New Car? Diary, 7/15 to 7/22/21

Kick Me progress; Windows woes; a car will change my life; book and movie reviews; Edward Dahlberg books; some empty days, too.

Edward Dahlberg (1900-1977)

Copyright 2021 (text only) by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved

{7/15/21}  Weight 215.4 at 6:30 am.

Wrote six new pages for Kick Me, the “2020” chapter describing “the worst year of my life.”  I’ll post it to the blog tomorrow.  [Didn’t happen; it will soon.] So what remains is to review all of KM and make necessary changes, and keep doing that until the end of the month—two weeks.

Today I posted the 7/12 to 7/14 diary entries, including my “analysis of Pablo.”  I had wanted to discuss it with him, and even printed out two copies to enable that, but he hasn’t been over here and I got tired of waiting.  He won’t like it, I know; but really, it’s accurate.

I missed today’s group “meeting”; this is distressing because, half an hour before the meeting, I remembered it and was sure I could keep it in mind.  But an hour later, I noticed that I had received a text message from Dr. Hill which had arrived below my radar—I should have heard the chime from the phone, but I didn’t.  I guess the phone was in the living room while I was in the bedroom, though I should have heard it anyway.  Well, I called my PO and left a message; she’s unavailable until the 19th.  This by itself won’t get me back in prison, but it certainly won’t help anything either.

I’d like to drown my sorrows in ice cream and cookies, but I won’t do that.  I’m going to read some more in Steppenwolf and maybe some Nietzsche.  I finished Murder Your Darlings, which was excellent, “One of the best” is what I wrote on the title page.  I’ll to quotes from it some time, not feeling like it today—and that’s how I rule my life, most days.  With whims like these, who needs self-mastery?

{7/16/21}  Weight 216.4 at 5:50 am.  Astonishing.

Windows updated itself, starting last night and finishing this morning, and now, again, nothing works except Word.  This time I’ve been unable to find a workaround.  Clicking a link in this document opens up Edge, but the Internet connection doesn’t work.  I was going to do laundry today, but maybe I’ll go to Wal-Mart and buy another laptop.

{7/17/21}  Weight 215.6 at 5:40 am.

Hemlock Club today.

{7/18/21}  Weight 215.4 at 5:50 am.

Today my laptop seems “back to normal.”  What to make of this?

What I make of this is not much.  I’ll take it as it goes, and if it no longer goes, I’ll go to Wal-Mart for a new one.

Now to the good news:  I’m getting a car!  With no air conditioning!  The second exclamation point is facetious, ironic, and/or satirical, but this is going to change my life for the much-better, until it fails and then…?  The important thing about having a car is that it will enable many important things; I see, in the order thought of:

  • Short trips most mornings to hiking trails and other natural areas to look at plants (i.e., “study botany”), observe birds, maybe collect rocks and pine cones, and otherwise get back into nature as I’ve done all my life to greater or lesser degrees.  I’ll also look through naked eyes, binoculars, and likely eventually a spotting scope or cheap Dobsonian at astronomical stuff.  The point is to get some exercise without being bored.
  • Grocery shopping and laundry washing without having to rely on buses.
  • More access to friends and local events, including new memberships in the Sierra Club, Audubon Society, and such, maybe making more friends.
  • Better chances of getting and keeping a female companion.
  • Better access to libraries, and so perhaps having less need to buy books (ha!).
  • Easier access to four-times-a-month “mental health aftercare” required by probation.

There are downsides and tradeoffs, of course, including the need to buy insurance, tiresome periodic upkeep, frequent tiresome trips to gas stations to “filler up,” and possibly having to deal with unscrupulous mechanics to get “minor repairs,” also tiresome.  Of course, it’s a major possession which will involve care and anxiety from time to time, but at first it will be a total “love affair” with a machine.

The best news is that I will be buying from a trusted and generous acquaintance, Tim Chang, rather than from a dubious car lot or complete stranger.

{7/19/21}  Weight 215.8 at 5:40 am.

In writing a tweet, I needed the other name for “rock chuck,” and picked up the Sierra Nevada Natural History that I bought a couple months ago.  It’s called “yellow-bellied marmot.”  I mention this because in looking through the book I discovered many annoying, totally useless photos of mammals and the best descriptions of trees of any book that I have.  I’ll be wanting it for the latter, and other as-yet-unnoticed riches (one hopes).

{7/20/21}  Weight 216.4 at 5:40 am.  Great.

Eleven days until the end of the month, when I’m supposed to be turning over Kick Me to my editor.  It’s not ready.  It’s not likely to be ready.  I’ve read through—again!—about half the pages, but I have not started editing the file.  I’ve been working on the pages almost every day.  Today starts with a huge chunk of the best part of the day given over to the nonsense that probation inflicts on me, that is, I’ll be going to see Dr. Hill.

Had a long, sometimes bitter discussion yesterday with Chris.  Little was resolved, and I find that I don’t even want to talk about it.  The subject was politics.

Watched a movie on DVD, Wind Chill, that I’ve seen before.  It’s marginal stuff, a ghost story with some mildly interesting tweaks and a lot of unpleasantness.  Emily Blunt is effective in it, as usual.

The Confessions of Edward Dahlberg starts well, with words that I could use about my own life:  “At nineteen I was a stranger to myself.  At forty I asked:  Who am I?  At fifty I concluded that I would never know.”  (Edward Dahlberg:  The Confessions of Edward Dahlberg, George Braziller, New York, 1971, p. 3.)  Alas, the book turns out to be frivolous and quickly tiresome.  By page 19 I’m ready to give it up.  He uses words with little concern for the reader.  In the first two or three pages I noted:  Avernus, draff, blowsy, truss, august, apocryphal, and darnel.  Some of these are not new to me, but the way they were used raised questions about how well I knew them.

Following that quote are these encouraging words:  “Know thyself is a wise Socratic exhortation, but how is it possible?  Do I even understand a tithe of my nature?  In truth, I know nothing about anybody, least of all about myself.  No matter what I do it is likely to be wrong; one bungles everything, for the brain is feeble and an intuition is a saline and marshy guess.  Whatever one has done he will do; that is his character, and he can neither improve nor escape it.”  p. 3.

So what goes wrong?  Quickly it becomes apparent that he is not interested in telling the truth, but rather, playing with the genre, or perhaps the medium (prose).  Our hero comes to Los Angeles from Kansas City, and he early encounters someone called “Busy Perverse.”  Several pages are given to describing the words of this character.  It shows considerable imagination, I suppose, but it’s just not that interesting.  I’ll keep the book on the shelf, but there’s a good chance that I’ll never read it.

I first encountered Dahlberg through his The Sorrows of Priapus, several decades ago.  At the time, I just found it too difficult.  Being now much older, I wanted to give it a try, so I bought it again, and the Confession at the same time, both cheap enough from Thriftbooks.  Now, I’m afraid, they’re just more clutter.

{7/21/21}  Weight 215.6 at 6:00 am.

{7/22/21}  Weight 215.2 at 5:55 am.

Copyright 2021 (text only) by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved

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