scars.

Two days ago, a combination of a bite on the back of my hand and the frustration of the noise and chaos of the office (and people just doing whatever they please, with no backup for me from the boss when I try to see if we can be more orderly and time-sensitive) led me to take that torch lighter and apply the flame semi-directly to my right hand.  It lasted only an instant, and it hurt less than the metal does‒which makes some sense, given how metal conducts heat‒but it did raise a nice blister.

However, though it has since spontaneously drained, that blister seems less inflamed and quite a bit more superficial than the other marks.  Frankly, it doesn’t look as bad as the copious other plain, unburned mosquito bites, which are scabbed and inflamed and still itchy.

I also had/have a headache and some slight wooziness from literally banging my head against a wall and a door at various times out of frustration.

Why am I telling you all this?  I’m trying to give some hint as to how distressed I am.  I think maybe my sardonic, sarcastic, jokey style makes people think I’m not being serious about some things about which I am, in fact, deadly serious.  It’s my own fault, obviously‒my own need, you might say‒so I’m trying, in my own weird, absurd, idiotic way, to be more effective in my metaphorical screaming.

Because one thing that’s clear from my own point of view, anyway, is that I am spiraling closer and closer to the pitch-black event horizon, and my orbit is getting faster and is more chaotic, and I’m starting to be torn apart, and will soon “spaghettify” if I can’t break out of this gravity well.  But, as is the case with real black holes in general relativity, “distant” observers can’t see the local happenings well or at all, as my apparent time slows and my radiated light is redshifted out of existence.  I don’t know if that’s ironic or appropriate or what.

Today is payroll day, which is always extra stressful.  I guess we’ll see if the lack of antidepressant makes a difference, for better or for worse.

I honestly half expect each blog post to be my last‒the final photon that’s just barely able to clear the gravity well and get out into the universe, perhaps to be detected by someone who might recognize it for what it is…but probably not.  It’s a big cosmos, and it’s mostly empty and getting bigger and emptier by the instant.  But I continue to remain, against all possible use or benefit to anyone, least of all to me.

I’m an idiot.  I ought to give up and go.  It’s not worth the effort to resist gravity.  But it’s also so hard to fight the dumbass biological drives and the moronic, faint delusion of potential hope that somehow, something or someone might rescue me.

With any luck, something will take it all out of my hands.  I try to arrange such things when I can.  I guess I haven’t tried hard enough yet, but if I keep trying, sooner or later something will nudge me over the horizon.  Or, less likely, something will pull me away from it.

Whatever.  Who the fuck cares?

*I was overwhelmed at baseline anyway.  I had earplugs in my ears and wore tinted reading glasses even indoors to try to blunt all the sensory input, but it didn’t make much difference.

**I scratch until I bleed and scab, and unfortunately, topical stuff doesn’t seem to be helping the itch, even stuff with lidocaine in it.

I think I’m going to stop my antidepressant

It’s not working.  I don’t feel any less depressed or less stressed or less unable to tolerate the noise and chaos and other nonsense.  I very briefly had a lift in my mood–for about a few days–but I now strongly suspect that to have been a placebo effect.  Perhaps all that I’ve ever gained, such as it is, from antidepressants of any type or brand or what have you has all been placebo.  Anyway, it’s not like I feel any less like I want to die than I did whatever it was, six weeks or so ago, when I restarted.  If anything, I’m just spiraling farther downward.  So, I think I’m going to call it a failure, like most things I attempt, and just see what happens.

I kicked my black Strat in frustration today, but all I did was break a string (and bruised my left big toe), and broke the nearby retro PSP that I had.  Oh, well.  I feel like shit.  I feel tighter than any string of any guitar or cello or whatever.  I think I just need to go away, completely.  No one can do anything to help me, it seems, and I’m not able to help myself.  I’m just an unpleasant presence much of the time.  And I can’t sleep.  And I’m losing almost all of what little joy or interest I’ve had in anything.  I probably ought to take a dirt vacation*.

I don’t know what to do.  I don’t know how to do anything that would have any benefit whatsoever, to anyone at all.

Oh, by the way, I despise the new WordPress block editor functions that interfere with doing things the way one used to do it.  I’ve been paying for this domain and use for years, and for my other one that I almost never use.  I’m sick of things being changed when they were working fine.  It’s one thing to add functionality, to make more things available, but don’t do things that interfere with prior functionality that people were using, and for which they were paying.  That’s my message to WordPress.

Anyway, that’s completely an aside.  It’s just one of a seemingly limitless number of things that frustrate and stress me out.  Obviously, the problem is mainly just me.  And I don’t have very many options for what to do to solve that problem.  I’ve tried many things in the past, and obviously none have done very much.  I’m trying to eat right and exercise, I don’t have a drug or alcohol problem (unfortunately), I’m just a fucked up, faulty machine.  And I’m tired of it.  But the St John’s Wort isn’t helping so far.  And it may be making me more tense.  So I think I’m probably not going to take any more starting tomorrow.  And we’ll see how that makes me feel.

Honestly, I wish something would just kill me, preferably painlessly–or if painfully, maybe something prolonged so that maybe I’d get a chance to say goodbye to my kids, if they wanted.


*That’s like a dirt nap, but even longer.

Picked over by the worms and weird fishes

It’s Tuesday, and though it’s merely a pair of otherwise unrelated homophones, I like to think of ways in which Tuesday might be related to a “two’s” day.  So, here we go.

Well, it’s June sixth, the 6th day of the 6th month, so there are two sixes right there.  And 6 is an even number, so that’s always a multiple of two.  And, indeed, six is the product of the first two prime numbers (2 and 3), which provides extra fun.  The year, of course, has 2 twos in it:  2023.  However, that second part “23” kind of adds a third 6 to the day, which is a tad irritating, and slightly spoils the symmetry of the date.  Oh, well.  The world is almost never satisfying.

I’m writing on my smartphone again, today, because I thought yesterday’s writing went okay, and it’s nice to have a continuing break from carrying my laptop.  I’m sure that, before too long, I’ll wobble in the other direction like a poorly damped spring, and go back to using the laptop.  I guess it doesn’t matter.  Nothing matters.  Not just “nothing really matters” like in Bohemian Rhapsody, but nothing matters at all.  Full stop.

The logic of that conclusion is sort of similar to what I used in my video in which I stated that there is no life in the universe.  Of course, if one is splitting hairs, I will be the first to concede that the difference between truly zero life and a tiny, unnoticeably small amount of life is more glaring‒it’s a categorical difference‒than the difference between a tiny amount of life and a significant amount of life‒which is just a difference of degree, not of type.  But that’s all in how you look at it; again, “see” my video*.

Life is frustrating, and for me at least, there are very few compensations that counterbalance the frustration anymore.  Even the increasing success of the office lately means, for me, more work, with more sales to process and record, more new people coming and going on whom I have to keep records and process payroll, and more chaos in the office because of more different voices and noises, on top of the “music” that’s constantly playing, supposedly so people don’t get distracted by their coworkers’ phone conversations.

But how do they not get utterly distracted simply by the level and incoherence of the noise, the lion’s share of which comes from the effing “music”?

Also, with more and more people, there is always a greater chance that every day someone will have a sale that overflows into lunch time or past the official end of the day.  I hate that.  I don’t get to “go home for lunch” in any case, since I live more than 30 miles from the office and don’t have a car, so I’m sort of a natural resource, and people take advantage without even thinking about it.  But I need my mental breaks, and my break from the noise, and my chance to rest my back.

Also, quite apart from that, I simply hate people not following the clearly promulgated (but lamentably not enforced!) schedule.  People come in late, then they stay late, as if it doesn’t even occur to them how their actions might affect other people (which it probably doesn’t).  It’s reprehensible.

This issue, or this suite of issues, is not unique to my workplace; it’s horribly common in the human world.  But at least in some places there are consequences for people being lax about hours and timing‒there are penalties of one kind or another.  The only penalty in our office is my anger and frustration, which I do express, but which is not really seriously backed up by the boss, and so the only potential serious consequence is that, one of these days I’m going just to douse my desk and myself with lighter fluid and set it all on fire.  Or else I’ll do something else that’s similarly destructive and self-destructive.  Many’s the time I have contemplated smashing my black Strat guitar to bits.  And this is just counting yesterday**.

At least when people work late or run late in medical settings, it’s usually because illness and injury (and the treatment thereof) don’t follow schedules; things take as long as they take.  Also, I’ve never been in a hospital‒indeed, in any of the various other industries in which I’ve worked‒in which people thought they needed to have constant, loud, background “music” to be able to do their jobs (not counting pit orchestras, in which one makes the “background” music).

It’s pathetic.  I don’t endorse it or approve or agree that it’s a valid point or claim that it needs to be there.  At worst, it’s a way for people to be able to feel more comfortable saying things they wouldn’t want anyone else to hear, possibly exaggerating the characteristics of what they’re selling‒which is stupid, because customers soon find out the specifics and, if they are not what they were told they were, they can just chargeback.  And they do.  Often they do it within the same day.

Anyway, sorry about the rants and complaints.  Life‒indeed, the simple fact of being alive‒is very stressful to me.  I’m sure that I need psychological and/or even medical/psychiatric help, but it’s not readily available, and I’m not capable of proactively seeking it out.  Maybe I was better at looking after myself in the past, but I’ve never been very good at it.  So I just trudge along, unable simply to stop out of embarrassment and confusion and inertia and simply my tendency to be strongly bound by my routines.  One example of which is writing this blog every workday morning.

Ugh.  I’m sick of this life and I’m sick of this world.  I look forward to the time when, like the protagonist of the Radiohead song Weird Fishes/Arpeggi, I hit the bottom and escape…escape.  Yeah.

*Really, you can just listen.  The visual is just…video of me talking.  People seem to like videos of people talking; there are 8 trillion and two of them uploaded to YouTube on any given day, but most throw in little pop-up graphics to give the viewer some distraction from simply watching a person talking.  I guess that’s analogous to slides in a lecture, or more recently, PowerPoint stuff.  It is weird how people learn, if they learn, and I don’t exclude myself.  The vast majority of the material in my college and med school notebooks were elaborate doodles and drawings I made during lectures.  I wish I still had my old notebooks.  Some of the drawings weren’t bad.  Most were grim and dark (since I was the one who drew them) but a few were funny.  For instance, during a lecture in which we were being taught about the lactiferous ducts, I drew a picture of a lactiferous duck‒imagine a cartoon waterfowl equivalent of a Saint Bernard rescue dog, but with a bottle of milk around its neck rather than a cask of booze.  It made my friend, who was sitting next to me, chuckle.

**That’s jokey, of course, but it’s also true.  I often feel like I want to hurt or damage something, but I don’t have the right to hurt or damage other people (generally speaking), and anyway, I hate myself most of all, so my inclination is to break my own stuff and hurt myself.  And there’s only so much stuff I can break and destroy anymore, so mainly I hurt myself in one way or another.

Blue, blue glass moon-day, under the crimson air

It’s Monday, June 5th, 2023.  As a mathematical necessity, given the ordinal numbering system of the days of the month, and the number of days in a week, this is the first Monday of June.  I hope it’s proud of itself.

I’m writing this post on my phone, today.  I didn’t take my laptop with me when I left the office on Friday, because I still felt pretty physically wiped out, and just didn’t want to carry anything unnecessary.  In the morning, I considered bringing a guitar book back to the house with me, and the chord sheets for a a few songs, but as the day went on and the weekend approached, I laughed an evil, sardonic, cynical, maniacal laugh at myself*.  Did I really think that I would actually pick up and play any instrument this weekend?  How naïve!

Well, my cynicism was correct, to no one’s real surprise.  I didn’t even touch a guitar or the cello, and I only touched the keyboard (the musical one) when I was using it to rest my folded laundry.  This is despite the fact that, after a heavy storm on Saturday morning, for most of the weekend, the internet and cable were down.  It came back up a few times then would go back down, then would be down for many hours, then would come back up for a brief while, then go back down for several hours.  I’m not sure what the nature of the issue was, but it certainly highlights the fact that I’ve become too dependent upon cable and internet.

Fortunately, I have some other resources.  I still have actual, physical books, in addition to the hundreds of Kindle books in my Kindle library.  I chose the former most of the time this weekend, though really it was just manga** that I read.  I thought about picking up my new, paperback edition of Susan Kay’s Phantom, which is, in a sense, the greatest fanfiction I’ve ever encountered, telling the life story of Erik,  the Phantom of the Opera.  But that book is tragic and sad, so I didn’t.  My mood is too fragile as it is.

Anyway, in addition to watching a few DVD episodes of QI, I did read some manga, though I had to put on my stronger reading glasses to follow the not-self-illuminated pages.  This is an interesting realization, the fact that reading things on Kindle probably partly disguises, or compensates for, the progression of far-sightedness as my eyes age.

When the ciliary muscles of the eye are relaxed, the lens is focused “at infinity” more or less, meaning truly parallel light rays will be focused on the retina***.  To focus nearer requires deliberate deforming of the lens by the ciliary muscles, but the lens gets stiffer as we age‒as do many other parts of the body‒and so it becomes more and more difficult to focus nearby.

Now, I always had better-than-normal distant vision and good near vision, but now my near vision is diminishing, and no one has invented Retinox 1 even, let alone Retinox 5.  So, like Admiral Kirk, I must use reading glasses.  Unlike the admirable admiral, I like the glasses, though I don’t enjoy the visual issues that force me to wear them, and I also don’t like the drying eyes I’ve been developing over recent years.

That drying tendency is probably inflammatory in nature, though that’s just a rough guess.  I could go see a doctor about it, but I have no primary doctor (nor secondary, tertiary, or any other level of doctor), and no insurance, and it’s not the sort of thing urgent care centers handle.

Anyway, I’m not especially interested in taking care of my health, except to the extent of wanting to feel slightly less pain and fatigue when I can.  I do hate myself, yes, but I still have to experience all the ailments and discomforts of my hated self, and pain gets old very fast.  And then it stays old, even after twenty years.  That’s the nature of pain, and there are good, sound, biological reasons for that, but the goodness and the soundness of the reasons don’t make it suck any less.

I’m going to need to head out to the bus here in a moment‒no Uber or Lyft, today, those are too expensive to be frequent indulgences.  As expected, I’ve written fewer words in the time I’ve taken to do this than I would have done on my laptop, but that’s probably a boon, not a bug.  Let me know, if you have a recognized preference, whether you like my phone blogs or my laptop blogs better…i.e., whether you like them slightly longer or about this length.

Also, I hope you all had a good weekend and that you have a good week.

*”Ha ha,” I said.  “Ha ha.”

**Mieruko chan, of which I have only the first 4 volumes in hard copy, and then the first volume of Tsukihime (which means moon princess, and involves vampires, both good and bad, but in a much more original way than most western presentations, including my own).

***So don’t ever shine a laser, even a weak one, at your or anyone else’s eye, unless you intend to destroy permanently at least part of their/your vision.

How to Lyft oneself Uber a growing population of frogs and pipe dreams

I’m writing at the train station in Hollywood (Florida, that is) this morning, and then on the train itself, because I decided to take a Lyft to the station before even starting to write.  I used one yesterday morning, but only after the initial draft of the blog post had been written.  I just feel too worn down from this URI to want to bother with the bus, and in fact, if not for the Lyft, I might not have gone in to work yesterday or today.  Thankfully, I should have this weekend completely off, since it is my coworker’s second weekend, making up for the two weekends I took in a row.

Further bulletins as events warrant.

I have to admit, I find those ride apps—Uber and Lyft—rather useful.  I’m not going to make a habit of using them; that would just end up being way too expensive.  But it is nice to have the convenience when I’m not feeling well.  I wish I had tried them before, about three or four weeks ago, because I had been thinking about going to see Guardians of the Galaxy 3 in the theater, but my bike tire had gone flat and I was having trouble with my back whenever I rode it, in any case.  I was feeling pretty discouraged that weekend, and ended up just saying to heck with it, but if I’d been familiar with Uber or Lyft, I might have used one.

You may ask why I couldn’t just go see the movie this weekend, but that urge has more or less passed.  Also, I’ve gone back on a more restrictive food regimen, so I wouldn’t be able to eat popcorn, which was something I anticipated if I went to the theater.  Now I wouldn’t eat any, and that would remove a large part of my enjoyment of the theater, a part which might have overbalanced the discomfort of being alone in a theater surrounded by so many people.  As it is, now, since my initial urge to see the film soon (largely due to the presence of Adam Warlock) has more or less passed, I’ll probably just wait for it to come to Disney+.

It would be nice if I had a good enough metabolism and/or had been able to maintain better fitness habits over time (my back injury/surgery/failure to completely recover has gotten in the way of that a lot).  Then, I wouldn’t have needed to worry about eating popcorn.

Unfortunately, I’m afraid I need to minimize such things not merely for long-term health—about which I have little concern, since in the long term I expect to be dead—but about moment to moment health.  As someone who already feels pretty bad psychologically a lot of the time, I don’t need the added physical weariness and discomfort that comes almost immediately if I eat the wrong things nowadays.

On a more positive note:  I saw a frog (possibly two frogs) this morning.  Indeed, one of them hopped into my room as I was returning from taking out the garbage, and I had to usher it back out as carefully as I could.  This may not seem like much of an event, but it’s nice to me.

Back when I was little, and we used to come to Florida to visit my mother’s parents, after many big rains there would be oodles of frogs and toads out.  We would sometimes try to catch them, and if we did, they would pee in our hands, which was both gross and hilarious when I was a young child, though I imagine it was terrifying for the poor amphibian, which probably thought it was about to be eaten.

Also, when we first moved down to Florida—that’s my now-ex-wife and my then-few-month-old son and I—when we first stopped in a motel in central Florida for the night, it was raining and there was a veritable biblical inundation of frogs of various sizes.  The motel didn’t have those flap things at the bottoms of the doors, and smaller frogs actually came into the room through the gap.  That didn’t bother us.  We thought it was funny and kind of cool to be moving to such a place.

Well, my son probably had no thoughts about it one way or the other.

However, over the intervening years, frog numbers appear to have drastically reduced.  I am under the impression that there was some form of blight or other that hit many frog populations worldwide, though I don’t recall the source of that impression.  In any case, something seemed to have happened to the frogs in Florida, because for many years now, even after a significant rain, there have been none to be seen.

For all I know, the frog I saw this morning may be the last I will ever see in south Florida—though I thought I saw another one as I rolled the garbage out, hopping to get away from me—but I would like for them to be making a comeback.  I am a fan of most insectivores, especially ones that eat things like mosquitoes and flies and—during swarming times—termites.  Of course, there are various lizards and birds that also eat such things, but they don’t seem to be as assertive about their jobs as the frogs and toads are.

Anyway, that’s all a lot of silliness.  It’s an okay way to end the week, though.  Maybe I’ll play a little guitar if I get to the office early enough.  I did a tiny bit of strumming yesterday, when I had some morning free time, though I didn’t know The Man Who Sold the World well enough to be able to appreciate fully the chord progressions as I played them.  They definitely had the David Bowie flair for interesting changes and sounds.

I have not thought about a tune for my dreary little poem from the other day, nor even reread it.  Maybe it would be funny to give it a jaunty, happy, major key tune of some kind.  As I think I’ve said before, I enjoy irony.

Probably nothing will come of it.  It’s not as though I’ve done any more work on the song of which I did a demo on YouTube—I had called it Mercury Lamp based on the inspiration for the song, but I think now I would call it Hollow Doll.  And though I like the tune and stuff for Come Back Again, the trial arrangement and mixing/recording I did was blurry and muddled, and I think it could use some lead guitar.

Again, though, this is all a collection of pipe dreams—or guitar dreams, I guess, though “pipes” can refer to someone’s voice, and I do sing on the songs, so maybe the original term is okay.  Come to think of it, A Collection of Pipe Dreams* might be a good name for an album.  It could be a follow-up to a first album called Iterations of Zero after the title of my other, now more or less unused, blog.

I must be sicker than I thought to be entertaining such things.  Well, it’s a bit of fun to imagine them, at least.

I hope you all have a good first weekend of June.

*Or even A Collection of Guitar Dreams

When we shall hear the rain and wind blog dark December?

Hello and good morning, everyone.

It’s not only Thursday—and thus time for my “weekly” blog post, which goes back to when I was writing this blog only one day of the week and working on fiction every other morning.  It’s also the first day of June in 2023 (and thus, inescapably, also the first Thursday of June).  So, we begin a new month.

Before the end of this month, we will have the Solstice—the summer one in the northern hemisphere and the winter one in the southern hemisphere.  After that, officially, the season either of summer or of winter will begin, and the days, having reached either a maximum or minimum of the sine curve of their “daylight” length, will begin to head in the other direction.

Of course, the change will be very gradual at first, since the derivative of a sine curve—its rate of change—is a cosine curve, and where a sine is either at a maximum or a minimum, the cosine is at zero, albeit only instantaneously.  It’s at the equinox that the rate of change hits a maximum (or, technically it could also be a minimum, but when we’re discussing absolute rates of change, a minimum and a maximum are interchangeable, |x| being a positive number at any time, and all).  Anyway, that’s enough of that minimal review of the rates of change of seasons and the nature of sine curves and cosine curves.

Sines and cosines are well-behaved curves, at least.  Tangents and secants and so on are not so well-behaved, at least if by “well-behaved” you mean, “staying between a specified range of the y-axis instead of tending towards infinity in multiple places on that axis”.  Of course, a sine or cosine do go to infinity in both directions on the x-axis, come to think of it.  I don’t think I’ve considered it quite the way ever before.

Wow, talk about going off on a tangent*.

Anyway, not much else is new currently, not that I was just discussing anything new other than my new way of looking at the infinities of sine curves and, of course, the new month, which isn’t really all that new when you get right down to it.  Is June named for Jupiter (i.e. Juno)?  I should look that up.

…Okay, I did, and reminded myself that Juno was the Roman name for the goddess equivalent to Hera, the wife of Zeus/Jupiter, so it’s indirectly related to Jupiter, not directly.  That was an embarrassing mix-up of names and ideas in my head.  Good thing I didn’t write it down and publish it for everyone to see!

Of course, July and August are named after Julius Caesar and Caesar Augustus (née Octavian).  Then we have months that used to be named for their ordinal place in the calendar:  September (7), October (8), November (9), December (10), but I guess they all got shifted over two spaces at some point after they were originally named, though I don’t recall quite when and why that happened, and that isn’t something in which I’m interested enough right now to look it up.

I don’t know why I’m writing about this sort of stuff today.  I’m just following whatever random—or at least stochastic—impulse occurs based on the preceding thought or statement or whatever.  It’s not as though there’s any reason for me to do anything different.

I had a brief moment or two of “inspiration” yesterday evening, during which, on the train heading back to the house, I wrote a poem/song lyrics on the notepad function of my smartphone.  Having been written by me, it’s a very gloomy sort of poem/song, and I don’t have even an inkling of a melody for it.  I just felt a bit of a dip in my mood, even relative to baseline, and decided to express that the way I sometimes used to do.  That’s how I wrote what turned into the lyrics of my song Come Back Again, and something related to it was responsible for Catechism and Breaking Me Down, though the latter two were semi-deliberately written as song lyrics from the start.

A little later, I was watching someone on YouTube reacting to the “unplugged” performance of a few Nirvana songs, and I decided to look up the chords to Come As You Are; I downloaded a PDF of those.  It’s not a very complicated song, but it sounds quite good.  Kurt Cobain had a way of writing melodies that were unlike anything just about anyone else ever wrote.  Though, I also like his/their performance of The Man Who Sold The World, which is originally a David Bowie song.  I don’t think I’ve ever heard Bowie’s version of it, though.  I should have looked up the chords to that; maybe I will today.

But, of course, the odds of me ever doing anything with such chords, let alone writing a tune to and making a new song of my own seem vanishingly small.  Right now—by which I mean “now in general” not “now this very moment”—I’m just meandering through each day rather thoughtlessly, certainly pointlessly, with no goal or aspiration or anything of the sort.  There isn’t any point to anything I do.

I do really miss my kids.  I miss everyone else, too—my old friends, my immediate and more distant family, living and dead, all those people—but especially my kids.  I’m very lonely, but I’m also very socially withdrawn and incapable/incompetent.  I don’t think it’s at all possible for me to seek out and meet with or connect with anyone, new or old, in the world—except for my kids.

If they wanted to meet with me, I would do it.  I don’t even think it would be a struggle.  As far as everyone and everything else goes, though…well, I’ve lost my communication/connection hardware and software or whatever, or maybe I just didn’t get the updates, and so my system is hopelessly outdated, and when I even think about such things, the application crashes.

That’s a pretty weird couple of metaphors.

Anyway, I’m not capable of reaching out to people, other than through here, even when I want to do it.  I’m also not capable of trying to take care of myself (medically, psychologically, whatever), or take care of any other proactive business of life.  Life isn’t my domain anymore, I think.  Nevertheless, I can’t be darkly cool and quote the Bhagavad Gita like Oppenheimer:  “I am become Death, the destroyer of worlds.”  It would probably be more appropriate for me to say something like, “I am become Drizzle, the dampener of spirits.”

That was sort of the subject of the poem/song I wrote yesterday.  But most people don’t like to drink watered-down spirits—though I do, sometimes.  I also like watered down soda, I’ve come to realize.  Go figure.

Anyway, that’s enough of all that.  I think it’s time to head off to go to the train, thence to the office.  If I get there early enough, maybe I’ll play some guitar.  I doubt it.


sine and cosinetwistedanddistorted


Concision, irony, illness, and a first use of Uber

I’m going to try to be a bit more concise today than I was yesterday, though concision in writing has never been my strongest point.  Still, with effort, I can do it.  After all, I pared down Unanimity by a bit over 50,000 words from its original form.  That’s right, it’s actually slightly shorter than it would have been initially, even though it still ended up being so long I could only publish it as two volumes.  I had no idea it was going to be so long when I started it—I merely had the story, which I wanted to tell, and it ended up taking that long.  I don’t know if anyone but I has even read the entire thing, but I’ve read it many times, both as part of the editing process and even once or twice since it was published.

Well, that wasn’t a very concise first paragraph, considering I was discussing the very intention to be concise.  But I like irony, so I guess that’s okay.  I’ve often thought that the song, Ironic, by Alanis Morissette, is a meta-level joke, in which the ironic part of the song is that essentially none of the examples she gives in the lyrics are actually ironic.  If she did that on purpose…wow, what an amazing artist!  Also, she was pretty brilliant when she played God in Dogma.

Okay, what else is going on?  Well, I’m still a bit under the weather, but I’m already on the upswing, physically.  I was very tired by the end of the day yesterday—much more so than usual—which made it clear to me that I really am sick, though I was already entirely clear on that fact.

Ha ha, thinking about being sick just made me sneeze twice.  Or, well*, I happened to sneeze twice right after writing that sentence.  It’s unlikely that writing about being sick was actually what triggered the sneeze, but it isn’t impossible.

So, anyway, I was very tired and still was/am sick, so I was a bit more impatient than usual when I got to the bus stop near the train station last night.  The bus’s arrival time (17 minutes after I arrived, by schedule) came and went and the MyRide thingy didn’t show its usual real-time update on when the bus would actually be there, or if the bus would actually be there.  So, after waiting another fifteen minutes, with no updates and no sign of any oncoming bus, and with lightning flashes occurring about once every ten or fewer seconds (with the thunder gradually getting a bit louder), and an early few drops of rain coming, I gave up and gave in.

I walked back to the train station and I popped open the Uber app—not necessarily in that order—and I requested a ride.  It turned out the driver had literally just dropped someone off at the train station**, and so I didn’t even have to wait the estimated two minutes.  Though I’d wasted more than half an hour at the bus stop, I still got back to the house slightly earlier than I would have had the bus arrived within five minutes of my arrival at the first stop.

It was quite a good first experience using Uber.  It’s reminiscent of my first time in Vegas, when I won $80 on my first play of a joker poker machine***, because both events were so positive and fortuitous.  I gave the driver a good rating and a good tip, and based on the profile the app gave me afterward, he’s had many similar reviews.  I don’t know if Uber has engineered the app to arrange such rapid pickups for first-time users—it seems like something that would be quite hard to manipulate—but if this is typical of how the system works, it’s something I may use again.

There certainly have been times, at the end of a long day, when I’ve looked at the app (and its competitor, Lyft) and seen how much it would cost to get one of them all the way back to the house, rather than taking the train.  There have been times when I’ve thought, “You know, it would almost be worth $45 or $50 plus tip to use it.”  Maybe someday, if I decide I need to leave early because I’m not feeling well, then I might just do that.  Still, that’s a lot of money for a commute.  It’s even a comparative lot to go from the train to the house, though that’s a lot more palatable, especially when the buses are running late.

Speaking of buses, I need to wrap this up and get heading out for the bus.  It’s payroll day, which tends to be stressful, but I did a lot of catching up on the weekly process yesterday, and once my momentum was going, I actually got a bit ahead, so it should be no worse than usual.  I hope you all have a good day, since the sort of people who read my blog are the sort of people who deserve to have a good day.

*Imagine the author of 1984 and Animal Farm introducing himself by saying, “Hi.  I’m George.  Or, well, that’s my penname.”

**I thought this sort of thing seemed possible, which is why I walked back to the train station in the first place.  It also has, by design, good pick-up/drop-off locations.

***And here is yet more of my neuro-atypia:  Not only did that not lead me to getting hooked on joker poker, but I have never played it since****.  Contrariwise, one time my ex-wife and I lost our entire allotted casino budget for a weekend—$1000—in half an hour playing blackjack, but I still enjoy playing blackjack.  I almost never do it, of course, partly because I find all the casinos down here in south Florida rather seedy, especially compared to the good Las Vegas places and Foxwoods (the place we lost the grand).

****Let’s face it, despite the fact that you can occasionally win money, the gambling video machines are never going to be as fun as playing, for instance, Tempest™ or Robotron® or Pac Man© or any of the other classic arcade games back in the day.

I was out sick, yesterday. My apologies.

Hi there, all.  It’s Tuesday morning, not Monday; I didn’t write a blog post yesterday.  That was not because the office took yesterday off—they worked until 4pm, as it turns out—but because I was at the house fighting a respiratory virus.  It’s not a severe one—I had a bit of a low grade fever at first, but it rapidly went away*, and I just felt physically crummy, with a dry, scratchy throat and runny/stuffy nose and the like.

I’m now going in to the office, though the boss suggested that I take a couple of days off.  However, if I do take a couple of days off, then when I go back, which would be tomorrow at the latest, there would be so much on which to catch up that it would be overwhelming.  Life is overwhelming enough for me nowadays.  I don’t need to make things worse.

So, obviously, I’m still feeling physically a bit under the weather**, but I’m going to wear a mask today, and I have a batch of spares with me, in case the first one gets unusably compromised.  I actually don’t mind wearing respiratory masks.  Quite apart from having needed to wear them sometimes when I was a practicing doctor, I also like to cover and hide my face.  I don’t like my face very much.  I can entirely sympathize with Doctor Doom for not wanting to show his.  I don’t like how I look, and I don’t like who I am.

Weirdly enough, as I think I’ve noted before, my self-hatred doesn’t make me hate things that I’ve made or created.  I rather often reread my own books—recently I reread both Mark Red and Son of Man—and I listen to songs I’ve done, either covers or originals.  I probably comprise almost the complete numbers of those who have “viewed” my videos on YouTube.  I even like to look at my various drawings and the like, which I scanned long ago and saved to Google Drive, thankfully, so they weren’t completely lost along with everything I owned back when I was arrested and sent away for trying to treat people with chronic pain, but naively not recognizing the other things that were happening at the time.

I guess this is a kind of living proof that I never have done my “artwork” (if you will) to please other people—though I’m delighted when other people like my stuff, and I would be more delighted still if more people did—but have done it because it was what I liked.  I think, if there’s a story that I would like to read, but no one seems to have written it, I should write it myself.

Of course, if someone has to make a living by their arts or crafts, then they have to cater at least somewhat to other people’s tastes over their own, but I think most creative things happen because the creator just wants to create something, at some level.  Then again, I can’t exactly extrapolate the way I feel and think about things to other people—I’m thoroughly weird.  I’m not really even the same species as people around me.  At least, that’s the way it feels to me a lot of the time.

So, the company of most humans is always a bit uncomfortable, though that certainly varies depending on the human, and I also don’t find my own company particularly pleasant.  I mean, it’s often the best option I have available, for what that’s worth—just to be by myself—and I certainly prefer the quiet of solitude to the chaos of whole flanges of naked house apes ooking and shrieking and throwing their feces at each other***.

Sorry.  I don’t mean to be so curmudgeonly.  I’m just tired, and I’m sick, and I’m sick and tired of most everything.  It would be nice if I had the energy and enthusiasm to want to play music—especially to write music—and to write new fiction and all that.  Or to draw, for that matter.  But there’s only so much I can do for what is, essentially, an audience of one, especially when that one is not someone I like.

Yesterday, I saw the thumbnail of a YouTube video that was offered up to me by the algorithm, Why Do Depressed People Have Low Self-esteem?  The specific wording might not be exact, but that was basically the title.  I didn’t watch it, because part of me just thought, “Is that a joke?”  I mean, that’s part of what depression is, surely.  But I’m sure there’s more to the story than that, and I believe I marked it as a “watch later” video, but it is strange.

I am trying not to be too dismissive, though.  The YouTube algorithm has been useful at times for pointing me toward knowledge that I wouldn’t otherwise have had.  I would never have really thought about autism spectrum disorder—beyond the fact that my character, Michael Green, in Unanimity thought he might be on the spectrum—if YouTube hadn’t suggested several related videos to me.

It is interesting how such thoughtless algorithms can produce interesting insights—thoughtless in that they aren’t actually thinking, themselves, but are merely following a general pathway, like elementary particles obeying local laws of physics, and thereby given rise, in the end, to all the immense complexity of macroscopic reality.

I wish I had someone in my actual life with whom I could talk about such things, or similar subjects, but instead, I’m here on my blog, writing about it—still mainly for an audience of one, though there are other people who read it, of course, and I thank and appreciate those people—you are one of them, if you are reading this.  Thank you!

But there is no real endpoint, no point at all, to what I do from day to day, and I have no plans or goals or expectations.  It’s merely continuance, like an automated machine left behind and running in a world in which all living things have died.  The machine cranks away, mindlessly, pointlessly, no longer benefiting anyone at all, and certainly not benefiting itself.  It just keeps going until, finally, it will catastrophically break down, and there will be no one around to repair it, let alone to maintain it, or to notice that it has failed.

I can already hear the belts squeaking and the gears grinding.  The whole thing is vibrating in a way that shouldn’t be happening if it were functioning properly.  I sometimes even think I can smell smoke coming from friction in the mechanism, but that may merely be wishful thinking.

Oh, well.  Enough for today.  If you’re still with me at this point, I doubly thank you, yet again.  And I apologize.  I wish I had given you some uplifting and empowering thoughts.  Those, however, do not seem to be my strengths.  Have a good day.

*Though, given the amount of NSAIDs and acetaminophen and whatnot that I take, fevers tend to be suppressed.  That’s why, when I got COVID and my temperature went nearly to 102 F, I knew I was pretty darn sick.

**Come to think of it, it’s rare that I’m ever “over the weather”.  The last time I flew in a plane was more than twenty years ago.  I don’t think I’ve flown since before 9-11-2001.

***This is figuratively speaking, of course.  Usually.

What should I title this blog post? Wait, I know…

Well, yesterday was seriously painful, in the literal sense and also in a more figurative sense, though the figurative pain was at least partially due to the literal pain.  I tried various postural and furniture-based changes, altered and/or tried some exercises, all sorts of things.  It’s hard to tell whether any of them did any good.  It’s also hard to tell—assuming that some or all of them did any good—which one(s) did the good, and how to tease it out.  This is, of course, why in a proper, scientific exploration of such things, one would try to change only one variable at a time, holding all the others constant.

However, when one is in soul-grinding pain while still trying to do one’s job, one tends to be willing to split away from pure scientific rigor.  At least, I am.  And I’m as committed to the notion of scientific rigor as anyone I know.

I slept reasonably well last night—for me, anyway—only waking up at about two in the morning, and being able to get back to sleep for another 35 minutes or so starting at 3:15.  That may not sound like much, but for me, it’s comparatively restful.

I also went rather off the script with respect to food yesterday.  I decided, since I was feeling so much like crap as to be barely distinguishable, I would just eat what I felt like eating, when I felt like eating it.  So, I did.  Mind you, there wasn’t all that much available, but I did order a pizza and so on, and even got a Mountain Dew® with it, something I haven’t had in certainly over a year, but probably far longer.

I’m likely to relax my dietary restrictions today as well—I really don’t feel great, but I can’t quite tell if I’m going to have another day like the previous few or several—but then, since I have this weekend off, I’m going to go back, much more strictly, to some food regulation, so to speak.  It’s easier when one doesn’t have much to do.

And, yes, I do have tomorrow off, so I won’t be writing a blog post.  I guess, technically, Monday is Memorial Day, which I only realized quite recently, but we generally work on Memorial Day at our office.  It’s a good day for sales and all that, though we often close early.  Of course, the buses and trains will be on a “Sunday” schedule, which is a minor pain, but they are on lower schedules on Saturdays, as well, and I’ve gone in to the office the last two Saturdays without difficulty.  Still, I do find myself tempted just to call out on Monday, at least if I don’t feel much better than I’ve been feeling.

Actually, if I don’t feel much better soon—at least back to my ordinary baseline, however unpleasant that both is and makes me—I feel I should call out from everything, permanently.  I’ve been back on my historically best-working antidepressant for about four or five weeks now, if my reckoning is correct (it’s not very careful, so I could be off).  It doesn’t seem to be making a huge difference, but it’s possible that it’s making some difference.  I certainly did, for a few days, pick up my guitar(s) a bit.  But then—now—I haven’t played or wanted to play for several days.

Some of that is pain related, and a lot of it is depression related, and it’s also just a feeling of pointlessness about playing.  I had thought about working on a cover of Ashes to Ashes, as I’d mentioned here (I think), a sort of sequel to my own cover of A Space Oddity, as Ashes to Ashes was for David Bowie.  But at least for right now, I don’t see that happening.

I don’t see much happening.  The farthest ahead I can really think is laundry on Sunday—will the washer and dryer be clear for me in the morning or not—and then whether or not I’m still going to be in pain on Monday, Memorial Day.  After that, as Paul McCartney sang in You Never Give Me Your Money (and I sang in my “bad cover” thereof), I “see no future…”  Though I will pay rent on the first.  I may even pay it slightly early, because it takes a load of tension away, since then I don’t have to worry that I’m going to forget.  That’s about it.  That’s as exciting as life is for me, which is to say, it’s not very.

I don’t know what would help put the wind back in my sails, or if that’s even possible—what might renew my interest in writing fiction, or playing music, or even writing and making songs.  I don’t really have anyone that I hang out with, since I only really socialize at work—but, then again, I don’t know that I would want to hang out with much of anyone I could possibly encounter near me.  I don’t have much in common with most humans, and that fact seems to become more overpowering all the time.

It would be nice to do some good in the world again, and to have a friend or similar that actually shares interests, but it seems unlikely.  Most people I’ve encountered—or so it feels—seem to want to take advantage, or else find me too unpleasant to stay friends with (I can’t blame them), or have their own stuff going on.  And, frankly, I’m rotten at socializing anyway, even with people I like.

Even on-line socializing, which I briefly did a bit of in the past, has become tense and unpleasant for me most of the time.  Leaving comments—whether on a video or a blog, or whatever, let alone replying to a tweet or a Facebook post—fills me almost immediately with a good deal of tension and anxiety.  I fear that someone will engage with my comment and I’ll have to get involved in some kind of discussion or argument, or else willfully ignore it, which will feel rude.

I know, it’s  a trap of my own making, or at least of my own nature.  I certainly can’t blame the other people.  But that doesn’t make it cease to be a trap.

Ah, well, it really doesn’t matter.  When I’m in a lot of pain, I’m not interested in socializing, anyway.

And now, I need to start heading for the bus stop, so I’m going to wrap this up for today.  I won’t write a post tomorrow, and if I don’t write one Monday, it will mean either that I decided (or needed) to take that day off, or something else has prevented me from writing.  I guess, if I don’t write any more posts at all after that, you’ll be able to infer at least that something relatively drastic happened.

But if I return no later than Tuesday…well, you’ll know that I’ve returned, at least for the moment.  I’m not sure which outcome I prefer.

Anyway, have a good holiday weekend, those of you who live in the US and are celebrating.