The Battle of Wounded Knee

My wounded knee is acting up and it is starting to worry me.

No, not the one I bashed up getting into a cab last week. That one is mostly fine now, there’s just a little stiffness left.

No, it is the other one, the one I hurt a couple of years ago when I made the life altering mistake of crawling on my hands and knees for a few feet.

Apparently, that was a thing I shouldn’t do any more. Kind of sucks that I had to find that out in a way that meant permanent damage to my body (because we still can’t fix cartilage, shockingly enough), but what the hell.

Anyhow, lately it’s been acting up, and by acting up I mean causing me increasing amounts of pain, and I am getting worried that I will end up on crutches when I only have two weeks of regular schooling left in the semester.

Then there’s finals, of course.

If things get any worse, I am at least going to have to start using my cane again. Not looking forward to that, seeing as I am already plenty awkward getting around with my large size and large kitbag. A cane is not as bad as crutches on that score, but it is still not good.

And obviously, a cane is not a long term solution. For that, I will have to get myself to the doctor. When I first brought this injury to him, he said there was an operation that might help, or might make it worse, and all it could really do was clean up the injury site, and so forth and so on.

At the time, I didn’t think it was worth it, because I could cope fairly well with the injury. It honestly didn’t bother me at all for a long long time.

But then I went back to school, and started moving around way more, and then it got real cold. And it started to bother me more. At first, not a lot, but it has been growing worse over time for the last month or so.

Then I bashed the other knee, which caused me to favour my bad leg (with the bad knee) for a couple of days, and that’s when things really started going all to hell.

So now, the be-damn’d thing is cramping up painfully even when I am sitting here in front of my computer, and I am worried that I might have made the tear in the cartilage worse. And sort of wondering what condition I would be in if I had agreed to the surgery way back when.

Knowing what the wait times for non critical surgery are like, I would probably be getting that operation right about now!

Still, I am way more open to the idea now. If the condition becomes critical enough, I will have no choice. Then again, if it becomes critical enough, I will not have to wait so long for the surgery.

So in a sense, the systems is saying “Go hurt yourself!”. Kind of like when it ignores mental health patients unless they have committed a crime.

You know what to do, desperate nutcases!

I am hoping the cold is a big part of why the knee has been worse lately. Cold is notoriously hard on muscular conditions, and while cartilage is not muscle, the stuff in your knee has complicated layers of muscles all around it. So it could be that the muscles are spasming and that’s what is causing the pain. It certainly feels like some of the muscles have gone rigid, and when I massage them, it relieves the pain a little.

Maybe all I need is to stay inside and keep the area warm for a while, and it will calm down and not be so ouchy.

But ya know…. school. If only this had waited till after exams! I will have lots of time to nurse it then.

Which brings me to the question on my mind right now : what the hell am I going to do with myself over Winter Break? I am so used to having school in my life now. What will I do all day?

My first thought was that I will start a novel. I missed NaNoWriMo this year, but that’s not the only time in which novels might be written. I could take Winter Break as my own personal novel writing challenge, and finally start a novel with no particular end in mind and no particular word count.

Who am I kidding, the mere prospect of that makes me really anxious. So maybe I will have a daily word count based on the number of days I have divided by some goal like 60,000 words.

Part of my mind is already trying to do the math.

Still, I will be pondering a concept for a novel over the next week and change. I have not written any fiction lately. I am sure I must have ideas just waiting to come out. And boredom is a wonderful stimulant for creativity if you give it a chance.

I learned in Psych 1200 that you get the best performance from a moderate level of arousal. [1] And I was just reading in The Human Zoo by Desmond Morris that animal studies have shown that boredom only leads to listlessness and lack of direction up to a point.

Past that point, it has the opposite effect. It makes animals manic, even frantic. The need for stimulation becomes so great that absolutely any action that produces a result the animal can sense becomes repeated over and over again.

And it wasn’t just animals. He described an experiment where they took a bunch of undergrads and had them put on vision-blocking goggles, hearing-blocking headphones, and thick and extremely heavy gloves. These poor subjects couldn’t touch, hear, or see anything, and they kept them like that for three freaking days.

That sort of thing is where ethics boards came from.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)
  1. That’s what SHE Said!

The way home

Pondering what I will do on the way home with the $20 I have left in the week’s budget.

Originally I was going to do White Spot or similar. I have pretty much settled on taking a taxi home on Thursdays, so Tuesday after class is the next best opportunity to treat myself to a nice meal where I can munch and blog.

But then it occurred to me that the money might be better spent at Pricesmart, getting little fun foods to make my nightly meals less monotonous. Things like those mini pot pies I like so much, or some cold cuts to encourage my eating more cheese, maybe an onion. That sort of stuff.

So now… I dunno.

I have such a problem with indecision…when the decision is about me. In theory, my high performance INTJ mind should make me highly decisive. We are optimized for rapid deep judgment. But that only applies to situations where the answer can be derived via logical analysis.

Personal decisions are more emotional and unclear. Maybe there is an objectively superior option. Maybe not. But there are so many contingent variables that it can seem hopelessly complex.

On The Road : Baby It’s Cold Outside edition

At White Spot. Guess I made my choice. I took the path of least resistance. It is a path I know all too well.

In fact, to be honest, it tends to be my path of first resort. It is the path that ends my anxiety of indecision the soonest, and that is the nature of the sort of fast rising anxiety that I suffer from : its rapid rising nature leads to panic because it makes me feel like the waters are rising and I have to get out NOW NOW NOW!! Or something terrible will happen.

The same Something Terrible that compulsions make you dread. What is it, exactly? Nobody knows….it is too terrible to contemplate!

Probably some stupid bullshit that doesn’t even matter, though.

I have been thinking about anxiety and myself a lot lately. I am coming to the conclusion that my extremely high strung, anxious nature has been my worst enemy for most of my life. When I look back at those times when someone tried to befriend me in elementary school, anxiety was there, screaming in my ear, telling me to take that path of least anxiety. And when the anxiety is social in nature, the path of least anxiety is to break off the social exposure in the way that insures the least social exposure in the future.

In other words, rejection. And as a consequence, friendlessness.

Even when I got some sort-of friends, my time with them was basically one long anxiety attack. It is weird that it took me this long to figure that out. I guess it took a lot of recovery for me to be able to clearly recognize just how strange, wrong, and worrying that is.Weird

I was a real basket case as a kid. I mean… holy SHIT.

In fact, the more I look back, the more anxiety I see. Even when I was relatively happy, the anxiety was there. The only time I came even close to being without anxiety was when I was alone. No wonder I became so solitary.

My own body chemistry was conditioning me to fear my fellow human beings.

(Hmmm. East Indian dude ahead of me eating steak. Hmmm.)

So why was I so anxious? Basic temperament has to be part of it. Even when I was a happy preschooler with friends and my mother at home, I was an excitable kid. Even back then, I pretended to be cool and calm, but I was a little bundle of energy. And definitely the sort of kid who doesn’t wander too far away from Mama.

The issue, then, is how that energy got turned into runaway anxiety. The trauma of being sexually abused probably got that started. It only takes one incident to wreck a kid, especially one as young as I was at the time.

Holy crap, sudden skit :

(SCENE : The deck of the starship 1701-D)

Riker : O’Brien, beam them up.
Picard : Belay that order!
Riker : …you mean delay, sir?
Picard : Yes of course. Why, what did I say?
Riker : You said belay, sir.
Picard : Belay? How ridiculous. That’s not even a word. Number One, I order to you inform me immediately if I should ever make a silly mistake like that again!
Riker : ………
Picard : Okay, now what?
Riker : It’s…. not the first time you’ve said it, sir.
Picard : Good God, you mean I’ve done it before? When?
Riker : As far as I can tell, Captain, you’ve said it every single time you have meant to say “delay”.
Picard : But…. but that’s impossible! Surely you must be mistaken. If I went around talking like that, people would think I was an idiot. Data, what do you have to say about this?
Data : My internal databanks show that you have made that mistake exactly 1759 times in my presence, sir. Shall I analyze the logs for more examples?
Riker : I don’t think that will be necessary, Data.
Picard : Damn it all, I still don’t believe it!
Data : We anticipated that you might react this way, sir, so we took the liberty of inviting someone you MIGHT believe.

(Turbolift doors open, Doctor Beverly Crusher enters)

Picard : Not you too, Beverly!
Crusher : Now Jean-Luc, try to calm down. Don’t make me confine you to quarters.
Picard : (visibly calms himself) I’m…. fine, Doctor Crusher. Really. Say what you have to say.
Crusher : My dear Jean-Luc… for as long as I have known you, and for as long as my late husband Jonathan knew you, you have said belay when you meant delay. Every single time.

(Pizard sinks into his command chair, deflated. )

Picard : Well then why in the blazes didn’t anyone tell me?
Riker : We thought you already knew, sir.
Crusher : After all, my scans always find you to be the picture of health. No brain abnormalities.
Picard : Brain abnormalities, oh my god…
Riker : So we thought of it as just a harmless affectation.
Picard : You meant to tell me that you thought I chose to… oh my god.
Riker : What is it, sir?
Picard : I just realized why all those Denebian delegates laughed when I apologized for the belay.

(Everybody dissolves into gales of laughter, including, eventually, Picard himself.)

Well. That was fun. I should suffer more sudden skit attacks. That one needs a little work, but I think with a little spit and polish (mostly polish), it could be a very fan-pleasing skit.

I might even forward it to Patrick Stewart himself. I think he’d get a kick out of it.

Whaddaya know, I removed some childhood trauma and a skit popped out. So that’s where they’ve been hiding!

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

My least favorite

Had an exam in the least favorite of my five classes, Ideology and Politics, the course I signed up for without even reading the description because it sounded so perfect for me.

Turns out, not so much. The subject matter is right up my twisted little alley, but the method… meh. Makes me think that I should not take any more political science courses, even though it may well be that if this course had been taught by someone else, I would be loving every minute of it.

As for the exam… well, I hope I passed. Nuff said.

Of course, not having the textbook is a serious hindrance. My fault, of course, because of my mighty fuckups. But it’s more than just not having the text. It’s a phenomenon I described on Facebook thusly :

Dear all my professors :
I can listen to what you are saying.
I can write down what’s on the slides.
But I cannot do both at the same time.
It used to be that the time it took for the teacher to write something on the blackboard automatically gave you time to write it down too.
But now its all education via Powerpoint, and the professors can press a button and give us hundreds of words to write down and just keep talking. And then they wonder why nobody seems to be listening to them.
It’s one or the other, professors. We cannot do both at the same time.

Of my three fact-based professors (Creative Writing and Journalism are not so much into the facts and tests thing), my Ideology and Politics professor is the worst offender for this, and that’s especially problematic for some without the text because my notes are all I have to go on.

Also, I have thought about this, and the questions on the test are pretty hard. Not unreasonably so, but still. They require a fair bit of mental muscle. If this was subject matter I had fully command of, I could do a decent job. But I don’t. I am honestly not used to having to learn this sort of thing. There’s a reason I don’t take History courses, and it’s not because of lack of interest. It’s that I don’t enjoy memorizing things and I have never had to learn to do it.

I got through school on my naturally high level of retention. For some reason, that doesn’t seem to be doing the job in this case. The difference might well be teaching method.

My professor can’t seem to decide if we should be trying hard to understand the concepts or working hard to memorize the facts. I think she may suffer from a lack of understanding (or remembering) what it’s like to be new to the subject. To her, all of this is basic knowledge, and I am sure that to her, this all hangs together naturally.

But to us, or at least to me, it’s mostly a string of facts that leaves little room for actually talking about the ideas, which is what I foolishly thought the course would be about. I suppose I imagined it to basically be a philosophy course with a political focus. If that had been the case, I would be enjoying myself a great deal more.

But instead, we’re covering more or less the entire history of modern Western thought as it pertains to Canada, and that’s a lot of ground to cover in a relatively small number of classes.

Oh well. At this point, I am just hoping to struggle through with a passing grade and a lesson learned about signing up for courses based solely on the title.

Otherwise, today’s been fine. I still have $20 left in the week’s budget, which is a nice feeling. Today was dark and wet and dreary and cold, but that’s par for the course these days. Today’s crazy person on the bus with me was a fellow across the aisle from me talking and gesticulating to himself in French.

It just occurs to me now that one of the stops for my beloved 405 is near where the Richmond Psychiatric Services, who only deal with psychotics and not us lowly depressives, is located.

You’d think I would have noticed a bus full of crazies before now, though. Perhaps they get more mumbly when it’s cold.

I am doing fine in my other sour courses, which is why I am not terribly worried about my marks overall. It just seems to be my fate that there will always be the one course that drags my average down, like gym, or the art class I took in high class in order to get out of taking gym.

I wish I could register for classes. But not till the finance issue is resolved. I am going to have to get moving on that soon, because the deadline is a week from this Friday. I am going to have to really put myself out there and ask for people’s help. It’s a loan, not a handout, but that doesn’t make an enormous amount of difference when the problem is the size of mine.

I know that there’s a site out there that is like Kickstarter but for people who need help with something important. Like, if someone needs a new wheelchair or their house burns down. I could really use some place like that. But for the life of me, I can’t remember what it’s called.

Instead, I am going to have to lean on my family and friends, and I am not happy with that. I am trying my best to get over this learned helplessness that has been dragging me down for so long. There is nobody coming to rescue me from myself. I have to learn to do things for myself. I want to be strong and independent. I want to be respectable instead of pathetic.

But I see no other way out. I have to save my own ass, and if that means begging for money, so be it.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.


Gonna do my best to actually get caught up on my videos today. Got eight left. Seems like a reasonable amount. And when I have caught up, it will be time to start making them again, at least occasionally.

I do kind of miss it.

First, we have me talkin’ about an issue that readers of this blog will recognize as a perennial one for me :

Namely, how the heck to go about being smart without being a dick but also without being ashamed of an asset. I recognize that there is a compulsive, cramped, neurotically self-analyzing quality to the question itself. Listening to myself talk about it gives me a strong feeling that I am chasing my own tail and the whole thing is wrongheaded from the getgo somehow.

The easy answer would be to say I should just be myself and let the chips fall where they may.

Maybe it really is that simple.

And now, some music accompanied by pictures of adorable animals doing adorable things.

Warning : fairly loud, and gets louder and more insistent as it goes.

Par for the course, really. Love the WKRP quote at the end, though. Jennifer (Loni Anderson) really was perfect. She was like an angel of blondeness. An avatar of the light side of the blond.

Kind of depressed today. But whatever. It’s only temporary and I know things to do to pull myself out of the morass. Clothes really do seem to make a profound difference. Right now I am lounging about naked because I haven’t finished doing the laundry yet. As a result, I feel all mentally flabby and formless and weak. I really do need some kind of container in order to pull myself together and feel connected and strong. Otherwise, I am semisolid at best.

I suppose I will know I have truly succeeded in growing a skeleton and committing to it when I feel just as strong hanging around naked as I do when I am fully dressed and put together.

In the meantime, I am going to sip ice water, hang with the fuzzies, and do my words.

More music please :

Two minutes. Impressive. I am glad I managed to rein in my UTBD (Urge To Be Done) that far. It’s sad to think that I have been producing substandard art for a long time simply because I am too eager for that feeling of accomplishment and release that comes from being DONE.

Explains why I have such trouble with going back to something and improving it too. That would take said thing from “done” to “not done”, and what could be worse than that?

I am improving over time, though. Eventually I will get to the point where I am mature and strong enough to let myself get lost in the process and not be in such a hurry to get to the “good part”. Writing, editing, revising… it can all be rewarding in and of itself if I just slow myself down and surrender to process. Have a little faith that, despite not being able to see the end from where I am, there will be one eventually, and therefore I am not “trapped”.

I’m just wandering. I’m still safe. Home is right here when I need it.

Next up, a very tired but happy post-Vcon me rambles on for a while.

Love that story.

Part of my problem with staying pulled together and coherent is the whole bed-seeking thing. The bed is so close and so tempting. The addiction is bad enough that I have actually caught myself feeling nostalgic for the time before I went back to school, when I could laze around to my heart’s content.

I take that as a good sign. It means that I have fully entered the school experience. It is requiring enough of an effort of me that I feel tired, and that’s a good thing. Way better than having all this energy bouncing around in my head making me insane.

And now, I lazily solve terrorism.

That little talk seems different after the Paris attacks. It’s no less true, of course, because the reasoning is flawless. If we refuse to be afraid of them, refuse to even recognize them as having any sort of political justification or religious cause or anything. Treat terrorists as the aberrant freaks that they are, and refused to let them goad you into chasing them down in a mad furor. That’s exactly what the little boy who gives the hotfoot to the giant wants. Refuse to give it to him.

ISIS is different. They are an army, with soldiers and tanks and money. It’s true they want to goad everyone into action, but in their case, action is actually justified because they are no small band of terrorists, they are, in effect, an occupying power, and we kind of have rules against people redrawing borders via force.

We’re really not fond of it.

Aw crap, I missed one earlier and I don’t have the mental wherewithal to figure out how to put it where it belongs. It will have to do go here.

Hmmm. I thought that was the one I recorded while actually at Vcon, but no. That is clearly my room, the one that I am sitting in as I type this. Hmmm.

As for myself, I know that I am an unorthodox thinker and I might well have a lot of paradigm shattering ideas. The problem is, I don’t even know what the paradigms are.

I don’t see the box.

Aaand finally, two more musical moments.

First, one that wandered off somewhere. But don’t worry, I got it back.

Hmmm. Pretty middle of the road for me. Nothing great about it, nothing terrible about it. It’s a meh.

And finally, I hope you liked those pictures of bad design choices, because here’s more of them :

And now, an excuse to go punch a shadow in the dick.

Well, that’s it, I am all caught up now. Time to do video #400. Soon, I promise.

But right now, bed needs me in it.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

A title without the word Saturday in it

See? I can break out of the box.

It’s been a decent day. Did not end up depressed, at least not yet, knock on wood. Started the day right by getting dressed as soon as I got up. I was still sleepy as hell, though, but I fought through it and got myself to a decent state of waking.

Admittedly, drinking a liter of Diet Coke helped.

and I got done the little things I was planning to do. Like finally getting Netflix working again. It stopped working because the payment was due Tuesday and I didn’t get my check till Wednesday. So they suspended my account till I paid up.

This has happened an embarrassing amount of times. They’re so patient with me. They know I will pay eventually.

So Wednesday, I cashed my cheque and put $30 on my brand spanking new VISA from Vancity, and the next day, I went to switch my Netflix account over to the new VISA instead of that piece o’ crap Money Mart one I used for years.

And it wouldn’t work. I put in all the information perfectly but it just said “This information cannot be verified”. That could mean a lot of things, but usually, in my experience, it means the network that does that kind of thing is down or otherwise fucked up from my point of view.

So I tried again later, then tried again a couple times on Friday, but it still didn’t work. And I was just about to throw int he towel and call tech support for my credit card and see WTF was up in the what-what today, but I decided it was worth one more try to see if the damned thing would work this time.

And of course, it did.

So Netflix is back in town, and I can continue watching Scrubs.

Ordered in tonight, which I am proud of. Not only does ordering in mean dealing with the dreaded telephone, it also meant I had to find out how to buzz the delivery person in. In the past, both of those would be big gumption traps. But not today. I decided I wanted to do it, found out what I needed to find out to do it, and did it. And it was good.

Well, decent. I took a risk and ordered a combo with foo young in it. Turns out I still don’t like it and neither does my stomach. But otherwise, it was good food. Cost about the same as eating in a restaurant and I didn’t even have to put my shoes on to do it.

Plus I got fried wontons. Num.

The place I ordered from, Bamboo Express, has a strange definition of “egg roll” though. And I knew this, because I have ordered from them before, but forgot. What they call an egg roll is this lump of fried batter the size and shape of a potato with a token amount of fried bean sprouts inside.

That’s not an egg roll. That’s a vegetarian corn dog. That’s a corn dog without the dog part. Sadly, that doesn’t mean it’s only corn. I would be happy with corn. I love corn.

But I don’t like corn dogs. I find them quite gross. And my opinion of these “egg rolls in name only (ERINOs)” is not much better. So, never ordering THOSE again.

So technically, I didn’t like two major components of my meal. But I ordered both of them, and it’s not their fault I don’t like them. Nor is it the restaurant’s fault. Live and learn, and all that.

Been pondering the environment and global warming lately, and I have decided that the enlightened behaviourist solution will never work. It was doomed from the start. The idea that you could save the world via getting people to voluntarily make drastic changes in their lifestyles for highly abstract reasons was never realistic or practical. But it took over environmentalism because was the nice-guy solution that jibed with the left wing’s general wimpiness.

Other solutions, more realistic ones, like political change and the technological solution, involve too much confrontation, hard work, and dealing with icky things like science and compromise for the liberal masses to handle. They prefer to live on a puffy pink cloud where they can pretend that just making people “aware” will magically solve the problem without them having to do a single thing outside of their left wing comfort zone.

But hey…. it’s only the future of the human race we are dealing with here. No reason to crimp your style.

So fuck the behavioural solution. And fuck the political solution too. Any plan that involves the world coming together as one to confront a problem in a mature and responsible fashion is a long shot to say the least. I am not saying that it’s impossible, but seeing as time is a factor, I don’t think we can afford to wait around.

The technological solution is the only one with any likelihood of success. It’s going to be up to people like Elon Musk, which I suppose should make the Objectivists happy. It’s going to be science that gets us out of this mess. If the equator is still habitable by human beings ten years from now, in 2025, it will be because we invented solutions to the problems caused by the unforeseen effects of our previous inventions.

Global consciousness is on the rise, thanks to the Internet. Walls are coming down at a breathtaking pace. People from opposite sides of the world are sharing the same links, laughing at the same memes, and talking about the same news stories.

But it’s still too slow. We need inventions that eliminate the need for lifestyle changes entirely, or that at least lower the lifestyle cost to something reasonable. People are willing to change, but only to a point. Anything that would be a major disruption to their life will get rejected out of hand.

It is science and science alone that will save humanity from itself.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

And so it begins

Hmm. That sounds rather ominous. Relax, it just means I am starting  the day’s blogging while waiting for the bus at school.

Didn’t mean to spook ya.

Did I mention that I whanged my knee into the door while getting into the cab last night? I whanged it alright. Really hard. It hurt like a son of a bitch.I am still not sure how I did it, but getting into an SUV is challenging when you already have one bad knee and it’s dark out.

So when I woke up this morning, it was very sore and stiff. There is no visible damage, but that happens with me sometimes. I get invisible bruising. A bruise I can clearly feel and which is sore to the touch just like a bruise, but totally invisible.

It must be related to the fact that I have the kind of veins that are hard to find when it is needle time. Blood vessels aren’t close to the surface, or somesuch.

I think the bruising is also mostly under the kneecap. I don’t  think it is too serious. It already feels better than it did this morning. I imagine it will be mostly better by the end of the weekend, if not sooner.

It is not like I move a lot on weekends anyhow.

Good news on the finance front. Turns out I only owe Kwantlen $1463. Turns out they got my federal money just fine. It’s the province that’s the problem.The federal gubmint paid Kwantlen their portion (based on my low-income status) way back in September, shortly after the loan was approved.

You would think that would be good enough for the province, but noooooooo.

Still, it’s good that it’s a smaller amount of money than I thought. Exactly how much better is unquantifiable, but one assumes it must be easier to raise less money.

Still dunno how I am going to do it. Working up the nerve to email my siblings, or at least, post about my plight directly on Facebook instead of in this indirect form.

I am having so much trouble concentrating on blogging right now. And I know why, it’s because I didn’t get enough sleep last night. I woke up at 8:30 am and could not get back to sleep. Happens every once in a while. Plus, it was cold outside and it’s toasty warm in here, so I have full on Melt going on right now. All I really want to do right now is curl up in bed and go to sleep, but I don’t have a lot of time to blog tonight as we are likely going out to eat.

So blog away I must, witless mind or no. You don’t really love something unless you do it when it’s not easy, and I love blogging. Besides, I would never leave you nice people in the lurch. I know there’s like a half dozen people who read this blog, and some of you might even enjoy iy.

And that really means a lot to me.

Oh, here’s something I forgot to include in yesterday’s entry. When I was on the bus to White Spot, a woman sat behind me and, the minute the bus was in motion, started to swear passionately under her breath.

And I am thinking “Okay, steady on, she might not be crazy. She might have just gone through a genuinely infuriating incident. Like maybe she just got dumped, or she is dealing with some extra heavy office stupidity, or something. ” Meanwhile, the hackles on my neck are rising.

I suppose the neck is the only place we have hackles.

It’s amazing how powerful these instinctual responses can be. Most of the time, we modern humans don’t have a lot of experience of our rawer instincts, like our sense of danger or basic fear. Everything in modern life tends to be nuanced, articulated, attenuated, and the result of many forces interacting within us.

But not this time. My hackles, and the icy fear rising in me, said “Crazy person, beware!”. Even though I am an actual crazy (but medicated) person myself.

I guess even crazy people don’t want to be around crazy people. At the very least, not all of a sudden like that.

It could have also been Tourette’s, which would be tragic, because then that poor woman might have been mutely wishing she could keep her mouth from saying all that crazy shit.

That didn’t occur to me at the time, though. Luckily, White Spot was the next stop, and so I didn’t have to find out how that particular little drama played out.

And I found out my Psych 1100 prof considers herself a radical behaviourist today, which is sad, because she’s so adorkable and I absolutely loathe behaviourism in all its forms.

My theory of behaviourism is that B. F. Skinner had Asperger’s Syndrome. And so do many of his adherents. It would go a long way towards explaining behaviourism’s terror of contemplating mental events, a terror that drives them to pretend that what is actually going on in people’s minds is somehow unknowable.

Bullshit. It might not be quantifiable or provable, but it’s damned well knowable and understandable. That’s why we have empathy, a scientifically verifiable brain function that lets us understand each other by feeling what the other guy feels. We are actually pretty good at understanding one another’s behaviour and emotions most of the time. Most people don’t have to guess why the man whose hair is on fire is screaming.

And then she said she thinks free will is an illusion, and there is so much wrong with that idea that I can’t even. Absolutely nothing we do makes sense without free will. Our entire understanding of the world is predicated on the notion that people choose their actions and can therefore be held accountable for them. We integrate the idea that we have made the right choices into our egos, as well as the bad ones.

What really struck home was when I said that if there is no free will, then I have no choice but to think you are wrong. That works because it makes people realize that no free will means they have no right to be annoyed at you for disagreeing with them.

I am clever like that.

Time to melt! I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

On The Road : Not gonna make it edition

Got my Final Notice email from Kwantlen today. They want their money. Cannot blame them.

So I called the student loan people to see how that is going. Turns out they haven’t even STARTED processing my disability documentation yet. Apparently, it takes five business days for my documents to make it from their inbox to their computer system. Nobody has even ENTERED my form into the System yet.

That is fucking INSANE! What the fucking is wrong with these people? Why does everything take so long? What possible excuse could there be for data entry to take that long? Hello, just scan the fucking thing.

So the six weeks they are going to take to process my disability documentation hasn’t even STARTED yet. Fuck.

So there goes all hope I had of being able to pay Kwantlen before school ends. That means I am going to have to go to Plan B : borrow the money from someone or somewhere else.

Maybe I could donate blood.

I have no idea from whom  or where I could borrow $2600+ . I already owe Joe $375 for stuff. I would hate to have to go to him for more.

Gah. The music at White Spot sucks today. Just heard someone  just BUTCHER “Life Is A Highway” by Tom Cochrane. It’s like he was determined to hit every note EXCEPT the right one. Lousy phrasing too.

Oh and now someone is taking a shot at Screaming  Jay Hawkins’ “I Put A Spell On You”.

Back to the topic at hand. I could try to borrow from my siblings, I suppose, but I can’t see that working. We are not that kind of family. And it is not like adking for an Xbox or something. This is a lot of money we are talking about, even if it is just a loan.

So I dunno. Maybe I am fucked, I don’t know. It was fun while it lasted.

Oh, and the roof of my mouth is all tender and sore for some reason, Aaand they just sat a family with a baby next to me.

Geez, life, what did I ever do to you?

I am so tired of tripping over my own clueless self all the time. This all could have been over ages ago if I wasn’t such a dipshit. But no, somehow the Jagoff in me managed to do me a dirty yet again.

I am starting to think that guy doesn’t have my best interests at heart. That he just  gets his kicks from talking me into bad decisions. Then laughs at me behind my back.

But his brand of relaxed cockiness is also my route out of my depression, I think. I think at least some of that can do a lot to keep my self-image upright and afloat in times like this. There is an untapped well of positivity in there somewhere, and it could be my salvation.


Waiting for the bus now. There is a stop for my beloved 405 only a few doors away from White Spot. Convenient.


Home now. Took a cab. This happened :

Me : *hands the cabbie a $20 bill* Okay, give me… $12 back. (On a $5.70 fare. )
Cabbie : *pretends to look for change* Oh no, I don’t…. I have no ten…
Me : (instantly suspicious because I know this con) Oh really? You seriously want me to believe you can’t change a twenty?
Cabbie : I gave it to my last customer….
Me : Well, then we have a problem, don’t we?
Cabbie : No, I don’t….
Me : You know there’s no way I am giving you the whole thing, right?
Cabbie : Listen, I don’t have…
Me : Well then, why don’t we just go on over to the 7-11 so you can get change?
Cabbie : Listen, never mind, it’s okay…
Me : Are ya sure?
Cabbie : It’s okay, forget about it.
Me : It’s your call.

So I got out of the cab without paying and I don’t feel bad about it at all. Asshole bet on the wrong fucking pony if he thought I would give him $20 on a cab fare of $5.60. And the idea of going two blocks so he could get change at 7-11 was perfectly reasonable. I would even have paid the extra fare. But no, when he realized I was on to him, he back down.

And instead, I got a free ride home. Them’s the breaks, asshole.

Tonight’s class was fun. Had to do the teacher evaluation first. That’s where the teacher leaves the room and a nice lady gets us to fill out a form rating our prof on various things. This time it was online, with a disposable password. It prompted an inner struggle within me, because I really like my prof, but when you make me do something that looks like a test in a classroom setting, the urge to put down the “right” answer (in other words, be brutally honest) is strong in me.

I managed to mostly restrain it. I don’t want to cause her any problems. I did mention that sometimes she is too lenient with how long she gives people to do things and that means we don’t get through all the material for the day.

But I am only human, and I was under strain.

Otherwise, the class was fun if frustrating. Doing animation via Photoshop suuuuuuuucks. But I plugged away and got it done.

Only to realize that two of the students had ignored the instructions and done everything in a video editing program. and I was like…. that’s an option? and of course, the prof, being the sweetie she is, didn’t object at all.

So I was left thinking “I wish I was that bold. ” But I’m not. It’s not a matter of timidity, though. I feel like if I ignore the teacher’s instructions, I am insulting them. That would be rude.

And I really like this teacher.

On the other hand, part of me is tempted to do the project here are home, make it kick ass in all dimensions, stick it in my Dropbox, and spend the next class blogging and messing around with Adobe products.

Which side will win?

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

Starting off early

Got some stuff for Creative Writing to do tonight, so the earlier I get to Dun Bloggin, the better.

Not that it is particularly hard stuff. I was worried about the 6-10 photos I have to do, but then I reread the assignment description and saw a wonderful,  magical word I had missed before : “abstract”.

What is needed, it turns out, are abstract textures and such to use as backgrounds for a video of one of my poems. No prob! I can find that kind of stuff around the apartment. Or at school.

The poem half of the equation won’t be so simple, though. In fact, that is what I am truly dreading, because get this, I am expected to take my thirty line poem from last week and condense it down to 12-18 lines.

The very thought of it makes me queasy. Condense a poem? Does one condense a child? I say thee nay! I would vastly prefer writing a new poem to butchering an existing one. The things this class puts me through.

I am tempted to just remove a bunch of line breaks and consider it done.

Plus I have to bring some original audio to use as background music for the condensed poem.. No prob. I will either use one of my existing tunes or write something suitably ambient from scratch.

And yes, that was a brag. That was me, bragging. I brag sometimes. It is not a bad thing to have bragged.

Still getting used to that idea.


Got the itch to start reading up on my Myers-Briggs personality type, INTJ, again, and found this page that goes into far more detail than I have ever seen before.

And as happened when I joined an INTJ forum a long time ago, I get this feeling of recognition of parts of myself alongside equal feelings of revulsion and a kind of gratitude over problems I do not have.

Perhaps I am a queer duck even by INTJ standards.

It’s like the INTJ part of me is The Machine, and everything else is The Mother. I definitely think like an INTJ, but I am too sensitive, pragmatic, and ruthlessly devoted to understanding the full picture to fall into the sorts of Asperger type traps that the sort of person described in sites like that fall into.

For example, I don’t consider social ritual and manners to be useless distractions. I do feel free to pick and choose which ones I consider to be functional and which ones are mere arbitrary rules that serve no purpose, but I am very, very concerned about being a considerate and understanding person who doesn’t hurt people accidentally.

Like I have said before, there are “rules” manners – which fork to use – and those are disposable. Following them is optional. If it helps to have rules to follow, then follow them. But if the rules are only getting in the way, then to hell with them.

It’s only the “consideration manners” – like saying something comforting when someone shares something painful to them – that I consider mandatory. And you can’t define that with any fixed ruleset.

On the other hand, I definitely have a fast, decisive, confident mind. That’s The Machine. And why I would hate for anyone to see me as cold and unfeeling, I can see how I might come across as such in certain situations. Some people will always see the dedicated utilitarian pragmatist as some kind of monster. Like the site says, that’s why so many villains are based on an INTJ like archetype. Some of the other types simply can’t accept that you can be a system creating and logical person who makes decisions based on rational consideration instead of emotion and be anything other than a sociopathic monster.

Essentially, they think you can’t do warm things by cold means.

But you can. I am dedicated to pragmatism and utilitarianism because I am determined to make the world a better place and improve the lot of humanity without becoming distracted by dogma, or bogged down in preconceived notions or habits of thought.

The site also talking about arrogance, and yeah, I will cop to that. I don’t personally consider myself arrogant, just sure of myself, but to a lot of people that’s the same thing. Like the site says, us INTJs radiate an aura of confidence. In the right spheres (usually transpersonal ones), I make up my mind rapidly and state my position with total self-assurance because I know, on some level, what went into the decision, which is basically everything I know about the world.

It’s hard for people to grasp that such a thing is even possible. Fast answers can’t be well considered answers. And in a sense they are right, but not really. The fact is, us INTJ types are constantly optimizing our minds, turning them into lean and mean decision making machines, and that results in a mind which, in the right circumstances, is almost alarmingly swift.

The site says that relationships are the biggest stumbling blocks for INTJs, and I suppose that’s true. I don’t think of myself as someone who has problems with relationships, but I do admit my intellectual standards for companionship are extremely high, and that’s a big stumbling block right from the get-go.

And the thing is, I have no idea what I am actually like in relationships. I think I am a pretty good friend, although I wish I had the resources to be more substantially supportive sometimes. But that’s the only kind of relationship I know, at least as an adult, and even that is not as emotionally close as it could be.

I have no idea whether the Machine would get in the way of a romantic or parental relationship. I know that I don’t have to worry about being capable of projecting warmth, compassion, and understanding. I have lots of that on tap at all times. Thats The Mother in me. I don’t have a problem with showing affection or being supportive.

And yet… and yet….

I can’t help thinking of my own warm and affectionate, yet also somehow emotionally distant, mother.

That’s a mystery I have yet to solve.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

A little blog time

It is break time in Intro to Journalism, so, time to get my blog on.

Not that I have a lot of time. Its a fifteen minute break, but I had to pee first, and the bathroom near this classroom was out of service, so I had to go all the way across the building and back ti get my business done.

First world problems.

Today has been pleasant enough. Got up at around ten. Did the weekly home I forgot to do last night because I was concentrating on getting the Rough Draft version of my final project for this class done.

That is the thing I posted here last night.

As you can see, for said draft, I had to do some of that awful research stuff.  I have been doing some soul searching about my dislike of research, and the results  aren’t  pretty. I am pretty sure I dislike research because it might disagree with me.

I am very much a writer who writes from the inside out. There are things inside me that I need to express, and for various reasons, I have to do it via writing. That meabs that, by the time I am writing, it is very much an output mode. I am not looking to take in new information, that is the exact opposite of what I am trying to do when I write.

Sure, what I write is informed by what I know. But what I write comes from deep inside. New information has not had the time to make that journey.

But that also means that by the time I write, I have made up my mind. And that is the part I like. Thinking, judging, concluding, and outputting the results of that process. Taking in a ton of new information in order to come up with an answer on a deadline is no fun at all.

And honestly, nobody likes changing their mind. It is just that some of us are willing and able to do it… if we have to.

Now you folks know I think of myself as a rugged intellectual, a true philosopher who stands fearless and naked before the truth, no matter how dark, strange, disturbing, or depressing that truth might be.

Avoiding research in order to avoid having to rethink subjects on which I have already made up my mind is not exactly consistent with that image of myself


Just got my exam back in Psych 1200. Another 83 percent. How bizarrely consistent.

And awesome, of course. I am rocking an A- so far in this class. Want to bring that up to an A. Maybe the written project will help.

The average was 70.5 percent. So, booya.


After class now. Waiting inside for the bus. It’s bleeding cold out there. Pondering getting something at the Tim’s here. But what?

Ended up getting two candy cane donuts and a croissant. I am very excited about the croissant. I loooooove croissants. The donuts are more of a curiosity. They appear to be chocolate donuts with crushed candy cane sprinkled on. Not exactly sure that sounds good. But very festive!:-)


Son of a bitch. Missed my bus by mere seconds. And of course, the battery on this tablet is running out, and I have fifteen minutes to kill, and I have no other ways to entertain myself.

How come this keeps happening to me? I never could get the hang of Thursdays.

I may end up eating that croissant before I get home. I am not going anywhere near the donuts on an empty stomach, but I could probably handle the croissant without too harsh a spike in blood sugar.

The harsh spikes are painful. Especially if I am just sitting or laying there.

I am bored. Let’s talk about terrorism.

We had a very interesting discussion about the Paris attacks in class today. I am starting to wonder if there really is any difference between a crazed shooter like they have in the States and the lunatics who blow themselves up at checkpoints in Afghanistan. In both cases, we have a situation where thousands of people have the exact same beliefs, but only a few of them do the crazy thing.

Maybe the Paris attackers are just as crazy as Ted Kazinsky and the Unabomber.


Home now. Where was I?

Oh right. Maybe the Paris attackers are just as crazy as Ted Kazinsky and the Unabomber. Maybe by calling them terrorists, we legitimize what they do. Maybe we would be better off treating absolutely all similar acts as the sad, desperate act of a diseased and deluded nutcase who deserves only our pity.

Imagine how demoralizing and demeaning that would be to any terrorist organization or cause. Completely ignore the person’s politics. No manifesto, no political rants, not even whatever they were screaming as they killed people. Ignore all that, and treat every single act as the act of a deranged lunatic with a broken brain.

Try to feel like a big man when that is going to be your legacy.

People don’t want to think of the Paris attackers as insane because we all hate them now and hatred hates nuance and pity. Especially pity. We want these people to be the blackest foulest evil possible so we can hate them and wish the vilest of sufferings and degradations upon them with a clear conscience.

Even though if you asked someone, outside of the news cycle or any specific event, what kind of person could kill a bunch of people they didn’t even know, they would probably say “It would have to be some kind of lunatic. ”

And can we really say to ourselves that there is any definition of sanity that includes the ability to perform such horrendous acts? Can we really believe that the Paris attackers acted with cold-blooded self-interest in mind? What if it was your next door neighbor? Or your brother? Would you be more or less inclined to call it insanity then?

Maybe all these people are crazy, and that’s why they end up doing what thousands of people just like them only talk about.

Maybe we have to rethink a lot of things.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

Intro to Journalism (JOUR 1160) Blog Post (rough draft), On Reporting Suicides

Thesis : Suicides should be reported in the media.

Reference URLs : Guide to Reporting on Suicide

The Science Behind Suicide Contagion

Robin Williams death: How should the media report a suicide?

Suicides After Media Reporting (academic)

Suicide Clusters : A reconsideration

Point form summary :

• Intro – Statement of thesis
• Argument against : suicide clusters
• Counter : What about suicides prevented?
• Counter : Doubts on evidence for suicide clusters
• Counter : Internet makes information control impossible
• Conclusion : The debate should focus on how to report it, not whether
• Personal observations as a person who has been suicidal

The order of those section is, of course, subject to change before the final project.

Rough draft of body of work :

Whenever there is a suicide reported in the media, the question arises as to whether it is ethical to report suicides at all. What if it inspires copycat suicides? But I think these fears are overblown, and I think the media reporting of suicides is both ethical and impossible to avoid.

The phenomenon of reported suicides inspiring other suicides is know academically as “suicide clusters”, and there is a lot of well respected research supporting the phenomenon. This research is not unchallenged, however.

Personally, I don’t trust any conclusion for which the evidence is purely statistical. Statistical interpretation, for all its seeming rigor, is a highly subjective art, and for the layman, it is very difficult to determine which statistician is right.

Also, the interpretations drawn from this research (assuming the pro-cluster side is valid) are questionable. Even if some people’s chance of committing suicide is elevated by media reports, an equal or greater number of suicides could be prevented by raising awareness about suicide and its warning signs.

So it’s not a matter of whether to report suicides, it’s a matter of how. There exist very sensitive and thoughtful guides about how to report a suicide, and as long as these guidlines are followed, there should be no moral objection to the reporting of suicides.

And in this Internet-saturated era, there is no way to control information, so total suppression is not a option. If the media didn’t report suicides, it would not prevent depressed people from hearing about it. Even in the pre-Internet era, it was problematic. Suicide rips a hole in the social fabric of a community, and that loss is bound to cause an undeniable ripple effect that will do the media’s job quite efficiently.

And then people are left wondering why their local media is “ignoring the story”.

That effect is multiplied beyond all recognition with the advent of Facebook, Twitter, email, and all the rest. The Internet is the most efficient form of social communication ever known, and all it takes is one media outlet, or prominent blogger, or major Twitter account, to share the story of the suicide before any media outlet that doesn’t report it looks like they are deliberately ignoring the story out of callous disrespect for human life.

For these, and many other points I will think of later, I think that it is not only acceptable for the media to report suicides, it is necessary, and even inevitable.