In nature’s infinite blog of secrecy a little I can read.

Hello and good morning.

It’s Thursday morning once again, and so it’s time for me to attempt to create a simulacrum of what used to be my typical, once-weekly blog post, back when I used to do my fiction writing every non-Thursday morning of the week.  It won’t really live up to expectations, I wouldn’t think, since the situation is now so different.

For one thing, I can’t talk about my fiction writing, since I haven’t done any fiction writing since before I last posted The Dark Fairy and the Desperado, and previously, Outlaw’s Mind, both of which are uncompleted stories and are likely to remain that way until the end of the universe—barring, of course, the possibility that the universe goes on forever and every possible quantum state thereof is eventually realized somewhere, somewhen.

Indeed, if the universe is infinite in spatial extent, as seems to be the case, and if our understanding of quantum mechanics and the maximal entropy state of enclosed regions of spacetime are correct, or even reasonably close to being correct, then somewhere out there in space “at this time” there are an infinite number of versions of me who have completed both stories, and many others besides, and who are world-famous authors.

I used scare quotes around “at this time” because, obviously, given the finite speed of light/causality, and the flexible nature of time depending on relative motion, the concept of simultaneity is fuzzy at best.  Nothing outside one’s local light cones can be considered to be in one’s past or one’s future, but they are also not exactly “now”, either.

Still, we can give an overall statement about the age of the universe for things that have little to no “peculiar motion” relative to the cosmic microwave background and say that such things have gone through about 13.8 billion years since the hot big bang, on average, and it’s not nonsensical to do that.  So, if by “at this time”, I refer to other regions of a spatially infinite universe that have passed through roughly the same amount of local time since the big bang, I’m not incorrect in saying that there are an infinite number of “me” who have completed their stories—and there are an infinite number who have not, and there are an infinite number of every possible variation.

None of that does me (or you) any good, because—being outside my past and future light cones (and yours, which are almost identical to mine)—those distant regions are completely causally disconnected from us, past and future, especially given the accelerated expansion of the universe.  I suppose an Einstein-Rosen Bridge/wormhole could conceivably connect such distant regions, in principle, assuming such wormholes can even happen, which is far from certain.

There are those who hypothesize that quantum entanglement happens through wormholes (small ones), and there are those who have even tried to connect distant multiverses with the many worlds of a branching Everettian quantum mechanics, but I don’t think either of those things is close to having been rigorously described, let alone tested, nor are they generally accepted by the physics community.

Anyway, it still doesn’t help any of us, because clearly, if there are alternate versions of ourselves living better lives than we are*, they have no back-and-forth connection with the lives we currently are living—the wave function has split, the states have decohered, they are not the same beings, even if movies about multiverses win many Oscars and/or make a great deal of money.

What was I talking about again?

I don’t know.  I’m very tired.  I ended up sleeping in the office last night.  I did this deliberately; it had nothing to do with train problems or anything.  I just didn’t feel like going back to the house.  I was tired (still am) and there’s nothing at the house for me that is any more enticing than there is at the office, other than a shower.  And I don’t really care about a shower right now.  For whom would be grooming myself?  Whom am I trying to impress?  All is vanity, as it says in Ecclesiastes.

It’s a funny line for a religious text that some people say contains the infallible word of an all-knowing, all-seeing, all-powerful and omnipresent deity that made everything, deliberately and specifically.  If that were all the case, why would it say all is vanity?  Of course, the argument could be made that these were the words of some ancient human (Solomon or David, one of those kings, is supposed to have been the author of Ecclesiastes, I think), not the direct words of the creator of the universe, but if that’s the case, then clearly the bible is not literally true in all its parts**.  But that’s hardly the only case of seemingly contradictory portions of religious texts, is it?

Anyway, it’s chilly here for south Florida—about sixty degrees, which feels cold when you’re used to 70’s to 80’s, but would no doubt feel beautifully balmy to people back in Michigan or Ohio.  It’s certainly far warmer than intergalactic space, which is only about 2.7 Kelvin (so it’s about 286 Kelvin hotter here).  Then again, it’s much cooler than the heart of the sun, and cooler yet than the heart of blue supergiant stars.  And those are all vastly cooler than just later than one Planck time after whatever initiated the big bang.

Of course, there is, in principle, a maximum heat that any local region can achieve, because if the local energy is high enough, it will form a local black hole, and also the uncertainty principle will kick in to separate things.  Although…if everything is uniformly very hot, such that there is no net curvature of spacetime in one local region relative to another…maybe that’s where inflation comes from?  If there is inflation***.

Anyway, that’s enough nonsense.  I’m just jabbering and chattering, because I don’t really communicate with anyone day-to-day in any way other than this about things that interest me.  I’m very alone and very tired, but I’m also very bad at doing the whole social interaction thing, so I’m kind of stuck.

I’m inclined to say that I deserve it—that’s how I feel—but of course, as Will (played by Clint) points out below, such concepts are really vacuous.  There are a functionally limitless number of possible variations of lives that could be lived by a being that matches my rough description and/or has an identical past that diverged at some point.  I’m just living one of those possibilities, because, well, I had to be living one of them unless I were dead, which I’m not, unfortunately.

I hope most of you are having a better morning than I am.  Heck, I’d be delighted if everyone who reads my stuff always has better days than I do.  That would at least be some good news.  And, of course, somewhere out there in infinite spacetime—if there is such a thing—that situation is instantiated.

Don’t be jealous, though.  There are also places where everyone reading my blog always has worse days than I have.

Poor bastards.



*And if there are, there are also infinite numbers of versions of us living every possible worse life as well.

**If in any of them whatsoever, which is a separate but related question.

***Well, by certain definitions, we could say with great confidence that there is inflation, since the universe is inflating now—that’s the “dark energy” you might have heard about—but it’s doing it quite slowly, doubling in size over the course of every about ten billion years, I think, at the current rate, assuming it’s a constant.  But if you change the time scale, it looks much the same as earlier, more rapid inflation…I think that’s the basis of Roger Penrose’s Conformal Cyclic Cosmology, but I haven’t read his full book on the subject yet, so I may be misunderstanding.

I don’t know what my point is (in many ways)

I’m sorry in advance.  I suspect this is going to be yet another boring-ass blog post like the two earlier this week.  Something about walking from the house to the train station seems to set me up not to write very well, or at least not to write in a very interesting fashion.

Maybe it’s just that I’m not writing anything new, but am just rehashing the same old garbage that’s always moving through my mind.  I don’t know what I’m supposed to do about that, though.  I can’t move anything through my mind but my own thoughts, and I can’t simply choose those.  If I could, I would probably choose not to be depressed, as I think anyone with depression would choose.

Of course, it may be the case that I would have a hard time choosing not to be depressed because—presumably as a consequence of my depression—I often feel that I deserve to feel depressed, that I deserve to hate myself, that I am right to hate myself.  But, of course, if I could choose to change my thoughts, then surely I could choose not to think that I deserve to feel depressed, and not to hate myself.  Here we see the beginning of a potential infinite regress, one that’s related to the fundamental ontological* problems with any concept of “contra-causal” free will.

We also run up against issues of fundamental identity, relating to the concept of “terminal goals” as discussed in AI research and the like.  There are instrumental goals—piecemeal goals, objectives, chosen as steps along the way to achieving terminal goals—and then there are the terminal goals, the fundamental goals, the things that are the root drivers of a system.

Could any intelligence with true terminal goals ever opt to change those goals?  How could it choose, as an instrumental goal, the changing of a terminal goal, when such a change would almost certainly lead it to fail in its terminal goal?  I think it was Robert Miles, in one of his Computerphile videos, who proposed a fictional example as a comparable choice to a human:  consider whether (if you are a loving parent) you would be willing, for any reward, to have your personality altered such that you wouldn’t care whether your child or children lived or died, and indeed, that you would be willing to kill them.

If you’re not a parent—not a loving parent, anyway—it might be difficult to see the bone-deep trouble with this, but I suspect that most reasonably normal parents would rather die than be altered so as not to care whether their children live or die, and for good, sound, biological reasons.  I certainly meet that description.

But the point at which I’m getting is to imagine if, somehow, I could once and for all cure my dysthymia/depression, but it would have the effect of changing my character, my nature, my personality—my terminal goals, if your will—would I do it?

It’s somewhat difficult for me to imagine, because I can remember times in my life when I was not depressed, and not all of them were that long ago.  I very much think that I was the same person at those times, fundamentally, as I am now.  There’s a continuity of thought, at least from the point of view of my present memory, which is the only point of view I have.  I don’t feel in any serious way that I was a different person either twenty years ago, or thirty years ago, or forty years ago, or whatever, back to as far as I can remember, to when I started grade school and a bit before.

Of course, I apparently have always had some form of ASD**—Asperger’s or whatever—though I don’t have a formal diagnosis.  Does anyone really have a definitive diagnosis for that, though?  The criteria are semi-arbitrary and are not based on a measurable, physical structure or quantity but a constellation of attributes.  Still, whatever the case, it is something inherent to the given person’s nervous system.  And it does seem to predispose one to depression (and presumably to dysthymia, and certainly to alexithymia), so maybe that tendency has always been there in me.

There are certainly many, relatively early times when I found myself feeling burned out or washed out, or just blank and empty and exhausted, but I didn’t connect it to anything or know why it happened.  By the time I started high school I was already having periods when I would be depressed and have suicidal thoughts.

But I didn’t hate myself back then—not most of the time, anyway.  I even put on something of a show of pretending really to think very highly of myself, to be egotistical and narcissistic in a playful way.  And I did have moments of somewhat megalomaniacal tendencies, but then again, I was good at a lot of things, and I got attention for it.

I definitely always felt different and weird compared to the people around me.  I tried to turn that to my advantage, to make it a defense mechanism—to make myself seem vaguely scary and dangerous because of being sort of crazy, I guess, to make sure no one messed with me.  But it is a fact that I did feel weird; I felt like I was strange, or crazy, and I also felt vaguely hostile and even borderline hateful toward many other people at least some of the time, because what stranger in a strange land of alien beings would not feel that way?

I don’t know where I’m going with this, or what point I’m trying to make.  Again, I’m sorry.  It’s not a very good blog post.  But if it helped you pass a few moments in which you would otherwise have been staring at a wall or—cat forbid—a TikTok video or something, then I guess it’s been worthwhile.

would i lie to you

*I think that’s the term for which I’m looking.

**Apart from the congenital heart defect, I mean.  That was definitely something I had at least until I was eighteen.

Sometimes jokes are expressions of desperation.

Well, it’s Monday again.  Welcome to another Monday.

I walked to the train again this morning, as I did on Friday, and since I chose to get up and go a bit earlier today, I’m actually now on a train that will arrive at my destination earlier than would have the one I would have boarded had I taken the bus to the train.

Wow, that was a long and convoluted sentence, wasn’t it?  Sorry.

I think on Friday, after my first morning walk to the train, I started the day off a bit giddy, and I think that affected the quality of my blog post that day, so my apologies for that.  I think I was experiencing my first real endorphin rush from endurance exercise in many years, and it got me rather wired and a bit garrulous and—for me—outgoing for the very early part of the day.

That didn’t last, of course.  By early afternoon my general outlook was diminishing and deteriorating and various other verbs starting with “d” and ending in “ing”.  I don’t know how well that fact came across to others in the office, though.  I seemed to make people laugh a bit more than usual in the morning, and I certainly felt less tense than I usually did, but I can’t tell at all if my personality from their point of view was any different than usual.  Even when I’m profoundly depressed—in my immediate mood in addition to my general state of neuro-psychology—I tend to say sardonic things that people find funny a lot of the time.

I think this actually impairs my ability to convey the fact that I really feel deeply horrible.  People seem to assume that if you’re making jokes and are funny, you must be doing okay.  I can tell you from personal experience, this is not necessarily the case.  Sometimes jokes are expressions of desperation.  Just look at poor Robin Williams, if you don’t believe me.

But by the end of the day I felt tired and frustrated and grumpy and gloomy.  That was me on Friday afternoon, which makes me rather different—according to popular understanding, anyway—from most people.  Friday afternoon leading into a weekend in which I don’t work is not a prospect that meant much good for me.  I just sat around in my room at the house, alone—after walking home from the train, which at least caused another, if less notable, bump up in my mood.

I walked to local convenience stores a couple of times over the weekend, and I walked to Burger King on Sunday, and of course I did my laundry, but that was it.  I didn’t really do anything enjoyable.  I certainly didn’t spend time with friends, since I don’t really have any—though I did speak with my sister on the phone on Sunday evening, and that was very nice.

But really, I have a hard time being at all interested in anything much.  The YouTube algorithm is beginning to fail me with respect to offering me things I’m interested in viewing; but perhaps it’s me failing at the algorithm, in that I simply don’t have anything that interests me, and so YouTube can’t offer me much in the way of stuff I’d like to see.  It does occasionally offer me the little option box of being shown an assortment of things that I’ve never seen so far.  I’ve used that box once or twice in the past, but I don’t remember it being particularly beneficial.  I didn’t use it this weekend.

I wish I could find some longish-form fiction that I could enjoy again, like I used to.  Back when I was reading The Lord of the Rings and The Chronicles of Thomas Covenant the Unbeliever and The Belgariad, and later the Harry Potter books, and even things like The Sword of Shannara, and then The Elfstones of Shannara, or various Stephen King and related books, the books gripped my attention and could keep me occupied for quite a long stretch each.  Also, of course, in between reading books, I actually had a group of friends with whom I did things that we enjoyed.

Not so, now.  Now the only fiction that I’ve been able to stick with has been a few select Japanese light novels, most of them centered around high school kids, most of those being loners of some sort or another.  But these books, though I can stick with them, seem just to make me feel a bit more depressed when I’m done, as if they are surrogate friends or surrogate lives, and once they’re done, I’m even more alone than I was before.  And they are all ridiculously short, being light novels.

I have noticed a peculiar and rather amusing effect of reading some of these stories:  When they are written in first person, which is common, I often tend to think to myself in the fashion of the character for about twenty minutes or so after a bout of reading them, almost narrating my actions as if I were writing a first person story.  This goes away rather quickly, but it’s a bit unsettling.  It’s as though my sense of personal identity is so effaced that I just start mirroring the only identities from which I can get any inside view, which are those of first person narratives.

Oh, well, I think we’ve established already that I’m a weird person, so I don’t know why even I am surprised when I find new weird things about myself.  Maybe I’m just irredeemable—you certainly cannot save me up and exchange me for valuable prizes or anything of the sort.  If you save me up, so to speak, I just become wearisome.  Everyone who has ever spent a long time with me on a regular basis has ultimately found me not worth enduring.

I am one of those people.

I guess I don’t have an endorphin rush today.  I hope you have one, if you can.  They’re nice.

A turn or two I’ll walk, to still my blogging mind

Hello and good morning to everyone reading this, even if you’re reading it in the afternoon, or the evening, or at night, or if you’re fundamentally not a morning person and so you never see mornings as “good” no matter what anyone says.  Don’t feel bad about that, if it is the case for you.  Even Gandalf expressed his skepticism about the greeting “Good morning,” as we see almost at the very beginning of The Hobbit.

Most greetings are bizarre things, or at least many of them are.  I particularly dislike greetings that involve questions, because I have lost my former hard-earned skill, such as it was, at treating them as the vacuous, ritualistic bird-calls that they are.

If, on a Monday morning, someone asks, “How was your weekend?” I can’t simply reply with a ritual, “It was great,” and then ask about theirs, whether I care about their weekend or not.  I actually have to stop and think about the question*.  Often, I’m sorry to say, I can only shrug and quote Bart Simpson, saying, “Meh.”  This is me trying to avoid being too negative.  But, of course, humans—or at least Americans—don’t want to hear that sort of thing.  I don’t quite know why.

Similarly, some people will ask the rather grammatically suspect question, “How are you doing?” usually with some dropped consonants or strange contractions.  My first instinct, which I almost always resist, is to respond with, “How am I doing what?”  Instead, I tend just to go for the puzzled look followed by a shrug and, again, “Meh.”

The foreshortened version of the earlier question is “How are you?”  It is if anything more bizarre.  It sounds like the beginning of a deep, philosophical discussion, related perhaps to the old “Why is there something rather than nothing?”  How am I?  Does that mean “How is it that I exist?” which seems to be what it means if you take it at face value?

It’s an interesting thing—to me, at least—to think about the same question but changing “How” to various other words such as who, what, where, and when.  The first three make straightforward sense, the last one is an intriguing question calling to my mind the notion that, in GR, there is no time that passes, merely an extra dimension to reality.

They are all better questions and make more sense than the “how” one.  Then, of course, we could take our cue from the improvised, hilarious line given by Drax in Avengers: Infinity War, and ask, “Why are you?”

Okay, let’s move on to other matters besides my steadily atrophying skill at dealing with small talk in anything but a literal (and annoyed) way.

Today is the final valid day for my current bus pass.  These passes are really quite good if you ride the bus more than a few times a week in Broward County.  Unlike the Tri Rail, which charges full price for each calendar month—even if you buy the pass in the last week of that month—the bus passes start ticking (so to speak) only when you first use them, and they expire a minute before midnight thirty-one days later.  That’s it.  Straightforward.  So if you buy a bus pass and “sit on it” for months, you still have 31 days of use once you first use it.

I like it.  It’s a good system.

That being said, I think that after this evening, when I use this pass for the last available time, I’m not going get a new one.  Instead, if I can summon the courage, I’m simply going to walk to and from the train station every day.  That’s slightly under five miles in each direction.  If I can pull that off, counting the walk from and to the station up at work, I’ll be walking eleven or twelve miles a day.

I really ought to be able to do that.  Endurance is not an issue.  I just have problems with still-healing blisters.  But I can’t coddle myself with respect to those.  My blisters are all that’s holding me back, and they are annoying, but I have to push through to the other side of that barrier, because I have a task before me that I want to accomplish.

It won’t be a particularly useful task for anyone but me, and there will no doubt be those who will think it’s not good for me either, but that isn’t really my concern.  I want to try.  As I always say, I don’t want to inconvenience people I care about, so I’m thinking of something that hopefully will minimize “me-related” problems for them, though adjustments will likely need to be made at some level.

At least the number of people close to me personally and physically is small—it’s zero if you’re looking at the combination of the two attributes.  Also, at least my idea shouldn’t be messy or locally problematic.  That’s one advantage, at least.  Or is it two?

I feel that I have to do something though.  I don’t think I can endure much longer with nothing meaningful in my life in any serious way.  My foundations (metaphorically speaking) are crumbling; you can see the cracks widening if you know where to look, and when they give—I keep trying not to let it give as long as I can—the failure will probably be abrupt and messy and will cause trouble for the neighbors, so to speak.  I’d really like to minimize that if I can.  I cause other people enough unpleasantness just by existing; I’d rather not make it worse.

Of course, I’d rather do good for other people, especially the ones I care about.  I’d rather try to relieve suffering and cause joy, or at least to entertain.  I like to make people smile if I can, but I’m not good at it, and I don’t smile very well myself anymore.

I used to practice smiling in the mirror all the time, to try to get it right, but I’ve kind of stopped bothering with that anymore.  My smiles are usually façades and charades, at least in recent years.

Anyway, my bus will be here soon.  I’ll try to keep you all posted, and I’ll probably write something tomorrow again, whether you like it or not.  Have a good day, if you can, but you don’t have to have a good morning if you don’t feel like it, no matter what I said at the beginning of the post.



*Lately I’ve considered simply replying, “It was about sixty hours long”, but I always forget to do that when the time comes.

Though it’s Wednesday morning again, I’ll avoid quoting from She’s Leaving Home…

Though it’s Wednesday morning again, I’ll avoid quoting from She’s Leaving Home, or referring to my tied-for-favorite of Charles Addams’s characters.  I’m back at the bus stop, just as I was yesterday and the day before, of course, and I still feel very tired.

In fact, I feel a bit more tired than I did yesterday, though I had a nominally better sleep last night—almost five hours (it wasn’t uninterrupted, though).  For me, that’s middling to decent, but it’s very clear from the inside that it is not the amount of sleep my body requires for optimal, let alone maximal, function.  It may, however, be the most sleep my nervous system is able to accomplish without pharmaceutical intervention.

But, of course, with such interventions, I always feel more tired even after a long sleep than I would normally.  Actually, come to think of it, last night I took half a Benadryl™ before going to bed, so I did have some slight pharmaceutical influence, perhaps accounting for the fact that I got all of five hours of sleep.

Jeez, that’s all really boring, isn’t it?  I’m so sorry.  My life is boring, unfortunately, so if I talk about my life, things are generally going to be boring.  I appreciate your patience.

I also appreciate the people who commented and responded and so on to my previous two blog posts.  You’re greatly appreciated, I want that to be very clear, even if in supporting me I fear you are throwing pearls before swine.

I’m considering going back on Saint John’s Wort, which is an “antidepressant” that worked for me in the past, when I first took it (along with therapy, so it isn’t easy to separate variables).  I wouldn’t expect much from it.  I’m actually almost hoping to get that little bump in motivation that sometimes comes at the beginning of antidepressant treatment and puts a depressed person at increased risk for suicide, because before, they were too crippled by lack of energy to take action, but now that the will is growing, they can do it.

The last time I took it, though—which was far from the first—I just felt worse overall in general, even after several weeks, so I don’t even know that it’s going to do anything if I take it.  I can hardly be certain that the first time I took it the beneficial result was anything more than a placebo effect.

I’ve been on other antidepressants, of course, from Paxil to Celexa and Lexapro, to Effexor and Wellbutrin, as well as more old-school ones like Amitriptyline.  They clearly had effects (including benefits), of course, but I don’t know that they were for the better.  Coming off Paxil led me to experience the only two episodes of sleep paralysis I’ve ever had, which were utterly terrifying but still quite fascinating, at least in retrospect.  So in that sense it was worth the course of treatment.  The side-effects weren’t good, though.

I can’t really take prescription antidepressants now, though, because I don’t have a doctor to prescribe them, ironically enough.  I have neither a general practitioner nor a psychiatrist (nor psychologist or social worked, either, but they can’t prescribe anything, anyway*).  I don’t even have a dentist.  My only interaction with any medical care since 2015 or so has been the time I went to an urgent care place with a respiratory infection/complaint and was sent to the ER and admitted because I was de-satting, and they thought maybe my congenital heart defect had reappeared a bit (based on an echocardiogram, not just my symptoms and the drop in oxygenation).

That was maybe five or six years ago.  They wanted me to get follow-up, obviously, but I have no interest in pursuing it, and certainly cannot summon the motivation to do so.  For one thing, I’m unconvinced that they’re correct, though that in itself is not a good reason not to pursue more information.  For another, I have no health insurance, and I certainly have no money to be able to get involved in paying for significant healthcare myself.  Also, I don’t want to have any more cardiac interventions of any kind, frankly.  I went through all that when I was 18, and I don’t want to go through it, or anything like it, again.

I also don’t have the mental resources—in terms of will, executive function, whatever you want to call it—to be able to seek out any kind of state or federal healthcare assistance.  I’m in Florida, anyway, and the public programs here suck.  Anyway, I’m no good at taking care of myself; I see myself as a nuisance, and I really want me to leave myself alone, but that’s obviously difficult.

Yeah, Florida really doesn’t make much very easy.  But, hey, at least there’s no income tax, so people like the Donald can enjoy living here.  The government is dicey at best, of course, at state and local levels, even relative to many other states and the national government—though our representatives there also aren’t exactly the cream of the mental or moral crop.  We really are the Mordor of the United States, in many ways, and not merely because it’s down here in the southeast.  Unfortunately, there are no volcanoes, and though we have big spiders, none of them are Shelob-scale ones.

Anyway, I probably won’t take any antidepressants, and I don’t expect to seek out any healthcare or mental healthcare.  It’s too much trouble, it’s too difficult, I can’t focus or concentrate on things like that.  I’ve been dealing with that shit too often in my life, and for too long, and despite my best previous efforts, I’ve ended up here in Mordor, all by myself.  I’m sick of it.  It’s not worth the effort.

I’m not worth the effort.

*I did get on BetterHelp for a bit, and it was okay as far as it went, but some difficulties arose, not anyone’s fault, certainly not my therapist’s, and I was off it after a little over a month, I think.

Ugh.  Here I am again.

Ugh.  Here I am again.  I don’t know why, but I’m here…again, still, whatever the proper descriptive term is.

I guess the part of speech would be an adverb, right?  It’s referring to how I am here, not to what I am like or something along those lines.  I think that’s a place for adverbs, that “again” and “still” thing.  If I’m incorrect, I hope one of my readers will correct me.

Do I have actual readers?  (Other than family members, I mean…not that I take them for granted…I appreciate them deeply; I just wonder how much and how often other people read what I write, even those who “like” the posts.  Though again, I do appreciate those people as well, since they apparently make it more likely that other people might read them.)

Anyway, I don’t know if it’s obvious, but I had a particularly bad night’s sleep last night, if you even want to call it a night’s sleep.  I think I was asleep for less than two hours total, with maybe a few extra minutes here and there after, maybe not.  I feel anxious and tense and stressed out.  Yet I have no particular crisis hanging over me, other than the fact that I really just want everything to be over, but I don’t want to be unkind or unfair to the people around me who might be temporarily discomfited or whose days might be disrupted if (when?) I catastrophically collapse.

I really don’t know what to do.  I sometimes take a bit of note paper that I keep in the office, at my desk, and write on it, “I don’t know what to do.”  It doesn’t help, but at least I’m expressing myself; that’s supposedly a good thing according to pop psychology, most (or at least much) of which is a load of (well-meaning) nonsense.

Not that I’m anyone to talk about nonsense.  I’m a pretty free with the nonsense.  I indulge in it regularly and almost constantly.

I’ve thought occasionally that I should stop trying to make clever titles for my daily blog posts.  I do that, in case it’s not obvious.  I’m sure that I often fail and simply make something incomprehensible and inscrutable.  Occasionally, I probably make something witty and even funny, but I think most of the time not.

I wonder if maybe I should just take my first sentence (or two) of any given blog post and make it into the title, then either simply continue from there, or perhaps repeat it in the body of the blog.  I may do that today.  If I do it, you’ll already have been privy to the fact, though it may or may not be obvious.  If you feel like it, do please let me know what you think.

I don’t know what to do.  I really don’t.  I feel more or less incapable of taking any kind of constructive action.  I’ve felt that way for quite a long time, but I think it’s getting worse, or perhaps there are merely fewer things to distract me from it.

I’m very nonhappy.  This is a term I just invented, as a form of contrast to unhappy, though I feel that way right now as well.  It’s a bit like the playful term I invented not too long ago, “unsane”, which I use to refer to people or things or notions or situations wherein a sense of sanity doesn’t really even apply, or never was present.  From a human point of view, most animals might be considered unsane.  So too might aliens, if there are any, or so-called AIs like ChatGPT, or governments (considered as forms of AI in and of themselves, see Highly Entropic Mind’s excellent meditation on this notion).

Anyway, nonhappiness feels like a good term for dysthymia (though I think they’ve changed the official term for the disorder to “chronic depression”, which at least makes it clearer to the general public what’s being discussed).  While it’s true that I’m often fully unhappy, and even anti-happy, there are also long stretches in between of straightforward nonhappiness.  It doesn’t comprise enough dysfunction to be completely crippling—which is almost a shame, here from inside, because at least that would force the issue—it’s just a steady state of lack, of emptiness, of joylessness…dust and ashes, butter that’s spread over too much bread, more and more bread all the time, every day more, because there is no new life being generated, it merely continues, stretching further and further, until you want to scream at your overly thinly stretched self simply to BREAK ALREADY!

I don’t know what I’m getting at.  Apparently, at least, I’m ending sentences with prepositions, which is a contradiction in terms, if not any other offense.  Other than that, though I just don’t know.  I don’t know what to do.  I don’t know where to go.  I don’t really want to go anywhere, and I don’t want to be where I am.

I keep hurting myself in little ways that aren’t too obvious, just to keep myself feeling something—to keep myself from fully entering the wraith world, as it were—and also because I hate myself.  Also, it distracts me a bit from my chronic pain.  At least it’s a punctuation, a variation.  Even if all you ever ate was something as nice as, say, cake, you’d probably pretty soon welcome even some hated food—insert the one you hate most.  For me it’s probably eggplant, which I can’t even smell without gagging.

Actually, I think I’d stick with cake.  Even thinking about eating eggplant makes me queasy.

Maybe the problem is that I get no real break from being myself, from having to be with myself—one of my least favorite people—all the time.  I can’t even sleep; I don’t even really have any dreams at night that I remember.  I certainly don’t really ever imagine being any other person; I can’t even really grasp what that could mean.

I suspect other people can’t really imagine it either, they just sort of imagine themselves in the other person’s shell, some Freaky Friday kind of thing, which doesn’t actually involve becoming another person, merely disguising oneself as the other person.  If you and another person switched places completely, at every level, at every atom, every wiggle in every quantum field, every tiny bit of the state of your being, then nothing at all would have changed, because those things taken together are you, and nothing else is pertinent.

Anyway, I don’t know what the point of that tangent was.  Probably there was none.  I’m just writing “stream of consciousness”.  I wish I could write in “scream” of consciousness (ha ha), but my consciousness doesn’t seem capable of screaming, unfortunately.  I have no mouth—metaphorically speaking—for such things.  My world will probably end not with a scream or even with a whimper, but rather with a catch-up inhalation caused by me unconsciously holding my breath when I focus on something for a bit, clenching my jaw as I do.

That’s it for today, I think.  If I’m still kicking tomorrow, I’ll probably write another post then, though I can’t make any promises.  I don’t know what to do, so I don’t know for sure what I will do, but it will probably be more of the same trudge through the desert of the real (to borrow a nice term from The Matrix).  You’re welcome to join me, if you’re a glutton for punishment, but I warn you, the company is not merely poor but actually unnoticeable.  As far as I can ever tell, or at least feel, I am alone here.

I can’t blame others for keeping their distance.  I wish I could.

Is a feral cat that’s locked in a shed alive or dead? Alive…or dead?

I hope no one was worried about me on Saturday when I didn’t write a blog post.

I doubt anyone was.  Why would they be?  Even if something catastrophic had happened to me, it would probably have been for the best, anyway.  If anything, someone might’ve had a positive thought, rather like Ben Affleck’s character in Good Will Hunting, when he says that he hopes (or dreams) that one day he’ll come to pick Will up and Will simply won’t be there.  He’ll have gone, as it were, to a better place.

Regrettably, I cannot give you all any such good news as, for instance, that I’ve gone anywhere better, worse, or nonexistent.  We simply didn’t open the office on Saturday, because there were quite a few people who were out sick during the week, and even among those who were not, perhaps only one had planned to come in.  Since that would leave just me and one other person in the office, and since I commute from North Miami to Deerfield Beach, with no car or anything, the boss just said, let’s not bother opening the office.

Since we hadn’t bothered opening the office, I didn’t write a blog post, because I wasn’t commuting.  I considered getting on the site on Saturday morning and leaving a brief message about it all, to prevent anyone worrying, but it occurred to me that this was silly and stupid.  No one out there in world with any sense actually cares about me—other than family, of course, and they can always text me if they’re concerned.

People in general are right not to care.  I’m thoroughly worthless, I’m a real downer, and I bring little to no good to anyone in the world, myself included.  I’m extremely unhappy and I’m very tired; lolling about in my room over the weekend is no more pleasant or restful than going to the office.  I’m also always as tense and uptight as a feral cat, but less charming, less trusting, and less able to express myself clearly.  Except in writing, of course—I’m better at writing than feral cats are, unless they’ve been brilliantly hiding some skills of which I’ve never heard the slightest inkling.

Then again, my writing doesn’t seem to get my feelings across very well at all, though I try.  But either there aren’t enough people reading it for anyone who’s able to do anything to get the point, or people understand me but don’t really care or simply have too much on their own plates—which is fair enough, of course.

I watched a video last night about “Cassandra Syndrome” which I’d never really heard of before, though I was aware of the name.  No, it’s not the daughter of the villain from The Incredibles.  Apparently Cassandra was some Greek mythological figure cursed always to tell the truth but never to be believed.  The syndrome is apparently associated with people trying to convey their feelings or thoughts or emotions and thinking that they’ve done so, and yet finding that others don’t get the message.

It’s like that line from Brain Damage that I always quote:  “And when the cloudbursts thunder in your ear; you shout and no one seems to hear.”

That line always hits me quite hard, as I feel it expresses exactly my usual experience.  And then, of course, it’s followed by “And when the band you’re in starts playing different tunes, I’ll see you on the dark side of the moon.”

Well, the “band” I was in has been playing different tunes for more than fifteen years, now.  I’m no longer with them, of course.  My involuntary solo career has been a huge flop.  As for the preceding line, well, I feel like I’ve been shouting and shouting and shouting every day, all day for what feels like an eternity.  I’ve been screaming at the top of my lungs, but clearly, no one seems to hear—or they just don’t seem to get what I’m saying.  It’s as though there’s some weird auto-correct on all my attempted communications, making everything I try to say come across differently from the way I’m trying to make it come across.

I guess that’s the way these things work sometimes, at least according to the video I shared.  I’m speaking a different language from everyone else or something, and it’s just terribly frustrating.  I’m tired of it.  I don’t really want to do it anymore.  It is, apparently, pointless.

I stopped writing fiction, and I stopped playing (let alone writing) music.  I probably should just stop bothering to do these blog posts, too.  I’m just shouting upwind into a gale, or spitting into the ocean, or throwing around metaphors that no one seems to grasp.  I’m apparently not capable of being more explicit than I’m being, probably because I hate myself and don’t want myself to succeed.  Something like that, I don’t know.  I don’t really have any clue.

If I don’t write anything tomorrow, you’ll have at least a clue about the probable reason.  If I do, well, you’ll know that, if you look.  If you don’t look, then it will all be Schrodinger’s Cat to you, anyway, only it’ll be a cat in an experimental box you’ve never even heard of.  It’ll be a feral cat—paranoid and tense and scraggly and unlovable, whether alive or dead.

Also, it’s really heavy-handed with the metaphors.

No live creature can continue to exist at all if there is no reality

Well, it’s Friday morning, and for those of you with a typical* American work week, I’ll say a “TGIF” on your behalf, though as I said yesterday, I work tomorrow.

That’s an interesting combination of tenses, isn’t it?  I’ll say, I said, I work, tomorrow…most of the whole latter half of that sentence is a mishmash of inconsistent, time-related words, and yet, as far as I can tell, it makes sense.  Please let me know if I’m wrong about that.

I’m still very tired from the fiascos with the trains Wednesday, and from sleeping on the floor in the office Wednesday night.  Nevertheless, on the way back to the house yesterday, I got an early enough train that I decided to walk back from the train station, despite being tired.  So, between Wednesday morning and Thursday evening I walked a total of about nine miles, and the athletic tape I put on the blister on my right foot seems to have done a good job at protecting it.

I did then pick at the blister a bit as I was lying down last night, and I might have irritated it some, since it’s slightly sore now.  That might just be from the longish walk back from the train last night.  Or, of course, it could be both.  There could even be unrecognized influences causing soreness.  Occam’s Razor pushes against that last bit—I’m unaware of any possible other causes so far, and I have potential known causes that can explain what I find and feel—but it doesn’t give any direction to the choice between the other two things or their combination.


I work tomorrow, as I said before, so I should write a blog post then.  I don’t know what I’m going to write about, but then again, I have no idea what I’m going to write about today, and yet I’ve already written some 360 words.

I think I’ve noted previously how this writing about nothing that nevertheless goes on and on seems almost related to the more ordinary thing called “small talk”, when people get together and discuss things that are of no consequence, really, and which are not planned in advance.  I gather that small talk serves some manner of social cohesion building, an interaction for the sake of interacting, done verbally in humans, since largely hairless house apes no longer need to pick Arthropoda from each other’s fur.

Small talk seems at some level essentially to consist of people saying to each other, “I’m a person you know and are socially bonded with, and you are a person I know and am socially bonded with.  We are part of the same community or tribe, at least at some level.”  I guess that’s useful, and even powerful, in an ultra-social species like humans.

Heck, even scientists and mathematicians get together at conferences**, or hang out together at lunch time.  Apart from this being a social bonding thing, it probably really helps to trigger and stimulate new ideas, as separate minds throw their thoughts into interactions with other minds, coming from varying points of view, triggering new thoughts and new insights that a single brain could not as easily produce.

Of course, reading (and listening to podcasts and audiobooks, and watching videos) can also bring on such new thoughts and ideas, sometimes in slightly deeper ways.  But there is no mutual, “real time” give and take, which can in the right circumstances lead to a seemingly near-miraculous bootstrapping of ideas.  Just imagine what the conversations were like when Gödel and Einstein hung out and went for walks together in Princeton!

Meanwhile, Robert Elessar, not sane, stood by himself against his blogs, holding darkness within.

Ha ha, that’s just me having a bit of fun with a slight paraphrase of part of the first paragraph (also part of the last paragraph) of The Haunting of Hill House.  (That’s also what’s happening in the blog title and in one of the footnotes.)

That has to be one of the best openings to a book this side of “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”***  And, of course, ““No one would have believed in the last years of the nineteenth century that this world was being watched keenly and closely by intelligences greater than man’s and yet as mortal as his own…” from The War of the Worlds.  Or a more recent favorite: “In a hole in the ground there lived a hobbit,” from a book the title of which escapes me****.  Oh, well…call me Ishmael, if you must.

I don’t think I really have much more to write today, though something else may occur to me.  This has very much been a blog about nothing, but then again, that’s probably a decent metaphor for the very universe itself.  A lot seems to go on, at various levels, but there doesn’t seem to be any central theme or topic or subject, unless you count the Second Law of Thermodynamics.

Even if you don’t count that, though, it still applies.  That’s the way of “reality”—it doesn’t depend on your awareness, or on anyone’s awareness.  Indeed, all such awareness is but a tiny little portion of reality itself.  Reality is that which exists whether you believe in it or not.  If you have doubts about that, just consider what happens to people who die sudden, unexpected deaths, as from a surprise bomb attack or similar.  Not knowing that bombs exist or that an attack was coming would not protect against them.

Ask the dinosaurs.  Oh, wait, you can’t.  They’re all gone*******.

See what I mean?  Have a nice day.

asteroid hit

*Is it really typical anymore?  I wonder what percentage of American workers overall actually work Monday through Friday nowadays.

**And even larks and katydids are supposed, by some, to dream.  See below (in the main body, not in the footnotes) for the source of that line.

***Pride and Prejudice, by Jane Austen.  Surely the very title of that book, as well as its first sentence, would put it on the chopping block in the minds of the puritanical thought police of modern offense mongering.

****It doesn’t really escape me, of course.  It’s The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe, obviously*****.

*****Seriously, I know it’s not.  I doubt there’s any book I’ve read more often than The Hobbit, if only because there have been quite a few times when I’ve started The Lord of the Rings and ended up stopping not long after the battle of Helm’s Deep, which is one of my favorite parts.  The early Frodo/Sam/Gollum stuff  in the latter part of The Two Towers is sometimes a lot to slog through.

*******Except for birds, of course, which really are descended from therapod dinosaurs and are, in a very real sense, extant dinosaurs.  I’m picking nits with my own words—figuratively, at least, since I do not engage in mutual grooming with any other primates if I can help it—but that’s fine with me.

So we profess ourselves to be the slaves of chance, and flies of every wind that blogs

Hello and good morning.  It’s Thursday again, against almost everyone’s better judgment.  Indeed, it’s the first Thursday (and the second day) of March, which is a new month (though the name is, of course, not new).

It being Thursday, it’s time once again for my traditional weekly blog post, which differs from my now-daily blog post only in that it follows the old pattern of a Shakespearean title and usually a picture…and, of course, this little introduction in which I note all these points, which is frankly rather tedious.  I should probably just quit doing it.

The trains were having severe troubles yesterday morning and yesterday evening.  In the morning, there was temporary suspension of the trains northbound from my usual station, due to what the fellow at the station referred to as a “train versus vehicle* event”.  The RTA was supposedly providing a “bus bridge” from that station to the next one north of the accident, and indeed, at long last, two full buses arrived bringing passengers from the station north of the event so they could continue south.  However, only one of the buses was heading back north, oddly enough, and that bus got full literally just as I was about to get on it.  I was the very one at whom the driver held out his hand, palm forward, and said, “No more passengers.”

So, grumbling, I stepped back, and I and the other remnants waited, asking when the next bus would be.  The fellow at the station did not know, though he guessed about ten minutes (ha ha).  After a while, he received notice that normal service was resuming.  This probably means no one had died in the “train versus vehicle event”, which I suppose is a good thing**.  I ended up being about an hour late to the office, and this was on Wednesday, which means there was payroll to do.  Also, we’re setting up and putting into practice a new program that I am heavily involved in, and we had two new people starting on a trial basis, who needed to be processed…and of course, meanwhile, we had at least three people out sick.  I was pretty stressed out, even relative to a normal day.

Then, last night, as I waited at the train station, the southbound train was announced to be late, and then announced to be later, and then that train was cancelled, and then the next one was announced to be late, and then later…

Eventually, it got to the point that, even if that next train got there at its announced later time, by the time I took it, then the two buses***, then walked from the stop to the house, it would be quite late.  And, honestly, I didn’t have anything (and certainly not anyone) waiting for me at the house, so it didn’t seem worth it to bother going.  I walked back to the office, and I slept here overnight.  And here I am writing this.

Such is my life—if you can call it that.  I hate it.  There’s nothing in it that’s of any real worth.  I’m still in chronic pain, I still have insomnia.  Obviously, I still have my dysthymia/depression, and of course, if I do have any neurodevelopmental difficulties that have hitherto gone undiagnosed, they certainly haven’t gone away.  I remain at least slightly uncertain in that latter category, because though I think the evidence is good, I do not quite trust my own judgment.

Can you blame me?

So, anyway, again, here I am, though metaphorically I am nowhere.  I also have a headache, which is probably at least partly tension related.  And I’m tired.  I’m not sleepy, but I am tired, almost all of the time.  I honestly don’t know what to do.  I mean, I know what I think I ought to do.  But it’s hard to get an “is” from an “ought”—though all “oughts” come from “ises****” contrary to what humeans seem to think—and I don’t have quite the will yet to overcome the activation energy wall created by biological drives/resistances to get to the other side.

I’m working on a way around.  There are things one can do to reduce one’s resistance in the short term, to lower that activation energy barrier.  But I’m not really interested in drugs, nor am I willing to deal with people who deal in illicit ones, and alcohol just tends to make me sleepy (and yet not to stay asleep or feel rested).  I do step swiftly into crosswalks when the lights change, hoping someone will not pay attention to traffic signals and will just hit me; they would deserve to have to deal with it, since pedestrians in the crosswalk have the right of way when obeying signals.  But so far—though many seem tempted—even when I tell them to hit me, none of them have.  I don’t know whether to feel irked about that or to be slightly pleased that so many people are more careful than one might expect.

Oh, well.  It doesn’t matter.  I suspect I’ll find a way to get back where I came from one way or another before too long, blisters and biological drives notwithstanding.  There must be some kind of quantum tunneling that can eventually get me through that mental barrier*****.

There’s no reason to expect things to head in the opposite direction, though, so I don’t really have any sense of optimism or even of possibility.  But in the meantime, I’ll keep writing these daily posts on days when I work, which will include Saturday this week.  You can continue to look forward to them, if you do, but for a limited time only.


tri rail

Golden Glades Tri Rail Station – no trains present

*Is a train not a type of vehicle, though?

**Although, honestly, given the trouble the driver of said vehicle had caused—presuming that it was that driver’s fault, which is not certain but seems more likely than not—I can’t help but wish that they at least could have been injured badly, and if you had asked me at the time, I would almost certainly have said they ought to have been killed (but not their passengers, of course, unless the accident was caused by such a passenger).  After all, given the number of people whom they inconvenienced, and the economic, social, and psychological losses they thereby engendered, and the physical stress they created among many people (me included) it seems likely that their escapade led to diminished health and even premature death in one or more than one person.  But they probably didn’t do it on purpose, so perhaps the death penalty would be excessive.  Still, I don’t hear about such accidents happening in countries where commuter trains are much more common than here in the US, whereas something of the sort happens almost monthly just during the times of my commutes.

***I probably wouldn’t have walked.  I’m trying to rest the healing blister on my right foot, at least from more than a mile of walking at a time.  It seems to be doing well.

****That’s a plural that doesn’t want to be spelled.

*****I think this was Dylan’s original first line of All Along the Watchtower, but it just didn’t scan.  It turned out fine when fixed, though, and Jimi’s version was even better, as Dylan himself is said to have admitted.

What? Were you thinking?

Ugh.  It’s a new day—and a Wednesday, at that, so I have to do the payroll.  It’s a new month, too, so there’s rent and water and electric bills and eventually cable bills and all that coming soon.

I suppose it’s nice that the vernal equinox is this month, and thus the beginning of Spring in the northern hemisphere.  And of course it’s nice that my brother’s birthday is also coming up this month (and one of my best friends from back home has her birthday before that, but we haven’t interacted in a long time).  But other than that, I have no interest in any of it.  Frankly, I don’t have much interest in anything at all.

I spent about ten minutes scrolling through my Audible app this morning, trying to find something I wanted to listen to on my way to the bus stop.  I didn’t find anything, though I have a fair few Audible books—not as many as I have Kindle books, but still, there are quite a few.

I eventually just returned to a podcast that I had started yesterday—an old one with Anil Seth on Sam Harris’s podcast, two interesting people talking about interesting things.  I get a bit frustrated when Sam betrays some of his bias toward the “hard problem of consciousness” being a legitimate, persistent thing, which I think is just a notion he holds onto as a meditator and thinker about consciousness—the notion that there’s something pseudo-mysterious about the fact that neural processes give rise to actual subjective experience.

I don’t understand what he thinks the alternative is.  The so-called philosophical zombie thought experiment is self-contradictory and incoherent when you look at it closely*.  How would a self-monitoring and flexible, self-directing, agentic, information-processing system that’s part of a biological organism with problems to solve and a not-completely-predictable world in which to live be expected to function?  It monitors itself internally and externally, including monitoring at least some of the contents of that processing, because that’s a useful thing for an organism to do to survive and reproduce in a complicated world that includes other beings like itself in addition to predators and prey and whatnot.  Why is it a hard problem that all this produces “subjective” experience?  What do you expect it to do?

It’s not any more sensible than asking why there is something rather than nothing.  What do you expect?  Obviously, there are only people asking that question if there is something.  And why would there be “nothing”, anyway?  Why do people assume that’s the default state?  Of course, I don’t think any actual, conscious being can truly imagine “nothing”, anymore than any conscious being can really imagine or contemplate the experience of ceasing to exist.

If you’ve been under general anesthesia—particularly really deep general anesthesia like you have for open heart surgery and the like—you’ve experienced the temporary cessation of pretty much all of your brain functions.  Try to remember what it was like when you were under complete general anesthesia**.  If there’s something for you to remember, then you were still conscious, and that means you weren’t under complete general anesthesia.

Alternatively, try to remember what it was like (for you) long before you were born, before even your parents were born***.  That’s what it was like not to be conscious.

From within its own realm, consciousness is, in a sense, endless, because it doesn’t feel itself begin and it doesn’t feel itself end—it’s almost like one of those Penrose/Escher diagrams of infinite hyperbolic spaces contained within another, finite space.  And this, of course, may very well describe the configuration of our own universe, since GR allows for spaces that look finite from the outside but are infinite from within, and mathematics can deal with them rigorously and consistently and thoroughly.  It’s not readily intuitive without a bit of thought and practice, but why would one expect it to be****?

Anyway, that’s the sort of irritated but at least engaging argument I get into within my skull with people who are not actually present with me, and with whom I’ll never interact.

When I try to talk to people at work about such things, I just get blank looks and confusion.  I tried to bring up my discussion from a week or so ago—regarding the M-theory related notion I had of a potential explanation for “dark matter”—with the smartest person I know in the office.  It was disappointing.  I was actually enthusiastic—I get that way about science and math, still, sometimes—but though he listened intently and politely, he said that it all really just went over his head.

It’s very frustrating, and quite disheartening.  I really do feel like a stranded alien castaway, sometimes, and in many ways, I always have.  This is part of why I always liked the villains in stories, not because they were bad guys—who cares about that?—but because they were always different, but strong and confident nevertheless.  They were people who got things done and changed the world, and who, by the way, also didn’t let other people fuck with them without cost.  They were strange, they were weird, but they were powerful and capable, though often not in productive ways.  And they’re fun, at least, or they used to be.

Nothing is very much fun, anymore, to quote the Pink Floyd song One of My Turns.

The next few songs on that album are Don’t Leave Me Now (too late for that) then Another Brick in the Wall, Part III, which definitely resonates with me, and finally Goodbye, Cruel World, to end the first half of The Wall, one of the greatest concept albums ever made.

The very fact that Pink Floyd’s only number one single was Another Brick in the Wall, Part II, the least good song on that album (though it’s got a great guitar solo…of course), is just another example of how unutterably stupid and worthless the world is.

Goodbye, cruel world, indeed.  And good riddance.

hyperbola hyperbole

*Just because one can utter the words of a “description” of what a philosophical zombie is and make it syntactically correct doesn’t mean the idea makes sense.  I can write 2+3=12, or say it, or whatever, but given what we mean by those symbols or words, it’s not a coherent mathematical statement.

**Not what it was like when you were just going under or gradually coming around.  Don’t be an idiot.

***Not any nonsense about past lives/reincarnation.  Don’t be an idiot.

****I think people tend to exaggerate, quite severely, just how complicated hyperbolic geometry really is.  (Get it?)