Where does a true blog wait? At the bus stop, sometimes.

It’s Friday again, and‒again‒I’m sitting at the bus stop, writing this blog first thing in the morning while waiting for the bus.

That woman who was screaming on a few previous mornings is screaming in a different region of the intersection now.  At this point, I honestly suspect she’s actually mentally ill.  There’s also a person with some form of fidgitiness or movement disorder or just some anxiety syndrome who has come and sat on the (small) bus stop bench not far from me.  I suppose he might either be on some kind of drug or withdrawing from some kind of drug, rather than having a primary disorder, but the woman is almost certainly mentally ill.

Of course, there’s not much one can do for her unless she asks for help or is openly a danger to herself or to others.  Actually, in Florida, even if she needs help, and asks for it, she’s probably out of luck.  Public services are rather limited here, despite this being the third most populous state in the US, and obviously quite wealthy.

The man I mentioned before couldn’t sit still for long before he got up and walked away, across the road to some other place.  I don’t know if he was hoping that I would speak to him or some such, and gave up when I didn’t even look at him other than in peripheral vision, while writing, or if he really was just stopping to rest.  If that latter, well, more power to him.

This end of the nation’s dong isn’t especially hospitable, so you should find rest when you can.  I would like to find some rest.  It would be so nice to go to sleep and to stay asleep through the night and wake up in the morning feeling refreshed rather than just groggy and resigned.

I do wish at least that this state were just a little less full of desperate and disgusting people.

I’m talking about the people in the state government when I say that, by the way, not people such as I mentioned above.  Also, some of the voters are a bit contemptible, the ones who imagine that they are solely responsible for all their own prosperity, even though the vast majority of them have not even a superficial grasp of how the universe into which they were extruded functions, from the subatomic to the cosmic, from the unliving vastness of intergalactic space down to computers and medicine and information technology and chemistry and biology and electricity and automobiles and the internet/the web and even television.  I don’t know how so many people can apparently stand not to know about these things, let alone sometimes still act smug and self-righteous.

As for troubled people like the shouty woman and the fidgety man, well they just make me feel a bit sad, really.  I mean, I don’t want either one to intrude upon me writing this blog post‒and neither one did, by the way.  Even when the shouty lady ended up walking past, in front of me, she was just muttering something about “catching the bus when it’s free” or something (as far as I know, it’s never free).

If I had unearthly powers, I would probably try to provide some help to either or both of them; I certainly gave a lot of money and stuff away when I was in medical practice.  That’s a big part of why I had to go with the public defender’s office (well, it’s an adjunct office, actually, but it’s the same idea) when I was charged with the bullshit I was charged with.  I was never very good at taking care of myself for my own sake, and I’ve gotten worse at it even since then.

So many people are so grasping and parasitic.  There are people in the office who regularly come to me for medical advice‒and even OTC treatment‒even though it’s thanks to the government of their poxy state that I can’t practice medicine anymore.  Cat forbid that they take responsibility for learning about and seeing to their own health.

From time to time, I think that I’m too high-functioning a person really to have any autism spectrum disorder‒but then, looking back at the things that happened to my life, and the way I have done things, especially once my separation and then divorce happened (and at many of the ways I managed things before then) when I was down here in Florida, far from my family and friends and everything, and when I realize how hard it is for me to arrange and keep track of the functions of daily life, I think…yeah, that ASD stuff actually explains a lot.  Knowing it doesn’t make it easier to counter, but I prefer to understand things as much as I can.

It’s not as though I don’t understand, intellectually, how things are done and how to do them.  I’m able to understand a lot of things.  But I can’t seem to pull myself or anything together, I can’t seem to organize my life or deal with ordinary things.  I can write novels and stories and blogs, I can write and perform and record and even produce songs (the latter not to a terribly high standard), I can draw, sometimes pretty well, and I can practice medicine and do science and operate computers…but I can’t promote my own works or stand to seek out anyone who would help me do so.  The social aspect of such things veers toward horrifying for me.

I’m able to survive‒often I don’t really want to survive, very often I don’t want to‒but thriving seems beyond me.  As Radiohead sings, “I’m not living, I’m just killing time.”. That’s from True Love Waits*, their last song from their most recent album, though the song itself has been around a lot longer.

Anyway, the bus will be here soon, and I will ride it, then ride the train, then walk, the trudge through the day and reverse the commute process at the end.  And tomorrow, since I have work tomorrow, I will do much the same.

And on Sunday I will do laundry, and then on Monday the cycle will begin again.  Sisyphus, eat your heart out!

Actually, that sounds more like a job for Prometheus than Sisyphus.  Are there any mythical figures who specifically eat their own hearts?  Whence did that expression arise?  I have to admit that I do not know.  It doesn’t really matter, but if anyone has any reliable information about the origin of that expression, I’d be glad to learn.

In the meantime, have a good day.

my bus stopadjusted

P.S.  The fidgety man just got on at a later bus stop from where I waited.  I think he just didn’t like sitting still, or perhaps he didn’t like sitting next to me.  It’s hard to hold it against him.


*It’s not a promise or anything optimistic.  The full title verse goes, “True love waits in haunted attics.  And true love lives on lollipops and crisps.”. In other words, the notion of true love is not something to be taken very seriously.  It eats like a child and “lives” like a ghost.

Picture and Shakespeare “quote” deferred due to mechanical difficulties

Hello and good morning, everyone (or at least, everyone who’s reading this).  It’s Thursday, the 19th day of January, which means it’s also the 19th day of 2023 by our standard dating system.  And I suppose you could say it’s the 384th day of 2022, if you were being rather unorthodox…though that might lead one to ask what day it is of 2021, and of 2020, and so on.

That way madness lies.  I ought to know.

Yesterday, I published the draft of The Dark Fairy and the Desperado as far as I’ve written it‒about 100 pages worth on MS Word, single spaced, in Calibri 11-point.  I included quite a few “illustrations”, which is another way to say that I posted quite a few of the drawings* I did way back when I was first thinking of the story.  As you may be able to tell, I had planned a lot of the things that have happened so far in the story even 10 or 15 years ago.

There were a few drawings of the meeting of the Desperado and the wizard that I haven’t been able to locate‒some of them are probably on my old MySpace page.  Yes, it’s out there still, MySpace, but it’s sure as hell not what it used to be.  More’s the pity.  I liked MySpace in its original form.  It was much more wholesome than Facebook or Twitter, and for my money (so to speak) mostly more interesting.

As an aside, the same idiotic, loud and screamy woman I mentioned the other day is having another piercing, shouted conversation on the other side of the road again this morning‒or who knows, I guess it could still be the same conversation.  Maybe she really is mentally ill.  Why else would someone have prolonged, shouted discussions at 5:22 in the morning more than once in a single week, even if they are talking on the phone and there’s some real person on the other end?  Surely any grasp of decorum at all‒indeed, even the slightest functioning of the mediating aspect of the frontal lobes‒would make a person refrain from such displays.

Oh, well, anyway, back to DFandD.

I reread much of what I have written so far in the process of posting it and especially of inserting the pictures.  There is much editing that could be done, of course, but then again, it really is a first draft.  Still, I thought it was reasonably good.  Certainly, it’s a more light-hearted story than Outlaw’s Mind, but then again, it’s not a horror story.  Even though the two main‒indeed, title‒characters are a supremely deadly gunfighter and a fairy who hates humans and likes hurling magical fire at them, and it begins with the Desperado nearly dying of thirst in the desert, it’s actually comparatively upbeat, at least for my writing.

I’m not the greatest self-salesman, am I?  I have a difficult time saying positive things about anything that I’ve done or made, even when I actually am trying to promote them.  I have a very hard time talking myself up, even to myself.  I’m not my own biggest fan.

In any case, yesterday I effectively took the day off from writing, since I posted that draft.  I had a brief return to my prior commute for the day, which was a little easier, but it also left me feeling a bit stiff.  Today, I’m back to the bus, as you may have (correctly) inferred from my mention of the screaming woman, just a bit ago.

I do like the extra walking that I get from taking the bus to the train, and then back again at the end of the day.  It’s a bit more pleasant today than it was most of the last week, because the temperature is in the sixties.  Also, of course, my commute is relatively environmentally friendly, since I’m using mass transit (though, she below).

All that is surely fairly uninteresting to all of you all.  It wouldn’t be interesting to me if it weren’t happening to me, honestly, and even that barely brings it into the level of being worthy of my own notice.  I would love to be able to sleep through it all, though I don’t know what type of blog I might write if I did it in my sleep.  Who knows?  Maybe it would be better than it otherwise is.

Anyway, back to the main point.  I would be interested in what anyone thinks who reads The Dark Fairy and the Desperado, especially as compared to Outlaw’s Mind (or any of my published stuff, too, I guess).  So please, feel free to share your reactions in the comments below, or on the actual posting of the story.

And, still, if anyone out there knows how to check the results of WordPress polls from the inside, I’d love to know without having to go to the trouble of trying to contact the “happiness engineers” at WordPress**.  Though, in all likelihood, there have been no more than 4 people responding since I posted the poll in the first place, and one of those people was I.

I voted for me to stop writing, for Cat’s sake.

TTFN

[Note:  I apologize for the relative lateness of this post.  The train I rode this morning had a mechanical failure, in that the engine died, and we had to wait for a (delayed) subsequent train, which was very overcrowded, and I arrived at my stop about an hour later than I would have otherwise.  This is the third time this week that the Tri Rail system has had delays or cancellations of trains I’ve taken.  If any of you know any of the responsible people behind this, please give them a stern talking-to.  Thank you.]


*Some were just in pencil, some in plain ink, and some colored either using colored pencils or watercolor paint/ink or even using Photoshop.

**Honestly, can you think of a more nauseatingly pseudo-positive euphemism for customer service?  Jeez, Louise!

The Dark Fairy and the Desperado – so far

[Please note:  This is very much a near-first-draft of this story, so take that into account when reading it.  It will be far from perfect.]

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Sooner or later, the hammer drops on everyone.

This was the thought running—sometimes repeatedly—through the mind of the man in the long, faded yellow duster and the black hat as he walked through the desert, somewhere between Texas and California.  It wasn’t really a mantra; it was more of a truth that he’d gleaned through a life that so far had entailed more than its share of dropping the hammer on others.  He had always been good at dropping that hammer—uncannily good, right from the start.  It was good to have a talent, he supposed, but it was a shame that it had to be a talent for killing.

If he thought about it, he was sure he could recall the first time he had dropped such a hammer on anyone.  And, indeed, as soon as the notion of his very first killing came into his mind, images flashed up from the occurrence.  He’d been very young—still a boy, really.  He’d been old enough to be smitten with a not-as-young woman who had treated him kindly, even despite his lack of status and prospects.  He’d been innocent and naïve enough to think he was protecting her when he’d picked up the gun of a man that he’d presumed had been assaulting the woman—the man had been otherwise occupied, and his gun was not at his side—and had shot that stunned man.

He hadn’t known at all what he’d been doing, and yet…and yet it had felt only too perfectly natural and instinctive when he’d fired the gun, and it had apparently struck some vital organ, presumably the man’s heart, right away, when he’d pulled the trigger after forcing back the stiff hammer of the revolver.  There had been no time for the man even to cry out in pain before he had dropped to the ground, twitching only a few times before he became still. Continue reading

Introspection, Extrospection, Emergence, Reductionism…let’s call the whole thing off.

I’m sorry about how long yesterday’s post was.  It’s amazing, as I think I’ve mentioned before, just how much I can write‒on my phone, no less‒when I literally have nothing planned about which to write.  Small wonder that, when I do have a subject, or a story to tell, I tend to write perhaps too much.  Though I guess that assessment is really the individual reader’s to make.  Some may think I’ve written too much, and some may think too little.  Most will never know because very few people know about my books at all, and I have no knack, nor money, for self-promotion.

Speaking of stories, some woman was standing in the street median across from the bus stop, screaming as if in heated conversation at 5:20 this morning (just now, in other words) about someone having cheated on her after having gotten her pregnant.  If this were twenty years ago, I would have thought she was psychotic.  Nowadays it seems safe to draw the tentative conclusion that she is actually talking to someone on her smartphone‒though perhaps that’s a misnomer for such devices when they are used for such purposes.  Honestly, why do people even want to be with other people?  Everyone is so pathetic, and I’m certainly no exception.

There are those who say that an appetite for delusion is necessary for people to find any will to live at all‒from delusions about their driving abilities and personal attractiveness to delusions about meaning in the universe.  And there are those who speculate that one of the hallmarks of clinical depression is a diminution of that ability to delude oneself, particularly about oneself.  Perhaps.  It’s probably not quite so simple as that, but that does capture at least part of the character of the experience.

Oh, well.  It is whatever it is at root.  The underlying causal structure may have little resemblance to the overarching phenomenon.  Nerve cells don’t resemble little brains, individual starlings don’t have the appearance of tiny murmurations, and water molecules do not in any way resemble ultra miniaturized oceans.

The materials to which the laws of quantum mechanics directly apply do not behave in ways that are analogous to any “large” phenomenon which they engender when gathered together and interacting in their trillions of trillions of trillions of trillions, etc.  Anyone who finds this surprising at all has really not thought about things very hard or very clearly.

It may be fallacious to imagine that a wave function collapses when measured, or when it interacts with other “particles” and decoheres; it may be that our experiments of such things are simply too artificial to capture the nuances of the immensely common submicroscopic interactions of such fundamental things (though I don’t doubt that they actually have bearing on how quantum mechanics behaves).

The problem with concepts like imagining that, for instance, the Copenhagen Interpretation is “correct”, and that measurement and observation is what causes the wave function to “collapse” is its implicit assumption that if we cannot “see” something in any strong sense, it can’t be considered “real”.  To me that seems an astonishing level of hubris and narcissism, especially from a species as pathetic and benighted as humans.

By this I do not, by the way‒and this is very important‒mean to open the door to subjectivism and any relativism of objective facts, or any version of the “perception is reality” bullshit.  There is all the evidence anyone might need that there is an external reality, utterly independent of any consciousness that might or might not perceive it.  But its nature is not necessarily directly perceivable all at once, or understood at first glance.  It requires rigorous detective work.

How did I get on that subject?  By stream of consciousness, I suppose…or perhaps it would be more accurate to say that it was by the stream of the unconscious, bubbling away and spilling over onto the surface of thought.

That stream is not like a stream of clear water, though.  Perhaps it might be said to resemble turbid water, but often it seems more like thick paint.  We can only see the surface of the stuff, but that doesn’t in any way imply that the interior doesn’t exist.  It’s merely not directly accessible to our eyes.

Then again‒and this applies also to what I was writing earlier‒the process of seeing and experiencing that sight is a neurologic process that is constrained by inputs from sense organs, not a direct, unmediated apprehension of the world outside.  Mere photons, unprocessed, can only deliver chaos to any random bits of photosensitive material they might encounter.

Thought‒of some form or other‒is required for sight to be in any way useful, or even actual, to any organism.  A closed-circuit TV camera and monitor do nothing but send signals, and cannot interpret or act upon the information.  If no one, or no program, or no other mechanism is being influenced by the information in any sensible way that affects its outcome, it might as well be a camera pointed at the surface of an uninhabited planet and sending those signals to a screen on some other uninhabited planet.

Again‒or still‒I don’t know what, if any, point I’m trying to make.  Probably nothing worth delving into too deeply, so I won’t bother with it much more, I think.  Instead, I’ll switch topics.

In the past, I’ve asked about whether people would want to have me write more of Outlaw’s Mind or The Dark Fairy and the Desperado.  One particularly astute reader pointed out that it was impossible to make any reasonable judgment without having the opportunity to read any of the latter story.  So, I think I’ll post that story here, all in one go, if I can fit it.

Don’t worry, I’ll insert one of those “continue reading” clickable thingies after the first few paragraphs.  Otherwise, it would be a ridiculously long blog post to get past if one wanted to scroll down to the previous one.

This doesn’t mean I promise to write more of it or of Outlaw’s Mind, or to write Changeling in a Shadow World, for that matter.  I haven’t yet figured out even how to check the results of my poll, and I’m pretty sure that it can’t be all that difficult, so don’t expect much.

Hell, I don’t even promise to keep writing this blog.  I’m getting tired of it, as I’m getting tired of pretty much everything, and particularly of myself.  There’s very little to be gained by pursuing anything at all.  But, perhaps, by posting DFandD, I’ll at least create the pseudo-closure of having all of my fiction to date be out there somewhere to read.  In case anyone wants to read it.

So, either I’ll post that later today, or I’ll just use it as my post for tomorrow.  I guess you’ll find out, if you care to look.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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

***

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

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

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

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


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

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

There’s a black hat caught in a high tree top

Well, it’s Friday, the 13th of January, and I don’t have any idea what to write or what to write about today, but I’m writing anyway, as you can plainly tell.  That’s a metaphor for life if there ever was one, don’t you think?

Of course, I could write a bit about the fact that it is Friday the 13th, but I’ve mentioned that previously, and it’s not all that interesting.  There’s no such thing as an unlucky day or an unlucky number; that’s all just superstitious, magical “thinking” stupidity.  But there are numbers that are interesting, and the the prime numbers are interesting to me.  I feel a sort of peculiar, protective affection for 13, since so many silly humans think it’s an unlucky number.

For similar reasons, I’m slightly less fond of 7 than I am of most other prime numbers.  It’s sort of the numerical equivalent of Prince Harry or, to pick an older comparison, Paris Hilton*.  It’s already receiving plenty of attention and support, far more than it deserves, so I won’t waste my effort.

There was an update overnight to my phone’s operating system, and now some “buttons” such as the return key, are no longer slightly-rounded rectangles but are more precisely slightly rectangular ovals.  I don’t like it.  The background colors are also slightly altered, and that’s frustrating, too.

In addition, the app buttons are changed, including the text app, and the phone is trying to push all sorts of new apps that it recommends “for me”…but of course, it’s not actually for me (or for you in case you think otherwise) it’s actually for the companies that make the apps, who have paid a premium to have those apps promoted.  

The system forces you to go through their stupid update-based notice thingy to decide on new apps, and many are pre-checked, so you have to opt out of them actively.  Similarly with their “bookshelf” function or whatever it is, and when you close the apps, the screen doesn’t go away, you have to dismiss it separately, which makes no sense and was not that way before.  The people responsible for all this should be burned to death with flame throwers as soon as possible.

I don’t know why companies do that sort of thing.  Gmail has done it with its updates, turning all the nice, well-demarcated shapes with edges and corners into soft, gooey, Play-Doh looking things, as if they really are trying to “child-proof” the world.  I don’t enjoy change without good purpose, and I think there are good reasons not to enjoy it.  If something is functioning reasonably well, most changes will be for the worse, especially if optimality is something not simply and easily achieved.

Just look at genetic mutations to get a clear example.  In an organism that’s functioning well enough to survive and reproduce in its environment, most changes in general are not going to be beneficial.  That’s one reason I hate social movements that say they are pushing for “change”.  Well, what kind of change, in particular?  I mean, the global Covid pandemic was/is a change; the war in Ukraine is a change; the diminishing respect for rule of law and the constraints of the U S Constitution are changes; an asteroid impact that wiped out civilization entirely would be a change.

Well, that last one would be beneficial, so it’s probably a poor example.

Anyway, I wish that people like Android** and Google (are they part of the same company?) and Microsoft and all those would reserve their updates to those changes that are at least attempts to improve functionality, not cosmetic nonsense or transparent and pushy marketing.  It’s very irritating to get used to the color scheme and key layout of a computer system and then wake up to find that it’s different, as are some of the basic functions, and for no good reason.

Even the icons to start writing and to save writing on the Google Docs app are different colors.  Why?  I mean it would be one thing if the previous color were some frequency of X-rays, and using the app was causing cataracts and retinal deterioration and even ocular cancer.  But it was just a sort of neutral blue or gray color, and was reasonably pleasant.  Now it’s sort of a yellowy orangey beige that looks vaguely like something you might heave out after you’ve already vomited all the food contents of your stomach but your body still wants to throw up some more.

It’s unnecessary.  I don’t like surprises, usually even when they’re positive ones.  And this is not a positive one.

Oh, well.  What else is new (ha ha)?  I had a brief glimmer of hope that my enforced change of commute might come to an end today, but it looks like that isn’t happening.  I’m not really surprised, but I am mildly disappointed, and it doesn’t help my energy level.

Oh, I did have a slightly interesting thought about Friday the 13th, thinking of the movies by that name as compared to the Halloween movies.  I had thought for a brief moment that at least the Halloween movies are named after an actual holiday, and it was also one that comes around a bit more often than Friday…the…

…then I caught myself, because I know that any month that begins on a Sunday is going to have a Friday the 13th in it.  And on average, one in seven months will begin on a Sunday, and so there will be, on average, just under 2 Friday the 13ths every year‒the day, not the movies, thankfully.  And in non leap years, if February has a Friday the 13th, so will March!  So there are quite a few more Fridays the 13th than there are Halloweens.

Just imagine if we had 2 Halloweens every year.  Wouldn’t that be great?

Anyway, that’s a lot of writing about nothing. I apologize for the last few days, and for my foolish notions of seeking help, when I don’t think I deserve, or merit, or am worthy of help, or frankly that it would be a good use of anyone’s resources.  Also, I probably would/will not know how to accept help.  Sting had a great line from one of his songs*** that feels pertinent to this: “And I wriggle like a fish caught on dry land, and struggle to avoid any help at hand.”

Of course, if someone could offer me a goodly dose of Valium and Fentanyl that I could use in a pinch to make a basically painless exit, that might at least be worth keeping in my pocket, just in case.  But otherwise, I can’t really imagine doing anything that would involve serious changes.  I don’t like change, and I don’t like surprises, and I particularly don’t like phone calls out of the blue, especially from someone who has in the past made me feel guilty for being depressed.  It all just stresses me out and makes me feel worse about myself.

I mean, if my son or daughter called me, that would be a different matter.  That would be brilliant.  But I would be deeply ashamed if they did so out of a sense of obligation rather than just because they wanted to do it.

I don’t know what the hell I’m getting at.  Nothing much, probably.  Anyway, it’s Friday, and I don’t work this weekend, so you shouldn’t be seeing any new blog posts from me before Monday at the soonest.  If something catastrophic‒depending on one’s point of view‒happens and I don’t write anything even on Monday, well…that’s a change that most people wouldn’t find too unpleasant, unlike the stupid muddy, puss-like color and shape changes on the phone apps and keyboard.


*Interesting…both examples have “initials” P. H.

**And that name doesn’t makes sense.  Android means “man-shaped” and nothing about the operating system or the phones is man-shaped.  Even their little symbol isn’t really man-shaped.  I’m android.  Nothing about the phone system is.

***Be Still My Beating Heart

The satirical rogue says here that old men have grey blogs

Hello and good morning.  It’s Thursday, and so it’s time once again for my traditional Thursday blog post, which always starts with some variation of “Hello and good morning”, as you have just seen.  It’s the second Thursday of 2023, and it is the 12th of January, meaning that tomorrow‒as I’ve noted before‒is Friday the 13th.

I apologize for the tone and content of yesterday’s blog post, which feels to me as though it was unusually dank and dismal.  I’m not apologizing because I didn’t mean what I wrote; I did mean it.  If anything, I tend to understate things.  But I’m sorry to have foisted all that on you lot.

What I wrote yesterday is true, though.  I have a difficult to terrible time seeking out help, so when I get even the slightest urge to do so, I have to try to get it out there.  Because the fact is that I could really use it.  But my mental resources‒and my physical ones, let’s be honest‒for seeking help are stunted or crippled or maimed or whatever you would want to call it.  This blog, at least now that I’ve made it “daily”, is to a large extent my attempt at a proverbial cry for help.  But it’s not doing very well at that.  Not even close.

Maybe I always suspected that would be the case?  Well, no, I think it’s more accurate to say that I feared it might be the case.  If I had truly expected there to be no benefit, I wouldn’t have bothered.  I don’t have quite the kind of mental twistiness that leads one deliberately to do things one doesn’t think have any chance of working.  I really do (and did) wish that somehow this daily blog writing would help me gain some form of mental improvement and possibly even entice someone or something somewhere to help me…somehow.

It’s vague and nebulous, I know, and rather laughably optimistic.  I might as well just play a random Powerball ticket.  Getting millions upon millions of dollars would certainly at least give me greater freedom and resources to seek out help than just about anything else that’s physically possible to have happen to me.

And if wishes were horses, we’d all be hip deep in horse shit.  In which case, climate change would be much worse than it is, because all that horse shit gives off a lot of methane.  And even if you burn the methane, that just gives you a molecule of CO2 and four molecules of water for each molecule of methane burned (in oxygen, anyway), and each of those new molecules is another greenhouse gas*.

Anyway, that’s my mea culpa for yesterday, sort of.  Not that I think I did anything truly wrong, mind you.  I mean, it’s my blog.  It is whatever I want to make of it, and no one is forced to read it**.  If they choose to do so, well then caveat lector, or whatever the appropriate Latin would be.  Let the reader beware.

But the reader doesn’t have to beware all that much, because, in the end, these are words, words, words, as Hamlet said to Polonius when asked what he was reading.  I love words, and written language, obviously, but it is nevertheless true, as we used to say in grade school, that “sticks and stones may break my bones, but words can never hurt me.” And by hurt, I mean literally, physically.

Of course, words do have power.  Language can affect the world, and is the means by which we exchange, record, and pass down knowledge and other information.  Written language is the lifeblood of civilization.  But it is only the blood.  It is not the muscle or sinew or bone.  Words cannot conjure magical beings or events, as they can in stories, other than in the sense that they can be used to make such stories.  Perception is not identical with reality, speech is not violence, and as DMX said, “Talk is cheap, motherfucker.”

I don’t know how I arrived at that point in this blog, but it is a message I try very hard to get across.  We can be glad indeed that words cannot literally hurt people, because if they could, it would make the picture of a world in which wishes were horses, complete with their copious excrement, seem almost paradisiacal by comparison.  I know that my wake would probably be littered with corpses.

Hey, maybe that would be a good idea for a horror story (probably a short one): someone discovers that their words literally have the power to hurt people or make other things happen.  It could be called Sticks and Stones.  Actually, I’ve already written a story that has some of that aspect, in The Death Sentence, and I think H. G. Wells wrote a story about a guy who could make things happen by speaking, quite a long time ago.  Not that the concept is exhausted, of course.  There are many things, potentially, one could do with such a story idea.

I don’t think I’m going to be the one to do it, though.  I don’t think I’m likely to write any fiction again, or even live all that much longer.  Not without some kind of help, which does not seem likely to come.

Oh, well, whataya gonna do?  I hope you all have a good day today, and look forward to tomorrow, which is a Friday the 13th, but has nothing to do with the overworked movie franchise.  That’s got to be worth celebrating, right?

TTFN

words words words


*The “m” is right above the “period” on this phone keyboard, so I briefly made a typo, which the autocorrect showed no sign of changing, that read “another greenhouse gasm”. This sounds like something that might happen to a truly passionate plant lover upon entering a lush, indoor botanical garden when it was deep winter outside.

**Not by me, anyway.  And I don’t think there are any sadists out there cruel enough to make someone read my blog when they have no interest in it.

Transport, motorways and tram lines, starting and then stopping

It’s Wednesday morning at less than 10 minutes before 5 o’clock‒indeed, as the day begins, at least for me‒and I’m writing the first part of this blog post at the house, at least for a few minutes.  It’s slightly chilly out, you see, and I’d rather do the writing here to the extent that it’s practical, rather than sitting at the bus stop.  That location has the advantage of having few distractions, and I do rather enjoy writing in such places; I think I enjoy the novelty of being able to write using my phone while just sitting, or even standing, just about anywhere.  But novelty tends to wear off before too long‒though I seem to be more resistant to that tendency than many are.  In any case, though, on a chilly-ish morning, it doesn’t seem worth it to spend quite so long at the bus stop.

Of course, as is probably obvious, I have not sorted out my recent transportation issues.  I probably never will.  My brain never was particularly inclined to deal with such matters, and without any local personal supports or prods, there’s nothing to get me over the very high wall of activation energy of that sort of reaction.  I’m definitely regressing.  And I’m okay with that, because there’s no reason not to regress, and there’s no reason not to deteriorate, and there’s no point in trying to achieve anything.

I’ve done all the achieving stuff in my life, much more so than most, and yet here I am, living alone in a single room in south Florida, about to go wait for a bus to a train to a walk to a job that has nothing to do with what I trained (for a very long time and with a great deal of effort) to do as my career.  What I would like is to find some comfortable ditch somewhere, go there, lie down, go to sleep, and just keep sleeping and let the elements take me.

***

And now, here I am at the bus stop at 5:18, waiting for a bus that’s not scheduled to get here for another 31 minutes.  Thence to the train station and so on.

Interestingly, last night I got on a slightly earlier train from work than I had the previous day, and so I decided to walk the four and a half miles back to the house from the train station.  As you might guess, it took only about an hour and a half, including time to stop and get something to eat (take-out) on the way.  That led me to the realization that I could, in principle, walk to my “usual” train station in the morning and, unless something slowed me down a fair amount, I would be able to get on the very same train that I catch by taking the bus south to the “prior” train station, which is what I’m doing now.

I go south because that’s the quickest/earliest route to catch the earliest potential train available.  I just rechecked all the schedules this morning.

Of course, I could get a bike and get to the station faster and catch an earlier train, but that would entail getting a bike, and then either locking it up at the station or lugging it with me.  Neither one is terribly appealing, and anyway, a bike is sort of an investment in the future, and I do not wish to invest in the future.  I don’t feel that I have a future in which it’s worth investing.

Also, at least if I walk, I’ll be living up to my namesake.

Anyway, right now I’m using the 31-day bus pass I ordered a few months ago in case of just such an emergency.  It would seem a minor shame to waste it.  You see what I mean about not wanting to make investments in any kind of future, right?  They get in the way of choices you might otherwise want to make.

The northbound bus just arrived on the other side of the road.  I’ve figured out that I could, if desired, take it north to the 7 line then go to my usual train station, but given the inefficiencies of transferring buses, it would again simply get me on the very same train…and that’s assuming nothing goes wrong.  At least walking would be exercise.

I’ve definitely gotten in better shape in recent months, as far as that goes.  I walked a total of just under eight miles yesterday, and I only have a mild rawness in a few spots in the soles of my feet, nothing like any true blisters or anything, and though I’m slightly stiff, I’m not truly sore or anything.

We’ll see.  The one downside to walking to the train is starting the day off sweaty, but that’s going to be a serious problem only as we get past wintertime, and I hope that’s going to be a non-issue for me.  That’s my tentative plan, anyway.  I’m certainly too mentally fatigued to want to bother trying to live much longer.  It’s boring at best and thoroughly miserable at worst, and most of the time it’s somewhere between the two poles.

There’s no point, there’s no fulfillment, there’s no joy, and there’s no help.  I probably wouldn’t be able even to accept help if it were offered.  I would freeze up and not know what to do.  Any help would probably have to be forced on me, even though I would want help and long for it.  It’s weird, but it’s true.

Anyway, in about nine minutes my bus is due, so I’m going to call it quits for today, at least.  I’ll do editing when I get on the train.  Enjoy the latest rotation of the planet if you can.  You might as well.

One Stone to bring them all and in Dark Energy bind them

Well, well, as the oil baron said, it’s Tuesday again, the 10th of January.  And two times five makes ten, so I guess this day has something to do with prime numbers other than just the year (the last 2 digits, anyway) and my age.

Of course, all numbers have to do with prime numbers, in a sense.  I’ve heard mathematicians say that prime numbers are the “elements” of the numbers (or of the whole numbers, at least, I suppose), comparable in a way to the entries in the periodic table.  But 1 (the number of this month, as it were, and surely the more fundamental building block of all the whole numbers) is not considered a prime, because of it were, then every number’s prime factorization could stretch to as long as you like, since any number times one, no matter how often you multiply it, is still the number with which you started.

Mentioning the elements/the periodic table reminds me of a joke that I sometimes see on shirts or mugs or similar that really irritates me every time I encounter it.  It might have been appropriate way back when someone first came up with it, but now it’s just too incorrect, given what we know, to be funny.  That joke is any version of the line, “Never trust an atom/element…they make up everything.”

It’s a silly little play on words, obviously enough, but the fact is, we know now that the elements/atoms don’t even come close to making up everything, so the joke doesn’t even work as a pseudo-nerdy pun.  Atoms, indeed all so-called baryonic matter (which to us might be thought of as “ordinary” matter*) make up only around 5% of the total mass/energy of the universe, according to the latest best estimates.

Another 25% (all these figures are rounded off a bit) of the universe’s mass/energy is so-called Dark Matter (which is dark only in the sense that the Ringwraiths are dark, being invisible, i.e. not interacting at all with light, nor with the strong force, nor (except neutrinos, if you’re counting them) the weak force, as far as anyone can tell).   They only definitely interact with gravity.  And, of course, according to General Relativity, gravity isn’t technically a force, it’s just the shape of spacetime**.

Speaking of spacetime, the remaining 70% of the mass/energy of the universe is what is called Dark Energy, though really that’s just a name that’s kind of sexy-cool, and it’s only “dark” in that it seems to have nothing to do with the electromagnetic fields (aka light).  This stuff, whatever it is, has characteristics consistent with the “cosmological constant” that Einstein supposedly considered his “greatest blunder”, though as it turns out, he was apparently right, albeit for the wrong reasons.

Yes, when you’re Einstein (you’re not, though) even your mistakes are remarkably fruitful, and eightyish years later they can end up being legitimate descriptions of the universe’s large-scale structure, function, and evolution***.

Of course, whether the Dark Energy is really that uniform energy of spacetime itself that creates a negative pressure throughout its reach and thus repulsive gravity, or if it’s some other process with roughly the same overall effect, we know it’s not what scientists had tried to describe using quantum field contributions, because that was too big by (if I remember correctly) about 123 orders of magnitude.  That’s a factor of 10 to the 123rd power, or a 1 followed by 123 zeroes.  That’s a number so big that if you set it down next to a googol in a form visible to the human eye, you wouldn’t even be able to see the googol.  It would be too vanishingly tiny.  So that’s not the right answer.

Anyway, that’s why I don’t like that joke about atoms or the elements.  It’s just too wrong to be funny.  And now that you know why it’s so wrong, you may be able to stop thinking it’s funny, too.  Am I not generous?  Are you not entertained?  I hope you’re not entertained by that joke, anyway.  People only tell that joke (or so I suspect) to try to make themselves look vaguely scientifically knowledgeable.  But in fact, they do the opposite.

Oh, well, I guess if they’re enjoying themselves…they’re not really doing too much harm…other than spreading misinformation regarding the structure and nature of matter and the cosmos, of course!

Ugh.  Why do I care?  What’s wrong with me?

Well, I know some of the answers to that last question, but knowing doesn’t help much.

I’m currently on the bus, by the way, approaching the train station.  It’s just another day.  Obviously, my recent setback has not resolved itself, and indeed, it may never do so to anyone’s satisfaction.  But I am at least just about done with this blog post in time for the train, which is now 5 minutes away.

I don’t think I’m going to be writing fiction again after this; I still haven’t even figured out how to check the results of the poll I put up (I haven’t tried, to be fair to me).  Oh, well.  Life is either so tragic that it’s comical or so comical that it’s tragic.  But then, at least, it’s over.

Of course, if the universe is infinite in space or in time (or both) at some level, any given life will just start over again, somewhere, somewhen, somehow, and no matter how big the distance between the two iterations, the individual won’t notice the passage of time.  Or it may be that our lives are fixed phenomena in a spacetime block universe as implied at least to some degree by General Relativity, and the instant our lives end, we may just start over again at the beginning, like a DVD (or Blu-ray) played on a loop, never doing anything different, never changing, never learning anything new we hadn’t learned the last time around.  It’s possible, in principle.  We don’t know if it’s true, though quantum mechanics suggests, at least, that it’s not the full picture.

Like the fella said, ain’t that a kick in the head?

einstein_sticks_his_tongue_1951


*As you can see, it’s hard to justify calling something that makes up only around a twentieth of the matter and energy in the universe “ordinary”.  You could be forgiven for calling it “familiar” matter, I would say.  That might be better.

**Maybe M. Night Shyamalan can make that movie.

***It’s a bit like the paper he did with Podolsky and Rosen that was intended to demonstrate that quantum mechanics was incomplete, i.e. that there must be “hidden variables” beneath the seeming randomness, using descriptions of what must happen to two particles produced by the same event but which head off in their usual opposite directions, and whose characteristics, due to conservation of charge, momentum, spin, etc. must be complementary.  Years later, J. S. Bell devised a famous theorem, a test by which one could ascertain whether Einstein was right in that there were hidden variables, or that the states of a particle truly happened randomly but that nevertheless the state of one constrained the state of the other of the pair, however distant.  And just last year, Alain Aspect et al got the Nobel Prize (it took a while) for their experiments confirming, using polarization of photon pairs produced by single quantum events, via Bell’s theorem, that Einstein was wrong, there are no hidden variables in the sense he suspected.  But Einstein’s (and Podolsky’s and Rosen’s) quite legitimate question set into motion the concept of quantum entanglement, a truly important idea in quantum mechanics, just as he had pioneered the early field of quantum mechanics itself in 1905 with his (Nobel Prize winning) paper demonstrating that light comes in what we call photons, the energy of each individual one was described by Planck’s equation of h time the frequency.  One of his other papers from that year used Brownian motion to demonstrate that atoms and molecules‒you know, those things that “make up everything”‒really must exist.  He also did a few somewhat interesting papers on the nature of the speed of light and how it relates to time and length and distance, and something about the equivalence of mass and energy****.  As Sabine Hossenfelder would put it…”Yeah, that guy again.”

****But of course, the paper “On the electrodynamics of moving bodies” didn’t win a Nobel prize, nor did it’s follow-up containing a certain formula relating “rest mass” to energy via the speed of light squared.  So those papers couldn’t have been that important.  Right?

Even the bus route isn’t a prime number

Well, it’s Monday morning, the second Monday of 2023.  I’m probably going to stop keeping count of such things pretty soon, so if you’re interested, you’ll need to keep track for yourself.

I hope you all had an excellent first weekend after New Year’s.  I myself did not.

I won’t get into the specifics, but remember how I said that I was considering changing my daily schedule so that I would take the bus to the train to work and then back again?  Well, that change has been forced upon me by various circumstances, mainly related to my own mental fatigue.  It turns out that I wasn’t feeling as rested on Saturday as I thought I was‒that was apparently an illusion brought about by the fact that I was so chronically fatigued that a slight increase in sleep duration‒brought about by having taken half a Benadryl, in this case‒gave me a foolish sense of false well-being.

So here I am at the bus stop now, waiting for the first bus of the day.  Unfortunately, it arrives about half an hour later than my memory of its schedule, but it’s been a long time since I took it, so I guess I shouldn’t feel too bad about that.  I’m waiting for the southbound bus.  I think it must have been the northbound bus I was thinking about when I thought it arrived half an hour earlier*.  In any case, I’m quite a bit early even for that, because I woke up and left the house at my usual time.  It looks like I won’t even be close to catching the first or even the second train this morning.

I had been thinking about buying a new bicycle, and if I took such a means to get to my usual train station, I might make the second train of the day, but then I would be lugging a bike around, and I would also get quite sweaty from riding.  That’s not the worst thing in the world, but it’s slightly annoying.  Still, it would be faster than the bus in the long run.

Of course, I could just plan to get up later in the morning, and come to the bus stop closer to the appropriate time, but sleeping late enough in the morning is not something at which I’m that skilled or gifted.

As for writing…well, at least I am probably going to finish this blog post in plenty of time.  I may well finish the first draft before the bus comes (I did).  But I don’t think I’m going to be trying to work on any fiction after that, even fiction that I had already begun.  I don’t think I could completely finish a new novel and have it ready for publication before October of this year.  I certainly wouldn’t want to work on The Dark Fairy and the Desperado, because that’s supposed to be the first of a series, so even finishing it by October would be rather beside the point.  Only Outlaw’s Mind has any chance of being done, but that’s far from certain.

And once October comes, my age will no longer be a prime number, though the latter portion of the year still will be for a few more months after that.  And I don’t want to be past my prime yet again if I can help it, because the next time I and the year will be in my prime is far too long from now to contemplate.

It’s not that riding the bus to the train and then back again is such a big deal.  Hell, I did it for a long time after getting out of work release**, and though I was tired a lot, I was thinner and more fit, certainly.

It’s amazing how things that would have been minor to moderate inconveniences way back when one had family and friends around, as well as a (misguided) sense of purpose, become just overwhelming when one has no one around from day to day, and no ability to connect with anyone, and when one is already teetering on the edge of collapse***.  Setbacks feel like mortal crises, and in a way, they are, because they really do push one to the brink of literal self-destruction, and that brink itself is not a stable platform.  It’s a cliff ledge over an abyss, and it’s riddled with cracks, more and more all the time, and it could give way any second, at the slightest perturbation.

Ugh, all this heavy-handed use of metaphor is galling.  I feel as if I’m trying to be evasive or something, as though I can’t say clearly what I mean without making things worse.  I guess my point is merely that I have nothing to which to look forward, I am achieving nothing and contributing nothing, I have lost almost everything that mattered to me, as well as pretty much all the skill I’d ever had at connecting to other people, and so I have no local, day-to-day emotional support nor any ability or clue about how to achieve it.

Even when people try to reach out to me, I react defensively; I find such situations stressful and even frightening at some level, like a feral cat that can’t be approached even when someone is giving it food.  It’s difficult to trust other people after a certain point.  If nothing else, prison can do that to you.  I even tend to say now that I don’t trust anyone, and even that I don’t believe in trust, I just take calculated risks.  I’m not lying when I say that; it’s really the way I think.

It’s all just so tiring and thoroughly unfulfilling.  And it’s not as though my chronic pain has stopped, even though I don’t write about it often.  It’s been going on for twenty years already; why would it suddenly stop?  That’s just now how significant biological damage works, especially neurological damage.

Anyway, the point is, I’m getting fed up and worn out, and things are more or less entirely pointless to me, as I suppose they have been for a long time.  I’m 53 and the year is ’23, which are both prime numbers.  Today isn’t a prime number day of the month, but there are 7 more such days left in January…and seven is a prime number itself!  That’s nice.

I’m just about out of gas.

But like I said, I hope you’re all feeling much better than I am.  If not, the world is even worse than I thought it was, and that’s saying something.


*I was correct in his assessment.  The northbound bus arrived at the time I had been expecting, incorrectly, to catch the southbound one.  The situation makes sense.  The intersection at which I was waiting was near the south end of the bus route, so it was near the beginning for the northbound, but near the end for the southbound.

**In fact, I feel almost as though I’m regressing back to my earlier state.  Maybe I should just arrange to do something so that I go back to prison.  But that is a pain.  There are good things about prison, but the inconvenience is irritating.

***It’s funny, on Saturday my brother texted just to ask how I was doing, and I replied that I was metastable at least‒an unusually effusive report for me, but more accurate than I knew.  Those of you familiar things like energy diagrams for quantum fields and for chemical reactions and for other similar systems will recognize that something that is metastable is a system that will stay in its current state if undisturbed‒it’s on or near some plateau of the energy function‒but if nudged at all will fall down the slope of the energy curve.  Imagine a pencil perfectly balanced on it’s tip.  If nothing disturbs it in any way, it could stay that way forever.  But if even a slight breeze comes along, it will topple.  I feel that, if I’m not indeed already toppled, or toppling, then I’ve barely been able to retain my balance on my pencil point.  I don’t think I can keep it up much longer.