Thursday, November 29, 2018

"Snapped together in your landscape
We are heat stains
Magnetized by the night-light-
-as a feather
I would suffer for your landscape
In the moon haze
All that's left are our bloodlines"

-Landscapes, by Talos

I looked up the song on to see what others say about the lyrics. There are currently zero interpretations. Or annotations. Maybe it's not popular enough, or maybe it's one of those songs that feels complete, conclusive, factual in its poetry.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

Ray Bradbury says to write every day. Good advice. Or maybe it's an order. Whatever it is I will follow it.

I can recount a dream I had recently. I was my corporeal self (I'm not always strictly myself in dreams) and trapped in a large Ikea/Costco type store. Massive, multi-level, and no sign of an exit. I was being hunted by a giant humanoid dressed in a black coat and hat. The being was shaped like a man, proportionately, just 8 feet tall. Its face was white, blank, and expressionless. Like it was a plastic mask, but wasn't.

The store was huge, devoid of any other people, and only had safety lights on. I knew I was being hunted, and ran through the aisles, searching. Eventually I found a section that had some tools on display. I grabbed a large saw and held it in both hands, like a staff. I backed up against a wall and waited.

The being appeared directly in front of me. I glared into its flat, black eyes, raised my saw, and let out a hiss from the back of my throat, like a feral cat.

I awoke to the sound of my own hissing. So I guess that worked.

Monday, November 26, 2018

Having a week off of work was good for me. I realized some things. First, I'm running out of ways to rearrange my living room. Second, I need to read more. My brain likes it. Watching YouTube has become my default. Passively consuming assorted bits of entertainment. Niche topics, usually. Could be watching nature documentaries or history. Instead of clips of cartoons.

I joked about purchasing a hideaway bed that folds up into the wall. That way my days off aren't spent entirely in the sack. I'll get up, fold up the bed, get showered and dressed, and then go lie on the couch if I want to keep sleeping in. It will need one of those timer locks like pharmaceutical safes. Goes up at 8 am, doesn't come back down until 7 pm.

Until I devise such a contraption, I'll try to just get up and drink a whole bunch of tea.

Monday, October 15, 2018

Stayed up a little late last night watching "Hold The Dark". Had the front door open. It was cool enough to wear my pea coat, as long as I was only in my underwear. Which I was.

Drank chamomile tea with copious amounts of honey.

Friday, October 05, 2018

Stumbled across a band called "Rainbow Kitten Surprise". Digging it.

Digging other things. Ditches and holes. Or I would be if I weren't trying to avoid injuring my feet. Walking every day gives me very little in the way of recovery time.

Might be time for new shoes.

Monday, October 01, 2018

We can speak of neglect. A lack of proper attentiveness. Stagnation. Everything is connected.

This weekend I went over to Emma's to hang out for a bit. There was also a gathering at Jen and Alan's but I didn't go. Stagnation creeping int other things. Felt bad.

Stayed up too late last night. Read a bit. Tried to stay off the cell phone. I need the quiet.

There is a hurricane, Hurricane Rosa, whose remnants brought rain last night. I opened the front door and the dogs sat and looked out. Watch dogs, watching and watching. Need to build a little porch for them to sit out when the weather's cool. Maybe I'll sit on the porch as well and cast a baleful eye at all who pass.

Friday, September 21, 2018

I'm back, baby.

Kelly and I went to San Diego for a few days. We took the hounds along. Watson finally got to see the beach. He loved it, although the first day he drank a bunch of salt water and was a bit sick. I think he learned the second day and didn't try to drink the ocean completely dry.

Walking back from the beach, I admired the seaside homes with their nautical theming and large windows. What a lovely home to be lonely in, I thought.

We came home, and I had a couple more days off. I took the boys to the bus stop in the morning, just like I used to. It got me out of bed at a reasonable hour, which was also a plus. I read a book, walked and gamed, did some laundry. Even threw away a bit of stuff.

I felt lost in time. I'm trying to view my home as the space that nurtures behaviors. How to make it nurture the behaviors I want is the hard part.

I need a bed that folds up into the wall, and then gets locked in by a timer. So I can resist its pillowy siren call.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

Took my mom to Cornish Pasty for her birthday on 9/11. She had her first ever Irish Car Bomb. She teased me and said "Are you worried I'm going to get drunk and embarrass you?"
I said "No Mom, I get annoyed by you, but I don't get embarrassed of you."
She smiled and said "I like that!"

Of course, I certainly remember being embarrassed of my parents when I was younger. I suppose that started changing once I began seeing my parents as their own people and not just as my parents. There's this period early in your life where parents are like an extension of your own personality, like all those other feelings that can't be controlled. We feel like parents to our parents, in a way. Maybe it's practice for the future.

Monday, September 10, 2018

In the middle of my life's journey, I found myself in need of a scheme. Something to keep me out of trouble. I could walk more, I suppose. I can probably tolerate it. Find something around the house to tinker with. That's a thing people do; alter their homes. Oh, that's right, I was going to pare down the amount of needless crap. Or do something to my closet. I forget.

I'm sure it will come to me.

Thursday, September 06, 2018

How has my brain changed, I wonder? From not having a computer in my pocket, to now? Sometimes here at work I become annoyed by the chatter of my co-workers. As if it would be a good thing if I could control everything in my environment. My mind has become accustomed to packets of digestible information that I can assess at a glance and decide to ignore or immerse myself further. 

I need to work on my collage here. I stare mostly at my Moby Dick quotes. Because truly to enjoy bodily warmth, some small part of you must be cold. 

I think I have that cold part down. The part of my soul that's always cold, so that all else is welcome warmth.

Tuesday, September 04, 2018

Labor Day weekend was a success. Managed very little actual labor. Had an all-day game session at Emma's house on Saturday, and I made everyone breakfast burritos. Monday, I went over to Jay and Caro's house for breakfast. The twins are staying over there for the week while Barbara is out of town. It was pleasant.

I walked a lot, played Battlefield 1 with Chris and Mishea and Jake. It may be time for new walking shoes.

Not sure how I'm feeling. Antsy, sort of. It's time to get rid of things. Trim away the excess. Repair my cracked windshield. Last time I repaired it, it cracked again less than two weeks later. Hazards of traveling on the I-17 trucking route. Left me very unmotivated to repair it again. But I think it's time.

Friday, August 31, 2018

Humming happily, but it doesn't transcribe very well.

Whoa now it's kind of an intense humming. Probably because of the driving drumbeat of this song, "Hide" by Little May.

Wednesday, August 29, 2018

Pain in my left knee returning. Ben O. gave some resistance bands that I should be using to stretch my knee but I keep forgetting. Need to set up some kind of environmental reminder. Pain is not enough of a reminder, apparently.

Tuesday, August 28, 2018

Munching on a gingerbread pig. My mom is a big fan of them and I snagged one from her pantry last night. I think they're okay. It's not my preferred pastry, but it's portable and I'm hungry so it has that going for it.

Monday, August 27, 2018

I had a dream that I went to a magical breakfast restaurant that had every breakfast food ever. It was so spectacular, I went up to one of the staff and said "This place is amazing! How come I've never heard of it?"

The guy smiled wistfully and said "Everyone comes here, but no one ever remembers us." I looked at his name tag. It read "Dan."

I grinned, because that's the same name of one of my oldest friends. "I'll remember you, Dan!"

And apparently I did. I forgot the name of the magical restaurant, though.

* * * *

Kelly and I went to the "Odysea" Aquarium. It was neat. It's been around for a couple of years at least but we'd never been. I'm glad we did. Makes me yearn for the sea. But that's next month.

Wednesday, August 22, 2018

I'm not sure if listening to all this wistful music is making me more sad or more happy. Not that they're mutually exclusive, I mean overall. I feel strangely balanced. I've been thinking about Luis, about his life and his death. The pain and the loss I still feel is the cost of loving him, and I pay it gladly. To not have known him, to have nothing in that space where he now resides, is anathema to me.

It's a weight to carry, and every step is a reminder. I'd rather remember.

Monday, August 20, 2018

When will I ever learn/ I lost you in the storm
Breaking up our tiny raft/ Scattering our florm*

*small hard chocolate candy with helpful tips on rafting printed inside the wrapper

This weekend Kelly and I went out with Amy's to celebrate her birthday. We had dinner at OBON Sushi Bar. The ramen was excellent. Afterwards, we went to Undertow afterward for tiki drinks. We had a great time.

I slept fitfully last night. Dreamed of the classics: being late to class, having car trouble. I awoke ready to face discomfort and despair. Linear time is a hassle, but it's the only way the jokes can make you laugh.

Thursday, August 16, 2018

In the earliest days of caring for Ender and Remy, they were only able to crawl. And climb the baby gate. Ender would crawl over to the baby gate, pull himself up, and stand with his feet on the lower bar. He would be quite content up there, perched two whole inches above the world, but when he decided he wanted to get down, he wasn't able to and he would start crying until I got him down. I got tired of that pretty quick, and began to take him down immediately and tell him "No!" After a few dozen rounds of this, I concluded that it was only right for him to suffer the consequences of his actions. He'd climb the gate, hang out up there, and when he'd start crying, I wouldn't help him down right away. First I let him cry for one minute and get him down. He'd crawl around for a little bit, then decide he wanted up on that gate again. I'd let him cry for two minutes the next time, and so on. Three minutes. Then four minutes. I thought he would crack after being stuck up there for five minutes, but he did not.
The boy was stubborn, but so was I.

The final count: 20 minutes.

His record-breaking round had exhausted him, and when I took him down and laid him upon a pile of blankets, he kept crying quietly until he fell asleep.

I hardened my heart and told myself I was doing the right thing and that the world was cruel and he'd have to learn the consequences of his actions.

The boy slept for about an hour.  Even as he slept, he'd still let out an occasional quiet sob. The boy was unconscious, yet still he suffered. How could a person learn if the suffering continues so far beyond the action?

I doubt I could have articulated it at that time, but I think that was when I made my choice. There are consequences for our actions, but the world is a flawed teacher. In order to protect them, and to train them, I would have to become those consequences.

I threw out any grand notions of how the world should be, and I accepted this burden of authority. When they did something I didn't want them to do, I would pinch their shoulders. My authority came with a caveat; I rejected any pretense of moral authority. Maybe I was right, maybe I was wrong, that could be discussed whenever they wished. In practical terms, if they did certain things, I would do certain things. Why, who knows? But they could learn to navigate this for now, and the lessons of the world would have to wait their turn. These boys were under my care, and my training, and will be until they don't need me anymore. Maybe even longer, if I'm lucky.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

Staring at an empty screen. Wary of being misunderstood. Not so wary I can't stop and say Hi.

Went to Baby Kay's Cajun Kitchen last night. They have a small bar, and a man and a woman sat there drinking and eating appetizers. He was watching sports, and she had a tablet and was watching cartoons. Technology is bringing us together in more ways than it is pushing us apart.

Lots of good music. Have a Google Music station based on Daughter, and it's brought me to Meadowlark, and AURORA, and Tom Rosenthal. I worry about sinking too deeply into melancholy. Hasn't happened so far. I enjoy the quiet wanderings of memory. Like a museum after hours, the night watchman, shining light on the exhibits. Can take them in in bits and pieces, and not be overwhelmed.

The phrase "slipped in and out of heaven" has been running through my head. From Peter Pan, I think. When it's talking about the hidden kiss. Something like "They that find it have slipped in and out of heaven."

It's a useful concept. Heaven exists, but only for small moments.

Friday, August 10, 2018

Monsoon storms with bullying winds and explosive thunder. Kept me up late but I feel okay.

Wednesday, August 08, 2018

Yesterday was the funeral for Grandpa Don Liem. It was a great service with heartfelt speeches and the recounting of many tales of adventure and merriment. It was good to see the all the Liem's again.

It was sad and happy at the same time. There was a luncheon afterwards, and it felt just like one of Grandpa Don's old parties. It's been a long time, and I'd forgotten how important the family is to us. Grandpa Don and Grandma Liem have been like my parent's parents.

Monday, August 06, 2018

Here's what I'd do if I were still alive
Laugh in 8 languages
Tell jokes in five
I'd taste every pie to find which is best
Jump into the sky and share all of the rest

Every song would be turned up too loud
Don't know the words but I'd sing it somehow

I'd goose all the masters 'cept right to their face
They get so confused when there's nothing to chase

Take a quick nap with all of the hounds
Wake up for some supper and then, homeward bound

Friday, August 03, 2018

Gather ye round and I'll tell you a tale. Back the olden days, there was no Gmail. Then a select few, including users of Blogger, were bestowed the mighty responsibility of their own accounts and a handful of invites. I remember getting an excited call from Beth Clark (not a text message). "I heard you have Gmail!" she said excitedly. I think she actually asked on behalf of someone else, because she's giving like that. I don't remember if she asked for one herself. I suppose I could trudge down the archives and check. It's probably filed somewhere between pufferfish and bubble bath.

And now, back to the future, I have some 3,000 unread emails. Mostly spam. I think. I should take a day to look through them. I haven't spoken to any exiled princes lately.

I remember forwarding a chain letter once. I didn't believe it on its face; I was curious about how it could possibly track whether I forwarded it or now. Was there some hidden code that would be executed somehow? There weren't any links in it, and this was before I knew how to check source code. I sent it and nothing happened, not even a virus. I was disappointed.

Now, we all know that emails are being scooped up and collected, just not by benevolent forces. No, only the regular forces. The ones that have always been there. 

Thursday, August 02, 2018

The new brain pills are more expensive, but if this is the cost of being able to dream, I will pay it.

It's where I can see people that I don't see anymore. It's like a memory bank full of counterfeits, but I can study the copies to help me better understand the real ones. There's probably a danger in confusing the two.

Emily Haines's song, Nihilist Abyss just came on and the song illustrates it pretty well:

When I walk alone I'm walking with you
When I sleep alone I'm sleeping with you

It's difficult holding so many people in your head all the time. With dreams, it's almost manageable. Even if it means letting them go all over again.

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

Instead of writing yesterday, I spent my breaks reading "Scientific American" magazine. Then I cut out pictures I liked to make collage. Or, I plan to make a collage. Right now I've only made a file folder full of scraps of paper. 

Maybe I'll make them for myself instead of work. Putting them up at work may make me look a little insane. Limit my artistic expression. Can't have that.

Not being able to go to my mom's for breakfast means I've been going over for dinner. It's nice because I'm not full of morning-grump. I'll talk, and listen.

Now I'm thinking about cork boards. I'll cork up all the images, then slowly fix them to paper permanently.

Bah, I'm so resentful of creating at/for cubicle decoration. As if I'm putting on airs. I want something to look at, but I don't want to be labeled as interesting. That's too much pressure man.

Monday, July 30, 2018

Every feather comes from skin, they hang their heads and breathe it in.

Back at the main office. So far so good. It's got good things, and everything I need. I'll have the afternoons relatively free. Even work some OT now if I want to.

Maybe I should get a weight vest. Or, fill a backpack with sand.

I'm sitting in a corner, which is good. Maybe I'll make a collage. Yeah, I think I'll do that. Read my science magazines during lunch, cut out the cool pictures. Because why not. To the poster-board store! Is there such a store? Nah, I'll be cheap and use sheets of paper. Easy storage. And they'll mark my time, like scratches in a prison wall. But prettier!

Friday, July 27, 2018

The last day in this office, moving back to the big one. I'll miss this place. The covered parking, the being ten minutes from home, the being able to see my parents every morning and having breakfast with them. They won't be rid of me that easy; I'll be coming over and having dinner instead. If I get home by 3, finish my walking by 5, it'll be perfect.

Maybe sit down and write at night. I'll probably go back to the journal while at the main office. Having people behind me that could read over my shoulder makes me paranoid. People reading published stuff is different; people seeing me write is awkward. I feel exposed, like they can see my doubts. Something I could get over. And should, really. People are everywhere.

I've taken to avoiding eating any free food offered at the main office. I've been able to hold out for the my day trips there, but will I last when tempted on a daily basis? History suggests no, I won't. History also suggests that sometimes I get ideas in my head and I stick with them for no logical reason. I wonder which one this one is.

I stayed up a little late reading old sci-fi.

My commute will be a lot longer, might be a good time to hit up the audio books. Or some other podcasts. NPR was my usual choice before. Now I take it in smaller doses.

Maybe listen to Italian. See if I still have any understanding of it.

The possibilities yawn before me. I'm boring me; time to surprise myself.

Tuesday, July 24, 2018

Crowded clothing stores, back-to-school shopping. Not for me; I was just passing through. 

My throat is sore. Not from singing or cheering. I suspected that I'd be more susceptible to illness with my tonsils gone. I wonder now if my throat will feel more sore because of the scar tissue. It's not that bad overall, just more sore than my throat usually gets. 

I probably shouldn't have walked yesterday. I probably shouldn't walk today. I'm still going to. Because it's my routine now. Deviating will make me feel worse. 

Monday, July 23, 2018

There is a desire to be hopeful, to be a beacon of good feelings. Or at least not to be a total bummer. 

This is easy to do with my nieces. They're happy climbing on me while I make their giant stuffed bear dance around. 

This weekend was not super productive. I exercised, although I'm still not feeling great. Today I have some chores. Also I have to check on a cat. This cat is a master ninja, so I expect a challenge.

Friday, July 20, 2018

Not feeling great today. Maybe stayed up a little too late. Also Marceline L. Dog kept trying to wake me up to go outside.

Maybe I'll just try to work really hard to take my mind off my mind. That used to work.

Throw on some New Orleans R&B Jazz-funk and groove along as if everything's all right, because it kind of is.

Thursday, July 19, 2018

This is what I look like. Just a reminder in case I forget. 

Daily walking is going well. I don't think I've missed a day in almost a month. Started lifting a bit also. Exercise used to be very helpful in regulating my mood. We'll see.

My mission to not buy so much on Amazon is going well. I bought some glasses online and the site used my Amazon account to charge me, but that doesn't count.

Speaking of glasses, it appears I am developing a slight astigmatism. Eyes, I never trusted you anyway, but now I trust you even less.

Monday, July 16, 2018

Some days you're in a stone groove and then Sufjan Stevens "Fourth of July" plays on your headphones and just wrecks you.

Not in a bad way. It's painful, but not bad. It reminds me that I have people I love and that I could be better about it.

It would be a very good use of resources. I can tie in things that I already love. Let's see: food, video games, animals, jive-talking, sass-mouthing, tradition-defying, waxing poetic, and drinking in tiki bars.

Dang that is a pretty good list.

Tuesday, July 10, 2018

A powerful monsoon storm tore through Phoenix yesterday. Driving rain, hail the size of marbles, and winds that felled trees. I was driving home and many people had pulled over entirely. Halfway home, I recognized that I loved this. Riding through the storm. Maneuvering my little car through uncertainty. Being a little afraid.

Didn't love it enough to wish I was on a motorcycle.

Monsoon refers to seasonal winds. We get dust storms as well. Yesterday we had a large dust storm, and today it washes away.

I have a hankering to go to Nantucket. Not the Nantucket of today, but I hear that's nice too. That would be a good little goal. Go to Nantucket and mope on the beaches. Must remember to go during the off-season. Pretend I'm a disillusioned youth weary of life on land, seeking work on the sea.

Monday, July 09, 2018

Reading Moby Dick again. I wonder who would make a good Ishmael in a film adaptation. A young John Cleese would be amazing.

Have I thought this before? Probably. Ishmael was a schoolteacher, Cleese was a schoolteacher. I imagine they'd have had similar thoughts; if authority can be bestowed upon someone like me, then I cannot maintain a high opinion of authority.

And so it goes. The rulers care for certain things and think of only the things they care about. Like a myopic cyclops. No depth perception.

I have a couple days off this week. Thursday and Friday. Set an appointment to have my AC checked out on my car early in the morning, so I can't sleep in. Friday I don't know. Maybe I'll take the boys.

A couple of my shade sails came down. A reviewer on Amazon said theirs lasted 3 months. Sure enough, I bought mine in April. One failed last week, the other today.

It was a good experiment. There are more costly shade sails that appear much more durable. I'll invest in those. Eventually.

Thursday, July 05, 2018

I'm a little sunburnt. Went over to Jay and Caro's yesterday and swam with the twins. It's a mild sunburn; the kind that I only notice when I rub my forehead in consternation.

I did not watch the fireworks.

I dreamed of hiking down a mountain. I hadn't climbed up, but we had to climb down. Perhaps I should pick up a pair of hiking boots, in case these dreams are prophetic.

Monday, July 02, 2018

More attempts to be more myself. The nephews came over to hang out. We went to the store, I cooked them some bratwurst. Went out to lunch with Ben O. Walked. Kelly and I saw a movie on Sunday. Regular human stuff.

Paid off a credit card. Must prepare for the inevitable recession. One down. Next is glasses, then fix windshield. Should be good after that for a while. Bought a couple of pairs of pants. Grey, so I can wear my black shirts. No need to shop for clothes for another six months at least.

I think I wanted to pick up some 60 pound weights. Patience. I could just lift the 50's more times.

I caught a few minutes of the World Cup match this morning. My mom was watching it. Mexico v. Brazil. She was excited.

My dad keeps asking what we're going to do on the 4th of July. He wants an excuse to drink. It has been a while since I've relaxed with a good beer. Maybe we can do breakfast steaks. Put out the kiddie pool for the dogs. I could use a tan. There's nothing wrong with snowy gams, but that's just not me.

Friday, June 29, 2018

I feel okay. Yesterday a noisy lumbering garbage truck took away the stuff I'd cleaned out over the weekend. It may have been weighing on me. Reminding me of other times when I've let go of things and the regret that follows. But I feel okay. Can't even remember what was in there. Maybe that's what bothers me. Hanging on to something because I thought it was important and it wasn't. Or I wanted it to be important, and it wasn't.

Trying to get unstuck from the idea of what I was and what I am and what I want to be. Treat the story as a loop, stop looking for beginnings and endings. Chapters. Chapters are useful.

In this chapter, I try to shake myself of the influences on my desires. We'll get to the desires themselves later; for now the first step is to understand the forces at work. My value to the nation is to be a productive worker, which generates treasure for the keys to power. This isn't the worst situation because I still have some currency, my work, to exchange for resources that I can allot to my own values. Existentially, it's a bit tough on morale. It would be nice to feel appreciated, with the caveat that feeling appreciated is not a real indicator of anything. Also, I am suspicious of any compliment I didn't fish for.

In this chapter I realize I'm pretty okay with the work-consume-work cycle, except that I'm aware of it. Or want things above my station. Note to self: research starting a church. I will hold auditions for a suitable deity this Sunday at the empty canal.

Thursday, June 28, 2018

Now I remember! During my mid-year review at work and I had looked up ways to bullshit through pointless reviews, and I came across an article about a guy who does incredibly short employee reviews. In the article, he says executives only fire about 10% of employees for incompetence, and the other 90% are fired because they are annoying.

Suddenly it all makes sense.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

There was something, there was something, now it's gone, now it's gone. Was it the blues? Was it a squeaky shoe? Was it an ache of the wrist or a kinked neck? Was it something great?

Or a feed chute, a pair of boots, circled by bleached animal bones.
Was it this?

Kelly and I went out for shrimp tacos last night. They were delicious. A little place called Tacos Jaliscos. Mexican food, but different from the Sonoran food I'm used to. City food, I might call it. I was pleased.

Took the dogs for a walk after dinner. I remembered back when Watson and I would go out to Kiwanis Park late at night and I would let him off his leash and we would scamper around like fools. Marceline is a good girl, but she's too excitable to let off the leash.

Tuesday, June 26, 2018

It's been a month, hasn't it? Since I changed my brain meds. I think so. Closer to two months. I felt a twinge of nausea this morning and remembered it used to always make me feel like that when I took it. Rare now.

There remains a sneaking suspicion that it's working too well. I rather like having a healthy rebellious streak, that anti-authoritarian irrationality marbled through like chocolate in fudge ripple ice cream.

Can't have too much chocolate in there, because at some point you're basically eating syrup.

With every brain medication I wonder if something is missing. What is it hiding from me? Is my personality like an orchestra, and the medicine is making sure the bassoon doesn't come in late, putting a little more flair in the strings, and finally bringing some order to the anarchist revolution that's been taking place in the percussion section since the start of the show?

Possibly it's more like a song already recorded in the studio. Turn up the bass, turn down the treble, tweak the sounds that are already there without really creating anything new.

At least it lets me dream again. Maybe that's what makes the world seem a little different now.

Monday, June 25, 2018

Moderately productive this week. I settle on "moderately" because I did nothing on Saturday and a lot on Sunday. I discarded a duffel bag full of things. Many random things. It felt good and a bit sad. I've taken a bit of inspiration from Norm Macdonald, the comedian. On some interview he said he didn't have things. I was impressed. The ascetic lifestyle has an appeal I can't deny. It's probably because that the amazing things and urge to obtain amazing things is never-ending. I need to pretend I'm moving. Decide what would come with me.

Emotionally exhausting, but worth it. Whatever I am, it's not things. I resent attachment. Perhaps that can be harnessed for good.

Thursday, June 21, 2018

All this family-separation stuff is draining. And then today I learn of Koko the gorilla, of Koko's Kitten fame, has died. Last night I distinctly remember thinking about internet cats, and how the first famous cat I can remember was Koko's kitten. Living cat, I should say; not the Garfields and the Lion-Os.

A talking gorilla was pretty neat also.

I've been working harder lately. Not sure why. Pushing on through my usual break time, skipping the minimal daily writing time I allot myself. I don't know. Maybe catching my stride with these new brain meds. They let me dream, but will they let me express myself? Or is the opposite happening and that I see what I'm trying to express isn't necessary. Maybe I should spend a little time understanding what I'm saying before I say it.

Perhaps it's the weight of all the things I'm not saying. I feel keenly aware of the way the world crushes a person. And how dwelling on it can be mentally crippling. I feel I am facing an army. I feel like I am a good fighter, but I'm not nearly as good as I would need to be if that army attacked. Being a pugnacious brawler is useful against individual opponents, not organized groups.

Friday, June 15, 2018

Hammer along, hammer along. Amusingly, I managed to hurt my right heel on a day I didn't do my usual walking. It makes sense; my left heel has been feeling really good. Pain doesn't go away so much as it migrates.

The nephews are turning 12 tomorrow. We should watch "Iron Man'.

Thursday, June 14, 2018

Edges feel a little dull. "Everyone is the wrong shape," as the ghost character from Shadowstone Park might say. The ghost does not elaborate on what is the right shape.

Perhaps I need to stretch. Or maybe I'm emotionally drained from dreaming about yelling at my mom. In my dream I got so mad I refused to come over for breakfast anymore. I spent a few groggy moments in the morning trying to figure out if it was real. I felt bad about it.

Sleep-Anger Issues.

Foreshadowing the coming time when I won't be coming over for breakfast every day. It's soon. I'm considering moving earlier, since I have my monitor stands to move. That will be obnoxious.

I used to have a schedule. What was it? No real breakfast, but some watered-down coffee and an apple at break time. Then some kind of food bar for lunch.

I'm sure it will come to me. I used to do it all the time. And I'll have more time in the afternoon again. Some things will be easier to accomplish. And to be awake earlier than the dang dogs. Blasted hounds start creeping around at 6 am hoping I'll get up and feed them.

Monday, June 11, 2018

The following is a personal hypothesis; not anything I can back up with any studies at the moment. It's just a hunch, really, and I'm only half-awake right now. With that in mind, I'll muse about out loud. Maybe there's something like a "suicide switch" in our brains that gets flipped on somehow. We all have moments where we've had something we wanted to do and then suddenly not wanted to do it anymore. Our brains have the ability to recognize something is important, and still completely disregard that information. Cognitive dissonance, I think, the ability to believe conflicting ideas. Like when I'm late getting up in the morning but I hit the snooze button one more time.

Our minds are often in a state where the next action we take is determined solely by how we feel at that exact moment, not by how we think we might feel later. The all-you-can-eat buffet comes to mind. Starving when I start eating, then several plates later I can't even remember what it was like to be hungry, and so full I can't even imagine that I'll ever be hungry again.

Humans have two superpowers:

1. The ability to imagine (forming thoughts, ideas, and even feelings *independently* of current external input).

2. Theory of Mind, (the ability to understand that other humans have their own thoughts and feelings, and that again, this occurs independently of whatever's going on in our own minds).

We also have thumbs, but I'm not talking traits exclusive to humans; just a couple of things that humans in particular do insanely well.

We take these abilities for granted, I think, but the loss of one or the both, for even a few moments, could easily lead to taking an action that would seem incomprehensible to other humans who have never experienced the loss of their own superpowers.

So that's one line of reasoning, one possible set of conditions that could trigger the suicide switch. For an individual, anyway. But why are suicides in the US specifically, going up?

There's another scenario that's more disturbing to me: that our superpowers are still working. That this trend in the United States, this pandemic of people ending their own lives, at rates that are rising rapidly and steadily, isn't some abstract loss of reasoning. Maybe it's a direct result of the culture.

More people who can't imagine their lives ever getting better.
More people examining how the culture values them as an individual and coming to the conclusion that it's very little, if at all.

More Americans who see that whatever horrible thing happens to them, the rest of us will shrug and say "Well, if only they'd done this instead of that."

Which is how I imagine this will play out. Our culture will decide that there's absolutely no reason more and more Americans are choosing to end their lives, and if there was a reason, that reason certainly has nothing to do with living in the greatest country in the world.

And maybe it doesn't. I'd personally like to know for sure. But now it's time for my afternoon nap.

Friday, June 08, 2018

US Suicide Rates Rise

Seems crazy, but not that crazy. Welcome to the meat-grinder. The culture creates a standard of success and then hamstrings the ability to achieve it. Wealth has become morality, and the measure of individual importance.

Works us until we have no more to give, or until it has no use for us. A person reaches the endgame, and realizes it's only the endgame for them, and that the game wasn't even a game. They've been pushing a millstone attached to nothing, and they only made money for the person who sold it to them.

I'm not sure knowing this early on will insulate me from the despair. Suicide isn't something I think I can understand by itself; it seems to be tied to a lot of not-feeling of certain emotions. I understand despair, and I understand self-loathing. I suppose if I lost my sense of self, the idea that I exist, then ending a non-existent state might seem a rational thing to do.

It must seem rational, I think. Knowing that I am often irrational is a bleak comfort. Two layers of defense against a culture that is eating itself alive.

Tuesday, June 05, 2018

Took my car to the shop in anticipation of my upcoming commute. The brakes were fine; still going strong after 120,000 miles. My serpentine belt had been slipping all over the place, squealing in protest every time I started the car. It always settled after a minute, so I kept putting off replacing it. 

The serpentine belt is pretty important, I learned. The whole car just runs better now. 

Next up I have to replace my cracked windshield. I've put that repair off out of mostly bitterness; I had just replaced it and then it cracked again two weeks later. Next paycheck.

Or was it new glasses next paycheck? AC might be due for a recharge....

If only I didn't ever have to drive anywhere or be able to see things; I'd have a lot more money.

Monday, June 04, 2018

What doesn't make sense. Most things. What does make sense is not being so attached to material possessions. Loving them is okay; loving anything is okay. My concern is the when the idea of the self extends to the objects. Ownership requires some kind of investment, and objects persist in a way that may outlast the original motivation.

I'm thinking of how depression is often marked by rumination; constant reliving of sorrow. Isn't it possible to ruminate on joyful things? Aren't there times when it's appropriate to feel unease? Unbiased reflection may not be possible, and it make sense to me to seize every opportunity to evaluate the self, one's circumstances, and desires. Still biased by the particular emotional state, but given a large sample size it becomes easier to identify outliers. Like if I'm angry and suddenly some action seems like a good idea, I can maybe think to find out why it seems like that in this state, but not in other states.

Molding the mind like a stubborn clay. For fun and profit?

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Behold, the latest game room set up. I spent much of Memorial Day working on it, instead of thanking living veterans for their service on a day meant to honor dead veterans.

I regret not painting the middle bars white. I may take it down, paint them, and hang it up again. It shouldn't be too hard; measuring and leveling them the first time was the tough part.

It's much better for me now because I won't knock into the window like I did before. Of course, I can still be flung backwards into the mirrored sliding doors of the closet. Which is preferable, as the mirrors are much cheaper to replace.

Wednesday, May 23, 2018

In a dream we saw each other from across the room, said hello, and hugged.

It's been a while since I dreamed of my little brother.

This morning I had a strange urge to work hard. Maybe I slept well.

The twins have their last day of school tomorrow. I'll miss it very much. I can still go see my Mom and Dad in the morning for a month until I go to the main office. Sass them a bit to start my day. Then back to the commute and early, early mornings.

There isn't a particular game I'm obsessed with at the moment, although I am looking. Destiny 2 had it's update, which I played a bit. Picked up Doom and Titanfall 2 to see if those multiplayer modes hook me. Overwatch is a fun game that I never gave my full attention, so I could try focusing on that.

I'm sure something will come along.

Friday, May 18, 2018

Spent a bit of time reviewing my credit score and figuring out how free myself from the machine.

The good news is, it seems possible. The bad news is I'll be eating out a lot less.

Sacrifices. Could certainly be worse.

Thursday, May 17, 2018

Morning queasiness is likely due to the new medication. My other medication had that issue at first, then went away. Maybe I need to take it at night instead so I don't lose my appetite before breakfast.

Brian moved into his new house. It's pretty neat. The plan is to reconstruct our old home gym. Get back to regular lifting. And I need to fix the set-up for my game room/walking room. Have people come over and do cardio.

It'll be great.

Monday, May 14, 2018

When I dream, I'm not always the main character. In last night's dream, there were two female protagonists, both fighting against a totalitarian regime of some kind. They're both onstensibly on the same side, although one is fighting secretly as a civilian and the other is an official who works within the regime to destabilize it, and neither knows exactly what the other is up to (or what side they're really on). They meet for the first time after the official has caused an industrial accident and is covering up her involvement by pretending she was in the area to investigate the civilian. She's not really investigating but the civilian is definitely guilty. The interview ends with this exchange between the civilian and the officer:
CIVILIAN: "I imagine that some people would welcome a little less security, if it meant they wouldn't have to live their whole lives as some kind of pawn."
OFFICIAL: "A pawn can become a queen. If it lives long enough."

Then I woke up.

Thursday, May 10, 2018

Went to see Avengers: Infinity War again. It's that good.

A friend recently told me I had an awesome attitude. I've been musing over it. I consider myself rather fussy. Another friend also told me I'm kind of an Eeyore, which seemed more accurate. There's a kind of pessimism, certainly, I consider a key component of my attitude. I could half-joke that I've already had the worst day of my life, and compared to that most days are pretty great. The difference between outright pessimism is the role of hope. I have expectations, primarily, and hope is when I wish for a particular expectation to be met. Like my worst day example, it's a statistical thing. Totally possible, just unlikely. So I don't worry too much about it.

Bad things happen, and I'm not in the school of thought that believes our attitude determines everything. As if maintaining a positive attitude will influence a past result. I don't know that I believe "attitude," as a concept, is even that useful. I assume most people want the best outcome for themselves all the time.

I guess my attitude is that it's amazing that things are going as well as they are, considering human beings as a whole experience a massive range of horror and despair on a daily basis. Most days I experience very little first-hand despair, and almost no horror.

Mostly, missing certain people is the most hurt I get. That's the wound that time can't heal, I guess.

Wednesday, May 09, 2018

Maybe I should try to see a podiatrist. Fix foot pain, increase walk happiness.

Friday, May 04, 2018

Teacher strike is over! I think they won...hopefully. The boys and I were are back to our usual routine until school ends, whenever that might be.

Thursday, May 03, 2018

Oh the dreams I've dreamed! Railroads and trains, riding horseback on the plains, cities of spiral towers.

Done tapering off my old medication. I think I like this new stuff. I've heard some anecdotes about medications losing their efficacy when a person goes off them and then tries to go back on later. Like some magical mental antibody kicks in.

Arizona school teachers are ending their strike. Just in time for Pizza Friday! I've missed seeing the twins every morning. A preview of things to come, or a reminder of things that were.

Things I should do: Get new contact lenses. Get my cracked windshield replaced. Tune up my car's AC for the coming summer hellscape. Organize my closet. Mix up some more cement. Dig a few more holes.

Look up once in a while.

Tuesday, May 01, 2018

Ah, Depression, old friend. I can feel you creeping around back there. I have not forgotten.

This would be an opportune time to strike. And you could, I suppose. Being aware of something is not the same as being able to avoid it. That's why I've been preparing. Habits, ingrained over months and years, that interrupt the downward spiral. Inertia enough to coast through the morass, and skirt the mire.

I dreamed again, of towers and ramps and traveling on horseback.

Monday, April 30, 2018

Day Seven of trying out a new brain medication. Dreams are more vivid, which I love. I think I'm less drowsy. Even a bit more outgoing. More inclined to say "Yes" to invitations. Keeping in mind that I'm tapering off the previous brain medication and I'm probably not feeling the full effects of either. Which is also okay. If I can scale down from half-mad to quarter-mad, I'd be happy. Wouldn't want to get bored of myself. I'd still enjoy getting obsessed once in a while. I thought concrete was going to be my next thing. It still could be. We'll see.

Maybe welding?

Okay Self, here's the deal: build a workbench first. Then go from there.


Wednesday, April 25, 2018

My day off was also spent at the bank resolving the credit card fraud issue. I expect a good outcome. Maybe I should get one of those credit monitoring things set up.

I also bought a trenching shovel. For digging through the baked clay that is the ground around the house. My left elbow hurts. From dragging around those 150 pound cement blocks, probably.

Teachers here in AZ are going on strike tomorrow. It's a good thing.

I spent a little while listening to undersea recordings from the Monterey Bay Aquarium. It gets pretty lively down there. I'll need headphones with better bass to hear some of the whale sounds.

I'm weary today. I didn't stay up too late, I thought. I'm probably wrong.

My day off yesterday started with an unexpected client. "I'm retired," I told her. "Go bark up some other sap." She was a pushy dame, and wouldn't take down for an answer. I grudgingly accepted her offer and set her up for the day. 

My assistant/sister walked her around the neighborhood that evening and found her home, just a few houses down. Her family was glad to see her. Her name is Peaches. Guess I'll see ya around, kid.

Friday, April 20, 2018

I worked at the main office the other day. Didn't pull out my laptop; instead I went to the journal. It was nice. I'm going to have to make a habit of it. I'll be working at the main office in a couple months. Returning to commuting. I'll miss hanging with the boys every morning, and seeing my mom and dad. I guess I could walk over there, but then it's an event. When I go over now it feels like we all just live together. My mom will still get mad if I don't say hi. She's done with me acting moody. No time for that nonsense.

Monday, April 16, 2018

Staring at a blank screen wondering what my dreams mean listening to random music wondering if I like it or want to like it tired of choosing everything that enters my head curator of emotional responses favorite shirts are fading fraying justify another purchase somehow I still have plenty of black button up shirts bonus hard to visibly stain

And I can be pretty good at something if I tried real hard I could be good at you

Friday, April 13, 2018

Where the heck have I been? Actually busy. Yesterday was blustery as a mofo and my shade sails came down. It appears I'll have to bury the bases after all. Or make hella wider ones, which may defeat the purpose of minimizing the footprint. Still, I enjoy digging. I think I'll buy a new shovel today. One for digging deep.

I'm not sure why I'm so obsessed with shade right now. If I dare to look inward in my heart of hearts, I expect I'll find that after having dubbed my house "The Houndstooth" such as an old-tymey pub, the desire to earn the name has grown. White, triangular shade sails could appear to be teeth, you see. And massive statues of hounds in various states of repose can dot the front and backyard. Shit, I should construct hound heads, canine moai, and in their teeth will be rings to attach the sails to.

That would be neat. And yet, I am concerned about my obsession. Neglect the inside of the house while I focus on the outside. Really not sure what the heck I'm attempting to accomplish. The urge to change is strong when I'm away, then fades as I settle in. Am I being complacent, or are things actually pretty good already and I don't need to mess with anything.

My friend told me once that I was afraid of being happy. Even if she turns out to be right, I don't see how I could admit that.

So until I find resolution, I will dig. Dig deep, layer after layer, until I hit bedrock or my body fails me.

To the shovel emporium!

Monday, April 09, 2018

Ender, Remy, and I went to see Isle of Dogs this Friday. We loved it. We saw it again on Sunday. Today I am feeling productive. I suspect it's related. Also played Mansions of Madness on Saturday with Emma, Chris and Mishea, and Jake and Mackenzie. I'd only known Jake from playing PS4 online. Now I can put a face to the voice.

Also on Sunday, my mother made lunch for a visiting babysitter, Maria. She cared for us when I was probably 6 years old. My mom had needed help when Luis was born. I don't remember her really. She said I had a temper. I believe it.

Doing so much was a good thing. I was more energized overall. Even went to Home Depot and got a bunch more cement and poles. There will be much shade sail installing today. Maybe even some grass trimming. Cause we crazy.

I'll need a ladder too. Hopefully I don't fall off the ladder and hurt myself. We'll see.

Get out of the house and play games, that's what I need to do more. Take the dogs out to play games. Games and games. Good for the heart.

Misery will cost me all that I wanted. Or most of it. Sometimes I'm happy despite myself.

Maybe I should go half-mad again. No, just a quarter-mad. Okay, 33 percent mad and that's my final offer.


Thursday, April 05, 2018

I moved my desk around and now I'm all thrown off. How easily a routine is shattered. Is it worth the extra leg-room? Only time will tell.

Monday I left work early for a dental appointment. While at home, I was still in work mode or something and I cleared some junk out of the backyard. The clover is growing well. So is the unwanted grass. Maybe I'll buy a weed trimmer.

There is much to do, I feel. Continue tinkering with shade sails. Working with cement and metal. It's the possibilities that are exciting. I'll continue my usual approach; modular components that can be rearranged as I learn more.

Might need another TV, funnily enough. Most of my plans end up involving televisions.

Friday, March 30, 2018

Time begins and time ends. Doing everything can be like doing nothing at all, if you plan it right.

Thursday, March 29, 2018

Turns out I hadn't been taking one of my medications this week. Which explains the sudden re-connection to the currents of existence. The melancholy, the cost of self-awareness. 

Constantly questioning the why of everything. 

There is much to learn. To do. It can be fun to be obsessed. 

Wednesday, March 28, 2018

"But please, remember me, my misery 
and how it cost me all I wanted
Those dogs that love the rain and chasing trains
The colored birds above their running"

-The Trapeze Singer by Iron and Wine.

It's one of my favorite songs. My whole life is in this song, I think. I gave the boys burned CD's of Iron and Wine and other music. They were little (perhaps I'll always think them so) and I would not give them the originals for fearing of them ruining the discs. I could also leave out songs that might be considered objectionable. 

I think of the phrase often. With Ender especially. If his expectation is not met, he has difficulty finding happiness in an alternative. Like he lives with the ghost of the thing. It will be rough going. Ghosts have weight, a tiny bit, and it adds up. What he must learn, as I am trying to learn, is that ghosts come in pairs. The ghost of unmet expectations, and the person you were at that moment. 

We're often mourning that hopeful part of ourselves. 

The rational part of us knows that nothing really matters, so everything matters. Pain and loss and joy are built in. We don't have perfect memories; the best tool we have are the amber of emotion that captures them, holds them, but freezes them too. When we look at them hereafter, it will be honey-yellow, and slightly warped. 

These have a weight too, I think.

Tuesday, March 27, 2018

Meager attempt to create a semblance of a ghost of a schedule has begun. Unexpected side effect of scheduling a life is the feeling that I'm running out of time. Time for what? For reading Moby Dick on Youtube, of course. For the people. Something to leave behind, for the people in that Venn diagram of miss the sound of my voice, and haven't read Moby Dick.

One of my co-workers, Jessica, is creating a musical about intermittent urological catheters. She asked me to write a section of lyrics. I did, and it was difficult. The music is from The Little Mermaid's Part of Your World.

I see now why they have people who just do lyrics. It's hard. Maintaining rhythm, internal rhyme structures, phrasing; it's tough. Like writing a poem on the back of a salmon leaping up a waterfall to spawn.

Fun though.

Monday, March 26, 2018

Small goals achieved this weekend. I mixed up some cement into buckets and stuck metal poles in them. Soon they will be dry and I can hang the shade sail from them. Then, shade sails for days. DAYS

It was rather difficult mixing the cement. Next time I'll get a cement mixer. Do like ten buckets and poles at once.

There's a note scrawled down here on a sticky at my work desk. It says "Idle distractions steal me." That's true, I think. How can I properly brood with all these dang shiny things around? I must hear my thoughts, not theirs.

Friday, March 23, 2018

The yard will be less dusty once the clover grows in. It's a hardy little plant, practically a weed. Thriving in the yellow dirt, more so than in the rich dark fertilized soil. The ladybugs are coming around.

A friend of mine lost someone very close to her, someone I didn't know well but was very fond of.  We haven't talked in years. To attempt to provide comfort would be selfish, I think. The past seeds doubt that choke all future virtue.  A last embrace will stay a last embrace.

Every tear becomes ordinary rain.

Thursday, March 22, 2018

Dreams. Many of them. Dreamed I stole an ambulance and there was no traction. Like driving on a sheet of ice. Bounced around like a bumper car. Maybe it was a bumper car.

I also dreamed of a sushi food truck. It drove up and Donovan ordered a calamari wrap. They truck had a giant squid tentacle on ice on display. I ordered one too because it's octopus that I feel guilty about eating, not squid.

Some squids are real jerks.

Tuesday, March 20, 2018

The mission is to sleep the normal amount of hours it takes to be sane. I'm going with 10-6, for now.

Yesterday was a bleary-eyed nightmare. One of my more productive days, turns out, but it felt like hell. Today I feel much more rested.

What else am I forgetting? Dreams. I dreamed I was hanging out with Tana, Beckah, and Shelly. And Shelly's dog, Grub. I do love that pughuahua.

What else...oh, I fixed Ender's Samsung tablet. A few searches online gave me a handful of options, and I tried them all until something worked. And it did. He's quite pleased with it. I was annoyed by his constant pestering, and in the end that's what got me off my rump. I recorded a voice message telling him to use his stubbornness power for good.

Oh, my credit card info appears to have been stolen. Someone charged several days of stay at a Motel 6 by the Seattle airport. I didn't catch it myself; I was alerted by an app I had installed years ago that I never use anymore. It's called Mint, It tells me "Unusual spending on travel." Unusual indeed.

I've contacted the motel, and if they don't refund the money I'll have to file a claim with the company itself. Luckily I know my way around a claim form.

They also tried to buy something at Michael's craft store, but I got to that one in time.

Thursday, March 15, 2018

Feeling strained, like butter over too much toast. Probably because I stayed up until 1 am last night watching clips of Star Trek conventions. Made me miss acting/performing. It's a strange thing, viewed from afar, to carve out those seconds and minutes of performance from hours and days of interminable suffering.

That may be why there's so much not-very-good stuff out there. It's so hard to make anything at all.

Tonight I must get to bed early, lest I suffer needlessly again. Still, summer is here. More daylight, less night. Hard to get my brooding in when it's all sunny.

The Next Generation was my favorite. Donaldo, Barbara, and I would watch it together because it came on at 9 pm, and reruns of The Simpsons weren't on until 10. I also enjoyed Deep Space Nine. I feel like I stopped watching a lot of TV in the middle of the DS9 run. Started working, had a car, went out a lot more. Not having finished the series created an odd nostalgia for it. I miss the feelings it stirred, more so than any particular tale it told.

Actors call that "sub-text".

Tuesday, March 13, 2018

Sitting US president meeting with North Korea's dictator. Maybe they'll keep each other busy while the rest of us can go about our business.

Package bombs are going off in Austin. That was fast. Some guy made a device to "deter" thieves from stealing packages left on his porch. When someone picked up the box, it would basically fire a shotgun shell filled with just the powder. I think he was even selling them.

The internet found it amusing, and I suppose it was. As a person who has been a professional greyhat (since this morning when I was going to the bathroom), the potential for the device to be used to do harm was obvious. Obviously, if it uses a shotgun shell, what's to stop someone from just not emptying the shot? Crazy stuff.

Now I'm going to have to get a poking pole for my packages. Give em a good poke, knock em over before I pick them up.

That reminds me, I need to update my paranoia list in general. Got to keep a rotation to keep the paranoia fresh. Otherwise it dulls into general fear, which isn't useful. Fear makes people behave too predictably. Also, it's exhausting, and I'm too lazy for all that.

Monday, March 12, 2018

Was I productive this weekend? A little, yes. Rigged up a watering system for the clover, and even put down some stepping stones. Filled up a box with crap and soon I will throw it away. One box a weekend should do it. Clean by summer.

I didn't leave the house. Wait, I went to the store on Sunday. That counts.

Friday, March 09, 2018

What the heck is even happening. Oh yeah, I ordered a new chair. For sitting. It's going to be great; my rump-sense is tingling.

My Pebble watch is no longer supported. It will still work as an alarm, and as a watch, but no more push notifications. I'm pleased about the alarm aspect at least. No need to go back to the Stone-Age ways of setting an audio alarm. Might as well live in a cave.

Something I was supposed to do...but what? Get rid of crap. Definitely that. Got lots of crap around. Might be a good time to dismantle the storage shed too. I don't know. Oh wait, shade sails. I need concrete and buckets. And poles. To the concrete bucket pole store!

Wednesday, March 07, 2018

Grow, my pretties, grow! If you want to. I'm only telling you what to do under the assumption that we have a mutual understanding about free will and that I can't "make" you do anything. When I give a command like this, it's a form of encouragement, like an inner-voice except on the outside. An expression of our shared desire for a specific outcome in a world where nothing is certain. I guess what I mean is I think I love you?

Wednesday, February 28, 2018

Despairing, in a tower of iron. Miles of stairways and no doors. Gifts appear at random. Almost all are heavy.


Had to talk myself out of purchasing a pressure washer. Rationalized it by how much I'll save on car washes. Except I rarely wash my car. But can clean driveways and patios too! I have those! But no. Someday, but not today.

Tuesday, February 27, 2018

More wild antics at the house! Yesterday, we planted clover. Will it live, will it die, will it fade, or will it thrive? Who knows! Success means less dust in the house from blowing wind. Erosion is the enemy, unless it's making a cool new canyon, but not in my backyard. Okay, maybe a little one.

I hurt my back cleaning Watson's ears. He hates it and there was a lot of wrasslin'. From what I understand of back pain, nothing helps and everything is terrible, so I'll just deal with it. Through sheer force of will. I tell the pain, SHUT UP.

I just sat through a meeting in which we sat through an advertisement for a self-help book. I'm feeling feisty after holding my tongue through those meaningless platitudes. ONLY YOU are responsible for your success. If you fail, it's because you're not a good enough employee, that you lacked the SHEER WILL to succeed. It's unrelated to the fact that the workplace spends zero resources on training, development, and implementing institutional changes to effect meaningful change.

Thursday, February 22, 2018

What was I even doing yesterday? I dont know. Paying bills, maybe? Shopping on Amazon for crazy hats? Something worse?

I stayed up too late again last night. Blame should be cast on the sun setting later, not on myself. 

Emotionally complex situations becomes easier to bear over time. The previous statement is likely false.

Tuesday, February 20, 2018

What an excellent Presidents Day! Ender, Remy, and I went to the shoe store, the liquor store, In-N-Out Burger, and watched "The Simpsons". I even spent some time playing with my nieces, as my mom was watching them when I went to pick up the twins.

Genevieve threw a big stuffed bear and a pillow on me, and I wore the pillow on my head like a hit. I could drop down under the teddy bear so I was hidden. I popped up and started mooing like a cow. Genevieve pretended to be made and stomped towards me, and I made a scared squawk and dropped down. Then we did it again a bunch more times.

Noel and Genevieve loved it. Cows are always funny.

Friday, February 16, 2018

Tax return time! Oh, what frivolous spending shall I indulge in? Perhaps a mini-fridge/beverage center for all our booze, a new couch, or a new 4K TV. Perhaps I'll even pay my medical bills or credit card debt.

The possibilities are endless!

I'm taking Monday off. The twins have it off too, so we're going to hang out and be lazy. Probably play video games. There was a time when having the boys over meant they would play video games and I would clean up the house, do laundry, and organize my life. Thank Cheesus that I have the PS4 Pro now.

Thursday, February 15, 2018

It's time to mix thing up! Introducing: April No-Fools! Beginning April 1st and throughout the entire month, there will be no jokes, jests, gibes, puns, sarcasm, tricks, or teasing. It's the mental equivalent of a detox, except effective. Comedian John Oliver said something like "People who aren't comedians don't understand that we're basically sociopaths who will say anything to get a laugh." My nephew, Gabriel, asked me how I was always so funny. After giving it some thought, I said "You have to find connections, and then say whatever comes into your head. And expect to be un-funny a lot of the time. Eventually, if you fail enough, and pay attention to why, you'll get funnier.

I also talked about how during a conversation, each topic is like a pebble thrown into a pond. The conversation will create ripples outwards from each pebble, and the place where those ripples meet is a possible joke. 

Find the connections to find the funny. And the beauty of it is that everything's connected, when you step back far enough. 

Wednesday, February 14, 2018

Happy Discount-Valentine's-Day-Candy Day Eve! Tomorrow there will be chocolate hearts at rock-bottom prices galore. And soon it will be the Day-After-Easter candy, which is even better because of those horrible and delicious Cadbury Creme Eggs (The extra 'e' stands for 'Extra Earwig Larvae').

Fly away like a winter bird, return in the springtime of the soul

Monday, February 12, 2018

My hands are cut from tearing apart cardboard boxes. Those boxes be fierce. Mayhaps there was a secret staple hidden under a strip of masking tape. Whatever blooded me, I emerged victorious and the box is on its way to be recycled into new enemies.

Kelly and I went over to the Schuler's place on Friday to watch the opening ceremony of the Olympic games. There was much debate over costumes, props, and how effects were achieved. Rowdy good times were had by all.

Rorschach, my cat, was euthanized this weekend, at 18 years of age. Mai Linh and I had adopted a brother and sister kitty when we got a house together 17 years ago. Mai took them both when I moved back home with my parents and has had them ever since. Still, I'd always said I had a cat.

He was a good cat. Very good at catty things. Mostly pretty nice to people. Good with kids, too.

Thursday, February 08, 2018

Listening to the soundtrack for the video game "Cuphead". It's jazz/big band,/ragtime, and all great.

Perfect for dancing around and talking about our feelings.

And shouting "What a scoop!" while taking pictures with old-timey flashbulb cameras. Stick a press card in my hatband and away I go.

I've been feeling a little detached lately. It could be in my imagination. Or perhaps it's my imagination I'm detached from. Maybe I'm feeling my age. How old am I? 35? or 36? Oh, okay. 35 years, 8 months, and 27 days. Not 36 yet. Almost, but not quite.


Back to walking daily. Lots of motivation to play Monster Hunter World, with so much to do. Avoid injury and keep walking, lift some weights to build up bone mass to offset future loss as I continue to age. Good plan, good plan.

Oh, and get my oil changed. On my car. That's not some grisly euphemism for blood-doping or whatever where people inject themselves with youthful blood.

What a scoop! FLASH

Monday, February 05, 2018

Let's Write! is a new platform for writers to broadcast their writing process in real-time to an audience of millions. When your favorite writer is writing, you'll get a notification and then you can log on and watch the creative process as it happens! With 3 camera angles: Over-the-shoulder, Face-Front, or 3/4 Overhead Full Desk View.

Join the chat and critique away!

Might actually be a hit. People can watch it after-the-fact and then fast-forward through the long moments of staring blankly at the screen.

Thursday, February 01, 2018

Remy made a morning playlist. We usually listen to the radio on the way to the bus stop and often have to suffer through the seemingly synchronized commercial messages. I think that all the radio stations are owned by one massive corporation now anyway. No more switching to another station that actually plays music. Not on their watch.

Thus, after a couple weeks of urging, Remy made the playlist. It's good. The first song is "We Don't Believe What's On TV" by Twenty One Pilots. It's an excellent get-yer-ass-moving song.

I have a follow-up appointment tomorrow with my surgeon. My throat is still a little sore, but I only notice it if I think about it. I bit the inside of my cheek the other day and I smirked at the pain. I'm sure my pain tolerance won't last; the memory of the suffering is still fresh enough to be useful.

Wednesday, January 31, 2018

Video games! I play them. I picked up Monster Hunter World, an action RPG that promises hundreds of hours of hunting, gathering, and crafting. The biggest hurdle to jumping into the game was the monster-hunting itself. The monsters are a madman's amalgam of modern and ancient creatures, ranging from fairly mundane dragons to furry floating pufferfish-lizards. The creatures have personalities. I was worried that I would feel bad about hunting them.

Then a bus-sized iguana with festively-colored dreadlocks mauled me into the dirt and with it, any lingering remorse.

Tuesday, January 30, 2018

The monster hunter is retired. As of today. Hang up the armor, put away the weapons, roll up the maps, shelve the ancient tomes. Hunting beasts for so long that everything starts to look like a beast. Bad for the blood. 

Blend back into the crowd. Shuffle along, taking it easy. Enjoy the daylight, and leave the night to others.

*  *  *

Need to make more note cards with reminders to self. Need to stop relying on will power. I'll use "won't" power. It's a joke, see. Harness my obstinance. Hitch up my mulishness to the cart of self-improvement, aka suffering. It's not my preferred method, but it's so ingrained in the fiber of my heartwood that it's the most effective. More positive ways take too long.

Monday, January 29, 2018

The what-ifs become the what-nows. Pattering about looking for things to tinker with. Sore legs from moving bookshelves. Got rid of a few books too. Then this morning my mother gives me my copies of Charles Dickens and the Taber Medical dictionary. I don't know what they were doing at my mom's house. 

Turning about in my mind is a serious question. Should I stop trying to fix things? I would certainly appear more amenable to those that value such things. I'd feel much less engaged, surely, and probably speak a great deal less. There are other worlds in which I could slowly immerse myself, like a very hot bath, and enjoy my spark of warmth in an otherwise icy world.

Until I get bored.

Friday, January 26, 2018

Barbara got a flat tire yesterday and asked me to pick up the twins from the bus stop. I did so. We picked up some burritos, watched Season 2 of "The Simpsons", and generally had a blast.

I canceled my subscription to Pandora. I have Google Play now, and it has various stations that I an Thumbs-Up or Thumbs-Down and it doesn't care. It will put my liked songs into a playlist.

Pandora was good to me. Still, it's redundant and it keeps asking me to upgrade to Pandora Pro or something and I'm like "I pay a subscription for no ads, and this is an ad dammit!" and then people stare at me because I'm yelling at my phone.

Is it too late to go to school to study only "Moby Dick"? Perhaps there is a degree somewhere in imitating great art. Yea, then, could I busy myself with imitating and perhaps in the failing find some solace, a literary Sisyphus, dodging the boulder of rightful criticism.

Unknown, yet I've not looked far beyond the horizon of this particle-board desk.

Thursday, January 25, 2018

This morning it was cold enough that the pups curled up together. Usually Watson doesn't care for it. Marceline, the smaller of the two, rested her head on his rump. I turned up the heat to 72. It's hard for me to gauge how uncomfortable the cold makes them. Well, they were up on the bed, so they should be okay. Their own dog bed is a kid-sized mattress. But everybody loves a queen.

I haven't weighed myself since my surgery. During my pre-op check-in, my weight was 144, but that was fully clothed and with shoes on. I figured I would reduce during my recovery since it hurt so much to eat; what I was not expecting was my lack of appetite in the weeks that followed. It hasn't been a full month yet, and it's not something that worries me. It's kind of funny that my legendary appetite may have been beaten by a common medical procedure.

Now is the winter of our discontent. No, wrong quote.

"There is no steady unretracing progress in this life; we do not advance through fixed gradations, and at the last one pause:–through infancy's unconscious spell, boyhood's thoughtless faith, adolescence' doubt (the common doom), then scepticism, then disbelief, resting at last in manhood's pondering repose of If. But once gone through, we trace the round again; and are infants, boys, and men, and Ifs eternally." -Moby Dick.

Much better. Melville, you've prepared me for everything. The pondering repose of If. Should be carved into the mast, like the Lorax and his stump proclaiming "Unless". If. If. If.

The raven cawing "Nevermore," Macbeth's porter crying "Knock, knock, knock!"

And the bell tolls for me to return to my toil. Buzz buzz buzz. 

Monday, January 22, 2018

The calm after the storm. Feels like a hangover.

There's still some little jobs here and there. Curtain rod to install. Curtain rod to adjust. The usual. Concrete tasks with which to busy myself. I'm ready to walk everyday again. No more of this every-other-day nonsense. Must grind along.

Oh man, I totally dropped a tv. The one on the roller cart. I had moved it out of the way of the party into the game room. Then I was moving it out of my way in the dark and it fell. Hilarious. It was my least-favorite TV. Edge-lighting. Pheh. Still, I feel stupid. Careless. Reckless.

I've made my peace with it. As long as I am aware that I am stupid, careless, and reckless, there is a chance I can prepare fail-safes.

As soon as the fail-safe for my laziness kicks in.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

Much of my time has been spent tinkering with the house. Putting up curtain rods, lights, moving things around. It's coming together pretty well. Somewhat incongruous thematically, aside from a clear striving for budget decadence. It's fun.

I may need a few more tools.

My appetite is still severely diminished. I've been walking a little, about an hour. My nose is still tender and my throat still hurts when I swallow. Or when I stretch my mouth really wide.

I bore myself. As a subject. There are so many other things I could be discussing. Like writing a song parody of "Kiss The Girl" from "The Little Mermaid" about consent. She can't talk, after all, and she doesn't even know how to use a fork. There are questions.

Back to thinking about myself again. The way I mathed it out, I need to save about $670,000 dollars to live comfortably off the interest alone. I'm currently at 22,000. Only 648 grand to go.


Maybe I should just half the amount to 324 grand, then get a part-time job until I die. Perfect.

Monday, January 15, 2018

Where am I going what am I doing how did I get here?

Spent the weekend tinkering with the house. I'm not one for home improvement. My bathroom faucet still leaks, my shower handle needs to be replaced, and I think a family of capybara is nesting under the foundation. I did, however, do this:

Magical as heck. That's over the archway from the living room to the dining room. The other side depicts ominous ancient ruins under a moonlit night. Best of both worlds.

Ben O. came over to help me put up the curtain rod. We also watched "Planet Earth 2". We came to the conclusion that everything in Nature is messed up so we humans need to stop thinking we're somehow insulated from it. Personally my life is much more comfortable and I should enjoy not feeling physically miserable, even if there are things I'm unhappy about. I could be unhappy about it AND be freezing my ass off and starving.

That's the kind of optimist I am, I suppose. It could always be worse, until it can't, but then it's too late.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Your pain is your own.  I cannot share it. I can't even really comprehend it. I can only feel the edges of your pain, like cold air from a hidden draft. What I can do is join you in that night land, and love you. Your pain is your own. I cannot share it. I can only share your company. What is broken cannot be fixed.

Wednesday, January 10, 2018

What a world. Meat still tastes strange. After seemingly endless days of slowly drowning in the slough and oozings of my wounded throat, meat tastes too much like dying.

My throat is only sore now. There is still cauterized tissue. I expected the new skin to be tender, like a scar, but that doesn't seem to be the case. Or maybe it is.

I was told I overthink things by my boss. It was good to hear.

Rage and rage and rage. I didn't sleep well last night. Felt too cold, felt too hot. Insomnia may be a symptom of weaning off the painkillers. Or maybe I've developed negative associations with lying in bed. Horrifying.

I got some curtain rods that look like industrial pipe. Very wise of them. Black pipe is cool for a lot of things, but the challenge for curtain rods would be changing out the curtains themselves.

The curtains will create two rooms for Kelly and Barbara's joint birthday party. The living room will be the Forest. Metaphorically. It must be crossed to get to the reward of festivities. I'm excited.

It's a couple more days until I can get back on the treadmill, so I imagine I'll have time to do a few more things too.

Tuesday, January 09, 2018

Ender stayed home sick today. I took Remy to the bus stop. While I sat with my right arm stretched over the passenger seat, he leaned forward from the back seat and rested his chin on my arm. Ender and Remy both do this sometimes. It reminds me of when they were little. 

Makes me want to dispense wisdom. Alas, I have very little. I did tell Remy that there's a lot of bullshit you have to get through so you can get time to do stuff you care about. But it doesn't really go away, there will always be some bullshit.

Ben O and I were looking at the Top Ten Health Conditions study by Moody's Analytics. Depression and Mood Disorders seemed to be independent of a person's overall health score, and socioeconomic and behavioral factors.

Sort of means that even if you eat right, do right, be right, the brain remains vulnerable. I suggested we create a preemptive strike support group. Madness is coming. How will we meet it?

Monday, January 08, 2018

Day 10 of my recovery. Today, Day 11, I return to work. Day 14 I should be able to resume all normal activities: piano-playing, cat-fancying, boulder-hurling.

The suffering was illuminating. There were depths. Sleep was only a temporary respite. There were bouts of fever. The feeling that dominated all was of slow suffocation. Claustrophobia of being contained within my own body. My tongue was bruised like a raw strip of steak. my nose was no longer nose-shaped, it was a salad potato nestled between my bleary eyes.

I could breathe through my nose, despite the blood-soaked gauze. I could breathe through my mouth, despite the torn ragged tunnel collapse of cauterized tissue.

I could breathe, but it felt like I was stealing air. Like using a snorkel.

Now I'm back a work, wearing all black for some reason. Maybe I expect to start bleeding from my nose and throat, which can happen spontaneously for up to two months.

Or maybe I'm mourning being new.