Diary, 1/16 to 1/22/2020

So, the Women’s March yesterday was a much bigger event than I had anticipated, given that my expectations were for a slightly larger Kavanaugh protest, the last (and first) such event I attended.  It turned out that there were many vendors set up in this park on 21st Street.  The hours from 10:00 to noon were devoted to speakers who were always wanting the crowd to chant or make noise, so that was pretty tiresome...

Diary, 12/1 to 12/11/19

A bleak morning, thinking of the role the United States has taken in the world throughout my lifetime and before.  Thinking of the role the greedy rich have taken in the United States throughout my lifetime.  Thinking of the ineffectual Democratic Presidents, the hope-betrayers...

Diary, 11/20 to 12/1/19

A week of HBO and Cinemax and stuff.  Watched maybe the first half of Aquaman, and turned it off at that point because it was so awful.  The man himself is good, but the story just sucks.  I expect it will have its fans among the younger set, like thirteen-year-old boys.  But, seriously, drinking and driving?  Heavy drinking for amusement value?  No and No.  The CGI is overblown; Atlantis would have looked better if...

Diary, 11/1 to 11/6/19

910 words so far this morning on The New Book. So far it is a “book” of “thinking on paper,” and so far it is thinking about weight loss. Obviously, I don’t intend and could not think about weight loss every day to the tune of a thousand words; it would be nice, but I don’t expect this, if I could “think on paper” each day, thinking about self-mastery, and so get my book written.

Diary, 10/7 to 10/19/19, biggest post ever

Lay in bed this morning half asleep, turning over in my mind several words: acicular, acuminate, corm, carom, and maybe some others. Oh, yeah, crom, which comes from Conan the Barbarian. I looked it up; under cromlech, I found that crom is Welsh for bent or crooked. On looking in the Scrabble dictionary, I found, to my surprise, many words beginning with bh…; the only one I’d seen before was bhakti. I think there’s a book by Joseph Campbell titled Bhakti and Baksheesh, about his time in India. I think I owned a copy for a while, started reading it, and gave it up...

Diary, 9/30 to 10/6/19

My recent episodes of binge eating and my reading of The Willpower Instinct suggest that I’m having willpower (“wp”) troubles. The thing is, I’ve been very good about some wp challenges, such as controlling my food shopping (except recently!) regarding sugar and sodium, and not overspending on books—always at best a partial success, and often a partial failure. So, I really need to work on the wp problem, and I think the easy solution, or better, the first easy test, is exercise. That, and continue focusing on cutting down sugar in my diet: no more binges (which always involve sugar), no more chocolate cream pie at Lorene’s, and keep my food shopping under control.

Diary, 9/23 to 9/29/19

... neuroses are essentially psychic bandages—how we unconsciously respond to hurt in order to prevent more hurt. But of course it is necessary eventually to get beyond that stage. This is a commonplace. Another valuable lesson is how to respond to verbal aggressions like criticism...

Diary, 9/9 to 9/17/19

Watched Rashomon and Throne of Blood yesterday evening. Toshiro Mifune, who stars in both, seemed to me a pretty terrible actor: he false-laughs his way through the former, and yells all through the latter. Granted, his facial expressions are remarkable. Rashomon is very effective and seldom drags, even though I’ve seen it three or four times previously; the actress was good, though her crying was no more convincing than...

Diary, 9/1 to 9/8/19

I ended up finally getting moderately hooked on Gotham, so I watched sixteen or seventeen episodes of Season 1 yesterday to finish it, since it has to go back today. The future Catwoman—Camren Bicondova is the actress—was for me almost the main attraction, her face is so compellingly beautiful. I wasn’t happy with the changes to her role in the last couple of episodes. Bruce Wayne got more interesting as well. As the shows...

Diary, 8/26 to 8/31/19

Lying in bed this morning, I recalled the names of two of the Pathfinder characters I played, so, a bit of reminiscence: My first character was Fonk, a big green barbarian (half-orc). It took me a couple of minutes to come up with the name, which troubled me for a while. He eventually had a returning javelin that could carry a spell. This character involves several poor choices—a barbarian is more complicated to play...

Diary, 8/18 to 8/25/19

Well, I started a Pathfinder Meetup and acquired a group member within the first hour. I doubt that J or Pablo will be interested. If I can get just two enthusiastic members, well, that’s two potential friends. I’ve also discovered just a ton of stuff on the Internet, no surprise. I haven’t found any online play yet, but surely it’s out there. I’m not sure that I want that, because I’d then want home Internet…well, I wouldn’t necessarily fall into the same black hole that I discovered previously, i.e., something like “all Twitter, all the time.” But the real point of Pathfinder is, as always, new potential friends. I wonder ...

Diary, 8/5 to 8/10/19

Last night I started reading Mark Epstein, M.D.: Thoughts Without a Thinker: Psychotherapy from a Buddhist Perspective. I was unpersuaded by the author’s delving into “the wheel of life” for insights into human psychology; what I saw was obscure metaphor after obscure metaphor, nothing I could use or even understand. Buddhism offers a way to escape the otherwise endless cycle of reincarnation...

Diary, 7/31 to 8/4/19

Colin McGinn: The Making of a Philosopher: My Journey Through Twentieth-Century Philosophy is regrettably tedious because it labors over some pragmatically useless, thus very dull, points of analytic philosophy (via Wittgenstein’s Philosophical Investigations and Kripke’s interpretation thereof). There’s only ninety pages to go, but I’m thinking that I’ll skim the rest, to see if it gets into anything I’ll find useful to my own thoughts. I was thinking early on that this would be a great introduction to philosophy for beginners...

Diary, 7/15 to 7/23/19

I’m thinking that the reading I do, which I called “sifting” a while back, mostly doesn’t stick except in the form of externalized memory. That is, I highlight in books and/or type out quotes in my Collected Quotations book, but I don’t often review these products. So I sift out the gems, but don’t make much use of them. I need to make more use of them. Then I won’t be feeling like I’m just wasting time. In fact, the process, which grew by itself, seems efficient...

Diary, 6/23 to 6/27/19

Even as I think of saying, “The world doesn’t need more contenders,” etc., another voice pipes up: “So you’re content to waste your gifts.” No, I guess I’m not content, it’s probably accurate to say that I’ve never been content, with the possible exception of the time after I had decided that I wanted to be a novelist. I quickly discovered that what I really wanted was to have the perks without doing the work.