Going Vegetarian: Diary 1/14 to 1/25/22

Critique group fizzles; Family Guy issues; Butler novel; posting Hap the Crystalwright; self-guidance vs self-mastery; becoming a vegetarian; awesome Seventh Seal; et cetera.

Bergman’s The Seventh Seal (1957)

Copyright 2022 (text only) by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved


No critique group today, C not feeling well.  Since I’m all dressed up and have no place to go, decided to invite Pablo to Taco Bell.  He’s been in San Jose since December.

Disappointed to find that my customized keyboard is lost, again.  Of course Word’s help system is completely worthless, again.


I’m a bit surprised that I’ve neglected the diary for a whole week, with no particular reason to point to except that I’ve been doing more work on dictating and programming.

C didn’t show at the critique group meeting yesterday.  Hemlock Club meeting today.

I’ve been watching one movie per day, on top of several episodes of Family Guy daily.  I’d do better to read more.  FG is pretty funny, on average it’s close to The Simpsons—but it’s much more violent, silly, and offensive.  However, I haven’t gotten sick of it yet.

Octavia Butler’s Wild Seed is barely holding my interest.  I want to finish it, however, because the plot seems close to what I intend for my Psychic Power novel.

I posted the first dozen or so pages of Hap the Crystalwright a few days ago and have gotten a disappointing response from my followers, that is, few readers.  Shall I post more?  Why?

Since Hap is trivial, I would do better to focus my efforts elsewhere.  The PPN might be somewhat less trivial.  But I have no work in the offing that I can delude myself enough to call “important.”


C has bailed on the critique group, killing it for now.  I’m not really surprised, except that she’s pleading ill health, a transparent “white lie.”

Interest in Hap has picked up slightly on my blog, eight views of Part One.

I have come to the conclusion that I should write about self-mastery, or as I’m calling it now, “self-guidance,” preferring the less aggressive word.  Who knows whether this will be effective.  Plans are nebulous so far.  I hope to make use of some of this material in the PPN (Psychic Power novel).

Dictating Hap is slow work, and I recognized today that it’s “more important” to get the Prison Diary dictated.

The bigger news is that I will be eating vegetarian for the foreseeable future, though I’ll continue eating eggs, cheese, ice cream, and yogurt.  I saw Gail Eisnitz on Chris Hedges’s show on RT America; she told such horrible horror stories about the practices in slaughterhouses and America’s meat industry generally that I can no longer go for that.  I’ll be getting her book, Slaughterhouse, from the library.  Fifty years ago or more I saw a long documentary on KCET (a PBS station in Los Angeles) that sickened me at the time.  This was vastly worse.  Of course, I also read Upton Sinclair:  The Jungle decades ago.  I’ve often thought about this, recognizing that it wouldn’t be particularly difficult.  It would have been easier when I had better teeth.  Indeed, I tried a diet of nuts for a while in the ’80s—can’t do that now.  The other difficulty is sodium, a real challenge in some areas.  It should also help somewhat with losing weight, perhaps.

I made a list of things I can do for dinner.  Peanut butter toast, grilled cheese, fish, oatmeal, and baked potatoes would be enough, but there are other things I want to try.  Spaghetti sauce and pizza sauce would help greatly if I could find a palatable low-sodium version.  I bought Rosarita reduced-sodium refried beans yesterday, but the sodium is still pretty high.  I also had a bean burrito at Taco Bell yesterday and it felt like I was getting congestive heart failure, if such a thing can be felt.  Tonight I had toast with no-sodium peanut butter for dinner and enjoyed it just fine—something I’ve been eating occasionally already.

Last night I watched Ingmar Bergman’s The Seventh Seal (1957).  I was mightily impressed by the first half hour or so, but I thought that the comic relief went on too long and really got in the way of the much more interesting quest of the Crusader, Max Von Sydow, to replace his belief in God with knowledge of God.  He is pretty low-key until he encounters the girl condemned as a witch.  The setting is Sweden in the thirteenth century.  The Black Plague ravages the land, and the end of the world is anticipated.  The parallels with the present day add a lot to the impact of this uncompromising, beautiful movie—it truly deserves the praise it’s gotten.  This one and Mansfield Park (1999), reviewed here on 1/13/22, are the best movies I’ve seen this month.

Other movies I’ve watched lately are mostly mediocre or worse.  The Lair of the White Worm (1988), directed by Ken Russell, perhaps deserves a nod for Amanda Donohoe’s performance as a seductive “snake woman,” brilliant and I might almost say “convincing.”  The “worm” is neither.  Occasional visions/dream sequences are all too brief.  Hugh Grant is very laid-back, as usual, in a minor role.  This minimal horror-comedy effort from a generally good director scores 68% from critics and 47% from audiences; I can’t recommend it overall.  I really need a better way to spend my idle evenings.


I spent so much time watching Family Guy last night that I didn’t have time for a movie.  I think it’s time that I impose a rule on my TV watching:  no more than two animated sitcoms per evening.

I’ve also come up with another rule, this regarding my consumption of chips:  if I fail to use my previous rule (taking just a serving at a time, rather than taking the bag to the living room), I must throw away the bag.  This is designed to get me to remember the previously-established rule, because I never think of it.  I doubt that I’ll be throwing away many bags of chips. I want to do this because yesterday’s dinner was Triscuits and, later, chips and salsa.

Copyright 2022 (text only) by Alan Carl Nicoll
All Rights Reserved

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