Diary, 1/19 to 1/23/19

Copyright 2019 by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved

Note:  WordPress is acting weird today, so I  lost all my italics which I’m too lazy to put back in.  Sorry about that.

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Most Recent Book Purchase, $26

{1/19/19} Weight 218.4.

Persistent vertigo interfered with my Writers Writing this morning, as did the arrival of Pablo at about 9:30, but I put in three and a half hours, mostly working on KM. New macros I had added to my “ribbon” didn’t work, though they worked yesterday, so I still have confusion about how macros are saved and templates and so on. That’s pretty damned frustrating, though there have been workarounds so far. Even more frustrating is that the “help system” is generally useless and stupidly designed. I’ve been doing word processing since around 1980, and computer and macro programming for decades, yet when it comes to Word, I’m practically a beginner—despite extensive (though fifteen-year-old) experience with Visual Basic. Naturally, I blame Microsoft, not myself.

{1/20/19} Weight 218.6.

{1/21/19} Weight 218.0. I like this trend.

Saw a stage play at the Bakersfield Community Theatre, “Water by the Spoonful.” It was a direct result of the Hemlock Club, because D’s daughter C was codirector. Pablo and J also attended; Salomé hemmed and hawed and then didn’t go. Not a life-changing moment, but it was absorbing and fun, though a bit confusing. Fortunately, D was at hand to clear up my questions. I’d like to do this again.

Walking back to the bus stop, I turned an ankle and went down, landing on my right knee and tearing a hole in my pants. Falling like that is always very annoying, and when it’s with others it’s embarrassing, but what can you do.

Later I watched the Orson Welles/Joan Fontaine/Margaret O’Brien Jane Eyre. I was sure I had seen this before, but as I watched it I was also sure that I had never seen it before. In any case, I enjoyed it a lot, but I guess overall it’s not that special, and it just seemed way too short (91 minutes, I think). The whole section with St. John and his sisters was omitted, small loss—it’s generally tedious in the book and the other movie versions I’ve seen.

Thirty-one days into the government shutdown. People suffering. I don’t want to just shrug and go on with my life, but there it is.

Getting by without Wi-Fi is working out, but I’m also basically no longer on Twitter. I have mixed feelings about that, or maybe I just don’t care and can’t really see why I ever thought it “important.” The importance of my social media presence to book publishers is sort of theoretical at this point in the book’s progress. Perhaps when the book is about done I’ll be more interested in seeking book publication and be more willing to invest time and money in Twitter again.

I have much to do today and don’t feel like doing anything. There’s nothing that can’t be put off a day, but I’m really about to face a day where they can’t be put off. It’s just laundry and food shopping and returning the Wi-Fi router, is all. Tiresome, joyless tasks.
I didn’t drink any coffee yesterday, and I’m thinking that this may be why I’m feeling a bit down today. Indeed, it seems virtually certain. Does this mean that I should stop this mild stimulant altogether? That would be consistent with my general approach to stimulants. Yet, I have pursued caffeine lately because I like how I feel when I have it in my system. I am conflicted and my philosophy fails me here. I bought coffee for home use, then gave it away yesterday; and I’m now thinking of going there again. Indecision sucks.

Also interesting is that I have not experienced the 3:00 AM insomnia for several days. I have no explanation for this. Or maybe I do: since I’m “up” in the morning, maybe my “down” in the evening is downer than what had been my baseline energy level, thus making sleep easier. Indeed, after an almost-uninterrupted eight hours or more last night, I’m still feeling sleepy this morning. That seems bad, and I suppose this is why people become addicted to coffee—not liking the “down,” they crave the “up.” I think I’m going to go with my better instinct and just avoid coffee from now on. Yes, even on Saturday morning.

Did my food shopping, it’s 2:55 PM and I need to do laundry. I bought a “7-Up cake” and ate about half of it, after eating a lot of chips at the bus stop. I guess that was dinner. What an idiocy.

Watched the last two episodes of The Sarah Connor Chronicles; the last episode blew my mind, which it did the last time I watched it, but this time it blew my mind not in a good way. It’s more like, “WTF was that?” Alas, no third season. Series just need too much story to run for long.

{1/22/19} Weight 219.0. Darn that cake, anyway.

Middlenight Marches: where the air is darkest.

I woke out of a sound sleep with the first part, then consciously added the rest, though I then tweaked the wording a bit, and now I no longer remember the original wording. It might have been, “That’s where the air is the darkest.” But the above is how I wrote it in 100 Ideas around 1:30; it is number 73.

I’m quite enjoying Tony Judt: Postwar: A History of Europe Since 1945, which is my going-to-sleep reading, as well as Julian Baggini: The Edge of Reason: A Rational Skeptic in an Irrational World, which is my priority reading.

Baggini is sort of helping me get past the shock of seeing Bartley shot down, since I quite accepted his “pancritical rationalism” which Popper questioned. But Baggini also says that Popper’s “critical rationalism,” which he calls “falsificationism,” defeats itself (renders itself “unscientific”) because it cannot falsify itself—though he doesn’t mention Popper’s insistence (quoted in Artigas, p. 30-31) that critical rationalism is not a thesis or a theory, but an attitude of open-mindedness. I don’t know that these details are important to me or to The Bleak Philosophy, but it wouldn’t hurt to get the wording right when I talk about it. Which I suppose means that I need to read Popper’s Open Society, if only so that I can quote it rather than merely muddle through.

Dog barking persistently, again. At least it’s daytime. I should put on some loud music. Music, even the pieces that I most love, is something I’ve totally ignored for months as a source of pleasure. So: Land of the Pharaohs. Why this is so is not at all apparent. I’d like to say that I’m so focused on “my work” that I hardly take any time for pleasure, but that’s laughable, because I watch DVDs and so on (I’m thinking “masturbation” but didn’t want to say it).

A week or so ago I was saying, “Where’s the joy?” and I went out to Dagny’s as an answer—went out to drink a coffee, eat a cookie, work on KM and “play” on the Internet, then to Lorene’s for breakfast. But the “play” was fairly joyless, though I don’t remember that day’s Internet particularly, I just have the general impression that since I’m not on Twitter all the time now, I’ve lost most of my interest in it. The “Twitter friendships” that I thought I had, are revealed as nothing more substantial than the feelings I have toward movie stars. Which isn’t quite accurate, since sometimes these friends do actually respond to me when I direct something to them. (As I’ve noted before, no one but Pablo ever directs anything to me.) When I was gone for four days recently, I lost twenty followers, about half of one percent; but only about a dozen or fifteen of those that I follow did I consider “friends.” Without home Wi-Fi, these friends are “out of sight, out of mind.”

Fifteen minutes later, dog still barking.

So where’s the joy now? Taking a major source of entertainment out of your life requires a period of adjustment, it seems. Having that trike will give me another outlet—not exactly the same as entertainment, but a thing to do, with potentially important consequences. It seems, though, that I’ll be less excited about going out just for Wi-Fi, since I’m already not much excited about that.

Land of the Pharaohs came out in 1955, when I was eight years old. I saw it at the Allen theater on a double bill with Valley of the Kings, which isn’t listed in the Videohound’s Golden Movie Retriever. My best guess is that I was perhaps eight when I saw it; I can’t say “probably,” however. As far as memory guides me, I could have been as old as thirteen or fifteen. So, was I going to the movies for up to five hours, all by myself? Was my eleven-year-old brother with me? Was Caesar? No way to know. How old was I when I was first allowed to be out by myself, away from home, for hours? Certainly I was going to Eggbert’s house by myself, and I doubt that I was older than seven at that point; but that was only half a block away. I certainly was walking to my grammar school most of the time, though I have no way to know how old I was when I started walking there.
Something weird happened with Word when I tried to paste in a couple of graphics files. I was wondering (in here) about the strange goings on with Word, and I wanted to show the icons of Word files on my desktop, when it seems that Word crashed. This was hours ago, before I went out for the day, and now it’s 8:47 and I don’t care any more about these things.

I went to Barnes & Noble, hoping they had a book on MS Word (all they had was a Dummies book, and I don’t read those because of the truly terrible Biology for Dummies that I read while in prison. I found, on average, an error on every page. It was truly disgraceful, and I swore, “Never again.” But I did buy five other books for a total of $107.12:

• David Hume: A Treatise of Human Nature. Why? Because I want to read it.
• Roberto Simanowski: The Death Algorithm and Other Digital Dilemmas
• Melissa Broder: So Sad Today: Personal Essays
• Steven Taylor (ed): Don’t Hide the Madness: William S. Burroughs in Conversation with Allen Ginsberg. Aside from the intrinsic interest and getting hooked by browsing it, the title will tie in readily to my Kick Me, in which I indeed do not “hide the madness.”
• Charles Bukowski, Abel Debritto (ed): On Writing. Obviously.

That was too much money, despite all the freebies I’m getting this month (COLA, bus pass, no Wi-Fi). The trike will still be expensive, considering the accessories I’ll want, so I sorta shouldn’t have done it. But, one way or another, I’m getting that trike this month. Most of these books are of very recent publication, and so would be about as expensive however I got them; and I like to support B&N, because they’re obviously struggling. The Hume I expected to be $5, but it was $13, caveat emptor.

There’s also library book sales coming up; I need to stick to “must-have classics,” because I’m finding it difficult to squeeze anything more out of my shelves. On the way home I read Don’t Hide the Madness, and mostly was disappointed; but since I browsed it, I know that good things are ahead.

I actually get paid tomorrow, so I paid for this by check.

I also stopped in at See’s and bought $8 worth of candy, tsk tsk. My usual marzipan, plus a couple of “dark cherries.” The free sample was “apple pie,” which I said sounded great, and it was, if you like apple pie.

{1/23/19} Weight 219.2.

Another disappointment early on is Melissa Broder: So Sad Today. Not sure what caught my eye at the store, but reading it on the bus to the bank, first two “personal essays,” was mostly dull. Too soon to abandon all hope, however.

Tried to get into Ginsburg’s “Howl” last night and didn’t like it except for the first line. His “America” was more interesting, and the third one in the book, Penguin’s The Beat Reader.

Pablo called last night and I told him that I’d bought a book he’d kill to own, i.e., the Ginsberg-Burroughs transcripts.  He asked what it was about, and I told him that Ginsberg had brought up the Yeats poem, Sailing to Byzantium.  When he started telling me the history of Byzantium, I stopped him.  I read him the relevant page or two from the book.  We talked for an appalling 52 minutes, or rather, I listened to much irrelevant bus noise and a barking dog as he walked home, then some nonsense with his cat, and so on.  I neglected to shut off my phone at 9:00 like I often do…

Copyright 2019 by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved

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