Diary, 1/24 to 1/25/19

Copyright 2019 by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved

so sad
Current reading

{1/24/19}  Weight 219.8:  too much See’s (finished it off last night, after my usual dessert).

I went to Dagny’s, mostly to use their Wi-Fi.  I bought from Amazon the last of the bike accessories I need for a while (I hope); I won’t have a headlight, but I don’t plan to be out after dark for quite some time yet.  I also wanted to work on Kick Me, which I’ve been doing a lot lately, and I’m very happy about that.  Salomé showed up, painting for a while, then talking to some guy; then Pablo came by and we talked until it got too noisy, so we went to Starbucks.

I had asked Pablo to read a chapter in Kick Me (“I Survived the Worst Day of My Life”) and let me know what he thought:  was it worth keeping in the book?  Well, he read it and mostly didn’t like it, though he waffled around and later praised it, ridiculously.  But mostly he just wanted to give me advice on how to write, and how to make it funny, and how to “improve it,” and so on.  I wanted his reaction to it as a reader, but he wouldn’t let it rest.  Every time I disagree with him I’m told that I “don’t understand,” and he wants to repeat whatever he’s already said three times.  I’ve been thinking of myself as a “novelist” for about 45 years, and though for most of that time I did more reading about writing than I did writing, at this stage of my career I am not interested in more advice on “how to write.”  He really is quite outrageous and obtuse at times, always wanting to (cluelessly) fix everybody else’s problems, ‘nuff said.

There was another customer at the Starbucks, sitting nearby with his back to us, and I had seen him turn and look back at us a number of times, disapprovingly.  After a while he closed his laptop and said, as he left, something to the effect that we were “the two most annoying people he’d met in a long time.”  I had known that he was growing increasingly irritated—well, the conversation of others often annoys me, too.  And we were there first.

The book I read on the bus was Melissa Broder:  So Sad Today, about which my opinion has improved since yesterday’s entry.  It’s funny and sad and brave, quite entertaining, and maybe more than that; which is not to say that I want to keep reading it.  On the contrary, it’s more that I’m hooked by it but don’t think it’s likely to be “important” to me.  Since it’s “personal essays,” it always tempts me to stop at the end of any particular piece and just not pick it up again.  I have other, more tempting books in the batch of five I just bought.

Of that batch, I’m also reading David Hume’s Treatise.  This is, as I expected, rather tiresome reading, though perhaps more interesting than I’d expected.  Since my failure with Aristotle, I’ve been feeling an urge to read some other classic philosophy.  In comparison with the Stagirite, it’s a model of clarity.

Also read some of the Camus Notebooks this evening, rather weighty entries at the start of World War II.  I took it to bed at 7:00, thinking I might just segue into bedtime, but got annoyed about Pablo all over again and got back up to flay him here.  Nothing in the Camus especially worth noting/quoting.  On hold is The Oxford Handbook of American Philosophy, which I wanted to read for work on The Bleak Philosophy—but that effort has taken a nap for a week or more.  KM is the important one, anyway, but work on the revision is going very slowly, taking more time than it seems like it “should.”

I’m out of burgers for dinner, so I ate junk food:  low-sodium chips, an ice cream sandwich, then a couple of granola bars and the rest of the chips.  The alternative was a no-meat sandwich, that is, peanut butter and blackberry jam on Ezekiel low-sodium bread (toasted), but that bread is pretty tasteless and I just couldn’t face it.

Got a shock from my bank account:  I had written a check to pay off Spectrum (don’t ask) which I assumed wouldn’t hit the bank before I got paid (the next morning).  But in fact it did hit the bank, and although they paid it, they charged me an extra $35.  Apparently Spectrum had done some kind of electronic deposit of my check.  The extra-irritating thing is that I could have just waited one more day to pay off the account, but I thought I knew what I was doing.

Yesterday as I was leaving to catch the bus, I saw a young and fairly attractive woman in the dumpster, rummaging about.  I had seen her once before doing this.  Anyway, she had a shopping cart full of junk.  I walked past, thought better of it, walked back and held up a couple of bucks so she could see, then dropped it in her cart.  I didn’t want to just leave it without letting her know.  Anyway, she thanked me and I said, “You’re welcome,” and I walked on, thinking that I wanted to give her a twenty but I didn’t want to go back and delay my walk to the bus stop any further.  It was my payday, after all.


{1/25/19}  Weight 221.0.  Ouch.  Ouch.  I was at 218.0 on the 21st.  The problem with losing weight is that it makes you more likely to binge, and I suppose that’s what I’ve been doing since the 21st, first on See’s, then last night on an assortment of junk.  As food binges go, these were pretty moderate.  Well, the trike will fix everything, right?

If I even buy it.  This morning (5:35 right now) I am concerned about the times that I will have to leave it at home unattended—not because it may be stolen, but because the alarms may go off and I won’t be there to deal with it.  Ideal would be if I could get agreement from my landlord, “Bob,” to leave the trike on his office porch when I’m going to be away for hours.  The problem is, I’d need to do that about twelve times a month, which clearly is excessive.  The alternative is to just risk it, which looks like what I’ll be doing.

I figured out a workaround for one of the problems I’ve been having with Word, the macros and templates confusion.  What’s happened is that when I’ve created macros in the past and neglected to direct them to the right template, they get attached to the document I’m working on.  What I do is copy the text of the document to a new document, which leaves behind any attached macros.  The only macros I want to keep are those attached to the “Normal” document template.  Having seen this, I’m now less interested in spending the forty bucks on a Word manual.

The last time I posted to my blog, I encountered a new problem with WordPress.  When I copied from this diary and pasted into WP, I lost all italics and the normal spacing between paragraphs, both requiring manual fixes.  Another problem came up that I haven’t mentioned here; whenever I started a new post, I would copy an existing file, which saved a small amount of labor.  The last times I tried this copying, it resulted in the disappearance of the structure at the right side of the screen, that is, the interactive framework for posting, and so I was unable to continue.  Computers are fun.

My multiple days of labor on the KM revision has gotten me all the way to page eleven.  Yeesh.

I’m finding that a little of Melissa Broder goes a long way, i.e., I think I’m tired of her voice.  In small doses, she’s pretty funny; in a book, not so much.  She’s a sort of Woody Allen, as he was in his early, funny movies.  Her vomit fetish was a barf too far.  Quotes (Melissa Broder:  So Sad Today:  Personal Essays, Grand Central Publishing, Hachette Book Group, New York, 2016; link to Amazon):

“When we think of our old lovers, and the people they are with now, we wonder what we did not have.  We wonder, collectively, as people, what other people have.”  (“Love Like You Are Trying to Fill an Insatiable Spiritual Hole with Another Person Who Will Suffocate In There”, p. 61.)

“The ocean gives me performance anxiety about being at peace.  The moon is definitely judging me.  Dogs know the truth.  Babies see through me.  Anything natural, anything pure:  judging me.

“People have said that I’m no better or worse than anyone else.  I’ve been told that the universe probably wants me here.  Still, I choose to feel that I am being judged as a piece of shit by some cosmic arbiter.  The thing is, I’m self-centered.  I guess I’d prefer some cosmic judge thinking shitty things about me, rather than nothing thinking about me at all.  There are so many people and we’re all awful in our own special ways; yet somehow, I’m the most profoundly, existentially awful.  It seems unlikely that would be the case.  But that’s how I roll.”  (“Honk If There’s a Committee in Your Head Trying to Kill You”, p. 63.)


Copyright 2019 by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved

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