Diary, 12/21 to 12/28/19

Copyright 2019 by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved

{12/21/19}  Weight 216.6.  Erk.  Later (7:40) it’s 215.6.  Yay!  Now, for breakfast.

Watching many episodes of The Simpsons in a marathon show on FX, laughing like a loon because they can do so much with so little—for example, naming an Army colonel Hap Hapablap.  I’ve been laughing for two days over that silly name.

{12/22/19}  Weight 216.8 at 5:00 am.  Whut?  Fat ankles last night and this morning.

Well, it looks like I’ll be able to save $100 this month, a first, because I get paid in three days and it’s still in my account.  In other news, my COLA next year amounts to $21, about 1%.

I’ve started reading Jim Penman:  Biohistory:  Decline and Fall of the West, a book I picked up at a library sale.  His thing is “temperament,” which he says is scientifically measurable.  I’m skeptical and not especially keen to continue reading, but we’ll see.  This book is the popular treatment; he has another, also called Biohistory, which apparently has more number crunching and stuff.  I’m still reading the Thoreau, halfway through with many passages noted for future typing.  It has been unexciting, but perhaps a bit more interesting than other Journal selections I’ve read.

{12/23/19}  Weight 216.2.

Cartoons in a serious book—does this work against my purpose?  What exactly is my purpose?  Perhaps I don’t need an explicit statement?  Surely, potential readers will want one?  I’m not sure that I’m being sensible here; In and Out the Garbage Pail is a serious book, yet the cartoons helped me like it.  Never mind this second-guessing.  Well, the book was for therapy, anyway, wasn’t it!  It really doesn’t matter if I get readers.  And cartoons might strengthen the therapy.

I had to leave the house at 6:30 this morning, leaving me no time to work on the diary and not even enough time for my standard breakfast.  Instead I had a banana, granola bar, orange juice…was that all?  For lunch I had an ice cream sandwich, granola bar, and a box of raisins.  For dinner it was peanut butter toast and more ice cream.  This is too much ice cream, but here it is, almost eight o’clock, and I don’t feel hungry.  Back to normal tomorrow, I suppose, though I’m kind of itching to go to MacDonald’s.  I have a week to get to 215.0.  Maybe limit myself to one serving of ice cream from now on, if I can.

The Thoreau continues to be sometimes very interesting, sometime quite boring.  I’m tired of it, but Cognitive Neuroscience hasn’t grabbed me like I’d hoped.  Biohistory remains pretty dry.  That’s all I’m reading right now.  I took another look at Science and Sanity and decided to go no further with it.

Maybe all that’s going on here is loneliness-fueled depression?  I’ve been watching a lot, a whole lot of the Simpsons marathon.  I’m planning to buy some shoes that will make walking less tiresome and painful, in the hope of getting in some birdwatching at the golf course, plus exercise in getting to and from.  I also want to find a spot overlooking the river or next to it, if that’s even possible within my restrictions (i.e., no parks).

Not that I expect birdwatching to save me.  Loneliness is the problem I need to work on, but I don’t know what to do.  The art activities are something to try again, certainly.  Dance lessons also, because why not?  Losing weight, plus some new clothes will help me feel more confident.  I should go to the Skeptics Meetup—it’s only once a month, but that’s better than the nothing I’ve got going now.  I need to grasp at these straws, because you never know what might happen.  I should also budget more money for taxis, so I can take advantage of “First Friday” events downtown.  I need to think outside the box that I’ve boxed myself in:  nobody’s going to find me at home, and I can’t take forever at this.  And I should look into matchmaking web sites.  This is grim.

Actually, this has made me feel better—this and the Avengers:  Infinity War sound­track.  And I remembered the original purpose of Kick Me, added above, also a help.  Now, how do I avoid getting into this funk again?  Or:  just remember how to get out of it!  Which is:  thinking.

The Willpower Instinct has advice regarding social anxiety disorder and depression, too.  “Self mastery” only works if you use it, eh?

Lots of useful thinking here.

{12/24/19}  Weight 215.6.  Good.

Jane Fonda arrested today, for protesting, I guess.  “Fire Drill Fridays.”  Nonviolent civil disobedience.  I was inattentive at the critical moment, and so did not hear what law was violated.  She calls for bold action and a green new deal.  If the necessary happens, it will disrupt people’s lives, making a repuglikkkan  comeback more likely than it deserves to be.  The biggest job will be public opinion, because without it, all good deeds will be punished.

Seeing Trump on TV momentarily, my thought is, “Hitler wannabe.”

Thinking about a sign I might carry:  “Ex-cons for climate action.”  Because, what am I but an ex-con?  Thus I and society have defined me.

Watching The Simpsons, of course (15-day marathon) and appreciating what a force for good this show is, as well as the writers who can do so much with so little, as noted previously.  In the latest episode, a toy—something like “Spell and Say”—provides reliable repeat laughs when it says “Homer” as “Huh-O-Ma-Eh-Er.”  Not as funny as Hap Hapablap, but close.

Went to MacDonald’s for breakfast, stopped at Food Maxx on the way back.  I wanted to buy popcorn, but everything in microwave bags has salt, and to cook the raw kernels I guess I’d want an air popper.  I’ll buy myself one for Christmas, after the day, of course.  Next year, if I think of it, I’ll buy myself a present and not open it until Christmas morning.  I’ll remember if I mark it on my calendar.  Surprise!

Christmas this year—i.e., tomorrow—will be pretty dismal, though I did get some treats:  I wanted grapes, but they had brown spots, so I bought melon spears, watermelon, cantaloupe, and honeydew, plus a single-serving chocolate cake.  If I’d thought of it, I’d have gotten flowers.  I’m glad I sent cards; I got a text message from Natalie.

Waiting for the bus home, I saw a pigeon (rock dove) killed by a car.  About half a dozen little kids were also at the stop, and I’m pretty sure some of them saw it, death on Christmas eve.

I was ready to give Mr. Dalz $5, but I didn’t see him.  I fantasized briefly about knocking on the door of the group home and asking for him, but didn’t, of course.

So, not quite noon.  Yesterday evening I nailed up the long mat as a background for Natalie’s photographs that she gave me before she left for Florida.  Today I’ll put her pix up, then take a picture and send it to her by phone.  Giving is the best I can do for Christmas, it seems.  I didn’t decorate this year, which amounts to little more than unpacking and setting up the twinkling geese.  There’s no good way to put them in the picture, so maybe I’ll set them up in the living room in front of her portrait of me, and sent her a pic of that, too.

This is not much of a substitute for “family and friends,” but it’s still better than last year.  Of course, I’m getting Pablo something…I’d suggested a TV set or a record player (when he was buying an LP), but he wants a musical instrument, a recorder or a uke.

I managed to save $100, though some of that is in cash (I went over by about five bucks today).

I wish I’d thought to say to Oliver, on his card, that I would send him a present if I knew that he was at the address I sent the card to.  If I don’t get an answer, this year I’m going to hire a private investigator.  Of course, I have no idea whether he loves or hates me, or feels nothing.

Walking to the bus stop this morning, I remembered how, yesterday morning at 6:30 I missed the bus by thirty seconds.  The disappointment of that moment came back to me and I thought, “Life is a bitter pill.”  My subsequent thought was, “No, life is all.”

The Simpsons marathon is entirely too entertaining, so I’ll be glad when it’s over, so I can do other things again.  Actually, I put up Natalie’s photos and put out the sparkling geese and took pictures of both.

{12/25/19}  Weight 216.6.  Merry Christmas!  (Intended ironically.)

There is little I can do to brighten this day, it seems.  I didn’t intend to leave the house, but perhaps I should, and give Mr. Dalz ten bucks.  After weighing myself, the first thing I did was to turn on the TV, which got me involved with yet another episode of The Simpsons, and I’ve already laughed out loud.  I could keep doing this all day, but I’d regret it.  So I’ll take a look at the news, and regret that.  I’m also going to send these two pictures to Natalie:

Well, I’ll get around to that later.  It’s 5:30 am.  The Simpsons episode ended with Homer dancing with Lisa, she standing on his feet.  The next episode starts with a giant sea gull feeding a worm to Homer.

I’ll stop now.

Forty minutes later, I’m thinking breakfast, and so loathing commercials that I don’t know what to do.  Maybe I’ll put on a DVD.

It amazes me that people are out to see the Bakersfield Christmas Parade.  What an enormous effort, in 40° weather; dare I say, “all for ego”?  Well, much of it is for advertising of local businesses, another kind of ego.  Broadcast 4:30 to 6:30.  Followed by “Kelly and Ryan,” live.  I remember going to parades in South Gate, but they were not in the dark.  More like nine in the morning.

I feel cut off from my past, cut off from everything I love, except books, music, and art.  What prompts this mood apparently is the family photos in Eudora Welty:  One Writer’s Beginnings.  I hate that I have no family photographs.

Watching The Simpsons and eating an early lunch of chocolate cake.  I didn’t eat the whole thing (“single serving”), so if I can hold off finishing it until after dinner, maybe I can get through one day without ice cream.

So who can say now that I don’t know how to have fun?

I had to turn off the TV—there was nothing on but The Simpsons that I considered watchable.

Browsed through a few pages of Emerson’s Journals.  Interesting, but if it weren’t for E’s love-hate relationship with Thoreau, I wouldn’t have much interest.  The style is fragmentary, less smooth than Thoreau’s.

Listening to the disc of ’cello music by Ernest Bloch (played by Emmanuelle Bertrand).  I prefer having the suites together; on this disc, the suites are separated by other short pieces.  This interrupts the mood, though of course Bloch had no intention of their being played sequentially.  I had a disc of the suites many decades ago that I played for Lia; she called it “brilliant,” but I didn’t get the impression that it meant anything to her.  What did it mean to me?  What was I expecting from her that I didn’t get?  Dunno.  But it inspired me to take up the ’cello for six months.

{12/26/19}  Weight 216.8.

Gee, only one more week of the Simpsons marathon.  I shudder to think of how many hours I’ve “wasted” on this; but I couldn’t count the laughs.  Uh, yeah.  Instead, I could have worked on Kick Me; or I could have vacuumed the whole apartment, scrubbed my kitchen counter, scrubbed my whole bathroom, and so on; or I could have alphabetized my books, DVDs, and CDs; or any other time-intensive, tiresome things.

I made the right choice.

Now, back to seeing whether Sideshow Bob finally kills Bart and the rest of the Simpsons.

At 4:00 I left for the group meeting at CPC.  It was cold and breezy.  Twenty minute wait at 4th Street.  Arrived at CPC, lights are off.  I wait, cold and miserable, until 5:35—the meeting supposed to start at 5:00.  I called Dr. Holder—she doesn’t have her voice mail set up yet.  I call a taxi, 20 minute wait.  So I wait, cold and miserable and cursing.  Ate chocolate chip cookies that I didn’t want, just because.  Taxi shows up in 20 minutes, I go home, two hours after I left, $17 poorer.  At least I didn’t have to sit through the useless group meeting.

{12/27/19}  Weight 216.6.

Another full day of The Simpsons!  No, actually I plan to do some shopping today:

  • heater
  • potassium pills
  • shoes
  • masks [to prevent dust inhalation]
  • motion sickness pills
  • popcorn popper

That will do for now.  I might sneak in a DVD or two and a trip to Barnes & Noble—first making sure that all dishes are clean.

I bought all of the listed items except masks; the DVDs ended up being the complete Three Stooges shorts, eight discs.  It’s not that I’m such a great Stooges fan, it’s that I like having something to watch during meals, and these will be just right for that.  The total amounted to $200.

I also went to Barnes & Noble and bought Nietzsche’s Will to Power and Julian Baggini:  How the World Thinks.

On the bus I was reading Bertrand Russell:  Understanding History and Other Essays.  I copied a few quotes into CQ and will donate the book.

{12/28/19}  Weight 217.0.  Eek!

215.0 is looking kind of hopeless at this point.  So, did I succeed at my wp challenge?  Yes.  And no.  I wanted to weigh 215 at the end of the year, but the lowest I got was 215.6, at which point I said I wasn’t going to claim victory.  Dinner last night was taquitos; if I’d had toast, what would I have weighed this morning?  The taquitos are gone, finally—I ate them because I was lazy, but don’t intend to buy more because the sodium is too high.  Well, this isn’t rocket science, I’m groping in the dark.  I want to call it a partial victory, but I know that it was nothing of the kind.

My bathroom scale is erratic:  when I first weighed myself this morning, it was 216.2; the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th times it was 217.0.  I weighed myself so many times because I’ve seen this inaccuracy before.  Eventually I’ll get a new scale; not this month.

Got a call from the Doc yesterday.  She didn’t make the meeting because she was snowed in.  Okay…so how come I was the only one who showed up?  She called the others but not me?  Anyway, she needed to reschedule today’s meeting, from 1:00 to 3:00.  I’m meeting Pablo at Dagny’s at 10:00.

Copyright 2019 by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved

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