by j-a

[main menu] [thoughthistory menu]

May, 2003


I'm working at Photronics with Jeff. We've been on a project that has taken us out of the building, or, more correctly, we've been on a project and are just returning to the building, very early in the morning, before everyone else has arrived. Another person, whom I pay absolutely no attention to, had been working with us. Since we are all but done for the day, we are hanging around, but the boss comes in, and so Jeff makes like he's working, scurrying through the imaging room, pretending to put things away. I follow him. Before, or after, this--both--I realize that the person who has been working with us is a girl. I'm sitting on a chair up against a wall outside the screen printing room when she comes up to me and sits on my legs, facing me. She stares into my eyes and asks me how I make her feel this way when I have been totally disregarding her. I pretend not to know what she means. But I actually do acknowledge her, non-verbally, with my presence, looking into her eyes/soul. She's a beautiful girl, small face, cute button nose, short black hair. She exacts an understanding from me before she gets up, making sure that we are "together" now. As she's walking away, she turns back and re-approaches. She says that she may as well go all the way and she asks me if I'd like to have dinner with her this evening. I say, sure, and she walks away satisfied, even though we make no formal arrangements as to where to meet or anything. Jeff says that I should drive him home and bring the car back down to pick up Rita, who will need a ride, and then I'll have to take the car back to him before I go to pick up the girl. But I realize that I don't where she lives. Although I'm in "contact" with the girl, I don't know where she is, or even who she is, only that I am her "soul mate." Is this someone with whom I am in "contact," hardly knowing it, except in dreams? Will I meet, or merely see this girl a few days from now, like I have imagined I have done in the past?

I think I'm starting to see a unifying purpose at work in my life, or at least in my writing life. I'm realizing that everything is centered on my journal--my original journal, not this online journal, which is really an abstract of the journal I write into every day. Everything I write comes out of that original journal, which has been my goal for a very long time, only fairly recently achieved. So, my focus is complete: I write it into my journal, and then I process those entries into my art--oh, except for e-mails. I forgot about them, and I'm not too sure I want to change that. I think I'll leave that the way it is--for now.

So, I'm working out back on the patio under the umbrella, out of the sun. It's like mid-summer. There's a cool breeze, but it's a warm day, near eighty. I'm living out my goal that I set last year, too late in the season to initiate then: I'm living outside, during the day, that is--and on nice days. I got my laptop and my little plastic crate (8"x8"x8") containing: several books that I'm in the process of reading, my daytimer, Kleenex, a travel clock, a small garbage bag, pencils, a rag for cleaning up water residue from previous rains, and several sharpened pencils.

This afternoon, before I went out, I removed the screen from the lower portion of the bedroom window so that I could reach stuff in and out through it to prevent carrying everything around to the front door, since my house doesn't have a back access to the porch. And since the upper screen was torn, I put the lower screen in its place. I figure I'll leave the lower window closed, except when I want to move things in and out.

So, anyway, I'm moving between the house and the patio, fine-tuning my outdoor organization, getting files from the desktop that I'd forgotten to transfer into the floppy briefcase, etc. When I was out in back, I thought I'd heard the mailman, so on one of my trips, I went down to the mailbox, but no mail. But on the way back in, I hear a voice behind me call my name. I turn around and see Terry. He asks me if I want some donuts. He works for Krispy Kreme [so they're not donuts, but 'doughnuts'] and he brings several dozen home each day, but usually I'm not out and about for him to give them to me.

I say sure, because I'm always happy to get free food, and I walk across the street while he goes into his house to get them. Lynyard Skynyard issues loudly from his front door. He comes out and hands me the donuts. I say thanks, which he talks over, saying "Sorry about the music."

I say "what," not so much because the music is so loud, but more because he spoke as I was talking.

He repeats "Sorry about the music."
I say "Oh, that's okay. I don't mind," as I turn and depart.

Actually, I do mind. Not because it's so loud, but because it's shit-kickin' Lynyard Skynyard. If it had been Pink Floyd or ZZ Top, I wouldn't mind at all. But I'm not going to criticize the musical tastes of anyone who occasionally gives me a dozen donuts for free. Good policy that, plying your neighbors with goodies to keep them happy with you. But I'd be happy with Terry in any case. He's a good guy.

Just before I saw Terry, I had decided, since my diet had gone so good for the last three days and I was only two pounds above my target weight, that I would reward myself with a cup of real coffee--no sugar, Splenda, but caffeine. And then I would get right back onto my diet again to lose the last two pounds. I had made myself the coffee, but hadn't yet started drinking it, saving it to carry onto the patio, when I saw Terry. So I retreated into the bedroom and consumed four donuts and the coffee.

I figure it went this way: my own meager sense of reward wasn't good enough for God, and so It extended the benefit. I really did need the coffee and donuts. I was sluggish and nap-prone, even though I'd just gotten up from a three-hour nap after working only two hours in the morning after a six-hour sleep. God knows what we need better than we do. [How's that for a tasty rationalization?]

I'm glad Terry gave me those donuts. I was starting to wonder if I'd said something, or done something, or failed to say or do something, the last time he gave me donuts (so long ago), or since then, and he'd decided not to give me any more. The real reason, probably, is that he never sees me. But you know how those little hints of paranoia creep into your mentality when you're not paying attention. Or maybe you don't. It's a bitch.

My back is hurting, partly from sitting the way I have to sit in this hard plastic lawn chair, typing on a table that's slightly too high [I just put the laptop on my lap. This is much better. I guess that's why they call it a laptop.] and partly because my back hurts because it's spring (my body has a bit of difficulty adjusting between seasons) and because I've been exercising with those goddam dumbbells. So, as a further reward, I'm going to take some naproxen and drink a beer. I think God would want it that way. [Blasphemy!]

Okay. Here we go with the hair thing again. This time, though, it's the other way around. I want to cut my hair. I want to go drastic. A buzz cut, maybe. Or maybe completely shave my head, like Vin Diesel, since my arms are beginning to regain some of their former bulk and my wrists are beginning to thicken as I continue to lift the dumbbells I found in the trash. But I doubt that I want to go through the appearance change again. It's a self-image thing, y'know? I'm too caught up in my external appearance. I'm too insecure. If I don't look good, I feel lost. I need the approval of my ego-other to tell me I'm okay, but it's been on vacation for several months now.


An anti-spam software company is spamming me. Ah, the irony. Or maybe it's just a clever marketing ploy: buy their software to get them off your back.

I finished off the last two donuts this morning after having four for lunch, four for dinner, and two for a bedtime snack yesterday. It was an all-sugar day, and I gained only one pound. Now I'm back on Atkins again, and feeling a bit deprived and lethargic.

Literary form is the way the author understands his or her material just as epistemology or its absence (as in modern phenomenology) is the way we know the world. Postmodern fiction, like its modern antecedents, rebels against write-by-numbers programs. It is decidedly antinomian. Hence we find in postmodernism a destructuring of conventions within genres and between them. This de-structuring reflects the de-epistemologized world view of postmodernism in which the horizons of observation, dream, fantasy, logic all lose their traditional discreteness. "Truth" becomes less product than process; the process is of course fiction in the act of writing itself out. What for [William] Gass appears to be formal concerns, for example the structure of language, the "rule of chance and chaos," and "the forms of space and time," are in fact matters of the broadest possible concern to life in a postmodern culture. That these concerns are depicted in postmodern fiction suggests that the latter, far from being a manipulation of recondite forms, is actually a mimesis of humankind in search of its world. New ways of thinking, of postulating "world," manifest themselves in new forms. Metafiction is such a form, a way of avoiding the dreamlike trance into which a non-reflexive mode of expression may lull one.
Jerry A. Varsava, Contingent Meanings
I write metafiction, most of the time. I began writing it before I ever had any idea of what it was. It just came naturally to me. Previously, when I was young, I was a product of my time, a rationalist and a Modernist. But times changed. And so did I. I'd always prided myself on being flexible and maintaining an open mind. And so, when times changed, without thinking at all about it, before even realizing what I was doing or consciously forming theories about my new style, I changed and became a postmodernist. I didn't know for a long time that I was a postmodernist, or even what a postmodernist was. All I new was that I was myself, expressing the influences that I hardly recognized, reflecting my world.


All my future "novels," pastiches, and stories will write themselves as I process my journal work using my current system. And some past novels, etc. will also write themselves, as I work at processing past journals. But to incorporate into the system all of the past work that is not currently in old journals will take an additional effort. I'm not quite sure I want to do it. Well, I want to do it, but I've become very comfortable with my method now and find it hard to go beyond it, to create works outside of its domain. I've struggled to develop an easy methodology of expression, and now I don't want to upset it by trying to extend my effort too far. (In other words, I'm getting lazy.)


Sometimes, I think about good friends I have had: Eddie. Alan. Others. I have this ideal that I see now that I used to actually live, like Keith and Mick. But no longer. I made (certain) friends easily, and they liked me, intuitively and unequivocally, probably because I acted the same way toward them, and first. I could make steadfast friends like that, as easily as I can fall in love. But I could (and still can) forget about them just as easily, friends and lovers, separated. The ideal remains, lifelong partners, friends. But the practice has fallen away. They're still out there somewhere, the old friends, and the ones I haven't met.


A gray, damp day. I slept through most of it after having been up all night catching up my films pages and watching taped movies.


I worked all morning and then slept all afternoon, finally catching up on a series of days with only six hours of sleep. Then I got up and schlepped all of my stuff out to the back porch, made a cup of coffee, and prepared to spent a warm, quiet evening reading and writing, continuing on the dramaless spring.

But as I'm making my last trip into the house to get a forgotten floppy, I see Steve turning his van around in my next door neighbor's driveway. He squeals the tires as he pulls toward his parking place across the street. Then, he gets out of the van and begins to angrily toss things around, not an unusual occurrence, but a bit early in the year for it. It's typically a summer phenomenon.

I prepare to head back outside when I hear a woman's voice pleading with him, asking him in a pitched, pleading tone what it was she'd done. I can't see where the voice is coming from and think that it may be Diane, a neighbor from across the street. I stretch into the window recess to try to see who it is, and I see Marcia, Steve's wife, in her car, half-hidden behind my Burning Bush. It doesn't sound like her voice, which causes me to wonder if it's really her car, or only one that looks like it.

I wait, until she pulls away, heading down to the end of the street to turn her car around, return, and park, when I verify that it is in fact her. Pleading all the while, asking what she'd done, she gets out of the car in her hot pink dress and heads over to Steve, who is behind his van, unloading it. He verbally abuses her, calling her an asshole, and a few other epithets, I'm sure, judging by the tone of his voice. I'm not quite sure of the whole conversation, because it is somewhat muffled and only coherent when he raises his voice beyond a certain decibel.

Marcia, now crying, heads toward the house. The game goal is achieved. Steve heads down toward the door, occupying himself with pseudo-tasks around the doorway as he continues to berate Marcia, who is now inside the house. She comes to the door a few times, still wanting to know what she did. He tells her she made him look like a fool in front of everyone, and on this day, the one day of the year when he ... [words lost.] ...the one day when he is finally starting to feel a little good. [It's not a holiday, so it must be his birthday or something.] He shouts to her that he wants his check back. [As it turns out, apparently, he had a big payday.]

The histrionics are winding down and I want to get out back, not only to do whatever it was that I was planning on doing before this incident, but now to document these proceedings. I take advantage of Steve's temporary disappearance to slip out the door and to the back. I don't want to encounter him in his particular mood. I'm not sure how he'd act toward me, having only experienced his negative antics from afar and out-of-sight. I'm not sure, in this mode, that he'd defer to me in the way he always otherwise does, and I don't want to find out. I know I could handle him, both physically and psychologically, but why go to all that trouble when I don't have to?

As I sit out back, I can hear him again out in the street, banging stuff around. And then I hear him loudly drive away. I understand that Steve is not so upset at Marcia as he is at himself, and that his display is an acting out, to avoid what he is really feeling. And I feel that it is a shame that Marcia must bear the brunt of what would otherwise be self-abuse. But, hey, she chooses the life she leads. No one is holding her prisoner.

Steve returns while I'm temporarily back inside the house. He sits in his truck, either crying out in psychic pain or singing along with the loud, indeterminable music on his radio--or both. But he can't seem to arouse Marcia's attention, which is definitely his intention, because when his antics don't seem to be working, he leans on the truck horn in one long blast. Finally, she comes to the door. She shouts a few quiet things to him, and then she goes away. But she comes back immediately, exits the house, and goes to his truck. She stands in the street beside his window, trying to reason with him--a definite mistake. They have a "conversation," only half of which I hear because, while he shouts, she is turned away from me and speaking in a normal tone of voice:

"I'm not asking for sex."
"I don't give shit about anybody here."
"I was having a good day, and you had to be an asshole."
"I don't care about anybody."

After much, much more of this with a lot of repetition, Marcia goes back inside. Steve gets out of the truck and walks down the middle of the street, repetitiously shouting out more of the same. He gets far enough away and lowers his voice just enough so that I can't hear any more of what he says. I figure he's gone to his sister's house, but he returns shortly and begins to putz around outside his house as he shouts at Marcia, who remains inside, but apparently talking to him, unseen.

"You had to ruin my day. I want you outta here right now."
"Get the fuck out here."
"You ruined me. I want you outta here."
"Go to your parents."
"I was happy and you had to ruin it."
"Call the police. I don't care."

In the middle of this conversation (much longer than depicted here), she comes out, crying, and tries to plead with him. But it only serves to egg him on. She goes back inside. He starts up the lawnmower and begins to cut the grass, thus ending the conversation.

I'm certain this is not over, but probably the worst of it is, if it is true to the form of past episodes. Occasional instances will spurt up, none of which will be as intense as that which has preceded. I go back out to the back porch and sit and listen to the relative quiet of the birds. Ah, the rites of spring.


640: I'm getting ready to go to school, at Boyce Campus. It's the first day of the school year, and I'm almost, but not quite, ready. I have organizers and notebooks, etc., but I can't find any clean socks, and I'm not happy with the pants I'm wearing, and I can't remember if I took a shower. I have nearly two hours to get to class, but I want to be an hour early. But time passes and I'm still not ready. In the dining room, I have a thin, pocket-like notebook, brown faux-leather (vinyl), approx. 5"x7". Inside it are photos and a page of notes. A guy who has been hanging around, apparently going to drive out to the college with me, indicates that the notebook is his, so I take the stuff out of it and give it to him. He leaves. Apparently, he can't wait for me, since I am wasting time and not yet ready. Back in the bedroom, I try to continue to get ready, but I just can't get it together. I go into the kitchen and, just outside the bathroom door, I breakdown and begin to cry and tell db and Sue, in a blubbering voice, that I'm incapable of going on, that I just can't do it any more. I collapse to the floor in a heap. db is sympathetic, but she doesn't cater to my weakness, and continues on with what she's doing. Sue is more given to being attentive to me, but she doesn't quite know what to do. [Some of this state is an affect borrowed from Steve's antics yesterday for which I am empathetic and/or identify with. But I realize that I never actually acted in this way. No matter what the circumstance, I always rose to the occasion. Not that I wanted to, but that I felt I had no alternative. I went through all the motions, school, work, social occasions, throughout my childhood and adulthood, until finally I could take no more of it and dropped out of everything. But I never broke down, except on two occasions that I can remember, and both of those were acts, attempts at manipulation that I resorted to when I couldn't manage to otherwise get my way. (They didn't work. The first victim (db) just didn't know what to do. And the second, Eileen, just wasn't buying it.) [Marcia should take a lesson from this.]

At exactly one pm it starts to rain. Marcia had been running around outside in her nightclothes (which look like a baseball uniform--vertically pinstriped shorts and top), back and forth between her house and Terry's, her next door neighbor, standing in front of his screen door talking to him inside. So I watch for a while to see if anything further is going to happen ancillary to yesterday's events. Nothing does. Steve and Terry leave in Steve's truck to go to work.

I feel excited. It's the weather. Steve's behavior yesterday may have been a forecast. I missed it then. After the doldrums of the last several weeks, this is a welcome change. I always feel good when it rains in the spring and summer. It creates a feeling of excitement in my chest. It always has. This is a remnant of childhood experience.


Dear Valued Customer, Per our previous messages, we've confirmed that a cyber criminal inappropriately accessed our systems in late August, and stole personal account information from our database, including your Name, Address, Email and Ecount number. Working with the proper legal authorities, we now believe that within the next 24 hours, the criminal may attempt to SPAM you with false information. He will claim to have your credit card number. He does not. It's impossible, since we do not and never have stored credit card numbers. He may claim that he can use your Ecount funds. This is absolutely not true. He has your old invalid Ecount number, which is blocked and cannot be used by anyone. While the email will reveal personal information (name, address, email), you're at no financial risk. This criminal's unscrupulous act is a last-ditch attempt to damage our business for fighting back against his extortionist demands. If he's so brazen to continue to SPAM you in the future, please continue to show your resolve by deleting his emails. Thanks for your overwhelmingly positive support. If you have any questions or concerns, please contact us at, or call us at 877-ECOUNT-5.

Matthew J. Gillin CEO

I hadn't logged into e-count for a very long time, and when I did, I got the above message. Scary, kids. Makes you wonder. Puts you on your guard. But my burning question is, why didn't they just send me an e-mail last August when this event happened? Why wait until I log on? The way they have approached this whole thing makes me wonder. I think I'll go back to using PayPal.


Your heart is only good for so many beats, and that's it... don't waste them on exercise. Everything wears out eventually. Speeding up your heart will not make you live longer; that's like saying you can extend the life of your car by driving it faster. Want to live longer? Take a nap.

You must grasp logistical efficiencies. What does a cow eat? Hay and corn. And what are these? Vegetables. So a steak is nothing more than an efficient mechanism of delivering vegetables to your system. Need grain? Eat chicken. Beef is also a good source of field grass (green leafy vegetable). And a pork chop can give you 100% of your recommended daily allowance of vegetable slop.

from Joke-of-the-Day Newsletter
Life is precariously quirky. Dr. Atkins spends his life devoted to researching health and nutrition, develops what is arguably a healthy lifestyle pattern based upon keeping a low body weight by restricting carbohydrate intake, maintains himself in super-health, slips on an icy sidewalk outside his apartment, hits his head, goes into a coma for a week, and dies. He might as well been gorging himself on pizza and beer all his life. You never know. The tongue-in-cheek philosophy expounded above may be just as good as any rationale for living a long and healthy life.


The humidity's way up and my back is aching like hell. I should move to Arizona. That's what everyone who's affected by the humidity always says. I kind of think I'd like the desert, though. Think of it, lying around all day in the heat, not wanting to do anything. Good excuse, huh? This is pretty much what I've been doing for three days now. Watching taped movies. Pretending I'm accomplishing something by chipping away at old journals and stories, in a token way. I've lost my motivation again. I think I'll go out on the back porch and read away the afternoon.

Never got to go out back and read. It started to rain. I've been having inklings of bad times ahead, little hints, twinges in my stomach, accompanied by inclement weather. This is an internal atmosphere, I know.


Watched "Lizzie McGuire" this evening, just because I wanted to see what all the fuss was about. Pretty good show, but ultimately not any different than all the other ordinary stuff on tv these days. They spotlighted David Carradine in a guest spot on his younger brother's show, reprising his Kung Fu role. Very clever, and probably lost on most of the show's prime audience. Entertaining, yes. But I look for more than entertainment from tv. I look for information--knowledge, and most of the programming comes up kind of short in this regard. And so, I'm going to cancel the cable when my half-price deal runs out next month. I can get more than enough ordinary programming from local network stations, and news and Mystery and Masterpiece Theater besides.

Someone I know says she feels sad because it's mother's day and she's been having serious difficulties relating to her mother. I wonder if she called her or sent her a card. Probably not. But I understand. This may be perverse, or even pathological, but every holiday, I rejoice at not having to send out cards or buy gifts any more. Everyone I should have bought them for is dead; or else I have managed to attenuate the obligation over the years. I'd always absolutely hated participating in these rituals and always found myself dreading their arrival, as the obligation to acknowledge the connections pressed in on me and made me feel "committed" in a way that I didn't want to feel, not because I didn't feel committed, but because I didn't want to feel tied to a specific social schedule of commitment. If I could have responded in my own time and in my own idiosyncratic way, I would have, creating my own freewheeling holidays and giving presents when the mood struck me, not being tied down to specific days of the year when I would probably not be so "up" as I might have been, when I would feel the event and the preparation for it as just one more straw of stress to be piled on this camel's hump. If I could have been allowed to relate to society in my own way, on my own terms, when I felt the strongest and most adaptive, then I could have gone a lot farther than I did. But, no, society doesn't work that way. He who adapts best, adapts best. So, anyway, events like Mother's Day, Father's Day, et al. actually make me feel kind of good now. I am free of social obligation. I don't owe anyone any token respect. I can pick and choose when and with whom I will relate, when I feel like it, which is to say, when I feel the strongest and most able--and right now, I've been feeling pretty weak, almost paranoid, very skittish and getting increasingly more so every day.


My new laptop is acting up, and it's putting me into a tailspin. I must contact the seller to arrange to have it mailed back for repair under the warrantee, and I don't even want to do that simple thing. I've already sent the e-mail, but the whole idea of it is causing me twinges of anxiety. I want to hide away in my bedroom and watch tv or read, but I have all these things that I've been putting off that I know I've got to get to, not the least of which is house and yard work, but the most of which is contacting certain people to transact certain social tasks, which I do not, at all, feel like doing. I feel the anxiety increase as I try to get my mind around the attitude I need to have to successfully relate to a society that I would rather leave alone right now. Whenever I'm in this mood and try nevertheless to relate, I always end up regretting it, in one way or another.

But, I've got to get proactive. (I hate that word. I hate the very concept. It's unnatural.) I've got to take control, at least of my life, if not the social situation I find myself (needing to be) in. I know how to do this. In fact, I'm pretty much an expert at it. I've studied this procedure all my life, in way of remedy, and I've become quite effective at it. But I just don't feel like it. But I know that, if I will just go and do it, I will feel better, if somewhat stressed. The accomplishment always brings a certain sense of relief. When you have problems, facing them head-on and solving them or at least taking a stand against them always works to reduce anxiety and stress, eventually. But when you have problems and are just existing, you feel (or at least I feel) no desire to take action, despite any imperative to do so, and so you lay around doing nothing--or at least that's what I do.

But, I tell myself, what's the worst that can happen? This is my favorite ploy to combat anxiety: I determine what the ultimate worst result of inaction will be, which then will motivate me into action or will make me comfortable with the negative results, knowing that they are my choice (thus implying a personal, if negative, control). In the case of the laptop, the worst that can happen is that I am out $133. And it probably won't come to that. I can probably get it fixed at my own expense for less. And, anyway, I've already taken the initial steps to solve the problem, which isn't so much the dysfunctional laptop as it is my own dysfunctional self.

I must interface. I must perform. I must act. Make a list and execute it. Control the situation, as exhaustively as possible. This is an old frame of mind that I don't want to do any more. I feel exhausted just thinking about it. It's who I used to be, before I got "religion" (adopted a spiritual way of life). This proctive attitude I need to get into is contrasted against that of ennui. It's a schizoid split: ultimate motivation producing an exhaustive solution/not wanting to do anything at all. It's a polarity, one or the other, when a compromise between the two positions is the sane and intelligent solution. I am much overly affected at this time, reacting to my "problems" far more than is appropriate. These are not problems, most of them. The worst, i.e., the most difficult, is the laptop thing. And that's hardly anything at all. The problem is not the situations I am in, but me.

This is the solution. (It's not a great one, but it's traditional, for me. That is, this is the way I always do it, and have the most success with):

  • ideas > writing / communication > e-mail > get things done via communicating (like PromOp)
  • back-up the computer, to assuage the fears (paranoia) of losing files; stay caught up daily (control).
  • house / outside - exhaustively work to get it done.
  • escape (relief from stress and anxiety via tv, reading, etc.)

Breaking News
e-mail from the laptop company.

Mr. Jackson

We apologize for the problems you are a having, I will send you another hard drive with caddy preloaded with win95 today.

Thank you for your patience,


Whew! What a relief!

But, y'see, it's not the "problem" that's the problem. I took a five hour nap at eight pm, because I'd only gotten six hours of sleep last night (this morning), because I haven't been taking melatonin, and when I awoke, I was feeling that old DWAFP syndrome, not so well-defined (yet), but seemingly escalating. It's in the worry stage and rapidly heading toward anxiety. And there's no problem for it to latch onto, my only real problem, the laptop, being solved.

I find myself wanting to start scanning my life, looking for a problem as an object for the syndrome. But I resist looking for one. The real problem is the syndrome, and not the object. What causes it? Does it always occur in the spring? I know I've defined "depression" as a springtime malady--maybe erroneously; maybe it's this syndrome instead. I know it will occur in the fall, with regularity. But maybe it occurs in the spring too. I know that it does not occur in deep winter and in high summer. Maybe it's, after all, some vitamin or neuro-transmitter deficiency. I haven't been taking vitamins for quite a while, not since I got the flu several months ago. Maybe I should start taking them again. And I've been having near-palpitations (that breathless feeling in my chest) that, just this evening, as I was falling asleep, became a single full-blown palpitation, the first one in nearly a year. I always associate these with back problems, and this is probably true, since I have been having some minor back problems recently. But probably, these symptoms are all tied together, and they should be defined as the "jai syndrome." After all, this is me we're talking about here, not a bundle of symptoms so much as a functioning organism, adapted to its world in the best way it knows how, precariously at times, but trying hard to understand, sometimes too hard, when it should not worry about it so much, except that it doesn't want to die and takes the precautions it believes, maybe erroneously, are necessary. C'est moi.


It seems I've successfully weathered a psychic storm, and I'm feeling pretty good about it, because I've faced it head-on, dealt with it via logic, insight, and intuition, and remained fully conscious of its affect and effects, charting them via journal writing.

I just watched a great film, J.A. Martin, Photographe, about a French Canadian photographer and his wife. In the film she calls him, J.A. (pronounced gzee-ahh). So, I'm thinking I want, now, to be called gzee-ahh instead of j-a. I'm so influencable.

It seems to be the "in" thing these days (cf. Bill Bennett, Bob Wise, et al.), rather than to avoid the issue and spin it, to own up to foibles and faux pas, repent, and ask for forgiveness. Well, I'm taking the trend one step farther. Even before I am accused (as if anyone would even bother; I'm no politician), I admit that, yes, I have done a lot of bad, bad things in my life. Yes, I've had affairs. Yes, I've take drugs. Yes, I've been a rotten bastard. [But, no, I've never gambled away my hard-earned money. I'm far too pecuniary for that kind of fault.] So what? But I'm not apologizing to anyone here. In fact, some of the "evil" things I've done, I'm proud of (the affairs, for example; some fond memories there). And the stuff I'm not proud of, I justify by claiming inexperience, or a flawed character, or just plain stupidity--but I learned a lot from them, and in hindsight, I'm happy that I did them, I glad of the experience, and those of you who might claim to have been hurt by my insensitive and callous action, well, fuck you too. You're not the only person who's been hurt. I hurt too. Not that I'm complaining (this time). I can live with what I've done and been, and so I feel no need to atone. I am who I am, reformed a bit, maybe, but not so penitent for my past. Fuck the saints of this world, and fuck the devil too.


For some years now, VDE has offered an alternative to the trend among retail word processors to emulate desktop publishing software by making elaborate provisions for font variations and page layout, and displaying a graphic rendition of the printed result. These hybrid programs include many features which most people never use, consume lots of disk space and memory, and have sluggish response times even on the fastest computers. Their design ignores the fundamental fact that typesetting is a process quite unrelated to writing, and there's no particularly good reason for a writer to be distracted by it. Of course computers can make either task easier, but not while processor speed keeps struggling to keep up with software complexity.
from instructions to VDE,
a freeware DOS-based word processor
The weather report says that this is going to be the one sunny day in a rain-filled week, so I've got big yardwork plans. I'm going to do it all, grass, hedges, weeds, trees, and I'll throw in a bit of driveway cleaning and basement organization too. Not that I'm really motivated. I don't look forward to it. I just want to get it done. It's nagging at me. Then I'm going to go out and do some grocery shopping, later in the day.

Steve came over to see me as I was trimming the hedges. He brought a box of donuts with him, compliments of Terry. As a part of our brief conversation, Steve mentioned he was tired. I said, yeah, I'm tired too. I can't get used to the summer daylight schedule. Usually, during the winter, I sleep all day and stay up all night. He said that he does the same thing, even now, because he's working nights til six in the morning, "doing floors" (I didn't ask him what that meant. I assume he's cleaning and buffing floors for some office maintenance company), and then during the day, he's cutting grass. The conversation was brief because he and Terry had to hurry off to cut somebody's lawn.

I've already eaten five of the donuts. I'm such a pig. This is why I'm so prejudiced against fat people. It's a severe case of self-loathing, projected. I'm a fat person stuck inside a skinny person's body. If I allowed myself, if I weren't so adamant about staying thin, I could easily weight 230 or 240. Maintaining a body weight of 180 for a six-foot-one guy isn't an easy thing to do with my sedate lifestyle.

I got all the hedges trimmed, and most of the trimmings raked up. The rest I'll mulch up with the lawnmower when I cut the grass. I feel like I've already done enough work for the day, but I know that it's supposed to rain the rest of the week, so I guess I got to cut the grass while the weather is still good. But I have this as a consolation: if I don't cut it today it'll rain, but if I do cut it, it'll be nice at least one of the remaining days this week.

All the grass is cut, and the large section of lawn out back is raked. Now I'm going to go out front and whack the weeds. And after that, maybe I'll call it a day.

Started to whack the weeds, thinking I'd at least get the front of the house done, and I just kept going and going like the Energizer bunny until I not only finished the whole yard, but I dug out, with great difficulty, the wire fence bottom that had been grown over by heavy turf roots, so that I could pull the posts and fence up six inches and, in the future, cut the grass by pushing the lawnmower beneath it while I'm cutting the lawn, instead of having to use the weed whacker later and losing a lot of line against the fence wire.

Next, I dug up the several garlic plants that I whacked down by mistake. And when I was all done (eight whole hours total work time), I ate the rest of the donuts--and I lost a pound. This is what I should be doing every day, exercising.

Now, I'm learning how to use a DOS word processor that I downloaded to try on my laptop, operated from a floppy, at least until my new hard disk arrives, but as a backup in any case--just in case anything happens and I end up with a non-functional hard disk (because when I was doing research on the web, it seemed like there were an awful lot of people with hard disk problems on Dell Latitude laptops. It seems to be an inherent weakness, not only in that model, but in several others, probably something to do with the hard drives being removable).

That paragraph above was typed on the Compaq desktop. This one is being typed on the laptop. Next test: cutting and pasting into Lotus.

Yep. That works. This is being typed in Lotus. But I had to open the file in notepad first, then copy and paste it into Lotus. No problem. Easy. But I'm just noticing that the formatting is different. What will happen if I copy and paste it back into VDE via notepad?

Okay. There's a function on the DOS program to reformat. So it looks like this is going to work, after a sharp learning curve. But I can't escape the idea that I'm going backwards. I seem to remember a lot of this stuff from old Commodore and 286 days, but I had to unlearn it when the more advanced computers came along, because you can't keep too much tactical info in your head, otherwise your brain locks up from insufficient RAM.


Why Men Are Just Happier People!

What do you expect from such simple creatures!?
Your last name stays put.
The garage is all yours.
Wedding plans take care of themselves.
Chocolate is just another snack.
You can be president.
Car mechanics tell you the truth.
The world is your urinal.
You never have to drive to another gas station because this one's just too

Same work, more pay.
Wrinkles add character.
Wedding dress - $5000; tux rental - $100.
People never stare at your chest when you're talking to them.
The occasional well-rendered belch is practically expected.
New shoes don't cut, blister, or mangle your feet.
One mood, ALL the time.
Phone conversations are over in 30 seconds flat.
You know stuff about tanks.
A five-day vacation requires only one suitcase.
You can open all your own jars.
You get extra credit for the slightest act of thoughtfulness.
If someone forgets to invite you, he or she can still be your friend.
Your underwear is $8.95 for a three-pack.
Everything on your face stays its original color.
Three pairs of shoes are more than enough.
You don't have to stop and think of which way to turn a nut on a bolt.
You almost never have strap problems in public.
You are unable to see wrinkles in your clothes.
The same hairstyle lasts for years, maybe decades.
You don't have to shave below your neck.
Your belly usually hides your big hips.
One wallet and one pair of shoes, one color, all seasons.
You can "do" your nails with a pocketknife.
You have freedom of choice concerning growing a mustache.
You can do Christmas shopping for 25 relatives, on December 24, in 45
from an e-mail circulated joke,
without attribution
Slept for eleven hours! I really needed that sleep. I'd been getting only six hours a night, unable to sleep any longer. All that exercise yesterday really took its toll--in a positive way.

Got the above e-mail from my sister, fwd'd through a long line of addresses. I'd answer her directly, but I don't want to offend her middle-class stereotypical female sensibilities, so I answer it here instead, point by point:

The first line sets the tone of the piece. If we're simple creatures, well then, what can you expect? You prejudge the situation and thus establish the conditions for a self-fulfilling prophecy.

There's no reason why women have to change their last names when they marry. My ex-wife didn't, with my encouragement, I might add. I thought it was belittling for her to defer to me in that way.

The garage may be all ours (though it's not a rule; you can certainly lay claim to any or all of it if you're so inclined), but the house is generally all yours, with small token spaces given over to guys' meager needs.

Wedding plans take care of themselves because you wouldn't have it any other way. Weddings are for you; we don't care. If you don't want all the fuss, don't go to all the trouble. It's okay with us.

I can't eat chocolate or the caffeine will mess with my heart rhythm, or I'll gain weight. Lots of men are like this. Don't pretend that you are the only ones who suffer from the problems that you think are exclusively yours.

Men can be presidents. Okay. I'll give you this one. But it's going to change when Hillary finally gets to do her thing.

Car mechanics do not tell us the truth. We have to be constantly on our guards to detect their deceptions. It requires a sophisticated knowledge of mechanics, which is certainly within your grasp, if you so choose.

I've known a number of women who, given the same level of privacy that most men who are not drunk require, would readily squat in place and pee without a thought about it. You can do it if you want to. Men love it.

As for driving to another gas station, well, instead of using a disgusting toilet, just squat and do it on the floor.

Same work, same pay? Oh, stop complaining and do something about it. Like, maybe start by gaining the same level of experience in the job in question.

Okay, I'll give you this one too, for the most part. Wrinkles do add character to a man. On the other hand, I think Jeanne Moreau and Ruth Gordon look quite good in their old age. Lots of character there.

Same argument re wedding dresses as with weddings in general above. Besides, what are you complaining about? If you're traditional, like you seem to want to be, your father will pay for it. It's a part of your dowry.

True, men will stare at your chest. But be honest. Why do you wear tight sweaters or low cut dresses and blouses? Who are you kidding? You love the attention. You just pretend that it offends you.

Again, I've known a number of women who can belch and fart with the best of men, and some others have even learned to do it in such a delicate way that it is rather cute.

Tight shoes that you must break in? Why do you put up with it? Stop buying them and they'll stop selling them. Fifty years ago, men had the same shoe problem. But not any more. Why? We don't buy those kinds of shoes.

One mood all the time? So-o-o-o not true.

Are you having a problem with long, elaborate phone conversations? Then shut the fuck up for a while, will ya?

You can learn all you want to know about tanks, especially now, with Internet access.

A five days vacation requires multiple suitcases because you're so vainglorious. Simplify your life, if that's what you want. Men won't complain at all. Do you think you're dressing up for men? No way. It's other women you're dressing up for. Dress down. Forget the make-up. I have a theory about make-up. Women who need to wear it are ugly (or think they are) and trying to disguise that fact. And men who like women in make-up are saps. Most men don't care at all if an even average-looking woman doesn't wear make-up, and if feel you absolutely must wear it to look attractive, then you're either butt-ugly or you have a serious problem with your self-esteem. And the men who think you look good in it aren't worth attracting, really--even if you are ugly, because men who think you're good looking because you've covered your physical and/or mental ugliness with make-up have got to be the stupidest Neanderthals on the block.

They make wonderful devices these days that will easily open any container without effort. It's all a matter of leverage, not strength. Besides, I know men who can't open jars with their bare hands.

Extra credit for thoughtfulness? You get what you expect. If you're not getting the thoughtfulness from men that you feel that you deserve, you're looking in the wrong places. Try improving your selection-ability.

As for breaking off friendships over the slightest slight, men do it too, but, yeah, maybe not so often. So, why are you such a bitch in the first place? Grow up.

Okay, I'll give you the underwear thing too. But I'd never pay $8.95 for a three-pack. I wait until they go on sale at six pair for $6.00.

Everything on your face stays its original color: see make-up above.

Okay, Imelda, admit it. You've got a shoe fetish.

I do have to stop and think about which way to turn a nut or bolt. It's not high thought, it's more like muscle-memory, feeling which way to turn it via a quick hand motion. But that's probably because of all the drugs I did when I was young.

Strap problems? No. Thank God. But you don't have to wear those kinds of clothes if you don't want to--except for bras. Remember the sixties when all the young girls ran around without bras and then, ten years later, regretted it when their boobs were hanging down around their knees?

Wrinkles schminkles. I never dress up, and I recommend that everyone else, men and women both, do the same. If I can't go somewhere in Levis and a T or flannel shirt, I don't go. Life's too short any more to play those dress-up games.

Hairstyles: Apparently, you have no idea how vain some men are about their hair and how much they pay to have it styled. But I recommend that women get their hair cut in the same way that most men do. I think a man's haircut on a woman is incredibly sexy. But then, I absolutely love lesbians.

Some men should shave below their necks. Or immerse themselves in a tub of Nair every few weeks. This is, maybe, the one traditional practice that I would recommend that women maintain. Please, women. You can abandon all of the other feminine cultural practices, but don't stop shaving. In fact, if I were you, I'd take it a whole lot farther. Get rid of everything hairy below the neck. Everything.

Yeah, there's a large number of disgusting men whose bellies hide their hips. So, what? You're considering that a positive trait?

Seasonal color coordination: It's all a big fashion industry hype designed to sell you things because you're so gullible. You don't have to dress up for us. (See above.) In fact, going without any clothes at all is far more preferable.

Actually, I use an Exacto blade to do my nails. But I wouldn't recommend it. One little slip and...

Mustaches? Okay. I'll give you that one too.

Well, I myself have worked my way to a social level where I don't have to do any Christmas shopping any more, but I get your point. But it's a talent anyone can develop, even women. It's not an innate male trait.

In summary, almost all of these situations that you complain about are your choice--not the bane of your existence, but the way you choose to live. Get with it. Start the revolution, already. I thought you all started that a half a century ago. What happened? It should be over by now. You should all have become the slobs we men are. Isn't that what you want?


I'm working downtown at a place similar to where I used to work (with the same owner and similar customer service and support staff, but with entirely different "production" employees and in an office instead of an industrial environment). I'm a staffer myself, and my job duties are not well defined, at least to me. It seems I have a lot of time with nothing to do, and people will ask me to do things, not as legitimate assignments, but as favors, because I'm a kind of expert at storage, filing, and information retrieval. But, although my services are valuable, this undefined position makes me ill-fitted for the corporate hierarchy, and I am all but disregarded by the established order. My co-workers treat me as if I hardly exist, although the downstairs staff, who rely on me to get them what they need, look upon me very favorably, and they are truly happy to see me or to talk to me on the phone. I am very personable with them, and with everyone, although the people on my floor tend to feel superior to me. I go to get some stuff in the storage area, and Mike Madden works there and helps me with the heavy work. We "shovel" the materials we need to transfer between buildings, at first with snow shovels, as if it were snow, and then with a tiny snow plow, which Mike drives and I direct, clearing the way of debris so that the plow can get through. When we get it through, we file the stuff away in cabinets that line an aisle at this far edge of the main building.

At the end of the workday, I get a load of office mail from downstairs--magazines, documents to be filed, and three portfolios of pictures of an office party, picnic, and general office socialization. I'm really looking forward to going through this stuff, especially the pics, but there's one thing I have to do first. I go and do it, in an area to the west, looking for a deed or legal document re South Park (a local park, not the tv series). Some of the people who work in this area help me in a token way, not really interested in what I'm doing, but feeling marginally obligated. Other people, specifically women on the phone who work downstairs, are more encouraging and helpful.

When I return. close to three-thirty, quitting time, I see that my workspace (a long desk behind a long partition, shared by other workers, all male, all of whom out-rank me, all seated along this long table-like desk with drawers between the seats and storage cabinets overhead) has been cleared, along with everyone else's, because it is tradition here that the desk be completely orderly before we leave for the day. I ask the remaining two or three guys (the rest have left) where my stuff is, but no one seems to know, or they pretend not to. I am pissed. In order to try, half-heartedly, to appease me, one guy suggests that maybe they were filed in a certain drawer behind us. We look, but they aren't there. He acts like he doesn't know what happened to the stuff, my stuff, but I know he's lying. I compose myself and decide, then and there, that I will not be in tomorrow, that this is my last day of work. Robert Redford, in an interview on PBS last night, said that you should step back from your work at the height of your success and start over on other things you want to do. This is what I decided to do in the dream (and in my real life). rai: I call the owner and tell him I quit. He tries to assure me that I am needed, that I am a valuable employee, but I tell him I don't feel like that is true. [Doubt.] I redouble my determination to quit and not to be talked into staying in this less-than-fulfilling situation. [In my past, on a number of occasions, I had intended to resign from organizations, but was talked out of it, only to regret it later.]

I awaken, doubting: is what I'm doing with my life worthwhile? Am I an artist, or a reprobate? (Can I not be both?) This kind of doubt, unchecked, escalates, and I haven't been doing the work recently to prevent the escalation. As Barney Fife used to say "You've got to nip it in the bud." This journal entry is a little bit of nipping. When the doubt pops up, examine and record it. Don't let it slip by unnoticed and sink into the subconscious and become transformed into something worse. [I wonder if this really works, or if the syndrome is inevitable, in any case. In other words, do I have any control over it at all? Maybe, with diets, exercise, and lifestyle; but maybe not, with mere ideas and words. (More doubt.)]

I used to have this long list of devices and ploys that I'd used to maintain my attitude. This was back in the days when I was working at a job and needed to accurately control my level of stress. These mechanisms were designed to insure myself that I was doing the right thing, pursuing the correct strategic course for my life, and taking the appropriate tactical action, when forces, not the least of which were my own internal ones, seemed to be conspiring against my ego, or vice versa, to lead me in one or another wayward direction.

But after I quit working and made my time my own, as the stressors disappeared from my life and my physiology normalized (sort of) and calmed back down to where it had been before I'd started out, so long ago, on my social journey, the great experiment I'd set for myself to "fit in" to society, I left off maintain the lists, I let them fade away, artifacts now of old journals. For the most part, they are not needed.

But every once in a while I think that if those artificial mechanisms were still place, I'd be a "well-adjusted" person. But it took a lot of time back then convincing myself that I was sane, and though it might not take so much time now, still, it would take time, and I am not so anal as I used to be. It's more difficult now to keep every thing, every idea in place. They flow all over the place now, things and ideas. (Actually, I should have said I'm not so anal retentive now. I guess it could be said that I have become a bit expulsive--or maybe schizoid, split between the two.)

It's enough now, I think, to say that what I am is what I am, and that if I doubt that what I am doing is what I should be doing, well, that's who I am, a doubter. And if that doubt escalates, beyond worry and anxiety into fear and full-blown paranoia (which I doubt that it ever would any more, absent the extreme levels of stress), then that too is who I am. And if I think that I should not be so forthcoming with people, so as not to reveal too much of the mess I am inside, well, that is who I am. I cannot be who I am not. What I have to say, is what I have to say. And I no longer even feel that I have to guard what I say so much. It's my therapy, what I say. It's who I am.

I'm back in full laptop mode. UPS just arrived with my new hard disk. I plugged it in and it works perfectly. So the problem was a bad hard disk after all. I was a bit worried that when the new disk arrived, it wouldn't work either and I'd have to contact the seller again. But all is okay.


I'm way out of sync with my body rhythms. At noon, I want to go to bed, even though I slept for eight hours. But late at night I want to stay up and continue working, but instead I take melatonin and go to sleep. This is the price of wanting to be awake during the day to enjoy the summer weather. It's gray and rainy, but it's warm, and I have this idea that I'm going to get things done outside, which I don't so much want to do, with the threat of rain, but if I don't maintain a daylight schedule, then when it gets sunny, a few days from now, I'll be sleeping nights.

This is all by way of saying that I'm thinking of going to bed to take a nap, but resisting the idea.


Late in the night, just before going to bed, since it was supposed to be so easy, I tried to install an open source store front (osCommerce), first to my own website, and then, when that wouldn't work because they wouldn't let me add any more subdirectories after I was halfway through uploading (I couldn't make the zip upload work and had to do it file by file), I opened a new Geocities account, just to try out the new software. But Geo only allows two subdirectory levels now, so I opened a new tripod account, but I got an error message that said that some of the file names were invalid, and since I didn't know how to mess around with the code (it's very complicated) to change the file names, I abandoned the idea, at six in the morning. Back to my original idea: construct my own lame storefront using PayPal as the method of payment, and supplement that with eBay.


The first nice fully sunny day in a long time and I sleep most of it away because I was up all night playing with that damn open source storefront. I did manage, late this afternoon, to go to the grocery store, though, because I desperately needed to buy some Splenda to fool my body into thinking it was getting high calorie sugar. As long as I can get a cup of Splenda-sweet decaf coffee or Postum two or three times a day, I seem to be able to stay on my Atkins diet. But if I have to go without anything sweet, my body craves sugar, and I usually cave.

When I got home from the store, The mail had arrived, and with it, the ten pine trees I ordered from National Arbor Day Foundation. I joined the Foundation for ten dollars only to get the free trees. A dollar a tree isn't a bad price. I didn't really want to go out and plant them, but I forced myself. Now I have a fledgling pine wall across the back of my property that, when fully grown, will partially shield the industrial park that they expanded into view several years ago. I planted the trees three feet apart so that, after a few years, I can start to harvest every other one for Christmas trees. But since I don't use Christmas decorations myself, I figure I can let someone else have them.


I put the tomato cages, inverted, over the pine seedlings, to protect them from wandering dogs, kids, and other animals. Then I surfed the net for a while and found "the dullest blog in the world," which is influencing this terse prose style.


Woke up severely doubting that I'm doing the right thing with my life.
Want to do something else, but I don't know what. So what else is new?
Think I might want to go back to all fiction instead of the daily journal,
i.e., incorporate my raw journal entries into fiction, into online entries.
Like I used to do, before the terrible online publishing fever overtook me.
But I don't want to leave gaps in the journal, in case I change my mind.
Later, I may want to continue documenting my life, and I'll regret gaps.

Anyway, instead of working, I surfed the net all day. I re-visited:

the dullest blog in the world

Inspirational. I want my journal to be terse and non-descript like this.
Maybe I'll change formats, publish brief passages, re-devote my time.
Maybe I'll translate all of my raw journal work into creative fiction.
Or maybe I'll just forget about all this and go back to doing what I do.

I could make the journal entries quick and brief, like that of 5-20-03.
Short summaries with references to more complicated stuff elsewhere.
Almost more like poetic blogs than the verbose entries I now write.
Crafted, or at least brief, description, leaving the psychology to stories.
I might try that new format for a few days to see how it all works out.
Anything, anything, is better, by far, than all of this continuing doubt.

While online checking out my site, I found several serious mistakes in my code, specifically in the new journal menu. The Tripod header banner was showing up in the inline frame and displacing the menu items. I had to spend a lot of time figuring out how to correct this.


Nights no longer seem to hold the mystery they used to for me, because 1) I stay up late all the time now, and 2) I'm a different person, less fearful of the kinds of unknown things I miscomprehended in my youth. I go outside to get the mail, at three-thirty in the morning, having just remembered I hadn't gotten it. I remember that former sense of mystery, now dispelled. I wish I still felt that way about the night.

If I stay up and extend my waking hours, go to sleep exhausted late in the morning, alter my sleep/awake cycle and probably my body chemistry, and certainly my scheduled activity, abandoning favored projects I've been plugging away at by putting in a token unit of time each day in favor of a marathon effort at one thing I really want to do at the time, regardless of whether it is so "important," I feel better after I awaken, reset and ready to go to work at new insights I gained when I broke away from the humdrum scheduled life.

That last paragraph really says nothing at all--just like a lot of the stuff I write, and think. But then, I go to watch some tv and see Lynn Redgrave on Larry King talking about herself and I realize that this is most of what everyone is doing, really, talking about nothing of significance, except to their own limited sense of pseudo-purpose. Not too many people have much of consequence to say, especially in the media. And then, I see Paul Berman on a news program, and he talks about the liberal agenda and how the current war against terrorism is really a liberal war to extend human rights to a suffering world, and I realize that there may be a few people who have something relevant to say. I ought to be seeking these people out instead of relying on having the messages find me after I've waded through a lot of postmod tv and Internet bullshit. But then, if I would do that, it would be a lot of work. I don't want to work so much any more. Zen, baby.

Life is, what it is, a matter of perception, which is evidenced by predominant expression. How we justify it, how we make our living, is incidental to experience. When given our existence, we feel, must be supported, we lose the sense of sight we were awarded with when we signed on as progeny of this biosphere. We're suppposed to be, witnessing creation here, not earning money and accumulating things that distract us and cause us to forget the truth.

In other words, everyone's life is boring, like 'the dullest blog in the world', if all people care about are the details. It's not the details that are important, but the ability of perception. If we remain aware of the act of perception, that we are God's eyes and ears on Earth, then the dullest details are important, not of themselves, but because an awareness has evolved here on this planet that is capable of perceiving details. This act itself, an art of life, is of the utmost significance and makes a lie out of the artifice of importance that people want to think that some activities are, but most of our ordinary peasant-life details are not. The humblest of lives is most significant in this sense. This is what 'the dullest blog' signifies to me.


Most of the time, waiting is, a valuable Zen practice; But sometimes it is, so sad, to be, unknown for so long now. What is, going to happen, is going to happen, unless I do something to prevent it, or enable something else.


For several days now I've been struggling with an idea.
I should be doing something different with my life.
But what? I've been through this so many times before.
What I'm doing is what I want to do, and nothing else.
I'm always happy being myself, and miserable otherwise.
And from time to time I realize I am veering off-course.
When hints of misery suggest themselves, I start to worry.
It's only a matter of time before the escalation begins.
I start to look ahead, to see how it is that I can adjust.
If I do not do this, I become increasingly dissatisfied.
Now, I realize, I'm pushing an idea too far in one direction.
Time to back off, regroup, and redefine my purpose:

An obsessive-compulsive tendency causes me not only to want to incorporate everything I write in these journals into my art [which more and more, naturally, since it is a sure publication, becomes exclusively my website], but to incorporate everything I possibly can about my life into my journals. This would be a good artistic use of the OC tendency if it were not an all but impossible task. I could continue on in this direction, because it is possible, given the time and devotion, to successfully process my journals in this fashion. Not only have I proven this to be true over the last several months as I've caught up and actually gotten a bit ahead after having fallen behind last fall [fall back, spring ahead], but overall, my goal of incorporating all of my past journals into website format, although a daunting long-term task, seems doable.

And yet, there is that idea that I will always fall behind and need to catch back up, thus slowing down my overall progress considerably. It's not so much the fact of this as the motivation for it. I could continue to motivate myself in this single-minded direction, but I feel a counter-motivation, that something different is indicated. But what? As I've said, I've always felt this way, and it is probably nothing more than simple loss of motivation, but maybe, this time, mentally experimenting, I've hit upon a better idea:

I could forget about trying to exhaustively process all the journal work [I've written of this before, here and elsewhere] in favor of re-doing my website for quality content, rewriting or deleting material I'm not entirely happy with and leaving what I consider to be first-rate material intact--and, simultaneously, posting new material selectively, applying the same quality standards. After all, when I first started out posting to a website, although a part of the motivation was the exhaustive inclusion of personal expression, another part was to create a collection of content, a body of work, because at that time I was feeling rather inadequate in this regard. But now that I've created that collection, maybe it's time to refine it, instead of merely adding to it.

It must be obvious that I am not so sure of this proposed direction. On one hand, it sounds like a very good idea, and a saner one, one that is far more manageable--and conventional. (I should suspect it on that ground alone.) But on the other hand, it sounds like a compromise. I feel like I should continue to drive myself, to remain exhaustive, to stay true to my OC vision of an artist who is totally devoted to his single-minded purpose and drives himself to accomplish it, leaving little, if any, time for anything else.

But, maybe, life's too short, and there are other things that are important. But what? Here's another radical (for me) idea I had today:

All of my life I've watched myself acquire and collect "toys," which I outgrew, but never wanted to get rid of, thinking I still had a use for them. I still have, stored in my back closet, a collection of sophisticated science kits from my teen years. A part of a past me wants to dig them out and finish them, though I've grown beyond that aspect of my development. I have a motorcycle in my garage that I want to get running again. I want to be that guy I used to be who rode around the locality, free and easy.

I have lots of old toys I'll never again play with. I am not those (and many other) people any more. At best, they are past identities, or worse, they were ego-illusions. Now, I seem to want to say, that is, I have had the briefest insight I do not really want to acknowledge, that my toys (including, gasp, computers) should be put aside in favor of human interaction. I am, though perhaps not a very good one, a psychologist, after all--retired, it's true, and now mostly hiding out from that motivation that drove me to understand what it is that causes people to act the way they do, although still motivated to understand the same about my own self, which was the original motivation for my education in the first place.

I am different, or becoming different--evolving, struggling with ideas of who I am, experimenting with self-definition, still, looking for new ways to more adequately express my self. Maybe this is the way: to be more quality and less volume oriented. But maybe not. At least, it's worth a try, and if it doesn't work out, I can always go back to struggling to catch up again.


This morning, as I watered the plants, doing any minor task around the house to avoid having to go to bed after having been up all night working in bed on my laptop, I realized how much I really love my computers, especially my laptop. I could never, as I suggested yesterday, abandon them as past toys. They are very present. The laptop is like a book I carry around, wanting to read, even when I don't feel like reading, but it is so much more than that. It represents a sense of freedom. It's a storage device and processing platform for ideas, my most valuable commodity. I could abandon it, and the desktop. I could abandon all material things perhaps, but I could never abandon ideas. To stop thinking is to stop living. In meditation, sometimes, I stop thinking. It's like "I" don't exist, a good state of mind, I'm told--and I feel that way in the moment in meditation. But I never want to be that way permanently. I'm a die-hard westerner at heart. I want to live in the ideal moment, but when it comes right down to it, I'm addicted to phenomena. I am a phenomenologist, after all, in theory and in practice.

I'm in a park, on a wide open, mown, knoll-top field, as if on a picnic with my family, although no one is around except Jay/Ronnie Coll. A nice-looking woman, about thirty, sits nearby on a blanket. No one else is visible for hundreds of yards in any direction. I am at a distance from the woman, but I know she's interested in me. She asks Jay if his uncle dates. Jay tells her he doesn't know, and he comes over to me to tell me what she said (i.e., to relay the "message"). Thus, I find myself in the difficult position of explaining to her why I no longer date, which I don't know how to do (rai) without actually going over to her, i.e., approaching her, which I don't seem to want to do either, despite the fact that I'm interested.

I awaken with a clear realization of the predicament I am in. On one hand, I'm perfectly adapted and adaptable to the way I live. On the other hand, I am intractable, completely set in my ways, not out of habit or personality, but simply because I choose not to participate in social phenomena, preferring to remain aloof and observational, to create a maximum hedge against a negative future. Well, maybe it's a matter of personality, but one that is, in fact, quite readily malleable, if I would allow it; but I do not, for fear of falling back into an overwhelming stress-pool of social intercourse.

But if I would have responded to the woman in the dream, what would I have said, how would I have explained myself?

"Do you date?"
"Why not?"
"That's a complex subject that I'm not sure how to respond to. I guess it's because women are looking for something that I feel I can't give them."
"So you know what it is that women want, then?"

I'd recognize the loaded question and avoid tackling it straight on. Instead, I'd try to explain how it is I am, well-skilled in empathetic understanding and readily giving in spirit, but seriously lacking in ambition and closely guarding my material resources so as not to endanger my physical future. If she can't read between those lines, then she isn't smart enough to become involved with. I don't want to get mixed up with another woman that I can manipulate. I usually end up manipulating myself as well.

I've lost the insight and the motive to go on with this. I mean that with respect to writing out this explanation, but it is perhaps appropriate to my current mental state as well. I don't mean that I'm going to go off and kill myself. I'm not. I just mean that I am becoming depressive again and would rather just exist and watch boring tv and dumb movies than try to make sense out of the world. Sure, I'd like to have a beautiful woman take an interest in me. And they still do, from time to time. But, always, there is this recurring state of ennui that inserts itself between the social world and me. At best, it creates a Zen state of non-doing where I can wait, until the return of more active times. But, worse, it is, in fact, depression, a state I adapt to by mimicking a less-than-perfect Zen detachment. I've been fighting this state for days now. I'm fighting it this very moment by writing, trying to motivate myself up to a level where I can accomplish something.

But I'm losing the battle. It's five-thirty in the morning, the next day is coming on, and I was going to go online and pay some bills and get some other things done. But maybe I'll go back to bed, and not being so tired, watch some more dull tv. (Maybe it's not the tv that's so dull, but me.)


Truth has one voice; ignorance expresses itself multiply.

These are the days that writing is made for, that writing evens out, testing a state of mind against reality. When it's gray and rainy out, I can hide away and feel okay. I can feel justified that I'm hiding away from the weather, or even affected by it. But when it's bright and sunny, I feel guilty if I stay inside. I should be up and out and motivated then. Thank God for the excuse of inclement weather when the mind is less than adequate.

As a solution to the dilemma of the woman in the dream, I can go all the way towards detachment, making it a spiritual purpose as well as a practical strategy. Then I can say that I am spiritually opposed to materialism [a schizoid reaction]. Then I don't have to feel ashamed that I am reclusive and resource-restricted. It can be a matter of principle. And this need not be merely a pose I strike, a stance I take to cover up the psychology that creates the situation. Rather, it can be a chosen way of life (it is), a therapy, an adaptation to a world that is, itself, far less than sane.


Coffee helps a lot. It really gets the seratonin flowing. But it's a fine balancing act between feeling motivated and experiencing that slight pressure feeling in my chest that is predictive of an eventual heart palpitation if I don't desist and go back to a sane and sedate way of life. I haven't wanted to walk that tightrope over the past several years, but I feel such a lack of motivation now. I had a cup of coffee late last night and stayed up all night working. (I slept all afternoon and wasn't at all tired, but only lethargic.) So, after having had a four-hour nap, I think I'm going to have another cup right now. As long as I don't use it to avoid sleep (like I used to, all the time) and drink it only after I've just gotten up, and as long as I don't allow myself to become addicted to it again and stop drinking it for long periods of time, I think I'll be okay. It's better than moping around all night and day. (That's a lot of "as-long-as's.")


We report, and we decide, and you shut up.
Don Imus, re the new FCC rules
The time has come around again to attempt to wean myself a bit farther away from the corporate monoculture. After a six-month half-price benefit period, ComCast has raised my cable rate back to its original level. So, I've got to summon the resolve to do without the corporate pabulum. I want to get back to reading again as a preoccupation. And I want to start getting my news exclusively from alternate Internet sources and NPR and PBS. But I'm feeling the same old doubts I felt six months ago, the last time I tried to cancel the cable. But I've got to do it. It's a matter of principle. And what will I do if they say I can have the cable for another six months at a 50% discount? Will I cave? I've got to make up my mind now, before I make the call.

Well, I did it. I'm now free of cable tv. One giant leap for me, one very small step for mankind. I expect this move to change my life. At least, it'll take me a tiny bit closer to an ideal detachment--or to a complete schizoid split with reality. (I'm not sure those two are different states of existence.) I feel elated, as if this is a much bigger deal than it really is. It's symbolic. It's like me saying, fuck you, you corporate assholes, fuck all you partisan purveyors of narrowly scoped, agendadized news. This is a major move beyond postmodernism. I've been wondering what the next great social movement is/will be, and now I'm about to experience it directly--if I haven't already been experiencing it, in smaller ways. There is always a lag between the changeover and the re-definition. Movements occur in real-time, but are usually labeled in retrospect.

Started cutting and chopping wood this afternoon. Got all of the stuff left from last year cut, and a few logs split. Good to be out and exercising again. Tomorrow, I'll start on all of the stuff that Steve has deposited in my driveway this spring. I want to stay caught up with it this summer so that I don't have to play catch-up in the fall.

O'Reilly has a "no spin zone." Maybe I should have a "no news zone." I could put a sign on my front door that states: "The news stops here!" I hadn't planned on heading in this direction, I'd planned on getting my news from The Lehrer Newshour and PBS radio, but no news sounds like a viable alternative. Imagine it: not knowing about what's happening in the world. It'd be like living in the 1900's on a ranch in the west, where you hear about the news weeks or even months after it happens, if at all, if it isn't already history by the time you learn about it. My house could be a newsless area amid the chaos of the postmod world. The FCC is going to allow corporations to buy up more media, thus narrowing the field and squeezing local news even farther, promulgating the monoculture. By declaring a 'no news' policy, I fight this tendency, I don't have to worry about whether I'm getting narrowly focused, biased news. As a compromise, when I hear about a news item that interests me, I can research it on the Internet across a number of sources that I "trust" and glean the "truth," much like I do now between the net and multiple tv channels (which get more and more similar as time passes). Thus, 'no news' can be a catch phrase for me that indicates a direction in which I am heading, meaning less and less news, but of a broader, more diversely accurate quality.

Of course, then, I'd have to change the focus of my website. It would still "reflect my world," but it would be a far more idiosyncratic one. No news is good news. But it wouldn't be no news, it'd be more my news. Local news. Neighborhood news. Family and friends news. Which is what it is now, in part, but this would make it more exclusive. I don't know if I'll go this way or not. I'd like to. But I like the alternate news/world idea too. And then there's the Internet. It brings news into the house, and I'm not at all ready yet to detach from that. So, I guess, the no news idea is a bit farther into the future. Gradual detachment. I've got to pace myself. No cold turkey. Chipping smaller and smaller quantities of news instead, while increasing the variety.

Mostly, my move away from cable tv is a statement against the disgusting state of postmod journalism, where everyone is a journalist pandering their own opinions as if they were turn-ons. The news as it is presented, especially by the Big Three cable stations, disgusts me as much as the meager, repetitive content of cable in general, where you have to wade through so much bullshit to get to the few small nuggets of worthwhile programming.

I've also been becoming increasingly disgusted with the advertising practices, especially with the Encore channel (for which I pay a premium) sticking in their promos for their (Starz channels) affiliates. And I'm disgusted with product placement in news and sitcoms, and even in films. And with the pseudo news items that promote products, tv shows, films, etc., while pretending that it is all legitimate news. And with the goddam teasers that promise to reveal the most interesting stories shortly and end up showing them near the end of the program, built up beforehand to be far more than they really are.

And then there's the advertisements at bottom corner of screen. They're getting bigger and bigger and starting to interfere with the content. Pretty soon they're going to cover half the screen. And while were on the subject of that crap in the corner of the screen, I believe it to be the height of unprofessionalism not to consider ahead of time how a channel's logo will interfere with important content, such as subtitles. Quality continues to deteriorate as the postmod movement deepens and threatens to completely take over the culture. It's one thing for individual artists to embrace the movement; it's an entirely different thing for the social institutions to embrace it. It signals a defeat of rationalism and a subsequent debasing of society.

Don't get me wrong. I love postmodern method. But I love it because it has been radical. For me, it's been a mechanism of rebellion. As the media have adopted it, I've almost felt as if I have been starting to fit in. I've felt a conflict between acceptance and wanting to opt out again. But if the society at large totally adopts a postmod agenda, then I'll have to assert my individualism once again and search for something new. I've felt this motive coming on for quite some time. What's next? Postmodern academia? It's already overtaken the arts and is seeping into sociology (but nobody takes that stuff seriously, especially in its postmod form--yet).

And so I thumb my nose at all of it. I defect. I resign. I'll get my news in an alternative way, like from radio and broadcast tv (remember the old days), and from the Internet, where true alternative options still exist (amid a growing preponderance of monocultural pap). One day, I'm going to get fed up with that too, probably, when the cost far outdistances the content, like it does in cable today.

Yeah, today everyone is a journalist, and I'm a journalist too. Or rather, a reporter. I can document the world as well as they can. I don't so much need to be informed as I need to develop the sources of information that I encounter. I document:

  1. the events that happen around me. I could render these events in a journalistic format (I am trained to do it), but they tend to be inseparable from the other content that I render. They could be separated out, but that would change their nature--and mine. So I use a combinatory style instead, which makes it all seem like it's coming off the top of my head, when it is coming from deeply within it, after it has absorbed it from my environment.
  2. my reaction to these events, and their internalization, when it will happen, which occurs, more often than not, via empathy/transference.
  3. my internal events, my psychology, including dreams and fantasies.
  4. "world" events (the events of other localities; all events are local) and my reaction/transference re them.
  5. countertransference, when I notice that it has occurred.
So, I do document events. The difference between what I do and what "journalists" do lies in the nature of the events and their relationship to me (when they are not "me" themselves). Journalists pretend that they report on objective happenings outside the scope of their personality. But nothing occurs outside the scope of a reporter's personality, and objective reporting is a myth. This is the rationale that postmod reporters use to justify their opinionated reports. Okay. Fine. Except that professionals, in any profession, maintain their professional stance by delineating what is other from what is self. Therefore, "journalists" who allow that "objective" delineation to melt away are, by (my) definition, not professionals. They're doing the same thing I'm doing, living and reacting (and sometimes affecting the nature of the news--they far more than I). The only real difference between us now is that they get paid a lot of money to do it. Pay me, and I'll change my mind about the disgust I now feel for them. I can be bought. I've been bought before.


Who I am is a function of my childhood, and my mother and father. I can see how the situation I was raised in is still very much with me, just as it is with everyone. We never outgrow our childhoods. The forces that existed then that formed who I became are extant in the person that I am today, how my parents influenced me, and how I resisted and rebelled against that influence. I can feel this function when, in the perfect peace after meditation, with the usual guards lowered, I contemplate my childhood. I am still that person, influenced and resisting, a schizoid complexity.

Feeling very antsy and dis-oriented. Slept for less than two hours and had to get up and try to find something to do, but nothing interested me. Fight off the desire to make a cup of coffee. Don't want to ruin my developing state of ketosis. Started to feel this same way last night too.


I'm trying to get some sleep, having slept only an hour and a half last night, when the phone rings. A representative from ComCast leaves a message for me to call her about my cable disconnection. Probably, she wants to try to talk me into keeping the service. This idea makes me happy, that they're worried (albeit, I'm sure, only bureaucratically) that they're losing me as a customer. (That is, I'm sure that the woman who called could care less and is just doing her job and has no concern for me at all.)

I switch on the tv to see if it's been turned off yet. It hasn't. And then, for some reason (maybe a psychic influence, who knows?) I surf past the premium channels and see that they're turned on, all of them. I think that it may be a free preview week-end and, although all I want to do is go to sleep, I rouse myself and go to the computer, get on the Internet, and navigate to each channel's site to get a list of movies that will be shown. There are a lot of them I want to see, too many for me to watch or record. I idly wish I had a few more VCRs.

I begin to make a paper list of each channel (HBO, Cinemax, Showtime, Starz), arranged by start time and including movie length. This takes quite a while and begins to conflict with the start times of the one of the films I want to see, so I leave the computer on and go back to the tv until, many hours later, working between the movie breaks, I finally have a completed list for the weekend.

Next, while watching and taping films, I consolidate the lists into one continuous list, arranged by starting time. This makes making a watch/tape schedule a little bit easier. Next, I make a tape list, prioritizing the films I really want to see, relegating the lesser ones to the either watch or miss category. This requires quite a bit of logical manipulation to ascertain that the films I want to tape do not overlap each other and how I might fit these films into available blank spots on my existing tapes. (I tape three films to a tape, and to accomplish this, it is necessary to group short films with longer ones so as not to exceed the six hour tape length.)

When I finally get the tape list done and figure out a watch order, figuring I'll watch some of the films to see if I like them and then switch to later-starting ones if I don't, I settle back to enjoy the fruits of my labors. But I'm getting progressively more exhausted and start to worry that, if I do not get some sleep soon, I may start having heart palpitations. But I persist.

Finally, about midnight, I can't go without sleep any longer, and I decide to miss some of the films. I set the alarm for five a.m., when I have to awaken briefly to change tapes, and I doze off. But in the depth of sleep, I am aware of a certain pulsating sound, as if I am dreaming it. After an indeterminable period of time, I awaken to the realization that the signal on the tv, still on, is being scrambled. I force myself fully awake and check it out. Yep. All the movie channels are no longer available, but the cable is still on. This makes me both sad and happy. I'm not going to get many of the films I wanted to watch, but I am going to get some sleep.

When I awaken again at six forty-five, I start to think about why the premium channels were on in the first place, since usually a free preview goes through the weekend and is accompanied by promotional programming, which was not the case. It can't have been a left-over from last week-end, which sometimes they will do, because the day before yesterday I remember checking the premium channels to see if I could hear the signal and thus be able to listen to films even if I could not actually watch them. (I discovered I could not.)

I begin to wonder if these channels were turned on just for my benefit, so that I could be enticed to keep the cable service. But can they do that? Probably, but they'd have to do it at the box outside, I believe, and not at the local cable center, although who knows what advances in technology there have been recently. (If they can turn channels on and off remotely, then that's another reason to have cancelled the cable. Are they able to monitor the fact that I am watching tv? Are they developing a history of my viewing habits? I seem to imagine idly encountering information about those kinds of technological advances, but not paying any real attention to them; or had I just been dreaming it? Paranoia creates a desire to further detach oneself from social contact.) But if they did turn on the channels just for me, well, yea. I got a few free final films before I finally go cold turkey.


"What are you afraid of?"
"I'm not afraid of anything."
"That's a lie. Everyone's afraid."
"Oh, yeah, well, I guess so."
"You're afraid of living. You're afraid of life."

"No. Not at all. I'm very happy with life. I love life. I love living. I love being spontaneous and expressing myself in the moment. If I'm afraid of anything, it's death, the end of that momentary process."

"Saying that you exist in the moment, this meditation stuff you're all hung up on, is just another way of saying you're afraid of commitment. What is it about commitment that you're afraid of?"


Women will enter into relationships with men who resist commitment, even when having been forewarned by the men that they will not want to go beyond a certain point, that they do not want to get married, or have kids, or whatever other code they use for not wanting to commit to a relationship.

But then, later, when the relationship isn't going anywhere, women change their minds, when their instinct/psychology kicks in. Mostly, women, like men, are unconscious of this process. But I'm not. Not any more. I see the inevitable direction of every "normal" relationship.

Despite the initial definition of any heterosexual relationship, it heads toward or resists progression toward the outcome of having and raising children. It's programmed into our genetic makeup and will kick in even when we are in situations that make that activity impossible.

We want to adopt kids when we are incapable of having them. And women are more likely to be the originators of this idea, as they seek to fulfill in other ways the instinctual physiology/biology they are denied. This becomes integral to any long-term monogamous relationship.

It even plays into some homosexual relationships. Deviancy is not so deviant as we want to believe it is. The few women who do not embody this tendency toward familial desire, despite their initial misgivings or acceptance of alternate relational definitions, are the real deviates.

Some few women play into men's agendas when, for whatever reason, out of neurotic or psychotic programmed childhood fears, or more simple adapted adult decisions, they choose to live a childless life. Many men would consider these women rare finds. Or, at least, I would.

Otherwise, I am fearful, that I might be waylaid in my quest for perfect calm and peace as I journey toward my endtime final destination. I've established a workable and tentative solution for the central problem of my life, the relief from deadly stress caused by having to survive:

I've created a hedge against a world that demands that I "make a living" by creating an environment of minimal resources while maximizing return on investment. And the instinctual response of parenthood is a threat to that environment, when women want to attach limited resources to this purpose.

And they do want to attach these resources, no matter what they say, no matter how much they may be "convinced" by men (including me) to think otherwise. They can't fight their instincts. The ones who do are the deviates who tend to exhibit problems not unlike the men who lack commitment.