My New Diary, 12/6 to 12/7/2018

By Alan Carl Nicoll

Copyright 2018 by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved

{12/6/18}  Weight 218.4.

My most exciting reading right now is Edward T. Hall:  Beyond Culture.  I always learn something interesting from his books (I’ve read two previously).  This one starts with a chapter that examines how various cultures structure time.  He’s explained this in another book, but it’s worth the review.  I picked this up last night after failing to get interested in Bill Moyers:  A World of Ideas II and also rejecting Will Durant:  The Renaissance, which has just too much detail for my poor brain.  I’d like to use the Hall for more than my going-to-sleep reading, but I also have the Köhler and Bartley’s Retreat to Commitment which is anxiously awaiting my attention.  It’s relatively unusual that I have three books that I’m eager to read, but of course I just bought the K&B.

Salomé’s car was damaged in a hit-and-run.  She sent me an email about her GoFundMe, so I sent her $40 and posted the latter to Twitter.  Z sent me $5 to forward.  She’s now at $160 of her $500 goal, which ain’t bad for 1 day’s listing.  I offered to loan her $200, but her last email didn’t mention it.  I really can’t justify to myself a gift that large, nor do I want to buy another painting, but I’d likely do either if she pushed just a little.  I also thought about asking her to do a cover for Kick Me.

Took a first look at CraigsList yesterday, and it looks pretty interesting.  I’m thinking of buying a tricycle, which is just a bicycle with an extra wheel.  Why?  Strictly for exercise.  It would work well for grocery shopping, but the bus also works well for that.  And it would allow modest transportation when buses aren’t running.  But the streets are dangerous, and such vehicles can be stolen.  Given my feebleness, a bicycle isn’t quite the ticket.  But there are two problems:  money, and keeping it safe overnight outside.  I can risk the latter, with regret.  And, of course, experience teaches me that first, I’d be lazier than I expect, and so would both neglect the machine as well as using it less than I hope; and second, I don’t know what I was going to say.  Perhaps both points were covered in point one.

Looking up movies on Rotten Tomatoes is tedious; I discovered that Google is faster and easier, though less detailed, so I’ll likely be doing that from now on.  One hates to enrich their database, but with Amazon, Walmart, and Google, there seems to be no escaping the giant evil corporations.  I do wish our robot overlords would get here soon.

I joke; but our situation is desperate, and Americans are still too dumb or propagandized or distracted or afraid to give climate change its proper attention.  And I have no hope that replacing repugliKKKans with Democrats will solve that particular nightmare.  America is a drag on the rest of the world; but the rest of the world isn’t doing enough either, and as far as I can tell, won’t.  The future is bleak and is about as desperate as during the worst days of the Cold War.  I think the Doomsday Clock agrees.

Why do I say “dumb or propagandized or…”?  I shouldn’t need to spell it out, but I will.  Americans are all of these, and I suppose other adjectives could be devised; some neglect the issue for one reason, others for others.  It is foolish to say “Americans are too dumb,” as though that were the only problem.  The general principle (“population thinking”) always applies when talking about a group:  each individual has their individual reason or reasons for their behavior, and to neglect or ignore this subtle fact is to be unnecessarily stupid.

And we doesn’t want to do that, does we, Precious?

I’m laboredly whimsical because it’s less stressful than the gloom-and-doom all the time.  Maybe “whimsical” is a less apt description of my mood than “gallows humor.”

Do I give climate change its proper attention?  Of course not.

Writers Writing has seven members, and my latest diary posting has eight likes.  These are encouraging numbers.  Also encouraging is the recent downward trend in my weight.  When I eat at home, it helps.

Less encouraging is that I am a bit less than halfway through my rewrite of Kick Me after about a year of desultory work.  I worked on it for about an hour (probably more like 40 minutes) yesterday morning and put it down with an out-loud comment of something like, “That’s hard!”

Not hard these days are my erections; but you don’t want to hear about that.

I’m sitting here trying to come up with things to talk about, so I can make another blog post; this is foolish.  I should (and will) be working on KM.

Dozing at 8:50 am, I dream of a spinning daisy wheel.  Is this a sign that I should be working?  I don’t believe in signs, and right now I want breakfast.

In general, I’m in favor of PC speech; but I find it hard to give up the use of the word “idiot.”


{12/7/18}  Went to Bookhounds with Pablo today to sell them a shopping bag full of DVDs, Blue-Rays, and CDs (2).  I got $4 in store credit.  This wasn’t enough to make me ever consider selling to them again, though I will be happy to buy there.

Despite my whining (or whatever it is) about having “800 books on my shelves, nagging for attention,” I spent $27.01 (above the $4) for nine used books:

  1. Bertrand Russell: Understanding History and Other Essays
  2. Edmund Spenser: Poetical Works
  3. Paul Johnson: Intellectuals
  4. Goethe: Faust
  5. José Ortega y Gasset: Man and People
  6. Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi: Finding Flow
  7. Robert Bly: Iron John
  8. Howard Becker: What About Mozart?  What About Murder?
  9. Will Durant: The Pleasures of Philosophy

This follows hard on the heels of my purchase from Thriftbooks for $17.15:

  1. Thomas S. Kane: The Oxford Guide to Writing
  2. Wolfgang Köhler: Gestalt Psychology
  3. An entomology textbook
  4. K. Ogden & I. A. Richards: The Meaning of Meaning
  5. W. Bartley, III: The Retreat to Commitment

And finally, I spent $17.62 at Barnes & Noble for Ludwig Wittgenstein:  Major Works.  Fifteen books for $64.  I take the trouble to list these titles because I always find it interesting to read later, and the prices.  I’ve previously read the Bly (twice), Bartley, and part of the Wittgenstein and Kane.  I may never read the Spenser, Goethe, and the textbook (though I’ll likely flip through it).  I’ve been wanting for a long time to give the Faerie Queen a try; but the volume I got (cheap) has few or no notes or glosses (I think), so I can’t imagine doing very much with it.  I’m just not very stubborn when it comes to not giving in to my laziness.  I’m currently reading the Köhler.  Any questions?

These days I’m primarily reading philosophy and psychology.  I’m itching to get on to the Bartley, because Critical Rationalism is central to my philosophy and it’s been decades.  I would read more neuroscience except that current titles (textbook-type) are very expensive.  I’ve about given up on fiction, though I’ll probably buy any new Gillian Flynn that comes out, and I sometimes take a day to quick-read a short novel.

Which reminds me, last night I watched Ghost World on Starz; I get several Starz channels with my landlord’s switch to Dish Network.  The one brief sex scene was cut, which was both disappointing and artistically disastrous (or maybe I just wanted to get a little turn-on).  (Yeah, that; but it did sort of make a hole in the plot.)  The movie is consistently entertaining and watchable, but also sad:  “The eternal aching comedy of expectant youth,” as Sinclair Lewis says in Main Street.  These movies of teen girls confronted with adulthood really get to me, like that Thoroughbreds (which I reviewed on 11/18) and the other one, the title of which escapes me.  Googling “Hailee Steinfeld” reveals it:  The Edge of Seventeen.  I mentioned being smitten with Steinfeld but didn’t review the movie at all.  If it had had a black-comedy or sad ending it would have been more like Ghost World.  Instead, it had an easy rom-com ending.

Ghost World, which I had seen before due to Roger Ebert’s review, and I read the graphic novel also, surely after seeing the movie, I like quite a lot.  When I saw it the first time, Scarlett Johansson was quite young (~17), and not a favorite of mine like she is now for her “Black Widow” in the Marvel movies.  I remember liking her a lot in GW, but didn’t make a point of remembering her name.  GW came out in 2001.  I saw her in Girl with a Pearl Earring, probably on DVD some years after its 2003 release.  Thora Birch, the star of GW (she was ~19), has been below my radar since then, but Google reveals that she has done many movies, both after and before GW.  The novel is very similar to the movie; I recall liking it enough to seek out another by Clowes, called Blankets.  That was good, too, though I wonder why he does these things as graphic novels, since they don’t gain a lot by the medium.  Maybe he just prefers drawing to writing?  Checking Amazon, he’s been very prolific, but Blankets is by Craig Thompson.  I recall being less impressed by it.


Since I’m on the subject of graphic novels, I suppose I should mention the fantastic Nausicaä of the Valley of the Wind, which I’ve read twice (all 3 volumes in the black-and-white “perfect” edition) and find very impressive though less than perfect.  The animated movie is way less interesting because so much is left out, but it was made before the graphic novel.  Hayao Miyazaki is the maker of both; he’s called “the Walt Disney of Japan.”  I’ve seen other of his movies, but I find that he recycles his ideas rather a lot.  I’m sure that others would disagree, er, violently.  His work is always interesting, though.  It’s a set of books I’d like to own, but it’s just a bit too expensive.

The last graphic novel I read was Watchmen, which is a beautiful and rather cerebral piece of work.  I’ve seen the DVD a couple of times and like that very much also.  I bought the GN, but haven’t reread it.  I do that sort of thing, though less so these days…just never mind about what I was saying earlier about the sixty-four bucks.  I can still save $200 this month, if I really want to.  Stay tuned.


Diary entries from 6/1 to 9/30 are available in this file:  link.
Diary entries from 10/1 to 10/31 are available here:  link.

Copyright 2018 by Alan Carl Nicoll
All right reserved.

Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s