Curtains, Hemlock, and Quotes

Diary 5/7 to 5/8/22: McAfee expensive; stupid about groceries; Hemlock Club w/photo; dark night; Zen and analysis; not believing fantasies; another smoothie; Frankl quote and doom; Dostoyevsky and grief; Gibran and pain; “repugliKKKan”; opening the curtains.

Photo by Carlos Caamal on

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

{5/7/22} Continued.

Got an email from McAfee regarding the automatic renewal of my anti-virus subscription—for $130!  I said “Ouch” when the price went up to $99 last year.  Surely I can do better (i.e., cheaper) than this.  I have no great love for McAfee.

I’ve spent $139 for groceries this month (i.e., one week).  That’s breathtaking and ridiculous, given especially that I’ll be throwing away spoiled produce fairly soon.  Correction:  have already started.  Of course, more than $50 went for protein powders; but I would have spent much of that or more for protein shakes if I hadn’t gone for the powder.  Annoyingly, I like the shakes, and the smoothies not so much yet.  My grocery “budget” is $45 per week.


Hemlock Club, 3/27/22; fat curmudgeon in front is the author

Hemlock Club meeting yesterday.  In attendance were all the regulars:  Pablo, Nog, TC, Peanut, and of course myself.  Pablo looked rather terrible and was walking with a four-footed cane that he had found at a bus stop and apparently needed.  Nog showed off his butterfly-bandaged shin, from which he had removed the stitches.  Also stopping by was C of Writers of Kern.  Peanut provided me with a copy of The Wasteland, a free local publication which included a poem by Pablo.

The discussion included the origin of “the dark night of the soul,” which brought to my mind The Dark Knight trilogy of movies.  I speculated that the expression might be from Pilgrim’s Progress of John Bunyan, or one other possible source which I have forgotten.  Turns out that it’s from a poem by St. John of the Cross, and the phrase has its own Wikipedia page.  This from the page is interesting:

Screen capture (links don’t work)

I rehashed my review of The Batman with Nog, and subsequently with TC.  I said at one point that I was not “respecting my audience”; this may have been in reference to that review, since it was a movie that none of the others had seen.  Nog returned a book, Seung Shan:  Only Don’t Know, to Peanut.  I gave a book to Nog, Paul Reps and Nyogen Senzaki:  Zen Flesh, Zen Bones, which Nog loaned to either TC or Peanut, I don’t recall who ended up with it.  I said that the book “didn’t do anything for me,” and that “I should just accept that I’m analytical” in my approach to pretty much everything.  I wish I had thought to get a group portrait.

I didn’t think until I was at home, possibly late last night, that “I prefer not to believe my fantasies,” a reference to religious belief in general and most specifically to those who follow Bible-based religions.  What are my fantasies?  This is a good question; off the top I can list these:

  • I look on certain actresses as “my significant others,” since my life is short of real ones
  • I can write novels and stuff
  • My book (Kick Me) can change some peoples’ lives for the better
  • I am a nice person if you can look past the obvious defects of appearance and character
  • I am generous and “woke”
  • I have seen the future of the human species
  • People are interested in what I have to say (this one is kind of hard to swallow)

Today I had one of my better smoothies, at least regarding whether I’d want to drink it again:  chocolate-flavored protein powder, orange juice, half a banana, and a slug of peanut butter.  This turned out to be of a good consistency (i.e., not too thick), with a flavor I liked.  I could only just taste the peanut butter.  Along side I had the other half of the banana and my usual cup of Cheetos.

In reviewing my file of quotations, I come across this from Viktor Frankl, Psychotherapy and Existentialism, Simon and Schuster, New York, 1967:

“Life can be made meaningful in a threefold way:  first, through what we give to life (in terms of our creative works); second, by what we take from the world (in terms of our experiencing values); and third, through the stand we take toward a fate we can no longer change (an incurable disease, an inoperable cancer, or the like).”  p. 15.

A “fate we can no longer change” is what I call our “doom”: the future demise of the human species.  My “stand” is to be depressed about it and to refuse to “take a pill,” which is what my counselor suggested in different words.

“Such grief does not desire consolation,” Dostoyevsky said in The Brothers Karamazov.

Here’s Khalil Gibran in The Prophet: “Much of your pain is self-chosen. / It is the bitter potion by which the physician within you heals your sick self.”

Coming across “repugliKKKan” in my Quotations file, and of course I’ve often used it in this diary, I thought to search for it on the Internet via DuckDuckGo.  It has been in use for years—I found a listing from 2016, while not attempting to find an original source.  “Repuglikkklan” seems to be equally popular, among many variations.

I’ve lived for five years in the same small apartment, but today I did something I haven’t done before:  I opened the bedroom curtains to let in the light.  I think I like it this way.

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

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