I don’t feel well this morning.

Okay, well…sorry, I’m not going to be picking up today on the rest of the sugar-based post that I mentioned and half-started yesterday.  I also won’t be doing a follow-up neurology post, either.  I’m actually just going to write a very brief dispatch, if I can do that, mainly to let you know why I won’t be doing those things I just mentioned.

I just really don’t feel well this morning.  I was up during the middle of the night, but that’s not unusual; I even sort of felt somewhat clear-headed for a time.  But then, when I woke up this morning, before my alarm, I felt somewhat confused and disoriented.  This was not in any seriously alarming way.  I knew where I was and who I was and what day it was and so on.  I just felt vague and hazy and out of it, like I hadn’t truly slept at any point at all during the night, or had maybe had apnea episodes or something.  I felt rather uncoordinated as I got ready for my shower and got my clothes and all that stuff out, but not as though I were having an inner ear problem.

Well, perhaps just a little like that.

Anyway, I got showered and dressed, though I felt like it all took me longer than usual.  And now I’m waiting on my morning train.  I’m going to work, even though I feel under the weather, because I already missed one day this week, and because last week the office had a poorish week because of the holiday, and yesterday my coworker with whom I share some responsibilities had to take the day off because he was having particular trouble with his back.  I’m hoping he’ll return today, because I’m really not feeling great, and also because this is supposed to be my weekend off, after having worked the previous two Saturdays.

It seems I’m not the only one who is off kilter.  When I got to the train station, a northbound train was just arriving (I missed it), and I thought I must have lost more track of time than I’d appreciated.  But it turned out that it was the first train, the one I only catch when I really can’t sleep at all, and it was running almost 15 minutes late.  And now, my train is running about 30+ minutes late, and the southbound trains are running late, and the next northbound…well, you get the idea.  I wonder if there’s some computer virus issue going around that affects train systems and weird devices like me.

Probably not.

Anyway, it’s frustrating, because if I’d gotten here as early as I usually do for my usual train, I would have caught the delayed 1st train, and would already be on my way, instead of having to wait here, already feeling crappy, for a more-delayed train that will be more crowded because of the delay, as is always the case.

There are apparently a full three trains now expected to arrive at the Hollywood Tri-rail station, according to the tracker app—all late, but set to arrive within ten minutes or so of each other.  I would frankly wait for the second one if I weren’t sure that it too might not be even more delayed than currently listed*.

Geez, Louise, I don’t need this on a morning when I feel like I do.  I just want to lie down and go to sleep and stay that way.  I hate this stupid world and this stupid life.

So, anyway, my apologies for being so erratic and not doing what I had meant to do yet on the requested topics.  Hopefully I’ll be able to get a good rest this weekend, and by Monday I’ll be prepared to pick up on one of them.  Meanwhile, I hope you all forgive me, and that you have a good weekend.


*I did end up doing that, since the app and a security officer confirmed that the next train was only ten minutes after my delayed one, and that one was packed, and all my usual seats were taken.  Now I’m on a nice and sparsely populated train, at least, though I’m still quite behind my usual schedule, and that’s stressing me out.  But it’s better than being packed into an overcrowded and delayed train.

The sweetest honey is loathsome in its own deliciousness. And in the taste destroys the appetite. Therefore, blog moderately.

Hello and good morning.  It’s Thursday again, so I return to my traditional weekly blog post, after having taken off last Thursday for Thanksgiving.  I’m still mildly under the weather, but I’m steadily improving.  It’s nothing like a major flu or Covid or anything along those lines, just a typical upper respiratory infection, of which there are oodles.  Most are comparatively benign, especially the ones that have been around for a while, because being not-too-severe is an evolutionarily stable strategy for an infectious agent.

An infection that makes its host too ill will keep that host from moving about and make itself less likely to be spread, to say nothing of an infection that tends to kill its host quickly.  Smart parasites (so to speak) keep their hosts alive and sharing for a looong time.  Of course, “smart” here doesn’t say anything about the parasite itself; viruses are only smart in the sense that they achieve their survival and reproduction well, but they didn’t figure out how to be that way—nature just selected for the ones that survived and reproduced most successfully.  It’s almost tautological, but then again, the very universe itself could be tautological from a certain point of view.

It’s an interesting point, to me anyway, to note that today, December 1st, is precisely one week after Thanksgiving.  Of course, New Year’s Day (January 1st, in case you didn’t know) is always exactly 1 week after Christmas.  It’s unusual for Thanksgiving to precede the first of December by a week, because the specific date of Thanksgiving varies from year to year (and, of course, if Thanksgiving were to fall on the 25th of November, December 1st would not be exactly one week later).  It’s an amusing coincidence; there’s no real significance to it, obviously, but I notice such things.

Anyway.

My sister asked me to write something about the vicissitudes of sugar (not her words), and though I don’t mean to finish the topic here today, I guess I’ll get started.  Apologies to those who are waiting for me to finish the neurology post, but that requires a bit more prep and care, and I’m not ready for it quite yet.  Life keeps getting in the way, as life does, which is one of the reasons I think life is overrated.

It’s hard to know where to start with sugar.  Of course, the term itself refers to a somewhat broad class of molecules, all of which contain comparatively short chains of carbon atoms, to which are bonded hydrogen and hydroxyl* moieties.

Most sugars are not so much actual free chains as they are wrapped up in rings.  The main form of sugar used by the human body is glucose, which is a six-membered ring with the rough chemical formula C6H1206.

glucose2

This is the sugar that every cell in the body is keyed to use as one of its easy-access energy sources, the one insulin tells the cells to take up when everything is working properly.  Interestingly enough, of course, though glucose is the “ready-to-use” energy source, it only provides about 4 kilocalories** per gram to the body, as compared to 9 kilocalories per gram for fats.

But the sugar we get in our diets is not, generally speaking, simple glucose.  It tends to be in the form of disaccharides, or sugars made of two combined individual sugars.  Sucrose, or table sugar, is a dimer of glucose and fructose, joined by an oxygen atom.

sucrose

Okay, I’m going to have to pick this up tomorrow.  I’ve gotten distracted and diverted by a conversation a few seats ahead of me.

There are two guys talking to each other at the end of this train car, and they are each seated next to a window on the opposite side of the train, so they’re basically yelling across the aisle to each other.  Their conversation is perfectly civil, and though they’re revealing a certain amount of ignorance about some matters, they are mainly displaying a clear interest in and exposure to interesting topics, from history to geography and so on.

At one point, one of the men started speaking of the pyramids and how remarkable their construction was, and I feared the invocation of ancient aliens…but then he followed up to say that, obviously, there were really smart people in ancient Egypt, just like we have smart people today who design and build airplanes and rockets and the like.  Kudos to him!

These men are not morons by any means.  They clearly respect the intellectual achievements of the past and present, and that’s actually quite heartening, because I think it’s obvious that neither one is extensively college-educated, if at all.

But why do they have their conversation from opposite sides of the train, so that everyone nearby has to hear it?  It’s thrown me off my course.

I’ll close just by saying that yesterday I finished rereading The Chasm and the Collision, and I want to note that I really think it’s a good book, and to encourage anyone who might be interested to read it.  The paperback is going for I think less than five dollars on Amazon, and the Kindle edition is cheaper still.  If you like the Harry Potter books, or the Chronicles of Narnia, or maybe the Percy Jackson books, I think you would probably like CatC.

CatC cover paperback

I’d love to think that there might be parents out there who would read the book to their kids.  Not kids who are too young—there are a few scary places in the story, and some fairly big and potentially scary ideas (but what good fairy tale doesn’t meet that description?).  It’s a fantasy adventure starring three middle-school students, though I’ll say again that, technically, it’s science fiction, but that doesn’t really matter for the experience of the story.

Most of my other stuff is not suitable for young children in any way—certainly not those below teenage years—and Unanimity and some of my short stories are appallingly dark (though I think still enjoyable).  If you’re old enough and brave enough, I certainly can recommend them; I don’t think I’m wrong to be reasonably proud of them.  But The Chasm and the Collision can be enjoyed by pretty much the whole family.  You certainly don’t have to be a kid to like it, or so I believe.

With that, I’ll let you go for now.  I’ll try to pick up more thoroughly and sensibly on the sugar thing tomorrow, with apologies for effectively just teasing it today.  I’m still not at my sharpest from my cold, and the world is distracting.  But I will do my best—which is all I can do, since anything I do is the only thing I could do in any circumstance, certainly once it’s done, and thus is the best I could do.

Please, all of you do your best, individually and collectively, to take care of yourselves and those you love and those who love you, and have a good month of December.

TTFN


*Hydroxyl groups are just (-OH) groups, meaning an oxygen atom and a hydrogen atom bonded together, like a  water molecule that lost one of its hydrogens.  This points back toward the fact that plants make sugar molecules from the raw building blocks of carbon dioxide (a source for the carbon atoms and some of the oxygen) and water (hydrogen and oxygen) using sunlight as their source of power and releasing oxygen as a waste product.  This was among the first environmental pollutants on the Earth—free oxygen—and it had catastrophic and transformative effects on not just the biosphere of the Earth but even on the geology.  The fact that the iron in our mines, for instance, is mainly in the form of rust is largely because of this plant-born presence of free oxygen in the atmosphere.

**A kilocalories is defined as the amount of energy needed to heat a kilogram of water by one degree centigrade.  We often shorten this term just to “calorie”, but that is actually only the amount of heat needed to raise a gram of water one degree centigrade (or 9/5 degrees Fahrenheit).  It’s worth being at least aware of the fact that what we tend to call calories are actually kilocalories.

You are not I, but I have a URI

In case anyone was worried, I apologize for not writing my blog post yesterday.  I was “home” sick with an upper respiratory infection, and had neither the energy nor the inclination to try to write a post.  I’m obviously not completely recovered today, but I am going in to the office—it’s payroll day, after all—and I feel a bit better than I did on Monday afternoon and yesterday, at least physically.  My mind feels quite foggy, but that’s not that unusual.

Of course, I’m not going to write either my follow-up neurology post nor the post about sugar and its discontents (so to speak) yet.  My mental acuity is not up to those at the moment, nor am I completely prepared for the former article, so I won’t be getting to them quite yet.  For those who might be waiting, again, I apologize.

There’s not much happening that’s particularly interesting.  I have been rereading the latter part of The Chasm and the Collision over the past few days, and I’m pleased to note that I still enjoy the story.  Parts of it even bring me near tears, which is a curious experience for the author, but then again, I guess it is more personal to me than it might be to others.  I’ve found a few typos—less than a handful, I would say—that were missed before, and if this were a world in which I had time and will and executive function (as they call it), I’d fix them and try to go and adjust the text for future purchasers, but I’m not up to that.

Anyway, it’s nice to know that at least I like the book, still, but I think there would be a lot of people out there who would like it, if it could be brought to their attention.  Unfortunately, I’m not good at self-promotion in any serious way.  This blog is as close to promotion as I get, and you all see how upbeat and enthusiastic I am with it.

Speaking of typos—I was, you can check for yourself—I’ve been making an awful lot of them while typing this.  I guess it’s part of being sick, or sicker than usual, or sick in more ways than usual.  I also, after waking up many times through the night, actually didn’t hear my alarm clock until the second repeat, ten minutes after it first goes off, because apparently I was sleeping on my left side, and I’m very hard of hearing in my right ear.  Probably at least a bit of it is also because I’m sick.  I wish I could say I felt more rested, but who feels better rested when sick?  Maybe afterwards, but not while it’s going on.

I’m wearing a mask on the train today, since I am sick, whereas lately I’ve been occasionally going without it, since often I’d literally be the only masked person in sight.  Perhaps going without a mask is why I’ve gotten sick.  It would make a certain amount of sense.

I think I may try to reread some of my other stories.  Somebody ought to read them, since they’re out there, and it’s not their fault their author isn’t good at promotion.  There are whole communities of people on Twitter and the like who promote independent writers and publishers, and I’ve tried to be an active member of such things in the past, but I’m afraid I have a hard time not getting stressed out by the whole process.  I guess this is why authors get agents and work through publishing houses, but frankly, the notion of dealing even with those situations—getting an agency or a publisher or any of that—is too daunting.  I barely have the will to get up and out of “bed”, frankly, but staying there would be more unpleasant than getting up, so…

Anyway, all that isn’t very interesting.  I guess the only other moderately interesting thing I have to note is that, Monday evening, as I was on my way back to the house, and already feeling the effects of this URI, I was “inspired” to write lyrics to the chorus and after that the first verse, and then a slightly altered second chorus, to a new song.  I even had a little melody in my head to go with it at the time, though I don’t recall that now.  I recorded the initial chorus, sort of, on my voice recorder, though I’m not sure I really caught the tune I had in my head for it, and then I wrote that chorus and the rest in the note-taking app.  I suppose I should email them to myself, lest my phone die and they be lost (though that wouldn’t exactly be a tragedy).  It was a slightly upbeat sounding melody, which was mildly ironic given that the words were rather negative—a cautionary note against complacency and overconfidence.

Is it any surprise that new song lyrics I would write would be so?

Anyway, that’s all that’s going on right now.  For me, I mean.  I don’t know if I’ll go any further with the song idea, but one thing I will do is try to avoid getting too wordy with it, since I tend to do that and end up making songs that are quite long.  I’ll add at most one or two other verses* and maybe a vocal bridge section if the mood for that strikes me.  We’ll see.  Odds are nothing is ever going to come of it, which is fine, because it’s not as though anyone makes a habit of listening to my music, anyway.

Okay, that’s enough of that nonsense.  I hope you all had a decent Tuesday, and have a good last day of November today.  Tomorrow begins what by name should be the tenth month, but which is actually the twelfth month—December, in case you didn’t know.  Yippee.


*To be clear, the verses and chorus such as I have are remarkably unwordy for me, so two to three verses, a chorus (with minor changes in its second repeat) and maybe a little bridge would not be too much.

From Cyber Monday to confidence mistakes

Well, it’s Monday now, and we’re “seeing how it goes”, I guess.

This is the last Monday of November in 2022.  The Monday after Thanksgiving is sometimes called “Cyber Monday”, but that’s really just a marketing gimmick* invented by companies that sell electronics and related things, to encourage people—preferably without making them think too much—to buy computers and phones and items in those categories as part of their Christmas (or other holiday) shopping.

I think the term Black Friday was something that happened more or less organically; it’s hard to imagine retailers and marketers deliberately choosing something that sounds similar to the names given to the dates of various stock market crashes and so on.  No, it was a term born of legitimate lamentation about just how unpleasantly busy malls and other commercial establishments become on the day after Thanksgiving, when a good percentage of people in the USA would have the day off, and would be unable to deny that the Big Holiday was coming, and that they hadn’t gotten much, if any, of their shopping for it done.

But, of course, smart marketers still took advantage of the term and began setting Black Friday sales and the like.  When there’s a source of available resources, of one kind or another, and a busy ecosystem, something will eventually arise to exploit the resource.

Although, to give full disclosure, apparently it took millions upon millions of years for fungi (and possibly other types of microorganisms, I’m not sure) to evolve that could break down the wood of the oodles of plants that had grown and died in the “carboniferous era”, and that’s why those wood carcasses just lay around, and got buried, and for quite a few million years sequestered that carbon, but were converted by pressure and time into coal and so on.  There was a lot of it, obviously, but it is finite, and we’ve gone through much of those millions of years of cellulose creation (from the very air), and returned a good chunk of it to the atmosphere from whence it came, in a precipitous fashion.

It’s going to take more than just tree planting, I suspect, to counter that, because we can’t plant (and grow) many millions of years of trees in the space of a human lifetime.  The solutions are going to have to be at least a bit cleverer than brute natural selection, and probably multifarious, or else brute natural selection will do what it usually does and eliminate a great many forms of life.

It remains to be seen whether the human race will be smart enough to survive for much longer.  The various faces of politics and social media and the like don’t exactly fill me with optimism, but it’s difficult to make reasonable predictions about such things, because we don’t have any good prior data from which to draw our conclusions.  There have been no previous technological civilizations on Earth, and we’ve found no evidence of any out in the rest of the galaxy or beyond, so we just don’t really know one way or the other.  Anyone who confidently make claims about the future (without explicit or at least implicit caveats) is overconfident, more or less by logical definition.

I’m not one of those people who is impressed by confidence, by self-assurance, let alone by dogmatism or arrogance—though back when I was a pre-teen and into my teens I held a spot of envy for such attitudes.  Honestly, though, now I think overconfidence is generally reprehensible.  Holding beliefs that do not scale with the evidence has been a source of some of the greatest atrocities the human race has ever committed, against other humans and the rest of the world.

Beware of people who are certain without adequate reasons for certainty.  And by “adequate”, I mean reasons that would convince a disinterested extraterrestrial of good intelligence and emotional restraint without any preconceived notions one way or the other, not that would convince some naïve group of humans, even a lot of them.

Overconfidence is truly dangerous, and most of the confidence that people tend to try to invoke or evoke or project is overconfidence.  It’s not a coincidence, nor is it wrong, that “con artist” is short for “confidence artist”.  I recommend against trusting anyone who wants you to trust them rather than to be convinced by their evidence and argument.  It may do you good to remember that “trust” is really always just another word for “calculated risk”.  Try to make your own risk calculations as accurate as you can make them.

Anyway, that’s my meandering blog post for today.  I don’t really have energy to write much more.  I had a particularly bad week last week, so I haven’t made progress on reviewing Alzheimer’s or Parkinson’s Disease, and I want to get a better review in before I write any more about them.  I also have a request—from my sister—to write something about the problems and dangers of sugar.  That’s something that doesn’t require nearly as much review, but I’m not up to doing it today.

I don’t feel much better than I did last week, if any at all; I’ll have to see how the day goes.  But it’s not as though the holiday season is over.  Also, the daylight is getting shorter and shorter, and will be doing so for more than three weeks—although, this being near a local minimum of the sine curve, the rate of change is shrinking, and will reach its minimum absolute value right when the daylight reaches its minimum.  Of course, that also means that even once days start getting longer again, the change is going to be very slow at first, and hardly noticeable.

I honestly don’t know how (or if) I’m going to make it through until Spring.  No one has yet given me any good arguments for doing so, certainly none such as might convince a  disinterested extraterrestrial with no preconceived notions on the matter.  And, as I’m the closest thing to an alien that I’ve ever met, I’m better at making that judgment than many others might be.

But I don’t know for sure.  I do know that I’m tired, and I’m sad, and I’m frustrated, and I’m lonely, and I’m confused, and I don’t feel well.  I also can’t seem to sleep very well at all, even for me.  My world is a miserable place, and it doesn’t seem to be getting better over the course of my life.  I don’t know whether the future is therefore likely to be better, or is more likely to be worse still, or what.

I do have my doubts that it’s worth much effort, though.  Again, I guess we’ll see.  Or, perhaps, we won’t see.  Maybe no actual answers will ever be forthcoming.  If so, that’s okay.  I’d rather be uncertain than have firm beliefs that don’t have good, sound, reasonable bases.  I hope you feel much the same.


*Like “non-GMO” and “organic” and “gluten free” are, for the most part, though for those with actual celiac disease, that last one can be a truly serious matter.

Well, here we go again.

It’s Saturday—the one that comes two days after Thanksgiving, though I don’t think it has any special designation—and as I said I would, I brought my laptop with me, so I’m using it to write this post today.

I didn’t play any music or write any fiction yesterday.  Obviously.  I mean, I haven’t written any fiction in months, now.  I’m not sure how many.  And although on three occasions I’ve done a tiny bit of plinking on the guitar and once on the piano, it’s really been nothing like what I did in the past.  I just don’t have the desire to do it, even though I used to enjoy it.

As I’ve said, I used to enjoy fiction, mostly fantasy/sci-fi and horror.  I have a difficult time forcing myself to read any fiction anymore; even the Japanese light novels are getting daunting.  Non-fiction that I would normally have enjoyed, like books about physics, or biology, or psychology, or even politics and sociology, are all just blah.  Most of the videos I want to watch, I’ve already watched, over and over again, and though I am able to enjoy things repetitively, and I always have been, I’ve gotten to the point where I’ve just about squeezed what I can out of the ones that I like.  I haven’t even been able to get more than a few dozen pages into Sean Carroll’s new book.

And now, here I am, sitting at the train station on Saturday morning, ready to go into the office.  The person who last triggered my meltdown on Monday*, was off yesterday and will be off today, enjoying his holiday, and will get paid for his bending of the rules.

All the people I love in the world are elsewhere, with the ones they love, presumably enjoying their holiday weekends—I certainly hope they are—or just enjoying themselves in a faraway land, experiencing other cultures and so on.  And I’m here by myself, near the distal dorsum of America’s flaccid, syphilitic penis.

I think I stay here because, honestly, I don’t feel like I deserve anything better, and anyway, this apparent ASD that I probably have—or whatever psychopathology I have that mimics it—makes it very difficult for me to contemplate changes to any given situation, even though it’s far from ideal.

After I got out of prison, I decided to come back to Florida after a brief visit to my parents, instead of staying with them (I was invited to stay), because I hoped to be able to see my kids sometime relatively soon.  That, of course, did not happen, and I don’t give high odds on my ever seeing them again.

I’m certainly no good at being pushy about trying to get my own way in interpersonal relationships.  I didn’t fight my divorce or any related stuff, never fought about how much child support to give—I was happy to give as much as I was asked.  Frankly, there was nothing better for me to do with my money.  I honestly have little to no inherent sense of having any rights of my own, certainly with respect to other people, though I will tend to demand that people keep their hands off of me, literally and figuratively.

So, I missed the last few years of my parents’ lives that I could have spent with them, in the vain notion that I might get to see my children sooner.  And, of course, that was why I pled guilty in the first place, though I consider myself innocent according to the law as I understand it.  I certainly never willingly broke any laws, but was trying to help people who had chronic pain, such as I have.  I’m not claiming my thought processes were clear or ideal, and I was certainly naïve and foolish, but I never meant anything criminal, and certainly made no profit.

But I figured, three years’ plea bargain (with time served counting toward it) was better than a chance at a longer sentence, especially since I’m not a likeable sort with whom a jury might be expected to sympathize; or so I was told by my court-appointed lawyer.

This is the way the state extorts people into taking “shorter” offered sentences rather than going to court to fight legitimately for their side and their rights.

Anyway, I gave all that up for what turned out to be a pie in the sky notion.  I lost my medical license, my community, my use of skills that I’d put years and years of effort into gaining, and I lost the last years of my parents’ lives, and I lost my children anyway.  I wish I were just some selfish prick who was good at looking out for number one and living for his own enjoyment.

Well, no, no I don’t.  I despise such people.  But sometimes I envy them their ability not to care what anyone thinks of them, or what impact they have on others, no matter what they do.  I mostly don’t worry too much what other people think of me, but I do want people I love not to hate me.  I’m not sure I’ve been very successful at that.  I’d also like to be able to be with my kids and I certainly didn’t want to be divorced, or to disconnect from various other people, but I’m not good at people, it seems, though I was always good at being a caring doctor.

Oh, well.  It doesn’t matter.  It’s all pointless and irrelevant, and I don’t expect I’ll ever see my kids again, any more than I’ll see my mother and father again, though for different reasons.  I guess not seeing my kids is my punishment, or whatever the proper term is, for being utterly incompetent at human relationships.

It sucks, but I can’t get the rules changed as a special dispensation for me.  And I certainly don’t want to inconvenience my kids in any way; I want them to have the dreams they want to achieve, to do what they want with their lives and to enjoy the world as best they can.  Same with my old friends, and my ex-wife, and her family, and everyone else I’ve known.  I’m not interested in being the center of anyone’s attention, unless it’s something they feel good about.  For instance, if they like my writing or my music, I don’t mind if they pay attention to that.  But I’m certainly not worth derailing anyone’s plans out of any sense of obligation or anything along those lines.

I have no idea what I’m trying to say, today.  I’m getting bored with this blog, both today and in general.  I’m calling it good for now.  We’ll see how Monday goes.


*I want to make it clear that he was not the primary cause, he was merely the last straw…but he does often put himself in that position.

Blah blah Black Friday blah blah blah

Well, it’s “Black Friday” today, in the US, anyway, though I guess the commercial notion of a Black Friday Sale, at least, has spread to other countries now, as well.  It doesn’t make much sense to have it be a thing in other countries, considering that Thanksgiving‒as the holiday celebrated on the 4th Thursday in November‒is specific to the US, and Black Friday started because it was the biggest shopping day before Christmas, since most people were off work with the Thanksgiving holiday.  But what are you gonna do?

And, since pretty much no one but government workers gets a full four-day weekend anymore, especially given the ubiquity of “Black Friday” promotions, I am of course going in to work today, and I will be working tomorrow as well.

Amusingly, I just heard my first two iterations of the announcement that the Tri-rail will be operating on a Sunday schedule on Christmas Day, which is a month from today.  But, of course, Christmas falls on a Sunday this year, so of course it will be on a Sunday schedule, and if  Christmas is on a Sunday, then so is New Year’s Day.  Ah, well.at least this won’t be as long a time span for the repetition as the one for Thanksgiving was.  I wonder what will happen after New Year’s.

I’m writing this on the smartphone again, because I didn’t take my laptop with me Wednesday when I left the office.  I decided instead to take some music (a book and some tabs and three recently printed piano pieces) with me since I had Thursday off, and thought I might play some.  I was weirdly giddy on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday afternoon, maybe because I had gotten past the immediate crisis of Monday night.  It was Monday night, wasn’t it, when I had my 988 issues?  Also, I guess the office was kind of in laid-back mode and we had lots of food on Wednesday.  It wasn’t good for business, though.

Anyway, I did fiddle around a bit on the guitar and then on the piano, but it mostly highlighted how rusty and stiff my fingers are.  I also ate some junk food during the day and watched some videos, and then a movie, and that was pretty much it for my Thanksgiving.

As an aside, there must be at least some tendency for people to take today off, since I was, quite literally, the only person boarding the northbound train on my side of the track just now.  There were more people waiting for the southbound train.  Maybe people who go north are more likely to take the day after Thanksgiving off because it’s…colder up north?  That doesn’t make any sense.  I see that there are a few more people at the next station.  I guess there are still tendencies for people to take the day off, or perhaps just to start later, on the day after Thanksgiving.

Sorry, I know I’m just writing nonsense and gibberish and gobbledygook, but frankly, that’s not far from my usual tendencies.  I honestly feel like I’m crashing from my weird little, post-immediate-crisis high on Tuesday afternoon and Wednesday.  None of the treats and snacks and special foods of the holidays really bring any joy to eat, not in and of themselves, anyway.  I even bought a beer to drink yesterday, but I got, I think, five sips of it down before pouring it out.  A can of Coca Cola was good, I guess‒there’s something special about Coke in a can, though more than one would quickly just be the source of a sticky feeling in my mouth.

I’m very tired, though I did basically nothing yesterday.  I slept about four hours last night, which is pretty good for me.  I had a weird dream this morning, about some dark city* or world where a political movement at first made people optimistic and hopeful, but then just turned their society into a dystopia once it got going, which seems to be what dogmatic ideologies tend to do once they achieve real power.  This is surely one of the reasons why free speech and free expression are so crucial, and fuck “safe spaces” and “hate speech”.  Those are the sorts of notions used by totalitarians and the like to suppress dissent, because they don’t even want people to have the mental option available to them to think about alternatives to the Party line.

I used to get slightly irritated by the expression “get over yourself” when it first cropped up, but now I think it needs to be a mantra in response to all the neo-narcissists out there who’ve been raised to think that there ever was or ever will be a place they can feel “safe”, even as they tell other people how they are “supposed” to think.  Sorry, the universe is fundamentally unsafe, and it always will be.  Life is short, everything is trivial, and almost nothing that ever happens is about you, whoever you may be.

Even someone like Genghis Khan is just as dead now as all the enemies he killed, and though we still remember his name‒Temujin‒that means nothing to his anonymous corpse.  Everyone who lived more than 120 years ago is dead.  However many people were alive in the world in 1900, they have all succumbed to the creeping Holocaust of time.  So will we who are alive today.

Anyway, I don’t know what point I’m trying to make.  Maybe I’m making the point that there is no point, and doing it in a meandering and vague way just to make my meaning clear in both words and tone.  But I doubt that I’m that clever.

Cleverness rarely works, anyway.  Cleverness, such as one often sees in TV and movies and such, has too many moving parts, where everything has to go just right, or the cleverness fails.  Things don’t tend to go “just right” in the real world.  Alertness and adaptability, along with straightforwardness‒keeping things as simple as possible‒is probably a better strategy.  I call it “chaos surfing”.  You can’t make the waves, but if you’re alert, you might be able to ride one for a little while.

That’s that.  I hope you all had a good Thanksgiving, those who are in the US.  A particular greeting to my cousin, who reads this blog.  I meant to send you a Happy Thanksgiving text yesterday, but I forgot, and I apologize for that.

Hopefully I’ll feel a little better tomorrow.  I think I’ll bring the laptop this evening, because this phone writing is getting slightly irritating.  Enjoy your Black Friday shopping, if that’s what you’re doing.  I’ll keep trudging along for now, though I don’t really want to do it, because…well, just because I don’t seem to have any better or clearer ideas at the moment.

Belated TTFN for yesterday.


*The atmosphere of the dream clearly owed much to the atmosphere of The Batman, which is the movie I watched yesterday.

どうもありがとう(Doumo arigatou) from Mr. ロバート (Robaato, i.e. Robert)

Good morning and hello.  It’s Wednesday, the 23rd of November in 2022, which is the day before Thanksgiving in the USA.  I suppose one could call it Thanksgiving Eve, though somehow that’s never seemed to catch on.  I’m writing this on my phone, because I didn’t take my laptop when I left the office yesterday; I didn’t forget to bring it; I just didn’t feel like it.  Honestly, I don’t have a lot of enthusiasm for writing a post today, but since I definitely am not going to write one tomorrow, I guess I’d better bite the bullet and write the blogget.

I’m at the train station as I begin this post, and of course, the iterated announcement continues, reminding us that tomorrow, Thanksgiving Day, they will be operating on a Sunday schedule.  This announcement has been repeating since the day after Labor Day.  Presumably, starting Friday, they’ll be reminding us that they will follow a Sunday schedule on Christmas and New Year’s.

It’s very foggy down here by me today, which is unusual.  In fact, when I left the house, my first notion was that something big must be on fire nearby.  But, thankfully, it quickly became obvious (when I took a sniff) that it was merely fog.  It’s surprisingly rare to see fog down here, probably because, even though it’s more than humid enough, the air is almost always too warm to cause the humidity to begin to precipitate out so close to the ground.  Not that it’s cold today; it’s 73 degrees Fahrenheit, according to the weather app when I left the house, and that seems pretty consistent with what the feeling of the temperature is.

Yes, that’s right‒I’m writing about the weather.  I told you I didn’t really feel up to writing much, didn’t I?  I’m certainly not up to trying to write the follow-up to my neuropathology post from the other day, and I don’t think I would try doing that on my phone if I were, as I think I’ve mentioned previously.  I occasionally toy with the notion, when writing blog posts on the phone, of trying to write a new short story this way.  I wrote a good portion of Son of Man on a previous phone, and I think it came out well.

But honestly, though I think about the idea, I know I won’t do it.  I may not ever write any more fiction for the rest of my life.  I can barely get myself to do non-fiction such as this.

I did listen to some music last night, both on the way to the train and as I lay down trying to get sleepy.  I also ended up watching a fair few “reaction videos” to songs I know.  That’s a rather entertaining genre of YouTube videos in which youngish people, who presumably grew up listening to the latest modern music‒an ever-moving definition in any case‒listen to some classic bands and songs, usually for the first time, and we all get to see their initial reactions.  It’s a fun genre, because these are obviously people who are interested in being exposed to prior hits, and their enthusiasm for the process is often quite moving.

It’s charming (if startling) to see a youngish couple who have never even heard of the Eagles listen to Hotel California…or to see anyone who doesn’t know what’s coming to experience, for the first time, the saxophone solo from Gerry Rafferty’s Baker Street.  It’s also quite a surprise for people to see the young lead singer from the Animals start growling out The House of the Rising Sun.  It still honestly surprises me every time I see it.  It’s as if some teenager has been possessed by the spirit of a cursed man from New Orleans who squandered his life like his father before him, and who must find a body willing to express his torment and his warning before he can ever rest in peace.

It’s also fun to see and hear songs I haven’t thought of in a long time as if for the first time, like The Heart of Rock and Roll, which was huge back in the 80’s.  I saw Huey Lewis and the News in concert, and they put on a terrific show…though he teased the Detroit audience by pretending to forget the last city name in the aforementioned song.  He was a good showman.  He also went to my alma mater, so you know he’s special.

And I’ve yet to see any one of the reactors watch the “best live version” of Radiohead’s Creep and not be in or near tears in response to Thom Yorke’s performance, and commenting about how this is clearly something personal for him, he’s not just singing the song, he’s experiencing it.  Which is surely true, since apparently Thom wrote the song in his late teens, and it was autobiographical.  It certainly conveys sentiments many people have shared at one time or another.

It’s all the next best thing, I guess, to sharing one’s favorite music with a friend, or listening to some new, great song for the first time with one’s peers back in high school or college or what have you.  I guess that’s similar to the reason I watch Doctor Who reaction videos; I have no local person or people with whom to watch it, and it’s definitely the sort of show I would have watched with my wife and/or kids.  I don’t feel too heartbroken to see it now, alone, since I’ve only ever actually watched it by myself, unlike many other shows that I can no longer enjoy.

Not that that makes it unemotional.  I’ve never encountered a show that more frequently evokes teariness than Doctor Who.  It’s really quite remarkable and impressive.  As fans say, it’s a show that’s bigger on the inside.

Anyway, that’s enough writing about nothing.  I hope all of you reading in the US have a truly wonderful Thanksgiving tomorrow, and get to spend time with your loved ones and enjoy some delicious food.  For all those outside the US…well…have a good Thursday‒hopefully not one such as DentArthurDent was prone to have‒and you might as well have some nice food and time with your loved ones, too.  I’ll be back on Friday, barring the unforeseen.

happy-thanksgiving-from-the-farm-maria-keady

Calling 988 is NOT painless with T-Mobile

I’m probably not going to write too much this morning.  I don’t feel much like writing.  In fact, I almost just decided to use my phone for this, even though I brought my laptop with me when I left the office yesterday.  But I thought about the pain in my right thumb and decided, you know what, since I have the laptop with me, I’ll use it.

I left work precipitously yesterday, over the fact that, once again, I was being asked to tacitly approve of a bending of the rules that were set not just by me but also by the boss and the other people who were now wanting to bend them, and all at the behest of the same miserable worm that often pushes us into that situation.  And maybe because of my apparent Asperger’s, or just because of my moral code, or just the truly abysmal mood I was already in (just check yesterday’s blog to find out about that), but I just basically said, “Fuck this,” and got up, packed up my laptop, and left the office.

I texted my main coworker to apologize, and told him that I was going to call 988 once I got back to the house, because I’m at my wit’s end.  I also texted my sister, who was also very supportive, and my coworker told me that the boss apologized to me for putting me in that position.

Anyway, I ended up at the house, which I don’t consider home, and it took me some time and a breather to work my way up to calling the helpline.  This is because, the last time I called the helpline, many years ago, while I was out on bail during my personal downfall/debacle, I got picked up by the PBSO, handcuffed, and taken to a place I think was called the South County Treatment Center.  The deputies didn’t know how to use their handcuffs very professionally—trust me, I’m a connoisseur—and did some nerve damage to my left wrist in the process that lasted almost a year.

So, I finally decided to call 988 yesterday, only to find that T-Mobile prepay would not allow the call to go through, even though I’m paid through December 11th.  I got online to investigate this, and signed into the account, just to confirm that, yes, I was paid up, and I was.  So then I got on their chat function, trying to tell them about the issue and asking, basically, “What the fuck?”

But the person on the chat said that I had to call the toll-free number specifically for T-Mobile’s prepaid system, that they couldn’t do anything or even say anything about it on their end.  And, of course, even though I’d said that I was trying to call the suicide prevention hotline, they used their same cheerful but useless prepackaged, computer-generated phrases to say I had to call their stupid other service first.

Well, it occurred to me that if I could call their stupid toll-free number, I could probably call another, so I told them to fuck off (or words to that effect), and then looked up the 800 number for the old helpline, and I found that it was still active and would redirect automatically to the same place to which 988 goes.  When I started dialing it, I realized that I still had that old number as a contact in my phone, having put it in there just in case, some time ago.

Anyway, I spoke to a pleasant woman who was quite supportive and calming, until I had to use the restroom.  One reassuring thing was, she asked me if I had any immediate plan or method of killing myself, or if I was thinking of killing myself.  I told her, I think about killing myself every day, and have all sorts of possible methods, but I don’t want to be rude or make a mess for other people to clean up or to inconvenience them, so that was why I was calling them.

I guess if they think you are imminently in danger of killing yourself, then they would call the sheriff.  Which leads me to wonder, what if that was your plan?  What if you deliberately wanted to call the sheriff and then when they came, attack them and make them shoot you?

That was not my intention, of course, though such ideas have occurred to me at times.  I finally got off the phone and took care of the restroom business, let my sister and my coworker know that I had called, and that I was going to bed.

I wish I could say it had solved my problems and I felt worlds better, but I don’t think anyone expects that to be the case.  Still, I’m here, for what it’s worth*, and I’m writing this blog, though I’m not working yet on the follow up to my initial neurological post.

But I will close with a public service announcement, or two of them:  First, if you or someone you know has trouble with depression or other mental health issues, or what have you, please keep the following information in mind:  The three digit number for the national suicide helpline in the USA is 988, and the 800 number is 1- 800-273-8255.

The second suggestion is, if you think there’s any chance you or a loved one might need urgent mental health help, don’t do business with T-Mobile.  The fact that I couldn’t get through with the initial 988 number was almost enough to make me decide that it wasn’t worth trying to get help, that this was the world telling me I should just die.  Fortunately my combative stubbornness came to my aid, and I had to try to solve the problem because it did not make sense.

Fuck T-Mobile.  But thank goodness for the people at the suicide help line.


*Nothing, in the greater scheme of things.

There is no room upon the hill

It’s Monday, and I was loosely considering writing the second part of my discussion of Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, etc., today, but yesterday (and to a lesser extent Saturday), I got my head thrown for a loop by something that other people would probably consider minor, and because of that, I didn’t do any preparation, such as reviewing some of the latest information on the subjects, so I’m going to put that off a bit.

It’s rather strange how fragile my mental state has become—or perhaps it was always so, but I didn’t know, because my surroundings were such that I was not as vulnerable, or because I avoided the mistake of ever getting used to anything going as I expected or hoped.  In any case, my usual Sunday routine is to get up relatively early and do my laundry in the morning.  It’s two to three loads, and it’s the only day in the week that I can do my laundry, given my schedule, so I’ve kind of carved that out as the way things work.

It was my understanding that the new people living in the outer part of the house knew that; I’d asked the owner to make that clear, and hitherto it’s been good.  It feels like it shouldn’t be much of an imposition on anyone, since the remaining six days of the week are theirs to do what laundry they will as they please.  I do pay for the cable and internet, and for (more than) half of the water and power, despite there being only one of me.

I laid in just a little bit—for me anyway—yesterday morning, which means until about 8:20 am, before going out to do my laundry, only to find that there was a load in the wash and the dryer, just getting started, and the lady was there with some man I haven’t seen before, though he’s not important.  I tried stammeringly to remind her that I need to use the laundry on Sunday morning, that it’s the only day I can do it, and please to leave it free in the future, but I think that I didn’t say half of that, and not just because of my very rusty Spanish.  I was just so stressed out, and felt so angry and anxious and irritated that my words kind of froze up, and I don’t have any idea what my expression looked like.  I also felt almost as though I was going to cry, which is quite embarrassing.  I finally said, “por favor” a few times before retreating into my room.

I know for a fact that my face doesn’t adequately convey my emotions—apparently neither does my voice nor my writing—because I frequently find that I when I am horribly depressed, and having suicidal thoughts, and am trying to send out some kind of request for help, and expect that it’s obvious, and that someone will say something about it, people act just they way they normally act.

I don’t know, maybe they aren’t acting like they normally act, but I’m no good at reading them.  In any case, my experience of their behavior doesn’t seem to change.  Thus, my frequent reference to the line from Brain Damage, the penultimate song from Pink Floyd’s Dark Side of the Moon:  “And when the cloudbursts thunder in your ear / you shout, and no one seems to hear”.  (It’s followed by what is, for me, an even more poignant and heartbreaking line:  “And when the band you’re in starts playing different tunes / I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon.”)

Maybe it’s just that people have seen me get depressed and stressed out so often, and I’ve tried to express how horrible I feel so often, but no one has done anything or recognized it or something, but I haven’t killed myself yet, so it’s probably okay just to leave it, he’ll get over it and keep on going, since that’s what he’s always done so far.  But, of course, past performance is no guarantee of future results, as the dot-com bubble, and the housing bubble, and the 2008 banking crisis reminded us, though it feels as though most people had never realized it before, and probably most people have never internalized the lesson even since those big slams.

Anyway, there’s a reason that the reference to the straw that broke the camel’s back became a cliché.  When a rope is fraying steadily, for a long time it looks like it’s still holding—after all, it doesn’t tend to stretch as it frays, especially not if it’s a modern, polymer rope—but when it fails, it does so abruptly, and often catastrophically.

Too many metaphors.  Too much mixing thereof.  Sorry, but I’m having trouble being very organized.

Anyway, just having my laundry schedule screwed up—I had to wait hours for the person’s laundry first to be done in the wash, then for them to clear it from the dryer while my first load of wash waited, finished washing, in the washer—really fucked me in the head.  It didn’t help that I couldn’t go for a walk as I’d hoped to do, since it’s been pissing down rain for the last thirty-six hours or so, with a fairly steady wind that makes umbrellas pointless, since your lower half is going to get wet no matter what.  Frankly, it’s significantly more inconvenient than the “subtropical storm” was a few weeks ago.

So I couldn’t finish my laundry and then go for a long walk or anything, or really do anything else while waiting for the laundry machines to be available*.  Not that I would have done anything edifying or useful, but I had planned (as I mentioned) at least to review some more recent stuff about the diseases I’d begun addressing.

This is not the only thing that stressed me out.  Saturday, I made the mistake of making a slightly substantive comment on a post in a blog that I follow, and another reader replied to my comment, starting the fucking idiotic response with “You’re missing the point”, and then spewing some irrelevancy about something that didn’t pertain to the point I was making; and by the way I had not missed the supposed point this person thought the original post was making.  It just wasn’t pertinent nor frankly in any way persuasive.

Anyway, I felt very angry—probably inordinately so—and made the mistake of replying (substantively, I think, and not rudely) to the comment, trying to make my own point clearer.  But now I don’t even want to go back to that blog, and I certainly don’t want to get involved in the comments section anymore.  Maybe some people enjoy such argumentative interactions, but they make me want to go full Hannibal Lecter, or maybe just full Thanos, frankly, and that just ends up making me feel more horrible about myself than I already do.

I’ve had lots of other little stressors getting to me far out of proportion to their actual importance—after all, nothing at all is actually truly important—and it’s just highlighting for me again, in case I should ever start to forget, that I don’t belong in this world, I’m not a member of this species, I enjoy very little about the fact of being here, and that little seems to be shrinking asymptotically toward zero.

I can feel each straw gathering on my back in such moments.  I don’t have any idea when it might break.  It doesn’t help that my back always hurts, of course, but it does make the metaphor apt.  I don’t know the extent of my endurance, and I guess I won’t know until it breaks.  But it is being worn down.  I can tell because I’m getting more and more stressed out by milder and more foolish things all the time.

It’s particularly frustrating, though in a different way, when someone, meaning well, asks me how I’m doing or “checks up on me” in passing, because I have to either just dodge the question—since I know people don’t really know what to do if you tell them that you’re doing terribly and wish your life would end—or just say, “Meh,” hoping that is enough to get across the message if they really want to know, but noncommittal enough that they don’t have to feel upset if they’re just trying to be polite.

But I’m not doing well.  I haven’t been doing well.  I’ve been trying to tell everyone that for a long time, and it feels like it’s silly for someone to ask.  If there’s no one who can help me get the load off my back, I’m going to collapse, sooner or later, and I honestly hope that it’s sooner.

Anyway, that’s an unpleasant way to start the week.  I’m sorry.  I’m not much fun.  And I’m sorry about that, too.  I’m sorry that I’m such a waste of a person.  It’s not how I would prefer to be.  It’s not who I’ve tried to pretend to be.  But pretense can only be carried on so far if it requires so much energy to do, and if it just makes you feel like a liar and a fake, when you already feel like a stranger and, above all, a monster.

Oh, well.  The universe wasn’t built for me, that’s for sure.  It’s under no obligation to be the way I wish it were, nor do I have any business complaining about the fact that I’m not who I might wish I were.  I don’t want to be anyone else, of course; I just wish I were a better version of me.

Maybe somewhere out there in the multiverse, if there is such a thing, there is a better version of me, possibly an infinite number of them.  Of course, there would therefore also be an infinite number of even worse versions of me, based on the mathematics of the situation.  I wonder if I’m close to the mean, or the median (these are tricky concepts when dealing with infinities, in any case), or the mode, or if I’m an outlier.  It doesn’t really matter, I suppose.  As far as anyone can tell, this is the only universe with which I have to work, and I am the only me that there is, and I am the only way I can have been.

How disappointing.


*I did at least get to watch Lydia Ko win yet another golf tournament, apparently a big one, and that’s always good.  I would have watched that anyway, but it’s still good.

But if you blog it, as many of your players do, I had as lief the town-crier spoke my lines.

Hello and good morning.  It’s Thursday again, and it’s time to resume my traditional, weekly blog posting day after a brief hiatus last week due to a rather lackluster tropical storm.  I expect there will be another hiatus next Thursday, since it will be Thanksgiving here in the USA, and that’s probably a more universally observed holiday here than anything but New Year’s Day (the latter being mainly observed because many people tend to be much the worse for wear after New Year’s Eve).

I’m not going to pick up the discussion of Alzheimer’s and/or Parkinson’s disease today, largely because I’m writing this post on my phone*.  Also, Thursday has traditionally been a day for blog posts about writing, especially fiction.  This makes it a good opportunity to address something raised by the same reader, StephenB, in a comment after yesterday’s blog, in which he asked what my thoughts or approaches were to writing good dialogue.

It’s an interesting topic, not least because I’ve never really thought about trying to write good, let alone great, dialogue.  I have, however, always (as long as I can remember, anyway) enjoyed reading both good/great dialogue and good/great narration.  But the greatness of such writing was always measured by how much I enjoyed it or the story in which it took place, and was from my point of view, never in deference to what anyone else said was good or great.

I’ve always tended to notice passages of writing that I find moving or eloquent, and I read and reread them, and often involuntarily memorize them.  In high school, almost every day, I would write some quote or other on the little-used blackboard of the orchestra room**.  I’ve also always loved characters who used words well‒they’re usually villains for some unclear reason‒in various books and movies and comic books and whatnot.  A big part of the reason Lord Foul is one of my favorite villains is because of his way with words (as well as the fact that, despite being a Sauron-style “big bad”, he actually speaks in the stories)***.

I’ve also always watched people around me and listened to them, mostly to try to discern how ordinary people talk and interact and communicate, which has often been far from intuitive for me.  If someone has peculiar habits of speech or sayings, especially funny ones, I’ll tend to remember them, and sometimes these will appear in my characters’ speech.

But when I’m writing dialogue, whether in a story or a play or whatever (it’s been a long time since I’ve written a play or a screenplay, but I did write them, once upon a time), I’m not really trying to make the dialogue good.  I’m not even really thinking about it as “dialogue”.  To me, the characters in my stories are just people‒real people in a sense.  I don’t do any formal process of, for instance, deciding someone’s background or motivations or nature, partly because, as far as I can see, no real people have such clearly defined backgrounds or motivations‒real people are messy and fuzzy‒and partly because it seems boring.

So, when my characters are speaking, they’re just talking to each other, as people talk to each other, and the subjects and words depend on the situations and the vague tendencies of the person talking.  I will have people try to be funny, when the character wants to try to be funny, but I can’t always tell if they’ve succeeded (and it’s often, ironically, funnier when they haven’t).  Sometimes characters get the right words out and make what they’re trying to say clear on the first attempt, and other times the other characters don’t quite get what they were saying, and they’ll have to clarify their point, sometimes with exasperation.

But real people, as far as I can see, don’t do “dialogue”.  They just talk to each other, and it’s very free-form and impromptu and usually quite messy, but sometimes fun.  And, as I said, the people in my stories aren’t anything but people to me, even the “bad guys”, and so they are prone to say whatever they say in any given situation, and succeed or fail at communicating depending on their luck, skill, or circumstances.

Of course, I do a lot of editing as I finalize stories, but I suspect that I edit dialogue far less than I do narration.  I certainly don’t bother trying to be grammatically correct when people are speaking, unless that character is someone who likes to try to do that, because most people‒even I‒don’t speak in grammatically correct sentences.  Occasionally I’ll tweak something if it’s said in an awkward way that’s not a natural kind of awkwardness, or I’ll add something if it occurs to me that this character really wants to say a bit more about a particular subject than was written originally.

And, of course, in The Chasm and the Collision, the characters sometimes deliberately choose not to swear when they definitely wanted to swear, and would have done so, if not for my decision, on my father’s recommendation, not to have any swearing in the book (since it was “kid” oriented).

So I fear I have little advice to give about writing “good dialogue”, but personally, I wouldn’t worry too much about trying to do that.  I doubt Shakespeare ever tried to write good dialogue specifically; he probably just had his characters say what he thought they would say, both to have fun and to advance the plot (and often tweaked into iambic pentameter).  He ended up making some truly great dialogue, but I think his goal was just to write an enjoyable, moving play that people would be willing to pay to go and see.  The man had to make a living.

I’m no Shakespeare (clearly), but I basically just read what I enjoy and try to write what I enjoy, and my characters aren’t Characters, they’re just people.  They don’t do dialogue, they just talk, like people do, often saying stupid things, and interrupting each other, talking way too much, too loudly, and in singularly unflattering ways.  I don’t know if that counts as any kind of advice or insight; these are just my thoughts on the subject.

That’s my own “dialogue” for the day.  I hope you got some fun out of it, and that you have a good day, and a good week, and have whatever conversations you have with your friends/loved ones that seem to fit.  And, of course, please comment here with suggestions for subjects and topics or inquiries regarding matters about which you’d like me to write.

TTFN

socrates dialogue bubble


*I didn’t bring my laptop when I left work early yesterday, exhausted beyond belief by Monday and Tuesday nights.  I wish I could say I’d gone on some kind of binge on those evenings, but alas, I can’t even usually finish a single glass of wine, and apart from caffeine, allergy medicine, and OTC analgesics, I don’t use any drugs.

**The orchestra teachers were pretty easy-going about this, presumably because I was a good student and the process was nominally educational and occasionally interesting or amusing.  They did give me the “dusty cello award” in my senior year, near graduation, for my idiosyncratic habit, and that very much caught me off guard.  I never really realized it was odd or funny.

***He’s the second person we “meet” from the Land, in the chapter “Invitation to a Betrayal”, and I doubt I will ever forget the final paragraph of his warning to Thomas Covenant:  “One more word.  A final caution.  Do not forget whom to fear at the last.  I have had to be content with killing and torment, but now my plans are laid, and I have begun.  I shall not rest until I have eradicated hope from the Earth.  Think on that, and be dismayed.”