Thursday, December 15, 2016

Donaldo had a bit of an emergency yesterday. Ended up in the hospital. Loss of balance, slurring of speech, tingling in the extremities and face. Sounded like a mini-stroke to me, but after a barrage of tests and scans, the physicians detected nothing. Donaldo recovered quickly and was well enough to be released that afternoon.

Quite strange.

My mother had called me, panicked. I felt concern, but nothing like I might have expected. I remember thinking that a stroke could very well kill him; I understood the gravity of the situation. Having lost one brother already, I didn't think I would be this calm.

I think it's because we're both soldiers. We have both signed up to risk our lives for whatever reason before. The decision has already been made. The military is not the rest of life, of course; the rest of life lacks formality. Life just assumes that every participant has signed on for all the risks and rewards; after all, they showed up for it.

The last text I had received from him was while the family group was discussing Christmas plans. "As long as we're all together," he wrote. I despaired for a moment when I read that. The possibility of losing another brother yawned like an abyss before me. I stepped back, though. There will be grief, and suffering, when it is time for it. But not yet.

Monday, December 12, 2016

"Girl you make me want to feel/
the things I've never felt before/"
-Just A Boy, Angus and Julia Stone

The song came on my Pandora station as I sat down to write. I thought I'd share. Radiohead is on now, telling me Don't get any big ideas.

Are these songs dealing with loss, or about the loss that you're going to feel?

Everything by its contrast, again. Not joy exactly, but hope that joy is coming. And how bad you'll feel when hope is lost. These are old men talking to young men. The old men are the fools, if they believe the young men will listen. I say men because the singers are male. Doubtless the impetus is universal.

I've been trying to make it a habit to see my mom every day again. I feel good knowing she's there, but I think we're happier if it's a daily thing.

Walked six miles on Saturday, but only 3 on Sunday. My feet hurt so I took a half-day.

Sibbitt and the family are in town tomorrow. Having a Christmas potluck. I'll likely make carne asada. I'm excited.

Is there anything else? I don't know. I do know that I am still in the habit of double-spacing after a period. Not a thing anymore, thanks to these "living fonts". How do they know?

Penelope, by Pinback. That bass line could groove me back from the dead. The song is about Penelope, and a sea of struggle or something. Water is definitely involved.

Wednesday, December 07, 2016

The tents of heaven lie encamped beyond my mortal gaze, farther than I care to look, where the dust drifts upward.

I read the Hagakure, and wonder at the use of the word "perplexed". This translation by William Scott Wilson seems to be the most widely-known translation, and is more succinct than the other translation I have at home. That other translator honed the meaning to a sword-edge and then used that edge to cut away any ambiguity, like fat from a steak.

A line about trying to avoid the rain concludes "When you are resolved from the beginning, you will not be perplexed, though you still get the same soaking."

Other words would fit easily in perplexed's stead. Angry, annoyed, frustrated, miffed, pissed, rankled. I think perplexed is still the best, for my purposes. Specific reactions are legion, but the categorical situation is not. When things go well, it seems that few people question the outcome and assume things are going right. When things do not go as desired, almost all will conclude that it should not be thus, and have ready a list of reasons why to rattle off to the nearest observer.

This disruption of thought is why I like the word perplexed. Thought is finite, and to use this precious resource to desire a world in which things are other than what is will still not affect the now, the one moment of existence, is a risky thing.

Certainly there is a time to for such things, but we're talking about a rainstorm here.

Tuesday, December 06, 2016

Ender and Remy had their first orchestra performance last night at Holdeman. They did well, I think. I couldn't really see.

I remember learning those songs, and I remember performing them. I had zero talent for the violin and no motivation, so I focused on looking like I knew what I was doing. It worked out well for this third chair. Oh yeah, I was actively rebelling against playing the damn thing, but Mother clearly wanted a Von Lopez Family Band.

The crowd was rowdy, but there was a crowd. Standing room only and all that. I think the boys had fun. When I did these things I remember mostly wanting to get out of there as quickly as possible. I don't think I even had any friends in my orchestra class. Nobody actively disliked me, but I was not like them. Perhaps it will all have been worth it if I ever learn to play the banjo. That'll show them. Show them all.

I didn't walk yesterday. My day off.

Still don't know what to do for the New Year. Stay home or go out or neither. Rage against the temporal tyranny.

Monday, December 05, 2016

Tired, grumpy, and miserable. And also happy, because I enjoy feeling bad once in a while. Nothing exists in itself, and I were to flatter myself that I am all over comfortable, and have been so for a long time, then I cannot be said to be comfortable any more.

I did zero hole-drilling this weekend. Yet I can't fight it much longer. Unperturbed drywall, bearing little other than itself, arrogant and red. It heaps me.

Walked 11 miles on Saturday. Then only 4 on Sunday. Sunday was malaisy, broodish, and thinly-lit. The twins came over and got really into Narnia game for the PS3, Prince Caspian I think. They proclaimed it the best game ever, until we all got stuck on this damn river-crossing part. I warned them about movie tie-in games, and now they're experiencing it again.

What now, then?

Feeling a bit closed in. The usual winter melancholy, probably. Or I could be getting sick. I'm so often allergic and so rarely sick, I forget what it feels like to truly need to take time to recuperate. Maybe I should go to bed earlier.

Disorder, perhaps. Generally I'm comfortable in it, only this time I lack the artistic credibility to justify it. A mere slovenly sloth, no suffering creator here. You want the next house over.

I worried sublimation would be a slippery slope.

Friday, December 02, 2016

Listening to The Dead Flag Blues. The song has dialogue from what may someday become a film. Most dialogue never becomes film.

It's moody and bleak and I am hesitant to write while it plays. Don't want to depress myself for no reason.

The dogs need a bath. I shall endeavor to bathe them this weekend, during the sunniest part of the day.

More ideas for remodeling are stirring about my head. I think some part of me got the impression that I have a workshop and can actually attempt these things. Alas, I do not. Maybe I can get a workbench at least. Ooh, and a vise. I love a good vise. Maybe a little anvil. Annoy the neighbors.

Thursday, December 01, 2016

Eight miles. Walked 8 miles and my shoulder hurts for some reason. Must have slept pretty hard last night.

Wednesday, November 30, 2016

What is the measure of success? Having the fewest regrets? Not many objective measures once I leave the realms of biology, geology, and physics. Given how I feel moment-to-moment, I am wary of anything that factors in my emotional state. Some NPR article or perhaps a bumper sticker mentioned that when a person is on their deathbed, they always say they should have spent more time with their family and loved ones. I understand that sentiment, certainly. I think that's common because the people in question are at the end of their story and they can look at it with the eye of an editor instead of as the artist.

We only get the 1st draft of our life; after that it's up to the editors. If we're lucky maybe even a soundtrack. Your Life: The 2-Disc Album: A 120-Minute Slice of Forever. Or something equal parts epic and vague. We don't want people deciding if they should like it or not before they listen to it.

It just has to be experienced.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Didn't make it to 10 miles yesterday. Stopped a little after six. It was getting late. Maybe save the big walks for the weekends. Six miles takes about two hours.

I'm taking my work break a little earlier than usual. Some brain magazine about thinking stuff suggests that our meager human brains can go about 90 minutes before they get attention-fatigue and need a quick recharge. I go about 3 hours in between breaks. I'm aware that I check my phone more often at about Hour 2. Get more easily distracted. Or maybe my brain is at war with itself.

I like being focused. Perhaps my ability to suppress my rage at being interrupted diminishes as the day goes on. Also there are fewer coworkers about. My cubicle mate has a habit of taking personal calls at her desk. My noise-canceling headphones are good, but they're not as good at blocking out human voices. I should just get a motorcycle helmet. Safety first.

I spent some time last night reading old blog posts about Luis. Living at home was a wealth of Luis Lore. We'd laugh so much.

Last night I went over to my mom's house to get some stuffing. It's pretty much regular bread stuffing with sausage in it. Throw a couple over-easy eggs on it, you got yourself a stew. Barbara and the nephews came over too. I also snagged some flan. Bizarre desert, how I love you.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Ten miles walked on Saturday. Ten miles walked on Sunday. A little stiff and a little sore. Just have to do it 298 more times. Along the way I'll probably become the greatest Call of Duty player that ever walked 3,000 miles. Might have to start a league.

Blister is almost healed. There was spot that was rubbing my heel in my shoe. I covered it with a bit of duct tape and it hasn't bothered me since.

Thanksgiving has come and gone. I enjoyed spending time with my family, and Kelly's. I also went to a memorial for Kelly's grandfather on Saturday. It was at ASU, where he taught. It went well, I think. The grief was not as raw, it seemed.

I've started tinkering a bit around the house again. Time to get rid of some things, maybe drill some more holes in the wall. I bet I could squeeze a wall-mounted computer desk behind the treadmill. Walk walk walk, shower, then sit and write. Just like old times.

Something appealing about a cramped room.

Wednesday, November 23, 2016

A town overrun by beasts. The people bar themselves inside at night and burn incense to ward away the nightmare creatures. I know the feeling.

Image of a man sitting in a small room, listening to soft ambient music and a police scanner.

Grin Verdigris.

Thanksgiving tomorrow. I think I promised to make something. But what? Hash browns would be good. Everyone loves those. Non-mash potatoes are in right now.

The miasma of the holidays does not lie as heavy upon me this year. I wonder why. The memory of Luis is still there. Some years ago, probably noted in this very blog, I contemplated giving my mom a compilation of the stories I wrote about Luis into a book for her. Hell, maybe I should just book the whole thing. The Story of Luis, interrupted many times by some dude writing about hisself. I'll title it Volume II. That'll drive people nuts.

Volume I could be the notebooks, and come out as Volume 3. The bibliography will be whatever happens between now and another ten years. Or my death, whichever comes first. Or the death of the written word, whichever comes firster.

Electrons go on strike.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Madness and rage and more madness still. Working at work without proper pills.

Like the Smile-And-Nod pill, and the Reply-All-Email-Anger suppressant.

Relying too long on this poster of just the words "REMEMBER ALL THAT CRAP YOU WANT TO BUY". What if I buy enough? Can't risk it.

I think what it comes down to is that usually I hate being interrupted, but sometimes I love it. Sometimes I like a battle, other times I like a brawl. Meh.

Bah, I just hopped away from my break to respond to yet another email. The typing starts and doesn't want to stop; put different objects beneath my hands and they will tap tap tap and then delete delete delete. Editing is not a necessary work skill, it seems. Treat this life like a rough draft and hope you remember what you meant when you come back to it. Build it up like a god creating a mountain, then carve out a fortress in your subsequent drafts.

Today, I was ready for the swell of love for family. It came at its usual time, although it fled when I attempted to examine it. Not far, only around the corner.

I've been wearing my WOOT hoodie, with the circulatory system of vines and a heart of falling leaves. Autumn Heart, it's called. I came across it when I was contemplating a Luke Cage costume, the easiest version of a hoodie with bullet holes in it. Turns out he wears a specific brand, Carhartt, which is not the cheapest brand of hoodie. I wanted to be lazy, but the cosplay side of me wanted a little something.

I miss my peacoat hoodie, but it is eaten by Marceline the dog and is gone. In hindsight I could have easily made that into a bullet-ridden costume. I check for it on Amazon now and then. Maybe I could get a peacoat and wear it over this hoodie. Maybe.

Monday, November 21, 2016

Blisters on these feet. It was a Double-XP Weekend. I walked 8 miles on Saturday and then again on Sunday. Blisters on these feet. The twins came over and played Disney Infinity. They go crazy for that game. No to the point of injuring themselves like I do with my game, but still.

It's rainy and cloudy today. I would walk outside during my break but the blisters are rebelling against my dress shoes. I'll sit for a bit.

My walking shoes are wearing out. Contemplating some new ones. Also, my hand hurts a bit from the controller. There are some 3rd party controllers coming out. I've got my eye on the Nacon Revolution.

I got Kelly a Chromebook for Christmas. I gave it to her already. I see no reason for her to have to wait until the arbitrary gift-giving day. There are computations waiting to be done now.

I spent much of the weekend watching anime analysis videos on YouTube. I didn't follow much news. It's been less interesting since there's so much about the President-Elect. It's a lot of nobody knowing what's going on. I say sit back, relax, and let the crazy will come to you.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Fire up the mixtape. I don't have the mixtape? I'll just YouTube the songs I can remember. Hope the ads don't spoil the mood.

There's got to be an app that makes writing visible in real-time. I mean, an electronic app for electronic writing. It's already that way in a notebook; scratching out words, adding ideas in the margins, treading multiple paths before backtracking and settling on one.

The Delete Key erases every other possibility. Other paths, really, because those possibilities were actualized for a moment or two. Then deleted, electrons scattered, no trace that I can find again. Not that notebooks are much better. The ones I have sit on my bookshelves, a tiny time machine transporting the person who wrote them further and further away from me.

No late nights. Now I write on work breaks. Flounder for fifteen minutes and then refill my water bottle. Eventually descend into the abstract in the hopes that the meaning will emerge from the brambles later.

My surroundings are too concrete. Too many blank walls. Half-walls. I can see over the top, even climb over them if I have to. So far it hasn't been necessary.

Lost sight of the audience. Only echoes left to argue with, in vain, in vain.

Thursday, November 17, 2016

Last night I dreamed I had to perform some complex calculations. I sat at my computer, then sighed. "This thing only knows what I know," I said.

I think I'll have to look into soundproofing the game room. Not proofing, but buffering. Foam on the walls and such. Stop the echoes.

Spatial reasoning.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

To paraphrase Solaris, "That kind of courage would be a sign of cowardice."

It isn't the writing that's difficult; it's the thinking. Going about the day with a running monologue, that "top-level" voice that is kind of my own and kind of not, I guess I should say that voice is what I think I sound like, but suspect I don't. Hearing your own voice on a tape recorder kind of thing.

A writer is the proper cluster of habits, not all of them good for anything else.

Sitting. Schedule. Freedom from distraction. Immersion therapy.

Annual Reviews at work. Why do I dread them so? I hate feeling like I have to justify myself. Can't anyone see the hundreds of hours of effort? Then emerge, shake off, step back. Perhaps nobody knows what they're even looking for and they're hoping these self-evaluations will reveal it. Suppose this is just a measure of how much effort one can put into an otherwise pointless task? Time for a review, dig a hole then fill it back up GO!

Luckily for me, I'm an exceptional employee, above-average, elite, just like everyone else.

Brian Y. sent me an article from Slashdot, I think, about why incompetent people still think they're exceptional. I haven't read it yet. Maybe I'm afraid I'll learn that I'm incompetent. More incompetent, I guess.

I'm pretty good at some stuff. Not very good at all the rest. Not yet anyway.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

We made breakfast burritos at work for Ben's birthday. I was in charge of the potatoes. I cheated, of course, and bought hash browns. Cooked them on the skillet we have in the break room, and once they're crispy I throw them in the pan with the rest of the eggs and chorizo and break them up with the spatula. Then you got soft potato and crispy bits too.

Ben was happy, and I was full. It was good.

Last night I dreamed Lauren and I were watching "Solaris", the 2002 film. The character Kelvin had a short white beard that he did not have in the film in the waking world. I reached through the television and patted his beard. "I guess this movie was made 15 years ago," I said. Lauren flipped around and watched the tv upside down and laughed.

I looked up the film today and saw that my dream-self was off by a year. Pretty close, but still wrong.

Solaris speaks of mirrors. Borges writes of mirrors. I dream of mirrors. What do you see when you look in the mirror? A man? A human? A mirror, I said.

I just see a mirror.

Monday, November 14, 2016

Paying my rent to Leonard Cohen, in dollars and lint.

He speaks of the Tower of Song, the God of Song. I feel his obsession through the plinking piano and tick of the drums. Steady, steady, a river forever flowing to the ocean.

I think it's time to stop working overtime. 8 hours a day, leave at 2:30, pick up the nephews, do my walking and finish in time to visit my mom. That would be good.

On the plus side, I've become much better at Call of Duty: Infinite Warfare multiplayer. Team Deathmatch is all I really play. I was doing pretty poorly before, and it turns out my sensitivity was set way too high. Now I even come in first place a few times a day.

Sleeping and dreaming have become separate things. As if I save all my dreaming for the weekends. Might be for the best. The lingering feelings and impossible puzzles can take up a lot of my processing power. Where I can feel my brain working but I'm not sure what it's working on. Like a noisy upstairs neighbor.

I need the mental equivalent of a broom to knock against the ceiling.

Friday, November 11, 2016

Reading Borges in which characters discuss the effect of time on poetry and that time enriches the poem. Surely this applies to other writing. The words and situations may change, but the feeling of the moment endures. Every star builds a pillar of light.

We are mirrors for this light.

Monday, November 07, 2016

There was a feeling, fleeting, that I considered leaving my bed to capture. I didn't, and now it's gone.

My writing desk is functional. Now it sits next to the treadmill and PS4, and the 48 inch TV. Now all I need is a decent computer chair. Maybe two.

Sound-proofing, maybe, and an AC unit. It gets pretty warm in there when I'm walking.

Friday, November 04, 2016

Time starts and stutters, abstracts in its old age. Hardly ever stays out late anymore.

Thursday, November 03, 2016

Once I was lost in a library that contained all the books that will ever be written. I searched for my own, of course, but the spines showed only the titles, stamped in silver foil, not the names of the authors. Many of the words were alien to me, though I could read them all. Their meanings didn't yet exist, not for me.

After hours of searching, I gave up. Maybe I never wrote a book. And if I did, what good would it do to read it? I'd still have to write it myself eventually.

I escaped the labyrinth of books by morning.

Wednesday, November 02, 2016

Spent part of the afternoon discussing perception and reality with Ben O. I think we made some progress.

Might be time to obtain a new computer desk. Something little and lean for laptop writing. Next to my bed, because that's where it belongs.

Work it into the routine. Work, come home, walk/play video games, eat dinner, write, shower, read, bed. That could work out.

Modify it for the weekend, start with walk/play video games, go from there. Naps are important.

Early voting ballot is still in progress. So many judges. Still something unsettling about electing judges. Shouldn't I not be able to influence the interpretation of the law by rejecting those I don't agree with? Everything's arguable, of course, but precedent leads to precedent.

Better stick to the current plan of avoiding judges entirely.

Movie theaters and battlegrounds.

Sunday and yesterday I felt what I still recognize as depression. Wisps of it cling to me today. I've learned that I can slow down, even a lot, but as long as I keep moving I come out of it. As much as I can, I guess. Desire comes and goes, yet my tree of stubbornness is perennial, and bears fruit always. Habit and routine and hungry dogs that wake me up for breakfast also help.

Monday, October 31, 2016

This Halloween I do not feel like myself. Only unusual thing this weekend was the couple of drinks I had. I guess it has been a while since I've had any alcohol. Months. It doesn't come up often enough for me to compare. Wait, last month I had a Hibiscus, cranberry juice and champagne. Just one.

People at work expressed disappointment at my lack of costume. After my elaborate costume last year, they were expecting something even more dark and sinister. I've been contemplating going up to them and whispering "You will outlive everyone you love." That would be scary. Especially if I could shed a single tear. Yes, a fortune teller. Throw some dice, flip some coins, consult some tea leaves, and then shed the tear and whisper. Unsettling at least.

I can't remember where I heard the line. I think it was Adventure Time? Somebody needed the crystal tears of a turtle. Oh, Cake the Cat making flapjacks. That was one of the ingredients she gathered.

I could try and reassure them that the fortunes aren't true because time is an illusion, but that never makes people feel better.

Blogger didn't always have the Autosave feature. I remember losing posts because the Publish failed. Doubtful that it really matters. I assume there's a regression to the mean in all things, and after ups and downs everything will start coming out roughly the same.

Friday, October 28, 2016

Send in diamonds and traps. That's what they really need.

Nerve and spleen and woven wicker legs.

Ticking clocks can simulate a heartbeat, digital clocks simulate an emptiness.

Anvil. Bear. Cardigan. Dredge. Ephemera. Flower, red plastic fabric hair clip that smelled like you for months. Glowing streetlights. Hair across your face. Intimacy in stolen spaces. Jargon. Kelp. Late nights. Moon rocks. No idea how that movie ended. Over. Past present future tense. Quiet snoring. River rocks. Sparring partner. Tango. Ulterior cake. Vesper. Wilco. Exact. Years and years. Zzz...

Thursday, October 27, 2016

Sometimes things are going well...suspiciously well. It's probably nothing to not worry about.

I can close my eyes and feel like I'm at some center point, an equal distance from everything.

It's soothing AND unsettling.

Send out a thought like casting a line for a fish. See what it snags.

My commute to work is similar to my old job at the animal rescue. The street I work on, Utopia, is also well known to me. Every morning my drive is paved with memories. Racing against my own ghosts. Sometimes I wonder whose ghost I am, what future self is looking back on me. Memory is strange like that. It seems like we shouldn't remember the future.

What then, perspective? Is all this perspective colluding to cloud my present vision? I sit in my center looking out, while circled by possible selves looking in? None of us doing anything but looking, knowing that if we were going to do something we would have already done it? That whatever is going to happen may as well have already happened, because we're stuck here, trapped between mirrors?

It's probably for the best that we're all ghosts to each other. We'd probably irritate ourselves so much we'd engage in frequent fisticuffs and get nothing done.

Walking on the treadmill while playing games doesn't allow my mind to wander much. I wonder if that's a problem. The once-myriad possibilities are solidifying, like egg yolk on a china plate.

Might not be so bad; might be a little less crowded, at least.

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

I have no idea what's going on. Extensive rearranging and redecorating is happening around the house. Partly inspired by Halloween and the party Kelly is throwing. We're throwing. I'm throwing it too, of course, but I'm so unreliable around the holidays it's possible I'll just take 3 shots immediately, then get tired and go lie down like last year.

No costume has inspired me. I went as Eileen, Hunter of Hunters from Bloodborne last year. I spent a couple hundred bucks and 2 weeks building it. Not so this year. Nothing has struck me in the fancy.

My poor, unstruck fancy.

Shout-Out to Erma. I got the expansion for Betrayal at House On the Hill: Widow's Walk. We must play.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Breakfast today is Kroger brand CHEESE ON CHEESE crackers. Methinks they doth say cheese too much.

I miss my Blogger friends. Kermit, methinks, where be ye? Actually, methinks I'm friends with on Facebook, the site that slew the blogosphere. My imagined blogosphere. What probably slew it most slewenly was the issues I was having with my blog template and the loss of links. I feel like I have my old template somewhere in my email. Dig up the links, brush off their bones, and display them in a cabinet of oddities, reliquaries of the sainted mind-collective.

It's a lot harder to speak alone. To yourself. It makes a very lonely letter. And yet the livestream status updates twitter thoughts and emoticon torrents seem a natural response to the lumbering gait of the blogs. The writing I loved was born of a time where mornings and evenings at home were the natural time to go online. Going online easily usurped the television watching of the evening in particular. The bustle of the day done, stray thoughts would band together during dinner and then boom! A nascent pondering would grow.

We're all Ben Franklins now, with quips and quotes. Computers in our pockets, reading while we do other things. Nuance is the real victim here. Creating a mood, engaging entirely with the imagined mind of the imagined reader. It was confidential disclosures in bed with friends. Now it's more like high-fives as we ride past each other on opposite escalators.

Which means, perhaps, that I'm free again. No one is reading. No one is talking back. I can say anything to anyone. The full circle of the electric thought. Funes, His Memory. As much forever as I care to remember, exactly how I want to remember it. In time, the memory will replace the truth, but that's already how it works anyway.

Monday, August 22, 2016

Jessica was in the states to sell a house or something and Kelly and I met up with her at Four Peaks. My friend Aaron asked me if I was still writing. I blinked in surprise. "A little," I said. "I've been trying to get back into it, but I'm really out of practice."

"Where do you go writing?" he asked.

"Where do I...Oh! Riding. No, I don't ride anymore. I wrecked my bike a long time ago."

Also I ate a hamburger. It was delicious.

* * * * *

The game room is still under development. My little corner is set up great with my treadmill, speaker, PS4, X-Box, and PS3 access. Mostly I've been playing the PS4. The various calls of dutys. There are more practical games to play while walking, I'm sure. There will be time for those.

* * * * *

I spent some time this weekend arranging the furniture. Still several boxes of crap that I keep peeking into, still can't decide what to do with, and continuing to ignore. All the stories recently of flooding, people losing all their possessions, and even their entire homes, makes me want to elevate everything. At least the electronics. My figurines would survive a dousing.

Maybe I should stack a few shipping containers. That would be awesome. I need to stop spending money on toys and start saving up for those.

Wednesday, August 17, 2016

Ender was getting headaches and Barbara took him to get his blood drawn. He panicked and they were unable to get any of his blood, only lots of tears and excuses. We all went together the following Saturday morning. At one point I said, "Me squeezing your shoulder hurts more than the needle will." I am sure I've mentioned it, but for those looking for parenting advice and/or operant conditioning for dummies, I never hit the twins as punishment. The pressure point on their shoulder was my go-to. It's like spanking, I know, but it minimizes the ritualization.

Thus, as Ender is sitting on my lap, he begins to panic again. He twists, shouts, and insists that he suddenly has to use the bathroom. I'm holding him and then he says "Squeeze my shoulder!" I'm like whaaaaat but he says it again, "Memo, squeeze my shoulder!" So I do. Not as hard as I usually do, but hard enough. He stops moving enough for the techs to draw two vials of blood, and then we're done.

I mused on it later. During their conditioning, I've told them several times what I'm doing: "I'm training you. I'm not saying you're bad or good, it's just action and consequence. When you get older, you can choose to reject your training. But even then, you'll still have it available to you."

Were they actually paying attention to the idealized parenting philosophy I'd been spouting as I attempted to care for them? I don't know. At least it worked out this time.

His blood was fine, by the way. A little high in excuses, but who isn't?

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

The thing about making love to music is that eventually you're going to hear it again. Sitting at work, in a clothing store, or driving, you'll be hit with a wave of physical memories. We're used to remembering events, but this is a deeper memory, the ghosts of sharp breaths and sweat and skin on skin. The scent and the taste. Muscles remember the rhythms of pulling pushing pulsing.

The ghost of you and her.

It will fade, however, as it becomes a memory of a memory. Mirrors reflecting each other into infinity, and darkness.

It wasn't always music. Sometimes it was a movie.

Monday, August 15, 2016

To Do:
Make a list of all the things that will never be the same.
Make a list of all the things that I never want to forget.

If walls are raised around them, find a way to climb over.

Pull them close to me.

There were ways to link to others. Surely there are others.

I should stop at the store on my way home. I may want something to eat besides quesadillas and pie. Surely there is some other circular food that can sustain me. Pizza. Perfect. And maybe some gel inserts for my shoes. Standing at my desk all day combined with walking all evening is painful to the soles.

My knee stopped hurting, at least. I could pick you up again.
I'm so hungry my stomach hurts. Strange, I had a piece of apple pie this morning for breakfast. Pie, why have you forsaken me? It's likely all the water I've been drinking. Yesterday's walk was long and I can't be sure I'm properly hydrated again. Today should be better. I have the big water bottles now.

I was just online looking for a mechanical keyboard to hook up to this Chromebook. I prefer the mechanical keyboards. At least I think I do. The chiclet keys are fond to my fingers. Maybe I don't know what I like.

Portability was the whole point of this. Take it with me so it's as easily available as a notebook. A notebook with an internet connection. What if I have a great idea without an internet connection? Mostly I don't, so I'm not worried.

I've been trying to be less argumentative. People make statements, and instead of a truth value of TRUE or FALSE, I apply a score, like the Olympics. Coming to the correct conclusions with faulty logic, for example, scores higher than a wrong conclusion based on non-facts. Still get my mental exercise. And as a bonus I can isolate their faulty premises and apply a "Conviction Score." If they want to believe it real bad, there's little I can do about it. We find a way.

Invisibilia, the podcast, did a bit on personality. I listened to it while I walked. Personality is malleable, they say. Interesting.
Walking for what feels like forever. Listening for what feels like forever. Everything's a middle. Can't remember the beginning, can't see the end.

Then it does end and it's been 7 miles. Counting vertical feet, apparently, but still pretty good.

I ordered a 24 inch monitor to use at work. Triple screens make me triple mean. According to the tattoo on my lower back. In Ye Olde English font, naturally.

Went to Kelly's grandma's memorial service on Saturday. 7th-Day Adventist church. Lots of vegans. This church kept a bible in their pews (unlike the handful of other churches I had been to for weddings and other impossible-to-get-out-of occasions.

The nephews came over on Saturday evening to play video games and hang out. They came over on Friday, too. We went out and got pizza. The Olympics was on, and we watched. I didn't go in to work like I meant to, but that's because I had some very important sleeping to do.


Meteor showers every night that I do not awake to watch.

Friday, August 12, 2016

Habits maketh man. It is written in the Hagakure "Even if one's head were to be suddenly cut off, he should be able to do one more action with certainty." That belief that enough determination and preparation will drive you forward though you are beyond reasoning.

The less extreme is also true. Even if one were to be pressured by an unfamiliar environment, he will probably do what his habits lead him to do. Even if he's not really paying attention, he could meander in the general direction of his destination.

Momentum of decisions, like rocket ship thrusters. In space, a push will send you along forever if you let it.

Good thing I'm not in space.

I think. It might be awesome up there; I don't know.

Work has been difficult. Challenging, I should say. It's time to admit that I like crisis. It's a very comfortable state. All sorts of momentum to push me along.

You're the apple of my eye/you're the apple of my eye
-Some song by The Foals

It hurts to type on this. Hands have been spoiled by my mechanical keyboard. Or maybe I'm just pushing too hard on the chiclet keys. No resistance like my machine keys. Soft and squish.

You're the apple of my eye.

Thursday, August 11, 2016

Brain is on fire. The good kind of on fire.

Productivity in the 3rd Quarter is down, according to reports. Or a report. That big report that comes out that everyone talks about. They save all those giant reports and burn them for warmth in winter.

I'm trying to be more productive. Not sure how to cultivate it. It starts with sleep, I think. 7.5 hours of sleep gets me about 4 hours of "overdrive" before I slip back into normal mode. Overdrive is fun; I try to hold more and more tasks in my mind. Like a computer screen with a bunch of windows open. How many is too many depends on how much sleep I've had.

Eating a bunch of pie for breakfast also seems to help. Brain energy good for when it's on fire.

I was walking on the treadmill last night and playing Call of Duty: Advanced Warfare. It's become something of a habit. I enjoy the game, and I enjoy the walking. Perhaps there is some part of me that still yearns to be a soldier. With infinite lives. It's a video game, but I think about my character representing a real person with hopes and dreams, and the years of training and struggle it would take to reach the elite ranks of special forces. Then my character runs around a corner and gets wasted by the enemy. During the dying animation the character's imagined life flashes before my eyes.

Pretty well quashes further thoughts of fighting like that again. It was pretty hard on the knees, too.

During the political party conventions, I turned off NPR. I'm interested in politics, but not so much the minutia. The little moments exhaust me. When the rhetoric becomes so calculated it's hard to be objective. Sales and Advertisement of ideas.f

What's most interesting to me is the speed of the rhetoric, the dialogue, the call-and-response. So many people are talking. It's almost like back in the old days of AOL instant messenger. Group chats, with side chats, so many conversations. We loved it.

It's probably all our fault. Heh heh heh.

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Experiment Day 42: The Engine Core

I slept briefly but well. I dreamed in Italian, and in my dream I understood most of it. I'm at work now, a bit early. The sky was cloudy and it strained to turn from black to dusty yellow as the sun rose behind the mountain. The dust drifts upwards.

This is the hour I used to write. This is the hour in which I now write. This is the hour I didn't write. This hour is all hours.

In one of my journals, I used to start with the alphabet. I'd go Ahab Bradbury Chaucer Dickinson Edgar Fahrenheit Gloat Hamstrung Ipswich Journeyman Kilogram Lout Mosaic gNostic Ostrich Planetarium Quartered Render Slake Tongue Umpteenth Vigorous Wainscot Xygote Zeno's paradox.

Something like that.

Tuesday, August 09, 2016

My god I just went in to Livejournal. I barely recognize the place.

It's like wandering through electronic ruins. There was a world here. Now it's gone. Destroyed by the myspace and facebooks. We had to write, then. To show up in the feed. Photos were possible, but not the currency.

Not ruins, maybe, but the cast-off shell of something. What did we grow into? Molted old communications. Dried out husks of hubs. We were writers then. All hands on deck. Now we tap our thoughts, hen pecks. Our writing tools talk back. Whole writing systems spring from the tools available to the culture. Right to left, up and down. With how much care would we plumb our own depths if each text message took a chisel and an hour?

We're running out of things to wonder.

I was a fool to leave you, Liverjournal.
Experiment Day 2. Note to self: Remove the tiny clock on the corner of the screen. It tasks me.

A massive white pickup truck with a license plate that says "SHADWFX". I didn't see the driver, but I either love them or hate them.

Noise-canceling headphones were expensive, but worth it. They put in a solid 6 hours of work every day. The Bose run backup duty when it's quiet, usually in the early morning and following afternoon potlucks.

Reading...nothing right now. Finished a collection of short stories. "Story of Your Life" by Ted Chiang. Probably keep it next to the Borges and the Vonnegut on the nightstand. They would get along. Or they have already gotten along. They are getting along?

Cloudbursts of rain, dusty and abrasive at first. The second rainfall, often in the evening, cleanses. We all sparkle.

Can I do this? Can I keep doing...this? The hours are available. There are wasted moments in a pile in the closet next to dirty laundry and unfolded but clean towels. Remember how to build. Top-down, of course. Hoist the most important sails, lash them to the highest mast, then build the boat beneath the wind and sea as we sail.

There are no long days, she reminded me.

Her gentle admonishments lie, unfolded, in the closet.
Experiments. Very important. Learn by trying. Learn by failing. Mnemonic scar map pictograms.


It's early. Is this time-stamped? I think it is. It used to be. Settings aren't important right now. Early enough that most of the world is out of my way. Drive to work in peaceful cool relative darkness. There was a time when I had no air conditioning, but I forget those days.


How long has it been? Sometimes it feels like I'll see you when I get home. In a dream I remembered your boots. I think you were them. Definitely the hat.

Concrete examples: Treadmill. Incline walking 2.3 MPH. Playing video games and walking. Doing nothing while doing something. Almost looks productive. Veil of ingenious. Momentum works two ways. I can't seem to keep moving, so I move the ground beneath me. My knee hurts. The world whirs beneath, and does not care.

There is no perfect experiment, I suppose.

Sunday, June 19, 2016

I'm in the closet. Feels good.

Writing, I mean. I've spent the afternoon painstakingly constructing a shelf inside my closet that will function as a writing/breakfast nook. It's stuffy, but at least it smells like clean laundry. Also dirty laundry. I keep my dirty laundry in here.

I'm working on a Toshiba Chromebook 2. I ordered it from the internet and the internet delivered it to my house. I'm still getting used to the chiclet keyborad. Reminds me of my very first writing machine. Beep bop boop.

My nephews are playing Minecraft in the gaming room. My closet is in the gaming room.

I am in the closet.

Feels good.

Sunday, March 06, 2016

Gurg has joined the room
(12:57) Gurg: Fashion is a cruel mistress, if mistress she be.
(13:00) Gurg: Long has the human head gone adorned and un-adorned. Earliest recorded instances of hat-wearing is found in the Babylonian temples erected in 1975, with crude cave-drawings depicting human-like shapes with large crescents upon their brows.
(13:02) Gurg: It is unlikely they were comfortable, and most hat-scholars agree that they were not so. However, there is no serious academic that can deny they don't look damn good.
Invited benO
Invited libstrom
Libstrom has joined the room
Ben has joined the room
(13:05) Libstrom: Interesting
(13:05) Ben: We should bring back the egyptian pharoh hat. That looks comfortable and boss.
(13:06) Ben: Also, the historical phrenologists agree that crecent people of Urdu/Babylon had no need for hats.
(13:07) Gurg: Friezes upon the Great Wall of Appalachia, artifically aged to appear over 3,000 years old, depict a caste system in which the lower-castes were forced to wear more and more hats as the upper-casts could not possibly don the great multitude of hats were forever ordering from the hat-making-caste.
(13:07) Gurg: It was a vicous, jaunty cycle.
(13:08) Ben: *edit Urdu is a language from a completely different area. Ur was the city from Mesopotamia.
(13:08) Libstrom: I am not knowledgeable enough to comment
(13:08) Gurg: The hat is its own language.
(13:08) Gurg: PERFECT!
(13:08) Ben: I am hat-illiterate.
(13:09) Gurg: I think you can change the topic, if you wish.
(13:09) Libstrom: Hmmm....
(13:10) Ben: I'm the topicoligist here! Are you licenced to guide discourse?
(13:13) Libstrom: I just said something out loud that sounded very bad
(13:14) Libstrom: "The only way for her not to be a stranger is if she comes."
(13:14) Libstrom: >.<
(13:14) Ben: lol
(13:14) Gurg: She better bring a hat.
(13:15) Libstrom: I'm dying laughing right now
(13:17) Libstrom: Ok I'm done dying now...please continue...
(13:17) Ben: I'm imagining a yellow rain hat, like for a fisherman.
(13:18) Gurg: See, I was thinking of those Dutch hats. The really tall cone ones.
(13:19) Ben: lol
(13:20) Libstrom: In Isabel and I's conversation the sentence was perfectly normal....but, leave it to me to take it out of context.
(13:21) Gurg: Quit taking it out.
(13:22) Libstrom: I need a hat
(13:23) Libstrom: In other news....
(13:25) Ben: Stimulus package.
(13:32) Gurg: In the late 1800s, the denuding of the forests and overfarming of the land created massive swaths of bare earth. Exacerbated by a decade of drought, the autumnal high winds swept the plains mercilessly. This was known as "The Hatless Time."
(13:33) Libstrom: Now I know how Penny feels
(13:33) Ben: I think we should be bullish about the Amazon, we burned and farmed North America to within an inch of its life.
(13:35) Gurg: No thank you Ma'amazon.
(13:35) Gurg: The cursed river flows two directions, despite every law of physics decrying it.
(13:37) Ben: Is this the Illinois river connected to the Missisipi?
(13:38) Gurg: Ben, this is Searching4Truth, not DoneFoundTheTruth.
(13:38) Libstrom: hahahahahahahaha
(13:39) Gurg: Everything I say is a lie.
(13:39) Ben: We should do a live action version of the famous paradox.
(13:40) Gurg: Maybe we're already not doing it right now.
(13:40) Ben: I wouldn't know what you aren't talking about.
(13:41) Libstrom: :-\ I'm not knowledgeable enough to comment
(13:41) Ben: Stop being down on yourself! #libbyisawesome
(13:41) Gurg: I don't believe you.
(13:42) Libstrom: I don't believe him either...
(13:42) Libstrom: #Libbyissometimesawesome
(13:45) Gurg: A Slovakian communications satellite was knocked out of orbit by a grapefruit sized chunk of space debris. As it fell to Earth, its scanners picked up extremely high levels of awesome in the vicinity of Libby. It found some comfort in this, and transmitted the information to Alpha Palmetto, a distant binary galaxy. It felt no fear as it crashed into the red dirt of the Namibian desert, frightening a local goat.
(13:46) Libstrom: Hopefully not a fainting goat...
(13:47) Gurg: The goat did not comment, as it had fainted.
(13:47) Libstrom: nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo
(13:48) Ben: Where were the Checklo in all this?
(13:48) Gurg: And fell into a goat-sized bed. When it awoke, goat milk and cookies were on the tiny night stand next to it. Then work called and told the goat to take the day off to focus on goat stuff.
(13:49) Ben: You just yell like a man and eat garbage. Chill.
(13:51) Gurg: The Checklo could be reached for comment, but refused to speak in any known language. They would only click the knob of an ancient black-and-white TV set. Every channel showed Fox News.
(13:51) Gurg: The TV's power cord dangled in the red dust, plugged into nothing.
(13:52) Ben: I plug the power cord into a grapefruit.
(13:52) Libstrom: Some people say that humans should not drink other animals milk because it's not natural, and they use the example that cows don't drink goat milk...but, in all reality, how often does a cow have the opportunity to drink a goat's milk?
(13:53) Gurg: You are turned into a sky whale. Is this awesome? Y/N
(13:53) Ben: Y!
(13:53) Ben: I mount the sky whale, excelsior!
(13:54) Ben: I think some people do drink goat milk, libby, or at least make cheese.
(13:54) Ben: And if it isn't natural, how come my genes make lactase, an enzyme specifically made to digest milk? That's pretty damn natural.
(13:55) Gurg: You receive the +5 Baleen of Baleful Blades. Super-effective against ogres and mournful dirges.
(13:55) Gurg: Humans naturally put everything in their mouth.
(13:55) Ben: lol, too true.
(13:56) Libstrom: Oh
(13:56) Libstrom: I see.
(13:56) Gurg: Consider the lobster.
(13:56) Libstrom: I thought this was going somewhere else...sorry
(13:56) Libstrom: please continue

Saturday, January 02, 2016

A Deal's A Deal

The artistic thing to do would be to make this deliberately obtuse. Try to seem deep and mysterious; brushed by the feathers of the heralds of the gods. It is cold, and I am weary. The story can tell itself.

The night my dog died, I couldn't sleep. Every story of the house reminded me of her. The first floor when she was a pup, confined as she was by the staircase and her strong but short legs. Her deep dark eyes shining up at me as I ascended to sleep. How her tail would wiggle as she slept with her chin on the first tread, anticipating in dreams the family's descent.

The second floor she mastered by stubborness. I hadn't loved her until she peeked into my study. The fire was low, and I was about throw into it my entire manuscript when she tried, and failed, to leap into my lap. Pitying her pudgy belly and deep gaze, I picked her up. She sat still for a whole minute. Stoic, she sniffed at my overly-romantic tale of love and deception, sitting stillborn next to my typewriter. She whined, and pawed at the keys.


Deftly, good or ill, be quick in your actions. (I wrote, and from here on I will)

At the end of our lives, we do not tally up the right or wrong of things, but the why. Thus, be deft in your actions, swift in your judgement, that those of us waiting to react can do so.

Tallies are for the scorekeepers. We, the privileged few, are the players. Given our lines, we can but interpret, and wiggle an eyebrow or two in defiance of the text.

That is what you taught me, silly pitbull puppy. And if I weep now, it is for the loss of you, and not because in all my intellect, I taught you nothing that you, blind and eager to love, already knew.