by j-a

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October, 2003


It occurs to me that most people don't understand me. This is not a new revelation; I've known this, more or less, all my life. It used to bother me somewhat, not enough to cause me to go out of my way to make them understand, but enough to choose to spend a great deal of my time developing my communication skills (especially writing) with the idea in the back of my mind that I might one day actually use those skills to communicate with others (which is what I'm doing now, in part), all the while knowing full well that it's myself that I am really communicating with, when I would (and still do) elucidate these things about myself and my world in order to understand them better. In other words, it's never been a high priority for me to communicate at all with others, which is probably why people don't understand me in the first place.

I think that at least one reason why people don't get me is because they don't get the irony, sarcasm, and satire that I will use when I relate to them. It's an automatic mode of being, a defense I use against a world that I feel (maybe accurately) is out to get me if I don't couch my statements of opinion and belief in some kind of a disguise. But beliefs are one thing, and ordinary everyday interaction is another. Yet my tactics generalize from the more specific defense to everyday banter as I adopt the personality I have learned to relate with.

I can forgo this personality for long periods of time when I am alone. (I don't; I often use it in my writing. But I can.) And when I do, when I restrict it to my writing, as a kind of catharsis and otherwise relate to my (unpopulated immediately local) world without a necessity for defense, after the personality has been purged, I am almost a "normal" person. And then, when I re-enter the consensual world, that is, when I go "out" to meet people, for a short while I am this self that is stripped of his defense, which is both vitalizing and intimidating at the same time. I can encounter people with an open heart and mind; but do I really want to? After all, these are the same people, or the same types of people, who throughout my life have driven me into my inner self with their games and machinations.

So, soon, out in the cruel, cold world, after the eased-off edgy personality that surrounds my core existence becomes stimulated once again by perceptions of the behaviors of others that indicate manipulation, I resurrect the defense and begin the oblique relationship again, allowing subtle witty devices to creep into my conversations, almost without my realizing it, except that a small portion of my being enjoys the otherwise unconscious repartee. But it's usually a one-sided levity; usually the other person doesn't get it and tries to interpret me literally, which results either in their non-comprehension or in their disgust. They think I am literal, crude, and uncaring, when I am trying to communicate the opposite via clever "literary" devices.

With a lot of difficulty, I might remedy this behavior, at least somewhat; but I don't think I want to. I've grown to like the reputations I develop as a result of having been misunderstood. They often serve to further isolate me socially, which is usually okay with me, considering the kinds of people I am isolated from. As much as I want to "heal" the schizoid split, I want to preserve it. It's a defense after all, and I don't see the how the world is any safer than it was when I was young and forming my personality. In fact, it's probably even more dangerous now. Fuck it. I'll stay the way I am. It's worked for me so far.


When writers create works of fiction, the typical process is to allow to a large extent the format to determine the content. Thus, there are only a limited number of plots and resolutions possible; all stories are variants of a handful of formal templates, which are determined by the consensual definitions of the publishers at large and their reading public.

I, on the other hand, allow the content of my fiction to determine, in large part, the form. Therefore, I am not publishable, because readers will not (it is presumed) like what I write, because it violates their consensual expectations. I accept this fate, because what I am trying to do transcends my desire to be published (conventionally).

[I also have my own internally "consensual" formats that will determine content (in particular, my favorite fantasies), which I find it difficult to break free from. But, although these forms may generate content that I will lift out of the structure to use elsewhere in a freer way, they never generate completed works (i.e., content/structure units), much to my chagrin, because I'd like to transform these fantasies into art, but I can't; the process whereby I would achieve this has thus far eluded me, perhaps because there's too much work involved and I'd rather deal with the freer (i.e., unstructured) day-to-day content that I generate by other means. But, hmmm. This note is giving me an idea that I might be able to accomplish this transformation, day-by-day, if I could come up with a standard (though unconventional) format/mechanism that would allow me to do it. After all, this is exactly how I got to the point I'm at now, by plugging away at a format/mechanism for, first, a long time ago, my story writing, and, more recently, my website. Maybe I'll give this idea some more thought.]

The ultimate point of my making entries into journals is to make something out of them. It's nice to have a mechanism to express myself, to expunge the content that I will dream up or imagine, and to analyze and interpret my psychology; but unless I take it to the next step, it's not all that much different than the everyday flow of life, except that it is documented, as if it were a videotape. My journals are home movies that have the added advantage of recording thoughts, affects, and other inner states (if in fact there are any apart from those first two). What is made out of my journals, however, is my art. All of the fragments, the little bits and the bigger ones, combined into a narrative or anti-narrative flow (including this "journal," which is not really a journal in the ordinary sense, but a collection of edited pieces abstracted out of my raw journal), transform the phenomena that are the experiences and ideas of my life into my art.

I always wait until the last possible days to do my final yard work for the year. I figure that if I wait long enough, I won't have to do it again. (Kind of a self-defeating practice because the longer I wait, the harder it is to do.) Today I cut the grass for the last time this year. It's forty-six degrees outside and the grass hadn't been cut in over a month and was at least eight inches long. Tomorrow I'll cut the hedges for the last time; then I'll trim the weeds and the apple tree. And then I'll have at least six months of freedom from yard work.

When I tried to back up my files to my briefcase software this afternoon, I discovered that I couldn't do it. After some preliminary troubleshooting, I determined that the floppy drive has gone bad and will not consistently read from or write to the diskettes. Shit! I hate it when machinery malfunctions, especially computer devices. I want trouble-free equipment.

Then, later, I tried to return a call from Joyce (earlier when I tried to return the call, I kept getting a busy signal) and I kept getting "error" messages, a recording I never heard before informing me that there were no available circuits. What? Is this a sign of times to come? Deteriorating phone services as well as dilapidated electrical grids, bankrupt local and state governments, and alien actors running for governor because citizens no longer trust the standard white bread politicians and are too skittish to elect minority ones? Or is this a mere glitch in the cosmic network, a negative manifestation of psychic atmospherics?

I give up trying to accomplish anything electronic, shut off the computer, and decided to go to bed and read. But, just as a last resort (it's still early, only six o'clock) I start to remove the curtain rod from the side window of the dining room, figuring I'll take the old rod down and get ready to install the new one tomorrow. Three hours later I'm drawing the curtains closed, the project finished. It went well, if with a lot of difficulty that I handled via patience, placated by listening to stupid sitcoms on tv as I made painstakingly slow but steady progress. Another item on my list of projects bites the dust.

Earlier, while I was troubleshooting the floppy drive, I managed to solve the old 486SX problem (it wouldn't boot) by reseating the buss to the motherboard. And I even ended up taking the mouse apart and somewhat fixing it so that it works well enough to at least close files and shut the computer down. So the impish god of electronics is not in total control of events here today. The only thing that really disturbed me and colored my view of an otherwise excellent day was that damned floppy drive.


A friend of mine I used to work with, basing her opinion on my website, tells me that since I stopped working for a living, I've become self-absorbed. It's not true. I've always been self-absorbed. But, schizoid that I am, there are times when I'm with other people that I become totally other-absorbed. I tend to lose my sense of self when I'm out among others. It's a long-standing problem, a kind of auto-transference where I empathize so well that I adopt the traits of people I'm with. In the past, this tendency has gotten me into a lot of trouble and caused me some heartache. It took me a long time to figure out how it was that I was not sometimes myself. It took a long-term conscious effort to become what I am today, relatively independent.

Everyone does this same thing, of course, to some degree. It's a matter of socialization and individuation. We individuate in order to prevent the socialization process from going too far. I seem to have gotten a later start than most people have--at both processes. I grew up overly dependent on others and yet relatively unsocialized, in terms of both social adaptation and social skills. I was not a gregarious person, except toward very close friends and toward associates with whom I worked closely. I lost myself among these people. I was not myself, but a composite of various aspects of them, changeable to conform with the people I was with at the moment.

Like everyone else, my sense of self was determined by others; but I tended to be more momentarily determined by those others I was with, while most "normal" people generalize and stabilize their self-conception based upon the people who are most influential in their lives. My true self-conception kicked in only when alone (whether literally alone or isolated within myself among people who did not so well know me). Alone, I am my true self, which I have "discovered" (though I've been here all along) to be an independent being who is nevertheless totally connected, though most of the time I do not realize it, a thoroughly schizoid orientation that is fortunately, most of the time, unconscious.

Everyone exists, for the most part unconsciously, in this same way, with this same split orientation, just beyond the core of the inner self. But most others function in society along a gradient that runs between their social being and their private selves; I tend to be more either/or [inner - my "self" / outer - my others'-self], although I've seen some melioration of this problem as I have aged. And, for that matter, everyone is self-absorbed. It's just that most of those who think that they're not have a level of self-esteem low enough not to realize it. Maybe they didn't (or don't) get enough positive feedback from others to allow them to form a more conscious ego.

In the past, I provided my own positive feedback, which itself in turn fed back to certain others I would call my friends and so determined that they would like me, so that I got the additional feedback from them that determined that I liked them too, enough to want to be like them, even, perhaps (I haven't investigated this aspect of it closely enough to determine if this is true or not) to want to be them; and so in a sense, I became them, rather than myself--but only when I was with them, reverting to a more primal (and undeveloping, because I kept it detached from social situations, and thus from the socialization process) state when I was again alone.

I tend to exist in this more primal state to this day, when I am alone, which I am a lot these days. But my personality is developing now, perhaps more slowly than it otherwise might if I were not so isolated; but maybe not--because when I was among people all the time, I tended to shut down due to stress and refuse to admit data anyway. I can't win for losing. But that's not true, at least not any more. I am more sociable than I have ever been within the isolated self I think I am. I couldn't keep my inner primal state so prime and pristine as I would have wanted to if I had been fully conscious of it when I was young. Inevitably, though with a lot of head banging, I learned lessons, and they sunk (or were beaten) into that inner self I am. Now, I carry whole societies within me, interacting, as if I exist "out there," even when I sometimes do. If I go on this way long enough, the two split states will come together and I and my world and everything in it will be one autonomous and undifferentiated whole. I should live so long.

[This material, I know, is somewhat radical. But unless you think that I am too damn strange, very deep down inside, at least to some degree, you are very similar to me. Closest to the very center, we become one thing.]

Yard work is a test: As I do it, I affirm the fact that I am still an able-bodied person and that I am still responsible enough to own a home. (I, of course, could maintain responsibility by hiring someone to do my yard work, but that's a future test: will I, when the day comes that I must resort to that tactic, be able to afford it?)

Reminded about the old 486 while editing yesterday's journal entry, I start it up to test to see if it still works, and it doesn't boot. Am I going to have to open it up and press the buss to the motherboard every time I want to start it up? I still have old journal files on its hard drive that are not yet transferred to the new system. I think they're backed up onto floppies, but what good is that if I don't have a functioning floppy drive? I'm suddenly aware of how precarious digital files are. I never had to worry about this kind of thing when my journals were on paper. But then I never had the kind of immediate access to their content that I have now, assuming that the computers continue working.

A further difficulty in this whole mini-mess is that I can't use the laptop until I get a new floppy drive for the desktop because I can't transfer files between the two computers. I should forget the expense and buy a USB card for the laptop and an external hard drive.

Until I read the Oe book, I didn't realize how these little incidents like losing the use of my floppy drive precipitated "pinches." I kind of thought that it was the other way around, that occurrences of "depression" caused me to react badly to specific incidents. And maybe that's true too, in a way; but I didn't see the precipitous nature of these specific incidents, that if they had not occurred, I might never have changed my affective state and continued along happily doing what I was doing. Maybe I would have, instead, found something else to focus negatively on; but maybe not.

In either case, I've got to learn to focus on the phenomenon of the pinch mechanism instead of the actual content of the pinch itself. Instead of feeling "bad" about what happened and initiating proaction against it (which only further serves to focus my attention on the incident, although successful proaction can relieve the symptom of the pinch), although I need to do that too, but not with so much a mind as to it being the ultimate solution, I need to ... what? To take life as it comes and not become so disoriented and upset when things break down and threaten to disturb my routine. I need to develop my ability to accept what is and stop trying so hard to make things go my way. Easier said than done. I live this way in the summer, for the most part, so what I'm really saying is that I need to make it summer all year round. When put that way, I can better understand my desire to control the world.

Even though I myself continually break my routine, I don't like it when people or events beyond me do the same thing. It's okay if I'm the one who interferes with forward progress, but if anything else does it, I become morose. When I'm on a roll, even of it's a moderately slow one, I don't want to be stopped. I stop enough on my own. I make real forward progress, not when I manage to do my predefined daily allotment of work, but when I actually backtrack and pickup (at least a small portion of) the backlog of tasks that I leave behind as I plod my way into the future. Backtracking is going forward in this instance, because it allows me the opportunity to assimilate my past and make some sense of it, which then aids in an easier assimilation of my future.

Anyway, I'm fighting the pinch I now feel about the failure of the floppy drive. It's a setback. I have to go out and buy a new one and install it, and I don't want to do it, not because I can't, but because it's a break in my forward progress. I want to keep pushing onward. I hate maintenance. Any setback has the potential to precipitate a state of ennui that I will not come out of for maybe even months. Winter is approaching. If I'm not careful, I could end up settling into hibernation and exist mostly unaware of anything important until spring. I've done it before.


Recurrent dream locations are places that have been tied to particular significant past affective states that have been iadequately dealt with and have been repressed (again and again); they keep returning to haunt the dreamer, who has eased his censors and let his guard down (by falling asleep). As events in my current personal life evoke these old affective states, which I am conditioned to repress, they are processed in dreams, which work to provide my ego with examples of what I should be taking notice of.

Old residences are most prevalent examples of this phenomenon. They represent, I think, times in my life when I was dependent, on parents, on a "secure" living space, etc. I consciously broke away from these places and went out on my own in a futile attempt to become independent. But I'm still unconsciously tied to them, affectively. It's a struggle between dependency and, not independence, but individuation. I will never become independent; no one ever is. Look at all those years I wasted focusing on independence instead of individ- uation! I might have accomplished more, become "my own person" much sooner. Instead, I was beating my head against a social wall, trying to get out even as I was trying to fit in.

The world is a place that we exist within, nurtured by it, no matter how much we may wish to be secure apart from it, having acquired for ourselves a small piece of it under our total control (which is an illusion itself) that will support us. Maybe multi-millionaires could afford to set themselves up independently (but why would they want to when they have the money to exist securely while interacting within society; it would have to be done out of a severe pathological motive, such as with Howard Hughes), but the rest of us must come to some kind of terms with society, balancing our need for independence with our necessity to derive our vital nutrients from without.

When I dream of old residences, I feel (repressed, even within the dream) the dependence upon these old places and all that they represent, parents, family, etc. I am not in those places now; I am in my own place. I'm (as) independent (as I am ever going to get). But I'm missing something that those places used to provide: security; there were people there who would not let me come to a place where I might not survive. Now, this is not true. Now the only way I am going to survive is if I myself insure it. And yet, I recognize my dependence upon a larger world than that which I encompass within the confines of my own present house/mind. [Further recurrent dreams of my present home populated with people from my past symbolize the security that I feel in this place.] When I dream about past residences, I experience the feeling of dependence (and security) that I long ago repressed in order to be "free."

I got up late, around noon, to a gray and rainy day. I was going to go shopping and then continue the yard work, but I postponed those plans, deciding that I will waste the day away inside, feeling cozy and contained, a result of the above dream theory, I think, which I awoke to, yet having forgotten the dream that motivated it. I'll start over again tomorrow with the outdoor work.


I've been watching, piecemeal while channel surfing, the Blues programs on PBS. But one of them, the one about the British legacy (Clapton, et. al.) caught my attention and I watched the whole thing. Clapton's seriousness re The Blues and his growing dissatisfaction with the neo-Blues scene in America when things got more and more commercial as he became more famous reminds me of my own seriousness re writing, that is, specifically, my idiosyncratic art/expression and my distaste for the commercial writing market.

I am a lone writer, out in the "woods," plugging away at my art as if I were a renegade painter, hoping perhaps that someone will acknowledge his effort, but not expecting it, because he has long ago given up on a world that wants to see art as a commodity instead of as a process. Fortunately, I have the Internet. What small appeal I have I owe to it. E-mail me if you think I deserve a little bit of ego support. Even criticism will suffice. I tend to like attention any way I can get it, so long as it doesn't interfere with my self-imposed isolation. (In other words, don't come knocking at my door.)

I feel myself waiting, just daring life to throw me a curve so that I can glom onto it and spiral into a state of deep ennui, abandoning all purpose and retreating into the bedroom to watch tapes and fantasize. The failure of the floppy drive almost did it; but I managed so far to avoid the "pinch," But any little incident could suffice, and this is the time of year that it typically happens. I hope it doesn't, but this year I think I'm ready for it if it does, because I think I have a mechanism for documenting fantasy and transforming it into art. I think.

Here's a type of incident that, if I am not careful and in my best mode of being, can send me over the edge: a sanza, in the Zande language of New Guinea, is a disguised insult, a social mechanism I am quite familiar with. My personality is finely tuned to perceive back-handed compliments and the like, so that I may consciously disregard them, thus appearing to my clever defamers as if I do not care, a defense that is quite clever in my own way, because they tend to cease and desist when they get no feedback to the game they play; but I am quite overly sensitive to their underhanded words and will suffer at them, especially later when I think back on them. They throw me into a defensive mode of writing/analysis/interpretation in response, because I wouldn't dream (well, actually, maybe I would; but I mean this figuratively) of confronting them directly, getting back to them and following up, although I might respond in kind in a kind of devastating way in the moment, if my guard is down and the "Avenging Angel" overtakes my personality. This is the time of year when I become most susceptible to perceiving the slights that other people take in stride as a natural part of human life.

This morning, as I lay in bed, I conjured up a new take on the concept of the avenging angel. Actually, it's probably closer to the original concept (a la Mormon theology) than my own idiosyncratic one is. Even in its non-evil form, an angel, it seems, is a fearful thing to behold, recent tv programs presenting the phenomenon as comprised of "touching" beings notwithstanding. When an angel shows up, look out. It's probably going to be more like a scene out of Prophecy 3 than a sweet and caring helper. And when an angel is actually an evil one, look out twice. It is this latter mythology that I think of now when I consider my past involvement with the syndrome. Yes, vengeance can be just; but even when it is, it's not so nice. Justice, I suppose, can be quite evil when the way it is achieved is not appropriate. Just because one functions as a supernatural (for lack of a better word) automaton does not mean that one is acting toward the cause of universal good.


Ray Lihota, Field of Dreams
My whole family and I are in my grandmother's house. Two large bags sit on the dining room table, each filled with a dozen donuts and a few long narrow coffeecake-like donuts. I can't decide which kind of donut I want. My mother says that, if I choose one of the cakes, I am to cut it up into segments and not eat a whole one by myself. I'm torn between cutting up the cakes (which are creme-filled) or choosing a creme-filled donut.

CUT TO my teenage home, upstairs in my brother's bedroom. B.J. from down the street is living there with us, as well as a number of other teenagers, white and black. They're all cool dudes; no nerds among them. Their clothes are all folded and piled up neatly at the sides of the room and on the floor at the bottom of the beds, all jeans and flannel shirts, all new and relatively larger sizes so they fit them loosely (whereas I have always wore my clothes tight, thus revealing the fashion values of a different generation). I have to get ready to go to work¥, but I can't find any clothes. I'm in my underwear, which is dirty; and I can't find any clean underwear. I look through the closets, but all that's there are these other guys' clothes, which my mother has washed and folded neatly and stored away. I look in a high dresser, but it is completely empty, every drawer. I go downstairs into the kitchen where my mother and sister are. My father sits off to the side in the dining room¥. I complain to my mother that I don't have any clothes. I want to know where they are. (I feel a little bit envious that she has washed all the clothes that belong to the other guys, but not mine.) She reminds me that my clothes are scattered all over her grave (in State College, PA where I went to college for two years.) I see the scene at a cemetery there and remember an incident where I was heading home with all of my clothes packed up in large trash bags (in the dream, this is a reference to a previous incident, but at the same time, semi-lucidly, it's a reference to a previous dream, which may have been a real dream of a month or so ago, or it may be an aspect of this current dream only). I realize that she and Dad are dead and that my sister and I are living here with their "spirits," which are as real as if they were alive, but nevertheless not like us. [I realize upon awakening that my sister is not real either and not living in the old house any more. She's only a "spirit" in the context of the dream; but I do not until later realize that I am not living there either, that I am as much a "spirit" in the same sense as they are, within the format of a dream.] Upon remembering, prompted by my mother's words, that I threw my clothes away [= no security; I am nearly naked, by my own actions, that is via the therapy of dream analysis], I collapse in tears beside the refrigerator and cry abjectly. But I soon recover, unhappy, but back in control. [I cry in grief for the death of my mother, I later interpret. Or more correctly, I cry for my own abject self, who doesn't know how he is going to deal with life without the "security" of his mother's domesticity and the defense of repression.] I "transcended" this affect long ago, when I "differentiated" from my family, and thus I felt no necessity to grieve for my parents when they died. I accepted their eventual demise long before they ever passed away. But obviously I did not so much transcend the affective aspects, but rather repressed them. The crying in the dream was ostensibly for my "unclothed" situation, that I now have no buffer against the cruel world, that, although the ideas (spirits) of my parents (and my sister, to a lesser extent) still exist in my psyche as buffers against the world, they no longer unconsciously function in the way they used to, even after I had "transcended" them via having become "independent." I am independent, to the extent that I am, only physically. I have secured my future. But it's a tentative security.

[This dream comes after having spent a significant amount of time yesterday catching up my financial analysis, and discovering that, although I am still solvent and okay for many years to come, I have just had two very poor financial months followed by a third that has just caught me up to a very slight bit beyond where I had been three months ago. In my unconscious wisdom, I had avoided doing this analysis for three months, thus preventing a mental crisis, because if I had realized my financial condition earlier, before it recovered, I would have been anxious, worried, and dejected. This is all a result of that goddam Bush and his devastating effect on the interest rates. But, even though that may be true, it's a projection. I'm responsible for my own financial situation.]

In a more primary sense, I am also crying in the dream for the rejection I feel from the mother-object. I make the connection between my present state (my missing clothes are tight; I'm of an older generation), the state at the time of my mother's death (grief, which had I felt it, would have also been a re-experience of the loss of the mother-object), and that primal rejection early in infancy.

I went out to Home Depot this morning and I bought an L-square, an electric space heater (so that I don't have to move the one I have between the office and the bedroom every day; I haven't turned on my gas furnace yet this year, despite the cold, and I may not, if I can manage to keep the house sufficiently warm with electric heat and wood. Gas prices are ridiculous, but electric rates have gone down by twenty percent). And I bought a tool belt (it's been a fantasy of mine to own and use one since I was a little kid) and two different types of spray foam insulation (one of which I've already used to seal the hole that I drilled when I put the UHF antenna outside).


Early this afternoon I sprayed the second can of foam insulation around the front window between the existing insulation and the window frame, because cold air leaks in at that place in the winter. In order to do this I had to open up the crawlspace at the front of the house beneath the window and clean it out. (That's where I keep my old collapsible porch furniture and my hibachi and all of the outdoor grilling supplies.) I maneuvered my way into the tight quarters, feeling a tiny bit claustrophobic when I turned around inside and pinched my shoulders between the walls, imagining becoming stuck in there. But it worked out all right and I began to spray.

But the spray foam was not as easy to use as the other stuff I'd used yesterday. It was called Great Stuff Big Gap Filler, and I'd bought it specifically for that purpose, to fill big gaps; but it wasn't as expansive, nor as easy to dispense, as the other stuff I bought. And it had to be used up all in one go, because it would not store, once opened, whereas the other stuff was water-soluble and with proper clean-up would store well. Naturally, working in the tight space, I wasn't so careful as I might otherwise have been, and I got it on my hands and spent the next hour trying to get it off, unsuccessfully. I hadn't worried about it so much when I got it on my hands because the instructions said that it cleaned up with acetone.

But later, when I tried to use acetone to get it off my hands, all it did was smear it around and make more of the surface of my hands and fingers sticky with a substance that was not removable with any solvent that I tried to use; nor would Lava soap remove even the stickiness. Eventually, it dried, leaving an uncomfortable gritty feeling on my skin, which I had to scrape off with an Exacto knife, tiny bit by bit. The other brand of foam, DapTex, washed up easily when I used it yesterday, and the end result of the application was exactly the same, and it had the added advantage of being a dollar cheaper, although it was a smaller can.

Next, after the foam ordeal, I raked up all the debris of vegetation that I cut and trimmed over the last few days. Except for the various trees that need to be pruned, the grounds are neat and trim and ready for the winter. I even swept the driveway and the walks. This is a once a year activity, and the only reason I feel motivated to do it now is because it'll stay this way for six or so months. Otherwise, I usually feel that clean-up tasks are activities with results that are too temporary to bother with.

And I finally called to have the car towed away, but the guy never showed up, even though he called back several hours later and asked for directions.


This morning the wife of the guy who was supposed to come and tow the old pickup away yesterday called. I was asleep, so I let the answering machine take the call (which I would have done anyway). When I got up a while later and returned the call, the guy answered and made some lame excuse about why he hadn't showed up yesterday. He said he lost the directions and mumbled something else I couldn't quite make out, so that I suspected that he was lying. Then he put his wife on the phone to write down the directions for him. Her voice was very attractive to me for some reason. I imagined she looked like Cathy Moriarity, bleached blond, buxom, self-assured, and slightly macho.

When the guy showed up that afternoon, I was up in the back yard trimming trees. He found me up there and we went down and tried to push the truck out into the street so that he could hook it up to his tow truck, but my truck wouldn't budge. It'd been sitting in place for so long that the wheels were locked up. The guy hooked a chain around the rear axle and pulled it out about ten feet with his towing rig, but the wheels still wouldn't budge. So he backed his truck up to get a better angle on it and attached the chains to the front end of the truck. That's when I noticed that he had his wife in the truck with him.

The whole time the guy worked, he bitched and complained to himself, even though I felt that the operation was a fairly routine one that I imagined tow operators encountered nearly every day. While he re-rigged the chains and mumbled his complaints, I glanced over at his wife through the windshield of the tow truck, our eyes locked, and I couldn't look away; and neither could she. She did not look like Moriarity at all, but was of that homely variety of woman who nevertheless is quite attractive to me. Her face was square, plain, pale, and clear, her lips thick, not in that postmod pumped-up with cortisone style, but in that flat, old-fashioned, West Virginia hills way. her hair was dark and the long, straight style (or lack of it) accentuated her hillbilly look.

But the guy's continued mumbling complaints caught my attention and broke me away from her, whereupon she said "I guess it's been there a long time, huh?" I heard what she said, but I pretended I didn't and made her repeat it. She leaned across the seat toward the open driver's door and said exactly the same thing again as I started toward the truck. But after she stopped talking, I stopped walking and said, merely, "Yeah, it's been here a long time." I thought to elaborate how long, but I didn't. She echoed, "Yeah, a long time." In my infinite unconscious wisdom, I didn't respond, nor did I look at her again. But I continued to think about her as I watched the guy work.

He pulled the truck out into the street while I steered it. Then I watched while he hooked it up to the tow rig. He complained to himself the whole time he was working. He was a congenial guy, so that his complaints were not of that noxious variety that some macho-type men will inflict on their unwilling listeners; rather they were more directed inward, sort of complaints to himself about the unfair difficulty that life throws in his way, although the entire operation went very smoothly. I got the idea that his wife accompanied him for moral support, that she probably went everywhere with him, so that he stayed on course in his work and did not become discouraged. (Probably, he was self-employed, since he was towing the truck for someone else, the owner of a junk yard.)

I had the thought that maybe his failure to show up yesterday had something to do with a severe anxiety attack that overtook him because he was going to have to travel some twenty miles into unfamiliar territory. (He was in the South Hills when he called me.) Anyway, that's the kind of impression I got from him, but maybe that's a projection of my own recent psychology. Or maybe he's an alcoholic who must be kept in line and on the wagon. (But maybe that's a projection of my brother's difficulties; it's hard to look at people with an objective eye; our own lives always interfere.) I think later that had I interfered with his domestic situation even in the smallest way by flirting with his wife, it may have caused him much mental torment. I think I may have unconsciously perceived this early on, which caused me to back away as I had.

Anyway, I finally got rid of that truck that's been sitting in the driveway. And it only took me seven years. The driveway looks great, all empty and swept clean and ready for the winter. After I finished sweeping the driveway, I sat outback and communed with nature for a while, enjoying the accomplishments of the day, feeling quite pleased with myself.


I'm having sex with Gweneth Paltrow in a hansom cab riding through the streets of New York City. But it's more or less a mechanical act on her part as she patiently waits for me to finish while I'm postponing it, trying to turn her on and convince her to become committed and involved. Later, we are in a huge room, a kind of combination department store/physics lab. We're students, good friends, though I wish that we were more. She's devoted to me as a lab partner and friend, and I appreciate so much her devotion that I've fallen in love with her and decide that I will love her despite the fact that she will not take our relationship any further. We scurry around the lab trying to discover the information we need to complete our experiment [learning how to be in love?] All of the other students are trying to steal valuable data from each other as they do their experiments. At one point, we're down in a kind of stairwell, which is the workings of a cyclotron. We're assembling a collection of rods (narrow glass tubes containing various isotopes, etc.) into an array which we will shortly conduct tests on. The rods are forming a matrix above me that I don't think I'll be able to get through, back to the floor above, before the test begins. I start to get a little bit claustrophobic. Then, a deep-pitched buzzer sounds that indicates that soon the tests will begin. I hurry to get out of the stairwell, lest I become irradiated. I manage to disentangle the glass tubes above me and get through them to the surface before the test begins. Gweneth and I walk around the room, trying to keep our data secure while others try to get it from us. We are a cute couple and no one understands that we are no longer sexually involved.

This was a complicated dream, far more so than its description indicates, especially re the glass rod construction and the data accumulated from the tests. But the affect was not related to that aspect, but to the difficult relationship between Gweneth and me. I am in love, and she is not; yet she is kind and concerned with my state of mind and soul. It seems I can end up falling in love with anyone (not only in dreams) who indicates to me, in any small way, that she might love me, or grow to love me eventually. And no act is more evocative of this affect than an act of sex. This is my repressed needy nature acting so as to allow me to make connections when otherwise, consciously, I might never talk to anyone at all, being the overcompensated independent asshole that I am. Since love, at its most basic level, is acceptance, all I have to do is accept women for what they are, and, zap, there I am, in love again. I do this consciously, sometimes; but I do it unconsciously all the time. I'm always looking to fall in love, and often I succeed, in part, except that I will not follow up on it, so that the women who think that they might grow to love me, become, not uninterested, but wary and distant, suspecting that the signals they are getting are not real, or that I am insincere and incorrigible, especially when they will compare notes with others who might feel the same inklings toward me as they do. These last ideas were not a part of the dream, but seemed to have proceeded from it after I awakened.


I called Jim yesterday to ask him to help me cut down a tree. I could do it myself actually; it's not a big one, but I need his extension ladder. He said he'd be over on Saturday morning, and I'm wondering how many times he'll cancel before he actually gets here.

So today, after a brief computer bout this morning and a preliminary intrusion into the computer this afternoon to remove the floppy drive in preparation for installing a new one I've yet to buy, I sat around doing nothing, passing time until tomorrow, when I can get on with cutting down the tree.

I sat out back in the sun for a long while enjoying the remnants of the nice weather, and I thought about painting the high fence at the north end of the porch; but I didn't. Maybe I'll let it go until next spring.


6023: In the back bedroom, first floor¥: db and I relate, constrainedly. I feel bad that she will not open up toward me, but holds me in reserve. [cf. previous dream I try to be nice to her, to get her to warm to me. I make her lie down on a couch and I begin to massage her back, and she likes it and is beginning to appreciate me again, but she is just not quite her old self [acting similarly to when I met her at the gas station last month]. We go into the front bedroom, which is devoid of furniture. Through the front window, I see Mrs. N., walking up the street in her nightgown. She looks up at me standing in the window, but she doesn't acknowledge me, as if she's embarrassed to have been seen outside in this condition. I feel embarrassed also, like I am spying on her, but as if it's her same emotion that I feel (that is, we're spying on each other, ala seeing each other in dreams?) Then, as db comes and stands beside me, we notice that the right side of Mrs. N's face and upper torso, the side toward us (previously I'd seen her face turned toward me so that I didn't notice this), is covered with a white foam-like substance, and she is joined by her husband, who is walking with his back to their home. Either db or I says "Look. She's been in an accident and has been burned." Then I notice that it's not Mr. N at all, but his son, and the woman is not Mrs. N, but his son's wife. db and I go out into the dining room. At first, the house is empty of all furnishings, but then it is luxuriously furnished with plush drapes and carpeting and an expensive chandelier. Suddenly I realize that I no longer live here; someone else does. We go back into the bedroom and find two beds now there, a small one along the window at the foot of the bigger bed. It's early in the morning, just before dawn, and there are people in these beds, with the covers pulled up over their heads. We realize that we are intruders here, but we feel playful and decide to haunt them. I gently removed the covers from over the head of the person in the small bed. It's a young boy, so I decide not to disturb him. Instead I remove the covers from over the heads of the people in the large bed. It's a man and woman. The man begins to awaken. We tell him not to be afraid, that we're here to help them. He gets up and we retreat out into the house. His wife awakens and asks him what's happening. He announces that someone's in the house, and he begins an investigation to come and look for us. [This is a further elaboration on the earlier theme of me being a spirit.]

When people become a meaningful part of your life, they remain a meaningful part of it forever, if only unconsciously. There is no separation from them once they have established themselves in your psyche. There is always a psychic connection. (Not necessarily "psychic" in the sense of psi phenomena, but perhaps merely only in the sense that they exist as a function within your own personal psyche. It's at least that much of a manifestation.) You remember/experience their continuing influence, if only in your dreams. db was a significant influence during the first half of my life. It's only natural that I should continue to dream about her. (I dream recurrently about other people from that period of time too.)

I've been attributing my somewhat less than open relationship with db as having been my fault, that I was too affectively closed-off toward her to allow a fully intimate relationship to develop; but I awaken from this dream thinking that our problem was more of a mutual thing, that she wasn't so open toward me either, and that it's been only my closed-off ego that has been responsible for not allowing me to see that she was closed-off toward me too. We were both too young to realize the unconscious intimacy we had. But we (or I; she too, inevitably, but maybe only unconsciously) continue to relate and learn from each other how to develop "our" continuing "relationship."

Jim called this morning and cancelled the tree-cutting commitment. I just knew he'd do that. He said he wasn't feeling so well (hung over?) and he'd be over tomorrow morning instead. I wonder if he'll make it.

I want to go out today and get a new floppy drive. I've been avoiding using my laptop because I'm afraid I won't be able to transfer the work I do on it to the desktop. (The floppy drive works intermittently.) I want to start editing and finalizing a number of short stories and several longer works that I've been developing piecemeal throughout the summer, I want to get them to a point where I can start to shop them around, and I never seem to be able to get to them during the morning on the desktop, so I thought I might reread and make final edits at night in bed. But there's always something that seems to keep me from completing work. I have a problem finishing things. I always have. It's amazing to me that I ever get anything done at all. There's always some excuse to put things off until a later time.


I should have been a pair of ragged claws
Scuttling across the floors of silent seas.
T.S Elliot, "The Love Song of J. Alfred Prufrock"
My brother called this morning and again cancelled our plans to cut down the tree. It's difficult not to become irritated with him. I have to work very hard to remain tolerant and accepting of him for what he is, an undependable person. He thinks nothing at all of making plans and then letting people down. It wouldn't be quite so bad if he'd do this once in a while; but he does it every single time! No wonder his business is foundering. This behavior of his is particularly grating on me because I am very much the opposite. If I tell someone I am going to do something or be somewhere at a certain time, I absolutely insist on following up on it, no matter what. This behavior pattern is born out of my long-standing problems with security and authority. Once committed, I would never think of reneging. This is why I hate commitment, because once I commit to something, there is no way I'm ever going to allow myself to back out.

I wonder if my brother realizes how undependable he is, or if it's a matter of denial and repression. Probably the latter. I have a hard time understanding how anyone could not live up to their commitments if they realized how they made others feel when they let them down. It occurs to me that when I say I'm insecure, it doesn't apply to how people feel about me. I seem to automatically understand how people feel toward me. I intuit it. And it irritates me sometimes that others do not feel secure enough with themselves to perceive in this same way my affective states. Most people, for example, or at least most women, feel that they must be told that people love them, appreciate them, etc. But I seem to immediately know how people feel, so that it's not necessary for anyone ever to tell me. This has been somewhat disturbing to me in the past, when someone will act duplicitously toward me and I will not want to deal with them because I know they are backstabbers who just can't wait to encounter someone else so that they can talk about me in the way they talk about others when they are with me, all the while acting like they're my best friends while harboring ill-feelings toward me. I hate this aspect of human nature, and I tend to notice it more and more the older I get.


I went out to CompUSA and bought a floppy drive and installed it this afternoon. Now I'm back to full computing storage capacity for a while. Just as I was finishing up, my sister called. When my brother called yesterday, he'd asked for the new phone number of her beach home on Cape Cod, and he'd called her and repented for his addiction and told her he had to do something about it before he loses his family. And here I am sitting here feeling sorry for myself because he can't be counted on to show up when he's say he will to help me cut down a lousy tree. Things are tough all over.


Today, after staying up late for a change to watch the Warrior Queen rerun on PBS (2 AM), I got up at noon, and because I haven't had any caffeine and have been eating all protein for two days, my back and head ache terribly. So despite the fact that I've lost three pounds and am well into ketosis, I compromise my Atkins' feasting and have a cup of caffeinated coffee. The last two days I've accomplished absolutely nothing creative. (Installing a floppy drive doesn't count as creative work, and that's about the only thing I've done.) I'm seriously thinking about having another cup of the magic elixir, since my aches and pains have disappeared and I've only gotten back to a "normal" state of existence, and I want to speed up a little bit and catch up on a few things. But I recognize the danger that having another coffee represents, perhaps not so much for the additional caffeine, which I probably will tolerate, but because it would be the first time in many years that I will have had two cups in one day. I've been through this before, a long time ago, when I'd quit drinking coffee for three months, overcame the withdrawal symptoms, and then had a single cup, then a few days later another, then two, then... It's all downhill once you compromise your standards. But whataya gonna do when you want to be productive, but your physiology will not permit it?


You don't have freedom of speech unless you use it.
Tim Robbins
And so I use it, daily. I use it to a fault. I express myself, in every single nuance I can manage. Sometimes there's not enough time and energy in the day to express all that I would like to express. But usually, there's not enough motivation. All things being equal, I'd rather run out of motivation than time and energy. When I run out of time and energy, I tend to work myself toward exhaustion. But all things are never equal, and when I run out of motivation, it's always a generalized attitude, when I will not do anything at all except mope around and watch stupid tv and hate myself for it. It's better for my mental health in these cases that I run out of time and energy; but maybe it's not so good for my physical health. But now that I'm no longer working at a job, I think I may have learned how to better guard against a state of over-motivation. Lazing around, doing little or nothing, is really a matter of self-defense. I wish I had realized this when I was younger. I wasted a lot of time and energy trying to live up to impossible ideals. I had the right idea early on, before I became "socialized." I lived a sane life way back then, when I was a kid, entertaining my fantasies within an undemanding world of my own creation.

What has all this got to do with freedom of speech? Well, this is what I'm doing now. But Tim Robbins' quote above was applied to politics, and although some small part of what I write is political (and/or polemical), most of it, like this piece, is entirely personal--even my fiction. Still, I have a right to express it--all. And if I don't, who will? Nobody. No one can say what I say. It's impossible. No one else is who I am. But more importantly (and what Tim meant), free speech is a use-it-or-lose-it affair. If you allow prevailing public opinion (such as that which would censor or condemn your personal activities or beliefs every bit as much as that which favors the adminis- tration's machinations re Iraq) to dupe or intimidate you into a state of compliance by taking the easy road and keeping your head down and your opinions to yourself in order not make waves, you are giving up your right to free speech. And that is exactly what the powerful social and political forces in this world want you to do, so that they may rule the world. When you don't speak up, when you allow yourself to be intimidated into silence, you no longer have free speech, despite what may be documented in the form of constitutions and laws--and you do it to yourself!

So, in light of all of the above: George Bush and John Dansforth McCarthy Ashcroft--Fuck You! And fuck all you other people too who have intimidated and manipulated me throughout my life, causing me even to think unconsciously I had to learn to intimidate and manipulate others in order to get what I thought I needed. This is an issue I need to get over. So how do I go about it?


Well, it's Thursday, and my brother still hasn't come over to help me cut down the tree. He has two more days this week to honor his commitment; but why should he? He didn't honor the one he made last week. I'm realizing that I'm way too sensitive to this issue--because I'm dependent upon him, and I hate to be dependent. If he doesn't come over this week, I'm going to go out and buy an extension ladder. But, no. Except for cutting down the tree, what else would I ever use it for?

I hate to be dependent for two reasons: I) the obvious one--it restricts my (sense of) freedom; 2) it requires that, when people upon whom I am dependent need help, I must be available to them. Of course, as far as my brother is concerned, I am available for him anyway whenever he needs my help. But it's nice to build up those karmic credits; I hate to carry a karmic debt. I think I've managed to work off the huge debt I built up during my teenage and young adult years, and I don't want to accumulate another backlog that I have to burn up before I die; not so much that I believe that it'll be held against me in a future life, but because I don't want to leave a legacy that I was a 'taker.' I hate takers, but I also recognize the foolishness of givers. Being giving when you can afford it is okay, although not so creditable karmically; but being giving when you can't afford it is stupid, despite any positive karma that may accrue. Maybe there's something to the theology/psychology of tithing and getting back ten-fold what you give; but I don't see it. I believe you get it back one-fold, at best; if you happen to encounter exactly the right people and circumstances in your life. And if you don't, you don't; but if you get it back more than one-fold, then you owe again. I'd rather be owed, than owe; even if there is no consequences beyond this life, I'm certain that there are consequences within this one. People treat you better when you're not a taker. Maybe they, some people, treat you better when you're a giver, probably they do, when they recognize, even unconsciously, in you that magnanimous nature; but others take advantage. And it's been my experience that many more people try to take advantage than recognize you're inherent worth. I'd rather not be taken advantage of than be thought well of; it's my personal preference.


TOPIC: The Perils Of HTML Email
FROM: Geert ______

Dear Peter,

If I understand you well the development of your E-mail life has come to a standstill because of spammers and hackers.

The only safe way to communicate that is left appears to be face to face communication, because even a normal letter can contain powders you do not want.

They have won!

I-Design Newsletter
In an earlier newsletter, Peter had proposed several drastic measures to insure computer security, including blocking all HTML mail because of the slight possibility that viruses can be spread through active content; and so Geert-Emo is pointing out to him that in this same sense, because of the anthrax scare, even snail-mail is not so safe. I would go a step or two farther: with face-to-face communication, there is the danger that the person you're talking to may be carrying an air-transmissible virus.

What are you gonna do? Life is not a safe existence. Should we each go and live like Howard Hughes? Hmm. Maybe. If we all live an isolated existence (like I do, more or less) and come together like some species only to mate and reproduce, we would all be far more secure. And only the most daring of us then would be responsible for determining the fate of the human race, those of us who ventured out to risk contamination via STDs, etc.

Or we could pair up into mini-isolated groups, a man and a woman, and the few small kids they managed to conceive in relative safety. We could extend the secure borders of our homes out into the neighborhood as we began to trust those who lived around us. Hey, wait a minute! Isn't that the way we live now? Yes, except that social trust is heading in the opposite direction. We've become more wary, almost as wary as we used to be when we lived alone in tribes, which are the instinctual basis of our society.

But the real danger to society now is not that we don't trust our neighbors any more; we have extended our human interactions worldwide to people we really don't know at all. By and large, we don't know our coworkers like we used to; we don't know who it is we are dealing with in our daily business transactions, many of which are over the phone or Internet and may span the globe; and we don't know our personal acquaintances so well. And yet we still interact as if we do; graciousness is a prerequisite for proper social dealings.

We've allowed our concern for security to take a back seat to our social interactions, and it has cost us. Internet and e-mail insecurity is just a metaphor for the overall social situation in the world today, which relies, of course, on personal interaction; it always has, and it always will--unless the robots finally manage to take control. The real contamination threat in light of this scenario is not from Internet or e-mail viruses, worms, trojans, etc., or even from terrorists or rogue states; it's from infidelity--the fuckers who cheat on their spouses spread the diseases that threaten the social fabric. All of these other perceived threats are substitutes for our denied and repressed libidinal urges. We may have matured as a business planet, but we're still living with our age-old psyches. And the Howard Hughes syndrome is a disease that has not yet even begun to proliferate.


Sanctimonious people, especially those who "praise god" on religious tv programs, claim to have found an external source of "strength" in their lives, a power beyond themselves that can act in their favor and for their benefit when their inner strength has flagged; but the power is their own and the discovery of an external source is a delusion.

If people choose to feel that the wherewithal to face up to their daily trials and tribulations is beyond their own personal selves, okay, that's one thing; they have the right to choose to feel any way they want to feel. But when they decide to promote their delusions via proselytizing, social agendas being what they are, they leave themselves open to criticism and correction.

Calling upon a deity for the power to live your life and carry on in your personal struggle with the world, although it may be a functional practice, is a way in which we keep ourselves from realizing our full potential as today's superhumans. When "God" gives us the "power," that power is already available to us without an alleged supernatural intervention, if only we will understand. If it were not so, we could never have gained it in the first place. "God" is our unrealized potential.

There is no "power" that can be imbued in us from "above." The only power we get from outside our own selves is supplied by oxygen from the air, nutrition from various sources, and warmth from "artificial" heat or from the sun. Ah, but there's the rub! Once again, we see the great sun god, Ra, acting in the guise of a Christian deity. What is it, after all, but the sun that provides the power for the plants and animals to grow, that we may feed upon them to provide us with our human power?

This brings us to the point of connection between the physical world and the "spiritual" (psychological) one. We seem to want to think that physical power and "spiritual" power are somehow different from each other; but they are not. "Spiritual" power is, in fact, mental power, not seen as such by traditionally-minded folk because they have learned throughout their lives (but especially early on) to distrust the power of their own mind, and so to repress it. But mental power is ubiquitous, at least in the "higher" forms of life. It is derived from the chemical operations of the brain.

We may activate this mental power physiologically via a motivational force of feeling, that is, via hormonal, etc. activity that seems to be located in areas of the body other than the brain, such as in the chest, or "heart." But the ultimate source of the power itself is in the brain and to a lesser extent in the spinal cord (which may account for a heartfelt attribution), those dense conglomerations of nerve cells that control all of our life functions. When we attribute these functions to a higher source than our own physiology, we do ourselves a great disservice.

Yeah, there may be a god of sorts that started this great cosmic experiment evolving way back when, at a time when a unity exploded into a diversity of sub-atomic particles that eventually coalesced to form our sun and planets, and then ourselves.1 That God, if It exists, is our Creator; it gives us our life by having provided the elementals out of which we are each formed. But the synergistic action of each of our particular collection of elementals is what keeps us going and gives us (as well as our real external source of energy, the sun) the "power" to carry on when life seems to want to overwhelm us. [The sun, however, never worries about being overwhelmed. It will be, one day hence, overwhelmed by the "forces of darkness," but it will never worry about it. That's what makes it a minor deity, it's fearlessness.]

Why would we ever want to project the awareness of this great power that we harbor away from ourselves, to think it comes from a supernatural source beyond us? Because we can't accept the fact that we are the super-powerful beings that we are; we have an identity problem. To praise god and call upon a self-created cerebral illusion, a delusional "higher power," is to belittle what we are, what the one true God has made us into, and thus to denigrate that gift we have received from the Creator of the universe.

The gift we have received is the power to control our lives with the abilities of our great brains and physiologies and to continue to expand that control and our awareness of it, ultimately to the purpose and identity of God. We do this anyway when we, as god-worshipping individuals, project our power onto a fictive personal god to which we erroneously attribute our relatively meager successes. If we feel we need to engage in this superstitious practice, if we feel we need to be belittled in order to function as power-imbued entities, when otherwise we will feel so weak, well then, that is what we need to do, wallowing in the misperception of our inherent strength as personal weakness.

But all we need do is awaken to the fact that the source of our power is within our own individual physiologies and the misperceived sense of weakness fades away, every bit as effectively as it will have if we choose to believe in a fictive personal god who imbues us with the power that we have projected onto him, except that we will know that we are the source of the power that we use to execute our human agenda. (Appeals for satanic power, by the way, work in this same way.) It is the cosmic particles of which we are composed that motivate us to carry on, in any case, whether we understand that this is so or we attribute it to an external god.

If there is a god other than the Creator, or supplemental to It, It is within each of us, an integral aspect of each physiology, effective by virtue of the fact that the same essence that issued forth at the creation is still viable within each sub-atomic particle within us, functioning exactly like the prototypical example some of us choose to worship as a god, who was just another man, after all, who lived two thousand years ago.

It seems to me that our choice of a personal god, though understandable, would be an insult to a deity, if it existed, not in and of itself, because when we worship anything, we flatter it, but because of the type of people we become when we choose to petition for power from a source outside ourselves; we become those sanctimonious people we see on tv, praising god and asking for forgiveness, healing, and strength; yet at the same time, feeling so superior because we have found what we arrogantly think is the "one way." What kind of a self-respecting god would want those kinds of schizoid fawning/arrogant people subjecting himself to it? It would have to be a vain and sanctimonious entity itself.

Rather, I would think, a valid and caring god would want us to develop ourselves to our ultimate limits, to join it in its reign of power, to share all that it enjoyed as a powerful entity. If it wanted anything less, why would we want to share its state of being, only to become as mean and corrupt as it itself is? That kind of god is not what I have in mind when I sometimes think that I may want to go to heaven. If I have to go to a heaven populated by the people today who (on the tv at least) claim to be the spokespeople for the god they praise and worship, I would rather go to hell, because that is what that kind of heaven would be for me anyway.

[And so, if there is an afterlife and if the sanctimonious people are correct in their theology, it may in fact exist all in one place, heaven and hell together, where they live the kind of duplicitous, holier-than-thou existence while the rest of us who have seen through their little game must suffer in ignominy their eternally vainglorious psychology.]


In spring, a young man's fancy may turn to love, but an (actually not so) old man's fancy turns to thoughts of eternal life. You can't convince me that I'm not eternally young. It's futile even to make the attempt. When I was a bit younger, I could chase after women far younger than I was and thus reaffirm this inherent perception--and I can still do this; but the women who are too young not only serve to create an appearance that I am a lecher, thus feeding back the impression that I am older than I feel I am and defeating my penchant for eternal youth; and the women who are older, yet still relatively young, make me feel that I am the one who is being robbed from the cradle, which is not an unwelcome attitude per se, and which tends to confirm somewhat my eternal-youth psychology, but which is not so satisfying as a youth-with-youth relationship would be (which I will never again have, unless I can manage somehow to delude myself with the perception of having remained eternally young).

It's easy to fall into the trap of thinking that lechery is a practice that should be guarded against and/or resisted within oneself. But why? It's an Old World mentality, a straitlaced predilection that is still with us. We are not so emancipated from our puritanical roots as we want to think we are. (And that is not necessarily a bad thing, despite my premise here.) And yet there is this obvious strain that runs through male society that convinces men that they are young when they are not. It's, in part, an unwillingness to face up to the fact that age is overtaking us; but it's more than that. Even if we admit it (which I also resist, because admitting it can hasten the inevitable and make one old before it is absolutely necessary), there is still that place in our psyches that we identify with, that programmed memory, for lack of a better phrase, that we are still the same person we were when we were seventeen.

To give up this identity, to give in to the social agenda that says that we have to stop chasing after (at least younger) women at a certain age, is not only to admit defeat, but to abandon that dream we have, that feeling that we hold within our chest walls that maintains, not only that we are still attractive to younger women, that much we can allow, but that we still feel exactly as we did when we held a nubile coed in our arms. Happy is the man who can derive that same pleasure from an older woman, who is able to see and feel in her that same teenager that she also once was. (But that doesn't totally address the situation, as I imagine the same to be true for an older woman who might feel the same way when held in the arms of a younger man. Ask Demi. She knows.)


I may have been wrong in my perception that all spam is a vile practice. I've lumped online pharmacies in with porn peddlers, mortgage rate purveyors, etc. But apparently, they serve a real, if quasi-legal need: drug companies tie up their products within an expensive system of doctors' visits, governmental restrictions, and legal patents so that patients who live at the margins of society, the near-indigent or ex-affluent citizens suffering in a depressed economy, people who understand well the medication they need and who can demonstrate that understanding over the phone to a doctor who is willing to assess their particular situations via a carefully designed screening program, can get the medications they need at a deep discount from online pharmacies. This practice is becoming so prevalent that it is cutting into the excessive profits of the drug companies, which is probably one of the major motivations for the anti-spam movement. The slickster lobbyists want us to believe that spam is like "illegal" file trading and should be subjected to the rigors of the same kind of attack. But it is not at all similar, except that it usurps the right of exclusive corporations to make excessive profits. The central issue here in both cases is legality: exploitation of the cracks in the law created by the advent of the Internet. File-trading of copyrighted material appears to violate standard copyright law. (It may not. The issue is still to be finally decided, though it will probably go in favor of the money cartels; things usually do.) Spam doctors operate legally, although in a borderline way.

Anti-spammers also unfairly liken pill spam to porn spam. But porn spammers often operate illegally, by a number of definitions. Child porn is so egregious that it's impossible to defend it at all. Adult porn is less so, but its method of distribution via spam could result in the downfall of all unwanted e-mail. By tying these products together, the money interests, aided by the Bush cartel, is acting to bring the whole online industry to its knees, and with it the democratic spirit that the net has thus far enjoyed. It's just another small steps in the ongoing war against world democracy. Even as it espouses democratic principles, the Bush administration, in conjunction with the corporo-governmental complex, is acting to dismantle our marginal democracy. They want to complete its replacement with a plutocracy of corporations that dictate the lives of ordinary citizens through wage and price manipulations, "free" trade agreements, and immigration policies. Wake up, brave new world. The future's been here for quite a while now.


I'm sitting at a table in a cafeteria with a guy and two girls. One of the girls, the one I don't know, tries to get me to look her straight in her eyes, but I won't do it, mindful of the havoc that that behavior has created in my life thus far. But she succeeds when she says "You have such a great gift at interpersonal relations that you keep hidden away all the time." What else could I do then but look at her? She's close to me, so close that I cannot focus my eyes so well; so rather than squint, I let my eyes relax, so that it appears that she has three eyes. I focus on the center one, because I know that it's not real. But the tactic doesn't work, and I can feel her taking root in me. Later, awake, I will decide that my mistake was that her center eye was not an illusion, but had twice the potent force, because it was the image of two eyes superimposed. But it was not the eyes that mattered, really; they were all but irrelevant. It was the souls that intermingled, not that I believe that souls necessarily exist; but something in us does, our selves. And they can intermingle and get all mixed up if you allow it. And we do. I think to explain that she will feel differently toward me when she will discover that in my unwitting past (and even in my present/future) I (will) have done this very same thing with scores of women, maybe even hundreds, or, who knows, maybe thousands, because I've caught myself doing it without any conscious attention to it at all, and so there probably have been an uncountable number of times when I did not catch myself, but rather let the behavior slip away permanently unnoticed--I think to try to explain this, but I choose not to, or she chooses for me, making the communion seem perfectly comfortable, if initially somewhat self-conscious on my part, so that at first I raise and lower my eyes several times before I allow them to fully settle in on hers. We sit at a table with the two others within a large group of ordinarily socializing people who, if this goes on too long, might think that our interaction means something more than it does, which is a moment of bliss that will pass away; they might think that it's a love affair. Or maybe it will not pass. Maybe she will make the mistake anyway (not really a mistake at all, but a misjudgment, that I will follow up on this experience in the typically instinctual way that the human male animal will in the presence of its counterpart) of believing that she is someone special to me (which she is, but as a part of a wide range of special people), someone who might command my full attention (which she can, for a while, if she is dedicated enough; but all the others have managed to allow that dedication to flag when they became aware of the phenomenon); but by her very words and actions she implies, nearly even states, that she understands and accepts me as I am, someone with "a great gift at interpersonal relations." What could that mean except that she understands why I choose to remain aloof and incommunicado? And if she means that my pose is incorrect, which is exactly what I want to think she means, that I should share myself with her, and by implication, with others, then how can she not foresee her future jealousy and possessiveness if she will come to regard me as exclusively her own, which I think she might, because that is what, eventually, all women do, if they will not decide you are not worth the effort. But maybe she is different; but I doubt it. And so I conclude that this is the trick she has yet to perform, the fine tightrope of interaction that she has yet to walk; because if she manages to remain the same open, accepting self that we now are, then she might also be that same type of person generally, in which case I might don the role of jealous mate. It's happened to me before, not so often as the reverse, but often enough to warrant caution. All of this I manage to think in the brief moment that we look into one another's selves; it doesn't take so long at all because I am so practiced at it.

Last night, I watched the Masterpiece Theater production of Goodbye Mr. Chips. Great stuff. I was especially taken with the short love affair, which perhaps prompted the dream, although I can see no causal connection. Will I, I wonder, one day look back upon my relations with someone and feel that I was as blessed as Chips was for a short period in my life? Not so much as he, probably. My experiences with women have been either physical or more cerebral and/or spiritual (whatever that means). But there is still a possibility of it happening with some future relationship, which I resist via my current lifestyle; but you never know. It could happen. It seems less likely as time goes on; but it could happen. I may be doubtful, but I am also hopeful.

Interaction with others stimulates developmental progress, especially when the interaction is of a conflicting nature that requires that one's mind resolve the conflict (or maybe it's the other way around, that one's mind requires the resolution) by either deciding one way or another which way is the correct one; or, more profoundly, by tranferentially coming to an understanding of the other's position and modifying one's beliefs in conjunction with them, by either directly changing the beliefs or, more likely, by modifying and/or updating them to account for those of the other. Interaction of the profound kind that intimacy affords stimulates change because one's normal censors are lowered, of necessity, as one engages in intmate relations.

But, on the other hand, non-interaction bestows a calmer attitude that can focus one's mental powers and head one in the direction that one wants or is meant to go, without the distraction of others' psychologies. This path of non-interaction (detachment; hermitage) can be both good and bad--good in that one is more purely focused; bad in that one may miss or delay the arrival of important information that might more easily have been attained via interaction that reveals weakness in one's pet theories, beliefs, and mind-set.

I am what I am, and although I have learned a lot via interaction, I've also been much distracted and led far off course by it. In any case, if at this time in my life a woman might want to hook up with me, it must be in such a way as to avoid distracting me (too much) from my purpose [cf. 031022]. I no longer have the time to put up with a woman's idle distractions when she aspires to create an affiance to satisfy her own (less mature?) psychological urgings with attempts to compromise (at best; worse, to manipulate) me so as to enable her definition of our mutual existence. In other words, I need a mature and self-insightful woman who has come to terms with her own psychology and will not inflict her aberrations on me. I wonder, are there any such animals running around free? I kind of doubt it. (But I am still hopeful.)


I'm in a classroom, having gone back to college to get an advanced degree. Most of the students are young, but there are a few older ones, so that I don't feel so out-of-place. But as the professor lectures about English literature, I find myself falling asleep and unable to prevent it. I think, in my few periods of awakening, that the guy should be saying something to me, that he should be awakening me and reprimanding me; but he does not, although in my brief periods of wakefulness I see that he is aware of my behavior. I see another guy, a young kid, dozing off too, but he at least tries to stay awake. His head bobs, but he remains upright. I have, for a long period of time, actually laid my head down on the desk and fell soundly asleep. When the period is over, I head toward my other classes, but I can't find them. And I've yet to register, but I don't know how to go about it. I felt this same way at the beginning of the first class, lost. I wander around the buildings trying to find where I am supposed to be and how I am supposed to be going about this educational experience.¥

This appears to be a metaphor for my life. I'm lost and wandering. Not that I'm unhappy with this situation. I'm not. I'm quite satisfied. But seeing it within a social context, such as in a course of formal study, points out how unfocused my life really is. Even my writing is primarily unfocused, and that is the sole focus of my life any more, apart from home maintenance, which is not so much a purpose as a necessity, a security against future deteriorization (and thus a sublimation of a fear of illness and death).

A story [worth reading in it's entirety] appeared on the N.Y. Times website. It's about a woman who was taken to a hospital after having fallen at home. She had a lump in her breast, which she had noticed previously, but had done nothing about. The pain in her back that she was experiencing had been keeping her away from work for a few days. An examination found that cancer had spread to her ribs, hips, and spine. But she would not allow any treatment and returned home with only pain medication, which she reluctantly agreed to use, out of necessity. Observational reports suggested mental disturbance.

I understand this story, apparently in a way that the author and/or the doctors did not. It's a fantasy I've run over and over in my mind throughout the years. Were I to contract a serious illness, I might choose to forgo treatment, for several reasons. First, (probably not the rationale of the woman in the story) there's the cost. If a near-terminal illness (i.e., one that might be curable, but at great expense) were to strike me, since I have no health insurance and the cost of a possible recovery would wipe me out financially, I mean, what would be the point? Dying v. living without money in compromised health that could require maintenance care that would be provided by state-run programs/institutions? Give me liberty or...

And then there's the idea of having lived one's life free of the restraints and degradations imposed by society. This is maybe what the woman in the story felt. She was borderline schizophrenic perhaps. She was living in a motel as opposed to establishing herself in a more permanent residence, even though she had a good job, which is probably evidence that she viewed her life as tentative. She was a free and introverted person who distrusted organizational behavior and practices. She had long ago come to terms with her psychology and her life and believed that what would be, would be. Her pending death was less disturbing to her than the intrusiveness of a hospital regime. I understand.

And then there's the idea of suicide by proxy.

Maybe somebody says a certain thing [that upsets a guy and disturbs his delicate psychology] and he don't take out the shotgun but three years later gets cancer of the pancreas. Don't have the nerve to die now. Don't got the balls for it anymore. Suffers excruciating pain. Termites eatin' outcher insides. Ya know? Johnny should have shot himself then. I'm not saying you should always follow your heart, but these unconscious drives are probably more correct that we will ever know.
Thom Jones, "I Need a Man to Love Me"
I've got to guard against unconscious motive--which I do, mostly by treasuring my life and never wanting to die (I think I could easily kill myself, but why would I ever want to?), but additionally now by having become consciously aware of this motive--not necessarily in myself, I think; but who knows? [I think I ran across this idea before, but had forgotten it; but maybe it took an unconscious hold.] And I've also considered the possibility that my particular range of interconnected symptoms (arthritis of the spine; irregular heartbeats, etc.) have proceeded from my psychology (early in life; I've been living with these problems, more or less, i.e., developing, all my life). I don't think that the motive in question here, death by proxy, is at work in my particular case of minor debility; rather, I think it's a matter of my unconscious mind, in it's juvenile2 wisdom, seeing the inevitable consequences early on, having imposed restrictions to attenuate my A-type personality, which it saw as becoming more definitely established as time went on, so that it could project ahead and see the result--stress, which interestingly happened anyway, the cure producing symptoms similar to the disease, for different reasons. My back problem physically stressed the body/physiology in a way that forced conscious attention onto it, whereas an A-type personality may have disguised the stress (it did, simultaneous to the back problem) to such a degree as to have allowed it to be ignored until it was too late; the back problem, by constricting the nerve bundle to the heart, resulted in an irregular heartbeat, whereas an A-type personality may have far less consciously resulted in a sudden heart attack. In either case, the conflict between an increasing desire to engage in proactive behavior to better my social situation and an inherited or congenital laid-back psychology would become the central theme of my life. My young unconscious mind chose the less damaging one, pitting the disease (AS) against (and yet paradoxically in conjunction with) the personality type, in order to force me to pay closer attention than I otherwise might have. It's a theory.

When you're lost within a society that you feel left out of, for whatever reason, whether it's social disenfranchisement or a self-imposed restriction, you learn to care less about that society's amenities as you realize over time that to pursue them with the psychology that you are saddled with is counterproductive. And thus you care less about preserving what you yourself have striven throughout your life to accumulate and create--especially when an aberrant mental condition is an influential part of the equation, such as was probably the case with the woman in the story (and in my case also?) And if you also happen to believe3 that this is all there is (at least at all of the levels that we, up until this point in our evolutionary progress, have available to us), that there are no eternal consequences for your actions, then when the quality for life has deteriorated to a point that seems less than adequate to you, well then, what's stopping you from ending it all? A fear of doing it yourself, perhaps. But that is all.

Education is the only answer to this dilemma. Keep searching for answers, even as you fall asleep and dream that you are in a college classroom learning, assimilating knowledge osmotically as you sleep. This is what I do. Dreams are a great source of hope for me. Somewhere, deep within, lie answers to all of life's problems, even death.

I got a great bargain on flooring tiles at Big Lots today ($10.00 per box of thirty tiles), so I decided to redo my kitchen floor, which is in bad shape. But the subfloor has to be replaced first, because it's severely water-damaged in front of the
sink from when the plumbing was leaking. So I decided that, rather than tear it all up; I'll just lay a new floor over top of it. But that will require getting plywood. I measured the car's hatchback to see if I can get a half-sheet of plywood into; but it just doesn't fit, by about half an inch. So I thought that I'd have to borrow my brother's truck to pick up some full sheets. (I'll need three.) But it's been such a hassle to try to get him to do anything for me lately, that I think I'm giving up on him. (He still hasn't come over to help me cut down the tree yet.)

So I'm struggling with what to do, thinking about how I'm going to work around the problem, about how I am going to be more self-reliant. Buy a truck? (I really miss having a pick-up.) Rent a truck? That's it. I can go and get a lot of things at once: rent an extension ladder to cut down the tree; get the plywood; buy two railroad ties to replace the ones that are rotting out in front of the house. This is an opportunity not unlike that re the book that Joyce never returned. I can act to establish my independence and negate any obligation that my brother made to me at the same time. If he chooses to be the way he is, well, fine. I'll do it all on my own. I think I'm getting to the point where I'm going to write him off entirely. He's incorrigible, and I've become a bit dependent on him for some things involving tools and his trucks. It's time to head off this dependence, especially in light of the fact that he's become so undependable. If I don't negate this situation, I may find myself becoming more and more caught up into his psychology (transferentially; it's a constant danger with me), and that can come to no good.


When I talked to my sister on the phone on Monday, I told her that I could watch tv 24 hours a day. It was a (basically untrue) statement I made to make a point, and I thought immediately to correct it; but the conversation got sidetracked (as it usually does), and I never got back to it. What I should have said, what I'd meant, was that I could watch tv 24 hours a day if it had a certain palatable content, if the programming weren't so lame and repetitive. I like the format of tv. I'd watch it all the time if they'd put stuff on that I like, like maybe 24 hours of The Practice or The West Wing (and good movies). But even that would get old if it were on all the time, especially when they'd have to be repeating episodes over and over again, like Seinfeld or Roseanne. If they'd put that kind of new content on, I'd probably watch it all the time. What I also didn't make clear to my sister was that the primary reason that I cancelled my cable was not, as she suggested, because I was watching it all the time. I wasn't, at least not during the day, when nothing at all good is on. I cancelled it because it cost too much relative to the lame and repetitive content it presented. I've written of this before, but I repeat it here, to correct in my own mind a misimpression that I may have given my sister, so that I don't unconsciously convince myself of something that isn't true.

I'm working along quite efficiently early this afternoon, finishing up a productive four-hour writing period, when someone knocks on the door. I immediately think that it's my brother having finally come over to help cut down the tree. I look out the front window, but the car in the driveway is one I haven't seen before. So I go to the door and look out to see who it is. It's a strange woman. So I open the door, expecting to quickly dispatch some kind of salesperson or Holy Roller. But as soon as I open the door, I recognize Rita, a woman I used to work with and who used to be a close personal friend a long time ago. She's gained a lot of weight, which makes her rather large, because she was not slim to begin with. I say "I didn't recognize you." If I had and if I was sure that she hadn't seen me looking out the window in the door, I probably would have pretended that I wasn't home. I don't welcome stabs from my past.

I open the door to her and she walks straight into the living room, takes a seat, and immediately takes out a cigarette and asks if I mind if she smokes. I know I should say "Yes, I mind." But I instead I wimp out and say "I guess not." She tells me she thought to stop in and see me because she was nearby, at the Pennysaver, applying for a job; but when she found out how little they paid, she disconsidered it. She said she's currently working for the medical records department of the county prison downtown, but she doesn't like it there. I asked her why she no longer worked for the place we used to work. (She'd had a good job there as a supervisor.) She gave me a vague summary of why she left, having to do with her mother's death and her bad reaction to it, how she had been abusing alcohol (and by implication, prescription drugs; she didn't say this, but I remember that she was overly fond of such scripts as Valium; she was always trying to convince me to sell her mine). I read further between the lines to assume the presence of extreme stress, an occupational hazard at that workplace.

I wanted her to elaborate, but I didn't feel like asking pointed questions. (I never feel that such questioning is appropriate, preferring instead to allow a conversation to go its own way and reveal what it will on its own.) So we talk on and "catch up," and it turns out to be not so bad an experience as I might have imagined. The fact that she doesn't work for that company any more, especially if she left it under dire circumstances, theirs or her own, makes me feel somewhat less critical of her and her role in the chicanery of the company operations in general and in my dismissal in particular.

She asks me early on about what I'm doing now, if I'm working, etc. I explain my infrequent self-employment and my brother's waning business. At first I don't recognize her agenda (everyone always has to have a hidden agenda), but shortly I conclude that, having just been on an unsuccessful job interview, she decided to stop in to see if my life had worked itself into a situation that might be occupationally beneficial to her again. When she discovers that it hadn't, she goes on to others things, but she gets back to that theme when she discovers that I am an Internet enthusiast. She says that maybe I could find a job for her via the Internet. I lie and tell her I wouldn't know where to look.

She stays about half an hour, and as she's leaving, as we head toward the door, she turns and says "Let me give you a hug." Ugh. I hate that sort of sociability and she knows it. But I comply, figuring that once I get her out the door, I'll never have to see her again if I so choose, if I am more carefully about screening people who come to my front door. She hugs me tightly and kisses me on the cheek, and then, as she turns away and opens the door, she turns back to me and reminds me that if I find any jobs for her on the Internet, I can call her; she's in the book, under her husband's name.

Maybe I'll do a quick job search for her and maybe I won't. It depends. I feel like I've been used; but what else is new. I don't mind so much being used if it's in a near-straightforward way as this has been. After all, this is simple networking on her part. She's not trying to manipulate me in any real way--yet. But I'm afraid of what might happen if I let her back into my life. She's been a player from day one, and she's good at it, in her uneducated and intuitive way. She's a natural, which makes her dangerous, because you don't see how it is that she ropes you in, thinking she is being merely gregarious (if there is any such thing as merely gregarious. Maybe gregariousness implies manipulation. I'll have to think about that one).

Rita is unconsciously veneficial. Her personal take on life, her psychology, the cause of her particular life problems--obesity, heavy smoking, alcohol and prescription drug abuse, and now, maybe, an interrupted and flagging career--is noxious, not only for herself, but for others, the least example of which is second-hand smoke. (I can still smell the lingering after-odor, and if she should show up again, I'm going to have to insist that she not smoke.) More potent is the attitude that gets transferred to you when you talk to her for any length of time. She's what you might call 'bad company,' not so bad as you might encounter in, say, a recidivist ex-con who plies you with favors until you discover yourself caught up in an illegal enterprise, but worse for the ordinary ways she seems to go about her particular enticement, foisting her lifestyle and attitude upon unwitting people, which encourages them to act the same way as she does, go out to the places she frequents, hobnob with her even more noxious friends, who spread their psychologies around as if they were social diseases (which they are).

I know it's my responsibility to protect myself from this kind of behavior, to isolate a part of myself while "out among them" so that I don't get caught up in their "sins"; but I am weak in this regard--not in resisting when I realize what I'm doing, but in realizing it in the first place. I have always been too transferential, too easily susceptible to contagious mental contents. It's not a good thing for me to even think about renewing my friendship with her. But if she becomes determined that it will be renewed, I will have a hard time refusing it, because she is a determined person (who happens right now to have gone through a difficult time over the past few years and so is looking for the kind of counsel that I used to give her that she always ostensibly refused, but ended up taking to heart anyway after it sunk in--because she's a willful person who will do things her own way, and so does not take advice too well, preferring to wait a while so that she may consider that the ideas are her own). If she sees an advantage to renewing our friendship, she'll pursue it. The only thing that's kept her away so long is her perception of my displeasure at her untoward activities re the end of my last employment.

But from the way she acted and the transferential message that I'm getting, she's over all of that; she's learned her lesson--which is one of the things she stopped by to determine, if I were over it; because she really didn't understand that it had little to do with me and everything to do with her. Way back when, I understood that when she fully realized what she had done, how she had betrayed me, when it sunk in as to just how much of a shit she had been, all the while pretending to my face to be so nice, then I would know it when I saw her. And I saw her. And I now know it, despite the fact that she could never really bring it up directly, needing to guard closely that aspect of her psychology. She has been, as they say, brought down a peg or two (or three or four) since I last saw her. She feels defeated, or severely set back at having had to take a less important job. (I almost wrote "a more demeaning job," since she'd told me that they didn't treat employees very well where she now worked, but I can't imagine any workplace more demeaning that one where we had worked.) She seems to have come to a point in her life where she wants to re-improve herself, and thus she requests of me that I search for a light-industrial supervisory job for her (the kind of job she used to have). But she put up a good front and tried to illude me with her bravado, not wanting to reveal her delicate situation, and yet revealing it nonetheless, in not so many words, but in her purpose that she stated, boldly, yet matter-of-factly, all the while probing for some of the comfort she used to get from talking to me in the same "objective" way about her problems, which she always managed to underplay, as if she were totally in control. (And yet she seems so much farther out of control than I have ever seen her.)

This is maybe why she hugged and kissed me, because she felt that some of that control that she used to have, that I enabled in her, had been returned to her via the apparent forgiveness demonstrated by the acceptance she seems to have found in me. In fact, she is in the process of forgiving herself [I never held it against her, but only held out against her to protect myself], and she got that feedback from me, from my accepting behavior toward her, allowing the past to be the past. At one point in our conversation, she asked what I did to fill my free time. Not wanting to tell about her about my various publications, not only because she is thinly disguised in a few of the stories in not so flattering portraits, but also because knowledge of this writing could lead her to this site and various other sources of semi-private information (stuff for strangers, but not for people close to me; one of these days it's all going to be locally revealed, I know; any truly dedicate person who knows me could find out a great deal about me from the Internet, if only they could discover the right keywords. And that won't be so bad; but this is a matter of my psychology, my desire to remain mysteriously private and apparently closed off. It's a ploy on my part to be able to maintain a transferential state without having unwanted countertransferential intrusions or an awareness in others of what is going on), I said that I spend most of my time reading and learning, from books and from the Internet, which is all true, because the writing that I didn't mention is a primary part of my learning experience. When she asked what it was that I was learning, again, the most obvious response would have been to mention the writing and publications; but instead I said "A lot of things, like psychoanalysis." This is a standard response I've developed, because of its tendency to throw people off the subject and get them headed in a different direction so as to prevent them from learning too much about me. She then wanted to know what good that was if no one comes here. [I missed the assumption on her part that no one visits me; I should have asked something like "How do you know who visits me?" She knows me pretty well, but I missed an opportunity to throw her off, which is rather easy to do if I put my mind to it.] I told her that I use it on myself. She then said something that suggested that I really needed it, that I'm a disturbed individual. I can't remember the words, although I agreed with them. But why would she assume that I am any more fucked up than she or anyone else is? Maybe she didn't assume this and I am being overly sensitive here; but maybe she did. In any case, because of the laid-back and receptive state that I adopted, I failed to see the opportunities to head her assumptions in a different direction and confound her understanding of who and what I am. I would have liked to do this, but I was caught quite off-guard by her unexpected arrival and so remained quite professional, almost as if I had intended to adopt the stance, to advise and counsel her.

So this 'professional' behavior, even though it was automatic and conditioned, is the reason why I study psychoanalysis and other psychological disciplines in the first place, just so that when people show up in my life, which they occasionally will do (e.g., cf. Rick), I will have been trained enough to respond, whether intentionally or accidentally. And this is the reason why she appreciated me. If I had taken a stand protecting my own inner self more closely, she may not have felt so relieved, or forgiven. (But she may have felt just as appreciative in another way, because I could always entertain her with the clever way that I would deflect her unconscious attacks with my humor and counterprojection when my guard was up and my wit was sharp. And her comments about my having no visitors and needing psychoanalysis were unconsciously intended as attacks, though they seemed innocent enough. This is her gregarious art: she is able to make the most devastatingly vicious content seem most genially affable. It's an unconscious motive, but that doesn't make it any less devastating. In fact, it may make it more so, especially to people who don't understand what's going on and take the comments unconsciously to heart, knowing not from whence they came, thinking them to be an internal voice, if they recognize any conscious aspect of the phenomenon at all instead of suffering in a foggy state of discontent prompted by the undiagnosed source.)

And, oh yeah, I almost forgot. She told me that Steve (the owner of the company where we worked) was ripped off over the years by his accountant to the tune of about a million dollars. Instant Karma?


I took a four-hour nap early last night so that I could watch the T.E Lawrence thing on PBS at two in the morning, and I dreamed about Rita, which I hadn't done in a long time. Can't remember the dream though. Then, at six this morning, I slept for four more hours and dreamed about her again, and about our former place of employment. (In other words, it was a nightmare.) [That's sarcasm, in case you didn't get it.] Nothing significant in that dream. Same old stuff, redux.

Thinking about yesterday's "session," I realize that, although it was mildly disturbing, mostly because it took me by surprise, I find that, having done a written interpretation, in retrospect I enjoy it--or the results of it. I find it not so bad a state of existence to have been visited by a ghost of the past. Not that that attitude would prevail were it to become a regular course of events; but an occasional foray into my previous world of social interaction might not be unwelcome, as long as these forays occur spontaneously, as befitting my principles of "waiting" and "letting them come to me." Who knows? I might get back to being the working class hero I used to be. I tend to become a phenom among uneducated people who don't know any better. It's nice to be appreciated for my unrealized mediocrity. But isn't it true that all people are appreciated, in one way or another, when they finally find their niche? The real problem is that I haven't yet found mine.

Rita and I seem to be running parallel lives, with me foraging out ahead, blazing the trail. Or maybe we blaze separate trails to the same endpoint. I struggle with our psychology, while she struggles with our social interaction. It's a tentative conclusion. Let's see if anything comes of it, or if it's a path into another blind canyon.

I'm having an anxiety attack tonight (this has been coming on, I see now, for a while) prompted by a major setback today. Tripod has deleted my website for an unspecified reason. I'm sending out e-mails, trying to get it reinstated. I calculate that it could have been removed for several reasons: 1) the "spam" I've been sending out promoting the site (it's not really spam; spam, even by Tripod's definition, is bulk e-mail, and I send my messages out one by one, each tailored to a specific spammer. I reply only to spammers); 2) someone was offended by some of the sexually suggestive content (but it's only a violation of host policy if it's porn, which it decidedly is not); 3) one of the "spam responses" I've been sending out recently berates sexually hung-up people (can't imagine, though, how that's a violation of anything--except someone's overly delicate sensibilities).

Probably, it's the first reason. I thought I had an excellent solution for spam, but they classified me as a spammer because I spammed spammers? Apparently spammers don't like to be spammed either. It's okay for them to send me spam, but it's not okay to them for me to send them spam responses. And so in a fit of classical projection, someone complained to my website host that I was promoting my site via spam, and so they took it down? I don't think that's fair, if that's the case.

I frequently catch myself unwittingly challenging the powers that be, always with a logical rationale that could be presented to defend myself, such as in a court of law, or in mediation, e.g., re "fair use"--if it would ever come to that; yet I'm always figuring that before it did, I'd be brought up short and convinced by intimidation or social manipulation to reconsider my position and change my ways. But in this particular case (as in most of those that I haven't been called on yet), I didn't take into account such phenomena as private or proprietary "policies" that allow people who are dissatisfied with one's words/content/behavior to formally complain and provoke an arbitrary decision that can affect one's operations without any kind of due process/ability to present a viable challenge before action is taken.

In any case, my site is down, maybe for good. Perhaps this is an opportunity to bite the bullet and redo the whole site under my pseudonym. I've been thinking about doing this for a long time, but haven't wanted to tackle the work. And I hate to lose the minimal traffic that I've so painstakingly built up over the years; but what will be, will be. The loss of my website may be a message from the wisdom of the universe (or some local source of wisdom, perhaps my own unconscious self that has orchestrated this situation over a long period of time by my actions/content on the Internet): revamp the website in the way I've been planning to, and post it under my pseudonym so that people who know me can't find it so easily; remove all of the stupid crap and pare the site down to it's basic content. Okay, then. That's what I'll do if I can't get my old site back.

This event prompts me to begin contingency planning, an activity I used to engage in all the time, but which I haven't been doing at all lately. What would happen, for example, if my computer would break down? I have my old Leading Edge 486, and my brother's old HP 486, and the old IBM 286, and two old word processing typewriters that store files on floppies, and even the old Commodore 64. If I were completely desperate, I could use that. Anything to avoid having to go back to pencil and paper; but if it came to that, I could make do. I wrote that way for years and years before computers. And, of course, first consideration might be to buy a new computer, prices for a basic high performance machine being lower than ever.

Or what if I need a new car...or have an accident...or contract a serious illness... or... The fact that I am considering contingency planning at all is an indication that times are tough. I used to do this "what if" stuff all the time. I had long lists of contingencies covering every conceivable negative possibility. When I was a teenager, I developed elaborate plans for self-sufficient living and went out into the woods and forests to field test my acquired survival skills. I had an exhaustive list of all human necessities, physical and psychological, with detailed instructions as to how to fulfill them from nature, without the necessity for interacting with society. [I've long since learned that it is far easier to "live off of" our affluent society, along the lines of Abbie Hoffman's Steal This Book, albeit legally, ala buying wholesale, taking advantage of every discount, closeout, or freebie offered by companies to potential customers to convince them to become a paying one, searching through the trash on trash pickup day for usable furniture, etc. (I don't do this any more, mainly because I have no more room left in my house; there are unbelievable amounts of good furniture and trinkets out there each week that go to waste.)] I even had plans outlined in the event of a nuclear holocaust. But I haven't felt the need to do contingency planning for a long time now--years. It's an activity that's indicative of a high level of anxiety. I haven't felt so anxious for quite a while, except for this recent period of time.

Recently, prompted by a comment made on a website that suggested to me the following question, I researched it on the Net: Is the theory of Object Relations limited to actual objects as substitutes for the principals; or can other people be substituted, as I have been assuming? If the former, then some of the premises in my therapy files must be amended. Conclusion:

That's what I thought, before I thought I had cause to doubt myself. So armed with this info, I examine the difficulty I am currently experiencing, the pinch, the anxiety. It is, I conclude, a reaction to rejection. The mother-object is activated in the form of Tripod rejecting my site. [My website is my ego (of course), and my host is a mother-object.] I don't like being rejected. It throws me back to a primal state. This now becomes a dangerously affective time for me as a result.

I wonder if Mercury is in retrograde. [I don't really believe in astrological theory; yet this condition has frequently seemed to be the case when I have been out-of-sorts and struggling to accomplish things that at other times go so easily.] It seems that everything I try to do lately is a struggle: trying to get the tree cut down; trying to redo the kitchen floor; bad floppy drive; my brother's difficulties; and now the website. And Rita appeared to have been experiencing the same frustration/anxiety, though she didn't let on (but it seems to have transferred to me without my being so aware of the content; or else I am projecting my own difficulty onto her; or both, probably, because transference inplies at least a tendency toward countertransference). In any case, when this kind of psychic atmosphere prevails, the only thing to do is retreat and wait, and make step-by-step (contingency) plans that you can refine during the time you have away from productive time and execute when the atmosphere begins to turn around.

To this end, I meditate, daily; but at these difficult times, I need, probably, to meditate much more. There have been times in my life when I have meditated for two to three hours a day. These were difficult times, I think, as I try to think back on them; yet they were made far easier by my fastidious habit of meditation. Lately, for the last six months or so, I've only been meditating a half-hour to an hour a day. I guess it's time to increase this and to withdraw my near-constant attention from the phenomena of the world. The world is too caustic now, or I am too sensitive--or both. Let's settle down here and retreat for a while. Maybe I should advance my long-term goal of detachment a few steps farther and make my temporary removal from the Internet (i.e., my website) a permanent condition. Or maybe I should decide to make retreat a permanent decision. Anyway, whether I do it or not (probably not, either one), that's the way I'm feeling. On the other hand, schizoid that I am, I feel like I need the Internet, to feed my desire to have my words read, however infrequently. I've definitely become attached to it. I find that the format supplies me with a modest number of readers, and I'd miss that if I chose to remain off. Its existence motivates me to finish the journals, where otherwise I might let them languish--like I used to do, like I've been letting my fiction languish lately, because posting journal entires to the website is a whole lot easier than finishing and publishing fiction, even though I also have a viable forums for that kind of material. I should get with it and do some of that harder work. Oh, well. Maybe tomorrow.


I've got this little thing that I've learned to do lately. When it gets so bad that I think I can't go on, I try to make it worse ... And when I'm certain that I can't stand it, I go one moment more. And then I know I can bear anything.
Meryle Streep, Out Of Africa
I've got this little thing that I've learned to do lately. When it gets so bad that I think I can't go on, I settle down into my best meditative state and I contemplate the problem. I go over every nuance of it, step by step, and I make occasional notes so that I don't forget the conclusions that I come to. And when I'm certain that I have been over it all, I break the meditation and go about my daily life until the affective state returns; and then I begin again. I go one session more, until eventually, the affect dissipates and I am back to my more calm and natural self, perhaps a little wiser. And then, in this way, I know I can deal with any affective problem. Sometimes I can get rid of these difficulties in one or two sessions of meditation; sometimes it takes days or weeks. Conclusions come to via this method:


Waiting is. Whatever you want, whatever you want done, whatever you want to do, wait for it. Contemplate the desire, goal, condition, or activity, realizing that if your situation is not conducive to the attainment, then forcing it to happen (sometimes thought of as proactivity; but don't confuse proaction with blind, stubborn, egocentric, predetermined selfishness) will create negative karmic circumstances.


Expecting what you want to happen is a form of waiting. As a meditation (actually a contemplation, or a form of prayer), it is both a means of refining the goal so that it becomes clearer and more precise and of defining it in such a way as to create unconscious imperatives and motivations (in yourself, and in others via unconscious feedback) that will eventually be acted upon.


Disappointment is a negative form of expectation. When you feel disappointed with someone, feeling that disappointment in contemplation establishes the preconditions for unconscious feedback that could reverse the disappointing activity/behavior. When you feel the disappointment without directly expressing it, the people who are disappointing you may intuitively and/or transferentially get the messages, which may lead them via contingency management [it's not really 'management' if it's operating unconsciously, is it--except in the sense that contingency management is a therapy abstracted from naturally-occurring psychological principles?] to a reduced likelihood of similar behavior in the future. But feeling disappointment should always be for a "noble" reason; negative disappoint- ment, such as that which bemoans inaction or non-compliance with wrongheaded goals, only compounds negative karma.

Judge Joan Orie Melvin's local campaign for reelection is ignoring the will of the people not to be called (obviously there's a loophole in the PA do-not-call list) by making straight informational phone calls explaining her qualifications and desire to be reelected to another term. But listen, Judge. If people wanted to hear your advertisements, they'd turn on the tv where your ad is plastered on every channel. Why, if they went to the trouble of adding their names to the do-not-call list, do you think they'd want to hear a political commercial over the phone? Therefore, since you choose to interrupt my otherwise perfectly quiet day, I'm not going to vote for you. You're out as a choice. Forget it, babe. You blew it. As far as I'm concerned, this campaign is an example of the kind of political influence you exert and will continue to exert if reelected. If you ignore the will of the people in your campaign, you'll ignore it in office. Oh, and by the way, your tv ad? How can you think that anyone will want to vote for you when you characterize yourself as a mother who barks out orders to her whining kids and then turns around and claims that her experience in raising six of the little complainers qualifies her to deal with criminals in court? Even mothers who feel harassed by their kids have got to see through that one. Time to get a new campaign manager, I think.


A lot of things one should forget, because your brain gets so muddled with guilts, and guilts kill.
Anthony Quinn in an interview with Bill Tush on CNN
The affect continues to escalate. I awaken this morning feeling unloved and unlovable, an intensification of the same feeling I experienced yesterday, but managed to repress. The primal rejection activated in the present causes me upon awakening this morning to review my life, focusing on certain negative events, nasty little memories of things that I did wrong, social faux pas, ill-considered remarks and actions, all of which serve to inform me of how big a shit I really have been (and by implication, still am) and to cause a loss of self-esteem and self-respect, feelings of abjection, dejection, and degradation--all as a result of Tripod canceling my website. Silly. I felt this very same way, though far more intensely and for years on end, when I lost my last job; and the time before that too, although then I managed to rationalized it better and sublimated the psychic disturbance into home remodeling, social activity, and the search for new employment. I was far better at repression in the past. Maybe I should never have started to pursue a lifetime of self-enlightenment. I could be a happy bugger now, wallowing in the pigpen slop of my ignorance like everyone I know. (My circle of acquaintances is quite limited these days and shrinking every year, so I have a lot less people to contrast my less negative behavior with, and far fewer opportunities to project it onto others.)

But I'm not, alas, un-insightful. Ideas I have and encounter accumulate as I give them token attention after documenting them, maybe. But at some point, sooner or later, they reach a critical mass and, usually accompanied or caused by a delicate affective state, they begin to precipitate insights. As a result of this process of accumulation, this is the first time I've made the connection between felt anxiety and primal rejection. It may always have been that this connection existed. Probably it has been; but I never before realized it. Each anxiety episode of the past (there have been a lot of them, but not for some time now) may have been an experience of rejection with the primary connection repressed, i.e., present-state rejections that evoke primal fears of dependence without security.

The childhood connection is ubiquitous in my life (of course; the same is true of everyone, at least to the degree that therapy doesn't work). It's always eager to pop up to attempt to devastate me, sometimes, during these delicate times, at the least provocation. I've got to break the connection between present-state rejection and the mother-object rejection that causes the anxiety. That's the first step. There's no reason why present-state rejection should evoke any affect, except perhaps minor disappointment, ala my "adult" reaction to my brother's rejection re helping me cut down the tree, to which I responded by asserting my independence that, although born out of insecurity, served to affirm my separation from my childhood perceptions of rejection (in the same way that I have been affirming it all along, when I will) by substituting a sense of control (effected by planned and organized activity) for the feelings of hurt and insecurity. By acting in this same way re any rejection, by recognizing that the behavior has more to do with the rejecter (projecting) than it does with me (when it is not entirely arbitrary and/or bureaucratic), and by asserting my right to do and feel as I do, apart from others' beliefs as to my correctness [i.e., to ascertain my own sense of correctness and not be swayed from it (except briefly to make sure I am right via the feedback)--it's a difficult and complex matter, this decisively defending one's right to be right while still remaining open to feedback and criticism so as to be flexible and broad-minded enough to be able to see your own flaws and faults. It's the proverbial tightrope, with closed-minded determination on one side and vapid equivocation on the other], I can live in a present state of existence, divorced from the rejecting mother-object.

Then, once the connection is broken, I can visit again the concept that anxiety is excitement, frozen and repressed; and freed from primal affect, maybe I can make anxiety/excitement finally work for me. As it is now, I feel that the anxiety is a fear of the present state, everything being up in the air, a sense of true freedom, which is not what I psychologically want, despite my claims and goals to the contrary (and/or it is the fear of the future, and thus of death.)

Meanwhile, rationally, as a stop-gap measure, I know I am lovable, because I love myself (to the point of narcissism) and quite readily project it onto others, perhaps promoting their like response, but, at the least, deluding myself quite well. This is my "normal" state of mind when I am not overtaken by these episodes of anxiety and fearfulness (repressed or conscious). But during these episodes, I begin to doubt my lovability (in both directions; I can get to a point where I begin to hate everyone--and then, look out! I become "the rebel").


I'm in my dining room with an empty brown paper bag that previously contained sugar, which has been put into another container. Two small paint brushes, one with 3/16" square bristles and one with 1/8" pointed bristles were tucked into a fold in the side of the paper bag, but I'd thrown out the bag and then tried to retrieve it, remembering the brushes; the bags I find are similar to, but not the one I threw out. Finally, I find similar brushes. They're exactly the same size, but the handles are broken down to only half the length of the other brushes, and they are quite worn, whereas the others were like new. But I decide that, despite their ragged appearance, they are usable. Yet I am disappointed having lost the newer ones. I go down into the living room and notice that the place badly needs to be straightened up. I begin to do this, but fairly ineffectively. When I awaken, I have no hint of what this dream means. Later, I conclude that it has something to do with the creative process. (Brushes are used for fine art painting.) I am trying my best to get along with old and inferior "equipment" (my physiology?) and have stored away all my sugar (energy? ability to deal pleasantly)with people?) in a different container that is nowhere to be seen?

I tend to push limits and get out along the edge, and maybe this is what I have been doing re spam responses (and a lot of other behavior besides; in fact, my whole damn lifestyle). Social pressure to conform to rules and mores, whether it comes in the form of disapproval or of standards of compliance to be met, always sounds a chord of rebellion in me. Usually, it goes undetected by others because I am a very private person; but every once in a while I slip up and get caught, with social consequences, like this time, losing my website--although I have to say that whatever it was that I did wrong, I had no intention of doing it. I would never have endangered the site if I realized that's what I was doing. But I have to admit that I do walk along a narrow ledge. It's not so much a conscious decision as a matter of personality. Occasionally, I end up shooting myself in the foot (or in the hand, or the arm, or the leg, or the torso, or the head) by disregarding society's norms, all to the purpose of defying some vague authority out of a misplaced sense of rebellion.

I know that I can be (seen as) somewhat obnoxious, overbearing, and arrogant, and that this apparent behavior (a compromise formation?) is reflected in what I write, especially on my website. So what? I have the right to be who I am, if that is what I am, and to express that content that is my mind; and if it is not what I am, but is only the external compromise against revealing the weak and ineffectual person that I (feel I) am inside [and a projection of yours that you foist on me when you decide I am these things], well, still, it's who I am, at least in part, superficially, a pose. Still, so what? [I feel very vulnerable right now. This is a defense against that vulnerability.]


Why do I allow myself to be led around by the nose, manipulated by every little negative event and emotion? Yesterday I received this e-mail from Tripod:

Immediately upon reading this my elation replaced any vestigial evidence of the anxiety of the past few days. All of the work I'd done trying to rehab my site and get it up under another name was for naught. I examine my foible in light of this event:

All of my life people have complimented me for my calmness in the face of crises. I face problems (and ordinary everyday life as well) with an apparent stoic detachment. But it's an illusion, my cool demeanor. Oh, it's true enough in the present moment when I am out among people, but not for the reason that people think. When I'm out among them, I don't dare allow myself to show anyone, including myself, the affect that boils beneath the surface; but later on, when I'm alone, I systematically realize all that I've been through--and others too, who have transferred to me their own particular emotions that I now have to deal with. It's a farce I unconsciously perpetrate, holding off my reaction to events until I can manage to be alone. And so I deal with the strife of life well--in public. But privately, I tend to fall apart, not so much in an overtly observable way, but affectively nonetheless; and not always, but only at specific times, like over the past few days, when I was beside myself, and for no good reason, tilting at the windmills of my negative imagination.

It occurs to me that I don't take the advice and counsel that I would give to anyone who might come to me for it. Everyone I know (and possibly everyone in the world), beneath the consensual exterior, is a conglomeration of specific peculiarities that they go to great length to disguise. Every once in a while you catch a glimpse of these oddities of behavior, but for the most part, you'd never know they were any different than anybody else, which is impossible if everyone is different. (Yet still, we can generalize people into broad categories.) And everyone I know (and maybe this is true of everyone in the world, or maybe not) allows specific hidden traits/agendas to negatively influence him or her to some degree toward a sense of self-loathing. (This is why they hide it all away in the first place, because they know it won't be accepted, and so they conclude that if others loathe it--and they do, projecting when they complain--then they themselves, pretending to be the same, must loathe it too.) Some of them even go so far as to believe, mostly unconsciously, that they might be crazy, being so different.

I have a simple technique for dealing with these people (who, as I say, is everyone I know, at one time or another): I accept what they are (at least on the level at which I contact them; I may, alone later, decide that they're not worth the trouble); and I communicate this acceptance to them via good eye contact, a smile and a nod when appropriate, and a general attitude of compliance, not only with their usual facade, but with their hidden self as well, when they will reveal it, which they tend to do rather easily in my presence when others aren't around because they tend to feel comfortable with me because they feel I will accept them and not berate them for what they do/are. (It's not necessarily true, my unconditional acceptance; but they feel it is because I signal it with my behavior when I'm with them. It's a kind of compliance behavior I adopt to hide my passive-aggressiveness.)

But I can't seem to make it work re my own self. I try, but it all comes out as a mere rational exercise that doesn't seem to have the affective correlate that it does in my other-relations. In other words, I know how I should be, self-accepting, and when things are going along on an even keel, I am. But when the least little goes wrong, sometimes I forget all about my self-acceptance and revert to a defensive state where I want to withdraw and hide away all of my creative effort and influence. I begin to hate the world and to loathe having to relate to it in any way, which is a projection of my own self-loathing. And then events turn around, like they always will, like they just have re my website, and I am okay again. I need to devise a way to apply my acceptance of others' less than perfect selves to my own self.

But wanting to do this may also be erroneous thinking. After all, what are (some) others for if not to serve me in the same way that I serve others, as a therapeutic agent when they are having difficulties? But I want to be so self-sufficient that I don't want to need others in this way. And I really don't want others to need me either; I just do what I do for them in a matter-of-fact way, when it suits me, when they happen to come along and I am in the right mood to receive them. Otherwise, I hide away myself, in the same way they do, only pretending to be sociable. So it's not so much my inability to apply my technique to myself that's in question here, but my inability to remain open to others when it comes to my own psychology. As long as we're talking about them, everything is fine; but when the subject is shifted to me, well then, that's a different matter entirely.

Over the past week or so I've been applying mineral oil to the wood-paneled walls in my bathroom. I don't remember exactly how I hit upon the idea a month or so ago that I could use this instead of Formby's wood restorer or Lemon Oil, both of which last about two or three days before reapplication is necessary to maintain the flawless appearance that they impart. When I first tested the mineral oil and discovered that it was not going to evaporate away, I made plans to refinish all of the woodwork in the house. (Bathroom, kitchen, and entryway are primarily wood cabinets and/or paneling.) Yesterday, after having completed multiple tests to make sure that the polyurethane varnish would stick and cure over top of the mineral oil, I clear-coated one whole section of the bathroom and applied mineral oil to all of the remaining wooden surfaces. It looks great. The wood has that brand new look, all scuffs, scratches, and faded areas hidden by the oil, which the urethane will seal in permanently. It's going to take a while to do the whole house, but it's going to be worth it. [It has not escaped my attention that there is a correlation between my technique of presenting an attractive front so that others may feel confident enough to confide in me and my desire to refinish all the wood surfaces in my house to make them look nice and new.]


1) Poketa Rd.: In the army. Radar O'Reilly, who does a slow (over time) morph into someone else, a near look-alike, has been mistaken for an officer and promoted to the rank of colonel, despite his relative youth. He knows how much he doesn't look like an officer, but no one else notices except me. He has been to everyone in our small group, looking for advice. Others tell him to report the mistake to the authorities, but he says he's already tried that several times and no one will listen. I tell him to forget it, to play the role and after his enlistment is up (six years, because he presumably entered under a commitment from an ROTC program) accept an honorable discharge. Alan Alda is one of our group. We break into a small building across an athletic field (from the neighborhood where the dream started, which thereafter changes into a side street lined with row houses on the side opposite the field). We're looking for some kind of electronic equipment to steal. We rattle around and make a lot of bumbling noise that I think will attract attention to us and get us caught. But we get away clean. I go back to the neighborhood and spend a lot of time walking around trying to peel some kind of a plastic-like substance off my arms and hands [like the stuff I got on me when I insulated the house] that I got on me when we broke into the building. Years pass by as I do this. Then, when I try to get onto the field, which is now surrounded with cyclone fencing, I'm not allowed to enter. Alan, now half slow-morphed into Rick S, empathizes, but he can't do anything about it because the "move- ment" (begun by our theft years ago) has expanded way beyond him into a large organization that he is only a small part of. The members of our small group (except for me, who has been excluded, due to my absence) [ = my absence from society] are the ground-floor founders of a kind of movement/ technology [psychologically based communication? my therapeutic "technique?"] based on the stolen (which no one other than our small group is aware of) equipment from a kind of tiny army base radio station, which was what the building we burgled turned out to be. Finally, after having peeled off all of the stuff on my hands and arms, I resolve to get onto the athletic field, and I wait until the guard at the west gate (a young woman) has her back turned, and I sneak in. I meet Alan/Rick near the gate, and he says that it seems that I finally found a way to rejoin them, and we see the girl at the gate looking over at us and smiling. She apparently allowed me to get past her. I think that my natural charm has influenced her to let me in. [But maybe the dream intends here to inform me that it was Rick who accomplished this for me.] I go over to a high set of bleachers that line the street on the other side of the field. Someone (maybe Alan/Rick, but maybe not) subtly informs those in charge that I am one of the long-lost founders of the movement. The person responsible for the festivities (it seems that there is some kind of a commemoration of the organization about to take place) arranges that I give a short speech. I feel honored. Everyone is happy to celebrate my presence. A woman comes up afterwards and introduces herself. Apparently she has known of me from the past. She comments on the speech that the guy who sat next to me at the festivities gave, stating that he has never before had so potent a delivery, being sort backward and shy (an alternate ego character?) and hinting that, since I'd sat next to him, I had something to do with it. In fact (in retrospect I realize) I wrote the short speech for him on the back of an envelope, ala Abraham Lincoln, a comparison which is made in the dream. [I've developed my social skills via my ability to write, constructing and implementing contingency management plans, substituting a fairly sophis- ticated ego for the one I had when I was young. My "wise" ego (Lincoln) helps out my early "backward" ego.]

2) I'm riding in my car. Dad is driving. He's taking me to a doctor's appointment. The doctor is a specialist, a woman in Shadyside that I am seeing for both physical and mental problems (which are related). [My back problem causes my psychological problems? Or vice versa. Probably, they are 'coincidental' conditions, each feeding off the other as a part of the whole person/syndrome that I am.] But instead of taking me to Shadyside, Dad takes me to Squirrel Hill. I tell him he's taken me to the wrong place. He says he has to do something first. He parks on a main street. As I wait in the car, he walks up a side street to a small boy waiting in a car. The car is parked near to the main street so that I am able to see it. The kid is alone in the car except for a Collie. I think that he should not be left alone. [Parallel: the kid and I; we are both left alone. The kid is me when I was little? Common structure of the two dreams: my past and present states, Squirrel Hill and Shadyside representing past and present.] Dad opens the door and lets the kid and the dog out, and they take the dog for a walk. Then he takes the kid into a building across the street from the car. It's the first building on the block, and the first one on another "side street" (which is not a street at all, but a walkway off of the side street with buildings on it, almost like a courtyard. This same arrangement is repeated all the way up the block on the far side of the side street, but not on the near side, which is just a row of normal houses). Dad takes the boy to the second floor of the building to drop him off. (Although I'm waiting in the car, it's as if I'm there with the two of them also, observing.) I wait a long time for him to come out, but when I notice that I have only twenty minutes left to get to my appointment, I go looking for him. I enter the building, which just inside the door has a flight of steps to the second floor--exactly like the place in Shadyside where my doctor's office is. (I have knowledge of this other place, as if in the dream I have been there previously.) I find Dad on the landing between floors, looking confused and not knowing where he is or why he is there. He has apparently already dropped off the kid. I tell him I'm going to be late, that we have to get going. At my last appointment (I visualize this as if it's happening at this time), the doctor warned me not to be late any more. Apparently I had a habit of doing this. Dad is grateful to have someone to lead the way for him. CUT TO Shadyside, which is this same place. Dad is now gone. I drive up the side street, which turns out to be William Penn Highway heading west toward Sears. I get in the left lane to turn into Sears, intending to turn around to head east and park at CompUSA and walk down to the doctor's office, because there is no parking near it. I make the turn and head up a narrow road into a hilly terrain (which is not there in real life). Soon I realize that I must have taken the wrong turn. I wind up an increasingly narrowing road until it ends at the end of an even narrower driveway at a collection of dilapidated, abandoned buildings where some hill people apparently used to live. I turn around with some difficulty and head back out and down to the highway, where I park, not at CompUSA, but at a Howard Johnson's [not there either; but then neither is the side street/doctor's office. There are at least three environments superimposed here: the highway; a hilly terrain similar to the road up out of New Kensington into Plum; and "Shadyside," which is not really Shadyside at all, but similar to a side street off of Craig Street in Oakland.] I walk down to the doctor's office and find myself back where I started when I was with Dad. I go up the steps to the second floor, but I can't find the office, which is supposed to be the first door on the left. That door is locked and, anyway, the name on the door is not that of my doctor. I go to the second door, which is open. Maids are inside, cleaning it. I ask them where Dr. _____'s office is. They say they never heard of him. (The doctor is a woman.) I go back outside and realize I'm on the wrong street, that the buildings are much closer together here and the atmosphere is much too dark and sinister. I walk up the street to the far corner to get my car, but the Howard Johnson's is not there. Almost lucidly: I intentionally reset the dream so that my car is parked where it should be because I don't want to be stranded in this neighborhood.

It's obvious, reviewing this dream, that I am also the kid in the car. I go (and I am supposed to go, for my appointment) to the same place that the kid goes. First, Dad takes me there, and then I go on my own. When Dad takes me there, I get there without any problems; but when I go on my own, I get lost, and then the doctor isn't there. And then I experience a "darkening" atmosphere. But when Dad takes me there, he gets "lost." So, is "Dad" [my superego? or an aspect of my ego?] leading me to where he had been, helpless the last few years of his life, and confused at the end? I am grateful to have someone (Dad) to lead the way for me, to be able to learn from his life so as to avoid the mistakes he made? Was Dad depressed and anxious, but none of us ever knew it? Hmm. Maybe. I think I've made the case before somewhere about the anxious part. His gregariousness, I think, was a defense against the anxiety. [Actually, I see more of my brother than myself in Dad; but we both share differing manifestations of the same basic problem.]


Firmness is not the way to have bloodshed. It is the way to avoid it.
Tommy Lee Jones, April Morning
I'm in Penn Hills Township, which is like a company I work for. (The company is sort of superimposed over the township, or vice versa.) We (employees) are going down to a place by the river for a company retreat/picnic. Peachie wants to come along, but domineering/miserly forces in the company do not allow her because she has recently been fired. [Rita told me when she visited last week that Peachie had been fired from the company we used to work for.] I tell her that she can come anyway, that it's more of a township than a company get-together. She comes along, and we spend a few days on vacation there. But on the way home, we are met (first in Homewood, and then at the intersection of Rockcliff and Poketa Roads) by young white guys who object to Peachie having been allowed to join in the festivities because she's black. I (and others) defend her, and we are near to a free-for-all breaking out as we argue about it and confront each other. There is, first, a small fight wherein I, with a board-like (improvised) weapon (approx. 1" x3" x 4'), slash at guys across their legs and backs and disable them, preventing them from acting to hurt us. Then, farther up Rockcliff, we face off, and I stand up to their leader, David B. Because I was so effective earlier at defending us he does not physically attack me, but he faces up to me and we square off.

CUT TO the top of Poketa, heading south on Hulton Rd: I am separated from the group, lagging behind them as they move on, and so I become vulnerable to attack. The guys this time are not white, but black. They come at me from both directions of the road, and I fight them off, one by one, with my board weapon, slashing at them and causing them to fall to the ground. I shout out for my friends to return to help me because I can't keep this up much longer. They do return, bringing with them the "authorities." We face off once again, this time with James Earl Jones as the leading authority in charge. He confronts the leader of the blacks, who is the same guy as the white guy previously (i.e., he has the same attitude/bigoted manner). He asks Jones why he is not supporting his black brothers, ignoring the fact that half of our group is also black. Jones tells him to open his eyes, defending me by telling him that I had been supporting blacks throughout my life, and especially recently. He says to the black guy that it's not a matter of black and white, it's a matter of right and wrong. I awaken feeling quite depressed and anxiety-ridden, but I meditate away the affect.

A woman (a girl, really) on the section of the local news that solicits the opinions of viewers re world events, opines that Hollywood celebrities (specifically, in this case, Brad Pitt and Jennifer Aniston) should keep their mouths shut because they don't know what they're talking about. She defends her position by maintaining that our elected officials in Washington have access to information that ordinary people do not have.

Well, first of all, as much decision-making re world policy is done by appointed as by elected officials. But I'll let that slide; it's not really on-point. More relevant is the fact that the people in Washington (and elsewhere) who make decisions in our name disagree, decide, and vote accordingly, usually along party lines. This tells me that either they disregard the information they have that we do not or, more likely, that said information can be spun and twisted to support any political position. It also tells me that party politics (and also money, by the way) is far more important than the information that decision-makers are privy to that we "common folk" are not.

We, each of us, is (or at least can be) as informed as anyone in Washington. And, in fact, (potentially, at least), we are as intelligent and capable as anyone holding an elected or appointed office at making decisions that affect our lives. Government officials are, after all, just ordinary people. Sure, there are some abnormally intelligent people in the government, and especially in think tanks and colleges and universities around the country and around the world. But how many of them are capable of influencing national government decisions? Very few, considering the large number of opinions (whether they be conservative or liberal or libertarian or whatever) that we are exposed to that seem to fly in the face of what our government is doing.

So celebrities, like the rest of us, have every right not only to express their opinions, whether they be intelligent or inane, but also to exert their influence where they are able to do so. It's the democratic process. What people who complain about celebrities' influence are doing is revealing their envy of those people who have the ability to influence, whereas they themselves do not--or rather choose not to use the influence they might have, perhaps out of a sense of low self-esteem, believing themselves to be unworthy of such democratic zeal as is displayed by certain celebrities. It is this single attitude, peon-ism, more than any other, that allows democracies to deteriorate into autocratic states.

Walter Cronkite says he watches the Evening News, but that newspapers supply him with the bulk of his news. As for cable? He doesn't watch the "shouters" because they are "purely for entertainment"
It's nice to know that my decision to cancel my cable is supported by so prestigious a person as Walter Cronkite. He's right. Broadcast news, at least at the national level, is not so hyped-up as cable news is. It's reported in a sane and low-key manner--not as low key and professional however as PBS' The Lehrer Report and the BBC News are, but... Reading (newspapers, journals, the Internet, whatever) is an even better source of news because not only can you get it more in depth, but you can read into it any level of mania that you desire: you can read it low-key, or you can hype it up to any level of frenzy that suits your personality. You can pretend you're Jim Lehrer or Bill O'Reilly. The choice is up to you. [That's not really entirely true. Writing style is influential in perceiving the energy level of the written word. But it can be negated, if you've a mind to, unlike that of the spoken word of televised news personalities, which is a fixed commodity. I find myself "down-tuning" the written word all the time and am almost always surprised when I happen to hear a writer reading his previously written works. Apparently, writers intend a lot more emphasis/mania than I read into it. (Thus my penchant for using italics to emphasize my own words).]

Most students of human longevity agree that exercise, antioxidants, low-fat diets, and prostate exams will join forces with a battery of new techniques to extend the lives of seniors and improve their quality of life.
This is a conflict in me that I've been trying to put out of mind: I've known for a long time, at least twenty years, that I should be avoiding fats. And for a long time I did just that. But as my metabolism began to slow down [in youth I was "blessed" (it can have its cursed aspects too) with an incredibly speedy metabolism], I very gradually began to gain weight, which was not a problem for a long time because I was so-o-o-o thin when I was a kid. But there came a point in time where the balance tipped and I began to become heavier than I wanted to be. For a while then I could always lose weight by intentionally not eating; and my occasional bouts of illness (feverish flu-like symptoms related to the physical stress that my bad back put me under) would serve to reduce my weight. But I've since resolved that problem (by a saner lifestyle), and now the only way that I can maintain my ideal weight is via the Atkins diet, which restricts me pretty much to fats and protein; even on maintenance, when I weigh what I should, I have to eat a certain amount of fatty protein, or else I'll start to gain again. (I'm really not into things like tofu.)

Okay, that's all on one side of the equation. On the other side is the fact that I can't exercise as intensely as I might like to, or need to, because it aggravates my spine and threatens to bring about a return of the stress symptoms, including heart rhythm problems. And since low fat diets are out, that leaves antioxidants as the only real step I can take to prolong my life. This I do, taking large doses of vitamins A, C, and E daily. And as for prostate exams, well, I'll cross that bridge if I come to it.

Under the DMCA, anyone who receives a cease-and-desist letter claiming copyright infringement can send a letter explaining why his or her use of a work in question does not qualify as a copyright infringement.
Yeah, if their ISP or website host doesn't act arbitrarily on its own to disable their website, thus negating any small traces of due process we have left since the advent of the Patriot Act.

The young want to be older, and the older want to be younger. It's just another chapter in Americans' endless 'pursuit of happiness'
I never wanted to be older when I was young. And now I don't want to be younger. I just want to remain right where I am. I've always wanted to remain right where I was. What's wrong with me?

My psyche is so touchy these days that I find myself becoming upset, still, even the next day, about the events and outcomes of last night's episode of "The West Wing"--and in a way that is not normal, as if the difficulties experienced by the characters affect me in the very same way it did them. As I watched it I had to stop and take a moment to tell myself that this was just a tv show, that I am not experiencing these psychic disturbances. But, I am experiencing them--not the ones on the tv show, but ones within myself, projected onto the show because I have nothing else going on in my life to become disturbed about. I'm experiencing a generalize anxiety that is looking for an excuse to become expressed specifically. It had found a number of good excuses recently, but they've all been, for the most part, resolved, and so I need a new set to bother myself about. I hope that this insight works to relieve me of the general problem, which is what therapy is supposed to do. But if the cause is physiological, then it will not. The only solution, in that case, is to ride it out. Summer will come again soon enough. I have a feeling that it's going to be a long winter.

Tonight I planted the bulbs I got through the mail (for free; a free offer) into containers, getting them ready for the spring. And then, after I was done, I concluded that it might have been a bad idea. Where do I store them over the winter? If I leave them on the porch, they'll freeze. Dirt in a twelve-inch container is hardly enough insulation to protect delicate bulbs. But if I put them in the basement, which maintains a winter temperature between forty-five and fifty-five degrees, they 'll probably grow, and then without sunlight, die. I guess I have no choice but to bury the containers and mulch them and dig them up again in the spring. I might as well have planted them in an outdoor bed.


Thoughts on Halloween and Other Marginally Related Matters

Q: Why can't witches have babies?
A: Their husbands have Halloweenies.

[Halloweenies. Hollow weenies. Get it?]

This is the one day of the year when I really hide out, so as not to have to hand out bribes to the little bastards all hyped up on sugar who come around blackmailing local residents. Actually, it's not really like that around here any more. It used to be that if you didn't hand out candy, the kids would make sure you suffered in some small way. Toilet paper. Eggs. Etc. Now, for the most part, parents accompany kids on their rounds. Authorities attempt to control Halloween more and more each year, to diminish the increasing threat of vandalism (house fires in Detroit, et al.) In other words, it's being more and more controlled because it's getting more and more out of control. Sounds logical, in a backward sort of way.

Still, though, no matter how tame it gets, I don't want to be bothered. I hate the whole idea of Halloween. Forget about the argument that it's a celebration of Satan and an un-Christian holiday. It's not. It's original intent was to dramatize and counteract the evil influences of the world. Rather, I hate Halloween because it's inane, and becoming more so every year. I hate the lame, commercial costumes and the insipid lack of inspiration. [At least some Halloween parties (as opposed to trick-or-treating) end up with some creative costumes. Dr. Phil told Jay Leno last night that last year his wife went to a Halloween party dressed as a brick, and he as a bricklayer.]

The general yearly candy-giving ritual gets more banal every year, even as wayward kids (they're really not kids, but dangerous teens) try to counteract this attitude with acts of purposeless civil disobedience. (As much as I also hate their activity, at least they have the awareness of the lameness and the balls to attempt to do something about it.)

If I hide away well from society (not especially from stupid events like Halloween, but more generally), I remove precipitous events that might prompt an anxiety reaction; i.e., if I don't know what's going on in the "real" world, if I hold myself incommunicado, I have no motive to react to what I want to see as negative events. This is especially effective "therapy" (it's not therapy, really; it's an attempt to maintain repression when I am least likely to be capable of it) during times when I am most susceptible to "pinches."

Nothing's Gonna Change My World

Words are flowing out like endless rain into a paper cup.
They slither while they pass. They slip away across the universe.
Thoughts meander like a restless wind inside a letterbox.
They tumble blindly as they make their way across the universe.
John Lennon, "Across the Universe"
The thoughts I've expressed above are all a matter for the natural world. When I hide away, that's the world I hide from (although, a long time ago, when I was a druggie, I experienced certain "supernatural" events that I tried to hide away from; but that's all in the past, I want to think). I don't believe in the supernatural now [I consider myself a Bright], except that it turns out to be something definable in scientific terms, e.g., phenomena hidden within the extra-dimensional folds of String Theory. I want to believe that this world that we see here is all there is; but I know that we are finite creatures with finite minds and limited perceptual abilities. What we are unable to perceive within our natural world could be the source of "supernatural" phenomena--things like meta-beings, comprised of interconnections between sentient earth-bound creatures that interact on a "higher" (extra-dimensional) level to produce thought and feeling (and matter?) that we only perceive in the vaguest and most superficial way. These existences (they might be "angels" or "spirits"), if they actually exist, are a natural part of our universe and operate to produce exactly this same world of phenomena. In other words, they're not going to alter reality in any supernatural way because they exist. They exist, if they do, as an unseen part of what is, right now. And so, there is nothing to fear from them. They're a part of our unseen selves, the level (beyond or deep within us--the two are not mutually exclusive) at which we become (more) united. At some point, these unseen dimensions do in fact unite us all, at that place where all energy/matter is undifferentiated, the level where the strings of energy vibrate in harmony across the expanse of the universe.

It is a tragedy of the world that no one knows what he doesn't know, and the less a man knows the more sure he is that he knows everything.
Joyce Cary
Each year I feel like I know less and less, as I learn to see in more profound ways the complexity of the universe. Just as one single example, consider String Theory. I mean, how much more simply complex can things get? If I feel that what I know of the universe, especially including those seven or so other dimensions predicted by String Theory that I am not physically equipped to perceive, is expanding like the universe itself as I age, does that mean I'm getting smarter? When I finally arrive at the place where I realize that I know nothing, will I then know everything there is to know? It sounds reasonable, in a Zen sort of way.

This afternoon, I buried and mulched the containers of bulbs I planted yesterday. While I was doing it, I was accompanied by the dog, half-Dobermann, half-Rottweiler, that lives down the street. Usually she doesn't run free, but today, for some reason, she was allowed out. Or maybe she escaped. She first greeted me at the fence, which she couldn't get past. Then she disappeared and a few minutes later showed up in the yard. I scratched her head briefly and then returned to my work. She hung around, and as I went down to the front porch to get each container after I dug a hole for it, she trotted along beside me down and back as if she were my own dog, waiting for me to be done with my work so that I could pay attention to her. Then, just before I finished the work, she went away, as if she knew that our time together was over.

Click on footnote number to return to that respective point in the text.
1. As I learn more about String Theory, I see that this creator may, in "theory," be pushed back even farther, since the Big Bang may have been created by two extra-dimensional membranes rubbing together. As we advance scientifically, it seems more and more likely that a "God" must be more of an inherent existence woven into the fabric of all existence than an initiating presence "out there" somewhere. And rather than an all-encompassing presence within our four dimensional "universe," God may be an infinity of dimensions that we can never know.

2. i.e., young, and naively informed, in that my mind may have been "correct" in applying a stop-gap measure, but the measure itself is questionable. What's worse, the illness or the cure?

3. Or I might have said: "if you also happen to see the truth of nature that indicates..."