Thinking About Thinking: Diary, 5/4 to 5/5/21

Rodin’s Thinker, in part

{5/4/21}  Weight 211.0 at 5:10 am.

The Lolita Curse is such a good title, it inclines me to try again and write a novel for it.  But a moment later, this sounds like a bad idea—if I want to use the title, I should just polish off the existing draft and publish it.  The existing story once filled me with a newfound disgust, as described here; right now I don’t feel it.

I’ve been working on Twitter this morning, posted to the blog and did a little advertising for it, and now?  I should do some other useful things, like PD (Prison Diary) dictation, dig out “No-See-Um” and see how I like it now, and maybe go on to start the tiresome dictation.  But my stomach reminds me of delayed breakfast.

Just a sec:  I bought two bottles (750 ml) of liquor yesterday, Kahlua and cheap vodka, thirty bucks, and had a drink last night.  I didn’t exactly enjoy it.  The taste was not one I enjoy (though I used to, somewhat), and the buzz just made me feel tired.  Probably a good thing…undoubtedly a good thing that I don’t enjoy drinking.

I may have done that because I felt entitled to a reward for having accomplished some of the unpleasant duties that were required yesterday.  I also bought flowers, carnations, “for the house.”  They don’t smell much like carnations, more like pesticide, but they were a bit improved this morning.

But on to breakfast before I start tearing my hair over Medicare’s decision to restart my Part B effective 4/1/21 instead of 12/1/20, thus costing me thousands.  Oh, oops, I’ve already started.

In a rare good mood after the nap, an emotional high despite being late to my appointment with Dr. Hill.  I had written it down as noon, she had 11:00.  Much confusion—everybody afraid I’m dead—because I was napping and had my phone set to “silent.”  Frantic calls made while I slept:  Hill to PO Martin, Martin to Pablo and my landlord.  Landlord’s man knocked on my door, solving the mystery.

I received The Portable Irish Reader yesterday, which I bought without bothering to check what was in it.  I wanted James Joyce and Jonathan Swift, and they are indeed represented, but slenderly—a Shakespearean word choice there.  In other words, I’m disappointed; but I’ll leave it on the shelf for a while, since it’s a hardback and might yet have some things I’ll want to read sooner or later.  It’s sitting on top of two other Portables, Whitman and Coleridge, all recent acquisitions with no shelf space for them unless I want to move out a couple of books of quotations (I have about a dozen of these of various types, most of them totally neglected, but all potentially useful).

I did my day’s dictation, eight pages, which included several attempts at haiku—I’ll put these on the blog, maybe tomorrow, since I like to post something every day if possible and have nothing else in mind.

Actually, the two paragraphs I wrote here at the end of the 5/3 entry (yesterday) would be useful as an intro to the Bleak Philosophy blog menu.  I’m not too happy with the WordPress menu system, at least the top menu, because it’s not apparent whether the top item (when there are sub-pages) is a “page” or just a title.  They should all be one or the other, and at present I have a mix.

My blog post today has already gotten ten views and it’s only 5:00 pm.  Long, excellent twitter discussion (my starting tweet has gotten over 1100 views) about “the bleak philosophy” with @AWorldOutOfMind (“St. Brian the Godless”) and another pointless one with a troll, responding to a different tweet, account since blocked, but the link will work unless he blocked back (hasn’t so far after 20 minutes) or his account is suspended.  The troll was clearly intelligent, but he’s using it just to put down and snarl at other accounts—in my case, he was subtle.  He had one follower and the account was started in February.  I was experienced enough to not have followed him back, having seen those data.

A busy day.  Pablo visited and we watched an episode of Andromeda, not terrible.

Finally was able to update my checkbook spreadsheet, getting through to Valley Strong at last.  Firefox was the difference; don’t know what was up with Edge.  Now I have both installed again…I’ll keep Edge available because it has my current links; transferring bookmarks & such just wasn’t working.

And now I’m ready for bed and another day tomorrow if I don’t die.  I must remember to post the haiku and…maybe?…call a detective.

{5/5/21}  Weight 211.0 at 6:30 am.

Looking at yesterday’s entry, it’s remarkable how often I need to find a workaround on the computer and in life because somebody or something isn’t working the way it’s supposed to.

Now, what about news?  FSTV: Stephanie Miller’s show is not a news source, it’s “slappy happy” news-ish talk played for laughs; MSNBC this morning has an interview with the Director of the Facebook board on the upcoming decision about Trump’s access but I missed the first ten minutes of the hour; Link TV has “Asian American Life.”  I’ll need to wait another 45 minutes until Democracy Now starts on Link.  In my email I had a newsletter from Matt Taibbi about the decline and death of investigative journalism which I mostly read.  Twitter didn’t have anything…Mehdi Hassan is worth a look.

Of course:  I should check KPFK.  That’s what’s been missing.  So I tuned in at and found “spring fund drive.”  Gak.

I am ridiculous.  Concerned about getting news this morning, while my ankles swell and swell.

On my way to taking a nap I wrote:  “I must rethink my life from square one.”  Whence comes this desperation?  I know how to handle this.  It’s a mood and that’s all it is.  A while back I decided, “moods are the influence of the body on the mind.”  Now, that’s a dichotomy that I don’t believe in [i.e., “I am this body-mind”], but it’s also a model I can use to attack this particular problem.

The body-mind that is me also is a complex, a mystery for which I require a model in order to get along in life, a model to guide my thinking and behavior.  The thinking is that I cannot deal with—think about—myself directly, think about the mystery-that-is-me in toto, in all its complexity:  I need a map to guide my thoughts as I grope toward the action needed to handle this particular moment, this existential crisis perhaps.

That’s the theory; it’s how I think about thinking, expressed in a muddle-headed way.

Now, what do I do with this crisis, expressed to myself as, “I must rethink my life from square one”?  Can I do what the expression says?  Can I do this rethinking?  Ridiculous.  Just starting over again what I’ve been doing all my life doesn’t make sense.  Sitting and staring (mentally) at this crisis, it seems that rethinking my life from square one is not something I am capable of.  I have no method, I wouldn’t know where to begin that wouldn’t be a complete waste of time.  Clearly, I haven’t come to the right question yet, a thought that comes from Albert Einstein.

So let’s consider, “What’s wrong?”

As I gaze on the wreckage that is me-here-and-now, I see that I have not been doing what I need to be doing.  I see problems pushed aside:  X [contacting my son]; medical bills; writing goals; depression (or sadness, low mood, I have many pigeonholes into which this pain can be crammed, but I don’t know which one is “correct,” so for now let’s just call it “depression” and get back to the general survey of problems-in-my-life).

“I have not been doing what I need to be doing”—how accurate is this bald statement?  Not very, of course.  I’ve been doing 95% of what I need to be doing.  I pay my bills, I don’t binge on foods that are poison to me, I don’t do ridiculous self-destructive things.

So, a second thought, a second “voice from within” that needs to be challenged.

I must rethink my life from square one.

I haven’t been doing what I need to be doing.

These are inaccurate statements of my situation; these are things that I tell myself from time to time, statements that are expressive of nothing much other than dissatisfaction.

But what about those “problems pushed aside”?  Yes, I’ve been doing that.  I’ve also been dealing with these very difficult problems—inefficiently, it seems, since they’re not solved, but neither have they been pushed aside, really.  I think about them all the time, as this document plainly shows.

99° outside at 4:30 pm.  82° inside.  Turned the fan on for the first time this year.  High predicted for tomorrow 93°, 84° on Friday.  At 6:00 I went outside and saw that the sun was shining on the temperature sensor, so that 99° is suspect.

“Very difficult problems”?  Yeah, mostly amounting to lack of courage or excess of laziness.  Self-mastery is a long time coming.  And let’s not overlook self-pity.  Fact is, I work on the easy problems to the exclusion of others.  Phooey.  Let’s add self-disgust to the self-pity, saying which amounts to more self-pity, eh?  Moods, moods, moods!

Posted the haiku, slightly edited, on the blog.  Botched the link to the PDF (another workaround, I didn’t want a PDF), fixed it after three visitors had looked at the defective post.  A subsequent check suggested that they all managed to get the PDF…?  I have no idea why my poetry posts are among the most popular on my blog, since I’m a better prose writer, and it’s my opinion that we’re in the midst of a massive glut of amateur poetry; but I’ll take what I can get.

Now, let’s see about that “No-See-Um” story.

Dictation was fun for once, and I laughed out loud several times at the jokes.  Tomorrow I’ll have another diary entry to post.

I’ve been eating all day, starting with a Jimmy Dean croissant egg and sausage sandwich, which is bad sodium, but I couldn’t face doing the dishes and I was “starving” when I ate.  I had ice cream at 11:00 or so, taquitos around 2:00, toast and jam around 5:00, and four chocolate chip cookies along the way.  I’ll have a gain tomorrow.

Today’s entry was intense, but did not lead to anything in particular.  I find it distressing that I keep putting off finding X, distressing that I don’t know what I want half the time, or at least, I feel that way, even if it’s a misdescription of my state of mind.  I think I’m going to watch a stupid movie now, maybe a western.  I’d do better to read, but I suspect I’m too tired to read much—I’d end up sleeping early, which wouldn’t really hurt anything…

Okay, maybe I don’t really know what I want.

I put five books in my virtual cart at Hamilton Booksellers, three by Noam Chomsky and two by Chris Hedges; after a little research I took out one of each, but still didn’t buy.  I’ve got at least two of Chomsky’s that I haven’t read yet, but all his books are worth reading, and one wants to get them when they’re discounted.  But his political books are likely to simply depress me and add to my “burden of knowledge” to no good end.  I am resistant to bad news these days, though I had news programs on in the background pretty much all day long.

I think it’s fair to say that my mind is in chaos today.  I could use a good western, though the ones I have aren’t likely to fit that description.

[A note from 5/6: I watched Bushwhackers, starring John Ireland, Dorothy Malone, and Lon Chaney (Jr.)–! It was very silly, in B&W, a few other recognizable names/faces. NOT recommended, though I watched the whole thing. Chaney looked dreadful.]

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