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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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


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

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

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


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

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

Happy Boxing Day, everyone!

For those of you in the United States, just in case you don’t already know, Boxing Day is basically just the day after Christmas.  It’s celebrated in the UK, and apparently in Canada and other parts of the “Commonwealth”, though how exactly it’s celebrated is not clear to me.  It’s also not clear to me—after a few random, admittedly not very careful searches—just what the day actually celebrates, other than the day after Christmas, or to what the Boxing part of Boxing Day refers.

It doesn’t appear to have anything at all to do with the sport of boxing, nor the dog breed, boxers.  I don’t think it has anything to do with the Boxer rebellion in China, either—why would it?  It’s a bit of a mystery.  Maybe it’s related to people putting the gifts they didn’t really want that they received for Christmas back in their boxes to take to the store for refunds, or to put in the attic (or “loft” as they say in the UK).  I doubt that, though.

It’s been a slightly interesting weekend.  On Friday I bit the bullet and went to the evening dinner/party with the office, but I arranged things so that I didn’t need anyone to drive me there or to drive me all the way back to the house.  Instead, I took the train up to Delray Beach as soon as the office closed and walked to a hotel—The Hyatt Place at Delray Beach—where I’d decided to indulge in a rather large expense and reserve a room for the night.

From there, after a rest, I walked two blocks to the restaurant and immediately started ordering drinks to allow me to socialize, then had a pleasant evening with the people I know from the office.  It had begun to get cold—for south Florida, certainly—by that time, and I was pleased to have only a two block walk back to my nicely warm hotel room, where I cuddled up and slept off my drinks, had a continental breakfast in the morning, and then walked back to the train station at about eleven-ish (it was 3 miles…still is, as far as I know) and took the train back to Hollywood and thence to the house.

Since then, I’ve slept a great deal, which is really nice for me.  I tried to keep low on carbs for what I’ve eaten this weekend, because it turns out that I’ve probably become pre-diabetic.

I had been trying to see if I could do a near-vegan* diet, including plenty of legumes and other sources of protein, to see if it could help me be healthier and lose weight.  It rapidly did the opposite (I was gaining weight and I felt worse), and as I walked through a Walgreen’s one evening, thinking about my family history, I checked into the diabetic supplies area, amazed to note that one could buy a glucometer for less than twenty dollars!  I remember when you used to need a prescription to get one because you needed your insurance to pay for it, because they were expensive.

Anyway, not that day, but soon after, I bought one, and tested my fasting blood sugar a few days in a row, and found it to be slightly high, in the pre-diabetic range.  This is not terribly surprising, given my family history, but it was a well-needed confirmation of my suspicion.  I have to admit, on those few occasions when I’ve tried a carbohydrate-restricted diet, I have felt generally healthier.  But it’s been hard for me to maintain, for the temptations of carbs are everywhere, and are all the more difficult to resist when one is stressed out, as appears to be my default state.

But now I have blood glucose confirmation that things are going to go badly if I continue to indulge—and death by type 2 diabetes is too slow a process to make it appealing.  I also know that low carb diets have been objectively beneficial for me in the past—my resting pulse, which normally runs too fast (at over 100 bpm) went down to the mid-sixties, my total cholesterol to about 138, my triglycerides almost ridiculously low, and my HDL at a nicely normal range.  You get the idea.  I felt better, and I looked better (at least at the chemical, microscopic level), and it was only because I had trouble being motivated to control my appetite that I didn’t stick with that mode of eating.

So that’s the plan, or part of it, for the moment.  I’ll keep you posted on an intermittent basis on how things are going.

In the meantime, I’m on my way to the office, though there are far fewer people on the train today than usual—in fact, until five minutes before time for the first train to arrive, I was the only person waiting at the station.  I’m still waking up early, but then again, given how much I slept this weekend, at least I don’t feel worn out.  It’s good not to feel worn out already, first thing on a Monday morning, but I often already do feel that way.  So in that sense, it’s been a good holiday weekend.  Indeed, we did not work on Saturday, but I did have a nice (low carb) breakfast and a good walk to the train.

I hope you all have a nice several days in this last week of 2022.  Remember, since January 1st will fall on a Sunday, there will be a Friday the 13th in January—not one of the movies, but the day.  I always like those days.  They’re almost never bad luck for me (and there’s no reason other than self-fulfilling prophecies for them to be bad luck for anyone else).

Please enjoy your elaborate, traditional Boxing Day celebrations.  But if you do celebrate by boxing, please restrict yourselves to body blows.  Even with gloves and padding, just the inertial transfer of any blows to the head always does some damage to the brain, which tends to be both permanent and cumulative.  Many of us can’t afford to lose more than we already have lost.

*I like to make the joke that it’s ironic that people who only eat vegetables or similar here on earth use the term “vegan”, because the dominant native intelligent life forms in the Vega star system—the Vegans, in other words—are obligate carnivores.  Of course, that’s just a joke; there aren’t really any native species in the Vega star system—it’s too young a star to have evolved complex life.  The inhabitants there are all colonists.  But the dominant ones of those are obligate carnivores**.

**Earth people need not fear some kind of carnivorous alien invasion, though.  Any species that are products of completely separate evolutionary histories cannot readily eat any of the life forms from the other biosphere.  At best they would simply get no nutritional value from their meal—like pandas, as carnivores, trying to get enough food out of bamboo, but thousands of times worse, with only some minerals and electrolytes and perhaps a few simple biochemicals being useful.  But much more likely, the eaten life form’s own endemic microbes would begin to break down their hosts while in the new species’ ineffectual digestive system, and would cause physical and probably chemical damage to the eater.  Many very basic microbes are remarkably good at dining on things that complex life cannot digest…including said complex life.

“No more work to-night; Christmas Eve, Dick! Christmas, Ebenezer!”



Okay, well, it’s Friday at last, and it’s “Christmas Eve eve” as I sometimes say.  It turns out that the office apparently isn’t going to be open tomorrow, which surprises me‒as is obvious, I guess.  I still could find out otherwise, I suppose, but I doubt it.

I’m writing this on my phone again, and I have been doing so most days this week.  I think I used my laptop on one of the days, perhaps Tuesday, but not on Wednesday, when I wrote my long and rather irritating post full of self-congratulation for deeds of the past that have no relevance to my current life.  That long-winded blather was from my phone, if you can believe it!

I actually slept comparatively well last night; I only finally woke up at about 3:50 this morning, which for me is about a two-hour lie-in.  I’m not even waiting for the first train of the day; I’m waiting for the second one!

I’m surprised that I slept quite so well yesterday, because I had an unusually bad day for pain‒or perhaps it would be better to say it was a good day for pain and thus a bad day for me.  The pain was focused in my right lower back down through my hip to the ankle and the arch and ball of my foot, but spreading up through to the upper back and shoulder blade and arm, and nothing that I did or took seemed to make more than a transient difference.

I was walking around the office like Richard the Third most of the day, when I was up.  We did get some very lovely cookies from my sister for the office‒she sends such packages often and they are beloved by all, and justly so‒but I couldn’t enjoy them as much as I wish I could have, because I was in a lot of pain and severely grumpy.

They were/are amazingly good, though.

I am still in a bit of accelerated pain this morning, but then I’m basically always in pain.  It’s not yet as bad as yesterday, at least, so keep your fingers crossed, please.  Or don’t if you’d rather not; I hardly think it actually has any effect on any outcome other than the configuration of your fingers.

I suppose it’s just a way for me to express my anxious hope mixed with fear and tension, and to invite some kind of shared emotional support from readers.  Though, of course, for that, it doesn’t make all that much sense, since how would I even know if any of you are crossing your fingers?  I suppose you could leave a comment saying that you are, but the very act of typing a comment must make it at least slightly less likely that your fingers are actually crossed, certainly while typing.

Anyway, I hope that my pain today is less than it was yesterday.  But even I personally will not be crossing my fingers, since I don’t think that gesture has any magical powers, so you shouldn’t feel obliged to do it, yourself, either.

Come to think of it, I don’t think anything has any magical powers.  My first thought about that is “more’s the pity”, but really, what would magical powers even be?  If they existed, they would be actual phenomena of nature, and would have some lawful underpinning and explanation.

That’s one thing I’ve always kind of been disappointed about in the Harry Potter books.  They take place in a school, and have genius characters like Dumbledore and Tom Riddle and Hermione, who surely would have curiosity toward the hows and wherefores of magic, yet there’s not even a hint of an explanation for how it works, why it works, what it actually is, or anything.  I think some touching upon that subject would have been very fun.

I mean, for instance, how does apparation work?  It involves a sensation of squeezing through something, but is that some form of hyperspace, or a wormhole, or what?  How do wands enhance or channel magical power from individuals gifted in magic?  How was that figured out for the first time?  Clearly people can do some magic without wands‒so, how necessary are they?

When did people begin to be able to do magic?  Clearly people haven’t always been able to do magic; there haven’t even always been people!  Was the ability to use magic some new, isolated mutation, like blue eyes, that spread through the population (as it surely would)?  Clearly it’s not some complex mutation, as it arises de novo in the human population, leading muggle-born witches and wizards to arise with some regularity.

Perhaps there is a complex of genes that, only when all present together (perhaps even only when homozygous) instantiate the ability to do magic.  Maybe most humans have some large fraction of the necessary genes‒after all, as I noted, the ability to use magic seems likely to have been a significant evolutionary advantage‒but it’s so easy to lose some necessary part of the biological (neurological?) machinery necessary through random mutation that most people are mutated slightly away from the complete set and so become muggles*.  Or, if born to witches and wizards they are given the derogatory term “squibs”.

I don’t recall how I got on this topic, but it is interesting, and I wish Rowling would at least have hinted at some studies or explanation, at least when discussing the Department of Mysteries.


Anyway, since I apparently won’t be writing a post tomorrow, I would like to wish all of you who celebrate it‒in the words of the late, great hero, Dobby the house elf‒a very Harry Christmas**.  Maybe take a moment to read the Christmas scenes in the various Harry Potter novels.  Christmas at Hogwarts, for the students who stayed over the holidays, seems always to have been an interesting occasion, albeit not as fun as Halloween.  Halloween at Hogwarts would have been quite the thing to experience. The only close contender that readily comes to mind is Halloween with the Addamses.  That would be interesting!

I guess I’ll be back on Monday, then, though it is at least slightly possible that I could be wrong about tomorrow.  If I am, I’ll be writing a post, and it may be quite a grumpy one, though maybe not.  After all, what do I have to do with my time other than go to the office?  Not much, honestly.

Oh, well.

santa-whoand merry


*This raises the odd thought for me about what might happen if a cancer developed that, by chance, has a complete set of magical genes, in a muggle who had been almost complete.  Could one have a “magic tumor”?  I guess probably not, since it seems magic would be a collective function of many aspects of the nervous system, not a property of every individual cell.  Perhaps this is one reason why wizards can’t just fix visual impairment‒Harry Potter wears glasses, and no one ever even suggests that magic might be able to cure his vision. But the eyes are, quite literally, extensions of the central nervous system‒though the lenses aren’t, come to think of it‒and maybe tampering with the eyes through magic is particularly dangerous, or perhaps the nervous system always rejects such attempts.

**As an aside, I have to tell someone that, in the song Have Yourself a Merry Little Christmas, I’ve always tended to hear the line, “Faithful friends who are dear to us gather near to us once more,” as if they are singing, “…gather near to us one s’more”, and I think, “How are they going to share one s’more between a group of people?  I mean, it’s “friends” who are dear to “us”, which to me implies at least four people, total.  How can you split one s’more between four people?  Also, it would make a mess, with graham cracker crumbs and melted chocolate all over various hands and the floor and all that.  Anyway, I know that’s not what they’re saying, but every time I hear it, those thoughts go through my head.

The winter’s wind which, when it bites and blogs upon my body, even till I shrink with cold, I smile.

Hello and good morning.  It’s Thursday, December 22, 2022, which is another sort of fun day for twos, though it doesn’t fall on a Tuesday, so it’s not as fun as this Tuesday was.

Yesterday was the Solstice‒the winter one in the northern hemisphere and the summer one in the southern hemisphere‒and I completely neglected to mention it.  Instead, I went on an overlong, self-aggrandizing, self-indulgent ramble, and for that I apologize.  I doubt that I’ll be doing something like that again.

Now that the solstice has come, it’s officially winter in the north, so the Game of Thrones people can shut the hell up about it.  And in the south, summer has arrived.  Meanwhile, in the north, the days have begun to grow longer, or at least the daylight time has, relative to the night.  It won’t be noticeable for quite a long time, though; at and around the peaks and troughs of sine curves, the rate of change of the function is at its lowest, and the length of daylight over the course of a year is one of the oodles of sinusoidal processes in the natural world.

I’m really tired, but I am here at the train station, the first to arrive to get on the first train.  I couldn’t sleep, even though I got to sleep late because the Wi-fi had gone out and I was on chat with Xfinity (on my phone) until quite late trying to get it fixed.  My one source of relaxation and release is to be able to watch some YouTube videos when I get back to the house from work, and it certainly costs an absurd amount of money, so I become quite irritable when it doesn’t work.  It seems tentatively to have been sorted, but I have a likewise tentative appointment for a service call…on Sunday morning, the 25th of December, the only day I have off until New Year’s Eve.  It’s a date that may be familiar to many of you as the one on which we celebrate the birth of Isaac Newton*.

Well, it’s not as if I’m doing anything but laundry that day, anyway.

Wow, I feel like I’ve written a lot today already, but it’s only about 450 words so far, counting the footnotes.  I really am tired.  Stupid nervous system.  Why don’t you sleep??!?  Yesterday, of course, I wrote and wrote until it was way too long, and I excised whole paragraphs from the final post when I edited it.  I was almost hypomanic, just for a little while there‒or at least, that’s what it felt like compared to my usual subjectivity.  Maybe it’s just the way healthy, normal people tend to feel, and it’s so unusual that it feels bizarre to me.

I don’t really think I felt “normal” in that sense, though, or at least I didn’t feel it about myself.  I felt weird and loopy and still different and distant from all the other people in the world‒the humans‒but at least I had energy and a bit of enthusiasm.  The only times I remember having really felt “normal” were the two occasions when I was given Valium for medical procedures‒wisdom teeth extraction and heart catheterization, when I was about 17 and 18 respectively.

I recall both of those experiences with great fondness.  I even remember when my heart did a big whopping double-beat that I could feel all the way up my neck during the catheterization, as the cardiologist bumped the SA node or the AV node or something along those lines.  My reaction was to say, “That was cooool.”  And it was.

I don’t know what my point is.  There probably is no point to me.  Even my head is quite rounded.  I guess I could try to find a pointed stick to carry, since defending oneself with fresh fruit is more difficult than defending oneself against an attacker armed with fresh fruit.

There, that’s my most niche, nerdy reference of the day.  Or is it?

With that, I think I’ll draw to a close.  I don’t have a clue what sort of Shakespeare quote I’ll alter for my title today, nor what picture I’ll put in the post, but it’s Thursday, so there will be such things.  Of course, you who are reading this do know both of those facts, which is curious to think about…my readers right now know things about my blog post that I, as I write it, do not know.  Time travel‒you can’t keep it straight in your head; it’s too wibbly-wobbly, timey-wimey.

I think I need a Doctor.


winter scene

*Though, in all honesty, he was born on December 25th according to the Julian calendar, so the equivalent Gregorian date is 10 or 11 days off (I don’t recall which, and I can’t be arsed to look it up).  Then again, most biblical scholars apparently agree that Jesus was born in the summertime, based on the descriptions of his birth in two of the gospels**, so Newton’s birthday is much closer to the Gregorian December 25th.

**The other two gospels, Mark and John, I think***, don’t even mention his birth.

***I remembered correctly‒I just checked.  It’s weird the things one remembers about matters such as this.