by j-a

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December, 2003


According to Freud, transference is wrongly attributing to the analyst qualities, traits, and attitudes that rightfully belong to someone else.
Dr. Theodor Saretsky,
How To Make Your Analyst Love You
In psychoanalytic theory, transference occurs when the patient relates to the analyst in the way (s)he related to the mother and/or father. Projection occurs when the patient attributes what (s)he is feeling/experiencing to the analyst (or to others). When the analyst feels (as a reaction to the patient's feeling) either transference or projection, he empathizes, thereby finding the same feelings within himself. (It cannot, in my view, be correctly concluded that the analyst feels the patient's feelings. The analyst feels her/his own, which (s)he intuits are responding empathetically to those of the patient.)

Next, the analyst must sort out which feelings belong to whom (self, patient, patient's parents, analyst's parents) If the analyst does this incorrectly, (s)he may end up attributing her/his own psychic content to the patient via counterprojection and/or countertransference.

In a broader, non-psychoanalytic sense, transference may be seen as the exchange of psychic material among ordinary people (i.e., those people who are not acting in a formal therapeutic role):

You can act toward me like you act(ed) toward a significant formative person in your life; that is, you treat me as a mother or father-object (object relations transference). And I may act the same way toward you. Or, being aware of what is happening, I may allow this process to unfold so that I may better understand how you feel by observing my own reactions and inferring how you must feel/be in order for you to act toward me in the way you do.

Or, to put it another way, I feel like your mother or father felt because you act toward me the way you acted toward (one of) them; therefore I can deduce your state of affect/mind by analyzing and interpreting how you must feel at having to deal with a person who acts like you believe me to be acting. Furthermore, I can act toward you as if you are my mother or father (countertransference; that is, as an "ordinary" everyday activity that we all engage in and not as the more formal analyst-patient dynamic). [I can do this all apart from a formal therapeutic situation, as an "ordinary" person in a typical social or personal environment.]

Or I can simply project onto you and/or you can project onto me the feelings/beliefs/attitudes we have, whether or not they are attributable to early parental motives/agendas. I can then infer what you feel/are by the way I feel by acting as your proxy; that is, the feelings that you deny by attributing them to me are the way you are really feeling, but denying and repressing.

But there's always the danger of counterprojection, which can occur when I feel what you are accusing me of, whether or not it's a matter of projection on your part, and because I cannot admit to it, deny it by telling you that you are projecting.

Furthermore, projection can occur without you actually accusing me of anything at all; that is, it may occur implicitly, as when you assume based upon your observations (which may be accurate or may be misinformed, filtered by your selective consciousness) that I feel a certain way, whether I do or not, thus effectively relieving yourself of the burden of understanding that you are this very same way. And, of course, I may do the same, in response--or even as an initiating provocation of my own.

It can get so complicated that we may never learn which unconscious thoughts, feelings, attitudes, and beliefs belong to whom. The closer we get, that is, the more intimate we are, the more confused this material can become, until we may end up thinking, if we can bring ourselves to a point where we can recognize the psychic material consciously, that we are not two separate people at all, but rather one continuous being, a part of which is our own selves, but a part of which is shared. Whether it is really shared or not is debatable. But that perception can exist.

[At this point, I could depart into a different line of thought, which maintains that the self is an illusion. But for this purpose here, I will not go there.]

There is always some counterprojection in every projection. It's the nature of the phenomenon that projection requires a "hook," and that hook is a semblance of the material that is being denied. If, when we recognize a situation wherein we are being projected upon, we do not choose to recognize the hook within ourselves, but instead attribute the projected material entirely to the person who is projecting, then we engage in counterprojection. And in every transference too there is always some countertransference.

The trick is not to prevent these phenomena; they cannot be prevented, neither in the therapeutic setting, nor in everyday life. The trick is to understand them, to become so conscious of them that they begin to become so confused as to which content belongs to which person that it becomes irrelevant, so that we become more one entity than two. This kind of partial transcendence can make us more whole, sharing our pathologies instead of denying them, whereas as transferring and projecting entities; we are quite fragmented and alone.


I'm back; that is, my old self is back. I want to work again. Finally.

I am every bit as much of a disenfranchised person as are our most displaced citizens. Just as the dignity of Native Americans was taken away from them by greedy and duplicitous white bureaucrats, politicians, and unscrupulous businessmen who manipulated and coerced tribes into submitting and signing over their land and their heritage, and just as the Native Americans still to this day strive to regain their lost dignity, so have I had my dignity stripped away by the same kinds of greedy and duplicitous white bureaucrats, politicians, and unscrupulous businessmen who manipulate and coerce me; and I strive still to regain the dignity I have lost.

But while Native American heritage was a land and a culture, mine was a certain sense of freedom, of spirit and from distress, a mindset I inherited, perhaps from my father, but certainly from the eons of evolution that produced a baby boy that was both integrated into an ideal existence and separated from the caustic nature of the world. But the bureaucrats, politicians, and businessmen forced me to adapt to a dubious political and economic system, to abandon the heritage I was so happy with. I want my heritage back. In fact, I demand it.

[I could make the same kind of comparison between myself and other disenfranchised groups; but I won't. I'm already tired of the device.]

Thursday, December 2nd, 2003


"Howard: Iraq: The Right Stuffing...Stealing away in the dark, Bush makes a secret trip to Iraq, boosting troop morale and confounding cynics" [Hardball Newsletter (
{I like Bush when he pulls these cowboy stunts. But I don't want someone in the White House who acts like I might if I were president. I'm well aware of the kind of asshole I am.}


I fucked up. I was using a sunlamp yesterday and I overdid it a bit, even though I only left it on for one minute, timed. Now, the left half of my face is red. It doesn't look all that bad, except when compared with the right side, which is quite white; but it burns. I should burn my right side too, to make it match; but I spent an uncomfortable four hours of sleep last night, waking up every hour or so because of the burning. And besides, it's not good for the skin to burn it--skin cancer and all. I shouldn't even have been using the lamp at all. I'll just have to hide away until the coloration disappears. No problem. It's my normal mode of existence anyway.


...Freud found how faint the line of demarcation was between the normal and neurotic person, and that the psychopathologic mechanisms so glaringly observed in the psychoneuroses and psychoses could usually be demonstrated in a lesser degree in normal persons.
A. A. Brill, Introduction to
Psychopathology of Everyday Life,
by Sigmund Freud
Well then maybe I am normal after all. I may be psycho-mimetic, a neurotic hypochondriac (as opposed to a hypochondriacal1 neurotic). But if that is what I am, wouldn't that be classified as a neurosis? (That is, wouldn't neurotic hypochondriac and hypochondriacal neurotic be the same thing?) It seems I'll do anything to avoid characterizing myself as an ordinary, psychologically healthy individual. That would mean that the life I (have) live(d) has been nothing more or less than of my own making (which is true in any case. You can't blame others, not even your mother or father, for the decisions you made, even if you made them before you were aware of their lifelong consequences).

One advantage of keeping the house at a cooler temperature (due to not having turned on the gas furnace yet this winter and instead heating the house with space heaters and the wood stove, so that it is quite cold in the morning and slow to heat up throughout the day) is that when I go outside, it feels not so cold as it really is. There's a big snow storm expected to hit over the next two days, so I'm going to have to get at least three days worth of wood stocked up on the front porch so I don't have to shovel a path back to the woodshed. Not feeling so cold outside is one thing, but shoveling a whole lot of snow unnecessarily is a whole other ballgame.


Lately my test of any website is whether or not the About or Contact Us page provides a street address, phone number, city, state, and country information. Surprisingly, many sites do not. So I trust sites less if they do not have this basic information, no matter how polished their design might appear.

If the site content is accurate, thorough, and useful, I don't care if the site is run by a beaver in a dam somewhere in the Amazon. A site run by 50 people can be less helpful than a site run by 1 passionate person who listens to their visitors.

Tim Slavin, I-Design Digest
Since I was almost ripped off the other day by an e-marketer link broker that seems to think that it's okay to use my credit card reference from another purchase from an entirely different company to charge me for a product I was investigating, but had no intention of buying and so did not submit any credit information, I've been thinking seriously about Internet security and fraud. Fortunately, I have a credit card that eats fraudulent charges, but still...

So it seems logical that any company that would publish its business address on the Internet has a big advantage re sales over those who do not. I'm going to make this a benchmark of mine when making purchases on the Net. No land address, no sale.

There once was a time in this country when doing business with a company was based on the perception of the character of the businessmen who worked for it. But then it became fashionable for companies to publish written statements that defined the positive traits that the company aspired to. Why? Because those traits are in shorter supply these days? When (some) businessmen aspired to good character, it was not necessary for the company to formally define itself; their representatives did that job automatically. But now that they may not be, generally, so well represented, companies may feel that they need to substitute words for the missing integrity--just like they substitute advertising words for missing quality in their products. [And, of course, they use these same words to inspire their employees to higher standards of behavior and character--supposedly. It's unfortunate that at least a few of those bad characters have had a hand in writing the mission statements. So much for the integrity of the system.]

Of course, there have always been businessmen who were of questionable character. But the point is that, as consumers of the past, we based our decision to buy from them on the appearance they presented, and using our own good sense (or lack of it) to determine whether or not to make a purchase [caveat emptor]. But today, what with the Internet and all, it's as likely as not that we will never even see a businessman (or woman). What we see (or hear) instead are catch phrases, advertisements, words and images. Companies expect us to place our trust in their management's ability to come up with clever phraseology and appropriate keywords that define how they would like their company to be and the traits they would, in an ideal world, want each of their employees to embody. It's more wish fulfillment than reality. I don't buy it.

Fox News 'balance' is just plain bogus

Just in case some Americans are still swallowing the Rupert Murdoch-owned Fox News Network's "fair and balanced" claim, a national Web site has begun to document its partisan bias. launched a "Fox Watch" group last month to "chart this alarming disintegration of journalistic standards."

Murdoch is notorious for using his huge media holdings for partisan purposes, dating back to his Australian and New Zealand holdings.

But he's also been notorious for pulling the wool over his audience's eyes with clever slogans like "fair and balanced." It's the old adage - say it enough times and people start believing it.

Dave Zweifel,
Okay. So apparently there are people who actually agree with me re FOX. It always surprises me when I find ideas and insights that I come up with echoed in the world at large. It's pathological on my part, I suspect. It's as if I feel that I don't deserve to be agreed with.

The appeals court said the Second Amendment protected the gun rights of militias, not individuals. The Second Amendment states: "A well-regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state, the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."
Actually, if that's the only reference to the matter in the Constitution, then it doesn't say that the right to keep and bear arms is limited to well-regulated militias. It says only that well-regulated militias are necessary; and it seems to me that the logic in the quote above dictates that militias are made up of individuals who when called upon bring their own arms to the fracas. In other words, being a part of a militia doesn't entitle you to bear arms; rather it seems like owning a weapon would be a criterion for being eligible to join a militia.

I hate to find myself lining up on the side of the NRA, but the logic seems clear to me. If we ban the possession of certain types of firearms (it seems prudent at least to restrict, if not outright ban, automatic weapons), it should be for reasons different from constitutional ones. There are a lot of good arguments for restricting public access to weapons; but there are a lot of bad ones too.

Since our legitimate militias today (primarily the National Guard) are under the strict control of the federal government, it hardly seems appropriate that the Second Amendment applies to them. It's a vested institution. And what postmodern government is going to allow independent militias? By applying the Second Amendment to militias and not individuals, the court has effectively disarmed Americans. We just don't know it yet. We no longer have recourse against tyrannical despots sending their troops against us.

In fact, this same argument can be made against banning automatic weapons, because the despots would have easy access to them; and if we, the public, do not have the same, we cannot counter tyranny. This is what the New World Order wants. They'd love to orchestrate a situation where the only way to counter governmental abuse is by citizens armed with bottles and the odd captured half-spent tear gas canister appropriated from the sidewalk while standing behind high wire fences or confronted with black-helmeted, flak-jacketed, jack-booted automatons who pretend in their off-hours that they are normal, ordinary citizens. Hell, they've already orchestrated it! Now, with the court's recent decision, they've just taken their security one step farther.

Snow predicted: 1-2 inches tonight; 2-3 inches tomorrow.
Actual snowfall so far as of 8 p.m.: 8 inches.
And this is supposed to be the light part of the storm.


The concept of a pinch has taken a major turn in my mind and expanded itself to include the whole of my recent existence. I had previously applied it to my periodic wayward psychology, but I see now how the whole of this society, perhaps even of the world, has been in a pinch for several years. Money is tight, people are struggling to get by, and even the rich have had less than they might otherwise. Bush has got his thumb and index finger around the neck of the American economy and he's continuing to pinch away.

I watched tapes all last night and went to sleep at eleven this morning and slept till five. Now I have to motivate myself to go out and shovel the predicted three to five inches of snow that has accumulated to over a foot and drifted to nearly three feet in some places of my driveway.

On Thanksgiving, my nephew showed me a new optical mouse they got for their computer, so I asked my brother what he was going to do with his old one, because the mouse on my old 486 doesn't work and it's a pain in the ass using the keyboard to navigate through the old files when I want to find something; so he gave me the mouse. I hadn't noticed that it was a serial mouse (plugs into the serial port), and even when Joyce asked me what a serial mouse was when she saw the box lying on the coffee table in the living room, I never made the connection. (Heh.) I told her that it probably had something to do with the way it transferred data. If I'd have realized that it was the way it plugged in to the computer, I might not have taken it; but it works just fine. But every time I use it, the idea of a mass murdering rodent keeps popping into my head. I wish I'd remembered on Thanksgiving that alternate definition of 'serial' so that I could have used that joke then.

I spent an hour outside shoveling all the walks and the driveway. I even shoveled the walks back to the shed, and then I carried a huge load of wood down to the front porch. Now I'm all set for the next few days.


Santa and Jesus. A Christmas Message.

It occurs to me that Santa Claus is a Jesus figure. I don't know why I never made this connection before. Both symbols are associated with the onset of the winter season. Both represent an altruistic spiritual essence of humankind, a hopeful spirit that pervades our species. Both characters are associated with gift-giving, and although Santa's gifts are material, while Jesus' are spiritual, if you consider the metaphor, it's really the same thing. Yet how much more appropriate is Santa than Jesus to the new world culture. Material possessions are the way that we value our lives; yet if we consider possessions as symbols for spiritual values, then maybe there is hope for us yet.

The big revelation here, however, is what this comparison tells us about the nature of religion. Except as children, we readily accept Santa as a myth, a fictional character that functions to generate good will at a time when we are heading into our most vulnerable period, when the increased stress of living taxes our psychologies and the weather can even, if we are not very careful, threaten our very lives, so that it behooves us as a species to protect the most vulnerable among us. (Southern Hemisphere residents should consider the historical nature of these myths and modify the interpretations accordingly to fit their particular situations.)

But we want to think that Jesus is something different, when the concept is exactly the same: we've appropriated the image and character of a good man who lived two thousand years ago to service our need for a supernatural motive, just as we appropriated that of another good man, Saint Nicholas, in order to represent a "spiritual" essence that we recognize as a foundation of life. The person of Jesus, the man, is a symbol, not the reality of the essence, not literally the Logos, or not in any way that we are not each the same. (He may have been a reality when he lived; but he is dead, despite what simple-minded folk believe.) The reality has something to do with the basic energy of the cosmos and the basic principle that evolves life out of sub-atomic particles. The man, Jesus, as good as he may have been when he lived, as steeped in cosmic consciousness as he may have been, as profoundly as he may have perceived the universe, was just a man--a highly evolved man who understood far more than the average person, even today, but a mere man, nonetheless.

It is perhaps telling that we utilize Saint Nicholas as a myth in order to educate our children in the ways of giving. (But as likely as not these days, they get the opposite idea: that it is better to receive than give.) Children readily believe in an elfin Master Giver who lives at the North Pole; just as we with our child-like mentalities readily believe in a man-god who lived two thousand years ago, but still lives on today, "spiritually." We must be literal in our mass interpretation. Most of us do not have the subtlety to comprehend metaphor and symbolism and spiritual essences; and so we create religions and mythify and mystify that which we are, but choose not to recognize within our own selves. Santa and Jesus: two of a kind. Two myths, one for the modern post-industrial world, where we recognize more easily the nature of mythology, and one for the ancient world that still pervades our consciousness because we will not awaken to the fact of what we really are.


I turned on the tv last night and was surprised to find that the one cable channel I get has been changed from the Hallmark Channel to CSPAN. What a pleasant surprise. CSPAN was one of the few things I missed when I cancelled the cable. And Hallmark, although I watched it--because, being a cable channel, it was one of the few channels I got that had a perfectly clear picture--was kind of tame and even sometimes lame. But CSPAN is a first rate unbiased (or multi-biased; i.e., fairly biased) news source. It's nice to think that a patriot like Brian Lamb can also be objective and fair to all sides of an issue. It imparts a kind of hope to an otherwise divided world.

The patriotic duty of a journalist is to question authority in this democracy.   [Rick Rockwell, professor of something or other having to do with journalism at some prestigious university, on a CSPAN program]

The Right's maligning of the "Left-oriented" journalists as being unpatriotic is a travesty. Any press question (or mere public question) that hints that the administration might have been less than perfect at what it has been doing, especially re Iraq, is itself questioned as possibly seditious. Meanwhile many of these same poseurs run around the country like colporteurs, campaigning for their cause, handing out tracts that they pretend are fundamental logic. They defame good journalists, as if the Right would never deign to do the very same thing (witness Rupert Murdock) that they accuse "leftist" journalists of. And the art of journalism suffers.

But is journalism really an art, or is it merely a social service? I guess it exists along a continuum. Norman Mailer (along with many others) raises the practice to the level of art. Many hacks barely perform the most basic service, often getting facts wrong and introducing severe bias, intentionally or otherwise. And some even make up stories, which takes us back to the other end of the spectrum, that of creative (non-)fiction--in a perverse sort of way.

But when journalists accurately reflect their world, are they not then artists in the sense that they mimetically render their subject matter? Unquestionably, the Norman Mailers of the world are artists; but aren't too the ordinary, everyday reporters who structure common news stories and report them on the six o'clock news or in the daily newspaper. Editors mediate the process, to be sure. But the end product is art in the sense that it is a rendering of a condition of mankind. Maybe it's not so high, this daily art. But it is mimesis.

It's okay. My clients are always hitting me.
James Spader, "The Practice"
Spader's character in "The Practice" accepts the way he is, that his style irritates people. My style irritates people too--or it used to, before I became so damned introverted again, in a conscious attempt to get back to where I had been, before I became so "sociable." Spader's character doesn't base his behavior on whether he is socially approved of. He has his own standards to measure up (or down) to, and if he has to violate norms or even break rules to accomplish what he feels is right, or even expedient, he will. He decided at some point in his life that consequences should be dealt with in the moment and not guarded against beforehand. I need to learn this lesson, maybe. I am too self-guarded, a trait that has served me well. But maybe it's time to loosen up. What have I got to lose? It's not likely, now, that anyone is going to beat me up. It may have been likely when I was younger; but not now, I think.

I could maybe find a middle ground between these two modes of being: prepare and memorize standard scripts for common social situations and adapt them spontaneously on the spot to current circumstances. Just like lawyers must have standard scripts about the ideals and mechanics of the law in general and its practice in the courtroom, scripts that they weave into their openings and closings, varying the message to fit the particular case, so should I have standard messages, which I could repeat as the occasion warrants; such as the Mann quote below, or such as why I write instead of conveying my ideas through speech (because, having been introverted to the point of severe anxiety, I was not good at extemporaneously rising to the occasion and so developed instead the ability to communicate quite well in writing; so that if you confront me on any issue, as likely as not, you will be met with a complaint nature that might agree with you for no other reason than to avoid any confrontation or to end the meeting as soon as possible; or you might meet with a reserved and non-cooperative non-conversant, if I am in my most difficult asocial mode of being). [I resurrect this "script" idea from time to time, when I am feeling less than able at social interaction, such as in the winter, when I am most interred.]

Once more let me say that I have no wish to offend you. What I have just said is not an affront; it is a statement, a simple, psychological statement solely because I feel an impulse to clarify for you your own thoughts and actions; because it is my inevitable task on this earth to call things by their right names, to make them speak, to illuminate the unconscious. The world is full of what I would call the unconscious type, and I cannot endure it; I cannot endure all these unconscious types! I cannot bear all this dull, uncomprehending, unper- ceiving living and behaving, this world of maddening naiveté about me! It tortures me until I am driven irresistibly to set it all in relief, in the round, to explain, to express, and make self-conscious everything in the world--so far as my powers will reach--quite unhampered by the result, whether it be for good or evil, whether it brings consolation and healing or piles grief on grief.

You are stronger than I. I have no armour for the struggle between us, I have only the Word, avenging weapon of the weak. Today I have availed myself of this weapon. This letter is nothing but an act of revenge...
Thomas Mann, "Tristan"
In person, true to his word, the character who writes out these ideas especially as he has been caught off-guard and unprepared, is shy, retiring, and compliant, not unlike some of Spader's early characters. [Yet Spader will also play the wit-consumed verbalist who can rise to the occasion.] Like the Mann character above, I sometimes see it as my goal to elucidate unconscious motives. Usually these motives are my own, or they are those of others who have become so wrapped up in my own psychology that I have a difficult time extracting their verbal/mental behaviors from my own. Rarely do I directly comment on others' motives as a passive and "objective" observer, mostly because I don't believe that such an animal exists. If I choose to write about them, I am, by pre-definition, already intimately involved. But this involvement doesn't attenuate any negative reaction on the part of others I may write about. [There used to be times when I would rise to the occasion and explicate these kinds of motives directly in social situations (cf., the avenging angel syndrome); but those times are in the past.] In fact, it may provoke it, the nature of denial and projection being what it is.

Unlike Mann's character, however, I seldom write directly to people, preferring instead the relative anonymity of disguising my ideas/criticisms as fiction or posting them to website journals, where the "offended" party will probably never see my words and thus be quite unable to respond. What better revenge than to be free to express my opinions without anyone significant ever knowing about it. [If strangers will rise to the defense of those I write about, that's fine with me. I love that kind of response, so long as they don't show up at my door or even meet me socially. In fact, if those people I write about would choose to confront me in the written word, I'd love that equally well. The farther I can keep most people away from me, the better, usually.

Sometimes I don't feel this way. It's a matter of degree. Sometimes I am quite sociable. Sometimes I am not so much myself as someone else. I can quite well play the role of the witty and charismatic character when I am in a rare gregarious mood.

The highlight of my career in wit occurred one evening as I was leaving my mother's house. I was supposed to pick her up after her chemotherapy treatment the following day, and she had given me the doctor's number to call in case anything happened because, apparently, she was worried that she wouldn't get picked up and have to spend hours waiting around for someone to show up. So, as I was about to leave her house and was standing beside the front door putting on my coat, she made certain one final time that I remembered that I was to pick her up the next day, and then she asked me "Do you know what the number to call is?"

I answered "Yeah."

"What is it?" She wanted me to repeat it or to read it from the piece of paper she had given me.

I said instead "BR549." [You have to have been raised in a family that watched "Hee-Haw" to understand the humor.]

It just popped into my head and I blurted it out, not intending it to be funny. But she thought it was hilarious. And it was, I have to admit. Occasional moments like these have given me a reputation as a quick wit, when it is not at all true--or it is rarely true. Usually I am slow to respond and often have nothing to add to the conversation at all, although I later will come up with many zingers that I could have contributed, if only I had thought of them at the time. (Yet even when I write them down for later use, and even if I practice them, I will most often not remember them when I need them. So much for scripts.) But on a rare occasion, I will shine. And these times are the things that people remember about me. This is what I am, I guess. But it sure seems to me like I am someone else.


I love a lot of the PBS programming; but I feel somewhat embarrassed when I have to tolerate the periodic pledge drives. It's like a poor relative that you encounter on the street sitting against a city wall with a tin cup and a sign in front of him that reads "Please!"

PBS derogates the excellent content it presents with its begging posture. But that's not the real reason I abhor these periods of anti-programming. What I really hate is when I expect to see a certain program and I turn on the tv to find that it's been pre-empted.

I hate this same thing when it happens on commercial tv too, especially where sports events are involved. I don't mind preemption per se. If people would rather have sports than standard programming, fine. I even get into sports myself sometimes when I'd rather not think.

What I really mind is when the sports events run long and bump the later programs back, when it becomes impossible to predict the start times, when you can't even set your VCR to record them unless you let the damn thing run for six hours while you sleep.

I expend some energy during these kinds of minor disturbances just so that I don't get myself into a kerfuffle. It takes a certain savoir-faire to remain cool and calm and uncomplaining when phenomena in your social environment disturb your peace of mind and schedule.

My lifelong reservation developed out of an early need not to become upset at all at the minor events that typically disturbed ordinary people more given to a type of febrile behavior that I thought should be beneath me. I felt I should be more sophisticated.

My cycle of tergiversation, from my introverted youth to my "outgoing" business period when I developed my "social skills" and then back again to a withdrawal mode when I felt I had been better off being appreciated for what people thought was shyness, is completed.

Tuesday, December 12th, 2003


Osbourne On Pills During TV Series [
Pgh Chnl]
Are people brain damaged, or what? Did the people who are surprised by this "news" take too many drugs themselves in the sixties and seventies? I thought it was rather obvious that Ozzy was drugged up. Am I some kind of super-observant savant, or are all these other people dim bulbs?


I've not been a big fan of Pittsburgh Steeler head coach Bill Cowher. I don't like the type. If I had to choose a coaching style (I try to stay away from sports talk and sports in general), I'd pick the laid-back technique of Tom Landry. That macho-aggressive stance that guys like Cowher adopt makes me cringe. (There's probably an element of projection here.) Cowher represents for me the epitome of a boy who never really grew up, but rather diverted all of his childhood issues into sports. That bulldog jaw and those exaggerated pouty lips that he displays when plays go badly perfectly expose the little kid in him who cannot get his way. Grow up.

But watching someone self-destruct isn't pretty. As much as I've disliked him in the past, I can't help by empathize with Cowher now. He was recently fined $10K for criticizing the referee's decision not to review a play on instant replay after what he thought was a bad call in the last two minutes of a game. And the call was, it seemed to me (and to a lot of others), a good one. When I first heard of the fine, I cheered. But it's sad, really. The guy can't handle defeat, and so this is a bad year for him. He's falling apart, and his news conferences are painful to watch as he hmms and haws around, trying to put the best spin on his losing season, coming up with lame self-conscious attributions, when it looks like all he wants to do is go off in a corner somewhere and cry. Poor guy. But he dug the hole he's in and he's going to have to climb out of it himself. I suggest he try some age-regression therapy instead of pursuing his motivational football tactics.


This evening, after sleeping the whole afternoon, I stumbled across a jobs website while surfing the Net and went off on one of my "what if I would go out and get a job" flights of imagination.

I'd really like to do this, not because I want to rejoin the real world again, necessarily, although that may be a small part of the motivation, but mostly because I'm caught up in this fantasy again:

I could develop an aspect of myself that heretofore has remained mostly dormant by going out and finding a job, working there for a while, getting all that I can out of it, and then moving on.

I wouldn't, this time, have to feel that I owed any particular loyalty to the place I worked for; all I'd need do was put in the time for as long as the purpose/goals of that place coincided with mine.

When the environment/duties/personal advancement began to get stale, I could get another job, even quitting before I found one, because now I think I've got myself to a point where I am more secure.

Each episode of employment could serve as a new starting (over) point, where I could rearrange my life to support the job; each job would be a new phase of my life. I could be an expert at it.

I could develop an expertise at finding jobs; helping people (psychologically); moving to a new job/area (relocation). I could become a kind of wandering counselor/therapist, a post-new-age guru

It's a fantasy, but one that could be actualized. I might actually go and do it--or at least begin it. I'm feeling quite optimistic about it; but that's probably only because I've just had a cup of coffee.

I could combine this idea with my old plan of developing my salary/position by taking on a series of jobs, each with more responsibilities and higher pay/better benefits, leaving each for a better one.

I think I'll actually begin some contingency planning to this end. Who knows? It could amount to something, after all. I might even become a normal person and a productive citizen again. (I better watch out.)

[Jesus! Listen to me. This stuff is scary. What's going on here? Is my therapy beginning to work or what? Maybe it's just a phase I'm going through. Or I might be coming down with something.]


"I just don't know what I have in common with those people any more. I mean, or with anyone."
John Cusack,
Grosse Pointe Blank
I'm in an entirely different workplace (from previous recurrent dreams), but S is still my boss and other employees I worked with still work here. I have an elite, wood-paneled office. This is some kind of an entertainment business, as if it's the offices of a tv studio. S brings people in to see me. Among them are potential interns--young, naive, starry-eyed college girls. S remains near the door as the group moves into the center of the room. S introduces them to me, announcing that I am Andy Rooney. I reach my hand out to shake theirs, but Michael [from my NYC days] also reaches his hand out to greet them, before S speaks, and they ignore my hand and shake his, thinking he is me. (i.e., Andy) (Or they get it correct, and it is I who am mistaken in thinking I am Andy Rooney. And what would this then mean? That I am deluded in thinking that I am the important person in this place? That I think more of myself than the facts allow? Hmm. maybe.) I begin to arrange papers on my desk and I work with my secretary to develop schedules.

The critical aspect of this dream, I think, is the fact that it's a different workplace with an entirely different business purpose. Maybe this is reflective of my new employment ideas of yesterday. But S is still my boss, indicating that maybe I unconsciously think that he was not so bad as bosses go; but r is conspicuously absent, as is R. (Because they were ineffectual at their jobs?)

People who vociferously criticize gay clergy, or the death penalty, or...whatever, reveal their real, hidden, selves. If you truly believe that your ideas are correct, then you can afford to be tolerant of others' ideas and listen to what they have to say in an open and friendly manner, without attacking them or preaching to them. It's when you unconsciously doubt your beliefs that you confront people in an argumentative and intolerant way. What you are really intolerant of is your own unconscious self; you're afraid to admit to your hidden thoughts and fears, so that the repressed fear becomes anger and resentment when you see your unconscious traits in others' behavior and beliefs. The more you hate something or vehemently rail against it, the more likely it is that you are that same thing yourself, repressed. Thus, people who are homophobic are latent homosexuals; people who proselytize for the death penalty are potential murders or harbor repressed ill-will toward others; etc. [And people who dream recurrently about old workplaces and criticize old bosses and management coworkers possess(ed) the very traits that they abhor.]

Europe's foreign affairs chief, adding his voice Thursday to criticism of Washington, called the U.S. decision to bar opponents of the war in Iraq from reconstruction contracts "gratuitous and unhelpful" when unity is needed.
The problem with all of the arguments that politicians and pundits have been putting forth that criticize the Bush administration's decision to award contracts for reconstruction in Iraq only to those countries who aided in its emancipation is that they ignore basic psychology. Never mind that it may be a politically questionable tactic. You positively reinforce the people who help you and negatively reinforce those who do not. In this way you increase the likelihood that they will help you in the future and decrease the likelihood that they will oppose you. America is infamous for winning wars and losing the peace because it has deferred to losers and standers-by. It's like welfare: if you must give it, you should give it to people who will appreciate it and who are likely to praise you and support you in the future because of your actions. To give welfare to people who will turn around and criticize you, who bite the hand that feeds them, is just stupidity. That's why the Republicans favor corporate, but not social welfare; businesses return the favor. I'm not saying that either the awarding of contracts in Iraq or corporate welfare is the right thing to do; all I'm saying is that it's practical. It works to consolidate power. To do anything else would be to aid in your own demise. Of course, if the Europeans or the Democrats manage to succeed in making contract awards a viable issue, then the policy may not be so practical after all.

Sunday, December 12th, 2003


My real "work" or "art" is the expression of my ideas/self and the (re-)assimilation and (re-)organization of the material produced into a better understandable system. In other words, to sit down every day and express and process the material that possesses (or obsesses) me. What others read of what I've written is not my real work; it's the residue of that work. My real work is finished by the time I get around to posting the results. This makes it difficult to find the motivation to reveal it. Who cares? I've already done what it is I have to do.

Some minor research on the net has yielded an answer to my question of why the flu (and similar illnesses) season is the late fall and winter: because some respiratory diseases can remain dormant in warm, humid weather and become active again when it begins to get cold.

Geekery v. Nerdery

Steven Lewis admits to being a geek, but not a nerd. He explains that there is a crucial difference. "Nerds are highly intelligent but they have no social skills whatsoever. You can't hold a proper conversation with a nerd. Geeks are very intelligent too, but a geek can hold a conversation, and have a girlfriend and an active social life. So I freely admit to being a geek. I have no problem with that label at all."
And neither have I. But more likely I have been a nerd, although I've gone to a lot of trouble throughout my life to disguise myself, cultivating a cool exterior, learning karate and developing a wiry physique, expending a lot of my employers' health care benefits improving my posture (though it was for a legitimate problem with back pain), devoting a lot of time to mental constructs that defined myself as a far more "with it" person than I really was (am); yet you can't hold a proper conversation with me, usually--to this day. I mean, you can, when I'm in the right mood, which is rare.

And yet the mood occurs often enough that people form the more positive opinion of me than I might otherwise deserve. For one extended period of my young adult life, I consciously practiced the social skills that I failed to learn growing up, until I was quite adept at them. But as I've written of elsewhere, you're not really all that sociable if you've had to practice it. Sociability is something we tend to think of as a naturally-acquired skill, and people who come by it artificially are just too damn slick, which a lot of people tend to mistake for sociability, when it is rather more pathological than gregarious.

But what I "practiced" was not so much slick methods of winning friends and influencing (manipulating) people as it was a kind of twelve-step program (systematic desensitization) whose purpose was to release my own naturally congenial personality that was contained within a carapace formed in childhood as a defense against rejection in order to allow a public realization of the compossible existence that I felt, but never allowed anyone to see.

I needn't have bothered, I realize now. As it turns out, enough people, the insightful and intuitive ones, got the message anyway, and had been getting it all along. Truly caring people see through the artifice and social accretion of personality, into the tender marrow that we often feel we need to protect. Uncaring people learn how to find their way in via deceit, and then set about to stir it up or suck it dry. Nerdery is an early adaptation to this phenomenon. Nerds retreat within, not caring how they appear to others. They live in their own idiosyncratic world; this is what I did--and still do.

So am I really, then, or had I ever been a nerd, when I cared enough to construct a false exterior in order to make myself look like something I was not. Is that what all the "cool" people do? Was Fonzi in fact a closet nerd? Of course he was. They are all, the cool people of the world. The cooler you pretend to be, the nerdier you are inside. Almost always, your exterior is compensation.

Geekery, on the other hand, is admission and even celebration of the fact that you are weird, different, etc. You don't feel that you have to defend a hidden inner self (in this sense; you're probably defending something else--like maybe you're a closet jock or something). I may have been a closet nerd, disguised as a weird combination of jock and beatnik/hippie (think Michael Fitzsimmons in Peggy Sue Got Married) who later on, via a therapeutic transcendence, emerged from nerd-pupation into a Geek, while yet retaining the superficial traits of the rebel (now ex-) druggie biker freak I created as a persona in which to subsume and hide my real self away from public view.

In the same article cited above, Harvey Pekar is quoted as having said that the nerds in, for example, Revenge of the Nerds were preppie nerds and thus not at all like the everyday common nerds that he and his kind represent. This kind of "cool nerd" is a concept closer to the nerds of today's postmod phenomenon (which, in fact, they helped to establish) than to the actual historical prototypes, of which Pekar claims to be a more genuine example. Probably. But will success spoil Rock Pekar?

Guest_1482: are you a guy or a girl
gzee_ah: If I tell you if I'm a guy or a girl, you automatically prejudge me and use your expectation filters to exclude half of the essence of all that I am from your consciousness.
Guest_1482: i wouldnt do that
gzee_ah: You can't help it. It's an unconscious process. I've already done it to you, cause I know what you are.
Guest_1482: you THINK you do
gzee_ah: Right. Exactly.
Guest_1482: what if I lied in my bio
gzee_ah: It doesn't matter what you are. I expect you to act like a woman so I exclude a big part of your personality from my conscious perception. I can't help it. It's socially programmed.


An inch of snow predicted last night; over four inches accumulated by one-thirty this afternoon; six inches by four. I pray, to myself, that it keeps on snowing. Dissatisfaction decreases when I am housebound and have no excuse not to stay in. When you pray, you pray to yourself, to form your beliefs and strengthen your resolve; no matter what you think you pray to. Or you pray to that greater part of yourself that connects and communes with a greater part of us all together that we share. We call this God, and call on a god to alleviate our suffering and grant our desires, not feeling worthy to do this for ourselves. To see a universe as an extension of our only selves is heresy, we say. But a lonely God would not have it any other way. The snow piles up, excommunicating us each from each other; when the snow plow finally comes, we rejoice in the street. Neighbors start their cars as they socialize and shovel; I stay inside. Tomorrow is soon enough, when they are all at work.


I might be led, but I won't be driven.
Amy Madigan, Riders of the Purple Sage
Okay, this is private. I don't know if I should post this: I just joined livejournal and began a blog. I did this only so that I could post a comment to ana's journal; but then I thought, what the hell, I might as well start my own, and the ideas escalated from there until I am off on a whole new thread of ideas, again. (My psychology has been turning toward manic over the last few days. Maybe it's the daily two cups of coffee.)

Anyway, the thing I thought might be private is: When I added ana to my friends' list, I noticed a note on her list that said if anyone added her their friends' list that she'd probably reciprocate. Then, today, when I went and checked her friends' list again, there I was on it. My heart soared. Silly how little things like that can set you off. I'm so happy she did that, even though it's only a routine thing she does.

Maybe this isn't so private at that. I'm such a putz for thinking that my enthusiasm for other's interest in me (especially when it's not true interest, but only token) and my interest in others is something I should keep to myself; but that's the way I am. [Obviously, I am touching on material here that has nothing to do with ana or livejournal. But I'll leave that for another time.]

Stay focused. Be paranoid. Get even.
Donald Trump,
"The Apprentice"
Well, I got one of them mastered. Guess which one? Hint: I don't believe in getting even; it only perpetuates the cycle of revenge. But...

Almost everyone, at one time or another, wants to start over. I do, at least every winter; I could leave it all and become someone else.

Maybe I've not ever realized how serious this problem I have really is. Maybe I fool myself, thinking I'm more normal than I really am.

I have grand ideas and can envision precise methods of achievement, step-by-step; the way, although elaborate and long, is easy.

When you can see the way, when you know exactly what to do, the most complex tasks and goals are simple, if you will but do them.

Here, then, is where I go wrong: I can't focus very well; I see too many plans, too many methodologies; I want to do too much, more.

If I would follow through on one single plan, I would be a great success; but I can't focus. I tentatively conclude I am borderline ADD.

[I remember concluding this once before; but I set the insight aside, after having dealt with it at length. I can't even focus on my therapy.]

But I do focus, on this journal. It's the one thing in my life that I've managed to see through; otherwise, I am scattered about like seed.

And eventually the seeds sprout, only to compound the problem as I become involved in even more conjecture that I can follow up on.

When I worked at a job, I always wanted to be doing something else; and in my free time I was always too tired from having worked.

Now, I am never too tired to write, even when I am tired; but I'm too tired (or maybe I mean too unfocused) to do other things besides.

But I could interpret this situation differently: maybe I am so overly focused on my writing that nothing else seems at all important.

But sometimes, when I become enthralled with an idea, a thing that I could do, I plan it all out, every single step, determined to do it.

Then I put the plan aside and let it stew. I could do it, if I so choose; but by the time I am ready, I'm on to something other plan.

Nothing seems so important that I can't abandon it to work on something else that seems more important at the time, and later on.

Even this idea that I thought so important that I had to get it written out seems now like just an ordinary idea. I have others now to write.


The longer I live, the stranger life gets.
Ed Harris, Riders of the Purple Sage
When I read back through my journals, I'm sometimes amazed at where my mind has taken me. I've led such an interesting (it seems to me, though perhaps not to others) mental life; but at the time that I'm leading it, it seems so ordinary--almost mundane; and certainly too preoccupied and obsessive-compulsive to allow me to pay attention to its interest. That is, my interest preoccupies me so completely as to block out all self-attention to the apparent epic I am on. I am self-absorbed.


The only way to kill a vindictive beast is to feed it.
James Spader,
"The Practice"
I wonder if this is really true. It feels right. Vengeance repressed is just asking for unconscious trouble. Better to let it out. But...

Vengeance is mine, saith the Lord.
The world culture should, once and for all, abolish the death penalty--even for people like Saddam Hussein. I don't necessarily maintain this position for spiritual or idealistic reasons, although they certainly play into this belief. More importantly, I happen to believe that we can satisfy the most hardcase proponents of capital punishment by adopting strict disciplinary practices in prisons. Minimal amenities. Maximal lockdown, alone. Strict military-like conformance. And above all, expert psychological consultation to assure that the offenders, while treated humanely in the most minimal sense possible, are self-confronted with their pasts so that over time (and they will have a lot of it, to themselves) they will be forced to dwell on their misdeeds so that they become their primary preoccupation. In this way, maybe, after years and years, the stress of having to face up to their innermost selves may advance their mentality enough to understand the error of their ways; or it might drive them crazy, which would be allowable. If their minds snap as a result of having to face up to the life errors they have made, so be it. Effective rehabilitation is not for the weak-of-heart or soul. (And successful rehabilitation in no way is to affect the sentence, which is to be carried out in any case. No parole.)

The kinds of procedures that would be necessary to accomplish this rehab goal would be relatively simple, at least when compared to the kinds of "rehabilitation" programs that we now operate in prisons in a token manner: things like playing over and over again audio and video tapes of the crimes (and of crime in general, ala A Clockwork Orange, although perhaps in a more sophisticated manner), tapes of courtroom proceedings related to the offenders' particular cases, and tapes made by victims and relatives of victims that depict their suffering, attitude, and anger. Offenders would also have access to a large library of "approved" books: good literature and educational material tailored to their particular psychology; but no trivial reading matter; no law books; and above all, no tv.

And, if we absolutely must have vengeance, after all appeals, etc. have been exhausted, how about something like surgical operations stretched out over time to remove increasingly important body parts, meanwhile keeping the offender alive by modern medical means. We could start with fingers and toes and graduate to ears and noses, arms and legs, the penis and testicles (that's a good one; perhaps it should be first for sex offenders). When all that remains is a head and torso and the patient-offender is being fed and cared for by nurses, then we could begin intravenous feeding of just enough nutrients to keep the fucker alive and conscious so that he remains aware of his plight. (Talk about solitary confinement.) In this way, vengeance can be carried out over decades. Victims' rights laws could guarantee that families of the victims be allowed to view the procedures and results any time they wanted, to assuage themselves of their grief (and feed their pathology, thus perhaps providing a bit of therapy for them too). We could even go further in extreme cases where the crimes were particularly brutal and perform the operations while the patient is conscious and on just enough anesthetic to keep him from passing out. If this doesn't cure victims and their families of their blood-lust, then there is no hope for them.


If you're ridin' ahead of the herd, take a look back every now and then to make sure it's still there.
Will Rogers
As my old man used to say "When you see a lot of people gathered together, lead them in song, or stay the hell away from them"
Kirk Douglas, Draw
I don't like conventions. It's the herd instinct. If you hang around in herds, sooner or later you're going to step in something you don't like.
Stack Keach as Mike Hammer
'Sociable' is one of those funny words that doesn't necessarily mean what we think it does. Being "sociable" people, we attribute positive values to the concept. But if we will consider for a minute what sociable people will often do, the kinds of behaviors they will frequently engage in, we might see a different side of society. Think for a minute about how people, when gathered into groups, will gossip and backbite, with hardly a care for the kinds of harm they might be doing. Think about how they will act so nice and friendly to your face, and then go off somewhere and talk about you in a negative way behind your back; and think about how you feel when you find out that they've been doing this. Add to that simple behavior the kinds of intentional harm that people will do when they act to enrich and/or aggrandize themselves at others' expense, all of the manipulation and social, political, and sexual intrigue that goes on within society, and you begin to define 'sociable' in a less than flattering way.


Last night on Conan, Lewis Black said that living in a climate like Southern California that is warm all year round leaves no alternative but to realize that you are responsible for your own depression. That is, there is no cold winter weather to blame it on.

But these past few days I've had no reason to blame anything. I've been quite up--almost manic. And so I've been experiencing a bit of cabin fever--not so much that I can't counter it with a decided attitude that I will remain inside and out of trouble.

And that's the essence of withdrawal, isn't it? Risk management? When I go out, inevitably, sooner or later, I get myself into some kind of trouble. Not the kind of typical trouble that normal people get themselves into, though. I'm a mental sort.

External events dwell on me, forcing me to reciprocate. In order to remain in control, I feel I have to limit input, to understand and analyze experiences one by one, so that they do not build up and overwhelm me. In this way, I get along, mostly out of it.

But I don't feel so set apart. I feel right out in the middle of it, even when I am alone. I curse the psychology that has left me so open to the world that I must make myself a place apart. It's not so bad, really; but it's disturbing, at times, when I'm stuck inside.

Obsession is a fascinating phenom. It's too bad.
When you're so far in, you're outwardly attracted.
It doesn't matter who she is or how you know her.
Once she takes hold of you, you have no choice.
All you can hope for is to be able to act properly.
You can feel anything as long as you do nothing.
But it's not so real anyway. If it were, I might act.


Despite being in general agreement with them, I don't like the bias, nor the tone of BuzzFlash mailings, or for that matter, their website either. But I don't unsubscribe because occasionally (rarely) I find something I want to read and, anyway, I like to view the whole spectrum of political opinion, to keep abreast of developments in a more universal way, and headlines from polemical sites like BuzzFlash are a good way to survey the material. Besides, contentious and biased reporting tends to keep people in power honest, and so I like to support it. Muckrakers perform a valuable service. They check the excesses of authority. If we all did enough muckraking against the administration and the congress (whether they be right or left), we could grind government to a near-halt, thereby reducing its negative influence on our common, everyday lives.

I tend to agree with liberals, even though I find most of them kind of wimpish. But they should not be so smug that I attack conservatives so vociferously. If we ever would defeat through argument the conservatives (which of course we will not) or if I would tire of haranguing them, I'd be starting in on the liberals next. They are not my favorite group of people either, and they only enjoy my relative favor by default. They are every bit as much as conservatives to blame for the despotic mess that this country is in. It's just that they are so much more ineffective than the conservatives and so need not be so closely attended to.'s a little ironic that we can find Saddam Hussein hiding in a 6x8 spider hole in a country spanning 171,599 square miles, and we can't find a law breaker in the White House of 55,000 square feet.
Bust Bob Novak Updates Newsletter
It's a fact of life that if you want to find something, you have to be looking for it.

I never wanted kids. I never felt any inclination in that direction. But I like kids, more than I like adults. I like them until they get to that age where they feel (or are convinced to feel) that they should start acting like adults, when they start trying consciously to manipulate people and become sociable and mature. That's about the point where my empathy for them has, in the past, faded--probably because they were beginning to outdistance me, since I had such a hard time myself growing up and adopting quintessential adult traits, like a fixity of mind, belief, and purpose, and establishing a social methodology to achieve those ends.

But maybe I was wrong--not about wanting kids of my own, but about giving up on them when they became adults. Maybe I could have "saved" a few of them if I had stuck with them and followed them into adulthood. But it was such a delicate subject with me that I couldn't face up to it. But I could do it now. I could make it my purpose to try to undo some of the damage that parents have done to their kids because they didn't know what they were doing, because they were too caught up in their own selfish egos to bother with learning how to be effective parents, so that their kids are on the verge of ending up as basket cases, unsuited for survival in a social world. I could help them because I know what it's like to be in this condition. Not that my parents were irresponsible in this regard. In fact, they were quite good at raising me; but I was too non-responsive.

So, maybe it isn't all that much the fault of irresponsible and/or negligent parents. Kids fall through the cracks for a lot of different reasons, and I may now be in a position to help them, finally. So maybe I should go ahead and do it.


I keep forgetting that my purpose for writing is not to produce these journal entries that eventually get processed into website material or fiction, but to document, (re)arrange, and analyze my experience and the contents of my mind/personality. That's what I started out doing so very long ago, and that's what I keep coming back to, when I get too far out and become lost (again and again). I get hung up on the procedure and start to think that I need to be producing (more) "finished" work, when what I really need to be doing is processing this material for my own edification.

My holidays start tomorrow--eleven days when I pretty much do the same things I always do, but with a lighter attitude. For the next eleven days I celebrate like a pagan (small 'p'). Then, when everyone else is celebrating the start of a new year, I'm already well into mine--because the New Year starts on Dec 21-22 and not on Jan 1. No wonder the "civilized" world is out-of-sync with nature.


I'm in a car that some guy I don't know is driving down Verona Road (which is also old Coal Hollow Road) from East Hills (or Penn Hills) toward Sandy Creek. We're going extremely fast and almost losing control around each bend. (Inherent in the dream, although not visible as imagery, is the recurrent dream mechanism of the road being a small river that we float down.) We pull into off the road up into a wooded area on the hillside to the right that overlooks the Lime Hollow Road valley (where Dad always liked to point out when we were driving by that he used to visit a girl who lived up here in the woods). As we walk along, we almost fall victim to many blind drop-offs that come up on us suddenly. I awaken to the idea that I am currently in some kind of a precarious position that the dream is symbolizing. But I can't think what that position might be--unless it is physical, i.e., re my drinking two cups of coffee a day; or maybe it's psychological, re how I am maintaining an "up" attitude quite well for this time of year, but flirting with a crash (a precipitous fall deep into the valley). Or maybe my life is "hollow," ala the two roads, Coal Hollow and Lime Hollow.

Back to sleep. (Finally got a full night, eight-and-a-half hours.) I'm in an unknown workplace working with my brother on some kind of elaborate computer program. But we can't get it to work right. Joan is there, working in another place, but she comes over to my workstation to get something of hers that she's left in my tools cabinet. She's trying to get my attention, trying to flirt with me, and I like her attention, but I'm too preoccupied, so she goes away. A guy across the room is watching cable tv. I go over to see how he's getting the reception, because all we have here in our work areas (on our computers) is six or seven broadcast channels. He shows me a box he has attached to the back of his tv. (The only actual tv in the place.) It's a box that converts the broadcast signal into cable. I point out to him that what the box is doing is illegal, i.e., picking up signals from management's cable via "induction." He says he knows, but he doesn't seem to care. He calls the box a "Benny Hinn," because he bought it off one of those religious tv programs. When I awaken, I recognize this as some kind of a joke; but I don't get it.

I get up and after a few preliminaries at the computer, I call the gas company, because the bill I got on Friday was wrong. I tell the lady, Shelly, that they read the meter wrong, that it should have been 568.9 instead of 578.7, that I haven't turned on my furnace this year, but instead have been heating with wood and electric. (I'd realized this because my gas bill was $73 and all I use gas for is hot water. I don't even use the stove usually, but cook most of my meals, if I do, instead of eating sandwiches, in the microwave.) Shelly said she'll change the reading and send me out a new bill in a few days. That was easy.

I bought a Pepperidge Farm cake on sale for $2 and as I watched tv I ate the whole damn thing. I'm such a fucking pig.


The snow's melting and my roof's leaking again, in the kitchen and in the bathroom over the tub. I'm such a lousy domestic engineer. I'm going to have to get up there and do a more permanent fix than the simple patches I've been doing over the past several years. God, how I hate the thought of that.

I awoke with this afternoon after a four-hour nap with the image in my head of the woman with whom I have been obsessed for several years now wearing high heels and spreading her legs in that way that women do when they get out of cars, the material of their pants pulled tight across their crotches, sometimes (depending on the nature of the fabric and a minimal number of undergarment layers) revealing anatomical details, feet splayed duck-toed, lifting themselves up by the muscles of their hips and knees (when at any other time they would lift with their thighs and backs). I've got to get a girlfriend, at least for a day or two.

I dreamed I was a city detective who was running a prostitute business in an alley (next to a place where I used to work). Fellow detectives would proposition Johns and Janes and take them in their cars into this alley where they would propose to have performed or perform fellatio on them for money, and when they agreed, they would bust them, but sometimes only after the act; and sometimes, rarely, they would let them go. My job, as pimp ringmaster, was to process the arrests as they were brought to me in my car that was parked in a parking lot at the end of the alley. It isn't hard to figure out what that dream means. The management team at that company I worked for was a bunch of whores.

I answered a poll by The American Family Association that asked whether you were for or against same sex marriages. A liberally leaning person (I think it was ana) suggested that people who were pro gay marriage fill out the poll so that the results were biased toward gays. It seemed like a good idea. And it worked. I watched the poll results shoot up from 17% in favor to 55% (opposed 23%).

But then I got an e-mail from the website that was worded in such a way so as to appear to assume that because I signed their petition in favor of gay marriage that I may be homosexual in need of help:

We are all sinners and all need a Savior -- and His name is Jesus Christ. What better time of year than this Christmas season to give your life to Jesus Christ.

If you or someone you know is struggling with homosexuality, I encourage you to visit the AFA website where you can hear my testimony and find a variety of resources to help the homosexual.

So, the website was a way to attract both supporters of like mind, who probably got a differently worded e-mail, and those other "unfortunate" people, who may need help.

Naiveté and false values are running rampant in society. What ever happened to live and let live? Who are these people who assume that those if us who support gay rights are gay themselves?

But I'm not offended, in any way. I've been mistaken for a homosexual in the past, enough times to make me wonder what might lie beneath. But if I were gay, I'd be proud of it.

[Update: Wired News ran an article about the site that quotes the AFA as having said "We're very concerned that the traditional state of marriage is under threat in our country by homosexual activists..." As opposed to the rights of individuals to express themselves as free citizens who demand equal treatment under the law being under threat by heterosexual bigots, I suppose. After all, the AFA was the activist organization that initiated the attempt to influence the government on this issue. They intended to send the poll results to the Congress, but when the results came out unfavorable to them, they abandoned that idea and turned instead to projecting their accusations of activism onto the people who responded to their poll. I am not an activist. I just happened across the poll and decided, like most non-activist web-surfer responders, I suspect, that it would be a good opportunity to thwart right wing bigots in yet another one of their attempts to railroad democracy.]


The rain makes the inner silence sound quieter; and when it turns to snow, it sounds quieter still. Dreams of nothingness, like vast landscapes of ground without vegetation, insist existence.

I awake at noon after nine hours of sleep, expecting to find the ground covered with the predicted snow that the overnight rain was supposed to turn into; but no. Everything is still wet and fifty-degrees.

The silence of the room echoes my inner self like an empty great hall echoes footsteps the morning after the party is over. Solitude can be comforting, even when its revelation is only emptiness.

From the New York Times:

Jury Rejects Death Sentence for Malvo in Sniper Killing

Whoa! I don't believe it! Sonofabitch! I thought that this would be a death penalty case for sure. It just proves that you never know when sanity and Christian values will prevail.

Katrina Hannum, 25, the daughter of Ms. Franklin [one of the victims], sat in the second row and sobbed.

[Deep sorrow and regret for not being able to watch a death.]

The lead prosecutor in the case, Robert F. Horan Jr., had some advice for other jurists planning to try their own legal cases.

"Whatever you do," he said, "don't try one in Christmas week."

What a fucking asshole! If ever there were an anti-Christian remark, that is it. (No, Virginia, I am not anti-Christian because I use the word 'fucking.' How do you think Christians come to be in this world in the first place, huh? Vulgarity is not cursing. And anyway, Jesus Christ on a cracker. Who gives a shit?)

Your destiny is to be a Facilitator

Whether you know it or not, this is the role that is most in tune with who you are at your core [emphasis mine]. As a facilitator, you're admired for your thoughtful decision-making skills and sense of duty. You exude a quiet strength, and when others want something done right, you are often the one they turn to, even though you don't call attention to yourself, often preferring to work behind the scenes more than in visible leadership roles. You are a solid, dependable person with a keen mind for systems and can easily assess their accuracy and efficiency. Just watch out for your tendency to categorize everything — not everything is black and white — because it will cause you to miss out on the subtleties of life. As long as you're aware of how rigid you can be, your orderly, neat ways can help you be incredibly productive in this life, in part because you never feel compelled to be a slave to flash and/or trend.

More of the online pop psych test crap. Probably true, but it seems so superficial; not a matter of core traits at all. Maybe (I'm just deciding now, as if I've been in a fog for the last twenty years; well, now that I think of it...) we are all far more than psychological testing can ever measure, or even get an inkling of. Well, of course we are. Beneath the surface (where it really counts) we are a lot of things that we consciously repress. Psych tests may reveal some of this stuff, but they certainly don't get to the most profound material. If I work near the surface as a facilitator, is that a compensation for some opposite extreme that I embody deep inside? Am I an inhibitor (of one sort or another) trapped inside a facilitator's body? Aren't we all variations of the same basic human theme? Aren't we all a part of one big human organism, in touch in the deeper parts of our deep selves with each possible categorical definition? I don't know. Maybe it's not true and my profoundest revelations are as much illusions as are my more superficial everyday experiences. Maybe psychology, like all the rest of science, is one big myth, not unlike all of the religions of the world. [I'm feeling particularly ornery today.]


I'm in the Penn Hills Shopping Center, which is in Iraq. I'm a soldier, assigned to an intelligence unit whose mission is to weed out insurgents. It's a dangerous job, of course; but I discover that, if I remain "up" and expertly attentive to what's going on around me, it's an invigorating occupation. Operating in conjunction with others of my kind (i.e., soldiers) who are also experts, we catch every little nuance of malfeasance before it actualizes and we act to negate any possible negative effects. Our minds are alert and networked; it's like being a part of a larger organism, a superior intelligence with near-universal perceptual abilities that is continually vigilant.

But I have to sleep, although I'd rather not. I have to go home, so I begin the long two-mile walk down Rodi Road to my house. But separated from my network, I become vulnerable. People along the road, passersby or residents sitting on their porches, and kids, notice me. Although they take no action, I feel their animosity. I hurry to get home to a safe place. As I near the road to my house, the kids begin to get bolder. A few older kids, who are in the woods off to the right of the road, leer at me. They look as if they're hatching a plan. Smaller kids along the road jab at me with sticks as I pass by, as if they receive psychically transmitted orders from the kids in the woods. It's obvious that this action is going to continue to escalate until I end up in a dangerous situation.

When I arrive at where the road to my house should be, I notice that the environment has changed and this is no longer Rodi Road. I have no choice but to walk down the rest of the way down the road, which ends up in East Pittsburgh, to avoid loitering around and becoming a victim of the local inhabitants. After I am in the small town for a short while, I decide to walk quickly back up the road in hopes of finding my house. As I'm doing so, I notice my reflection in the windows of shops I'm passing by. I've adopted local garb and darkened my face with a light-brownish coloring so that I better fit in. I appear to be some kind of raj, with an elaborate turban-like headdress and flowing clothing. [My name in this disguise is Khamal, I will come to understand later upon awakening, with these words "remembered" hypnagogically: "Khamal does not die, but merely appears in another manifestation. There is no death, but only transformation."] I'm sure that, upon close examination, my disguise would not hold up, but from far away it is convincing enough [except that it is of the Indian/Afghanistan variety, and I am in Iraq]. At least it makes me feel safer. When I get to where my road should be, it still isn't there; but in an act of will, increasingly desperate to get to a safe place, I force it to materialize and I head on home. Local kids along the way, motivated by those who have been following me, begin to harass me. I hide behind the houses across the street from my own home in an effort not to reveal the location of my residence. The back yards of the houses become parking lots and the houses places of business. The entire neighborhood is transformed. When I finally get an opportunity to cross the street and get to my house, it's not there; the lot is vacant. My brother is with me now. He has driven me here in a car. We pull down to the end of the street. I tell him to pull into the vacant lot where my house should have been and to pretend he is pulling a trailer onto the lot, so that we have a place to stay. We get out of the car, but the lot remains vacant. No trailer. I walk back into the woods that covers the hillside sloping down away from the street (unlike in reality, where it slopes up). I get caught up by gravity and only keep myself from rapidly sliding down to the depths below by grabbing onto dead trees, some of the branches of which snap off in my hands. Eventually I end up on the bottomland, a barren black and gray place covered with soft soil that is almost mud. I see warehouse-type buildings far in the distance that I recognize as wholesalers. I walk along this strip of land until I come again into East Pittsburgh. I meet a woman coming out of a diner who has a little boy with her. The kid is some kind of a charity case, an orphan or something, that she's been helping and caring for. She tries to enlist me to help with him. I'm hesitant, but I finally agree. Jim Rockford shows up (or I am he) to help out also.

Paranoia is just another word for heightened perception.
At my brother's house this afternoon: quite a pleasant and peaceful holiday, for a change. I helped Jay and Danny set up their new computer and connect it to the Internet. Then I ended up helping Danny put a desk together, because Jim began helping him, but quickly became frustrated when he couldn't understand the instructions. It was actually a computer hutch that he was going to use as a desk in his room. I supervised the project and instructed Danny as to how to construct it. It took us over three hours, interrupted by dinner, to finish it, and Danny was quite fatigued by the project. I had to admire his determination, since I could tell, by the way he increasingly had to take breaks while turning in the long screws, that his hands and forearms were completely exhausted by the time we were finishing up.

After this, while Jim fell asleep in his chair, I watched the second half of Adaptation with Nicolas Cage. I wished I'd seen the whole thing. It was one of the better films I've seen. I got home at eleven-fifteen and crashed shortly thereafter. I'm not used to all this socializing. But I'm going to have to do it again real soon, on New Years Day, and before that, on Sunday, because Joyce invited me over for dinner again. And her sister and her husband will be there, and I'm feeling like there's some kind of relational intrigue developing. Maybe this is just the initial indicator of paranoia creeping up on me, caused by my forced outgoing nature at a time (i.e., winter) when I am most prone to remain aloof; but then, my paranoia, when in the past it has been at its most extreme, when I've forced myself to remain out among them for way, way too long, was always my best revelator.


db and I are running a kind of impromptu high-schooler remedial education rehab center at my house. [This may be motivated my recent job search, where I came across several job opportunities to counsel teenagers with behavioral and/or adaptation problems.] Several teens stop by each morning or afternoon, and maybe in the evening. Via our concern for them and by the example of our practical and frugal, yet educated lifestyle, we help them to cope with their extraordinary teenage problems. But my own personal affective problem (which I would never reveal publicly in my real life) becomes a further complication in our lives; and so we use this as a teaching example for the kids, integrating my "moody" episodes into the educational process, thereby helping the kids to learn how to cope with their own similar problems. [The kids are me, and I'm helping the younger aspects of myself? The kids are my nephews (and other kids I've known, e.g., db's nieces and nephews and others), whom I help by working with them and playing games with them.] One girl in particular, the oldest, maybe even of college age--yes, definitely; see later--and the first one we were dealing with [Susan? but taller and more modern and mature than Sue was back then; a precognition of Celeste? Hmm. Could be?] is leaving for the day, and I am in one of my moods and pouting, partly because she's leaving. She stands outside the screen door looking in at me, making intimate eye contact with me, trying to convince me of my "worth" via demonstrating the true love she has for me (as if she is the therapist and I am the client). My mood is somewhat lightened by her exaggerated "anti-gestures" (i.e., her ability to communicate/commune with me w/o words or gestures). I go into the bedroom, still slightly moping. db comes in shortly and tells me that some people are here to interview us before placing their kids in our care. Being the head shrinker [heh! 'head' meaning 'chief'] I must go out to greet them, although I don't want to. [This is reflective of my current psychic state, that I'd rather not be going out to socialize any more over the holidays, that I'd rather remain at home alone.] They're an older couple, too old to have teenage kids, I think. As I'm talking to them, a guy shows up at the door, an accountant type. He's here to inspect our operations. He and I go into the bedroom and he begins to "lecture" me, using the wooden walls and door as a kind of chalkboard on which he writes brief notes and drawings in black magic marker. I begin to get pissed at him for ruining the walls; but I manage to keep my cool. Afterwards, I think that it may have been a kind of test [a kind of object lesson for him, that I am able to remain in control]. After he leaves the room, I begin to scrub the ink off of the wood, but it's very difficult to remove. I can get most of it off, but a faint ghost of the letters and images remains. But I notice as I continue to scrub that years of accumulated dirt is being removed also and the walls are beginning to become clean and bright, restored to their original maple color. Later, out in the dining room, db has seen the first girl off again (after she had returned). db had made her an offer of employment. It seems she has graduated from college, as if a lot of time has passed, or as if she was this age all along. db has offered her a starting salary of $44K per year. I express concern that it's too much, and the accountant reinforces my opinion. We explain to db that recent graduates in psychology usually get around 25K to start. But the offer cannot now be rescinded.

You are what you love, not who loves you.
Nicholas Cage, Adaptation
In the movie, when his twin brother says these words to him via explanation of his teenage love for a girl who made fun of him behind his back, Cage realizes, since he loves and has always admired his twin, that he has become like him, which is an enabling moment for him, a means whereby he may continue on with his life relatively freed from the mental paralysis that has been plaguing him. More generally, his brother means that you don't allow that which you love to so dominate you that it becomes a torment if you can't possess it. Rather, genuine love flows from you without expectation of or necessity for being returned. I like this idea. It frees me from the ordinary strictures that the typical definition of love creates. I've always felt like this, but I'm not sure I've ever adequately put it into words.

Love is a commitment, which may entail a sacrifice. True commitment does not rely on socially sanctioned relationships; in fact, often enough, they kill it. True commitment is exactly the above definition, when it doesn't matter what your lover says or does; what matters is how you feel. Either you are committed to your love, or you are not; if you are, her actions are irrelevant; if not...

After years and years of relative peace and a live-and-let-live attitude, times seems to be getting nasty again. We're re-developing that old us v. them dichotomy. Tommy Chong goes to jail for selling pipes. Kids and their grandmothers are indicted for downloading music, in violation of previous standards of due process (thanks to the Patriot Act.). The Nixonian police state is being reconstructed by the Asshole Ashcroft regime. The war in Iraq is creating an anti-war backlash. It's the sixties all over again. I got a lousy feeling that things are going to bust loose soon and we're going to become embroiled in the same old thing. Hoo-yah!


I'm regretting the commitment I made to go to my brother's tomorrow. I'm feeling a bit overextended and would much rather stay at home, stay up all night tonight, and gather my wits together, since I'm still feeling a bit disoriented from the Christmas day visit. It's so nice to be able to get up late in the morning and sit at the computer for most of the day, knowing that you don't have to be anywhere or do anything except where you want to be and what you want to do. It's so un-nice to know that you have a lot of things that you want to get done, in your own good time, but have made a commitment to be somewhere else.

Saturday, December 27th, 2003


Department of Agriculture officials scramble to research the history of a single Washington state cow that was apparently infected with mad cow disease, while trying to reassure Americans that the food supply is safe. [Wired]
{The government keeps saying that the food supply is safe, when in fact they have no idea whether it's safe or not. If it were safe, there wouldn't have been an incident of mad cow disease. Government assurances should always raise suspicion of the opposite situation, that its pronouncements are just a pile of disingenuous spin. And now they're going to try to shift the blame to the Canadians.}


Just because I don't care doesn't mean I don't understand.
Homer Simpson
My brother is disrupting his family life again with his drinking. Fortunately, today he went to bed at about four in the afternoon, before dinner, and stayed there for the rest of the night. Joyce's sister's family failed to show up after Joyce had gone way out of her way to prepare dinner and get the place ready. And that faux pas, added to Jim's badgering, pushed Joyce over the edge and she broke down. While the kids were in the basement playing Cranium, Joyce poured her soul out to me (once again). I can't blame her for feeling the way she does. Each time I hear this family dysfunction reiterated, it becomes clearer that Joyce is several steps closer to ending it by withdrawing herself from the co-dependence and deciding to leave my brother. In fact, she said as much to me today.

After the kids came back upstairs we all played Cranium for the rest of the evening. We got loud and boisterous and had a great time, something Jim, were he there, would never have tolerated without quite a bit of shouting himself, and not at all in the good-natured way that we were doing it. He must have heard us from the bedroom upstairs, but he never came down to try to quiet us down. Maybe he was passed out.

As for myself, I've become quite the tolerant relative. Time was I'd never stick around to deal with these kinds of antics, let alone patiently listen to someone blubbering about how bad her life's become. I had to do that kind of thing day after day in my job, and I'd be damned if I was going to come home and do it with my family and friends too. But now, being home all the time has made me far more patient with people when I will go out. (Or maybe it's just the fact that I'm getting older.) Sure. Okay. It's a bad situation, with all the mental abuse and the vocalized intolerance my brother has for everyone when he's drinking. I understand quite well. (At one point today I actually used that old Homer Simpson line on Joyce. I said something like "It's not that I don't understand. It's just that I don't care." I said it in a nicer way than that, though; but she got the message.) But my philosophy is, either do something about your problems, or shut the fuck up and tolerate with forbearance the situation you allow yourself to remain in. But I don't dare say anything like that to her for fear of being the one who prompts her to leave my brother, who, she is quite right in assuming, will turn into a basket case once she's gone.


Don't give me that family crap. Manson had a family.
Rip Torn, "The Larry Sanders Show"
Three days in one week is just too much. Visiting my brother on Christmas and New Year's Day is a social obligation that I tolerate, and sometime even enjoy (when my brother isn't drinking), but adding a Sunday dinner in between is overkill. It has nothing to do with them; it has everything to do with me. In the middle of the summer, I could do it with ease. Christmas should fall in the middle of the summer. Maybe I'll move to Australia.

I'm always starting out in new directions from take-off points embedded in the daily experience I document. In this way, I never settle down to do one quintessential thing that could be my raison d'etre. This would be okay, I think, if the process were restricted to the content of my experience. But the content is constantly suggesting new formats, and so I'm always redefining my methodology and structure of creation, expression, and communication.


I stayed up all night last night until eleven in the morning transferring a vinyl album (Roy Buchanan's "Second Album") to wav files so that I could then convert them to mp3s and burn them to a CD. I want to give this to my brother when I visit him on New Year's day, because on Sunday we had a discussion about the blues, who was the best blues man, etc. He's a big-time fan of Eric Clapton and thinks that no one can possibly be better than he is. [Remember the "Clapton is God' grassroots' campaign?] I'd put on a Santana CD and he immediately began to criticize it, mostly I think because Carlos is one of Joyce's favorites. Joyce asked me if I thought that Santana was a good guitarist. (She was trying to play me against Jim, probably because she saw that he and I were getting along so well, communicating on a level that she is not privy to. She plays that game with me all the time. I have to be so careful when I visit them, to make sure that she doesn't set me up and drag me in between them, to use me as ammunition in her ongoing battle against him--because ammunition, when used, is spent. No wonder I always feel so wasted when I come home from visiting them.) I told Joyce that Santana was one of the best guitarists, and even though I don't think he's quite as good as Clapton, I maintained that he was, because I didn't want to support Jim in his effort to denigrate Joyce via her taste in music. (It comes down a choice between games that I often don't know how to avoid. Joyce's game is most often less destructive than Jim's.) So Jim and I began the discussion about the quality of blues guitarists, and I told him about Roy Buchanan, whom he'd never heard of.

While I was burning the CD, I also scanned some pics from the album and made a CD label and graphics for the case. It was a big production, mostly because I hadn't used the software in years and couldn't remember how it worked. I had to make it in black and white instead of in color because my printer is out of red and yellow ink. And I haven't used the printer in so long that the ink coagulated in the cartridge. When it does this, it leaves lines in the print. I played around with it for a while, drawing ink out of it with an ink replacement syringe and injecting it back in few times, and wiping the jets clean with hot water. It improved the image slightly, but there were still faint lines in it. But by the time I printed the last image, the lines were starting to disappear. The pics are good enough, though.

I have a feeling that my brother isn't going to remember anything about the discussion and will wonder why I'm giving him the CD. He's done that sort of thing before. It's the alcohol. It gets him all worked up and in a frenzy about some subject, usually having something to do with when we were younger. [He did his best, earlier, to try to pick a fight with me by accusing me of ripping him off when we were kids by sub-contracting him to deliver newspapers at a penny a piece, when I got two cents each. I tried, patiently, for a long time to convince him that I only got a penny and a quarter, that I was the one who had to go and pick up the papers from the route manager, and that this was the very same thing that any employer did when he hired employees. Eventually, he conceded that I was right. But it doesn't mean a thing. He won't remember this conclusion. He's brought this same thing up before, and he'll bring it up again, when he's feeling insecure and inferior and needing to overcome his feelings of having been manipulated and taken advantage of by his wife, or by specific incidents, and trying to project it onto me. (And maybe there's a little bit of projection here on my part too.)] For this reason alone I should forget about giving the CD to him and keep it for myself. It is a nice, if minor, creative effort. But I'm going to give it to him anyway. If he doesn't remember, that's his problem. I did my part. And giving it to him is for me, not for him.

I have also decided that I need to cut the last remaining strings of my past. I've tried to hold on to people and things because I feel obligated on some level. But just as with everything else.. if it/he/she does not enhance the quality of my life, I have no use for it. I'm done putting effort into places or people who may be inherently good but offer me nothing but a black hole for my energy. I am now at peace with the fact that there are some things a person can never fully reconcile. I can only control my part in it. I am walking into the year 2004 with the people who have supported my dreams actively and leaving the rest behind as silent fans. This isn't personal or vindictive or spiteful. It was a choice made after weeks of meditation. If you don't like it, you have the power to alter it by your actions.
This is good. This has been the impetus for my life for the past ten or twelve years. But I often fail to realize it, mostly because of the situation I find myself in when I relate to my brother's family.

I cut my almost all my strings a while ago. But I never retied them to anyone new. Consequently, although I may still have a few silent fans hanging around looking on from afar, I have no support.

This was an intentional ploy on my part. I felt that I needed to provide my own support. I've always felt this way, but I seldom ever acted toward that end, feeling I needed a social network.

And I do, at least in some minimal sense. You can't survive alone in the woods...well, you can. But it's such a hard life. Believe me, I know. But I have no real social network left; just society in general.


When I comment on a message in an online discussion group and I get a response, it elates me--even if the comment is negative. The attention alone, the fact that someone took the time to consider what I'd written, is rewarding. But if no one responds (this same thing is true re e-mails I send), look out! My paranoia is primed and I start to think that what I'd said was inappropriate and/or not taken well--or worse, worthless, or stupid, or naive, or arrogant, or pompous... And when I respond to a response I get--out of a sense of duty even, that when someone "speaks" to me, I have an obligation to return the favor--and then get no further response, I think "Oh, have I gone too far?" All off that same paranoid tendency kicks in, twofold--because I have put myself "out there" twice.

I guess what it comes down to is that if I don't manage to establish an ongoing dialogue, I feel I've failed. This feels so strange to me because, when relating to others in person, I am not at all like this. I respond then minimally, if at all. I think that, maybe, Net discussion is kind of training me in a way that life did not when I was growing up. It's teaching me how to properly relate to people--maybe. Of course, this could be one of my exaggerations, a portion of my psyche that I've focused on and expanded to make it seem like it dominates my life, when in fact is the very smallest part. And then again, that last statement could be an attempt at repression.

I awoke this morning in doubt, about what I'm doing with my life. (What else? I suspect that doubt causes "pout," but I may only favor that idea because it rhymes.) Is this journal just more of the same thing that everybody is doing on the Net these days? Is this creative effort worth the trouble? Is it even all that creative any more? Is there a way to make myself more creative, perhaps via poetics and/or fiction? Are my responses to online discussions lame, etc. (see above)? Am I wasting my life? Is there something better that I could be doing? Yes, there probably is. But fuck it. I'm awake now. The demons of the night have been beaten back down once again.

Ranchers Fought Rules That Might Have Prevented Mad Cow
I don't know if cooking beef until it's well-done prevents or reduces the possibility of contracting mad cow disease or not. I do know that well-cooked meat (food in general) reduces other risks. I'd rather suffer from the long-term effects of the free radicals produced by caramelized (a fancy world for scorched) food than take the chance of ingesting e coli, ebola, influenza, hepatitis or whatever other bug is being transmitted nowadays. Really, though, I just like my meat burned to a crisp. I always have. If it's brown on the inside and black on the outside, that's just fine. If there's the slightest hint of pink, I turn away. I leave my taste for pink stuff for more human kinds of meat. And I'm not talking about Soylent Green here. [Later: a coincidence that prompts suspicions of psychic activity (this used to happen to me all the time when I was taking drugs and far more susceptible to subtle "coincidence" that I am now): when I'm over at my brother's house on New Years' Day, I see that Soylent Green is on tv, on one of the movie channels.]

As Anti-Terror Step, FBI Warns Police About Almanacs

In a bulletin sent Christmas Eve to about 18,000 police organizations, the FBI said terrorists may use almanacs "to assist with target selection and pre-operational planning." The bureau asked officers to keep an eye out during traffic stops and other investigations for almanacs, especially those with suspicious notes in them.
Uh-oh. My brother gave me his old 2003 almanac the last time I was over at his house, because he got a new 2004 one for Xmas. Just think. I could have been caught with it on the way home and been arrested as a suspected terrorist. Actually, I think I might start carrying it around with me in plain view on the front seat of my car. Maybe I can provoke an incident. I need some fresh experiences to write about. My sedate, cloistered life is getting stale.

Click on footnote number to return to that respective point in the text.
1. My spell checker and dictionaries (even the paper ones) say that this is not a word. But how do I then express this adjectival condition? Hypochondriac neurotic just doesn't do it for me.