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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

**I did, see?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


skull drawing

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m kidding about that last sentence.

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

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

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

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

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

I need to get away from that asshole.

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

**“Shi” as opposed to “yon”.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thank you for that.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


ruined house

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

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

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


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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Thoughts while commuting on Tuesday

Well, there’s no new portion of a story to post here today, but I did write some yesterday on The Dark Fairy and the Desperado—about 1100 words.  That’s the first bit I’ve written since the 800 words I mentioned last week.

I also went into the office yesterday, because we were open for part of the day.  It was a thoroughgoing waste of time and effort, and I already wasn’t feeling well (I’d stayed home from work sick on Friday, and I was not feeling much better yesterday…come to think of it, I still don’t feel great).  Almost no one seemed to want to work, and those who did were interrupted and interfered with by those who didn’t.  And then, one infantile “coworker” let off a stink bomb or stink drops or something (near the one person who was trying to work, ha-ha…that would have been juvenile even back in grade school), flooding the office with a horrible smell on a day when we were having a bit of an office cookout, so people were going to be trying to eat there.

Yes, seriously, this all happened.  I was very pissed off, because I had gone into the office despite still feeling sick to my stomach, and the stupid stink-bomb nonsense didn’t help me feel any better.  Back at the house, one couple have been moving out of part of the house—they’re nice enough people, but they were horribly messy, even by my standards.  When I’m messy, I keep it in my own space, I try hard not to mess up common areas.  But now a transition is ongoing, and the property owner asked me to move into another room, though I’ve been living in the same room for almost five years.  The other room is bigger, but that doesn’t automatically make it better.  And I don’t like change much at the best of times.

I’ve also made a few videos, including one in which I read the Declaration of Independence out loud, which I’ll embed here, below.  I suspected most Americans probably hadn’t read it in a long time, and many have probably never read it at all, so it was worth a bit of effort, even when I wasn’t feeling well.

I did another video earlier, last week, about science, and about learning about science, which I haven’t posted to YouTube yet.  If and when I do, I’m sure I’ll embed it in some blog post here, as well.  Why not?  I’m not doing much of anything else that’s productive or valuable.  Of course, that begs the question of whether doing such videos is productive or valuable either, but I guess that can only be learned after they’re done.

I’m not feeling well at all, however.  This creeping crud is really doing a number on me, and that’s on top of my precarious mental state, which leaves me very easily irritated and also unable really to talk to anyone about the many issues that I have.  I don’t really know what to do.  I know what I want to do, but that want is not unadulterated.  If it were, I would simply do it.  Although, frankly, I don’t think right now I’m physically up to anything taxing.  I feel so beat up.  I guess I’ll have to wait a bit on that, no matter what.

I don’t really know what to do.  The wind is going out of nearly all of my sails, and I don’t have a big enough stock of provisions to endure if the sea is becalmed for too long*.  Maybe instead of trying to write fiction every morning, for a while I should just try to write a blog post every day, including my regular Thursday blog post.  I have a couple of files in my note-taking app full of what I call “article” ideas, and it’s not as though there isn’t plenty of nonsense in the world that might be worth discussing.  There are many topics on which I have thoughts, judgements, and opinions, and even some matters on which I am an expert.

Maybe I could do this as a sort of therapy—a kind of pseudo-Freudian free-association daily blog.  Who knows?  At one point, I considered writing a memoir/autobiography, and I even had a title planned for it (A Most Stormy Life, taken from the Poe poem Alone, which is one of my favorites), but that feels just so pompous.  Plus, I don’t think my life is all that interesting.  It’s had interesting and gripping moments, of course, but surely that’s the case for everyone.  But I had long since planned, or considered, to share various random thoughts on Iterations of Zero, my other blog.  I was going to constrain this blog to deal primarily with my fiction writing and related matters, but it’s veered gradually at least part of the way away from that, and I have far more people following this blog than the other one**.

Well, these are just some thoughts that I’ve had.  I suppose, if I make another post tomorrow, you’ll know that I decided, at least for the time being, to write and post something every day.

In closing now I’ll tell you a little about the very weird dream/nightmare I had last night.  As is often the case in my (rare) nightmares, I ended up becoming irritably, grouchily defiant toward the forces of evil (embodied in some manner of building/complex/zone that seemed to have a malicious mind and will, and which did not want to let us leave) that were victimizing or at least tormenting me and some other people.  As is also often the case, the form this defiance took in the dream was related to the fact that I had to go to the bathroom, and after making a horrible-sounding, shouted demand*** that I think I must have said out loud, because it woke me up—my own voice sounded demented and weird and otherworldly, even to me—I discovered that I had to take a wicked pee.

At least I know I was well hydrated.

*To really brutalize a metaphor.

**Probably simply because I do regularly make posts on this one, but don’t do so on IoZ very often.

***The exact words were a repeated, “Do you understand?!?”

Though his blog cannot be lost, yet it shall be tempest-tost

Hello and good morning.  It’s Thursday, and so it’s time for another edition of my weekly blog post, though it’s not the only post I’ve written this week.  I wrote another one, on Tuesday, that didn’t really have anything but random writing and thoughts.  I say “random”, but it’s not literally random in any kind of probability sense.  It simply was not pre-planned.  I’m sure that the various things I wrote, though stochastic at some level, were predictable by any adequately sophisticated model of me, if there is such a thing.

It’s the last day of June in 2022.  It’s been summer now for a little over a week, at least in the northern hemisphere, but I don’t see anything particularly noteworthy or different about that fact.  The weather hasn’t changed significantly, which is not surprising.  The days are shortening*, but this close to the peak of the sine curve, the rate of change is too slow for there to have been any difference noticeable by anything other than highly precise observations.  And, of course, temperature changes tend to lag behind the change in daylight hours, so it will continue to get warmer for a while, just as the temperature gets cooler after the winter solstice, even though the days will have already begun to get “longer”, because the ground and the oceans are heat reservoirs that act almost like capacitors for the heat changes relating to the change of daytime.

I haven’t written any more on The Dark Fairy and the Desperado this week; Saturday was the last time I wrote anything at all (fiction-wise).  I’m in a bit of a dry spell.  It’s not writer’s block.  I could write if I chose to do so.  I just don’t have any wish to write.  I also haven’t played guitar in a while, certainly not in about a week, also.  I just don’t really give a shit about any of it; I don’t think anyone else cares much either, though about that I’m on shakier ground than regarding my own apathy, or antipathy.

As you know, if you read my blog post on Tuesday, I did another Shakespeare video, this time of Richard III’s famous little soliloquy from the play of the same name**.  I also recorded a brief video yesterday morning—wearing shades and mask, since I don’t much like to have to look at my face when I’m just being myself, and I’m the one who has to do the editing.  I was sort of “riffing” on an entry in Eliezer Yudkoswsky’s book, Rationality: From AI to Zombies.  It’s a book I highly recommend; if you have to choose between watching my video (when I post it, which I intend to do), or reading the book, then read the book.  But my video is shorter.  It’s about the notion that learning science from science news can be unsatisfactory and even misleading, and how much more joy (and learning) there can be in getting the basics, learning about honestly “settled” science.  It may seem a weird topic for someone to do a video about, but it’s the sort of thing that matters to me, even when very little else does.

So, I plan to post that to YouTube soon, possibly even today, and then I’ll probably make a bespoke blog post in which to embed it here, to try and increase its reach.  Maybe as many as ten people, even, will eventually watch it!

That’s most of what’s going on with me now, to be honest, apart from my gradual—or not so gradual—disintegration.  I don’t know if I’ll write any more fiction or do any more guitar playing or singing, let alone writing any new songs.  I doodled some words yesterday that could be turned into a stupid, silly song, a sort of response to the line “groove is in the heart”, from the song Groove Is in the Heart, which is a song I actually like quite a bit.  But the notion in my words was that while groove is in “the heart”, i.e., that you can get the feeling and enjoy music on a solely emotional level, to actually make and play music, you need to use your higher mind as well.  It’s a silly little, inconsequential idea.  I don’t have a tune to go with it, and I don’t think I ever will.

I hope all of you feel better than I do.  Odds are that most of you do, especially considering that on top of everything else, I had a bout of gastroenteritis yesterday starting at about 2 am.  I still had to go to work, because on Wednesdays I take care of certain particularly crucial office functions.  Also, I knew that a coworker of mine, who shares some of the aspects of my job, had to leave early.  So, all that was unpleasant.  But apparently, my discomfort is not obvious enough that other people adjust their behaviors to at least a minimal degree.

Perhaps I’m too stoic; but I don’t feel like I’m stoic.  I feel like I’m growling and screaming.  Apparently, though, this alexithymia stuff is worse than I thought, at least in my case, because no one around me seems to notice anything unusual or different.  I guess one of the problems with always being weird, and always having been weird, is that people take any erratic behavior or attempted signal-sending as just another kind of weirdness—or perhaps it just comes across as the same kind of weirdness.  In such circumstances, even if someone feels that they are drowning, other people seem just to take it as merely an instance or a continuation of one’s peculiar, quirky swimming style, and they don’t do anything, even as they watch you go under for the proverbial third time.  I don’t think they’re simply indifferent to the fact that someone is drowning, but I suppose it is, in principle, possible.  They may even be pleased.

I don’t know if any of that makes sense.  I’m not sure that anything I say or write makes sense.  I’m far from sure that I, myself, make sense even to myself.  I don’t feel well at all, but I don’t seem to be able to do anything useful about that fact.  I guess that’s just one of the things that happens when the person you hate most in the world—and the person who hates you most in the world—is yourself.

Oh, well.  For those of you in the US, I hope you have a good Independence Day this coming Monday (which will be July 4th).  Try to enjoy the holiday and remember what it’s about.  Maybe even read the Declaration of Independence; it’s not very long.  You can skip the list of grievances if you want.  Above all, though, be good to yourselves and to those you love (and those who love you), and if you can, spend time with your family and friends.  Give them the benefit of the doubt, even if they say or do things that irritate you.  It’s almost certain that you do the same to them.


ship in a tempest

*By which I mean that the length of time in which the sun is above the horizon is decreasing, not that the days have turned into Crisco or something.

**Richard III, I mean, not Soliloquy.  As far as I know, there isn’t any well-known play called Soliloquy (though I would be surprised if no one has ever written such a play), and certainly, there’s no such play by Shakespeare.

Random thoughts about nothing on a Tuesday morning

It’s Tuesday, June 28th, 2022.  It’s not the day for my usual blog post, (that’s on Thursdays).  I don’t currently have any more of Outlaw’s Mind to share, since I posted the rest of what I had last week, and I certainly haven’t written any more of it since.  Heck, since last Thursday, I’ve only written about 800 words on The Dark Fairy and the Desperado, and I haven’t decided if I’m going to share that at all or not.  But I felt the urge to write something to share for this blog, so I’m writing now, though I don’t have much more idea what it will say—despite the fact that I’m writing it—than you probably have while reading it.

I did an “extra” post last weekend, sharing the YouTube videos of a couple of Shakespeare soliloquys I did on my cell phone camera.  Those were somewhat fun.  In the interim, I did another quick video of the opening soliloquy of Richard III and posted that to YouTube.  Here it is, in case you want to watch it.

I’ve also, since that time, recorded videos of myself “performing” the first act of Macbeth, with the idea that I will edit it down and put in some captions and subtitles and title cards for scene changes and character identification, and then share that, and if people like it, continue to do so with the rest of the play.  I even started editing the video, but then yesterday, I had an issue with saving it, and I lost a good chunk of the editing I’d done, which is very frustrating.

Victor Frankl famously said that humans can endure nearly any hardship* if they have a reason to endure it, a meaning behind enduring it.  Conversely, however, if one has no meaning, no reason to do things, then even minor setbacks can be utterly enervating.  So right now, I’m feeling a bit deflated regarding my Shakespearean ambitions.  Anyway, I’m sure no one really wants to look at my face for too long at a time.  It’s probably an environmental health hazard.

I also haven’t really played my guitar(s) in over a week, now that I think about it…or at least nearly a week.  I’ve been getting soreness/inflammation in the tendons of my right hand and forearm from picking strumming, etc., which would seem absurd to me, given the paucity of my playing ability, if it weren’t for the fact that it is indeed happening.  Anyway, I’m getting tired of doing it, so I suppose it’s just as well.  I’m getting tired of practically everything.  If I were one of those people who stop eating when depressed, at last I would lose some weight, but I’m one of the ones who tends to gain weight, which leaves me feeling worse about myself than I already did.  It’s most unsatisfactory.

I have an idea for a sort of “epic quest”—it would really only be epic to me, frankly, and it would probably have no impact on anyone else whatsoever—and I’ve even solved many of the problems I had with shoes/feet that were getting in the way of it, which I tested a bit this weekend.  So that’s good.  If I decide to undertake such a thing, I’m sure I’ll be sharing more about it here, so you all will come to know it—those of you who actually read my full blog posts, anyway.

Deep down, though, I think I’m just feeling very discouraged, and very alone, and yet I don’t have the capacity to reach out and make friends and connect with people, let alone to ask for help; I don’t even frankly feel like I’m the same species as the people around me.  I feel like a changeling, like some different kind of creature than all the other creatures in the world—an alien whose mind got accidentally implanted in a human body…or perhaps it was implanted deliberately, as part of some scientific experiment, but one which requires the subject not to know of the experiment, to avoid bias.  Or perhaps it’s an experiment for which the funding was cut off right in the middle of the process, and the whole apparatus was just packed up, and all testing and connections were shut down, without anyone remembering to rescue the subject of the test.

I know this is all not really the case, just in case you’re wondering.  I don’t really think I’m a changeling, or an alien emplaced here either deliberately or by accident.  I may be a mutant in a sense, but only in a boring one, a mundane occurrence found throughout biology.  Mutants are real things; they really happen.  If this weren’t the case, there would be no evolution, and there would be no cancer.  But I don’t really think that I’m an android or an alien or some supernatural thing.  I may be unsane, but I’m not insane—not that way, anyway—as far as I know.

Anyway, I’m just writing this because I want to write something, but I have no interest in writing fiction right now, any more than pretty much anyone has in reading my fiction.  I’m tired.  I’m bored.  I’m uninterested in the things in the world, because for the most part, they seem stupid and chaotic and utterly pointless, and yet people don’t even realize just how stupid the things they do seem to be**.  This doesn’t apply to everyone, all the time, of course.  There are people who are not stupid, at least not all the time and not about everything.  Perhaps no one is stupid all the time about everything.  But the people—or the moments of non-stupidity—are tiny little flecks of diamond in a very large, very pungent, and extremely putrid dung heap.  It’s almost worse to know that they are there and will be not only overwhelmed and squashed but utterly unappreciated by the apes around them, including themselves, than if they weren’t there at all.

“How weary, stale, and flat seem to me all the uses of this world,” as Hamlet said, in another of his soliloquys, earlier in the play than the most famous one.  I can relate.  Except that, I know, it is I who am weary, stale, and flat—which makes sense, given that it’s more likely that the way the universe, or at least the human race, seems horrible is in the eye of the beholder than in the actual entirety of the human race.  Occam’s Razor, though it is double-edged, and can cut you if you use it carelessly, is nevertheless a useful guideline.  It’s more likely that I am pointless than that the world is—though of course, it’s entirely possible for both things to be so, and in fact, from a certain, objective point of view, I’m reasonably convinced that this is the case.  And it’s certainly more ethically tenable to say that, if the existence of most of humanity causes me pain, it is I who should vacate the premises, not try to destroy the rest of the human race, satisfying though that possibility might sometime seem to be.

I’m so tired; I don’t know what to do.  I’m so tired; my mind is set on…who?  Or, rather, on whom?  “No one”, is the answer.  There is no one there.  I am alone.  The air bites now, the sky is grey—as is the forest and the field and the ocean and the river and the lake and the cities and everything else—and I am alone.

*And he would know.

**And maybe, to them, those things don’t seem stupid.  I must be fair and consider that possibility.