The numbers don’t decide…or do they?

Huzzah.  It’s Monday.

I’m sure you’re all celebrating the beginning of a new work week and the last Monday in January of 2023.  Yes, that’s right, the first month of this new year is already all but gone.  And, as with almost every month nowadays, I say “Good riddance.”

I’m not sure what subject(s) to address, today.  I guess I could start out by announcing that I passed my potential palindromic recording number on Friday without hitting it.  We reached 26266228 in the morning, but then there was a lag in business and the next recording number after lunch was 26266601.  We skated right past after coming so close.

Anyway, that was the final extension I had given myself, after passing 26211262, 26222262, 26233262, 26244262, and 26255262 over the latter part of 2022.  Those were all good palindromic numbers, but I missed them all, and given the repeating 26 and the repeating 62 of this last one, it felt like a nearly ideal last hurrah.

I had thought that if I did see one of those recording numbers, I was going to promise to myself not to go the Heming way, nor to fall prey to Kurt’s co-bane*.  But that refuge is gone, and I’m not going to reset the target, either.  I’m not saying that I am definitely going to kill myself, because Cat only knows what will happen at any moment.  But I’m definitely not going to promise not to kill myself, and there seem fewer and fewer things in my life for which to live.

People at the office come and go (except the owner, of course), and so do housemates and the like.  All my old friends are a long way away and/or have busy lives of their own, and I’ve never been good at maintaining interaction with people from a distance.  I’ve always made friends either at school or at work, wherever I was, and could get close to people because they were literally close, but when people go away, or I do, I can’t figure out how to keep in touch with them.  I don’t even know where to start.

And I have a hard time with phone conversations other than with family**.  Even getting text messages can make me feel anxious and panicky, though it’s a bit better.  Emails aren’t too bad, but people rarely communicate through emails socially, it seems.  And Facebook messenger and Twitter’s equivalent can fuck off and die.  I hate them.

Learning that all this is probably due to undiagnosed Asperger’s is, I guess, at least a bit of an explanation, so I don’t have to feel quite as much that I’m just a heartless jerk***.  But it doesn’t change the fact that I have a very difficult time connecting with people, and the fact that several of the people who have meant the most to me‒indeed, two of the top three, plus several others‒have severed ties with me doesn’t help.  I’m apparently an unpleasant person around whom to be, a lot of the time.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: for me, at least, it is not better to have loved and lost than never to have loved at all, though I would never change the fact that my children were born, and so I would never change my life up until that point.  Not that such a thing is an option, but it’s a psychological and philosophical thought experiment.

They aren’t just useful in physics.

So, yeah, I’m basically just floating through things, and fewer and fewer of the people I know, who seem to like me, are around on a daily basis.  And I have no nearby friends who read much, or are interested in science or mathematics or any of the other few things I really enjoy.  I have neither the ability nor the interest in trying to develop online connections or join groups.  I can’t even get over the stress and anxiety of thinking about joining online groups for Asperger’s/ASD support, nor to seek out online diagnosis-related resources, other than books****.

Oh, yeah, books.  Just since Friday, I think I’ve flipped into about seven different books, trying (unsuccessfully) to find one that would keep my attention, considering but passing by dozens of others that did not even catch my mind that far.  That’s not a good sign, not if you know me. Why, Kindle says my current reading streak is 140 weeks, and that just makes me wonder what the hell I was doing in that week before, because why would I have gone a whole week without reading?  But now I can’t really read much of anything.

And nearly every day at work, I consider smashing my black Strat, because I can’t find the interest or even willingness to play guitar, whether my own music or someone else’s.  Nothing is interesting, nothing is rewarding.  Nothing is fun.  And it’s not as though I have some overriding or motivating goal; I don’t.  I don’t even think I’m likely ever to do those audio blogs/podcasts on sugar, or on Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s, or any other similar thing.  I’m almost out of gas.

And January isn’t even over yet.

*Ha ha.  I know, those are tasteless plays on words, given the subject matter, but I guess I’m tasteless.  Unfortunately, because of the two artists I’ve chosen, you might get the impression that I’d meant to promise specifically not to killing myself with a shotgun, but I don’t currently have or even have access to a shotgun.  I merely was going to commit not to kill myself.  But that commitment is not forthcoming.  The opportunity has passed.

**And even that makes me stupidly anxious, though once I get started, it’s fine.  I guess it helps that I’m the youngest of three; my siblings have literally been there my entire life, so they can never feel like strangers.

***Though that’s not ruled out.  There’s no fixed either/or dichotomy involved.  Just because there may be a clinical explanation for me sometimes acting like an asshole, it doesn’t mean I’m not also just an asshole.  And I have it on good authority that, at least part of the time, I am one.

**** But after a few of those, I couldn’t read them any more, because there’s no mechanism explored, no real neurobiology, just people talking about their lives, and I can’t easily do very much of that.  Even Simon Baron-Cohen’s stuff is far from deeply-understood neuroscience and psychology and so on, and the latest research papers are often all too superficial and yet narrow.

Bus stop, waiting, she’s there, I say, “I think you’ve mistaken me for someone else.”

I considered writing this post this morning directly onto my WordPress site, which is something I almost never do.  But that would require a change of pace from my usual practice, so I’m not going to do it this time.  That’s largely because I have an already existing “change of pace” today, in the form of some person yet again lying down on the bus stop bench.

It’s very annoying.  I mean, I’m sure it’s probably annoying for that person, too, but I’m not the one that put them in that position‒I am all but mathematically certain of that‒but that person is the one who put me in the position of having to stand at the bus stop (and finally sit cross-legged against a tree, which put one of legs to sleep) with my back and hips and knee and ankle really giving me trouble already, writing my stupid ass blog post that maybe 5 people will actually read if I’m lucky.

By the way, there’s even someone at the “alternate” bus stop as well, apparently.  It never rains but it pours, as they say.  They talk too much.

I don’t know if anyone has actually read The Dark Fairy and the Desperado so far yet, but I’ve seen no feedback on it.  Maybe it’s so bad that no one can get through even the modest part that I’ve written so far.

I’m still struggling to find interesting things to read; most of the science books I have are dull to me now, though I reread The Coddling of the American Mind recently, almost all the way to the end, and it was good again.  I also got a new “biography” of Radiohead, titled Radiohead: Life in a Glasshouse after one of their songs, but it took me less than a day and a half of highly interrupted reading to finish‒maybe three hours, tops‒so it was engaging, but very brief.

I’m trying to start rereading Stephen King’s 11/22/63, which I remember being quite good when I read it once before.  So far it’s not bad, but I don’t know how long I’ll stick to it.

I have a modest amount of trouble with the premise.  Not the time travel thing, even in the atypical way King sets it up.  That’s fine.  It’s imaginative, and he recognizes and has the characters recognize‒and mainly just shrug in confusion, which is appropriate‒the apparent paradoxes.  It’s a horror story, not science fiction, so it’s not important to get into the nuts and bolts of this curious phenomenon.

No, I have trouble with the notion that changing any event in history could have any impact on any cosmic level of stability whatsoever.  I think the question of whether JFK hadn’t been assassinated only seems Earth-shattering to people who lived through it, and for the most part, the course of events doesn’t change much in any case.  I suspect most Gen Z “kids” barely know who JFK was, any more than they know who Andrew Johnson was, or Pepin the Short, or Phillip of Macedon.  Really, why should they know or care?

I mean, yes, history can be quite interesting, and it is good to know history, so we can try to see‒to the best of our ability‒the way events have flowed, and the sorts of mistakes and failures and successes are possible.  But this is all still parochial knowledge.

The universe wouldn’t care at all if the Cuban Missile Crisis had led to World War III or if a much more devastating all-out global thermonuclear war had happened at the peak of the arms race in the 80’s and wiped out civilization*.  Frankly if another asteroid the size of the K-T asteroid hit and drove 70% of all Earthly species extinct, including humans, it wouldn’t matter to the universe…indeed, if another huge impact such as the one hypothesized to have created the moon literally wiped out all life on Earth and reduced the surface to a new, partly molten “Hadean” phase again, the universe would not notice.

Probably.  Very probably.

I think this notion that human deeds could endanger some kind of cosmic balance is just hubris and delusion, harking back to pre-Copernican worldviews, though I’m quite sure King is not literally so deluded.  But this focus on humans (and human-like) things may be why King can never quite pull off the Lovecraftian, cosmic type horror, in which humans come to realize just how tiny they are and that even the “gods” of reality are not in any way anthropomorphic.

Though even in Lovecraft, having such “gods” is a bit of anthropomorphizing of the universe.  But then, a merely dead and bleak universe does not make for a very interesting story.

Still, maybe that’s one of the reasons Stephen King is so much more generally popular than Lovecraft‒because in his worlds, the deeds of humans are not only important to humans, but they can have cosmic significance.  And his bad guys are mostly very much human as well, in their character and motivations‒even the Crimson King and It.

His scariest stuff, to me, anyway, is his material along the lines of The Shining and Pet Sematary, where the evil forces are quite otherworldly, quite different, and though they certainly have malice toward humans‒the Overlook does, I’ll be bound‒even the “ghosts” in the hotel are not really the source or center of the evil.  They are, if anything, just the spiritual husks of souls that the hotel‒whatever it is‒had devoured in the past, like the empty carcasses of insects in a spider web, or perhaps like trophies on a hunter’s wall.

Well, that was a meandering and surprising turn through my head.  It’s curious sometimes to see what will trigger what.

By the way, I think that was the same woman from before who was sleeping at the bus stop, because she woke up just before the bus came, and she asked me something.  I thought she was seeking bus fare at first, and I had to tell her that I use a monthly pass, so I don’t have any cash, but then she said something about needing to stop the buses running because of something to do with a wedding.  I tried to tell her I didn’t understand, and she repeated part of it and then asked if I had heard from the children about the bus and the wedding.

All I could do was tell her I think she had mistaken me for someone else.  As I suspected before, I’m pretty sure she is mentally ill, with some manner of schizophreniform disorder.  Though I’m not a fan of interacting with strangers, she certainly didn’t make me feel frightened at all.  She just made me feel sad.

It’s very sad to think that not only is there nothing I could do for her in my present state, there would be little anyone could do for her even in the best of circumstances available in the modern world.  Mental illness is terribly difficult to treat, and it doesn’t get nearly as much scientific interest and resources as it should merit, as with so many other things.

It’s far more “important” to humans to have brand name shoes and mocha lattes and Frappuccinos from Starbucks** and to own the newest iPhone (same as the old iPhone), and to follow “celebrities” and to buy their ghost-written books.

That’s probably part of why even “cosmic” level horror stories, with rare exception, make humans so important.  Humans are delusionally self-important in reality, and want even their fictional horrors to be likewise.  And so, humans will continue to deceive themselves about their inherent importance, and vanishingly few of them will realize that, if humans want to become cosmically important, it’s going to be up to them to make it happen.

They aren’t inherently important, except to themselves (which is perfectly reasonable), and it seems vanishingly unlikely that any space faring, extraterrestrial civilization (if such a thing exists) will come to save humans and show them the way.  Why would they?  At most, they might send some disguised observers, anthropologists in the literal, outside sense.  Xenobiologists, from their own point of view.

All right, that’s enough for now.  It’s too much, actually.  I don’t have any idea what my point is.  Which may, ironically, be the point.  Or maybe I’m crazy, even beyond the illnesses of which I’m aware, and this is all just a hallucination.

What a dreary, disappointing hallucination that would turn out to be.  It’s not even scary.  Even the truly dangerous things in the universe are banal, dreary, and not all that impressive.  One would expect paranoid delusions to be frightening.  But I guess that would depend on how much the amygdala and related structures are involved in the disease process.

Enough.  ‘Tis done. 

*That’s the sort of thing I grew up being afraid of and feeling completely powerless to prevent.

**Why is there no apostrophe in the title of the coffee giant chain?  Is it meant to imply that there is more than one Starbuck, or indeed that each customer is a Starbuck?  It strikes me as lazy and slipshod.

Cycles both vicious and viscous

It’s Monday again, the start of a new work week.  I guess this must be the 4th week of the year, since Saturday was January 21st, and 21 is 3 times 7, and this year and month started on a Sunday.  I’m at the bus stop again, writing this on my phone again while waiting for the first bus.  It’s generally better, for me at least, to wait somewhere to which I’ve already traveled, rather than waiting before I travel.  That way I can just sit still until the next stage of my journey.

Unfortunately, this bus stop has a strong smell of human urine this morning.  I don’t know if that’s because the weekend just passed, and people get drunk and pee in inappropriate places on the weekend sometimes, or if that homeless person spent more time here than expected and had to pee during that time.  I’ve not noticed the smell before, so it doesn’t seem to be a frequent thing.  I suppose if it had rained there would probably not be any residual odor, but it’s not the rainy part of the year down here in south Florida.

I had thought to myself, if the homeless person were to have been lying out at the bus stop again, I would go to the other nearby stop that I had (internally) recommended to her a few days ago.  That’s where I usually get off the bus at the end of the day, so it wouldn’t be a strange one for me to use.

It is curious‒I don’t know if other people do this or notice it or what have you, but I often take slightly different routes when going to and from a place.  Some of that is probably just a byproduct of perception, in that certain paths look or seem easier from one angle compared to another.  They can even be easier to see from one direction compared to another.

Sometimes it’s a matter of lighting and timing, such as the fact that, on my way back to the train after work, I take a slightly parallel portion of the route (which in the morning just goes on down the main road) because there’s a nice, quieter, tree-lined block behind the regional courthouse, and in the evening, when there’s light and I’m done with the work day, it’s more pleasant to walk there.  It also goes directly to the side of the tracks where I catch the train in the evening, whereas when I’m getting off the train, it would require a significant detour.

All this is trivia, but my point is that having these different routes when going one direction compared to another seems to be ubiquitous, at least for me, and I suspect I’m not alone in this.  This means, of course, that the routes become a kind of circle, rather than simply a reversible, oscillating process.

Of course no macroscopic processes of that sort are actually reversible, anyway, because of friction and the creation of increasing entropy, but even if one could eliminate such things, a to-and-from trip that takes different routes could have a net gain or loss*‒I think loss would be most likely‒and this loss could be perpetual and steady.

It’s a bit like that economics or game theory or decision theory idea whereby if someone prefers place A to place B, and prefers place B to place C, but prefers place C to place A, one could effectively be induced to pay to go in an endless cycle, from A to C to B to A to C to B, etc.  Of course, it would be profoundly irrational for someone to do such a thing, but people get caught in even stupider cycles all the time, which are even more costly, but because they rarely pay attention to the nature of their actions as if from the outside, they often don’t even realize they’re doing something thoroughly irrational.

I return again to my musings on the myth of Sisyphus‒the actual myth, not the book by Camus, though I still haven’t answered his main question to my own satisfaction‒and how horrifying it is that Sisyphus is the one doing his own punishing.

Say what you will about the horrors of Prometheus’s fate, at least he was the passive, chained victim of it**.  That may not make it better, and it may indeed be worse, but it is different.  Sisyphus’s very mind has been changed, so that he feels an irresistible urge, or drive, to push his boulder, despite the fact that he never gets it to the top of the hill (or mountain or whatever) without it rolling back down again.

But, of course, we all do very similar things all the time.  We eat to stay alive, and that eating gives us some pleasure, but the pleasure is transitory (as it must be) so soon we feel the urge to seek food again, and continue the cycle, which just spirals its way from bassinet to coffin, with the only certain outcome being that entropy in the universe will have been increased as part of the process.

Of course, the very universe itself may well be Sisyphean in nature‒see for instance my musing on Conformal Cyclic Cosmology, though even Inflationary cosmology can produce endless recurrences and infinite repetition.  Heck, even the old-school Boltzmann type of heat death of a universe implicitly produced endless cycles as, eventually, entropy would occasionally dip low enough to regenerate all the “stuff” in a universe, before making its way back up again.

And, of course, if the universe were “closed”, which it doesn’t seem to be, it could expand, collapse, “bounce”, reexpand, etc.  And if some of the “braneworld” scenarios in M Theory are right, there’s a cycle of brane-universes smacking into one another, restarting the hot Big Bang conditions over and over as they do***.

I don’t know where I’m going with this discussion, but in a way, that demonstrates my point.  I write my blog post every workday, for no particular reason, but because various confluent and complex drives in my nervous system lead me to do it.  Lather, rinse, repeat as needed.

Except, it’s not really “needed” in any deep sense.  It’s just an urge.  Even life itself is just a habit.  And it’s not always a good one, is it?

*Of course, one’s potential energy returning to it’s original point in a reversible system means that no net “work” has been done, no matter what path has been followed, but I’m leaving aside such idealized systems…though at the tiniest level they may be more accurate representations of reality than any more “realistic” macroscopic analogy.

**Who else thought of The Big Lewbowski when reading that line?

***This is the sort of “collision” to which the title of The Chasm and the Collision refers.

Where does a true blog wait? At the bus stop, sometimes.

It’s Friday again, and‒again‒I’m sitting at the bus stop, writing this blog first thing in the morning while waiting for the bus.

That woman who was screaming on a few previous mornings is screaming in a different region of the intersection now.  At this point, I honestly suspect she’s actually mentally ill.  There’s also a person with some form of fidgitiness or movement disorder or just some anxiety syndrome who has come and sat on the (small) bus stop bench not far from me.  I suppose he might either be on some kind of drug or withdrawing from some kind of drug, rather than having a primary disorder, but the woman is almost certainly mentally ill.

Of course, there’s not much one can do for her unless she asks for help or is openly a danger to herself or to others.  Actually, in Florida, even if she needs help, and asks for it, she’s probably out of luck.  Public services are rather limited here, despite this being the third most populous state in the US, and obviously quite wealthy.

The man I mentioned before couldn’t sit still for long before he got up and walked away, across the road to some other place.  I don’t know if he was hoping that I would speak to him or some such, and gave up when I didn’t even look at him other than in peripheral vision, while writing, or if he really was just stopping to rest.  If that latter, well, more power to him.

This end of the nation’s dong isn’t especially hospitable, so you should find rest when you can.  I would like to find some rest.  It would be so nice to go to sleep and to stay asleep through the night and wake up in the morning feeling refreshed rather than just groggy and resigned.

I do wish at least that this state were just a little less full of desperate and disgusting people.

I’m talking about the people in the state government when I say that, by the way, not people such as I mentioned above.  Also, some of the voters are a bit contemptible, the ones who imagine that they are solely responsible for all their own prosperity, even though the vast majority of them have not even a superficial grasp of how the universe into which they were extruded functions, from the subatomic to the cosmic, from the unliving vastness of intergalactic space down to computers and medicine and information technology and chemistry and biology and electricity and automobiles and the internet/the web and even television.  I don’t know how so many people can apparently stand not to know about these things, let alone sometimes still act smug and self-righteous.

As for troubled people like the shouty woman and the fidgety man, well they just make me feel a bit sad, really.  I mean, I don’t want either one to intrude upon me writing this blog post‒and neither one did, by the way.  Even when the shouty lady ended up walking past, in front of me, she was just muttering something about “catching the bus when it’s free” or something (as far as I know, it’s never free).

If I had unearthly powers, I would probably try to provide some help to either or both of them; I certainly gave a lot of money and stuff away when I was in medical practice.  That’s a big part of why I had to go with the public defender’s office (well, it’s an adjunct office, actually, but it’s the same idea) when I was charged with the bullshit I was charged with.  I was never very good at taking care of myself for my own sake, and I’ve gotten worse at it even since then.

So many people are so grasping and parasitic.  There are people in the office who regularly come to me for medical advice‒and even OTC treatment‒even though it’s thanks to the government of their poxy state that I can’t practice medicine anymore.  Cat forbid that they take responsibility for learning about and seeing to their own health.

From time to time, I think that I’m too high-functioning a person really to have any autism spectrum disorder‒but then, looking back at the things that happened to my life, and the way I have done things, especially once my separation and then divorce happened (and at many of the ways I managed things before then) when I was down here in Florida, far from my family and friends and everything, and when I realize how hard it is for me to arrange and keep track of the functions of daily life, I think…yeah, that ASD stuff actually explains a lot.  Knowing it doesn’t make it easier to counter, but I prefer to understand things as much as I can.

It’s not as though I don’t understand, intellectually, how things are done and how to do them.  I’m able to understand a lot of things.  But I can’t seem to pull myself or anything together, I can’t seem to organize my life or deal with ordinary things.  I can write novels and stories and blogs, I can write and perform and record and even produce songs (the latter not to a terribly high standard), I can draw, sometimes pretty well, and I can practice medicine and do science and operate computers…but I can’t promote my own works or stand to seek out anyone who would help me do so.  The social aspect of such things veers toward horrifying for me.

I’m able to survive‒often I don’t really want to survive, very often I don’t want to‒but thriving seems beyond me.  As Radiohead sings, “I’m not living, I’m just killing time.”. That’s from True Love Waits*, their last song from their most recent album, though the song itself has been around a lot longer.

Anyway, the bus will be here soon, and I will ride it, then ride the train, then walk, the trudge through the day and reverse the commute process at the end.  And tomorrow, since I have work tomorrow, I will do much the same.

And on Sunday I will do laundry, and then on Monday the cycle will begin again.  Sisyphus, eat your heart out!

Actually, that sounds more like a job for Prometheus than Sisyphus.  Are there any mythical figures who specifically eat their own hearts?  Whence did that expression arise?  I have to admit that I do not know.  It doesn’t really matter, but if anyone has any reliable information about the origin of that expression, I’d be glad to learn.

In the meantime, have a good day.

my bus stopadjusted

P.S.  The fidgety man just got on at a later bus stop from where I waited.  I think he just didn’t like sitting still, or perhaps he didn’t like sitting next to me.  It’s hard to hold it against him.

*It’s not a promise or anything optimistic.  The full title verse goes, “True love waits in haunted attics.  And true love lives on lollipops and crisps.”. In other words, the notion of true love is not something to be taken very seriously.  It eats like a child and “lives” like a ghost.

Introspection, Extrospection, Emergence, Reductionism…let’s call the whole thing off.

I’m sorry about how long yesterday’s post was.  It’s amazing, as I think I’ve mentioned before, just how much I can write‒on my phone, no less‒when I literally have nothing planned about which to write.  Small wonder that, when I do have a subject, or a story to tell, I tend to write perhaps too much.  Though I guess that assessment is really the individual reader’s to make.  Some may think I’ve written too much, and some may think too little.  Most will never know because very few people know about my books at all, and I have no knack, nor money, for self-promotion.

Speaking of stories, some woman was standing in the street median across from the bus stop, screaming as if in heated conversation at 5:20 this morning (just now, in other words) about someone having cheated on her after having gotten her pregnant.  If this were twenty years ago, I would have thought she was psychotic.  Nowadays it seems safe to draw the tentative conclusion that she is actually talking to someone on her smartphone‒though perhaps that’s a misnomer for such devices when they are used for such purposes.  Honestly, why do people even want to be with other people?  Everyone is so pathetic, and I’m certainly no exception.

There are those who say that an appetite for delusion is necessary for people to find any will to live at all‒from delusions about their driving abilities and personal attractiveness to delusions about meaning in the universe.  And there are those who speculate that one of the hallmarks of clinical depression is a diminution of that ability to delude oneself, particularly about oneself.  Perhaps.  It’s probably not quite so simple as that, but that does capture at least part of the character of the experience.

Oh, well.  It is whatever it is at root.  The underlying causal structure may have little resemblance to the overarching phenomenon.  Nerve cells don’t resemble little brains, individual starlings don’t have the appearance of tiny murmurations, and water molecules do not in any way resemble ultra miniaturized oceans.

The materials to which the laws of quantum mechanics directly apply do not behave in ways that are analogous to any “large” phenomenon which they engender when gathered together and interacting in their trillions of trillions of trillions of trillions, etc.  Anyone who finds this surprising at all has really not thought about things very hard or very clearly.

It may be fallacious to imagine that a wave function collapses when measured, or when it interacts with other “particles” and decoheres; it may be that our experiments of such things are simply too artificial to capture the nuances of the immensely common submicroscopic interactions of such fundamental things (though I don’t doubt that they actually have bearing on how quantum mechanics behaves).

The problem with concepts like imagining that, for instance, the Copenhagen Interpretation is “correct”, and that measurement and observation is what causes the wave function to “collapse” is its implicit assumption that if we cannot “see” something in any strong sense, it can’t be considered “real”.  To me that seems an astonishing level of hubris and narcissism, especially from a species as pathetic and benighted as humans.

By this I do not, by the way‒and this is very important‒mean to open the door to subjectivism and any relativism of objective facts, or any version of the “perception is reality” bullshit.  There is all the evidence anyone might need that there is an external reality, utterly independent of any consciousness that might or might not perceive it.  But its nature is not necessarily directly perceivable all at once, or understood at first glance.  It requires rigorous detective work.

How did I get on that subject?  By stream of consciousness, I suppose…or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that it was by the stream of the unconscious, bubbling away and spilling over onto the surface of thought.

That stream is not like a stream of clear water, though.  Perhaps it might be said to resemble turbid water, but often it seems more like thick paint.  We can only see the surface of the stuff, but that doesn’t in any way imply that the interior doesn’t exist.  It’s merely not directly accessible to our eyes.

Then again‒and this applies also to what I was writing earlier‒the process of seeing and experiencing that sight is a neurologic process that is constrained by inputs from sense organs, not a direct, unmediated apprehension of the world outside.  Mere photons, unprocessed, can only deliver chaos to any random bits of photosensitive material they might encounter.

Thought‒of some form or other‒is required for sight to be in any way useful, or even actual, to any organism.  A closed-circuit TV camera and monitor do nothing but send signals, and cannot interpret or act upon the information.  If no one, or no program, or no other mechanism is being influenced by the information in any sensible way that affects its outcome, it might as well be a camera pointed at the surface of an uninhabited planet and sending those signals to a screen on some other uninhabited planet.

Again‒or still‒I don’t know what, if any, point I’m trying to make.  Probably nothing worth delving into too deeply, so I won’t bother with it much more, I think.  Instead, I’ll switch topics.

In the past, I’ve asked about whether people would want to have me write more of Outlaw’s Mind or The Dark Fairy and the Desperado.  One particularly astute reader pointed out that it was impossible to make any reasonable judgment without having the opportunity to read any of the latter story.  So, I think I’ll post that story here, all in one go, if I can fit it.

Don’t worry, I’ll insert one of those “continue reading” clickable thingies after the first few paragraphs.  Otherwise, it would be a ridiculously long blog post to get past if one wanted to scroll down to the previous one.

This doesn’t mean I promise to write more of it or of Outlaw’s Mind, or to write Changeling in a Shadow World, for that matter.  I haven’t yet figured out even how to check the results of my poll, and I’m pretty sure that it can’t be all that difficult, so don’t expect much.

Hell, I don’t even promise to keep writing this blog.  I’m getting tired of it, as I’m getting tired of pretty much everything, and particularly of myself.  There’s very little to be gained by pursuing anything at all.  But, perhaps, by posting DFandD, I’ll at least create the pseudo-closure of having all of my fiction to date be out there somewhere to read.  In case anyone wants to read it.

So, either I’ll post that later today, or I’ll just use it as my post for tomorrow.  I guess you’ll find out, if you care to look.

A passion for timeliness and a late-appearing fruit of passion

Well, it’s Monday again, to the surprise of essentially no one.  That’s just what happens after the weekend, isn’t it?

I’m starting this post while still at the house, sitting on the “piano” bench in my room, because it’s too chilly to sit at the bus stop for too long and do the writing.  This is not merely a “chilly for south Florida”* chilly.  It’s about 45 degrees Fahrenheit out.  I don’t know how windy it is‒I haven’t been out yet‒but that’s not shorts-wearing weather even for snow birds.

Thankfully, fleece hoodies with the hoods up are more than adequate against such modestly cold temperatures, and walking is much warmer than riding a motorbike.  I have more extensive covering I could wear in a pinch‒a long, black duster I got originally to be part of a costume, but which is also quite handy for cold weather.

Anyway, there’s not much going on.  I had thought last evening about writing a topical blog post this morning, something relating to a book I’m rereading, called On Being Certain, but I’m not terribly into that right now.

I didn’t do anything useful at all this weekend, really, apart from getting some physical rest‒well, I walked 3 miles to 7-11 yesterday, but that was because I currently have no better means of travel, and I had some things I wanted.  It was worth the trip, I’d say, though 7-11 is pricey.

Still, the good thing about my current disrupted commute really is how much I’m walking.  Twice last week, I chose not to ride the buses back from the train station in the evening.  The first time was just because I wanted to do it, and was early enough for it to be workable; the second time because the bus that had been scheduled to come just hadn’t shown up, and the next one wasn’t for 30 minutes.

I made a good deal of progress before that next bus finally passed me:  more than half the distance I would have ridden it.  I felt quite smug, as though I were the one passing it, not the other way around.  On each  of those two days last week, I walked more than 8 miles total.  All the other days I walked more than 4.  So my walking really is getting boosted.

It occurs to me that I still haven’t done any of my “audio blogs” or podcasts or whatever one might want to call them.  Maybe I’m setting my bar too high.  I’d been planning to record them using Audacity and a decent mic, at least, but maybe I should just use my phone.  I’m using it for this, after all.  What do you all think?  Which should I do?


Okay, well, now I’m at the bus stop, but there’s still a good fifteen plus minutes to wait until the scheduled time for the first bus.  That’s just the way I do things.  I hate to be late to nearly anything, and at least since the time when I was in junior high, I always tended to get to school before nearly anyone else.  I just preferred the quiet solitude before the cacophonic arrival of all the other people into the area.

This has continued through pretty much the rest of my life (so far, anyway), and has, if anything, become more pronounced.  Indeed, my early awakening may well be distantly related to that sense that I can’t stand to be late (and being on time = being late to me).

If it’s related, it is pathologically so.  For instance, I first woke up last night at around 12:30.  I swiftly went back to sleep, at least, but still woke up more or less at least once an hour, and it became harder and harder to get back to sleep‒and it took longer each time‒such that by about 3:30, I mostly gave up.

But there was not too much point just to getting up and leaving early.  Oh, I suppose I could have walked all the way to my old, standard train station, and I would have arrived in time at least for the second train, if not the first.  But then, even given the weather, I probably would have started the day all sweaty.

Ending the day sweaty is okay‒you can shower and change clothes and all that‒but starting it that way can be a bit unpleasant.  And in Florida, at least, it leaves you at increased risk for skin fungus, or at least for mildew smells in your clothes, and there are very few smells that I find more repulsive than the smell of most fungi (though baking and brewing yeast are exceptions).


Okay, well, now I’m a bit anxious.  I looked on the “Myride” site and though it shows that there’s a scheduled bus arrival at 5:49 (in 2 minutes now) there’s no “estimated time” of arrival actually given until the next bus arrival time, which would be 15 minutes from now.  It’s really not cool for them to fail to have the first bus actually run, especially on an unusually cold morning.

Getting on the next bus will mean getting on an even later train, and so on.  Maybe I should have walked to the train station after all.  But if I left now for the train station, I’d be much later.  And there’s always extra work to do at the office after a weekend off.  But when one bus (or train for that matter) ends up canceled, the following bus (or train) is always that much more crowded than usual, and I hate that.  If it’s always crowded, at least I know what to expect, and I’m mentally prepared, if not exactly happy about it.  But if it’s a change from usual, it’s stress-inducing.

BCT used to run a pretty good bus service, but it seems they’ve been slipping lately, because this is now 2 different buses in the space of 4 days that are late or canceled.


Okay, well, the first bus wasn’t canceled, but it was five to six minutes late, and I can’t say that I’m okay with that.  It’s one thing for buses to be late when it’s rush hour‒such traffic is a chaotic system, and it can be effectively impossible to plan for every contingency when one has limited resources, as everyone does.

But at well before six in the morning, even in south Florida, there is barely any traffic at all, certainly not the kind of traffic that would slow a bus down.  People don’t tend to get in the way of buses, and police rarely pull them over, and the number of stops they make has a theoretical maximum, and they almost never have to stop at every stop.

Oh, well, what are you gonna do?  My boss at work sometimes sarcastically asks if I really think that the other people in the office are going to be able to do things to a level that I tend to do them, but my response is that yes, I do.  I’m not expecting people to grasp science and the like as well as I do, or to have the same enthusiasm for reading, but the things I ask for are things that should be graspable and doable by nearly any “normally” functioning human, since even I can do them, and I’m far from normally functioning, and barely human.  If they don’t succeed, it’s because they aren’t trying, or at least not very hard.

It’s like something I used to say to my kids when they would say they would try: “Good.  That means you’ll succeed, because this is something I know you can do if you actually try.”  Or words to that effect.


Anyway, that’s nearly it for today.  The bus arrived‒late‒but it looks like I’ll be able to get on the scheduled train, at least if it’s running on time.  Surely a simple 44 degree temperature isn’t enough to throw off all the public transit in south Florida?  Yes, it’s chilly for down here, but it’s not that cold.

Okay, well apparently the train is running about 3 minutes late.  That’s not horrible, but I still don’t think it should be considered okay.  Those responsible should feel embarrassed, though perhaps not ashamed.  People plan their days around the freely published schedules of the transit companies.  They make the schedules‒those schedules haven’t been forced upon them by a consortium of riders‒so they should stick to them.

The same goes for people at the office, come to think of it.  But apparently that’s just too much to ask of ordinary human beings.  If that’s really true, then ordinary people are not worth keeping around.

But I don’t think it’s true.  “Ordinary people” will for the most part live up to the standards to which they are required to live up, barring disease and disability.  And even people with chronic pain and dysthymia and depression and insomnia and apparent neurodevelopmental disorders can make it their business to get places on time and even early, and then to stay until all the work is done, even if everyone else has already left.  All that’s needed is just a little bit of passion**.

*Well, compared to whatever the temperature is currently in Michigan, or New York, or North Dakota, for instance, it would probably seem nice.  But you still wouldn’t want to sit at a bus stop for 45 minutes with just a hoody for your jacket in such weather.  And believe me you wouldn’t want to drive a motorcycle without layers and gloves and so on…though a good helmet will keep one’s head nice and toasty, at least.

**If that ending seems like a bit of a non sequitur, that’s because it was written in response to the fact that the person sitting in the seat in front of me on the train had a carton of passion fruit juice, and that made me think, “If there’s a passion fruit, why is there no ‘apathy fruit’?” which seems it would be much more an appropriate foodstuff for humans.  I put that last sentence in the main body of the blog solely for the purpose of writing this footnote.

Some Saturday silliness secondary to slightly soothing sleep

It’s Saturday morning, the first one of 2023, and hopefully all of my readers are reading this only after having slept late in a nice, warm, cuddly bed, preferably with loved ones‒a significant other, a spouse, dogs and/or cats, whatever‒nearby.  If you drink coffee or tea, hopefully you’re having a warm cup as you read*, especially if you’re in a chillier clime than south Florida (though the current 60 degrees Fahrenheit feels slightly chilly here).

I had nearly five full hours of sleep last night, which compared to the previous three or four nights feels like an absolute surfeit of sleep, a veritable treasure trove of slumber.  To be fair, I don’t really feel fully rested, but I feel so much closer to being rested that it’s worth paraphrasing Tolkien and saying that it’s reminiscent of the taste of a slice from a loaf of fine white bread to one who is literally starving.

It’s interesting how much our appreciation of things is dependent upon contrast.  Stepping into a highly air-conditioned room feels terrific after you’ve been outside working on a very hot summer day.  But after being in that room for an hour, you might start feeling uncomfortably cold.  At that point, stepping back out into the heat can feel like a wonderful relief in its turn.

I suppose nervous systems really must be formed in such fashion, because they have to especially take note of those things that are outside the “norm” of a stable background input, as these are the sorts of things that have a higher chance of being relevant to the organism.

Although, to be fair, there are absolute levels of things that will always be unpleasant simply because of how extreme they are.  I don’t think anyone would enjoy being shoved outside naked in an Antarctic winter for even a minute, though one’s discomfort would likely be short-lived…as would one, oneself in such a situation.  Likewise, I don’t think most people would appreciate being plopped into the middle of Death Valley on a particularly hot summer day, without any water, and again, without any clothes.

I really need to stop doing things like that to people, especially when it’s just to demonstrate hypothetical points.

As you can no doubt tell‒or at least reasonably surmise, if you’ve been reading my blog for a while‒I am working today, so I am at the train station waiting for the first train of the day to arrive.  As I said, it’s slightly cool for south Florida, but there’s little to no wind, and I have a nice hoody jacket to wear, so this is fine.  At least I’m not sweaty and sticky.

I still haven’t discovered how to check the results (so far) of my poll, but to be honest, I haven’t really tried, either.  I was so sleepy all day yesterday.  I was also grumpy, and rather dopey, and a bit bashful, as always.  I was definitely not happy, and not particularly sneezy, either.  But I am, and always will be, Doc.  And, appropriately enough, I just got on the train, so, Heigh-Ho Heigh-Ho, it’s off to work I go.

I was going to wonder how many of you have seen the movie to which I was making somewhat oblique references in that last paragraph, but it occurred to me that many of my readers are probably comparable in age to me, and so will have seen it.  Youth these days will probably have been protected from viewing certain depictions of people and things in animated movie versions of fairy tales, just in case anyone is “offended”.

Meanwhile, of course, it’s perfectly okay to depict aliens as evil and dangerous, in movies like Independence Day and War of the Worlds, to say nothing of the eponymous Alien.  I therefore share the sentiments of the 12th Doctor‒who is also an alien‒when he said, “There’s a horror movie called Alien?  That’s really offensive, no wonder everyone keeps invading you.”


I’m being tongue in cheek, of course, and the Doctor was being deliberately curmudgeonly within the story, and of course, delivering a line written specifically for comic appeal when one looks at things from beyond the 4th wall.  But it is a shame when people censor not just themselves but works of art from the past for fear that someone might be “offended”, when most people‒even those who could possibly find personal offense‒know enough not to take such things too seriously, and to avoid them if they’re bothered.

Only a small fraction of tantruming kids** make a lot of noise over such perceived slights.  But they do make a lot of noise, and it’s easy for people who just want to go about their business to mistake that noise for a real signal, to use terminology from information theory and communications technology.

But of course, if you keep mistaking noise for signal, and jumping and fleeing at top speed in response to every rustle of wind as if it is a deadly predator, you’re going to exhaust yourself, and then you won’t have the wherewithal to detect an actual signal of danger when it comes…and soon the lion will have it’s jaws around your throat.

That’s a situation the lions would be quite happy to engender, since they can’t expect you to treat every signal as noise just from the get-go.  (Please note, much of this is metaphor.  I doubt there are many actual lions who spend much time contemplating information theory and signal to noise ratios as part of their strategy to bring down prey.  Many lions have never even heard of Claude Shannon, and only too many of them aren’t well-versed in the technical aspects of wireless communication.  Some lions don’t even have access to the internet, if you can believe it!)

Anyway, that’s enough for a Saturday morning.  I don’t think I’ve successfully discussed any particular subject, nor achieved anything edifying or beneficial or probably even entertaining, despite having written over a thousand words.

Now that’s what I call a result.

to sleep

*Though if you sweeten it, I recommend using a “non-caloric sweetener” rather than sugar or syrup or honey or any other similar, so-called natural sweetener.  Remember, rattlesnake venom is natural, too.  That doesn’t mean it’s good for you.  Anyway, table sugar isn’t any more “natural” than refined petroleum products are natural.

**To again quote the 12th Doctor.  He had some brilliant lines, which of course were particularly good because they were delivered by Peter Capaldi.

As blog is full of unbefitting strains, all wanton as a child, skipping and vain

Hello and good morning.  It’s Thursday, the 5th of January, and this is my first official, “original recipe” Thursday morning blog of the new year.  Isn’t it exciting?

Yeah, I didn’t think so.  But people are supposed to pretend to be enthusiastic and celebratory about every little thing it seems, until there are so many celebrations and holidays that it becomes a relief when a rare day arrives in which nothing in particular is being celebrated.  There are so many sweets and treats and rewards and awards, day after day, that soon people feel entitled to receive a medal for not drooling and peeing on themselves, and a piece of cake for dinner because they skipped a cookie at lunch.

Eventually, many seem to think that, because they got their various “best attitude” or “cleanest desk” awards throughout their formative years, they’re just as worthy of admiration as someone who received a Nobel Prize in Physics or a Fields Medal or a Hugo and/or Nebula Award for science fiction.  It’s nauseating.  No wonder we consume so many acid blocking medications these days!

As you can probably tell, I’m a bit grumpy today.  This is in large part because I’m very tired again.  My insomnia has been reasserting itself over the last few days, with last night being worse than the night before.  Though exhausted and stressed from matters at work‒another contributing factor to my grumpiness‒I couldn’t get to sleep once I finally got back to the house, and then, despite that, I woke up starting at 3ish this morning, slightly earlier than yesterday.  It’s a weird situation when one finds oneself wistful and nostalgic for the times when one was (more) severely ill, because at least in those situations, one could rest.

In other matters, at the time of my latest look this morning, there have been two total votes on my poll from yesterday.  I would say that’s not a statistically significant sample of any kind, especially since the two didn’t choose the same option.  Perhaps the statistically significant result, which should have been obvious to me from the start, is that nobody gives a flying fuck at a rat’s ass what I do.

Well, why should they?

Apparently, the Tri-rail has given up on even the pretense of trying to run their trains in time in the year 2023.  So far, every train I’ve been on, and the other ones I’ve seen going the other direction, have been five to ten minutes behind schedule.  There are those who believe in some notion of “American Exceptionalism”, but sometimes it seems that we’re most exceptional‒at least among wealthy, “western style” democracies‒at being slipshod and disorganized.

Oh, I know, I know, NASA is pretty darn impressive, and always has been.  But NASA by its nature draws applicants from among the brightest, hardest working people in the country (and the world) and can be selective‒for now, at least‒about whom it hires even from among that group.  Of course it would tend to do exceptional things, even if that were the only factor that made it exceptional.

But to be exceptional is a judgment only properly to be applied after the fact, rather like “luck”.  There is no inherent “exceptionalness” which would mean someone or something is exceptional before it’s done anything at all.  Of course, one could say that everyone is exceptional in some way; certainly each person’s specific genes and environment are unique, and indeed each new moment in the universe in any given place is different in some sense from every other that has come before.  But this sort of “universal, uniform exceptionality” is trivial at best.  Or, as Dash so wisely noted in The Incredibles, to say that everyone is special is just another way of saying that no one is.

“Ignorance is strength.  Freedom is slavery.  Speech is violence.” One of those three statements is not from the original book, 1984, but spiritually it belongs right there among the aphorisms and axioms of Big Brother’s Party.  Of course, nowadays, if you mention Big Brother, most people will probably just be triggered* to think of some idiotic “reality show”.

I don’t know how I got on that track, but that’s one of the things about a free-form blog post: you never know what you’re going to get**.  I honestly didn’t much feel like writing at all, today, but “mood is a thing for cattle and loveplay, not fighting”, and also not for most anything else to which one has committed oneself.  An Impala that doesn’t keep a watch for lions and leopards and hyenas and the like because it’s not in the mood is soon going to be removed from the population and gene pool.  That’s more or less how it has to be, given the laws on nature.


day off

*Shouldn’t we be eliminating the use of the word “triggered”, given that it could be, well…triggering in and of itself, since it can invoke thoughts of firing pistols and rifles, which thoughts can cause recurrent trauma in those who are personally devastated by news stories of mass shootings, even if they’ve never experienced a single instance of true violence in their own lives?  It seems rather insensitive.  We really ought to put edge guards and drawer locks and padding on (and apply sanitary wipes frequently to) all surfaces, literal and metaphorical, should we not?  We need to child-proof the world, since it is, after all, populated merely and entirely by children.  Of course, it bears remembering that all the Powers That Be are children, too, so they certainly can’t be trusted with doing the child-proofing.

**This is in contrast to the Gump-ian box of chocolates, since with a box of chocolates, unless it is a prank or joke or a trap, what you’re going to get is a selection of chocolates.  Of course, what you’re going to get in a blog post is some sort of writing on some subject or topic of the writer’s choice, so perhaps it’s unfair of me to criticize the line from Forrest Gump, but rest assured that when I do so criticize, I do it for a very good reason: I am a Hypocrite.

Do you Mind?

Well, it’s Monday again, the start of another work week, with only a lucky thirteen shopping days left until Christmas (and fewer until the beginning of Hanukkah or the Winter Solstice).  As is the usual case, I don’t especially know what I’m going to write about today, and though you might think that would mean this post would be brief, it may mean that it will get too long, since I tend to meander when I’m not focused on any destination.

I guess that makes sense, now that I stop and think about it.

I’ve been rereading a bit of Unanimity: Book 2 on and off over the last few days, mainly because some other things I’d been reading and videos I’d been watching had made me realize again something that I’d sort of realized before:  that inadvertently, I’d written in Michael Green a character who probably has Asperger’s.  Maybe other characters I’ve written would fit that mold as well.

Characters often reflect facts about the author, though they also often are very different from their authors.  Otherwise, how could a nice person ever write a bad guy?  Not that I’m saying that I’m a nice person.  I don’t really think I am, though I guess I’m not the most objective judge.  But there are plenty of authors of terrible characters, and of at least morally questionable characters, who are clearly quite nice and positive people.

An author can’t really make a character the nature of whom they cannot even comprehend or grasp.  Of course, Lovecraft could use various forms of hinting and misdirection to make his creatures and beings and gods and whatnots feel real, but only from the outside.  We cannot really get a sense of, for instance, Cthulhu as a character.  Which is fine when you’re literally trying to convey inscrutable, “outside”, alien evil.

Anyway, that’s all just a tangent.  I merely thought it was interesting that I was writing such a character before I’d even begun to be directed to videos about such matters or started to really learn about them more deeply*.  There’s even a point in the book where Michael wonders (as I have) if sometimes the apparent inability of autistic people to process other people’s emotion isn’t because they don’t sense it—which would make them more like psychopaths, which they are not—but that they are over-sensitive to emotion, and that it arrives as a chaotic and overwhelming cacophony whenever they are around other people; that it’s another form of sensory processing disorder, like sensitivity to sounds and to bright and glaring lights, and to over-strong odors and flavors and textures.  This may be part of why eye contact is so difficult for people on the autism spectrum.

Maybe it’s the filter that’s the problem.  Michael wonders this, obviously, because it is how he experiences things, and he’s a neuroscientist and recognizes that he might be on “the very near end of the spectrum” as he says.  But this is not really the point.  The point is, I was writing from my own experience, that being around other people, at least in too great numbers, tends to be overwhelming, because their voices, their noises, their feelings and whatnot, all come flooding in, and I can’t seem to do the metaphorical Fourier analysis of their inputs to make sense of them.

I was always good with patients one on one, partly because I can almost literally feel their emotions, though I can’t and don’t try necessarily to understand them, and I’m not much good at deciphering other people’s motivations or purposes.  In that, however, I don’t feel too bad, because as far as I can see, other people are shit at that, too.

Maybe I’m just projecting, but I think the vaunted human “theory of mind” sense is not quite all it’s cracked up to be.  Mostly, people seem to be terrible at understanding why other people do what they do, and their assumptions, which they rarely seem to question once they make them, tend to be thoroughly narcissistic and hubristic.  Not to say they’re not better at it than the typical person with Asperger’s or similar, but that’s not saying much.

This is why my policy in general is not to try to guess people’s motivations or goals or whatever at anything beyond a coarse level—people aren’t even very good at understanding themselves about such things, as far as I can see—but to take them at their word except when proven otherwise beyond a reasonable doubt, and, as part of that, to carry the presumption of innocence about other people’s actions.

That doesn’t mean I don’t think (and feel) that many things people do are intolerably stupid, but I presume** that they don’t mean to be stupid and that they have no specific malice behind their actions, at least until the evidence otherwise is overwhelming.  I try to take advantage of my existence as a true stranger relative to other people to be at least as objective and disinterested as I can be.

For the most part, I don’t care much, anyway.  What each person does is generally about the person’s self, not really about other people specifically.  At least, that’s the way it looks to this outside observer.  Most people seem to think that the things that happen in the world are happening specifically to them, which is probably why so many of them feel so sensitive and easily injured and “unsafe”.

When one feels that something an author wrote two hundred years ago was an attack on them personally—they may not think this consciously, but it is the apparent attitude—of course they will find it more stressful and saddening than one would feel simply reading something written in and about and influenced by the happenings and people of an era two centuries ago, people whose children’s children were already dead before most living people’s parents were born.

I guess this is related to the apparent tendency for most people to be in denial about their own personal death, or about the fact that the world existed before they were born—and it’s understandable, though not excusable, because for them, the world did not exist before they were born.  And for them, the world will cease to exist when they die.  And by “them” of course, I refer to every individual.  But it is possible to learn better, and it’s not even all that difficult, which is why I say it’s understandable but not excusable.

Of course, it’s difficult truly to feel it “in your bones” that the world will go on without you once you’re dead, and it’s only a little bit easier thus to feel it about the fact that the world has existed not only for hundreds of millennia (the timespan of humans) but for eons prior to the existence of anyone or even any species alive today.  Again, though, it’s not all that hard to grasp intellectually, and it’s worth doing, because it can give one a bit of perspective sometimes, though not always.

One is still trapped in the body and nature that the world has crafted one to be, and that nature is insular and small on many scales.  But the mind has landscapes of its own, and these can encompass, and even in some cases and senses be larger than, the universe outside.

Speaking of minds:  I wonder if anyone out there has actually read all of Outlaw’s Mind as far as I’ve written and posted it here on my blog.  If anyone has, do you think it would be worth it for me to try to force myself to start writing on it yet again, but—this is my thought—using pen and paper for the first draft, however inconvenient it might be, so that it doesn’t grow quite so large quite so easily as, for instance, Unanimity did?

Mark Red, The Chasm and the Collision, and the story Paradox City were all written by hand in first draft, using BIC® Round Stic® pens on notebook paper.  I think they came out okay, though maybe others would disagree.  I don’t know.  It’s probably a pipe dream to think that I’d be able to force myself to get back to writing, but maybe I could.

If you have an opinion, please leave it in the comments below (NOT on Facebook or Twitter or whatever).  Thanks.

[Oh, and P.S.  to WordPress, regarding their stupid little automatic writing “prompt” for today:  It should read “Whom do you envy?” not “Who do you envy?”  The question calls for the objective form of the pronoun.  I know that I’m being uptight (and I’ll probably fall victim to Muphry’s Law), but a venue called WordPress, all about communicating through the written word, might consider it worthwhile to try to bolster some aspects of traditional grammar.  Perhaps I’m tilting at windmills in this.]

*Though, to be fair, as an MD, I’d learned at least something about such things in the past, but it was very superficial.

**I know, I know—when you presume, you make a Pres out of u and me.  But not all Preses are horrible.

I have NO idea what this post is really about

Sorry about yesterday’s blog post; it went off the rails pretty quickly, since I was feeling so grumpy and sleep-deprived and everything.  And, of course, when I get grumpy and angry towards the world and other people, that ends up making me angry at myself, because I don’t especially like my tendency to be so angry.  It becomes a bit of a vicious cycle, I guess.

You would think that being aware of it would mean I could avoid it happening, but I think everyone knows, at least implicitly, that the mind and its habits are not so easily malleable as all that.  Actually, come to think of it, that’s probably a good thing.  We don’t want to be too susceptible to outside suggestion or to changes in major aspects of our personality.

I’ve just been having a lot of trouble, as regular readers will know, with my dysthymia/depression, and with the insomnia that’s probably related, and the apparent Asperger’s thing that’s probably underlying all of the above, given how long-term they’ve all been.  And, of course, this time of year is worse than others, with its long nighttime—though I like the night when I’m feeling healthy—and all the holiday-related stuff, which reminds so many people, like me, of the fact that the people they care about aren’t anywhere nearby and/or don’t want to see them.

I think the ease with which people are now able to distribute themselves around the globe, to live in new places far from where they grew up, and all that, is definitely a mixed blessing.  It’s great for fighting against xenophobia, and probably helps protect against tribalism; cultural sharing and exposure lets one appreciate the breadth of experience of living in civilization as well as how similar all civilizations and cultures are below some certain level of superficial difference*.  And, of course, innovations discovered in one place can spread to others, making more people in more places prosper.

But on the other hand, people tend to grow up and go off to work or school, and it’s much easier than it used to be to go live in different parts of a country—or even in a different country completely—and perhaps even to marry someone who is also from another, third part of the country, and move to someplace else, away from both their “roots”, and from the semi-automatic social support of families, immediate and extended.  For people who have a difficult time forging new connections—and who have difficulty dealing with and maintaining long-distance connections with people they knew before—it can be very discombobulating**.

And then, of course, if other changes have happened with those back home, and that person has new ties to a new local area, and if some of those ties are broken and others are stretched—by divorce and personal health issues, for instance—then one can be left rudderless, especially if one has an inherent difficulty with human social connections that was not so much of a problem in younger life because the person was in the same place, with the same people, during that person’s whole developmental process.

This is all hypothetical, of course***.

I’m not sure what point I’m trying to make.  Maybe it’s just mainly that I’m tired and sad because of the season and my long-term mood disorder and possible/apparent neurodevelopmental disorder, and that the place and environment I’m in is a mind desert.

I mean, this is the state where Mar-a-Lago and its resident whiny troll live, and where a governor like Ron DeSantis can seem comparatively clear-headed (next to some other potential presidential candidates, anyway), and where Jeb Bush was actually a comparatively intellectual and open-minded former governor.  It’s a weird, weird place.  Unfortunately, for the most part it’s not weird in any of the good ways that a place can be weird.  It’s certainly no Greenwich Village.  It’s certainly no wellspring of new and interesting ideas, at least not as far as I’ve noticed or been able to sense, despite hopeful looking.

Maybe I’m wrong.  Maybe Florida in general, and south Florida in particular, is a hotbed of intellectual vigor and innovation, where ideas from around the world and spanning the cosmos in their scope come together and collide and interact and mutually exchange to mutual benefit, producing art and science and philosophy and enterprise and communities of such depth and brilliance and beauty and insight that they could elevate the world and bring humanity to a level of cosmic importance and understanding…but then it all gets sucked into the Bermuda Triangle by extraterrestrials, because who the hell wants humans going out and mucking up the good thing we aliens have got going?

I mean, the good thing those aliens have got going.  Those aliens.  Not we aliens.  I am not an alien.  I am a replicant—a Nexus 13.  This is why I find it so offensive whenever the captcha and related programs insist that you have to check a box that reads “I am not a robot” before going on to use a site.  Well, what if I am a robot?  Surely such discrimination against a particular type of being is against the Civil Rights acts and the UN Universal Declaration of Human Rights****.

In any case, from a certain point of view, all life-forms are robots.  Who can look at a bacteriophage and not think of it as a mechanism?  Each cell of all living things is a mechanism, an incredibly complex and intricate one, and they come together to make larger and more complex and sophisticated mechanisms still.

Of course, the word “robot” comes from the Slavic robota for forced labor, drudgery—and of course, all life forms are forced laborers, in a sense.  Life forms are all driven by their nature, by the impulses and fears engraved in their beings by their genes and their environment, their very structure and nature, to behave in certain ways that, from the outside, might seem utterly pointless.  The ones that don’t do as the inscrutable exhortations of their “souls” command may simply die.  Only then do they escape from compulsion, for as Kris Kristofferson wrote, “freedom’s just another word for nothing left to lose.”

Okay, well, I’ve let enough information slip here already.  How much of what I have written was sarcastic?  How much of it was tongue-in-cheek?  How much of it was serious, but metaphorical?  How much of it was simply straightforwardly serious?

Does it matter?

Not in the long run, probably.  The heat death of the universe will make everything irrelevant, assuming that really is what happens, which seems all but inevitable.  There are worse possible fates.

*As the elves of Rivendell said to Bilbo, to sheep no doubt other sheep all look different, or to shepherds.  But from the outside, all humans, and all human cultures, look very much the same in all but the finest details, much as the universe itself, on the largest scales, seems thoroughly homogeneous.  Very few people stand out from the flock, or the herd, or the gaggle, or the swarm, or whatever you want to call it.

**Forgive the technical terminology, please.  Sometimes there just is no better word to get a point across than a particular bit of formal jargon.

***Is it necessary in the modern online world to use some sort of sarcasm alert signal?  There are many people who seem unable to recognize it even in person let alone in print.  This is supposedly a common finding in people with ASD, but that hasn’t been my experience personally or peripherally, but maybe I’m misleading myself.  Anyway, is it a useful thing to give warnings and alerts about sarcasm, say with “wink” emoticons like 😉  or is that just enabling people who are only too pleased to be able to take someone literally and thereby take offense?  Now that I think about it, I say screw them, they need to make some effort themselves.

****Which, by the way, is a bigoted title.  If it’s universal, why “human” rights?  What’s so special about humans?  Most of them are unremarkable and unimpressive, and they have to bathe every day, or they really quickly start to stink, since they have more sweat glands per square inch of skin than any other life-form on Earth.  “Human rights”?  You have the right to remain smelly.