It’s inspiring stuff for an otherwise mundane journey.

I’m starting this blog post a bit later than I usually do—roughly an hour later—because, as I planned yesterday, I have walked from the house to the train station, which is about 4.8 miles, it turns out.  It took me almost exactly an hour and a half, which I guess is a decent pace, though I used to walk more quickly.

I suppose with enough training I shall improve.

Now I’m at the train station (not the one to which I take the bus, but the one from which I always used to set off), waiting for the very train I would have caught had I taken the bus to the train this morning.  So I won’t be arriving at the office any later than usual, but I may be tardy in my posting of this blog entry.

While I walked, I listened to The Fellowship of the Ring on Audible.  It’s a brilliant book to which to listen while walking any distance, because the characters are walking, themselves.  When I started, they were in the Prancing Pony, first meeting Strider (my namesake)*, and by the time I’d gotten to the train station, Frodo had just been stabbed on Weathertop and they were getting ready to repack the pony and head off the following morning.

It’s inspiring stuff for an otherwise mundane journey.

I’m not wearing my Timberland boots today.  I fear that part of the issue with them is that they don’t fit my feet quite snugly enough, and so I slide around a bit in them, and of course, that can lead to blistering.  I’m not sure why the fit is overlarge, though.  I’ve looked at the various reviews and whatnot of those boots, and people generally say that they are true to size, or else a bit small.

Whereas, for instance, the Under Armor shoes I had are actually a bit snug at my usual size, and a pair a half size up seem a more comfortable a fit around my toes.  New Balance walking shoes, such as the ones I’m wearing today, and more or less just right.

I’m leery of trying a pair of Timberlands a half size smaller, not least because they are not cheap.  Though, of course, Amazon does have a try-it-on thing you can do, but if you don’t want to keep a pair you have to send it back, and that’s annoying.  I can’t deal with crap like that anymore; it involves interacting with humans I don’t know and changing my schedule and my routines and all that other stuff, and it’s just not worth the effort.

Maybe I’ll figure something out.  Possibly just the walking itself will strengthen my feet, or alternatively will make them swell enough that they fit the boots snugly.  I will admit, after wearing the boots yesterday, they already feel much more comfortable than they did before, but I did not walk more than about three and a half miles yesterday, total.

I’d like to find something out that is more or less ideal, but there may be no such thing in the real world.  Reality is extremely complex, with all sorts of high order equations interacting with other high order equations all over the place.  It may well be that the possibility of finding something ideally suited in all aspects for any given purpose is functionally impossible.

This is one reason I dislike it when people use the word “perfect”, because in most cases it’s a notion that isn’t even well defined, let alone achievable.  Unless one sets clear and specific and precise criteria, judging anything or anyone to be perfect is just rhetoric, it’s not reason.  Powerful rhetoric can be enjoyable, like watching a boxing match or a martial arts movie, but it absolutely should not be allowed to sway one in important matters that bear on facts of reality or choices of morality.

Should we really let our politics, let alone our judgments of the facts of reality, be shaped by the words of someone who is—effectively—the best name-caller on the playground?  The difference between juvenile remarks—“Neener-neener,” “Your mama,” and “I’m rubber, you’re glue” for instance—and the words in most political discourse and debate is one of degree, not of type.

Imagine if Wiles’s proof of Fermat’s Last Theorem*** had consisted of him saying, “It’s true ‘cause I said it’s true, now what are you gonna do about it?  My grandma knows number theory better than you do.”  Or perhaps he could have invoked the seemingly more mature arguments:  “Of course, my political opponent would be skeptical of my proof, even though it’s obvious to anyone of intelligence that it’s correct.  The members of that party don’t want you to have the freedom brought by knowing that no three positive integers a, b, and c satisfy the equation an + bn = cn for any integer value of n greater than 2.  That’s because it threatens their power structure, and their special interest groups and wealthy lobbyists.  My proof may, like Fermat’s, be too big to fit in the margins of a letter, but believe me, my opponent’s brains, together with his genitals, are more than small enough to fit in such a space.”

Would that be a convincing mathematical argument?  Would it have anything at all to do with the truth of any proposition whatsoever?

Why do people both use and fall for such manipulations?  I know, I know, they’re just a bunch of tailless, nearly-hairless monkeys; why would you expect them to be more reasonable than baboons?  But it’s so frustrating mainly because nearly all of them appear to have the capacity to be rational, contrary to popular belief.

The very use of language itself requires syntax, grammar, logic, all applied at quite a sophisticated and often abstract level.  Almost all humans are capable of language starting at a young age.  They have the wherewithal to be truly reasonable and sharp-minded, almost all of them, with but a bit of effort.  This makes it all the more irritating when they don’t do so.

One doesn’t get angry at a starfish for having no curiosity about astronomy (despite what we call it), or a worm for not grasping quantum mechanics****.  And what does a sea squirt need with philosophy, especially once it’s achieved tenure?  But humans nearly all have the capacity for exceptional achievements.

Though I suppose “exceptional” wouldn’t be the right word if everyone did it.

How did I get on this subject?  I don’t remember.  Anyway, that’s more than enough of a post for today, and as I write this last sentence, having arrived finally at the office (and having now walked just shy of six miles already), I still need to do my editing.  So I’ll call it good.  I don’t think I’m going to be working tomorrow.  It would be good, after my first day of longer walking, to have a day of relative rest.  Then, next week, I shall do my walking, about 12 miles, every day.  That’s not too bad for a start, but not as much as my eventual hope.

We’ll see what happens.

*That’s Aragorn, of course, but for those of you who have only seen the movies, you may not know that his name as king of Gondor, in the fullness of time, was Elessar Telcontar.  Elessar means “elfstone” and refers to the green gem given to Aragorn by Galadriel, whereas Telcontar means, more or less, “strider”**.

**If ever I were to assume a supervillain name of some kind, I might replace my current last name with “Melkor”, because it would lead to possibly the most egotistical concatenation of name meanings ever.  My first name, Robert, apparently means “bright fame” or “bright glory”.  My middle name, Eugene, of course means “true born” or “well born”, as in “eugenics”.  And my counterfactual last name, Melkor, would mean “He who arises in might”.  That’s a heckuva collection of names.  And, of course, I’m a doctor by training and by degree, so that just makes it all even mightier.  “I’m Robert Eugene Melkor, MD.  You can call me Dr. Melkor.  Bwa ha ha ha haaaa!”

***Which, to be fair, should be called Wiles’s Theorem.

****Though they are good at tunneling.  Ha ha.

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.

This was the most unkindest blog of all

Hello and good morning.

It’s Thursday!  You know what that means, right?  It means it’s time for my traditional weekly blog post, the format of which antedates these ones I’m doing now on every workday.

In these Thursday blog posts, I generally include a picture of some kind, whereas that’s very much a matter of whim the rest of the week.  I also title the posts with some relatively (to me) “pertinent” Shakespearean quote that has been altered to include a form of the word “blog” in it.  The biggest problem with that is finding a quote that I haven’t used before, since all the best, most recognizable, most memorable quotes tend to get used early on.

That’s how the sausage is made, I guess, in case you wanted to know and hadn’t already figured it out for yourself.

I’m back at the bus stop this morning, by the way, which is cool.  Well, it’s not literally cool—it’s already about 73 degrees Fahrenheit at 5:20 in the morning, and a comparable number in relative humidity.  It makes walking to the bus and whatnot just a little bit unpleasant, if only because I sweat.

I mentioned yesterday (I think) that when I get up really early I consider walking to the train station, and that’s just shy of five miles.  The walk isn’t intimidating; it’s good for me, and I have more than enough endurance to deal with it even first thing in the morning.  But I don’t like getting to the office all sweaty first thing in the morning.  That’s one of the reasons I didn’t keep biking to work, way back when.  I always ended up smelling like mildew, at least to myself, though I learned to buy big cans of Lysol to deal with that, which worked pretty well.  Still, it’s a bit annoying.

That’s all relatively boring.  Sorry.

However, on a related note, I’m planning on trying something new today.  I use two main brands of walking shoe, chosen mainly because of their price to star-rating ratio, but with the absolute criterion that they must be black.  They are all the same official size, of course, but the newer brand—to me, I mean—has a tendency in the right foot to rub against my big toe, though it’s not as bad in the left foot.  So, I ordered an extra pair one half-size bigger in that type of shoe, to see A) if it makes a difference, and 2) if it’s comfortable and stable enough for me to wear in that size.  This is apparently a recognized phenomenon, this tendency for different shoe manufacturers and even different designs of shoe by the same manufacturer to have different sizes even within the same “size”.

That’s why I originally started wearing New Balance shoes, way back in the day when they were still trying hard to become competitive, and so were lower priced than the other big brands.  They were designed in such a way as to be slightly roomier, width-wise, which was more comfortable for me than other brands.

New Balance is the “older” brand I described above.  If the newer brand in half a size larger is good, though, I may focus on it a bit more now, because the design and model—if that’s the term—in question is slightly lighter and has a breathability that the Noobs don’t have.

Okay, that’s not just relatively boring, that’s thoroughly and completely boring.  Again, sorry.  I’m being most unkind.

Still, if I can find the right shoes and make the rest of the arrangements, I mean to try to do something that will be less boring, and perhaps even slightly interesting.  I’ve been working my way up to it for quite a while now, and I’m getting closer, step by step*.  If I do last long enough to try to carry it out, I imagine I’ll be announcing and detailing it here, so watch this space—so to speak—for further updates.

As for other things, well, I think I’m mainly over my little gastrointestinal bug.  I suspect that was related to some frozen, pre-cooked burgers I had that must have thawed during shipping at some point before being refrozen.  Thus, when I ate them they were slightly contaminated by some bacterial pathogen, which would explain both the quite painful enteritis and the low-grade fever.

It wasn’t anything too severe, thankfully.  But I’m not going to be eating any more of those for a while!

I didn’t do any calculus “homework” yesterday.  I did have a chance, since even though I had missed a day, I caught up and then did the payroll and everything else with surprising speed, because I’ve done it for a long time, and I prepare things relatively in advance, and I start working on it all early in the morning before anyone else gets there so there aren’t any distractions and it’s quiet; it’s especially nice not to have the loud background noise playing as it is during the workday.

The fact that they have to have “music” blaring all day because that’s just what is done in this business is maddening.  I don’t understand it.  I don’t respect it.  I think it’s pathetic.  But I don’t have veto power, and I certainly don’t have Vito power**.

Anyway, that’s enough for today, and indeed, it’s probably more than enough—for today, for the week, for the year, for my life—and so I’ll close with the wish that you will all try to have a good day and then a good weekend and so on, and to be kind to your family and friends and to enjoy their company.  It’s a bleak old world and universe out there, and it does not owe you anything.  Get the good of it where you can get it, in the time you spend with those you love and who love you.


unkindest cut

*This is a joke to myself related to the idea I’m not fully revealing, but you can also relate it to the discussion of shoes.

**Ha ha.  A reference to The Godfather.

Words, and spice, and a futile device…that’s what this blog post is made of

Well, it’s Friday again, and so tomorrow is Saturday, in the system by which we name our days.

The days themselves don’t know or care about what we call them, anymore than all the various plants and animals and fungi in the world care—as far as anyone can tell—what we call them.  Our names of things are solely for our convenience, to make communication easier and more streamlined—paintbrush handles of thought, as I think Eliezer Yudkowsky described them.

But, of course, having finite minds, as surely do all creatures, we tend to get so used to thinking of things by their names that we think the names and the things are interconnected in and of themselves, and even that the names have inherent power.  This is akin to all the old magical ideas that knowing someone’s or something’s true name gives you power over them in some mystical fashion.  It’s also related to our (depressingly) current notions of names or other words being capable of causing actual, physical harm, and being taboo—even words that are basically innocuous.

I can certainly understand why people might want to avoid using a term that’s been almost exclusively associated with historical injustice, oppression, and literal violence; that’s just a matter of trying to be polite, as far as I can see, and politeness is rarely a bad thing, as long as people don’t get too carried away.  But the tendency of humans to get hung up on some mystical (and fictional) power of names often becomes a problem, and is the error of thought which required the creation of the formerly popular and very important corrective, “Sticks and stones may break my bones, but words will never hurt me.”

That’s very true—unless you’re dealing with Paul Atreides or some other Bene Gesserit person.  Alas, those are fictional beings.  I say “alas” not because I think that it’s too bad that we don’t have the Bene Gesserit and so on, but because it would be great if there really were people/creatures like the Guild Navigators, with the ability to fold space thanks to long exposure to the spice mélange.  That would be tremendously useful for space travel, obviously.  In our world, though, “He who controls the spice controls the universe” just refers to KFC and Colonel Sanders’s secret original recipe for fried chicken, which is tasty, but is not going to get us interstellar travel, at least not anytime soon.

Similarly, as far as we know, in our particular brane-world, there are no orcterlolets, with their ability to manipulate space directly (no spice needed).  And if Simon Belmont is real in our universe, he’s keeping his knowledge and abilities quiet, probably wisely*.

Anyway, coming back to the subject of the day and days, I hope you all are going to have a good weekend, and that you get some time off from work and so on.  I’m going to work tomorrow, unless some highly unusual situation develops, and so I will be writing a blog post tomorrow.

In case you couldn’t tell, I’ve been using my laptop all this week to write, and it’s definitely helping my thumbs, though they are not fully recovered yet.  I will say, even I am struck by how much faster and more eloquently I “speak” when typing than in any other fashion, including actual speech, as far as I can see.  As you may know, I’ve tried to work on doing “audio blogs”, since more people seem to like to listen and to watch things than to read—see yesterday’s post for my lament about that fact—but it’s not nearly as natural to me.  I did find it gratifying to read aloud my last post from Iterations of Zero, which I turned into a “video” on YouTube and embedded here, but that’s as much because I really was trying to get that message out…yet again, perhaps for the last time, after so many, repeated failures.

Apparently, I’m not very good at making myself clear.  Then again, the reason for that, and the emphasis on that reason, was a big part of the point of that last IoZ blog post and the fact that I read it aloud and shared it in different format.  I’m probably wasting my time, though.  Even if someone actually gets the point I’m trying to make, why on Earth would anyone act on it?  Why would anyone even try to save the prisoner in my thought experiment?

Let him die, I say.  He’s a worthless little piece of shit, anyway.  I hate him.

With that, I’ll wrap up this rather bizarre and somewhat short Friday blog post.  I didn’t have any agenda going in, and I think I’ve achieved that agenda nicely, and in fewer words than I usually take to do it.  If you’re spending the weekend with family and/or friends, please do your best to appreciate your time with them.  Make the most of it.  Don’t take them for granted.  Take nothing for granted.  The universe only makes one promise to everyone—and we can’t even be completely, mathematically, epistemically certain of that one.


*The immediately preceding few sentences were references to my “fantasy” adventure book, The Chasm and the Collision, in case anyone was confused more by them than by references to Dune.  To learn more about what those references mean, you should buy and read my book!  Heck, buy them all!  They will change your life, I promise you…at the very least in the sense that you will own several more books than you had owned previously.  That’s technically a change, right?

They have blogged at a great feast of languages, and stolen the scraps.

Hello and good morning.

It’s Thursday, so I’m writing my traditional blog post, which I used to write between writing fiction (or editing it) on every other working day of the week.  I suppose it’s possible that now I’m still writing my daily blog between writing fiction, but if so, it’s a very long between, and I see no hint of a far end of that break, at least not one that involves me starting to write fiction again.

Practically no one—perhaps literally no one—has shown any real interest in that possibility, nor is anyone outside my family really reading any of my fiction.  Perhaps few people read fiction at all anymore.  I do have to wonder, how many of the people who buy even the big best-selling fiction works actually read them?

I recall back when Stephen Hawking’s A Brief History of Time was a huge best-seller* that many people just bought it to have it on their coffee table or book shelf, as a social status symbol, just as they might wear Nike shoes or drive a particular make and model of car, or frequent a particular restaurant where they could be seen with other people who were going there to be seen.  They were peacocking, so to speak—it wasn’t just males, of course, because humans have different social structures than birds as a general rule.  But the status, hierarchy, and symbolic drives are all quite reminiscent.  One could say similar things about Jared Diamond’s Guns, Germs, and Steel.

Hell, back in the day, there were probably oodles of people who had sets of high-quality encyclopedias on their bookshelves, that they never used or expected to use.  This is a true shame, because I can tell you that just picking a random volume of an old-school encyclopedia and thumbing one’s way through it, stopping and reading when one encounters something interesting, can be quite a wonderful experience, and lets one learn about things one might never have thought to explore.  Wikipedia does have a sort of “random article” feature, but it’s just not the same.

Anyway, that was a bit of a tangent.  The point I’m making is that I think almost no one reads at all, or at least few people read anything longer than a few hundred words at a time**.  People seem to prefer to watch people speaking in order to get their news, which is far less efficient than reading actual words, which are a comparatively concise and precise means of conveying information.

There are some things for which video is especially well-suited, of course.  Conveying complex scientific ideas can be boosted tremendously with high-quality animation of concepts, especially in physics.  Also, of course, explorations of the natural world as undertaken by the likes of David Attenborough can be used to give people a more direct exposure to things they never would have been able to see for themselves.

But still, words have their power, the written word especially (or so I think).  When you come down to it, every aspect of the internet runs on written words—computer programs and commands—which convey literal, step-by-step instructions from one place to another about what pixel to put where and when, how and when and with what power to vibrate a computer’s speaker, and of course, what ASCII or similar character to call up and put where on what screen.

It happens very fast, of course, but it happens that way.  The very reason video signals can be so high-fidelity but low power—phone signals as well—is that they are transmitted as languages, with redundancy and error-correction implicitly (and deliberately) built in, so that even when part of a signal is lost, the rest can “easily” be reconstructed.

I put “easily” in scare quotes because while it happens readily once everything is set up, it took some of the most brilliant minds ever in the world to figure out how that sort of thing works and what to do to make use of it, and others to figure out how to bring it to the available use of so many of the billions of humans worldwide.

Meanwhile, most of those humans don’t think about the exquisite and astonishing machinery involved in their smartphones, or their “smart” TVs, or their GPS (which requires Special and General Relativity to function!).  Most people use their phones as distractions and—perhaps primarily—as yet another instance of peacocking, of status demonstration.  How else can one explain the push to buy the latest iteration of the latest smartphone, when one hasn’t even taken full advantage of the features of the phone one currently has?

Humans very rarely seem actually to think for themselves.  I’d say almost all of them do it some of the time—occasionally—and some few of them do it much of the time.  But that last population is vanishingly small.  Yet they, I suspect, are the ones who drive most advances in most fields, and produce the improvement of science and technology and art and society.  What a shame that they’re usually just making precious ceramic sculptures to be tossed about by troglodytes.

Oh, well.  Obviously I’m not in an upbeat and optimistic frame of mind today, if ever I am.  And it’s because of facts and thoughts such as these that I think I’m not writing this blog between writing fiction but rather after having written all the fiction I’m going to write in my life.  That’s okay, I suppose.  It doesn’t actually matter much to much of anyone, anyway.

It’s just as well, I guess.  The one person I met at work who actually talked to me about the substance and the ideas in one of my books—Son of Man, in this case—was also a person who died of a drug overdose not long afterward.  It wasn’t the fault of my book; he had a drug problem already.  But he was smart and curious, and he actually read the book and thought about it and asked me questions related to it, and debated points with me.  That was kind of cool.  Small wonder that he died a self-inflicted death; he was too much a kindred spirit to me.  What else could one expect?

So, with that in mind, I—who, regrettably, cannot seem to develop a life-threatening addiction to drugs or alcohol—don’t expect to do much more creative shit in my life.  I could be wrong, of course; I make no claims to absolute epistemic certainty about anything.  I’m not even entirely convinced by cogito ergo sum argument.  I can vaguely conceive of the possibility of myself being a figment of someone else’s dreams, albeit someone with a very vivid (if somewhat dreary) imagination.  Of course, in a sense, an imagined being, if the imagined nature of that being is instantiated in the imagining of independent thought, does exist.  So I guess Descartes’s conclusion, in sum, was still correct as far as it went.

I don’t know.  I’m tired.  If someone is dreaming me, I wish they would have a better dream.  Maybe I wish they would wake up.  Presumably I wouldn’t know that the dream that I was in ended when it ended, anymore than any of us would know if the vacuum state of the universe tunneled to a lower energy level and wiped out everything preceding it, because the wave front of the phase change would progress at the speed of light, which would mean that the first hint of its existence for anyone would be their instantaneous obliteration, faster than they could even potentially know it was happening.

Swift, painless, without the possibility of fear because fear cannot move faster than light—it’s not too bad a way for the universe to go.  To read more about it, please look into The End of the Everything (Astrophysically Speaking), by­­­­­­­ Katie Mack***.  It’s an excellent book, and quite fun.  Buy it even if you’re just going to put it on your coffee table to impress the Joneses.  At least the author would get a bit of money.  And some day, you or someone in your family might accidentally pick it up and learn something.  There are worse accidents than that!



*Admittedly, that is nonfiction, but it serves my point more generally.

**Though, to my surprise, on the train this morning I saw no fewer than three people actually, actively reading paperback books.  Perhaps I’m too pessimistic.  That would surprise almost no one.

***You need not worry about the possibility of such a phase change much.  It’s far from certain that it even could happen, and even if it can, the best science indicates that it’s vanishingly unlikely over anything like the current lifespan of the universe.  Dr. Mack explains it far better than I could.

The sound and the fury of sore thumbs

I’m writing this on my laptop today because my thumb joints (especially in my right thumb) are severely painful and inflamed.  Okay, technically it’s the base where my thumb attaches to the wrist and palm, not the actual interphalangeal joint within the thumb, but I’m not going to split hairs or phalanges right now.  Although I guess I just did that, didn’t I?

I’ve tried to cut out any other activities that cause my thumb(s) to hurt—other than handwriting things at the office to fix incorrect or missing information on paperwork, and even that hurts—but it has been to no avail.  It seems extremely likely that it’s the writing of blog posts on my phone that is making things—thumbs—act up.  I wouldn’t give it a 100% estimate, but it’s mightily close.

Fortunately for me—though perhaps not for you—I hardly use my thumbs at all when typing on a laptop keyboard.  So this gives them a bit of rest.

I guess it’s just as well that I haven’t gotten any feedback encouraging me to complete either of my partly completed stories or to start a new one, because if I had done so on the phone, I probably would have needed to give up on that.  Ditto for if I had decided to write it out long-hand, since the use of pen and paper even a few dozen times a day seems at least to cause the joint to flare up, and writing a book by hand again would probably have caused similar problems or worse ones.

I did listen to and begin editing that voice recording I made while walking to the bus stop on Monday, but I’ve decided not to post it.  Quite apart from the fact that I merely said inane things—which was, after all, as expected—the fact that I walk pretty quickly gave my voice a peculiar wobble that reminded me just a bit of Katherine Hepburn, though with a lower frequency of wobble.  No disrespect intended to the great, great actor that she was, but I just felt weird about the recording, as if I were doing a disrespectful impression.

I’ll try to make a sedentary audio recording sometime soon to upload here and as a “video”, if I can keep up my motivation to do anything at all.  No promises!

I’ve noticed that my readership, as well as my “liker” ship has gone down recently, possibly because my writing has become more depressing as I’ve become more depressed, though I feel as though my writing has been pretty depressing all along.  Also, I haven’t been reading (and liking, when it’s accurate) other blogs as much as I used to do, largely because I haven’t been reading (or liking in any sense) much of anything lately.

I’ve been forcing myself to reread some things that I know I’ve liked in the past, so I read a bit of Brian Greene’s The Hidden Reality—he’s as good as it gets for entertaining and reasonably deep science explanation—and then skipped over to reread Max Tegmark’s Our Mathematical Universe, which is also a great book.  Tegmark even refers readers to Greene’s book for a discussion on the possibility of making new universes deliberately if inflationary cosmology is correct*.

Anyway, I’ve gotten somewhat tired of even those two excellent books, and was going to switch to Brian Greene’s Until the End of Time, which is not better (or worse) but at least discusses things like the eventual end of our universe as we know it, and so seems more appropriate to my mindset.  However, I did receive a pre-ordered Japanese light novel yesterday that I hadn’t recalled was coming, so I’m reading that first.  I will probably be done with it by midday today, even only reading it during breaks and lunch, and even though today is payroll day.

It’s a pleasant enough story, but of course, even though it’s about a “loner”, it entails the loner having friends and a girlfriend and doing various activities, and anyway, he was never a loner because of awkwardness or rejection of or by others—he’s one of the most self-assured characters in the story—but simply because that was what he preferred, no sour grapes required.

This is the second, and apparently last, of the “light novels” of this series.  The characters are nice, and their interactions are free of the usual stupid melodrama that so often infects fiction about “normal” people when there are no deadly forces facing them, just the idiocies of other humans, so that’s pleasant.  I hate when stories create “drama” out of nowhere by introducing unrealistic misunderstandings and conflicts.  If you just gave your characters supernatural enemies to fight, you wouldn’t have to invent personal difficulties that make them look like kindergarteners on a playground, but with less sense of fairness and personal responsibility!

That book won’t last me more than about half a day, probably.  I always get weird when I read those stories, anyway.  I feel almost as if I am the characters, and I begin to think and even talk to myself as if I were—heck I even find myself thinking that way when playing phone-app euchre immediately after, in my thoughts toward my “partner” and the other two “players”**.  It’s very strange, and it doesn’t last long, but it’s quite melancholy, and tends to make me feel worse about myself once I return to myself, and no one needs that.  Just being me is bad enough as it is.

Not that I would prefer to be anyone else.  It’s a bit like Winston Churchill’s purported quote about democracy—I am the worst person in the word for me to be…except for all the other people I could be.  Something like that.  It doesn’t quite work, but you probably get the idea.

Anyway, I’ve already written more, and well before the bus has arrived, than I usually write at all using the phone; there’s no doubt that I write quickly on my laptop.  I should probably wrap this up soon.  I don’t know what I’m going to do tomorrow if my thumbs are still killing me.  I’ve tried various treatments, both topical and systemic, and even tried wrapping my thumb up a bit, but so far to little avail.  It hurts like a son of a bitch***, and the joint is getting unstable, so that when I shook my hand in the air—briefly—trying to distract myself or loosen it up somewhat, I could feel it pop out of joint slightly, and that didn’t help with the pain, as I’m sure you can guess.

I suppose, if I write at all, I’ll write tomorrow’s post on the laptop.  I honestly feel like wrapping this whole thing up, along with everything else, not just for the day, but for good, so to speak.  There’s no point to any of it.  It’s not helping my depression, that’s clear.  It’s not eliciting any good recommendations about help or insights, or any mythical, heroic rescue of any kind.  It’s not providing any kind of therapy.  And it’s not getting me started back to writing fiction again.  So what’s the point?  It’s just the proverbial, Shakespearean tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.

I’m in pain all the time, I’m alone, and I have no capacity to act on my own behalf, which means that frankly I deserve it if I crash and burn—literally or figuratively—and just die without any revelation or meaning or recognition.  But I’ve always really known that I deserve that, anyway.  I’ve never even really been in denial about it, or at least not for quite a long time.

I don’t know.  If I write tomorrow, I guess you’ll see it here on my blog.  If not, I don’t know what I’ll be doing, if anything.  I can’t make any promises one way or the other, honestly.  Sorry about that, Chief.

would i lie to you

*Greene points out that it would likely be quite disappointing, since, based on General Relativity and the best of the rest of our theoretical understanding, in the original universe, the new universe would just turn into a tiny black hole, and the creators would have no access to their new universe.  Of course, this presumes they don’t discover some means by which to access other universes semi-directly, but if you can do that, why do you need to make a new one?  In any case, as far as I can see, a very small black hole is going to become an immediate, violent source of Hawking radiation that would fry anything around it with tremendous force before it fully and rapidly evaporates, but presumably such an advanced technological civilization could shield themselves from such things.  A bigger question is, when the black hole evaporates, what, if any, effect does it have on the nascent universe?

**They’re all just computer generated.  I have no interest in playing any kind of game online with strangers.  I can’t even deal with interacting with the other people on online support groups or subject-matter groups about things in which I’m interested; I surely don’t want to play card games with strangers.  Anyway, I have more in common with simulated, computer-generated people than with “real” humans.  I even talk to them sometimes.

***This expression, presumably, refers to a puppy.  Do puppies tend to hurt a lot?  Well, they do when they bite you with those tiny little, needle-sharp teeth!  Ba-dump-bump, crash!  Waka, waka, waka.

A brief return to the laptop, but without any dancing

I’m writing this on my laptop for the first time in quite a while, though I am still doing it at the bus stop.  I’m using the laptop because I’ve been getting significant stiffness and pain in the carpometacarpal and metacarpophalangeal joints in my thumbs.  The right is worse than left, but it’s symmetrical enough that I’m fairly sure it’s from my phone, since I use both hands to write on that.  So, I’m giving them a break (but hopefully not a fracture).

I know, it’s all so exciting, isn’t it?  Just wait until I write a blog post about watching paint dry.  You’ll barely be able to contain yourself.

Oh, right, I forgot to note that today is February 1st, the first day of the second month of 2023.  It’s time to pay rent and other bills, and then, only twenty-eight days later, it will be time to pay rent and other bills yet again.

Time flies when you’re having…I don’t know, certainly not fun, but when you’re just grinding through each day with absolutely nothing that’s of any interest or importance happening, and with only stressful things happening at work.  Or, well, the only things of note at work are stressful.  For instance, we had two of our most prominent employees leave this week under dicey circumstances; by that I mean, they’re probably now going to go on either to be arrested or to overdose or to go back into rehab.  My boss is very forgiving, at least, but there’s only so many games of Russian roulette they can play before they get a loaded chamber.  Nature doesn’t tend to make exceptions.

As for everything else, well, I still haven’t figured out how to check the poll results from my story poll.  I’m not sure anyone has responded or even noticed, other than a family member.  I don’t mean to disparage family.  Cat forbid!  I’m very glad that some of my family members read this.  But I’m not sure if more than two or three people (two of them family) ever actually read all the way through any of my blog posts.

Maybe what I should do is, sometime later this week, find one of those samples of pseudo-Latin writing that looks like normal paragraphs and copy and paste it after one or two short introductory sentences, and at the end leave an exhortation to comment but not to “like” if you have seen or recognized the nonsense.

That seems like a lot of work, though, so I probably won’t do it.  But it is frustrating to wonder how many people actually read my blog, even among the ones that “like” it.  Not that I want to discourage the likers!  I enjoy the little hit of reward that generates as much as anyone.

It’s interesting, also, to see new likes for older posts, some of them getting into quite high number counts (for me, anyway).  I have to think that those, at least, really must be among my more enjoyable posts.  One of my most popular ones is the one where I announced that I was going to be beginning to write The Dark Fairy and the Desperado, in which I included quite a few of the illustrations that I’ve included in the posting of the story itself.

But I still don’t have any real feedback on ongoing writing, or on whether or which story I should continue to, or start to, write.  I suppose that’s just as well, since right now, I don’t feel much creative impulse at all.  I haven’t played guitar more than twice this whole year, short though it has been.  I have occasionally thought of short story ideas as one or more curious little event impinged on my awareness, and I interpreted it in my usual, bizarre fashion, similar to what I described yesterday about things like “Deerfield”.  But none of the ideas stuck in my head, and I certainly didn’t write any of them down.

I haven’t even copied my old “notebook” entry in which I had jotted down lots of story ideas into my new phone.  It’s still just in an email I sent to myself  when I got the new phone.

I’m circling the drain, anyway, orbiting just outside the event horizon of a black hole.  It must be a large one, because though the tidal forces are palpable, and are quite uncomfortable, they haven’t spaghettified me yet.  I can look out and see—because of gravitational time dilation—all the lives of the people around me proceeding speedily, with some perceptual distortion but otherwise normally, while I’m just slowly creeping through time, every second lasting an eternity on the scale of the outside world, with less and less chance of ever escaping, and greater and greater difficulty interacting in any real way with any of the people in the outer universe.

I don’t know when something will nudge me over the horizon, but the singularity awaits, and it ain’t the one Kurtzweil envisioned.  I wonder what it will be like.  I probably will never know; that’s the irony of such things.

Anyway, I’ve reached what should be the end of my first draft, and it’s definitely been faster, or wordier, than it would have been via the phone.  I’m not sure if readers can discern any difference, other than the fancy quotation marks that Word automatically applies, and which get copied and pasted to WordPress when I do the copying and pasting, but which don’t appear when writing directly on WordPress or through Google Docs.  It’s not really important, though I do like the fancy quotation marks.

Any comments—about this blog entry, or about previous topics, or about anything remotely related to this blog—would be welcome.  And do feel free to “like” and share.

Oh, and with that in  mind, why not listen to some of my music, which is on YouTube, but also on Spotify, iTunes, and so on.  I would like not to be the only one who ever listens to it.  It’s not great stuff, but it’s not too bad, either.  Given that it’s all done by me, and recorded using USB mics, and mixed using the free program Audacity, I think the songs came out pretty well.  Except for the keyboards*, I had to teach myself how to do everything I did in them, and I had no studio, just the back room of an office** and a bedroom.

I’m probably tilting at windmills, but whatever.  It doesn’t really matter.  Who knows how much further I’ll go on?  It’s already truly felt like the longest time***.

*I took piano lessons starting when I was about nine years old, so I already knew how to play piano.

**You can see it in my videos of me playing guitar and singing and so on.  That’s where I work.

***This is a very oblique reference to the Billy Joel song The Longest Time.

And bitter shame hath spoiled the sweet blog’s taste

Hello.  Good morning.  It’s Thursday again‒the last Thursday of January in 2023, if my reckoning is correct‒and so I’m here writing what used to be my sole weekly blog post, back when I wrote fiction most days of the week*.

I’m at the “other” bus stop this morning, the one that’s a stop earlier than my usual one on the bus route, because that same homeless person has again used the bench of my usual stop as a bed.  The bench where I now sit is better sheltered and longer, but it has a handrail sticking up in the middle, and one on each end, so it wouldn’t make an easy bed.

Mind you, I’ve slept in more difficult places than that, and I’m bigger than that lady, so it should be workable for her.  However, it might not be as safe a place for a woman to sleep precisely because it’s better sheltered.  It’s also less well-lit.  Though it is right here at the very edge of Broward and Miami-Dade counties on one of the main roads of the area, it still might be risky in the quietest part of the night.

Oh, well.  It’s an inconvenience, and I don’t like things that upset my routines and expectations, but it seems churlish to begrudge her the spot.  I don’t expect she’ll be using it all that long, since I suspect the lives of most homeless people are rather erratic.  Still, I might be wrong.  Maybe I’ll be gone before she is.

I mean, I will be gone from the area in the immediate sense before she is; I’m catching a bus that’s due in about 15 minutes.  But I think you know what I mean.

Sorry about all that.  I don’t mean to make “the daily bus stop report” a feature of this blog.  What a thing that would be to make people wade through right at the beginning of their reading!  At least I can take comfort‒so to speak‒in the fact that very few people will be affected by it.  Still, if I mean to court new readers, I should do better, and what writer doesn’t want, at some level, to court new readers?

I was thinking yesterday about someone like Herman Melville, an author whose works were unnoticed during his lifetime, but were lauded after his death.  I want to suppose that’s better than nothing…except, no, when you think it through honestly, it really isn’t.

I mean, if some convincing supernatural entity came and offered me the deal that I could be a world-famous author, but it would only happen after I’d died‒and if the evidence was very strong that its powers were real, so I would have honest reason to believe it, at least provisionally, especially if it could give me a glimpse of the future‒then that would be some consolation.  It would not be as good as having people read and like my work while I’m alive, but it would be far from horrible.

In the real world, though, if you become famous and beloved only after you die, like Van Gogh, it does you absolutely no good at all, and you never, ever know about it.  Even if there’s an afterlife (which seems unlikely), I suspect you’ll be too busy there to notice anything about your work from before you died.

Is it good enough to be Ozymandius, famous and mighty in your own time, and have all your creations crumble into sand after you’re gone?  Well, the crumbling is going to happen to everyone and everything in the long run no matter what, so it doesn’t seem too horrible.

In other news, I’ve already lost interest in 11/22/63, not through any fault of the story or its writer.  I even went and got the first 2 Stephen King short story collections and read The Jaunt, but it wasn’t as creepy or interesting as I remembered.  Then I got a Kindle Unlimited Japanese  “light novel” that seemed potentially interesting.  It’s peculiar and somewhat humorous, but too all over the place for me to think I’m going to stick with it.  None of the nonfiction books I own are interesting, and even my own stories‒most recently In the Shade‒are hard for me to read.

None of my old sources of engagement are working, and nothing new seems interesting at all.  I’m trying to restart watching Stranger Things, but it’s very slow-moving, and I dislike many of the characters and one or two of the actors**, though I can at least fast forward through the older sister’s scenes.  She’s played by a young woman who seems to be a perfectly fine actor, but her character is so irritating.  Where’s that Demogorgon*** when you need it?

I don’t know, it doesn’t really work for me.  It certainly doesn’t really remind me of my youth in the ’80s, though I lived in a very different kind of area than Hawkins.  I want to like and enjoy it.  But I have difficulty doing that.

People at work occasionally recommend that I take a vacation of some kind, but I can’t even comprehend the suggestion.  No matter where I go, there I am, and that’s my problem.  I can’t even think what I would do with a vacation.  As I said, I don’t like changes to my routine at the best of times.

What I think I’d prefer is just a “dirt vacation”.  That’s similar to the proverbial “dirt nap” but with the added recognition of the fact that it will be no mere nap.

I just haven’t yet worked up my nerve to book the trip yet.  But maybe I’ll get there soon.  I hope so.

By the end of the week, I should know whether the palindromic number I’ve mentioned before occurs.  It’s got something like a one in ten-thousand chance of happening, so don’t put big money on it.  Still, it’s not the sort of thing that’s so rare one could see it as a miracle.  One in ten-thousand chances happen to 800,000 people a day, on average (if we’re counting one-a-day events) after all.

Anyway, that’s enough.  Really, that’s too much.  Sorry.  You all have a decent day if you can.



[P.S.  To the people who program autocorrecting for phones: STOP PRESUMPTIVELY STICKING AN APOSTROPHE IN “ITS”!!!!!  An apostrophe is used there only when it’s a contraction‒like that time, just now.  It’s not necessary when it’s possessive.  When “it” requires an apostrophe, I can add it myself, as I did each of these last few times.  I don’t need you auto-incorrecting my punctuation.  Morons.]

*I tried to write posts for my other blog, Iterations of Zero, on Sundays, but that didn’t pan out very often.

**Meaning I don’t like their acting, not that I don’t like them as people.  Also, obviously, Winona Ryder is good, and always has been, and the girl who plays 11 is good, but some of the other child actors are just out of their depth.

***I and my friends always pronounced “Demogorgon” with a long e sound, as in “demon”.  The way the kids in Stranger Things pronounce it, it sounds like they’re referring to some manner of floor model Medusa that you can try in the store before deciding if you want to buy one for yourself to take home.

“Hump Day” calls to mind a camel’s back, which we know can be broken by a straw

I’m starting this post at the house, seated on my “piano bench”, as I did a week or two ago when it was quite cold out.  It’s not cold today; it’s already over 70 degrees (F).  I just want to minimize the potential time in which I have to worry about the “shouty” lady, who really hasn’t been shouting so far this week, but has been laying around at my “usual” bus stop.

She was still there when I got back to the bus stop last night at about quarter after eight.  So she had been there for at least 15 hours yesterday, unless she wandered off during the day, which is certainly possible.

Anyway, that’s not very important, I just feel too socially awkward to want to have to worry about being approached by anyone, let alone someone to whom I can offer no consolation for what are surely myriad troubles.

I want to keep this post relatively short, because the last few have been absurdly long, especially considering the fact that I’ve been writing solely on my phone.  I think it can’t be encouraging for casual readers if I write thirteen to sixteen hundred words every day.  It would be one thing if there were significant substance to the posts, a deep analysis of some topic, but they’re just random, meandering blather.  That’s best in relatively small doses.

It’s only Wednesday, but the week already feels so very long.  I’m mentally exhausted, though physically I’m getting slightly more fit, walking 4 or so miles a day, sometimes more.  But even physically, yesterday I was in exceptional pain, even for me, all up and down my left side, focused on my lower back and hip but down to the ankle and up to the arm.

My whole left arm felt not just painful but numb, and was even vasoconstricted.  My left hand was pale and cool to the touch compared to my right hand, confirmed by a coworker.  I don’t know what I did to trigger it, but it was apparently some form of what they used to call causalgia, if memory serves.  I do have an old soft-tissue injury to my left shoulder that never completely healed.

I don’t think I can do this‒meaning, anything‒much longer.  I’m coming up on the last chance to get a “message from the universe” in the form of the most strikingly palindromic possible recording number yet, at the office.  I’ve missed all the others‒as expected.  Palindromic eight digit numbers are a rarity, especially when the first three to four digits vary only slowly.

Of course, I don’t really think the universe is capable of, let alone inclined to, deliberately send me a message in the form of a recording number.  This is really more like a game of chance I’m playing.  It’s not quite a variation on Russian Roulette, but it’s not really that far off, either.

I don’t want to let anyone at work know the nature of my game*, lest they try to fake an outcome for me.  I don’t think they would succeed, but they might try.  Of course, if I got even a hint that they were doing such a thing, I would just call the “game” off and consider it lost‒or won, depending on your point of view.

It’s sort of like how most people would say I won the game of Russian Roulette I played more than 10 years ago, but I sometimes think of it as having lost.  Very little net good has happened to me in the intervening years.  I won’t say there weren’t good things, but it’s been an unquestionably net negative, and the slope of that curve doesn’t look to be changing, certainly not in the positive direction.

Oh, by the way, those last two paragraphs were written at the bus stop.  The shouty lady is nowhere to be seen (or heard), and while I’m slightly concerned and hope she’s okay, I’m glad not to have to stand for twenty minutes while waiting.  My back and hips already hurt this morning, but it’s primarily on the right side today.  It’s good to keep some variety, to keep one guessing.  We wouldn’t want the pain to be boring, would we**?

Anyway, it’s also drizzling a bit this morning, so it’s good to be able to get under the bus shelter.  The water doesn’t bother me, but it’s hard to write when you have to keep clearing raindrops off the phone.

Okay, it’s become more than a drizzle, now, and the bus will be here in about five minutes.  I guess I’ll call that good for today.  It’s not good; very little has been good for me in a while.  But we’ll call it that.

Rest would be good.  Sleep would be good, if it were restorative, or at least entailed true oblivion.  I want to go to sleep.

*They already know my name, so there’s no need for them to guess it.

**That’s a slight joke.  Sometimes one hears of pain described as “boring”, meaning it feels as if something is drilling into or through some body part.  There are so many delightful and multifarious types of pain in this world, aren’t there?  It’s enough to make you want to throw up.