Silence will fall when all questions are answered by the unthinking

It’s Saturday morning as I write this, in case you don’t know.

I hope you all had a momentous night.  I wouldn’t say that I had one, but I was awakened by pain again, which is not a rare occurrence.  I do take something for pain before I go to sleep, but I guess it wears off too quickly, even though the dosage period for Aleve (the “something” to which I refer) is 12 hours.  That’s a bit frustrating.  I also had reflux, which hasn’t happened in a while, but that’s a minor problem, and I think I know what caused it.

So, here I am, with less sleep this week than I think I’ve had since one November rotation in the ICU/CCU at Einstein/Weiler hospital during my medical residency.  That was the rotation during which, on one shift, I literally did not even sit down for nearly 36 hours.  It was very stressful, but at least I was doing some good in the world, and practicing my skills to do more good in the future.  That’s not the case now, and frankly, I’m not sure I could ever have the energy even to try to figure out some new way to do good.

Here’s a little aside:  When I wrote the phrase “even to try” just now, Google Docs underlined/noted it as possibly incorrect, as most word processors do nowadays.  But the thing is, it recommended that I change it to “to even try”!  That’s right, automatic grammar checkers are encouraging people to split infinitives*, instead of encouraging them not to do so.

I can be reasonable and nondogmatic and accepting about split infinitives‒they occasionally provide a cheap means of rhetorical emphasis that might require a full second or two of thought to achieve otherwise.  But ever since I started studying Spanish in high school and college and realized that there are many languages** in which it is impossible to split infinitives without actual tmesis, I’ve decided to try to avoid the practice.  In writing dialogue, of course, I’m quite happy to split infinitives, since people do that frequently in extemporaneous and casual speech.  But I try to leave it out of narration or nonfiction.

I’m sure I accidentally allow it to happen without even noticing at times.  Such are the fruits of living in a society that indulges in lazy grammar.  But between the fact that autocorrect keeps replacing “its” with “it’s” when the added “s” is possessive, and that it’s*** now suggesting that writers split infinitives, I’m leaning toward the conclusion that it’s time to pull out the Glaive of Silence and do a restart on the world.


Just wipe it all out, everything but the microbes, and see what happens next.  Because with bullshit shortcuts like ChatGPT and whatnot, humans are going to get lazier and lazier, and their thinking is going to get sloppier and sloppier.  And, of course, since these “deep learning” programs don’t actually learn deeply or understand at all, but are merely “trained” on oodles of brain droppings from across the internet and web to predict what sorts of words might follow a previous one, and what might be a typical response to particular queries, cyberspace is going to be flooded with recursive nonsense.

Future ChatGPT type programs will “learn” from, among other things, the garbage produced by prior chatbots and so on, with no way to discern what’s good, or what’s correct, or what’s reasonable or logical or true, only what’s common.  Then it will make those things more common by its own actions.  And while it might be interesting to see how such crap evolves as people use it more to avoid having to think and work themselves, there’s no path toward actual understanding.

Probably most people don’t think about how things work, and they don’t want to do so.  They just want to become the Eloi.  Who cares if they’re being eaten by Morlocks?  It’s worse than the Matrix.  People will become addicted/enslaved, to a system that can’t even know it’s enslaving them.  It’s worse than an idiocracy or a kleptocracy or an autocracy.

Imagine a world consisting solely of second-rate, “postmodern” literary and social theorists whose intellectual pursuits consist only of critiquing others of their ilk, in a cycle that never forces itself to make any contact with actual external reality, or with any actual literature, for that matter.  Then take that to the billionth power and turn it into the new, accidental paradigm of civilization.

How long can it survive?

Not long, I would wager.  But it can do a lot of damage before it goes.  So maybe we should do a reset.  Okay, maybe it’s not necessary to wipe out all multicellular life.  Maybe we should just eliminate civilization, but keep the history and scientific knowledge, so that when rebuilding, repeated mistakes can be avoided.

It would be like going back to the last “save” point when your character is killed in a video game; you can learn from what killed you last time.  It would be so much better than just being forced to continue the game without saving, and then, if you die near the end, just losing, without even the option to start over.

Maybe even that would be better than continuing to live indefinitely in a big “neural network” that doesn’t even actually understand itself, let alone anything else in the universe.

Wow, I didn’t expect to be writing about that when I started.  But I know what initiated it and why, and I didn’t just react to it randomly, but have thought about such matters before.  I even explored some of the issues in Son of Man, though not specifically those relating to chat bots and related civilizational tumors.

Son of man icon

I guess I get a bit grumpy from lack of sleep and depression, not to mention a week of persistent and horrible sensory overload that’s borne down upon…well, a person who is probably somewhere on the autism spectrum, and who has never been particularly amenable to loud noises and random conversations and chaos except when it serves actual purposes.

I don’t know how long or even if I will be able to tolerate much more.  Every camel’s back has a breaking point.

I already think I probably gave myself a mild concussion yesterday from banging my head repeatedly against a wall out of stress.  I’m not exaggerating; I got woozy and sleepy not long after that, and even felt a bit confused and spacey.  I still have a slight headache and just a mild degree of spaciness, even now.

I probably should avoid doing that too often.  Knowing my luck, I’d probably get debilitating brain damage with which I would then live for decades, rather than something that kills me on a relatively short time scale.  That would be ironic.

I need to find other, better reactions to my extreme stress, I guess.  But it usually needs to be something painful, whether psychologically or physically (or both), to do the job.  I’ve torn up drawings and paintings and music and the like in the past, but I don’t really have such easy targets nowadays.

Of course, it would be nice not to feel so tense and horrible that I have the‒sometimes irresistible‒urge to hurt my things or myself.  But I don’t know how that is ever going to happen.  The world only seem to grow less tolerable, not more, and whatever doesn’t kill a person often kills one slowly, with drawn out pain and suffering.

On that note…well, I hope you have a nice remainder of your weekend.  ^_^

*And to do so boldly, one might be inclined to think.

**Spanish is one of them but not the only one.

***This is a contraction, and that is when an apostrophe belongs between that “t” and that “s”.

No dust – not even in the wind – but we’ve got ashes

It’s Friday morning as I write this, in case you’re reading this on a day other than the day it’s posted, or published, or whatever the best term is (if “best” even has any real meaning here).  I expect to be posting tomorrow, since I work tomorrow.  And then, luckily for all of you who can’t get enough of my blog posts*, I will also be working the following Saturday, and thus probably posting then.

You see, the coworker with whom I share some of my responsibilities at work is going away to visit family this weekend (he has a few-months-old daughter who has to make the rounds) and so he couldn’t take this weekend for me in exchange for the following Saturday, when his daughter is getting baptized.  He’s also going to be out of the office Monday and Tuesday and probably at least part of Wednesday, all my most overloaded days as it is.  So, expect me to be rather stressed out during that time.

More so than usual, I mean.

I keep hoping for my increased stress to lead to some catastrophic health collapse‒pneumonia, stroke, heart attack, hemorrhage, something‒to take it all out of my hands, but so far I have had no such luck.

I didn’t get back to the house until well after 9 last night, because the bus just didn’t show.  Instead of trying to use Uber or Lyft, about both of which I still feel reluctant, I just walked.  At least that way I got some exercise.  It didn’t make my back and hip and side pain any worse at the time, but it also didn’t prevent that pain from waking me up at a bit before 2 this morning, unable to fall back to sleep thereafter.

I’m still taking Saint John’s Wort, though it’s certainly not helping my pain or optimism, so far, and I can’t tell if it’s affecting my affect**.  I’m trying to breathe better, mainly through my nose, and work on the rest of my breathing and mouth posture and whatnot.  I don’t know how much difference that all makes, if any, but it’s something for me to do with my energy, such as it is.

Oh, I hadn’t mentioned yesterday, but the day before yesterday we blew past another potential palindromic recording number.  We were coming right toward it, but then we had no deals for a few hours and by the time we had another, the recording numbers had passed the palindrome***.  It looks as though the universe just isn’t going to go out of its way to tell me to stay.

I think that’s not the sort of thing the universe does.  People sometimes tell you that they want you to stay, and that’s very nice of them…but does it really constitute an adequate reason to stay alive, being told that you matter‒in some abstract sense, I guess‒to someone?  What if you don’t matter to yourself, or if you matter in the worst possible way?  What if you “antimatter” to yourself, so to speak?  It’s one thing for other people not to want me to die, but they don’t have to be around me 24/7.  Trust me, it gets old.

You can kind of tell that, can’t you?

I half expect that, someday soon, I will have a healthcare crisis‒perhaps a ruptured aortic aneurysm or summat‒just as a verification is being done, and as I lie dying, I’ll ask what the verification number is…and it will be a palindromic number!  At least that would be funny and ironic.  I could die laughing, or at least smiling, saying, “Good one, universe.  You really got me there.”  I would honestly find that hilarious.

I don’t know, I guess I have an unusual sense of humor.

I did play on the guitar just a bit, yesterday.  I’ve recently become mildly obsessed with the David Bowie song, Ashes to Ashes, which I’ve been aware of since I was maybe 11 or 12 years old, but hadn’t fully appreciated.  I really like the rhythm and the shift in melody from section to section, and the patterns of overlapping four step repetitions of three chords in the intro and outro and everything.

So, I looked up the guitar chords for it and realized that‒as was the case for A Space Oddity‒Bowie didn’t even need to use any esoteric chords to make a brilliant progression and melody structure.  Hell, there’s only one barre chord in the song, and it’s used once in the first half and once in the second.

I also surprised myself by being able to sing the song just fine at first try.  It’s been months, I think, since I sang anything, and I expected my voice to be weak, but maybe the resting time did it good.  It got kind of beat up by Covid for a while, which was evident in a few of my song/videos.  And maybe the walking and biking and the newly started breathing stuff is helping.

Anyway, if I maintain my interest, I may even record a video of me playing and singing it‒there are some fun backup things in the song, and some doubling and mild harmonies that could be fun to dub in after the initial recording, too.  If I do it, I’m going to try to do a sort of stereo recording if I can, with the cell phone recorder for mainly the guitar, and the condenser USB mic for mainly the voice.  We’ll see.  As I said, I’m going to be very busy and stressed in the next few weeks, and that’s potentially going to derail everything.

Further bulletins on that as events warrant.  In the meantime, I guess I’ll embed the official video (which is quite…unusual, and was apparently, at the time, the most expensive video that had yet been made) for Ashes to Ashes, for your delectation.

Until tomorrow, assuming it arrives, please take care of yourselves.

*If there really are such people, they should probably seek medical help, but perhaps I’m not being fair.

**Ha ha.

***Not to be mistaken for passing the dutchie.

Ruin hath taught me thus to ruminate, that Time will come and take my blog away

“Hello”, and “good morning”, and any other standard, ritual greetings one should use in such openings to blog posts.

It’s my “traditional” Thursday blog day‒the day on which I used to write my only blog post of the week, because every other day I was writing (or editing) whatever work of fiction I was producing at a given time.  Often my blog posts had something to do with the fiction writing process, which I imagined some people might find interesting.  Or it was some discussion of the story itself on which I was working.  I often veered off track, I think, if memory serves.  This blog is, after all, my main form of conversation and communication, and it was so even then, so I did as people do when just talking, and let myself say whatever came to mind.

Of course, unlike what happens with most speaking, I reread and edited my words before putting them up for other people to read.

It might be good if people did more of that.

I’m nervous about my commute this morning, because both of the previous two days saw the train previous to “mine” canceled*, and thus the train I took was doubly crowded.  I really don’t like crowds at the best of times, though on the bus it feels less onerous, because everyone on the bus feels thoroughly transitory, which I suppose is appropriate.  Anyway, even a crowded bus ride sees everyone shift or get off after a few stops, and the scenery is also somewhat engaging.  The train feels more closed in, and if you feel the need to do so, it’s harder to get off quickly‒you have to wait until the next stop, which on the train is farther than on the bus.

At least there are bathrooms on the train, which is one big reason I prefer them to the bus.  I can’t wait too very long without needing to use the bathroom; this has been the case for me all my life.  Even my sixth-grade teacher called me “straight pipes”.  It’s rough when your own teacher teases you (openly) but I didn’t really care too much at the time.  It seemed clear she didn’t mean much by it, and I wasn’t really very susceptible to social bullying.  I had my core friends, I knew I was a bit odd, but that I was smart, and I had a family that cared about me, and for the most part I think I was reasonably well liked.

Also, I loved learning things, so I liked school.  And when one doesn’t react defensively, or really at all, to name calling, people stop doing it, because its usual point is to have an effect on you that asserts or determines some form of dominance hierarchy.  I’ve never felt I had anything to prove to people who would say insulting things, or whatever.  If a squirrel chatters at me as I pass, or a bird squawks, or a dog barks, it doesn’t mean anything to me***; it’s just some creature making noise.

Now I care even less, I think, because no other person could possibly say or think worse things‒and especially not more personal things‒about me than I do about myself.  I suppose someone could make false claims about me, but that would probably just be puzzling; it wouldn’t threaten my sense of identity.

I’m not particularly vulnerable to defamation and I’m not readily susceptible to “gaslighting” because my own memory of myself and my doings is always going to be more reliable than the accounts of humans around me.  Have you seen how malleable and unreliable their memories and concepts are?  It’s frankly amazing that some of them remember how to speak from day to day.

I’m continuing working on trying to feel better, to see if I can make myself feel like I’m worth saving.  So far my success has not been stellar.  I’m continuing with the Saint John’s Wort, I’m trying to be careful about what I eat, I’m trying to control my pain as best I can‒that’s a really difficult and frustrating endeavor‒and I’m trying to explore new approaches as well.

For instance, I’m reading the book Breath, about the author’s exploration of how our modern respiratory habits may be harming us and what changes might be beneficial.  It’s a bit less skeptical than I might like, but it’s not full-on woo by any means.  At the least, I’m trying to improve my nose-breathing as much as I can, and to move toward that goal I’m trying to get my allergic rhinitis under control.  We’ll see how it goes.

It’s still really hard to understand why I’m bothering with all this, other than the biological drives to survive and the wish not to cause inconvenience to others.  But one thing I do know, that I have seen over and over, and that I recognize when I think about it: after an initial shock, people just get over it when they “lose” someone, especially if it’s not a person who’s terribly close to them.  And I’m not terribly close to anyone.

So, maybe I shouldn’t worry too much about making people sad or inconveniencing them.  Life is inconvenient, and everyone loses or is lost by everyone else eventually.  Before 1969, I didn’t even exist, and no one was inconvenienced by that fact.  And after I’m gone, the universe at large will not even notice.

We’re all virtual particles, anyway‒we pop into existence only to disappear more quickly than the universe can even notice that we were here‒though, as with “real” virtual particles in quantum mechanics, there can be palpable effects from many of us existing at once.  Only rarely does a virtual particle become “real” and continue to exist beyond the conveyance of a tiny bit of some fundamental force, one blip among countless such blips, existing for less than a Planck time before disappearing, and honestly not even actually being a real thing in the universe, just a shorthand.


Anyway, all that is a heavy-handed metaphor.  Sorry about that.  Now I must leave for the bus, to get the train, to get to the office, to work, then to reverse the journey, then repeat ad nauseam until I can finally, like virtual particles do, self-annihilate.  Or whatever.

I hope you’re feeling more optimistic than I am, and I hope you’re right about that optimism…but I’m not going to bet on it.



*I don’t know why, and I have not yet been able to locate an explanation on the Tri-rail website.  Perhaps I should check their “social media” sites.  If it happens again today, I may**.

**It didn’t.

***Though I will usually greet dogs that bark as I pass‒their tails are almost always up and alert, and they look like they just want to be noticed, so I say hi.

Interior decoration in a derelict ruin

Okay…Wednesday, morning, smartphone, my room, starting before leaving for the bus, all that tedious nonsense.

There, that’s out of the way.

I’m really not doing too well, even for me.  Yesterday was quite stressful, for internal and external reasons, though some of the external reasons mean it was a good day for the office.  Meanwhile, I banged my own head (deliberately) so hard and so often that I got a headache, on top of a worse-than-usual day for back pain and sleep the night before.

Near the end of the day, I took to whacking the back of my hand with a heavyish metal tool.  My boss, who knows that sometimes I will thump my legs and sides and things when they are in pain and spasm, asked me, “Is that where it hurts?”

I replied, after a moment, “It is, now.”. He laughed, but I’m not sure he quite got my point or why I was doing what I was doing.  It was an attempt to distract myself not just from other physical pain, but from stress and anger and the overwhelming sensory chaos of the room by inducing pain.  It works for a moment at a time, and this method doesn’t tend to leave marks, other than some bruises at times.  There are other ways that last longer, but they leave marks, some of which can last a long time…some of which, even, are more or less permanent.

I’m trying.  I’m still taking Saint John’s Wort, and I know at a personal and professional level that it’s too soon to expect any major results, but I fear it’s making me feel worse.  I suppose if it at least triggers something, even something catastrophic, that’s better than my present status as some sort of specter* or ringwraith or phantom‒an undead, but without a purpose.

I’m not a zombie; they tend to be mindless, and in a sense, are far less tortured figures than an undead that is aware of itself, that retains a mind and a personality, but is unable to grow or obtain new life.

I’m trying to treat my allergies and respiratory issues, and studying and working on some breathing techniques that seem to be good, but it feels like rearranging the furniture in a house where the roof has already fallen in, the windows are all broken, there’s no light or water or heat, and winter is coming.  I wish I could just lie on the (figurative) sofa and let the cold take me.

I don’t actually have a sofa, though.  Shame.

If I were my patient‒as I’ve said before, I think‒I would consider referring myself for inpatient psychiatric treatment**, but since this particular patient doesn’t have insurance and lives in a state, in a nation, with shitty, shitty mental healthcare, especially for those who are not wealthy, the options are not great.

Better just to let go.

Hang on, I need to go to the bus stop.


Okay, I’m at the bus stop now.

My back is really feeling tight and sore today.  It’s very irritating.  I’m trying to do the things that will help it, such as particular stretches and exercises and whatnot.  I’m not riding the bike, I’m using my shoe inserts and knee and ankle braces, all that.  I have roll-ons and creams and the like that are supposed to help, and I take a rather large (and probably toxic) quantity of OTC analgesics/anti-inflammatories.  I even have a semi-portable massage chair at the office, which I bought, and a foot massager I was given as a gift to go along with it.

Nothing is working very well.

The trouble is, there’s no reason to assume that there actually is an answer or remedy for certain kinds of pain.  We have not been honed by nature with a figurative eye toward having a long, healthy, satisfying life, free of severe physical and psychological pain.  We’ve been honed by nature to be able to survive long enough to reproduce successfully and keep our offspring alive until they can fend for themselves.

The thing about chronic pain, both physical and psychological, is that they are invisible to evolution (more or less) because they tend to develop after the age and time of reproduction has passed.  Pain is useful in the short term, especially when we’re young, because it makes us avoid and fix (when we can) damage that might take us out of the gene pool.  Ditto for fear‒assuming that all these things are present in appropriate or relatively moderate levels, of course.

But the functions that work to improve reproductive success when younger, or at least don’t harm it, can persist and worsen and become pathological as time passes, but that won’t reduce the presence of any genes for these functions.  And, of course, the prevalence and levels of most attributes follow a roughly bell-curve distribution in a population.  Most people cluster near the local mean of any given trait, but there are always outliers, and with enough people, there will be individuals who are outliers in more than one, even independently varying trait.

And then, of course, there can be traits that are good for one thing but bad in another way, and which persist or are selected for because the short-term, reproductive good outweighs the downside from the “viewpoint” of natural selection.  The sickle cell trait confers relative resistance to malaria, but having two copies of it can consign one to a truly hellish existence.

Similarly, it may be that attributes that tend to associate with high intelligence‒systematizing ability, certain kinds of imagination, inventiveness, ability to solve certain kinds of problems, certain kinds of intense focus, and so on that can be extremely useful for any group and for individuals, and lead to reproductive success and more general success, especially in modern society‒may lead, when aggregated together in the right way in some individuals, to autism spectrum disorders, ADHD, and/or a tendency toward depression, anxiety, and self-harm.

Who knows?

The bus is coming soon.  I’ve gotta go.  In more ways than one, I really feel like I really need just to go.

*I’m often torn about the spelling of this word.  I prefer the “old-world” spelling with the “tre” rather than the “ter”, but I worry that it comes across as pretentious.

**Because prescribing a large dose of fentanyl and phenobarbital and digoxin and Valium would be frowned upon by medical and legal “authorities”.  And I don’t have access to such things now.

There are numerous dimensional axes to reality; it’s probably best not to grind just one of them at a time

Well, it’s Tuesday morning, and again, I’m beginning this post on my smartphone while still sitting in my room at the house.  I know that’s not very exciting news, but it’s one of the more noteworthy things in my day-to-day existence.  To quote my own song, albeit ironically, “Don’t you wish that you were me?”

I wish I had more interesting things to discuss here.  Goodness knows there are always many “interesting” things going on in the world, depending on your point of view.  But that’s the nub of the rub: interestingness* is very much in the eye of the beholder.

Many of the things that seem to intrigue other people seem dull to me.  And some controversial subjects about which I do have interest and at least some opinions are being addressed by others, to the degree that I really don’t have a whole lot to add.

I suppose the subject of mental health is near and dear** to me.  I do become irritated when the public argumentation about things like “mass shootings” using “assault” weapons becomes divided into poles of:  focus on restricting access to assault weapons versus focus on mental health issues, as though only one of the two matters could be addressed at any time by any government or political party.  But surely, these are semi-orthogonal questions, and both are worthy of discussion.

Now, I’ll grant you that, when it comes to deaths among civilians related to firearms in the US, more than half‒and sometimes as many two thirds‒are suicides, so here, mental health is truly a major concern.  I have personal experience with this danger; I used to target shoot recreationally, and owned a few pistols, but when I was deeply depressed, my therapist asked, rather pointedly, that I turn my guns over to her for safe-keeping, which I did.  Once I was doing better, she returned them, but later, after I had back-slid, I did come one sixth of the way to killing myself with one of them.

But all this isn’t really relevant to the so-called mass shootings, which actually make up a tiny (but slightly growing) fraction of even gun-related homicides.  Weirdly enough, it’s not a simple, one-dimensional question.  There are many things happening all at once, and some of them are independent variables, and some are dependent, and some are partially dependent, and the causal relationship from one to the other(s) can often be difficult to ascertain at a superficial glance.

Complex issues are rarely best understood via an “us versus them”, tribal approach, which rapidly tends to descend into ad hominem attacks and other manipulative, rhetorical, self-deceptive and counterproductive tactics.  Reality doesn’t actually take sides in general, and more importantly, it does not make exceptions even for people who are honestly and innocently mistaken.  The safest approach to dealing with it is to try to understand it as objectively and thoroughly as possible, without political bias or other tribal nonsense.

Oscar Wilde once wrote that fashion was a form of ugliness so repulsive that it had to be changed every six months.  Politics is in some ways slightly more durable…but only slightly.  The overarching trends can be important‒to humans and their victims and beneficiaries, anyway‒but the momentary fads and fashions and personality cults are so much candy floss, and they have essentially no relevance to the greater universe***.  Humans are tiny, pathetically self-important newcomers on the surface of one planet among hundreds of billions‒perhaps trillions‒in this galaxy alone.  Everyone needs to get over him- or herself‒or whatever pronoun-self an individual prefers.

I have thoughts and “opinions” about various subjects, about some of which I have reasonable knowledge and expertise, but one thing I notice very much is that almost every subject of controversy is more complicated than humans seem to tend to want to think.  That’s partly just down to primatology; humans approach many questions not from a position of dedicated, disciplined, rigorous, and self-critical seekers of truth, but as rival flanges of baboons, or rival groups within a flange of baboons.  They often behave not as if they actually seek to understand the nature of reality to the best of their abilities, but as monkeys throwing feces at other monkeys to gain or maintain a position in a dominance hierarchy****.

It would be nice if people could actually try to address the very real problems of adult mental health, which is still underappreciated and in an even poorer state than healthcare in general, instead of using it as a distraction from the orthogonal question of why there are an increasing number of “mass shootings” and whether restricting access to “assault weapons” would do more good than harm, and by what measures.

An honest discussion***** of serious topics should recognize that finding the truth is not a zero-sum contest but, ideally, a mutual exchange to mutual benefit.  No one has all the facts in hand at any given time, and probably no one ever will have all the facts, but to try always to gain more facts, more knowledge, seems to be a useful guideline.

But if you see someone who disagrees with you, even about an issue that you consider important, as merely an enemy, then you make yourself into an enemy, too‒not just of the person who disagrees with you, but of anyone who seeks objective knowledge and understanding of the world.

*This feels like it’s not really a proper word, but the alternatives that come to my mind seem worse.

**Perhaps something like “anti-dear” would be more accurate; a quantity with the same absolute value as “dear”, but on the other side of zero.

***Except as they might influence whether the creatures of the Earth ever truly initiate, as David Deutsch called it, The Beginning of Infinity.

****It’s in encounters with such tendencies that I find myself sympathetic with Lord Foul’s disgusted statement, “…yet in their pride they dare to name themselves earthfriends, servants of peace.  They are too blind to perceive their own arrogance…”

*****Note that I do not say “debate”.  I generally consider debate a poor means by which to seek truth, since the process tends to become merely a contest, a display of skill, where rhetoric and charisma become more important than actual facts, reasons, and explanations, and thus the spectacle devolves into mere chest-thumping by hubris-addicted apes.  Regrettably, the very courts of law take this approach, and thus we have the mortifying spectacle of a prominent murder trial pivoting on the mildly clever couplet, “If the glove does not fit, you must acquit”.  If anyone saw and heard that and was not filled with abysmal despair regarding the criminal justice system, I don’t know what you’re missing, or what I’m missing.

Back to work with a back that doesn’t work well

It’s Monday morning‒early‒the first day of the second work week of the fifth month of 2023.  That sounds a bit like the sort of time when one might be able to use a magic key to open a hidden door in a lonely mountain or something similar, but pretty much any day sounds that way if you describe it in that fashion.

Try it.  You’ll see.

I’ve had a pretty uncomfortable weekend, because whatever flared up my back pain last week‒I suspect it was riding the bike‒has not faded back to normal levels.  I have scrupulously avoided riding since mid-week, but so far that has just made the pain shift a bit, not fade.  I barely even went to the nearest convenience store this weekend.  I ordered in food for dinner, which had its own comical or ironical pitfalls.  But I did make sure to take a decent walk on Saturday, and it was nice enough, but wasn’t adequate to sort my back out, which should come as no surprise to anyone.

Of course, I did not go to see The Guardians of the Galaxy III this weekend.  I was a deluded child to imagine that I might.  Perhaps, if the scooter had started up and been running easily when I pumped its tires up, I might have gone, but otherwise it just wasn’t worth the effort to get to the theater, whether by public transport or Uber or Lyft*.

Probably my fantasy of going to the movie and having popcorn and candy and soda and watching the movie by myself is much better than the actual experience would have been.  It’s a bit like how I always enjoy thinking about having a beer or glass of wine or mixed drink much more than I ever enjoy the drink itself.  Often I don’t even finish my first drink in such cases.

Reality is just not as good as my imagination, like in the song Kodachrome.  That’s partly why I don’t really care for “realistic” fiction.  If I want a realistic story about ordinary people, there are eight billion of them happening every day all around.  And they’re pretty much all boring, at least to me.  Not the people, necessarily; the stories.  Or, at least, they’re not worth writing a book about for the most part.

Of course, here I am, ironically writing a near-daily blog reflecting my daily, boring life.  But that’s nonfiction, at least.  And I doubt anyone will ever be assigned to read this in school anywhere, any when.  If they are, well:  Hey, kids!  How’s it going?  You’d really be better off with Shakespeare, you know; tell your teachers I said so.  At least, if you’re going to read my writing, read my fiction.

Speaking of my fiction, I finished Mark Red again on Friday.  It was a good book, I thought, but I am biased.  I doubt that I’ll ever write the sequels though, not that that will break anyone’s heart.  But I’m reasonably proud of the book.  I still love Morgan, the vampire from the story.  She’s very cool.  You know she must be cool; Tony Stark named his daughter after her.

That last half sentence was wild speculation on my part, for which I have no evidence other than the coincidence of the two characters’ names.  I’m okay with that, though.

Oh, btw, I’m writing this on my smartphone, because I chose not to bring my laptop with me to the house on Friday.  Given the state of my back and hips and legs, it seemed fair just to keep my load light.  I don’t know if that helped any; after all, as I said, my back is still killing me**.  I’m writing at the house, because I might as well get the first draft done before leaving for the bus.  I suppose I could have “slept in”, but then again, I was awake starting more than two hours before my alarm went off, trying to use my USB chargeable massager to relax my back and hips and sides and all that, with limited success.

See how exciting ordinary, solitary life is, even for a weird, malfunctional, pseudo-human like me?  Why would anyone write or read fiction about them?  Well, people can write and read what they like, and they have my sincere best wishes if they enjoy themselves doing so.  It doesn’t work for me, unfortunately.  I can barely read any fiction at all anymore.

I’m on my second week of retrying Saint John’s Wort.  I don’t think it’s doing much good so far, but it is making me feel more tense and jittery, and I suppose it’s possible that it might be contributing to my worsening back pain (though I consider it more unlikely than likely).  I almost didn’t take it today.  I may give up on it, as part of the process of giving up on everything.  But I’ll give it at least one more day in court.

And with that, I think I’ll head over to the bus stop and head in the general, eventual direction of the office, because as long as I’m unable to suppress my biological urges, I need to feed myself, and as long as I keep not wanting to inconvenience or disappoint other people, I need to keep doing the work I do.  I don’t find any meaning in it per se, but then, nothing currently in my life has any meaning, so that hardly matters.

Such is real life.  Why would anyone want to write and read stories about it?

*I have downloaded and signed up for the apps, but haven’t used them.  Perhaps if I had previously done so and felt comfortable, I might have gone, but I still have resistance to it.

**But far too slowly for my taste.

A bland post but with some good music shared along the way

I’ll start by saying, Happy Cinco de Mayo!

cinco dance

I forgot yesterday was Star Wars day, and I don’t want to miss two such things in a row.

I guess, given that it’s Friday, it might be a nice night to have a margarita, or some other tequila-based beverage, if you indulge in alcohol.  But don’t drink and drive, of course.  That’s just playing Russian Roulette with the gun pointed at other people as well as yourself and your loved ones.  If you do drink and drive, certainly if you do it very often, it might be ethical (but not legal, and for good reasons) for someone else to kill you in self-defense, or in the general defense of innocents.  I don’t recommend it, but it would be understandable.

I’m not writing this at the train station today, nor am I writing on the laptop computer.  I am writing this‒to start, anyway‒on my phone, from the house, because I’m taking the bus to the train today.

Yesterday, after only 2 days of riding the bike to and from the train station (one and a half, really), my back and legs and entire left side up to my shoulder were in severe pain all throughout the day, which didn’t help my baseline grumpiness at work.  Well, it helped the grumpiness, I guess you could say; at least, it enhanced or increased it.  But I felt like crap overall.

So, given that, I’m not going to ride my bike today, and I don’t think I’ll ride it tomorrow, which means I doubt that I’ll be going to the movies, since the distance to the nearest theater is longer than the distance to the train station, albeit not by much.  But if the latter causes me so much pain, I’d rather avoid the former.

I don’t think I want to walk to the theater, either.  I haven’t been walking long distances for several weeks, what with weather and trying to use the bike and so on, so I worry that I might exacerbate things, like blisters and joint pain and so on.  Anyway, an eight mile walk is likely to take more than two hours each way.  That’s chewing up a big chunk of a day to see a movie by myself.  Not that I tend to do anything more useful or entertaining otherwise.

I suppose I could activate either the Uber or Lyft app, both of which I downloaded the other day after the bus was 35 minutes late.  But I’ve never used either one before, and I’m leery of getting in a car with a stranger who doesn’t have an official “chauffeur’s” license and a local (also licensed and regulated) company behind them.  That may be silly of me, but it is what it is.  Maybe I’ll work out the public transportation route to the best movie theater.

Or maybe I should just nix the idea of going to the theater at all and just watch the movie on Disney+ when it gets there, assuming I am still alive by then.  As far as I know, it’s hard to watch movies when one is not alive, but there are counterbalancing compensations, the most prominent one being the lack of pain and another being a lack of sadness/loneliness/depression.  These things are not to be taken lightly.  Escaping from them can be strongly appealing, especially when there are few counterbalancing consolations.

Speaking of not being alive, it was quite sad (though not tragic, since he was 84) when, earlier this week, Gordon Lightfoot died.  I may have mentioned this here before, but his song, If You Could Read My Mind is among my favorites; it came out when I was young, and I’ve always thought it was beautiful.

In fact, I did a rhythm guitar “cover” of it, with me singing.  I’ll embed the video for that here, just in case you’re interested, and then‒to get the taste of my playing and singing out of your mouth‒I’ll embed a video of the real, original song by the man himself.

I only ask, out of kindness, for you not to listen to my version too soon after his, if you do it in that order.  You wouldn’t have Phoebe Buffay try to follow Yo Yo Ma on stage at Carnegie Hall, right?

So, here’s my version:

And here’s the way it’s supposed to sound:

He did a lot of other good stuff, too, of course.  No less an artist than Bob Dylan said that, whenever he heard a Gordon Lightfoot song, he wished it would go on forever.  I wouldn’t go quite that all-out, myself; I don’t think there are even any Radiohead, Pink Floyd*, or Beatles songs I wish would go on forever.

Now, Rachmaninoff’s 2nd piano concerto…that could be the background music for the world and I wouldn’t quickly get tired of it.  Or Dvorak’s “New World” symphony would be good, too.

And of course, on the flip side, my own songs, like Breaking Me Down and Like and Share at about six minutes, go on longer than anyone probably wants them to go.  I guess my song writing is a bit like my novel writing‒once I get going, I tend to go on and on, because momentum, or inertia, or whatever, makes it so that I have little capacity or urge to stop.

Ironically, though, I don’t really have much more to say right now.  My leg and back and side and hip hurt a bit less than yesterday, but they do hurt quite a bit, still, and I need to leave soon to go to the bus stop, because I don’t think I’ll be walking as fast as usual.

It’s been a relatively bland blog post, but there are various songs to which I will have linked, to which you can listen if you like.  Most of them are by real, excellent, professional musicians, and have stood the test of decades or longer.  Those ones, at least, are worth a listen.

I won’t be doing a post tomorrow, because I don’t work tomorrow, and hopefully I’ll have rested enough that my pain goes back to baseline.  Have a good weekend if you’re at all able.  And if you see the new Marvel movie, feel free to let me know what you think of it.

*Though Echoes, which is the entire B-side of their album Meddle, goes on for a long time, and it’s not unpleasant.  And then there’s Shine On You Crazy Diamond, the opening and closing parts of the album Wish You Were Here.  

If this be magic, let it be an art Lawful as blogging.

Hello and good morning.  It’s Thursday, the 4th of May in 2023, and it’s time for my long-standing Thursday blog post.  This is still, it seems, my most popular day for blog posts.  I’ll credit Shakespeare for that; he tends to make everything better than it would have been otherwise.

I’m sitting at the train station as I write this.  I took my time this morning, because I figured I’d do my best to slightly miss the 5:15 train and write this while waiting for the next one.  It was a near thing, even though I dilly-dallied about getting ready and tried not to push myself while riding the bike to the train station*.  I even took my time securing the bike with the two cables and the U lock.

Nevertheless, as I took the elevator down to the northbound side of the station, the train had only just pulled in, and the train doors only barely closed just before I got off the elevator.  This may sound like a bad thing, but it was good.  If the doors had remained open, I’m almost sure that I wouldn’t have been able to resist getting on that train, and starting my blog post there.

However, I find the benches at the station much more comfortable for writing than the seats on the train, probably at least partly because of roominess, but also, I suspect, because these benches are metal, not cushioned.  You may think cushions would be better, and perhaps for you they would be, but I find that firm seats, hard futons, and all that sort of thing, are much better for my back than are soft, cushiony surfaces.  Possibly the latter tend to be a bit unstable for my back, allowing too much shifting, which leads to strain and spasm on my lower back.

This is all hypothetical, but it’s consistent across time.  It also makes sense for humans—even pseudo-humans like me—to do better with less-cushioned environments, given that we evolved in a world where there was no “memory foam” or what have you.  For countless generations, human ancestors would have “slept rough” and that would have been the situation for which we adapted.  I occasionally wonder how many modern discomforts and ailments are at least influenced by mattresses and pillows and cushioned seats and sofas.

It’s curious that it was a chore of sorts to try to come later to the train station.  Part of that is simply a matter of my insomnia.  It wasn’t too bad last night**, but I still started waking up a bit before three in the morning, having fallen asleep a bit before eleven.  Four relatively uninterrupted hours of sleep is actually quite good for me.

I got the battery charger for the scooter battery yesterday, but I haven’t unpacked it.  I’d been thinking that I might like to ride it to the movie theater this weekend and see The Guardians of the Galaxy III in theaters, since it introduces Adam Warlock, one of my favorite ever comic book characters*** (both when he’s in hero and in villain mode).  Then I thought, I might as well ride the bike, instead; the nearest theater is only about eight miles away, so that’s less than an hour bike read even at my unimpressive pace.

The closer I get to the weekend, though, the less I feel like I want to go.  I don’t fancy the prospect of dealing with crowds and whatnot, and Saturday morning, which was my planned time to go, is likely to be crowded, even at the first showing.  Also, I think I would just feel lonely, going to the movies by myself.  I don’t think I’ve ever done it.

Not that I would feel much less lonely at the house, but there at least it’s appropriate, and I don’t have to deal with the sound and presence of lots of strangers.  Though popcorn and a movie theater soda with lots of ice (which I like) seem like they might be particularly nice after a good bike ride.  I don’t know.

Speaking of dealing with other people, I’m now on the train, as of the latter part of the previous paragraph, and one thing that worries me about taking a later train than usual is that I fear I may have displaced people at the station from their usual bench site and on the train from their usual seats.  I really prefer not to do that to other people, because when I have a routine, including a routine place to sit or what have you, I find it irritating when some interloper takes my usual spot.

That’s not a particularly healthy way to react, I know, and I certainly have no right to claim a spot at the station or on the train as my own.  Unfortunately, that doesn’t change the serious stress and even hate I feel when someone is in my usual spot.

Of course, lately my schedule has been wobbling about, as witness the fact that yesterday was different than Tuesday and today is different than yesterday, and Monday I was lying down in the dark with a migraine.  So, I have no consistent spot in which to be, and no claim on any regular space.

Nevertheless, because a train had just left when I arrived at the platform, I was able to sit where I used to sit every day, since no one for the next train had arrived yet before me.  And the seat I like to use on the first car of this train happened to be open.  But I can’t help feeling worried that someone who normally gets this seat at a later station will be miffed, and I suspect at least one person had to adjust his usual location at the train station due to where I was sitting.  I suspect this because a man came and was going to sit on the other end of my bench, but he appeared to change his mind and took himself to the next bench down.

I can’t blame him for not wanting to sit next to me; I suspect I give off a sort of feral cat vibe of “don’t get too close to me or I’ll go off on you, teeth and claws and all”.

Anyway, I guess that’s enough for today.  I don’t think I’ve said anything of substance; this post has been all noise, no signal.  I guess a lot of my life is like that, anyway, and I’m probably far from alone in this.  But I do hope you all have a good remainder of the week.  I’ll be writing a post tomorrow, barring the unforeseen, but not on Saturday, since I won’t be working then.  Please enjoy your time with family and friends.  Don’t take them for granted.


The Warlock symbol

This is an updated version of the symbol I used to use, as mentioned in the footnote

*Yes, I rode the bike this morning.  So far, there’s only a slight twinge of altered/new pain along my left hip and side.  Perhaps my body has been adjusting a bit during my recent down time.  Perhaps after two days it will flare up more prominently.  We shall see, I suppose.

**I took half a Benadryl at bed time.

***Really.  I used to go by the nickname Warlock in high school, and I even signed my homework and paper and stuff that way for a couple of years, including putting a symbol of overlapping pentagrams—one upright and one inverted—inside the “O”.  My teachers were okay with it.

Bikes and trains and thoughts of vampires by a different kind of undead

I’m writing this blog post on the train, or at least I’m starting it on the train.  I decided to ride my bike to the station this morning, because I was so pleased with my purchase of an automatic, USB-chargeable, programmable tire pump and the effect it had on my bike tires on Sunday.  It was a nice ride this morning.  The temperature was, supposedly, 69 degrees Fahrenheit when I left the house—so not too hot, but not too cold, neither.  It’s also not expected to rain today.

I almost planned to ride the bike all the way, bringing it on the train and riding it to the office and then back and so on, but I decided to hold off on that.  Yes, leaving it at the station required me sitting on the ground and applying my triple locking setup—two thick cables and the hard steel U-bend* lock—but on the train there are sometimes quite limited spaces for bikes.  It’s also not a good idea to wander far from your bicycle, so I would need to sit on the lower level of the train, which is not my preference, and if there were not enough seats, I would need to stand.

Unfortunately, if one is standing, it’s very difficult to write a blog post on a laptop computer, as I am doing now.  I could write one on my smartphone, but that’s a slightly less convenient process in the sense of it being much slower.  It’s taken me less than fifteen minutes to get on the train, find a seat, unpack my computer, start up the computer, log in to the train Wi-Fi, open up Word, start and name this file, set it to autosave, and to write what I’ve written so far.  Some of that is easier with the smartphone, but it’s mostly more laborious.

I’m on either my third or fourth day taking the Saint John’s Wort, so it’s too soon to imagine that it would have significant effects, but I’m cautiously pessimistic.  By that I mean, I don’t expect it to make a huge difference or to change my outlook or improve my mood, but obviously, I’m willing to see if it does.  As I’ve written, it helped me before, but that was combined with talk therapy, and I was happily married and in medical school, working my way along toward being a doctor, and I had classmates who were my friends and all that.

My current life situation is very different, and you’re reading my only equivalent of therapy at the moment.  But, as I say, we shall see what happens.  At least, you shall see, if you so desire.  I shall experience it, until I stop experiencing it.

I’ve been rereading my book Mark Red, the first book I wrote while a guest of the Florida DOC, its first draft having been done in longhand.  I’m enjoying it quite a bit.  As I’ve said many times, the vampire, Morgan, is one of my favorite characters I’ve ever made up, possibly the favorite.  Mark is a good character, too, but he’s a teenage boy, so there’s only so much interesting there can be about him.  And there are other, secondary characters about whom I hadn’t thought in some time, but upon re-encountering them, they are quite fun.

One of these, who has just arrived in the story, is Ray, a powerful psychic and wise advisor with a quirky attitude, who wears two pairs of glasses—one on his eyes and one on his forehead—and is based almost entirely on a person I met at the place on Gun Club Road, in Palm Beach County**.  That guy had two pairs of glasses, because the county didn’t provide bifocals, and he wore them both at once (one on his eyes, the other stored on his forehead) because it was just easier, since pockets were not an option.  He was quite wise in his way, and he gave me permission to use him in the book.

I also have a character whose nickname is New York—he appears later in the book—who is based on another person I met there, who asked me if he could be in the story, and if he could save the day.  So he is in the book, and he does save the day, and I was happy to let him do that, because he was a pleasant guy, and quite funny.

Cat only knows where those guys are now.

As I reread Mark Red, I find myself thinking that maybe, if I do decide to write something else, I should write the next book in that series.  I have no less than two sequels thought out for it.  Book two would have, I think, the subtitle “Marcus”, and book three would be “Primogenitor”.  Obviously, I already have a general idea for what would happen in the books, though the specifics are almost always a surprise.

I don’t really expect to write any more fiction, though, any more than I expect to write any more songs.  Possibly I’ll never play the guitar again.  I may not even play anything on the “piano” again.  Currently, my keyboard is basically just a small piece of furniture on top of which I store various random items, and underneath which I have stacked much of my small collection of “real” books.

When I think of the many hundreds of books I used to have (not counting comic books and manga and other graphic novels), it’s a bit sad.  But it’s not as sad as losing the real piano my then-in-laws gave me as a medical school graduation present***, and the cello I had played since high school, and the various toys and other things from my kids’ young days.  I guess I have my memories of all those things, though they more often make me sad than happy, largely since I don’t get to see and interact with my kids now.

Oh, well.  Life’s like that, I suppose.  I can’t recommend it unreservedly.  If someone is considering it, I can only say, caveat emptor.  I’ve certainly never assumed that I have any right to be happy or to be comfortable, and people who do seem to think they have such rights seem almost always to be irritating.

It would be nice, though, to have a life that at least was sometimes pleasant and interesting—not in the “may you live in interesting times” sense—and if I had someone with whom I could talk about things that interest me, or that interest that person, or both.  It would be nice to spend time with my kids, most of all.

I suppose if I were a person who had any sense of entitlement, I might push the issue somewhat, but I’m not really built that way, and don’t know how to connect with people even when I want to do it.  I’ve certainly never found much enjoyment in stereotypical social interactions.  And the thought of making any major changes, like trying to pick up and move and start over somewhere else, seems far more daunting than, for instance, trying to bring the One Ring to Mount Doom or whatever.  I almost had a nervous breakdown just when my housemate moved out and then I had to move my stuff into the back room from my front room and the new people moved into the rest of the house.

Seriously, if something like that (or worse) happened again, I think I’d want just to going into some field somewhere and try to lie down and stay there, like when Anne Rice’s vampires “go into the Earth” or whatever that was.  I’ve said it before, but I wish I could just go dormant and sleep and do nothing else until either I was fully rested, or forever, whichever came first.

And, as I’ve also said before, if wishes were horses, we’d all be buried in horse shit.  And that doesn’t sound all that restful.

Mark Reed and Morgan

*All of which, of course, could be undone by anyone who can simply unlock the lock on the U-shaped lock thingy.  But the bike rack really is right near the entrance, where there is heavy foot traffic, and anyone who possesses the skills to pick a lock like that rapidly, in broad daylight, with people coming and going, is so impressive that, while I won’t say they deserve to get the bike—they do not—I will say that something dreadful must have happened in their lives for them to be reduced to stealing bikes by the entrance to the train station.  They are already living their punishment, I suspect.

**You can look it up if you want.  The most positive thing to say about it is that it would be an excellent place to ride out a hurricane…or a nuclear attack.  It’s a sturdy building.

***It wasn’t new—they were far from wealthy.  They had bought it many years before in case any of their kids wanted to learn how to play, but alas, none of them did.  So, when the time came, since I could play, they gave it to me, and it was a truly wonderful gift.

I didn’t write a blog post yesterday

Well, it’s Tuesday, and I’m back to writing on my laptop—the computer, that is, not the upper surface of my thighs when I’m seated.  Writing on those would not only be rather bizarre, but I think it would be quite difficult to upload such writing to WordPress without first retyping it, anyway.  And if I’m going to do that, I might as well just write my posts out longhand on paper before typing them in.  I sometimes consider doing that, but the time required is prohibitive.

I was off sick yesterday, which is why I didn’t write a blog post.  I had a migraine, with nausea, though somewhat regrettably, I did not find myself able to throw up.  So I laid on the floor with the lights off and the blinds drawn for a little more than half the day.

I’m going to be riding the bus to the train station this morning, though I was tempted to try my bike, because I got this new, portable, electric, USB rechargeable air pump on which you can set your goal pressure and it pumps up to that pressure very quickly then stops.  It came fully charged and worked beautifully on my scooter tires—then the scooter battery turned out to be dead, so I couldn’t use it.

I was frustrated, so I tried it on the bike and realized that, despite my earlier attempts, I had previously underinflated the tires a bit.  So, I rode the bike to 7-11 Sunday (and back—no need to leave it there), and I had no noticeable exacerbation of my back pain.

However, the trip to 7-11 is shorter than to the train station and back, and I’m a bit too nervous to do the latter today…cats walking on hot stoves and all that.  Anyway, I’m writing the beginning of this post (now) in my room in the house, but will probably finish it at the bus stop*, depending on how fast I write, which is, to be fair, pretty fast.

I started taking Saint John’s Wort again this weekend—it’s possible that’s what gave me a belly-ache on Sunday and then might even have contributed to my migraine yesterday, though I’m skeptical of that.  Still, it’s not as though any other antidepressant ever failed to give me side-effects, and most of the others require a prescription.

I tried the curcumin stuff, but it gave me stomach problems almost immediately, so that was a miss.  I’ve got Sam-E, or however they write that stuff, but it’s more of a supplement to treatment or whatever and I’d rather not start it at the same time as the SJW**.  Anyway, since “the wort” (as in “going from bad to wort”?) was the first and most effective antidepressant I’ve taken, so I’ll try it again as, potentially, the last antidepressant I take.  I simply cannot go on the way I am.

I’ve been trying to do mindfulness meditation, as you may know, and when I do it helps a bit.  I also try not to let myself by constantly distracted by other things from it when I’m at work, and it seems to be somewhat useful as far as it goes.  One of the biggest benefits to meditation is that it seems to make me less grumpy at the office, and less stressed out when people interrupt something I’m working on to ask me to do something unrelated, derailing my train of thought and my work process and everything.  I still dislike those things, but at least I don’t feel like I want to lash out at the people involved with teeth and fists and claws and everything to make them go away.  Well…I do feel like I want to, but I can at least keep from letting it show in my voice.

I think it only shows to me, anyway.  I don’t think other people ever really pick up on what’s going on in my head.  I feel like it ought to be obvious to everyone that I’ve been depressed and self-harming and feel suicidal and all that, but no one really says anything, and when I mention such things, people seem to think I’m joking.

I suppose I have only myself to blame for that latter problem; I have a dark and somewhat morbid sense of humor, and I guess my delivery must be pretty deadpan whether I’m joking or not.

Here’s a hint, in case anyone is paying attention:  If I ever say that I hate my life and feel like I want to kill myself, and to hurt myself, and wish I would catch pneumonia or cancer or trip in front of an oncoming car or just drop dead—even if I sound like I’m joking, even if I am joking—I do mean it.  It may not be the whole story of me.  Obviously it isn’t, because I’m not dead yet, but it is true, nevertheless.  I hate myself, and a big part of why I haven’t actively sought out help or whatever, or at least not much, is that I really don’t like myself, and don’t want help, or rather, can’t let myself seek help because I don’t think I deserve it.

I have no sense of anything like a future for myself; I can’t imagine a life even one year down the road, even one in the autumn of this year.  I can’t imagine another birthday.  I have no image of my own future life in my mind.  It’s just a fog of emptiness and entropy.

Anyway, that’s that.  Go ahead, take it as a joke or as the mind drippings of a dealer in melodrama.  I missed yet another potential palindromic digit sequence in recording numbers at the office last week, and it’s getting old even hoping for one, however fun it would be.  If one appeared today, I don’t  think it would matter (though it’s not possible, currently).  What’s the point?  Is getting eight digits that read the same front to back as the recording number on an audio recording verification system really a good enough reason to stay alive?

I mean, I like fun with numbers and everything, but they only have so much charm.  Hell, there’ve been at least two new Numberphile videos with Professor Grime, one of my favorites, and I haven’t bothered to watch either of them.  I couldn’t give a shit.

That’s not a good sign, in case you didn’t know.

Anyway, it’s getting about time to leave for the bus stop, and I’m already at over a thousand words in the first draft of this.  I do type quickly, and when I can just write what I think pretty much as I think it, as I do with these blog posts, it comes fast.  It’s much easier and quicker than speaking, ironically.  Unfortunately, fewer and fewer people seem to read anymore.  They all want to watch five minute smartphone videos on Instagram or TikTok or whatever, with their annoying, vertical aspect ratios that just don’t really work to make a watchable tableaux of anything but some juvenile face, most of the time.

There are a few brilliantly funny videos, I’ll admit, but they are short.

There are reasons both movies and TV are wider than they are tall and always have been.  A lot of it has to do with the fact that we evolved in a world where all the stuff with which we can interact is within a fairly narrow vertical range but a functionally unlimited one horizontally.  We and other animals don’t do much going up or down relative to moving along the surface of the ground.  Even flight takes place within a range much narrower than the horizon is wide.

But because smartphones are relatively effortless—and thus mindless—people make all those stupid vertical videos.  Heck, I’ve done it myself.  See?

video screenshot

Anyway, that’s enough of that.  Who knows what will come next.  I’m giving myself a last chance with the Saint John’s Wort, but it may be just enough to give me the will to make an end, who knows?  Prediction is difficult, especially about the future.  Maybe this blog will all be the beginning of a truly long course of writing, and maybe it will be the final records of a mind headed for catastrophic failure and death.  The latter seems more likely to me, but I’m unable to be objective about it.

Thank you all for reading, anyway.  You know who you are:  you’re the ones reading, and thus the only ones who will be thanked.  That’s kind of convenient, at least.

*I finished it at the house before leaving.

**Saint John’s Wort, that is.  It has nothing to do with “social justice” or the warriors thereof.  I’m not even sure that’s a coherent term, “social justice”.  Perhaps it’s merely a redundant one.  What’s the alternative?  Anti-social justice?  Asocial justice?  Solitary justice?  It’s weird.