Good Pun is an Oxymoron

An effective pun causes brain hemorrhage. Something akin to a stroke should occur.  You should feel a distinct pain when observing a pun.  A pain in the brain. If a pun is funny it is a failure. The proper response to an effective pun is the overwhelming urge the throttle the person who uttered it. If the hearer doesn’t feel murderous rage, at least momentarily, the failed punster should probably go back to flipping burgers for a living. Wordplay is not their forte.

This doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy punning; but it does mean that engaging in the practice places you solidly in the sadomasochistic realm, somewhere between schadenfreude and outright self-loathing. Torturing language in that fashion should be painful.

Autonomous Sensory Meridian Response

I’ve experienced this all my life. Some of my earliest memories are of sitting in a library or a classroom with people reading all around me, books quietly being opened, pages being turned, people whispering what they are reading to themselves, whispering to each other, and this feeling of being tickled in my brain, up and down along my arms and legs, a feeling of static electricity all over my skin surface would occur. It happened a lot.

I could not explain it. I didn’t even dare tell anyone about it for fear of being laughed at or being told I was hallucinating. The feelings persisted though, throughout my life. Anytime I was in a quiet space and these soft, rustling sounds would occur, I would get that familiar feeling.

I wondered about it a lot. I have a very active imagination. I wondered if I was telepathic or empathic or…? Even in my wildest flights of fancy, I couldn’t explain it. I dismissed the telepathic fantasy because I couldn’t actually hear people thinking, try as hard as I might. Dismissed the empathic fantasy because it didn’t seem to have anything to do with a particular emotion or set of emotions.

It was sounds and textures. Touching skin and moving my fingers softly up and down the skin causes the sensations, too. A few years ago I stumbled across the phrase autonomous sensory meridian response or ASMR, and I filed away the fact that there was an explanation for this weird thing I experienced. It was brought back to mind with this episode of Shortwave.

Short Wave – The Squishy Science Behind ASMR – October 17, 2019

It’s an encore episode, yeah I know. This was the video that I first watched way back when. Back when I first ran across the term ASMR and wondered if this was the thing that I experienced.

Accidentally GracefulASMR Unfiltered | Simple Sounds and Soft Whispers – Apr 30, 2015

Last year, when the Shortwave episode first aired, The Wife and I queued up some of the kinds of videos that the episode airs clips from. ASMR Darling, CosmicTingles, JellybeanASMR and others. We established pretty quickly that she did not get a reaction from any of the videos. She also noted the thing that the host of Shortwave first questioned. These are all young women. Is this sexual?

It isn’t sexual, although it might be related to a sexual response. Hard to say. I am not turned on by these young women. I find their crowding the microphones creepy. I understand that they have to be close to the mics in order for the soft sounds to be captured, but still. The mic isn’t the camera. Try backing away from the camera. You might discover that the ASMR response is higher if you aren’t looking at the video but just listening to it.

I haven’t tried playing with floam, the gag that Shortwave ended the episode with. The response can be triggered by tactile sensations, as I mentioned previously. I’m not a big slime enthusiast. It just isn’t my thing. Slime with styrofoam bits in it always struck me as pre-dirtied slime. Really not my thing. But put me in a crowded library with people quietly reading any day. It is an interesting (if slightly distracting) sensation to experience.

Murderous Rage on the Anniversary

I’m writing in the new and improved Blogspot editing interface instead of in the WordPress interface today. That subject is one issue motivating my murderous rage. But there are at least two issues, I’ll get to the other one(s) in a minute.

The web host we have been utilizing to put ourselves online for about a decade chose this month to triple the cost of the online hosting that we had set up. Being the cheapskates that we always have been, we decided we could do better. Aside from which the Wife had found a new hosting company that looked good, run by some friendly people that she wouldn’t mind giving some more business to.

I mothballed my writing work and backed up WordPress and the website and waited for the procedure to complete for all the hosted websites that were going to have to transfer.  After a week of struggle with the host she had selected, she was unable to get an account at their place that functioned to her satisfaction. The thing that ended her week’s work with them was when they sent a confirmation email for a scheduled data transfer to the wrong email address.

They sent an email containing usernames and passwords to an address that was not on file with them as being the administrator of the transfer.  Let the enormity of the security breach that error represents sink in for a minute.

It’s the eleventh hour. The account we had at our existing hosting service was scheduled to bill us an obscene amount of money in less than 24 hours in order to keep up the hosting contract for the sites that we maintain for friends and associates, sites that don’t make us any money, and The Wife needed to find somewhere else for all of us to go.  She poked around a little bit and ended up at c|net and an article by written by a security guy (there’s a bit of irony for you) recommending the best hosting services for 2020. She decided well hell, if you can’t trust him who can you trust, right? Wrong. Wrongity, wrong, wrong, wrongness. All kinds of wrongness.

She did do some basic checking. The Wife is not an idiot. The URL registration for the hosting service she selected had been in place since 1998. c|net itself is one of the oldest publications on the web, well respected for the reliability of its information. We hadn’t heard of this particular web host before but we trusted c|net to have done their homework before recommending the service. That was our mistake. We contacted CIS.net.

At CIS.net we were assigned Chris W. to be the account rep. We paid up front for 8 years because the cost savings was going to be great and we were going to be getting a higher level of support for less money. Chris W. asked for the same information that the previously intended hosting company had asked for. Ok. No big deal. It’s just passwords and usernames, right? They will have your data when this is all over. Either you trust your data host or you don’t trust them. If you don’t, why keep your data there?

They moved this blog and its website first (I’m always the guinea pig) and the data transferred with just a few hiccups. The blog looked like it should, just missing a few images. I wasn’t too surprised by this. What I was surprised by was the insistence that I had multiple databases associated with the WordPress installation that I was running and that was why the images went missing. I’ve kept local backups and cloud backups of all the work I’ve done for as long as I can remember. The images are duplicated in at least two places. Image restoration would be a simple thing considering how few images were missing. I was annoyed but not outraged, so the move continued.

The Wife got to work setting up an email server for a customer next (a paying customer. One of the few) It looked great when she finished it even if she did think so herself. Two hours later it all disappeared from CIS.net’s servers. She contacted our account representative to see if there was a backup of the work she had just completed. Chris W. said that they could save and restore all that work she had just done if she signed onto their backup plan. The costs were the same as for other hosting services we’d checked with, but slightly cheaper.

(most of you can probably tell where this is going now)

While waiting for them to back things up and restore the missing mail server she had just set up, we discovered that our previous host would let us pay by the month to keep the service running. We promptly paid them for another month so that at least we could stop worrying about them deleting the data from that end of the transfer. The next day during a check-in she noticed that the mail folders in the restored backup were structured… stupidly. Like someone who didn’t know what they were doing would set things up. This cludgy restoration (not her original work at all) did work, so she got the client’s system and phone returned to them and the we sat down to take a well-deserved break in a hectic week of non-stop data terror.

In the middle of what was just the first of several movies we were planning to watch, the phone rang. Another subscriber for the destination that our data was heading for at that very moment was calling to let us know that CIS.net was not what it presented itself to be. They exchanged emails and we abandoned our movie night. After several hours of rigorous research on the Wife’s part she discovered that our data was being transferred to a honeypot set up to scam fees off of people dumb enough to transfer their data to the host.

Needless to say, she pulled the plug on the transfers. Will get a refund from the credit card servicer for the payments we made to them already. We picked a third host, one we had heard of this time, and we started the transfers again. That was when the fun started. And when I say fun, I mean the murderous red rage. But a fun rage, y’know?

The owners of the honeypot, alerted to our intent to abandon them before they had made a cent off of us, proceeded to transfer all of our domains to their registrar, whoever that was. Then they went in and deleted our accounts and all of the data from our original host (decades of pointless backups made meaningful. Yay, I guess) they changed all the passwords they had access to for the data that had been transferred, they diverted related email addresses and engaged in other assorted assholish moves in order to try to keep us from clawing back our domains and our data. They hoped to make some money off of us. I don’t think they know who they are messing with. If they did they wouldn’t be messing with us. There is no money here to be had. Just pain. Happy to share the pain with them if that’s what they want.

That problem is getting rectified as I type. The WordPress on the new (third) hosting service will be available soon and I will migrate this over there when that task is done. Have migrated it over now that it is available. Migrated the words and expanded on them with some words suggested by the editor-in-chief. I hesitate to write too much here without backing it up because I still don’t know how secure this site is and I won’t know for sure until at least a week has passed (two weeks and I still don’t know. I parked a new domain for the blog today just in case. -ed) This is not helping me find my inner peace. Not helping me get past the rage at having my stuff messed with in this way.

That is the thing causing a murderous rage that I/we can fix. So we are fixing it, because we can. This is not the thing that is causing the most rage at the moment, believe it or not.

Today is our thirty-first anniversary as a couple, the Wife and I. Every year on our anniversary we celebrate our relationship doing the thing we bonded over all those years ago. We go to a theater and we have a movie marathon, two or three movies in a row. We have dinner out as well, but for the last decade or so we have gone to the Alamo Drafthouse to watch our movies, so we get dinner and a movie together. That just makes more time for movies. Win-win.

Not this year. This year the Orange Hate-Monkey has made it impossible to go to a theater and have a good time. He has broken a thirty-year tradition of ours with his bumbling lack of leadership during this coronavirus crisis. He hasn’t managed to kill a family member with this disease yet, but I’m sure he’ll get to that eventually.

To top it all off several friends and the Wife all felt compelled to let me know that the Blue Angels were going to do a fly-over to celebrate the healthcare workers that have risked everything to keep people alive over the last few months. The Blue Angels will be flying over Austin. On our anniversary. Because the Orange Hate-Monkey thinks a patriotic tribute is what we need in this time of crisis.

The fly-overs are his idea of dealing with a pandemic. Not making sure there are enough masks for the essential workers to rely on. Not making sure there is enough protective equipment for the healthcare workers. Not paying them and the rest of the essential workers more money. Not training more people to take the load off of them in this time of crisis. No. His idea is to make us all look up and marvel at our own stupidity in spending so much of our precious blood and treasure on a military machine that cannot keep us safe from the threats we are facing.

This is the next war that we failed to build an army to deal with, to paraphrase an old truism. This pandemic is what a failure of leadership looks like. Man those fighter jets sure look great up there. Too bad all those billions spent making them and training those pilots wasn’t used to research antiviral medicines instead. We might have been able to go out and enjoy the summer, or at least been able to go out and see a movie, have some dinner in a restaurant, if we had spent that wealth a little more wisely. We might have developed a Malaria vaccine, a general Influenza vaccine, who knows what, with that kind of investment.

Instead we are sheltering in our houses hoping the markets don’t run out of food before the summer is over. At least I can write Happy Anniversary to the Wife on the blog now. We got our end fixed. How about it, Donald Trump? Want to try your hand at doing your job now? Yeah, I didn’t think so.

An Ode to Missing Balls

It was a proud sack you carried. The biggest balls I’d ever seen on a dog, not that I’m a connoisseur of dog’s balls or anything. They were big balls for the spare size of your body; and they warped your behavior, those giant balls. They made you do things that you didn’t understand and we didn’t appreciate. They were a vestige of a wild life, a life you would never be able to live.

The wolf that was your forefather chose the easy path. Or was it the hard path? Symbiosis carries its own cost. Surrendering your individual wants and needs to the group, relying on the group to keep you alive just as you try to keep the group alive. Taking the food and shelter in exchange for the limitations on behavior, the ungentle hand of the master.

The warping of your bodies to fit the whims of the selector. No longer the natural selector that bred you to be the cunning pack hunters that you were. Now your genes serve the human guide, molding you to his wayward specifications and needs. Sometimes small and lean, sometimes large and menacing, always the protector and defender of the group. Your services paid for with blood and pain and the sacrifice of your own genetic path through time, now forged anew, melded with the genetic path of the human animal.

Was that a wise choice? Who can say. But the generations of sheep herders and drovers that molded your form to fit their specific criteria for what makes up a good dog could not have understood what it was they were doing to you other than bending you to their will and their desires. You stand there today not quite natural and not quite unnatural. A testament to the malleability of the genetic code that rules all our lives.

Like your absent tail that we would have let you keep, your absent balls represented a liability that we could not afford. The liability of the tail that was docked because generations of sheep herders docked the tails of new pups, tails being just one more liability that a working sheepdog could not afford, dwarfed in comparison by the liability of testosterone enhanced viciousness and territoriality. The urine smell of marks on household furniture. The vain pursuit of the breeding imperative, a cross that you would bear all your life if we left you whole and complete. The additional litters of puppies in a world already drowning in flawed dogs without loving homes, measured in balance with the whim of male vanity. The desire to see your pet be the embodiment of your own male virility.

(Look at those balls!)

To be able to measure both paths and weigh them in your own mind. To know both the life without fulfillment, dying one day in the future knowing that you have failed to produce the offspring that nature foolishly demands of you, even though the world doesn’t need more dogs right now. Knowing that life and also knowing the life of unbiased devotion to the pursuits that your form suits you to. That one pure devoted life versus the life of frustrated pursuits curtailed by the master forced to be harsh in the face of your intransigence. Your insistence on pursuits that you will never be allowed to fulfill. To be able to judge which life carries the most real satisfaction, for yourself. Which would you choose, given that choice?

Do not hate me, my faithful companion. I beg this of you. Like the sheep herder that set your forefathers on the course that led you to me, I simply do as I think best, never really knowing if what I think is best really is the best. Am I missing something, myself? Is there some part of me that was taken away by people who felt they knew best what my course in life should be?

I cast myself backwards in time with the inner eye of imagination. I see horsemen on the plains. Nomads that knew no roof other than the endless sky. Living day to day by the skill of their hands, shaping bows and arrows the way they shaped their dogs and horses. Even they had masters. Tribal leaders that corresponded almost directly in their own way with the leaders of your forefather’s wolf packs. The most capable. The most charismatic.

The last wild men in Europe. Taking what they wanted from sheepherder and farmer alike. Taking from town folk and their rulers when they dared stand against them. Taking and taking again until they are hemmed in, strapped down and civilized right along with the rest of the human race. That force of civilization then launching outward, suppressing native populations across the world, trammelling all the wild men with the curse (or blessing?) of civilized life.

Did we cut off our own balls when we civilized ourselves? Was it more manly to take what was wanted than to work and barter and pay for it? Who now living can say?

In that life I would last mere moments, even if I had been born to that life. Too many flaws. Too much of a burden. Much better is the life I have today, even with all its insufficiencies. It remains life, the most precious of gifts bestowed on the unthinking universe. To be allowed to admire its vast arching complexity. The universe knowing itself even if only in one small way. What will all those small ways add up to? I’m glad I have this life. I hope that you are glad to have your life, as limited as we have made it for you.

How would you tell me, if you could tell me? The kisses and butt shimmies that pass for tail wags for you make me believe you are happy, but are you really happy? Would you have preferred the short life but a merry one, the life that a teenage me almost embraced? Had a different door opened, I would have gone there and been long gone by now. In that last fleeting moment of consciousness would I have thanked the universe for my brief moment in the sun or cursed my bad genetic luck for saddling me with such a miserable existence?

I will never know. I have but this life, and you have but your own life. If you could speak would you grumble about how your absent balls still itch? Or would you have already moved on to the next contemplation? Where has that tennis ball gotten off to again? Can we go for a walk now? I hope that the latter is true.

Do not hate me, my faithful companion. I acted in what I thought was your best interest and my best interests together. The best plan that my flawed human consciousness could conjure up, with what little resources I have to offer to both you and I at this late date. Yes, let’s go take that walk now. It is the least I can do for you. We can find that wayward tennis ball when we get back.

Face Covering

Got a Minute? –Monday, April 27

New state directives are coming… Want to know how Austin is planning to reopen safely? Join us at 7pm to learn what the state and local orders mean for you.

Posted by Austin Mayor Steve Adler on Monday, April 27, 2020
Facebook – Austin Mayor Adler

I resisted wearing face covering for as long as I could. I did this not just because I have a hard time reading faces and so want to make myself more easily read by people I might talk to, but also because I have a hard enough time breathing while out on a walk or doing any strenuous activity without having a barrier between me and the air I so desperately need. Austin made face covering mandatory, so I finally gave in and started wearing something to cover my mouth and nose.

I wear a bandanna tied in the classic bandit style to go along with my straw hat and tinted prescription glasses. I’m sure I strike a menacing appearance in this getup, or would if it wasn’t for the bright blue sweatpants and bright yellow walking shoes. The bandanna does seem to reduce the amount of pollen that I am exposed to, even if it doesn’t remove all of it, so I may have to keep wearing the damn thing on high allergy days even after all this coronavirus madness is nothing more than an almost forgotten nightmare.

Me and my new walking buddy getting ready to sally forth.

I don’t care what Governor Abbott or his lunatic Lieutenant Governor, Dan Patrick, think about anything. They are taking marching orders from the madman in the White House, and so consequently what they might say or do is pretty much irrelevant if not downright harmful or possibly fatal in the long run. Don’t listen to the madman in the White House. That is the best advice I can offer to anyone. I have no idea why anyone does listen to him anymore.

I’ll continue wearing my bandit mask for as long as it suits me. If they make me go physically to the polls during the runoffs and then in November, I will go there wearing the thing as well. I will wear the mask and vote all of them out of office. This is proof positive that real criminals don’t wear bandannas and straw hats. Real criminals wear business suits and ties and they lie right to your face with not a hint of insincerity. “I have a great deal for you!” Sure you do.


I have been experiencing some deep depression lately. It came to me last night what this depression probably stems from. I don’t know what to write about in this time of coronavirus that isn’t somehow related to the coronavirus. All of my podcasts are going full-on coverage of the subject, and most of the news is also about it.

I’ve been deleting most news podcasts for weeks. Over the last week I have finished two books on tape rather than listen to any of the podcasts that I usually spend time listening to. I have no use for more news about this disease. I know what I need to know to stay healthy, and most of what is being said is correction of the misinformation that the Orange Hate-Monkey (OHM) has been spreading about the disease on a nightly basis, with the help of the media that can’t seem to stop spreading his lies for him. The WaPo ran a piece today title Trump has played the media like a puppet. Ya think? I’ve only been trying to say this for four years now. Nice that you’ve finally noticed that you are being used. Maybe you should fix that problem before it gets out of hand.

The Wife came to me today and said she had a revelation. “The blame game is about to start.” I tried to be patient with her, but this really isn’t a revelation to me. The OHM has been engaging in the blame game for four years now. He and his cronies are clearly gearing up to start blaming the Democrats for cracking down on the populations under their control, imposing restrictions that the severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (Covid-19) did not require. They’ll say people aren’t dying at greater rates than previously. The cities and states will point to the elevated numbers of deaths. The OHM will say those aren’t coronavirus deaths. The cities and states will say they were coronavirus deaths. The OHM will say they weren’t because they weren’t tested for coronavirus. The cities and states will object and point out that there aren’t enough tests to test all the dead people. The OHM will shrug and go back to golfing. Just like he has always done.

ALL IN – Trump hits 108 days at his own golf properties – April 20, 2018

It’s important to remember that this guy complained bitterly about all the time that Barack Obama spent on the golf course. What he hates most about Barack Obama on the golf course (other than he is a black man on a golf course that isn’t a caddy) is that Obama is a better golfer than he is, and Barack Obama spent less time getting there than the OHM has already spent on the golf course during his joke of a presidency.

Donald Trump wants to open the country back up so he can get back to golfing and get back to charging people to golf with him. It hasn’t got anything to do with the deaths and the suffering, or how much worse it will all be after we end social distancing. He just wants to keep doing what he has always done. Screw people and steal their money.

This is par for the course. This is how every single embarrassing event has been played since Trump blundered onto the political stage and demonstrated that he has no capacity to feel shame for his shameful behavior. There is a fly in this ointment though. There are records of his malfeasance.

For weeks, the PDB — as the report is known — traced the virus’s spread around the globe, made clear that China was suppressing information about the contagion’s transmissibility and lethal toll, and raised the prospect of dire political and economic consequences.

But the alarms appear to have failed to register with the president, who routinely skips reading the PDB and has at times shown little patience even for the oral summary he now takes two or three times per week, according to the officials who spoke on the condition of anonymity to discuss classified material.

The advisories being relayed by U.S. spy agencies were part of a broader collection of worrisome signals that came during a period now regarded by many public health officials and other experts as a squandered opportunity to contain the outbreak.

The Washington Post

The OHM was ignoring all the signs that COVID-19 was going to be a problem until he couldn’t ignore it anymore. Then he blamed the CDC, the WHO and the Chinese government for the things he had every right to have known months previously if he had only bothered to pay attention.

He tried to blame the Democrats for not giving him the funds that he needed to combat the disease until Nancy Pelosi handed him a check for two trillion dollars. A check that the OHM then promptly put in his and his closest buddies pockets. That bit of malfeasance will be coming back to bite him right about the time elections roll around in November.

Texas may open back up on Friday or Monday. Austin won’t be following the governor’s direction. Neither will Houston, Dallas or any other city that understands what the real problem is here. The real problem is that these Republican morons think they can bluff a virus. That they can lie to mother nature and she won’t punish them for it.

I feel bad for those people who can’t afford to stay home any longer. Those people who have purposely been kept poor by the system they are part of in some ill-gotten belief that you have to keep people hungry, homeless or on the edge of homelessness, in order to get them to work. We have all be stolen from over the course of our lives by these people in suits and ties who think they are better than we are because they have money and we don’t. They don’t understand, any more than the poor do, that they are rich because the system allows them to be rich.

The system could be adjusted so that everyone is at least comfortable with some pretty minor tweaks. The two trillion dollar coronavirus rescue package? The country’s entire population could be granted a guaranteed minimum income for an entire year for that amount of money (Andrew Yang’s Freedom Dividend) What are the benefactors of most of that money doing with it right now? Driving the stock markets up with all this extra cash they just stumbled into. Pretty much the same thing they were doing before the pandemic hit with all that free money that Trump gave them in his tax bill.

So instead of making sure that no one has to work that isn’t constitutionally set up for the kind of risky work that is required right now, instead of making sure that no Americans are homeless and have enough food to eat, we’ve given billionaires even more money to play around with. Now the poor feel compelled to return to work having burned through the $1200.00 pittance that was allowed to them.

People are going to die. Most likely a lot of people are going to die. I’m going to do my best to not be one of them. I’m not planning on going anywhere (other than to vote as I noted previously) until right about January the 20th of 2021. I might not even go out then other than to abandon this hellhole that we’ve made, heading for greener pastures if there are any of those left by then. We’ll just have to see whether the tide turns or not.


Editor’s note: July 4, 2020. Governor Abbott swerved to miss the oncoming train today. He has reinstated the statewide requirement for masks, with several very large exceptions. Too large, according to Mayor Adler. Weirdly, I never stopped wearing a mask outdoors even though I didn’t have to wear one and still don’t have to since I won’t go into a crowded public space so long as the pandemic rages. Hopefully I will get my ballots by mail as I requested. Hopefully there will be people present at the vote counting that will ensure that mail-in ballots are not simply thrown in the trash. There are some very thin shoe-strings of hope weaving the future of the country together. That is not a reassuring thought.

Two Steps Forward

When this is over this country is going to need more than bandaids. It’s going to need fucking surgery. Things need to change and not go back to normal. Ctrl-Z us back to how we were in 2016 is simply not going to cut it, and honestly it shouldn’t have taken a pandemic to prove our unemployment system is a mess, that we need universal healthcare and that workers need benefits, the right to organize and wages that reflect how essential they really are.

John Oliver – Apr 12, 2020
HBOCoronavirus IV: Last Week Tonight with John Oliver – Apr 12, 2020

Living the Life of a Shut-In

It was a full week into the Austin advisement to shelter-in-place before I realized that most people were having a hard time dealing with the life of a shut-in. Not much has changed for me in these times of coronavirus. I’m not any sicker today than I was almost twenty years ago when I became a shut-in. I have to say that being shut-in because of your disabilities is a different kind of animal than being shut-in on the orders of the government.

When I first read up on the risks of the COVID-19 pandemic, I knew that I could not afford to be exposed to it. I have several of the listed co-morbidities so catching the virus will likely be a death sentence if there are insufficient medical facilities to handle the 20% of cases that will need hospitalization. I was practicing social distancing back at the beginning of February, before the belated attempts to curtail the pandemic came into being. Canceling appointments, avoiding leaving the house, etcetera, I’ve been at this for two months as I write this. The news is getting me down but the isolation isn’t.

I haven’t given how I’ve managed to cope with being a shut-in a lot of thought. Like all things that you have to do to survive, you just do it. I’m naturally a loner, so being alone really isn’t a problem for me. The staying indoors is something that I had a hard time adjusting to when I first started working in an office. It took years to get me adjusted to not going outside because of work. When I couldn’t work anymore I had almost forgotten how much I enjoyed wandering around on foot. I can and do go on walks these days, but my disabilities keep me mindful of notifying people when I leave and when I return. I don’t want anyone freaking out because they didn’t find me holed up in my office, which is where I can usually be found.

At this point in the scheme of social distancing, my lone excursions are still permitted by the government here. If a stricter quarantine is put into effect, I see a lot of frustrating miles being walked on the treadmill. That would be much like it was in the early days of my disability, when I was almost certain that being outside was an active threat to my existence.

I have to admit, the first two years of social isolation were quasi-tragic. That was before the government granted that I was disabled, so not only could I not work, but we were at risk of losing the house because I couldn’t work. The Wife and our children would all be out on the street with me because I couldn’t stop the world from spinning when I was under stress. My stress loads were high, so my vertigo was more frequent; and because the vertigo was more frequent, I didn’t trust that I could take a 45 minute walk outside and not be throwing up in a ditch somewhere, waiting for an ambulance to come pick me up.

We bought a treadmill as soon as the disability payments started coming in, so that I could at least attempt to get in some exercise and feel like I was moving. That has been a lifesaver many times over. One of the only pieces of exercise equipment that we’ve purchased that has been worth the price.

I tried to hide in movies and television as much as possible back then. There are a lot of the newly isolated these days trying to cope by engaging in the same activity. I watched more TV then than I did as a teenager. I started to feel the needed to record everything so that I could watch it again when I wanted, just in case I needed something else to distract myself with. I spent several quality months trying to rig up a system that let me capture programs straight to my computer hard drive. I recorded shows for the children, the Wife and myself. I was always coming up with something else we all had to watch, just so I wouldn’t obsess about the impending eviction or the desperate actions I might have to take to keep my family from being evicted.

But our finances have slowly stabilized, even if they haven’t gone comfortably into the black (you aren’t allowed to have savings on disability) and with the stress of work life removed the vertigo spells have been mercifully infrequent. Bear Philley started me playing World of Warcraft not too long after I starting getting disability payments, and in that MMO I’ve found the limited social interaction that I need to stay sane and be a shut-in at the same time.

There is one other ingredient that is essential to this recipe for sanity that I am trying to describe here. More than distraction and finding alternative ways of connecting with other people. More than not having to worry (too much) about keeping the lights on in the house and your children fed. That ingredient is the ability to live in the now.

Jesus JonesRight Here Right Now – Mar 26, 2018

I remember when this song came out in 1991. There was hope in my world back then. A new father, a new job. The internet was becoming the World Wide Web and it seemed like the world really was waking up from history for the first time ever. The problem with thinking this, that the world is waking up, is that it is you that is waking up. You are becoming conscious of the now, in those moments of transcendence or inspiration.

Now is always going to be a transitive state. There is no point that is now that will still be now after it happens. Being in the now requires you to do exactly that. No plans for the future. No contemplation of the past. The fingers on the keyboard, hovering, waiting for the next words to occur to you so that you can put them down on the page.

How long can you hold that? Fingers poised, without writing anything? Without feeling like you’ve failed to write something? Knowing that the writing will happen when it will happen. To be conscious in the moment, for as long as that moment can be extended. Living in the now. This is where we all are in our quarantine space. Unable to make plans because there is nothing to plan for aside from mundane tasks that really don’t require that much planning.

This is where I’ve been for years now. In the mornings I wake up and take stock of the situation. Is the sun shining? If yes, then go for a walk. If no, then maybe go for a walk depending on weather/allergy conditions. What chores need doing today? What thing that I’ve been putting off for years can I get done today?

I select that thing from the list of possibilities for the day, and then I put all the other thoughts aside and get busy engaging in the task at hand. Dive into it. Don’t just wash dishes, explore the wonderful world of fluid dynamics. Don’t just wash the clothes, quantify fabrics and colors and on and on. Get into the now. I mean, really get into it. Like your whole life depends on it.

The garage step I’ve been threatening to assemble for years, now assembled. I still want to finish that front edge.

That is what life is in the end. Life is what happens, and this is happening to you now. Engage it, learn from it, expand beyond it. Be the person you need to be to get through this moment, so that you can emerge from this moment as a new person capable of dealing with the next thing that comes along.

Be assured that there will be a next thing. there always is a new now to wake up into so long as life continues. Be grateful for each moment that you live, even if that moment seems like drudgery to the outside observer. Find that thing that you can hold onto, and hold onto it until it passes. Hold onto it because that moment will never occur again, no matter how many dozens of times it seems like this has happened before. Savor it, because it will be irretrievably gone before you know it.

All those moments will be lost in time, like tears in rain.

Rutger Hauer

Daylight Swearing Time

It’s that time of year again. That time of year where you exclaim “Fuck! How did it get to be 4:30 am already?” It isn’t. Except it is now.

RAnt(hony)-ings

…And it will go on being 4:30 am at this time of night until after 2:00 AM on Sunday, November 1, 2020. Then it will be 3:30 AM again. At least I have that to look forward to in November.


Imagine just for a few minutes, what it would be like for your GPS to calculate time variance based on degrees of longitude rather than twenty-four one hour time zones. In the same way your phone can change times for daylight savings, it can change time to keep up with your actual position on the globe. The device that you already rely on to tell you what time it is could just do the time calculation for your location and actually tell you what the local time is. The satellites that control GPS already perform these calculations just to be able to talk to each other and establish UTC for themselves.

 I’m just not going to comply with Daylight Savings Time until somebody in authority can explain to me what we’ve been doing with all the daylight we’ve saved for the last 200 years.

I mean the interest alone on all those photons should be enough to power every solar panel in the country for the next decade.

I’m just saying, somebody owes me some sunlight here.

Stonekettle Station