Diary, 7/3 to 7/7/19

Copyright 20129 by Alan Carl Nicoll
All rights reserved.

Spider-man:  Far from Home

{7/3/19}  Weight 223.0.

2:00 am.  This is what happens when I go to bed at 8:00 pm “to read.”

The thing I was thinking about before getting up was that Pablo almost certainly has a dead dog, not small, under his house.  I predict that he will ask me to retrieve it.  I will not; but I will offer to pay whatever it costs to have the ASPCA or his nephew (if he has a nephew) to do the dirty work.  I’d guess that if the city health department does it, it will cost more than I can afford.

7:30 am.  Pablo called at 11:15 last night, a call that I missed.  I’m guessing dead dog, because he never calls that late.  The unfortunate thing is that he really loves his pets and it freaks him out when one dies—a fact I observed when his other one, “Peanut,” died after some days of suffering.  He had me come over to make sure she was dead and (if I remember correctly) to put the body in a bag, he wouldn’t touch it.

It’s “late” and I’m too hungry to work my two hours.  I’m going to eat breakfast (because I’ve been lusting after an ice cream sandwich before breakfast) and hopefully do my two hours afterwards.

Watched episodes 4 and 5 of Agent Carter, and I’m happy to say that it finally reached warp speed, while also becoming considerably more complicated.  The Howard Stark character adds a lot to the texture, mostly via plot and humor.

Not going to do my two hours today; I’ll be leaving in 45 minutes to see Spider-man:  Far From Home.  The previous Spidey-only flics have been mostly meh, so I don’t have great hopes—but this is essential viewing because it’s the first after the climactic Avengers:  Endgame.  Where do they go from there?  It’s gotta be downhill.

So.  It’s okay, about as good as Homecoming, but far more spectacular.  Jake Gyllenhaal has a good role.  I thought a lot of this movie was predictable or perhaps I was just tired of the whole “Gotta protect my secret identity” thing and the whole “funny fat guy gets Peter in trouble again” thing and the whole…you get the idea.  And there’s a whole lot of how wonderful Tony Stark/Iron Man was and gee we miss him.  Just call me an old fuddy-duddy—but you can be sure that I’ll be early in line to see the next Spider-man, Doctor Strange, Captain Marvel, New Avengers, or whatever, other than X-Men.

Listening to disk 1 of the Fürtwangler Der Ring des Nibelungen.  The sound seems okay, which was my big concern for this $15 complete Ring on thirteen CDs.  No libretti, alas.

Oh:  better and better.  There is a CD ROM with libretti and synopses. Such a deal.  Windgassen as Loge in Das Rheingold is a treat, and Frantz as Wotan is impressive.  And I see that I’ve been misspelling Furtwängler all along.

Pablo said something about needing to go under the house to get his dog, and he didn’t ask me about it, so apparently I misjudged him.  So far…

He seemed eager to be praised for having started reading The Brothers Karamazov, which I had urged him to do.  Instead I belittled his attitude.  But what are friends for?  Then he was urging me to read Infinite Jest, which I told him I would not.  We’ve been over this before, but not at this length.  I told him that the arm he was twisting was dead.  I told him, more or less, that I have no desire to read even the best fiction these days, because I have too much philosophy to read, etc., and what would I have to give up to read that thousand-page novel?  I have nothing to prove or justify when it comes to reading, but he cannot make such a claim.

Speaking of reading, I recognized today that in my reading of nonfiction, I am sifting.  Searching.  I highlight or make notes about whatever I find “useful”—though for what purpose is left open.  In fact, it varies a lot.  Some is for Kick Me, some is for “the bleak philosophy” (i.e., my philosophy), some is for my perennial quest for knowledge of myself and the world, and some is “to complete my education,” such as history.  Occasionally I read something in the hope of making myself a better writer.  But the bottom line, really, is that all this reading is also entertaining.  I think also that the memoirs I’ve been reading (Barry Stevens, Cindy Crabb, that Desert Sojourn thing, the Fat Girl thing, and so on) mostly substitute for fiction these days.

{7/4/19}  Weight 222.2.

Well, I spent this morning writing a piece called “Time and the Earth,” trying to explain as simply as possible the difference between solar time and sidereal time.  I had been thinking about it while trying to get back to sleep before six.  It wasn’t pretty.

Listening to Die Walküre this morning.

{7/5/19}  Weight 221.6.  Lowest since 6/26.

Many of my dreams are so mundane and uninteresting that I find it hard to believe that they “mean” anything.  This morning’s example:  It is my job to collect donated books and CDs and put them where they go.  So, I’m in a building like an office building, and I approach this pile of stuff—clothing, books, whatever—where a little boy is doing something.  He leaves.  I realize that this is where donated stuff should be put.  I go to a second place, maybe twenty feet away in the same large room where there’s also a pile of the same kind of stuff, where a well-dressed middle-aged woman, middle-eastern looking, with heavy makeup and rings on her fingers, is taking donations from a shopping cart and adding them to the pile on the floor.  Using a gesture, I ask if the stack of CDs in the cart is also to be donated, and she indicates (nods?) that they are.  So I pick up the CDs, about six, to put them with the rest…and I wake up.

Barry Stevens:  “…my dreams which tell me what I know but haven’t been noticing.”  And, “When I lose touch with life, and the life and goings-on in me, I can trust myself to regain it through my dreams, which are good advisors.”  And finally, “My experience of dreams since I have learned to notice and accept them is that they are accurate and honest, utterly without deception, speaking the only language that they know.  To understand them I must not twist what they are saying but accept it, sink into it, and let them speak to me.”

I can’t relate these thoughts to my dream.  At best I could speculate the “message” is that I could or should be donating my time to collect and arrange donations for some institution.  The obvious institution would be the library, but we looked into this once and my previous PO said that the library had turned me down.

Another speculation would be that I should be donating these items—but I do that all the time, getting rid of stuff to clear space for newly-acquired stuff.

A third speculation might be that I need to do whatever work is needed to arrange my books and CDs, except that all that stuff is arranged, short of alphabetizing.  I used to alphabetize my books and CDs, but these days I don’t have enough to make that necessary (if it ever was).

A fourth speculation is that I should (again) offer to help Pablo to arrange and cull his vast holdings.  I was thinking last night, while looking through my highlighting in Lost Connections, that he’s probably depressed and maybe I should get him a copy or at least suggest that he read it—but this doesn’t seem to relate to the dream.

I often dream of looking through books in a store or old books in, say, a dusty basement, so there seems to be nothing unusual or noteworthy there.  As for the woman and boy, I can’t see anything there that relates to me, unless it is that I should be helping others.  Which is true enough, but seems a rather lame “message.”

So, as far as this dream goes, I’m stumped.

Now, let’s try some KM.


{7/6/19}  Weight 222.0.

I was watching Agents of SHIELD last night when it was rudely interrupted by a 6.9 earthquake.  It was something about Agent Coulson’s “evil twin,” after he died, and the end of the world and “shrikes” and stuff.

Yesterday I went to my appointment, leaving the house at 9:30 am, and didn’t get home until 5:45.  It was much running about like a headless chicken, mostly just to get sufficient money into my Bank of America account so everything would be covered.  That, plus getting to the library to return stuff, and to meet Pablo for dinner at Leo’s and shopping for him at Home Depot.

So, back to KM.

About 1½ hours on Kick Me, and it wasn’t tedious.  I’m on page 42 of the 150.  My intention, when I’m done with this, is to print it out and read it through again, and see what I can see.  I’m sure that I won’t be satisfied with it at that point, but maybe I’ll be so sick of it that I’ll just want to get it out of my life.  Of course, something medical could come up along the way to change my plans.

Call from Pablo this morning.  He wanted and apparently expected praise from me for his failed attempt to get his dead dog from under his house.  He was disappointed, though at least this time I didn’t berate him.  I have no interest in mothering him and frankly would be unable to do what he wants.  It would mean treating him like a mental patient instead of a friend, i.e., humoring him.  Just call it another of my failings, eh?

But, in fact, I want to help him; I offered to buy him a copy of Lost Connections and I let him take a look at my copy.  He asked to borrow it, but I told him I couldn’t trust him to get it back to me.  Which sounds harsh, but he has done such things in the past, even losing, for a while, my copy of the Library of America Thoreau volume.  Eventually I gave it to him because it had sentimental value to him!  (Because it has my prisoner number on the top edge.)

I also told him that I cannot confide in him, which he understood.  No need to go into that.

So, I have Fabiola to pseudo-confide in.  Which is no different from most of my life, and I gather, most people’s lives, but in fact I can tell her just about everything I would want to tell a trusted best friend.

Hemlock Club tomorrow.


{7/7/19}  Weight 222.6.

4:22 am.  I dreamt that I was in a crowd of people I know and we’re all seated at a long table.  Someone proposes that I wrestle with a woman.  This seems preposterous on the face of it, I dispute the idea, finally I appeal to the others, saying, “Do you think I should wrestle with a woman for charity?”  The crowd, laughing, says that I should.  As I stand hesitant, I wake up.

Unlike most of my dreams, this one has an obvious possible “meaning”:  there is some woman I should “wrestle” with.  Since I can’t see myself in conflict with any actual living woman in my life, except possibly Julie Martin, if I want to pursue this thought, it must be a writer.  I am currently reading only one woman, the author of Fat Girl.  Or, alternatively, it could be a woman from my past.  Or, “my feminine side.”  Bottom line is, meh.  Provocative though this dream is, I cannot relate it meaningfully to my life.

Guess I’ll get some work done.

So, I actually did my two hours working on KM, for once.  Or, more actually, I’m four minutes short.  6:19 now.  I think I’ll need a nap before the Hemlock Club.

Well, a nap proved to be impossible, so I got up and ate breakfast.  What else I did before 9:00 is a bit vague.  I’m writing this at the HC.

Copyright 2029 by Alan Carl Nicoll
All rights reserved.

4 thoughts on “Diary, 7/3 to 7/7/19

  1. Hey, I was following your blog. I also read it. It is interesting, but not sure if I agree with some of it. Of course you should read Infinite Jest. There is another book that I haven’t read, but we should add it to our lists: Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman. It is under 1,000 pages, and has been compared to War & Peace but is pre and post WWII era Russia. I think that dreams tell us something, but in the language of dreams. Keep writing them down in your journal. You might begin to understand them some day. Also, I accept your challenge of a game of Chess with Queen Odds, but I will give up my queen and still beat you. So there!


  2. I’m not persuaded about dreams, big surprise. As for lists of books I haven’t read, I no longer keep those. A comparison to War & Peace does not excite me.

    Regarding chess, you know not whereof you speak. But thank you for your comment.


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