If I could walk THAT way, I wouldn’t need antidepressants!

It’s Saturday morning, the twenty-third of July in 2022, and as I write this I’m on my way to work.  Well…that’s so in a manner of speaking, anyway.  I don’t mean the date, though all dates are arbitrary, and therefore are always only “true” in a manner of speaking.  I mean that I’m on my way to work only in a manner of speaking, because as I write this, I’m actually sitting still (but for typing) on a bench in the train station.

So, I’m not currently moving any closer, spatially, to the office, which I sometimes am doing when I write, if I’m writing on the train*.  In spacetime, of course, I suppose one could say I am indeed on my way to work, since the current spacetime path along which the local pattern which is me is streaming is—unless there is some significant disruption of my plans—going to intersect with the pattern in spacetime that is the office in the not-too-distant future.

I spend more time waiting for the train on Saturdays than during the rest of the week, because the trains only come every hour on the weekend.  Nevertheless, I hate getting to the station at too different a time from my usual one; the departure from routine is stressful.  Plus, to be honest, I don’t tend to sleep very well into the morning, so I might as well head to the train station.

I do sometimes leave an hour later, since work technically begins an hour later on Saturdays, but this week I didn’t, because I plan to get off one station earlier and walk the remaining nearly five miles to work**.  I’ve been adjusting my shoes and inserts and various things, trying out quite a few different pairs and brands (none very expensive!) to see which ones are best for long-distance walking, because I hope to do some of that very soon, and I don’t want my shoes and their effects on my feet*** to stop me.  I’m making real progress, and I think I’ve gotten a couple or three pairs of shoes that do a decent job when I put the correct inserts in.  Bully for me!

Supposedly, this weekend, I’ll begin moving my things into the other bedroom into which I’m supposed to be moving, because (apparently) working six days a week and having to deal with disruptions when I get home from work just doesn’t generate enough chaos in my life and mind.  I’m not saying this is a particularly great imposition, as things go in the world.  I’ve certainly been through worse, and I’ve endured far greater specific, local stress and pain.

But when one has no reason of any kind to endure it—no close friends, no close family who wants even to see one, no pastimes that one enjoys, no remaining ability or will to do the things that used to give one purpose and pleasure—the urge just grows and grows to up and walk away…and to keep walking until it kills one****.

At least that urge is what grows in me.  I wouldn’t be surprised if no one else in the world ever got that particular urge.  But it’s an urge I’ve been having for some time now, and I’ve been working my way toward it steadily.  I’m pleased to say that I think I’m nearly there.  I even have a new backpack arriving tomorrow from Amazon to carry some essentials, including my laptop and the like.  It’s very cool!

In the meantime, I’ve been trying to think of how to arrange things so that other people’s work will be minimally disrupted by the change.  I’m not going to warn anyone explicitly very far in advance before I finally decide I’m ready to begin, because they might think it’s a crazy idea and try to talk me out of it.

Also, to be honest, I’ve been dropping a lot of people a lot of hints for quite a long time that I am approaching my wits’ end, and am at risk for taking drastic action, so if they are caught by surprise—and therefore inconvenienced—I don’t think I’ll feel too guilty about it.  Goodness knows other people don’t seem to worry much about inconveniencing me.  That’s not surprising.  They’re only human, and as history has shown us, that is often a terrible thing to be.


*Or, well, writing while I am on the train.  I don’t think I’ve ever, in my life, written anything physically on any type of train.  It’s barely possible that I’m forgetting some past brief episode of graffiti, but I really don’t think so.

**”Which I did” -future me.

***Blisters, Achilles tendon issues, anything like that.

****Or until one achieves some new state of wanting to live, I guess.  It’s been shown that exercise can be a good adjunct treatment for depression, but I’ve always found that to be interesting but laughable, because when one is badly depressed, one does not have the will to do serious, regular exercise.  However, I may have found a way around that obstacle, by creating a path that does one thing or the other on its own, and I can do the experiment and see what the outcome will be.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

Warning: Dysthymic/Depressive Thoughts Follow – Read at Your Own Risk. (Further bulletins as events warrant).

Well, it’s Monday again, which seems to keep happening every week, no matter what people try to do to stop it.

I took the weekend off writing because I had the weekend off work, but now I’m back at the train station (and then back on the train, but thankfully not back on the chain gang) so I’m writing.  I still don’t have the will to write any new fiction—nor to play any music.  But I seem able to do this, at least.

I didn’t get anything useful done at all this weekend, including getting a good rest, because I’m thoroughly washed out, physically as well as psychologically.  I’m not entirely sure why.  Maybe it’s just a physical manifestation of worsening dysthymia.  Traditionally, I’ve been quite an energetic person, really.  Ask anyone who’s known me for a long time; I’m not usually lazy, though there are things I don’t like to do because they’re psychologically unpleasant.  But I’ve never been averse to work, per se.

Now, however, I’m barely inclined to get up and go to the office, or to write even this much.  But even lying in bed* is frankly uncomfortable for my back after a while, though being up and about is likewise eventually uncomfortable.  So, I have to keep switching it up.  Anyway, just not working, and not writing, and not doing anything at all would probably shortly become more irritating than doing those things.  I don’t have anyone to do anything fun with, because, unfortunately, I find dealing with most people more and more stressful as time goes by (and my masking skills atrophy), and that makes being with me frankly not much fun for other people, either.

Sorry, I realize this is turning into just a complete bummer of a post.  I apologize.  I’ll try to put some warning** in the title for the sake of those who are easily upset by what the thoughts of someone suffering from potentially-terminal depression sound like—or, well, look like, I guess, since this is written.

I don’t know, do most people read by “speaking” the words in their head, so that reading is like listening, and reading someone’s thoughts is like hearing them?  That’s how I read, a fact which probably arises from the prior fact that my parents (and my older siblings, too, if I remember correctly) read out loud to me when I was very young.  I get the impression that not everyone experiences this.  I personally think any parent who doesn’t read aloud to their children should not be called a parent, and indeed, probably ought to have their organs of generation removed and burned on a sacrificial altar.  I am biased in this, of course, but I also think I’m actually right***.

For those of you who haven’t heard (or read) yet, the new 988 hotline number has gone into effect, or so I understand, starting on July 16th, 2022.  This is a new way to access—by phone and by text—the national Suicide Prevention Lifeline, or whatever the official name of the thing is.  It’s good to know and have available, though evidently the old toll-free number (1-800-273-8255) is still extant and is hooked into the same system.

This is the sort of stuff to which I pay attention, for what are probably obvious reasons.  I skim over to the associated website a couple of times a week, weighing pros and cons.  Unfortunately, I had a very bad experience after calling the original number a while ago****, so I don’t think I’ll ever use it again, though I have in the past (obviously).

Anyway, I hate myself far, far too much, and I don’t honestly think I deserve to get help, so I’m highly unlikely to seek it in any straightforward way.  The best route for me is probably the Shakespearean bare bodkin…though honestly, the idea of using a dagger for such a purpose is intimidating, to say the least.  But I think Hamlet was speaking somewhat figuratively when he said that.

Anyway, that’s enough from me for now.  If I’m still doing this—or anything at all—I suppose I’ll probably write something tomorrow, and maybe it’ll be a bit cheerier than this.  I would say it couldn’t be much less cheery, but this is me we’re talking about; I don’t think there are any limits to how gloomy and dismal I can be.

A person has to be good at something, I guess*****.


*I sleep on a futon on the floor, actually, because it’s a bit better for my back and saves space.

**I did, see?

***Okay, perhaps not about the burning on the sacrificial altar.  But I think the rest is correct.

****This was NOT the fault of the helpline, however!!  I want to make that clear, and I do NOT want to discourage anyone from calling or texting any version of the helpline.  If you are in doubt, use it!  It’s a brilliant organization, and the people involved are wonderful and do a terrific job providing a very beneficial service that saves who-knows-how-many lives.  My bad experience was with a couple of imbeciles in the Palm Beach County Sheriff’s Office, who handcuffed me because I was feeling suicidal—which I guess is scary, because it might be, I don’t know, contagious?—and did nerve damage to my left hand in the process.  They do seem to let a lot of pussies become cops these days, but I have no doubt at all there are good cops out there, and I’d be willing to accept that most cops are good cops and good people, or at least try to be such.  Who knows, the guys who cuffed me for being depressed might have gotten forced into early retirement after shooting someone for having partial complex seizures or something.

*****That’s not of necessity true as a matter of physical law or logical necessity, but I think it’s almost certainly true that every reasonably functional human has abilities that could be considered “good” at a significant number of things.  The ability to speak, let alone read and write, in a complex symbolic language alone is unprecedented in the natural world.  No other species before us seems to have done it, and as far as we can tell, no other species alive right now does it.  On Earth, anyway.

Who is this Frigga person, and why is a day and a minced oath named after her?

Well, it’s Friday once again, despite all the odds against that happening*.  I’ve now been writing these quasi-daily posts for almost two weeks.  Really, I suppose, it’s closer to being a week and a half, but that’s a difficult measure to use, because half a week, of necessity, involves half a day in the middle, since weeks have an odd number of days, but days, and daily things, are whole numbers.

I’m told that the number of days in the week was originally related to the number of “non-fixed” celestial bodies that are visible to the naked eye:  the sun, the moon, Mercury, Venus, Mars, Jupiter, and Saturn.  Of course, our modern. English names for the days don’t completely match up with the names of the planets/moon/sun, but we do have a Sunday, a Moon Day, and a Saturn Day**.  That’s almost half a week worth of days…but, of course, since weeks are made up of an odd number of days, we can’t have a whole number of days equate to half a week, anyway, as I said before.

It’s good that the number of minutes, hours, and seconds in our standard time measurements are more sensible.  It’s my understanding that this comes from the Babylonians, who were not only good with hanging gardens*** but with highly divisible numbers, such as 24 and 60.  Just look at all the ways you can divide sixty evenly:  by 2, by 3, by 4, by 5, by 6, by 10, by 12, by 15, by 20, and by 30!  And 24 isn’t a slouch for being a smaller number; you can divide it by 2, by 3, by 4, by 6, by 8, and by 12.  Just imagine if the number of minutes in an hour, or seconds in a minute, or hours in a day, were odd numbers.  Imagine if they were prime numbers!  How cool would that be?

No, wait, I mean that would be highly inconvenient.  And it would be inconvenient.

Presumably there were other attempts to devise systems for measuring time during a day—I think I recall reading that sometime around the French Revolution and the creation of the Metric system****, there was an attempt to innovate a decimal clock of some variety.  You can sort of understand where they were coming from, if this story isn’t apocryphal.

But there appears to be a sort of natural selection with secondary inertia that applies to things like systems of time division, and it’s very difficult to knock out an entrenched one that functions reasonably well, and upon which many dependencies have evolved, without some truly catastrophic breakdown of the prior system.  Just look at the QWERTY keyboard layout!

None of the preceding was what I had “planned” on writing about this morning.  Well, I say “planned”, but it was just a vague notion, and I distracted myself right from the start with stochastic and tangential thoughts, which is almost always how these blog posts happen.  As it was written by the great Robert Burns—you know he’s great just from his first name—the best-laid plans of mice and men gang aft agley.  And my plans are rarely among the best laid; in fact, I don’t think my plans have gotten laid in more than ten years.  No, not even on Frigga’s Day, which you’d think would be good for such things.

I had thought about a post detailing a movie or story idea, about a person who wakes up one day to find, or perhaps discovers gradually, that he has become a zombie.  He’s not a philosophical zombie à la David Chalmers, but a horror-style zombie…of sorts.  He doesn’t start shambling about (much) and he certainly doesn’t have the urge to bite and/or eat living humans, except maybe when they’re being really annoying.  He’s just gradually rotting and falling apart and wearing away.  He has no vivacity, has low energy, and his face and body are steadily decaying and becoming disgusting.

But none of the people around him seem to realize what’s happening to him, even when he tries to call attention to it and see if anyone can help.  He’s gone to doctors and sought out zombie-therapy (it’s not a unique problem to him), and tried medications, and meditations, and supplements, and lifestyle changes and all that sort of stuff, but it doesn’t seem to help…or when it does, it only helps a little, or for a very short while.

I’m imagining his appearance degenerating sort of in the fashion of David’s friend, who was killed by a werewolf, then showed up more and more rotten every time while he urged David to break the bloodline of the wolf in An American Werewolf in London.

And our protagonist is unable to rest, because, well, rest doesn’t really help a zombie feel better.  It’s just immobility, after which, if anything, he’s stiffer and sorer than before.

A big part of the story would be him feeling tormented by the fact that the people around him don’t seem to realize that he’s got this problem, even when he tries to ask for help.  And he could really use some help, because—being a zombie—he’s unable to help himself.

Finally, he decides he just has to try to figure out what ways there are to destroy zombies reliably, and with reasonably little pain and mess, so he can end his torment.  Some versions of the zombie lore say its enough to “shoot them in the head” as in George Romero’s movies, but others say zombies will keep moving as long as any part of them remains intact.

He considers using fire, but that would be very difficult to force himself to use.  He still feels pain, you see.  Indeed, he feels it more than most, because his body is slowly falling apart, and his nervous system is fairly screaming at him that something is wrong, all the time.  So, if fire didn’t work, or if someone “rescued” him after he’d doused himself and lit the match, he’d be in that much more pain and his existence would be that much more horrific.  Similar issues arise with notions like walking into the depths of the ocean to be crushed or jumping from a very high cliff.  If he shot himself but didn’t aim perfectly, he’d be “alive” but with part of his brain destroyed, assuming destroying the brain even works on zombies.

And the people around him might still not realize that he had a problem.

I’m not sure how this story would end.  Is there ever going to be a way to cure this affliction?  It seems unlikely.  There are treatments that sometimes relieve symptoms (in the story world), but there is no known cure, because the cause is nebulous.  Zombie-ism is at least somewhat genetically influenced, since it tends to run in families, but no one is quite sure how, and it appears to be too thoroughly multifactorial even to conceive that there might be one single root cause.

It’s a bit ham-handed as stories-that-are-metaphors go, but if it were well done and well-acted, it could be decent.  If someone did it, I might watch it, or read it, seeing as I am a zombie myself.

Let me know, please, if someone makes that movie or writes that book.  Thanks!


*As far as I know, there was almost no chance that it wouldn’t happen, but it sounds more dramatic the other way.

**And you could sort of make the case that Wednesday, from Wotan’s Day, is a Jupiter Day, but that’s stretching things a bit.  I’m not sure that in Norse mythology Wotan or Odin was ever actually associated with the planet Jupiter.  And Friday is supposedly named after Frigg, or Frigga (played by Rene Russo in the MCU), a Norse goddess of fertility or some such, very loosely similar to Venus—and apparently, many languages (as in the Spanish “Viernes”) refer the name of this day of the week more directly to Venus.

***You’ve gotta be careful with hanging gardens, though.  If they fall, your former garden can become a dwelling place of demons, as in the line from Revelation 18.

****Which is quite a logical, internally consistent, and excellent system.

Where be your gibes now? your gambols? your blogs? your flashes of merriment…

Hello and good morning.  It’s Thursday (July 14th, 2022), and so it’s time for my normal, usual, regular weekly blog post—as opposed to the semi-daily posts I wrote last Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday, and Saturday, and this week on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday so far, in case anyone reading here today didn’t know I was doing them.  If you read my weekly blog posts, and if you find my writing either entertaining or morbidly fascinating or some other adjective that makes you want to read more, do feel free to check those out.

Heck, while you’re at it, if you like my writing, why not consider buying and reading some of my actual novels or short stories or collections?  You can find all of them on Amazon, and a few of them are also available through Wal-Mart’s website and Books-A-Million as well, I think.  If you do happen to read something of mine, please at least rate it afterwards (if through Amazon, anyway), even if you don’t feel like leaving a review.  Be brutal, be frank, that’s fine, but please rate if you can.

Okay, that’s got that bit of self-promotion out of the way.  Trust me, it’s not an easy thing for me to do.  As I think I’ve said before, I’m not very keen on myself as a person—I don’t like to spend time in my own company, but I don’t have much choice about doing so, though there are choices of sorts—and so I feel rather awkward trying to promote my works.  But I think I’m a decent author.  At least, I like my stories for the most part, and believe me, I’m not prone to be kind to myself.

I like some of my works more than others, but that’s almost inevitable.  If I liked them all equally and unconditionally, it would be hard for me to think I could recommend any of them.  Unconditional love, as I’m fond of saying, is worth what you have to do to earn it.  Or, to paraphrase Dash from The Incredibles, reflexively saying “Everyone’s special” is just another way of saying that no one is.

Of course, it’s possible for everyone to be special but in different ways and to differing degrees among the many ways it’s possible to be special, and this is almost certainly the case in reality.  By genes alone there are many more ways to be human (or whatever species I am) than there have been people who have ever lived, and then there are all the other variables raised by environment and the astonishingly plastic and adaptable and versatile nervous system humans have*, meaning there are many more orders of magnitude of ways for a mind to form even beyond genetic variability.  Frankly, I’m amazed it doesn’t go worse than it does more often.

Despite my own endorsement of my stories, I’m not able to rouse myself to write any fiction for now, so I’ll continue to write daily blog posts for the nonce**.  For all I know, I may never write any more fiction again.  In fact, based on my self-assessment, I would give fairly high odds that I won’t, just as I don’t think these daily blog posts will go on that much longer.  There seems little point in continuing to try to do much of anything in the long run, at least for me.

But who knows?  Maybe I’m wrong.  Prediction is a tricky business, especially about the future***.

I am thinking (very vaguely, to be fair) about reading aloud some more of the chapters of The Chasm and the Collision and sharing them here and on YouTube as “videos” as I’ve done for the first (I think) nine chapters so far, and as I’ve done for some of my short stories.  It always feels a little weird putting up a “video” that’s really just an audio recording accompanied by a single graphic image, but it would feel even weirder to make an actual video of me just reading my story.  Looking at my face while trying to listen to a novel isn’t going to help anyone’s enjoyment.

With that, I think I’ll begin drawing to a close for the day on this, my usual weekly blog post.  There’s nothing much going on other than these blog posts.  I haven’t played guitar in weeks, nor written any fiction, and I don’t see that turning around.  Similarly, I don’t really do anything for fun in the evenings after work, nor on weekends…nor during work hours for that matter.  I have a hard time even finding books that I want to read—when even The Lord of the Rings gets boring to me, I know I’m reaching the end of my resources.  I certainly don’t hang out with anyone; I’m not so cruel a sadist as to inflict my company on other people more than is absolutely necessary.  I’m basically just spending most of my time dilly-dallying near the edge of a bottomless precipice and doing a lot of glancing over and thinking that it doesn’t really look too bad down there.  It’s certainly less dull and dreary than it is up here.

TTFN

skull drawing


*Yes, I know, sometimes it doesn’t seem that the human nervous system is very adaptable and versatile, to say nothing of being very bright, but on this planet, at least, it’s definitely an outlier with respect to high complexity.  It’s not its fault that most humans make poor use of it.

**Why doesn’t the nonce write its own blog posts, you ask?  Well, the nonce is notoriously lazy but nevertheless noisily demanding.  It’s easier just to write its blog posts so it’ll shut up.

***That’s a quote—or at least a paraphrase.

Wednesday morning at five o’clock as the day begins…

It’s actually 5:03 am as I’m starting to write this, but it’s damn close to the time mentioned in the opening line of the Beatles song She’s Leaving Home, and that seemed too fine a coincidence not to note at least in the title of today’s post.

It’s not ironic, by the way, in case anyone out there thinks it is—though probably most of the readers here on WordPress know the difference between irony and coincidence.  But the public at large, unfortunately, at least in the USA, seem to think irony is simply any somewhat amusing or tragic coincidence.  Whereas (for instance) the only real irony in the Alanis Morissette song, Ironic, is that none of the examples she gives in the lyrics are really cases of irony*.  In that sense, the entire song, taken as a whole, is truly ironic…which is a rather delicious irony, if you ask me.  I sneak myself toward the suspicion that Ms. Morissette did that on purpose, and in fact, I would be delighted for her to confirm this fact.

If anyone reading knows her personally, could you ask her for me?  Thanks.

Today is July 13th, a date which has the slight fun of being a pair of prime numbers (7 and 13, in case anyone was unclear on that).  It has the added charm of being a combination of a supposedly lucky number (7) and a supposedly unlucky number (13), which combination is borderline ironic in a certain sense, but not really.  Of course, which numbers are deemed lucky, and which are deemed unlucky is deeply culturally dependent.  Apparently, for instance, the number four, in at least one of the ways it can be pronounced**, is considered unlucky in Japan, because it sounds like the word for “death”.

This is all good evidence that “lucky numbers” are not actual, natural, real things in the world, outside of human minds.  Cultures the world over figured out arrows and spears, and fire, and the fact that things fall when you drop them, and that pyramids are strong and stable structures.  The Mayans figured out the number 0 (zero) centuries before Europeans used it or came to the western hemisphere, but the people of India had figured it out, too, on the other side of the world.  When things are real and natural—at least when they’re also useful or pertinent—cultures across time and space will tend to arrive at the same conclusions about them.

Judge for yourself, based on this, whether the many and varied world religions have more in common with “the wheel” and “counting numbers” or if they are more like “lucky numbers” and local fashions of apparel.  Don’t worry about what I think; I’m not here to tell you what to decide.  I’m here to be judgmental if I disagree with you.

I’m kidding about that last sentence.

This will now be, if my figuring is correct, the eighth of my pseudo-daily blog posts since I decided to do this instead of writing fiction—which I cannot be arsed to do right now—or playing guitar—which I don’t enjoy much at the moment, and which is giving me some kind of repetitive stress inflammation in my right hand and wrist.  That soreness could be contributing to my lack of enjoyment, obviously, but I don’t think it’s the main thing.  I’ve just got rather severe (and worsening) anhedonia.

For example, I threw away a Dutch apple pie yesterday which I had accepted as an impromptu gift from someone who had it and didn’t want it, because when I began to eat a small piece, I realized I didn’t much like it.  This is very weird for me.  In my younger days, I was known to eat an entire mini-sized Dutch apple pie from the Publix bakery in a single sitting***.  It was one of my favorite things.

This is not the only one of my prior “comfort foods” or foods-of-indulgence that has lost its charm.  Almost all of them have.  You would think I would start to lose weight, since I’m not eating as much of the foods I like.  Maybe I am, but it’s too slow to notice.  Oh, well, whataya gonna do?

I don’t think I really have much more to talk about today.  It’s arguable, of course, that I haven’t had much to talk about on any of the previous days that I wrote blog posts, or when I wrote fiction for that matter, but that didn’t stop me from writing—which is fine in my view.  But today I just think I’m in the mood to peter out early, not just with writing but with everything else.  I wish I could take the day off work or something, but Wednesday is the day on which I do my most “crucial” work at the office.

Someday soon I’ve gotta just get them ready to take care of all this without me, because I really don’t know if I’m going to be around much longer.  Not because the job is bad—it’s not.  I like the people I work with well enough, and my boss is very nice, and positive, and my coworkers are for the most part good and well-meaning people****.  In fact, it’s safe and accurate to say that the only person at the office whom I really, deeply, do not like…is myself.

I need to get away from that asshole.


*If “Mr. Play-It-Safe” who was afraid to fly had refused to get on a plane but had instead taken a train, and then the train had derailed catastrophically, that would have been irony!

**“Shi” as opposed to “yon”.

***This wasn’t a good thing, per se—it’s certainly not a healthy habit, and was in its own way a desperate attempt to find some reliable source of positive feeling when I couldn’t seem to generate such things by other means.

****One of them came in late yesterday specifically because he wanted to be home to watch the revelation of the first scientific images from the James Webb Space Telescope, and I can’t argue with that decision or his priorities.  They were fine images indeed, though I’m more interested in the new science that can be learned through them.

Whatever happened to Saturday (night) in the park when it’s not the 4th of July? Is it no longer all right for fighting?

It’s Saturday, as you can probably tell by the title above (which is a loose mishmash of a few songs that contain the word “Saturday” in their titles).  I’m keeping up my pattern of writing blog posts in the morning, and I’m sure that WordPress will soon be telling me that I’m on a five-day streak—which is true, of course, but banal.  Then again, I commented on that fact already yesterday, so my commenting on it again today is not merely banal but also redundant.

“Who’s the lame one now, Robert?  Ha!” – WordPress.

I’m going to work today, and I’m currently waiting at the train station as I write the first draft of this post.  If I were not going to work, I probably wouldn’t be writing a post today.  For instance, next weekend I’m not supposed to be working, so I probably won’t be writing anything, even if I’m keeping up this habit of writing blog posts “every day”.

If I do write one next Saturday, I’ll probably be pretty grumpy, since it will mean I’ve had to come to the office and work to cover for my coworker.  His wife just had their first baby on Thursday, after a worrying situation that led them to go to the hospital early, so he hasn’t been in the office since Monday—which was a useless day for work, anyway, but there was at least a bit of a cookout for the holiday.  We’ll see whether having a new baby will count as a reason to switch weekends.  I doubt it.  Though if there ever was a good reason for such things, that would probably be it.

Goodness knows that, when my children were born, I did not take much time off work.  I was in third year of medical residency when my son was born, and then was in my first year of private medical practice when my daughter was born.  Trust me, I took very little break time, though I happily did a lot of feeding and diaper changing at home, and since I was better at getting up in the middle of the night than my (ex-)wife, I did a lot of that, and was happy to do so.  I loved spending time with my kids—nothing better, not ever.  I would still love spending time with them if I could, though they are now 22 and 20 years old.  But I haven’t actually seen them, in person, in about ten years, lamentably.  That’s not by my choice, though it’s certainly related to mistakes I’ve made.

Anyway, I don’t want to talk about that—or to write about it—too much, because honestly, it makes me want to die right here and now.  And no, that’s not a figure of speech.  There’s very little point in going on with my life since I can’t see them anymore, but I do it anyway, because that’s what biological organisms like me are shaped to do by natural selection, “long after the thrill of living is gone”.  It’s a frustrating and Hellish fact that, even when you don’t have a particular desire or motive or reason or excuse to stay alive, your body, your brain, your inherent mechanism, is saddled with an almost insurmountable drive to continue, long past the time when you’re going to reproduce, just because that drive to stay alive was such a strongly selected-for survival attribute.

I still have no desire to do any fiction writing right now, and I likewise don’t have any urge to play guitar.  I’m seriously considering just giving most of my guitars to my former housemate, who is a very good guitarist, and who built two of the guitars I own.  They’ll just take up space in the room I’m moving into, and since I’m moving (against my desires), I might as well free up that space.  I might even give someone the Strat that I play at the office, but I’m less sure which person would be the best recipient for that.

It’s interesting to note how my calluses on my fingers are slowly waning, which is a noticeable fact for me because it changes the subjective experience of typing.  My left fingers always feel comparatively just so slightly numb compared to my right fingers because of the calluses from guitar playing, but eventually I presume that will revert to equality, though it will probably do so asymptotically, and I’m not sure how long it will take to reach rough* equivalence.

Oh, right!  Yesterday I finally posted my video of the first act of Macbeth.  I’ll embed that here, below, for those of you who want to watch it.  It’s reasonably well-performed, I think, but of course the video-making and editing is highly amateur, and the actor is not pretty to look at.  Still, maybe that latter fact makes it a more realistic portrayal, especially when I’m doing the three Witches.  It was at least fun to “perform”, though doing so and then editing it was a great deal of work, and that wasn’t always fun.  I don’t know if I’ll do any more of it, unless there’s a surprising amount of enthusiasm from the viewing public (so to speak).

Now that Independence Day is over, we’re entering a comparative desert of holidays for a while, at least in America.  Even Labor Day isn’t until September.  That’s not exactly a very big day of celebration, and it seems that fewer and fewer people get the day off work than used to do.  I don’t know for sure if that’s ironic or particularly appropriate, but it seems to be the case, though perhaps that’s just my highly biased and filtered perception.  The next really good holiday—since the world at large has ridiculously failed to embrace Bilbo and Frodo’s birthday** as a worldwide celebration of peace and joy and the triumph over evil—is Halloween.  As someone who already feels as if he’s a poorly-animated corpse, it’s not inappropriate that it’s my favorite holiday.

But it is a looong way off.

Anyway, I think that’s all I’ll write for the day.  I’ve skidded past a thousand words, and since I don’t have any pressing reason to go further, I won’t.  I hope you all have a good weekend, and that the weather’s nice and warm but not too hot and muggy for you to enjoy yourselves***.  If you can get to the beach or an amusement park, or someplace you can get ice cream or popsicles or sno-cones, or what have you—and if you and your loved ones enjoy such things—why not get out there and indulge yourself (and them) just a bit?  Believe me, the plants and the ectothermic organisms are taking advantage of the heat; you might as well do so, too.


*No pun intended.  Honestly.

**September 22, for those who don’t already know.  They were not born in the same year; Frodo was 78 years younger than Bilbo, but they were born on the same day of the year.  This is not at all uncommon, by the way; if memory serves, in any group of 23 people (or more), there is a greater than 50% chance that two of them will have the same birthday****, though which date it will be is not specified.  If you’re looking for a particular day of the year, the odds are much lower.  Look it up—it’s (wrongly) called the “Birthday Paradox”.

***This applies in the northern hemisphere, of course.  In the southern hemisphere, it’s technically winter now, but I don’t think it’s probably gotten that cold there yet, outside of, for instance, Antarctica.  Perhaps I’m wrong.

****I just checked the math.  It’s correct, unless I screwed up in my calculations.

Does Everyone Look Forward to Fridays When It Already IS Friday?

[Disclaimer:  The title above has little to nothing to do with the contents of this blog post.]

Okay, it’s now Friday, and this will be my 4th daily blog post in a row, which I think is a new record.  I know that, as of yesterday, I was on a three-day streak because WordPress made sure to congratulate me on that fact*, presumably as a way to encourage me to keep writing.  Apparently, humans respond so much to practically any reinforcement at all that even a clearly automatic bit of feedback is useful in keeping them engaged.  I don’t mind it, either—it’s nice to be able to keep track, just in case I lost count after, say, reaching the number 2.

Such feedback is slightly funnier when my Kindle app tells me that I’m on a streak of having read (on the app) 110 days in a row or some such.  My inclination is to say to it, “You have no idea.  This isn’t even on the same order of magnitude as the longest reading streak I’ve had in my life.”

I don’t know for sure how long I’m going to keep doing these daily posts, but I definitely don’t want to get out of the habit of writing every day, even if I’m not writing fiction.  Ray Bradbury (supposedly) said that one should read assiduously and write every day if one wants to be a writer.

Now, I don’t think that Ray Bradbury (or anyone else) had the final, best word on how to be a writer, or indeed that anyone knows for sure the single optimal way to do any craft or master any skill.  There are just too many possible ways to do things, and almost no controlled, double-blinded experiments to compare them.  Also, reality (and the brain in particular) is too complex for one to be able to determine which is the single best approach through logical deduction or similar principles.  NEVERTHELESS, I think some things are plainly better and some are worse, on their face, and one can proceed with those “assumptions” until and unless one encounters a good reason to reassess them.  Time** and mammalian processing power are finite, and one must take acceptable shortcuts when one can.

I will say this:  however long I keep doing these daily (or “week-daily”) posts, I’m going to confine the Shakespearean titles to Thursdays.  The Bard wrote a tremendous number of words, and many of them are suitable to being transformed into post titles that include the word “blog”, but it’s still a finite resource (speaking of finite things), and even a lot of his writing is not adaptable for such purposes.

For instance, yesterday’s title comes from a bit of dialogue by Agamemnon in Troilus and Cressida, but reading through much of the scene, there’s not a lot of other stuff that’s really any good for turning into blog post titles.  It includes lots of banter about kissing and the like, which serves to make people like Achilles look like high school jocks who think they’re cool but are really just exceptionally dorky.  You can’t deny, Shakespeare really did capture the reality of human nature, since that’s how so many human males behave not just when young but all throughout their lives.

In other words, I’m going to be choosing random titles for these “daily” blog posts.  Well, not “random”, really.  That would be bizarre, but not in a very interesting way.  Presumably one could use a random number generator (or a pseudo-random number generator) to pick ASCII characters and just throw them together into a post title.  But that would likely make readers just think there must be something wrong with their computers, or with WordPress, or with me***.  I just mean that I will improvise the titles to the day’s posts as I go along.  I’ll try, if I can, to make them reasonably clever and/or engaging, or at least not to discourage people from reading, but I can’t promise there will be many gems.  As noted above, one soon comes up against the wall of increasing use of finite resources in an endeavor with limited value even if one wrote the best title that had ever been written.  But occasionally there might be a fun one.

At least I don’t seem to have any great difficulty writing something so far, especially when I don’t constrain myself to any particular set of topics, or to having any topic at all.  I’m rather garrulous in my writing, though I am rarely so in person, feeling far too awkward and confused when interacting with humans in most cases, at least without pharmacological intervention.  And those interactions are rarely worth the effort of intoxication.

Here, however, I am in a sense speaking into the void and not really knowing whether anyone actually hears or not.  As I mentioned earlier in the week, it feels a little bit like free-association in Freudian psychoanalysis, but without anyone responding in a faux German accent, “Tell me about your childhood.”

For me, a big issue is probably going to be keeping myself to a limited blog post size on a daily basis, since once I get going, I can ramble on with no end in sight.  I figure setting an upper limit of around about a thousand words a day will probably be a good mark to hit…though knowing me, I’ll almost always skid past it at least a little.

Still, it’s a good target and reminder, because efforts by readers, like those by writers, are finite resources, and I don’t want to be too presumptuous on your time and energy.  In fact, I’ll close now by saying that I deeply appreciate the time and effort you’ve already put in, knowing that only those who have put in that maximal local effort have even reached the point of getting this message.

Thank you for that.


*Honestly, I knew it anyway.  It’s not as though it was hard for me to manage that bit of self-awareness—or those two bits, I guess.

**Okay, to be fair, time itself may not be finite, but the time any person has in his or her lifetime is finite.  Hell, the universe itself, though it may endure forever, will for most of that eternity—at least from our point of view—be functionally empty, in a state of maximum (or at least very high) entropy.  Everything interesting happens while the cream is being poured into the coffee, so to speak, not once it’s already completely stirred.

***They may well think that about me already.

What’s past and what’s to come is strew’d with blogs and formless ruin of oblivion

Hello and good morning.  It’s Thursday now, so it’s time for my usual, “official” weekly blog post, as opposed to the extra ones I wrote yesterday and the day before.  You can read those at the preceding links, if you missed them because I don’t typically write on Tuesdays and have almost never written for this blog on Wednesdays before.

In case you’re wondering why I wrote posts these last few days, when I don’t normally do so*, it’s because I simply haven’t been up to writing any on The Dark Fairy and the Desperado, nor to writing any Outlaw’s Mind, nor to writing any other fiction.  It feels pointless.  I also haven’t felt up to playing guitar in the past few weeks; that’s probably even more pointless than writing fiction.  I haven’t lost my calluses, but they are no doubt fading.  So, I figured I might as well just write some random blog posts, to see what would come out, whether anyone would read them, and maybe even to act as a kind of therapy (though I don’t feel optimistic about this being very useful).  If anyone who is reading this now has any opinion one way or the other regarding whether they would like me to keep doing that, please let me know in the comments below**, here on my blog.  I will read those, if they are there—probably pretty quickly—and I will do my best to respond when I’m able.

In other news, so to speak, I might have mentioned here before that I did a video of me reading/performing Act I of Macbeth.  I’ve been editing that video, since I went to all the trouble to make it, but I don’t know if I’m going to make any more; I find it nauseating to look at my own face, and editing videos involves more or less entirely that.  I suppose if there’s a very enthusiastic reaction when I post it, I might be persuaded to do more, but that seems unlikely, and you should not feel pressure to pretend to like it.

I’m not sure even whether I would want it to get a big, positive response and a clamor for me to make more videos.  I mean, it would certainly feel good, as far as it would go, but I’m not my own biggest fan, so I might have trouble understanding why anyone would like what I do.  I have a hard time understanding even what’s going on in my own head; I really don’t much like it in here.

My housing situation is still up in the air and frustrating, as I’m supposed to be changing rooms and so on, which was not my idea, and in the meantime there’s no settled situation and I don’t feel I can just be in my own space and do my things, however dreary they may be, when I’m at the house***.  So, there’s not much rest after work or anything.  I don’t suppose I have any reason, let alone any right, to expect things to be in a sane configuration in my external reality, especially when my own internal state is unsane, but it doesn’t help me feel in any way able to correct things out or balance myself.

I’m also still feeling physically rather under the weather.  My nausea and lower GI trouble are not as bad as they were over the course of the previous seven days, but I still feel queasy at a steady, nonzero level.

Anyway, sorry to be such a bummer and a downer and any number of other synonyms for the same basic description.  I would prefer to feel good about myself and the world; unfortunately, I’m not good at fooling myself regarding such things, and I don’t really respect the urge to fool oneself just to try to feel better.  I guess I can see why people don’t tend to like to be around me too much for very long if they can help it.  I don’t like being around myself most of the time, but there’s only one alternative to that of which I am aware.  Believe me, it has its appeal.

I’ll probably be done with my Macbeth video soon, and when I am, I’m sure I’ll both post it to YouTube and share it here on this page.  So, if that’s the sort of thing to which you look forward, then I’m pleased to be able to tell you that you can look forward to it.  Apart from that, I don’t know what to say other than to ask you to be good to the people who love you if you can, even if they can sometimes be difficult.  And, of course, be good to the people you love, if you’re lucky enough to be able to spend time with them.  That’s something you should not take for granted.

TTFN

ruined house


*I have, in recent months, been uploading parts of Outlaw’s Mind on Tuesdays.  But I posted the last of that (so far) a few weeks ago, and it’ll probably be quite some time before I write more of it, let alone post it.  In fact, it may never happen.

**Do NOT comment on Facebook if you have something to say that you actually want me to read anytime in this life.  I share posts to Facebook (and to Twitter) to make sure people can know about them who might want to read them, but I’ve been forced to avoid spending time on Facebook since their algorithm changed to—apparently—curating outrage and stupidity, rather than showing the latest of what’s going on with my Facebook friends or the groups I’ve joined.  Similarly, though I look at Twitter more often than Facebook, it’s not much of a venue for actual conversation.  And I’ll be damned if I’m going to try to use or follow Instagram or TikTok or any other such sewage.  And I’ll never forgive Mark Fuckerberg for stealing the term “metaverse”, which I had invented for my fictional worlds decades ago.  Bastard.

***I don’t like to say, “When I’m at home”, because I don’t feel like it is home to me.  The office feels more like home, frankly, but it’s not home either.  Nothing in the State of Florida feels like home, to be honest.  It really is just America’s ulcerated, syphilitic penis.  I wish I had never moved here.

CLICK-BAIT HEADLINE!  “LIKE” AND SHARE!  NUMBER 51 WILL AMAZE YOU*!!

It’s Wednesday, and I cannot summon the will to write on The Dark Fairy and the Desperado, so I’ll do a bit of writing here as I discussed yesterday.  I’m not sure what the topic will be.  I did at least come up with a headline that amuses me, though I doubt anyone else will find it funny.  Still, you can’t rely on anyone else to amuse you—they’re much more often infuriating—so you might as well amuse yourself.

There’s no dearth of potential topics out there in the wide world, from the war in Ukraine, to the January 6th hearings, to recent Supreme Court rulings, and of course, “mass” shootings**.  The latter, though certainly serious and important, still constitute a mere rounding error in the overall gun deaths in the United States, the majority of which are still suicides, as I understand it.

All of which nevertheless makes clear that, whatever your take on gun control/gun rights, there’s little doubt that we have a mental health problem in the USA (anyone reading my writing can surely testify to that fact).  In some ways it’s merely part and parcel of our overall healthcare issues, but I suspect that there are aspects that are orthogonal to, and in addition to, all the various other issues we have with our healthcare system.  I’m not part of that system anymore.  I don’t have insurance, nor do I go to any doctor, though I am one myself (no longer in practice).  My own health is one of the things about which I am least enthusiastic—which is really saying something.

Of course, in six days (if all goes as scheduled) the James Webb Space Telescope will release to the public the first of its scientific data so far.  Actually, the telescope itself won’t be releasing the information.  Though it could be considered a robot, it’s not that kind of robot.  NASA and/or the various agencies and institutions involved in the research being done will be the ones releasing the info.

Isn’t that just typical?  The JWST does all the work, but various groups of humans take all the credit.  Humans!  Ptooey***!

As for me and my house…well, I don’t actually own a house, though I live in one, but its state is up in the air right now (figuratively speaking).  I’m being moved into a different room in it so the owner can then rent out the remainder of the house to people as yet unknown.  Meanwhile, my former housemate is doing repairs and upgrades and whatnot, cleaning up after the people who were there before (who were nice, but were messy as well as unreliable, still not having paid for their last 2 months of utilities yet—I covered all that myself).  He’s been using this new sports energy drink powder that’s making him a little too wired, and he was doing odd repairs at about eleven last night, right outside my room.  It woke me up, and I was rather cross; I don’t like surprises much.

Anyway, I’m apathetic and stressed out, all at once.  I’m also still at least a bit ill****.  It’s all terribly interesting and exciting…but only in the sense of the curse, “May you live in interesting and exciting times”.

I’m working on editing a video project or two, which I expect I’ll mention a bit more tomorrow, during my usual weekly blog post.  That editing process reasserts the reality of my appearance upon me, and I really doubt I will do any more such videos in the future.

I honestly still don’t know what, if anything, I will do beyond the immediate future.  I have no plans of significance, and I have no real hopes.  At least, there’s nothing to which I’m looking forward.  No, not even the JWST results, nor even the findings from the latest startup of the Large Hadron Collider, which surely won’t give anything that can be coherently shared with the public for months.  At least we can reassure anyone who still fears the LHC might produce some dangerous phenomenon that will obliterate the planet, by pointing out that cosmic rays of similar character to LHC collisions but vastly greater power—I mean there’s really no comparison—strike the upper atmosphere of the Earth countless times every day and have done so for as long as the Earth has existed.  Fortunately (or unfortunately), none of them has wiped out the planet.  That’s a tremendous number of missed opportunities on the part of nature, if nature actually did want to destroy us*****.  So, there’s no reason to worry about the LHC.  Looking through a magnifying glass at something interesting in the grass is, honestly, more likely to do damage; if it’s a sunny day, you might accidentally focus sunlight and burn an insect or start a fire.

So, please be careful, anyone who still has the childlike sense of curiosity that might make you go out in the field and look at things under a magnifying glass.  First, do no harm.


*Because even though it looks like it ought to be prime, it isn’t; it’s divisible by 17 three times.  53, however, is prime.  57 is not.  59 is.

**Defined in physics as shootings that interact with the Higgs field, and so cannot ever travel at the speed of light.

***I doubt the JWST really cares—it was never designed to have such mental states, even if humans knew how to design and create such states yet, which humans don’t.

****Physically, I mean.  There’s little doubt that I am, have been, and probably will be mentally ill until the day I die.

*****Clearly it doesn’t, because if the universe, or nature, did want to kill us, we would be dead, instantly.  There are innumerable ways the universe could obliterate all traces of life on Earth if there were some actively hostile will behind it.  We living things are, after all, extremely tiny and insignificant on any scale but that of our own minds.