Diary, 3/16 to 3/23/19


Copyright 2019 by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved

{3/16/19}  Weight 219.8.

Last night I felt a soreness in my throat, and this morning it’s still there.  Another cold coming on before I’m fully over the last one seems a bit unfair.

Watched the movie Hugo last night and was quite captivated and charmed.  It goes on a bit long (two hours) but doesn’t drag much.

Tonight I watched Avengers:  Infinity War—what an epic.  A worthy capstone to the nineteen-movie sequence of the Marvel Cinematic Universe.  I’ve seen it four times now, and loved it every time.  I want to get the soundtrack, which is only ten bucks at Amazon.  If there’s a weakness, it’s the unfamiliarity of the villains.

A knock at the door at 9:20 pm—there’s a bucket of puppies at the bottom of my steps, two guys asking about them.  They ended up taking the puppies away, fortunately, because I don’t know what I would have done if they hadn’t done that.  I sure didn’t want to deal with this problem [that] somebody chose to dump on strangers.  At least it wasn’t a baby, though I would have known what to do about that:  911.

Writers Writing this morning was depressing.  First, I didn’t want to be there because I felt tired and sick.  Then, I need to make a list of chapters and ages, or something, because when I get something that’s happening in junior high, for instance, I don’t know where to put it, so I have to go searching.  I don’t know, it just seems like it’s more difficult than it needs to be.

Anyway, today was disorganized, but at least I got over to Trader Joe’s for some bread and unnecessary high-sugar treats.  Unfortunately, I’m out of eggs, so I need to go to the store yet again (went yesterday), and I need bottled water, also.  Probably a quick trip before breakfast, then off to the Hemlock Club.  I need to do some printing, but won’t, feeling very much like don’t give a shit.


{3/19/19}  Weight 219.6.

Fascinating new documentary about recent archeological explorations in Egypt on the National Geographic channel this evening, though the finds are more suggestive than actual big payoffs.

Reading the introduction to a recent, massive book on the philosophy of science, and recognizing that I’m way behind on this stuff.  If a real philosophy professor came to the Hemlock Club, we’d have little to talk about, it seems.  Even so, it would be a refreshing change compared to all these “spiritual” people who claim to be interested in philosophy.  Only J is actually interested, at least in my writings.  Two new young guys were at the last meeting, and one was a repeat visitor from maybe two months previous.

Still haven’t ridden the trike yet, today telling myself that I’m too sick, though it wouldn’t have been that bad.  I have a slight runny nose, a little throat soreness, an occasional hard cough, just nothing very much.  It was over seventy degrees outside.  About all I did today was sleep, eat, and gaze listlessly at the TV.  One accomplishment:  installing the replacement filters in the air purifier.  It takes some dust out of the air, which doesn’t hurt and probably doesn’t help anything at all.

I’ll see the doctor tomorrow at the VA Clinic.  I’ll be going to Dagny’s first, for a little work on KM.  It would be nice to get that damn thing done.

I signed up to pay $20 per month to Free Speech TV “for 20 months,” though I doubt I’ll cancel it at that point.  They’re sending me a hoodie, but I really wanted their lapel pin, which I forgot to ask for.  I’m watching a lot of that channel and Link TV, not so much of MS NBC any more (though always Rachel Maddow).  It’s hard to take the “all Trump all the time,” though lately they’re spending a lot of time on the 2020 “horse race” already, which is stupid when climate catastrophe is coming.  I should write to them.



Saw the doctor at the VA today.  Verdict:  no heart failure.  He had no clear answer to “why the swelling?” but further blood tests may be revealing.  It may be my liver.  Also, I’m stuck with my nail fungus until my liver checks out okay, and I’m getting Viagra or equivalent, four pills per month.  Yay.  Also three vaccination injections today, more blood draws tomorrow.  I wasn’t happy with the doctor and may request an alternative.

Got about two hours of work done on Kick Me this morning.  Came home after the VA and watched four hours of news & discussion.  Plus Samantha Bee.


{3/22/19}  Weight 221.0.  Ouch.

So the doctor told me that I didn’t have heart failure.  Why, then, the swollen ankles?  He said, “Gravity,” which made no sense to me, and something about “liver function” and protein, concluding by saying that I “need to eat more protein.”  This also doesn’t make much sense, because most mornings I eat three eggs as the protein-rich part of breakfast (predictably, he said “not the yolks”—tried that, no thank you) and most dinners include a quarter-pound beef patty.  Seems to me that this is a ton of protein, but in checking I saw that the 6 g of protein that an egg provides is a mere 2% of the daily recommendation.  The bread I’m eating now has only 2 g per slice.  So, what to do?

The Merck Manual says that adults need about 60 g of protein per day.  Apparently that “2%” is wildly inaccurate.  But still, 60 g is a lot, like three quarter-pounders per day.

Doc also advised that I not drink “too much water.”  This is also advice I don’t know what to do with.  But he also prescribed Viagra, four per month.  This is stingy, but I think it’s free.

Anyway, I’m reassured about the heart failure.  Now if I can just make my trike useful.  But I’m not going to be using it until I’m over this G.D. cold.

I’ve been itching to see Captain Marvel a second time, but maybe I’ll just get the DVD when it comes out.  And maybe I won’t, since it isn’t really that great.

One of the things I need to do often is to review books I’ve highlighted and review my Collected Quotations.  I highlight and copy quotes as a form of study; but the effort up front is wasted if I never review the products.

Pablo and D both claim to receive “messages from the universe.”  How does this differ from wishful thinking or magical thinking?  I can only take the claim as seriously as I take the person.  Pablo discourages being taken seriously, while D generally encourages it.  Is this question worth any of my time?

Let’s say, rather, that I want to take D seriously, but find it practically impossible because he is desperate to believe in his approach to health, and perhaps it is all that keeps him alive.  This is not to say that he’s wrong; on the contrary, he is persuasive, and indeed he persuaded me, indirectly, to invest in the tricycle.  But encouraging me to get exercise is a far cry from persuading me that his other health-related pursuits are as important as he believes they are.

Free Speech TV, Link TV, and news on MS NBC can eat up most of my day.  Of course, I also check and recheck the listings of movies and such, and often turn something on.  I have no conclusions.

Runny nose and persistent cough.  Sneezing.  How tiresome.

I have two full shelves of poetry books and Shakespeare, the latter occupying almost half a shelf.  Very little of this gets any use.  I might pick up a book or two in a month, flip through it or read a poem, and put it back.  And that’s about it.  What if I just got rid of the Tennyson, Milton, and Byron?  I don’t know.  Will I ever even look at the Spoon River Anthology?  It committed the unforgivable sin of boring me once, if I remember correctly.

I persuade myself that “I might want to look something up,” such as someone’s reference to Paradise Lost.  But I can’t recall ever having done this, except with Shakespeare, and even there I most often—indeed, virtually always—use the text file I have on the computer.

Now, I read some twenty pages of Wordsworth’s Prelude, and some of The Faerie Queene, and found the Wordsworth dull.  The FQ was okay, yet it sits on—clutters up—my chair-side table for weeks at a time, unopened.

I’m rereading van Vogt’s War Against the Rull for the umpteenth time, and enjoying it about as much as ever.  Maybe I should try H. Rider Haggard again (after four or five decades)?  My other go-to guys, like Edgar Rice Burroughs, have not aged so well as Van.  Not that I read a lot of van Vogt these days—it generally happens only in special situations, like when I anticipate possibly needing to occupy myself for more than an hour, or I’m feeling needy and self-indulgent (as when I have an endless cold).

I wonder if there’s a book of philosophy anecdotes, or a web site.  I’m thinking of the story Barrett retells, about the distinction between muddle-headed and simple-minded philosophers.  That’s a great story, and a useful distinction, and I’m thinking that there must be dozens of such anecdotes, true or not, that would be useful and fun.  I should look for such a thing, and if it doesn’t exist, write it (i.e., compile it).  Well, maybe not.  Not until I’m too useless for anything more serious.

Big surprise on PBS tonight, a ninety-minute documentary on Birgit Nilsson.  It was delightful and makes me want to spend much money on new CDs.

I’m really sick of coughing and blowing my nose tonight, seems like I’ve been coughing hard for hours and hours.  My “allergy capsules” haven’t been effective.

I tried to write something on critical thinking and discovered that it’s hard to talk about.  The flip side, however, isn’t so hard, and I wrote myself a note about it:  An opinion you’re not interested in defending is an opinion you should not be expressing.

However, creationism is bunk.  Isn’t it enough to say that the scientific consensus is behind evolution?


{3/23/19}  Weight 220.2.

Got a call from J last night around eight o’clock.  He was calling from the San Joaquin Community Hospital emergency room.  He suddenly had been unable to walk without extreme pain.  They did an ultrasound examination of his legs, but he had not heard the results.  Given that he is homeless, where he will be today is unknown.  I called D and Pablo, and now I’m going to Dagny’s for Writers Writing.  The plan is to go to the hospital with Pablo later and see what we can see.

Mueller report released to Attorney General Barr yesterday, but, aside from the information that he intends no further indictments, nothing is yet known to the public.  That doesn’t keep the MSM from endless boring speculations, nor from Republicans claiming victory and so on.  Haven’t heard anything from the Idiot-in-Chief yet.  I’d have to call this disappointing.

Copyright 2019 by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved

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