My Real Problem, and Violette Leduc

Diary 7/29 to 7/31/22: The joys of polygraphs; losing Dr. Hill; better than a funk; the perils of pee bottles; Social Security is my hero; Cinemondo; Hemlock Club; Russell

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


Dr. Hill and polygraph today.  Oh, joy.

My blog post of the diary entries from 7/18 to 7/22 has gotten nineteen “likes.”  This is a phenomenal result for me.  I just published the next entry, covering 7/23 through yesterday’s.

“Liar” Photo by lilartsy on

My polygraph exam resulted in a rating of “deceptive.”  In other words, I went through two hours of misery to get a miserable result.  I have no idea of how my probation officer will respond to this.  Also, Dr. Hill is leaving because she wants to have babies and needs to find a man to help with that.  Too bad, because I consider her a friend.  Amazingly, when I told her about my blunder with Social Security, she handed me a $20.  I have previously thought of her as “a good friend.”  Thinking that I might give her a copy of Kick Me, which is a dismal gift, but…

Family Guy: Peter abuses Meg

Watched much Family Guy when I got home, plus sudoku.  This is sad, but I was willing to be self-indulgent because it’s better than being in a funk of misery.  Now it’s after 9:00 pm.


A disaster last night.  Somewhere around midnight I needed to pee.  Since I am much troubled with fleas, I have begun keeping a “pee bottle” by my bed, in the shape of an empty peanut butter jar, so I don’t have to expose myself to the buggers by walking to and from the bathroom.  So I took the jar and peed into it; alas, I fell asleep while waiting for my plumbing to finish its job, and predictably, I spilled the contents and so received “a rude awakening” about 3:30 am.  How I coped with this is “best left to the imagination.”  I’m too lazy this morning to bother providing less-clichéd alternatives to the phrases in quote marks.  So this morning the apartment smells like urine, and that’s not likely to change until next week, as I have no money to do laundry.

However, this morning is not all bad:  my deposit from Social Security is shown by my bank as “pending” with a date of August 1.  This means that the money will actually be available as early as today (Saturday), but probably no later than Monday.

A book I had…

Watched a movie on Link TV last night, Violette (2013), a biopic or docudrama about the early career and life of Violette Leduc.  I encountered her novel, Thérèse et Isabelle, some time in my late teens or twenties, in an edition that included photos from a movie version.  “The tale of two boarding school girls in love,” per  At the time I found it rather dull and “disappointing” (little or no sex), but I also bought her novel (or autobiography, per Wikipedia) La Bâtarde and never read it.  The movie was ninety minutes on TV, but Rotten Tomatoes shows it as two hours and nineteen minutes.  So “Cinemondo” is revealed as unreliable.  However, I enjoyed the abbreviated version well enough, without being able to say that I loved it.  86% from critics at RT, 68% from audiences.  The critics’ reviews snippets are ridiculously overheated, but Kate Muir has it right as far as I’m concerned:  “…the focus on her life is surprisingly dull.”  It (the movie, not the review) has an excess of depression, whining, and hand-wringing, not unlike my diary, but is actually pretty interesting, and she hobnobs with de Beauvoir, Genet, and other French literary icons of the time (WWII and after).  I wonder about the missing fifty minutes.

Violette Leduc (1907-1972)

The San Joaquin library system has the movie on DVD, but only one of her books.  Their description suggests that the missing minutes covered a span before what I saw, like her childhood.

Hemlock Club today.  I’m wondering whether Eric will show up, given that I read his body language toward the end last time as “bored.”  Tim, Portia, and Pablo will not be present.

I doubt that I am interesting enough to Dr. Hill to turn her into a legitimate friend; but I must try, at least to the extent of giving her my book and such.


Eric did show up, quite late, to the Hemlock Club, and so did Tim.  Neil and I had been talking about various incidents in our lives involving pee.  Olivia also was a surprise visitor, not because it’s unusual for her to show up, but because I hadn’t even considered the possibility.  She stayed for about 45 minutes, during which time we mostly reviewed her “personal letter” part of her application for a Fulbright scholarship. (!)  As usual, I was so taken with her beauty that I failed to pay full attention to her plans—there was also something about spending a year in Amsterdam. (!)  I mentioned the Van Gogh museum and had a number of comments on her letter, which she appreciated.  I also gave her the two printouts that I’d prepared for the day—the American Library Association’s list of banned and challenged books, and my Best Books list.  After she left, Neil and I puzzled over “why she finds us worth her time.”

Eric arrived shortly after she left, but he said, essentially, that he wasn’t interested in her (he hasn’t explicitly said he’s gay, but he’s dropped endless hints).  Uniquely, he spent considerable time with my Best Books and asked for a recommendation.  I asked “fiction or non,” then narrowed it down to “politics”; I suggested then, Naomi Klein, Noam Chomsky, and I think the Greg Palast.

Bertrand Russell (1872-1970)

Sitting here at my laptop, I see Bertrand Russell’s three volume Autobiography, which I read a couple of decades ago.  As I recall, it’s somewhat less enthralling than one might expect, i.e., it was a mild disappointment; but I’m thinking that it’s perhaps time for a reread, given that most other options arouse in me nothing more than “Meh.”  Or so it seems.  But:

The real problem, as it has “always” been, is that I’m not writing.  This results inevitably in boredom…it’s like being hungry and thinking, “Shall I drink some water?  Diet soda?  Or what?”  Neglect your priorities, neglect your hierarchy of needs, and the salt loses it savor, so you end up watching Family Guy for half the day while working sudoku from an inferior book (I am mildly displeased with the World’s Best Sudoku! [sic] from Women’s World, for reasons too tedious to go into).  Or other behaviors that miss the point (fapping).

I tend to start the day with this diary; I can’t see this as “part of the problem” or even “a distraction.”  The Russell volumes would amount to “part of the problem, and a distraction.”  The fleas are definitely a distraction, but I can hardly blame the problem on them.

In September of last year (link) I wrote, “I don’t mind distracting myself with these DVDs because Kick Me has progressed nicely and I did a good two hours of work on it yesterday.”  Those were the good old days?

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

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