The Return of the Ghost of the Me Blogging Again

Oh right… I can use this thing to actually blog.

I am finally ahead of the game in terms of homework and exams. I had an exam today in Psych 1100. Sixty multiple choice questions, tooks me 40 minutes. That’s 40 seconds per question. Sounds about right.

I was the first to finish. Not the first time that has happened to me. I tend to do exams in a blaze of activity, all neurons firing. It’s what works for me, or at least, what has worked for me in the past.

As always, when I finish first, it either means I am absolutely brilliant or that I have no idea what the fuck I am doing. Usually, the answers is somewhere in between, but most of the time, it’s a lot closer to the brilliant end of the spectrum. When I do an exam, I am quite thoroughly mentally activated, and I have a lot of mental to activate.

I am sure I got some wrong, and there will be some where I can say “Geez, if I had only thought about if for a second… ” instead of blazing through the thing like wildfire, but I am confident that my grade will be good, if not necessarily great.

That’s just how I roll.

Of course, I could be wrong. I am prepared to find out that I have been wildly overconfident and really need to get my shit together and knuckle down. That would, in a way, be a relief. I have been looking for schoolwork that truly challenged me for a long ol time now, and it would be good to know I had found it and I had to truly up my game instead of coasting on native intelligence and a high degree of test brightness.

I just Googled “test brightness” and all I got was stuff about calibrating your monitor. Apparently it’s not a “thing”. I don’t know what else to call it. I’m really good at tests, whatever you want to call it.

The shape of the question implies the shape of the answer. And other mystic bullshit.

Of course, I am operating at a considerable handicap, namely that I don’t have the text yet. From that point of view, passing the test at all seems pretty impressive. And there is no doubt in my mind that I passed.

I realized today that I possibly could have told my professors about my whole problem with lack of ID and all the consequences thereof, and I might get some leniency. I don’t have to rely on my innate cleverness so much. I am sure the professors would understand that I am the victim of forces outside my control.

But I am just too damned proud to do it. I would rather scramble to keep up and take whatever lumps that entails than throw myself on the mercy of the court and beg for scraps. I guess to admit my problems to my teachers would mean admitting weakness to people whose approval means a lot to me (even though I sort of suck at getting it) and I would rather maintain the illusion that I a competent and capable, as opposed to the stumbling fool I tend to be.

People like me should really have handlers. People to keep us materially organized so we can be all dazzling and amazing in the world, and the fact that we are helpless hothouse flowers who are only good at blooming is kept relatively secret.

So for now, I just do my best to stay calm (not easy) and remember that some time soonish, this will all be over and I will be on the other side of it and this tension about identification will be something I laugh and shake my head about.

Otherwise, things have been medium groovy. I had my exam for Psych 1200 last Tuesday. Totally unprepared. Had no idea we had an exam that day. But I was all frontin like I had it all down. Guy next to me said “So, are you ready?” and I was all like “Sure, no problem. Got it cold. ”

So I suppose it would be extra embarrassing if I got a bad grade on that one. Luckily, I don’t think that way.

What intrigues me about that experience is how naturally I defended myself like that. I didn’t think about it, or stumble over myself, or create any sort of weird awkward tension. It was almost effortless.

And that’s happening more and more lately. I feel like I have lost some large piece of the filtering process between my emotions and reality has been removed, and I am super stoked about it.

I am stoked about it because it means I can be a more natural person now. I have reacted without thinking a bunch of times now, and it has worked out fine. I have proof that I don’t need to subject every impulse to a rationalist Inquisition. It means that sometimes, it is fine to just go with my gut, and leave the rational machinery for the big tasks.

It means I can be a lot more real.

I’m not out of the woods yet, and I doubt I ever will be. I always always be a very thinky kind of person, and that’s one of my strengths. Better one well considered wise move than a hundred random stabs. I will always be contemplative and thoughtful and I will never be a realtime field genius.

But being able to trust that I can say and do the right thing without thinking it to within and inch of its life would go a long, long way towards me being comfortable in my skin and relaxed about life, as opposed to living every waking moment in a state of paranoia, trying to anticipate everything because that’s the only way you can feel safe.

It feels like real, deep down, long lasting progress. A big chunk of ice has been removed from the clog caught in the throat of my soul, and I really hope this is just the beginning.

I might actually become sane.

Scary, isn’t it?

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

Vcon 2015 Con Report, part 2

(Be glad it’s this. I was originally going to teach you people about brain structures as a form of studying.)

Sunday, October 4, 2015

Wow, did I sleep well. Turns out that, at least this one time, alcohol and sleeping pills made a wonderful combination. I got eight solid hours of peaceful, blank, dreamless[1] sleep and woke up feeling fine.

And normally, even with my CPAP and my sleeping pills, I am lucky to get six hours of mildly restless, dreamful sleep.

So while I would not recommend mixing your rum and grapefruit juice with quetiapine and trazodone, it worked for me. The only downside was that I slept so well that I completely missed the panel about Marvel movies at 1 pm.

Therefore, the first panel I made it to was at :

2 pm : Vcons Past. I went to this panel for a number of reasons, the foremost of which was, of course, genuine interest. I am an old person’s dreams in that I am always eager to listen to their stories. Formal history has never interested me deeply, but personal history fascinates me. So I was quite happy to listen to tales of yesteryear from Them What Was There. Another reason to go was to support my friend R. Graeme Cameron, who is a wonderful fellow and a spellbinding raconteur. And thirdly, I was already feeling guilty because I knew I would not be there for his always dryly hilarious Elron Awards because they were scheduled against the only force in the universe that could keep me away from them : The Turkey Readings.

I am sorry, Graeme, but the Turkeys are literally the most fun I have all year.

And speaking of which…

3 pm : The Turkey Readings. People read the worst books they can find. Volunteer weirdos (like me) act out the action. People pay to stop the reading. Others pay to keep it going. Money goes to the Canadian Unity Fan Fund, dedicated to sending West Coast fans to the East Coast and vice versa. When someone bids “stop” and nobody outbids them to “start”, you switch readers and the whole thing starts over.

Oh, and while the madness is busy ensuing, my dear friend and roomie Joe Devoy and the radiant and fabulous Felicity Walker are attempting to illustrate the stories being told, as told. At the end of the proceedings, the illustrations are auctioned, and this year, one of Felicity’s went for $25!

It’s the most fun thing ever.

Seriously. I laugh so much it counts as aerobic exercise. The whole room shakes with laughter. Bad fiction is a natural source of comedy, and getting people being all silly acting it out only amplifies the effects. The beauty of bad art as comedy is that bad art is so much more unpredictable than good art. Good art follows rules. And there are always a lot more ways to break a rule than there is to follow it.

In fact, bad art is a great way to learn the rules of effective storytelling because it will break rules you never even knew existed. Learning by counterexample is a powerful tool.

But mostly, it’s just funny as hell.

4:30 pm : The Elrons and FanEds. The Turkey Readings went till 4:30, so like I said, I missed the Elrons half of it. But I did get to see my dear friend and avatar of awesomeness Felicity Walker receive her FanEd award for activity in the world of fanzines (look it up), and I could not be more proud.

5 pm : As is the tradition at Vcon, the final panel was the Closing Ceremonies. As is my personal tradition, I didn’t go. My roomies did, though, so I just went back to the room and relaxed till it was over, then it was another trip out of the cozy confines of the con in search of food.

A lovely dinner was had with my usual cohorts and some local fans, then we wandered back to the convention for the quite horribly named but harmless Dead Dog Party, which is the party that marks the true end of the convention, where all us fen get together to drink, talk, and delay the onset of reality as long as we can.

This year, however, there was a planning SNAFU and the original base for this all-fen party was just someone’s room, right in the middle of a bunch of other rooms filled with people who had the wacky idea that they should be able to sleep at night. And parties have a minimum volume directly proportional to the number of attendants, so while we tried to be quiet in response to a noise complaint, it just wasn’t happening, even after the second complaint.

So we were booted out of that room, and had to find another. At this point, the majority of partygoers simply gave up and went to bed. But some kind and swift-thinking con staff were able to sneak us into a conference room that had one of my favorite things to see at a party, a big huge round table.

Thus began one epic and well populated game of Cards Against Humanity. At maximum, we had 14 people playing. The game is designed to manufacture hilarity, so despite the fact that it was materially the worst Dead Dog Party I have ever been to in my many years of Vcon-going, I had a wonderful time and didn’t end up going to bed till 4:30 am, all laughed out.

And thus ends another wonderful, magical, marvelous Vcon. I had a grand old time, as I always do, and I can’t wait till I get to do it all over again in 2016.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)
  1. Yes, pedants, I know that there is no such thing as dreamless sleep unless you have a serious brain injury, in which case you will likely die of organic psychosis. But “sleep where I wake up not remembering any dreams nor do I have the sort of shadow-memory of having dreamed” is too much of a mouthful to type.

Creative Writing Assignment due October 8

Yup. I am making you people read my homework again.

First, 150 words on this website

Please don’t judge, I can’t say I liked the site at all. Spending twenty minutes there was a trial. The whole experience was like dragging fingernails across the chalkboard of my nervous system. The art style, the writing style, the sudden sounds or speech, all of it irritated me for some reason. And I admit, the underage lesbianism makes me uncomfortable, even though my own gay history didn’t exactly start on my 18th birthday. I enjoyed some of the passages – for the record, they were called Lik-M-Aid, not Lick-A-Maid, although we call called them Lick-A-Maid so I can understand the confusion – and I really think I could have enjoyed this work more if it had been simpler and more pleasant instead of trying so hard to be avant-garde. Maybe that makes me a dull Philistine, I don’t know. But as a highly sensitive artistic type, I prefer environments that are more welcoming. I like the storytelling and the form. In fact I have pondered doing something similar myself in order to tell a story larger than what can fit in the human mind at any one point, but I can’t put up with the style. Sorry.

And now for my 750-ish words of fractured fiction.

Between Ten Eyes

P1 : Look, I don’t much care for the police, but that homeless dude totally jumped the cop. I saw the whole thing. I was right across from the homeless dude on the Skytrain, just chillin’, and this Skycop walks up to the guy and says something to him about taking him home, and the guy freaks out and leaps up like someone put a million volts through him and headbutts the cop. So the cop’s bleeding out a busted nose and trying to tase the guy. By then, people are screaming and this fat chick has her cell phone out and the next thing I know, the homeless guy is down on the floor twitching and foaming at the mouth. Then some huge gorilla of a guy is on the homeless guy’s chest, and then the homeless guy stops moving. Listen, is he going to be okay?

P2 : Don’t believe the media , I saw the whole thing, and the cop was the one who freaked out on the homeless guy. I was sitting right next to the homeless guy – I’m the guy in the Canucks jacket in the video – and that homeless guy wasn’t doing anything wrong. He was just siting there talking to this huge dude when some Skycop comes along and starts poking the homeless guy with his night stick and talking to him like he’s an idiot. I could tell the homeless guy was terrified of the cop and that’s why he wasn’t answering the cop’s questions. He was too freaked out. Next thing I know, the cop is tasing the guy over and over, and there’s blood everywhere, and people are screaming like the do in the movies. I’m telling you, the guy didn’t do anything wrong. That cop should be in jail.

P3 : I’m glad someone is finally asking me my opinion, because not only am I the person who took the now infamous cell phone video, I’m a professional social worker who deals with the homeless on a daily basis, and while Mister Driscoll is not one of my clients, I am well aware of how vulnerable they can be to abuse by the police. That’s why I was recording the scene. I was protecting Mr. Driscoll’s rights. That’s why I posted it to YouTube as well. They can confiscate your cell phone but they can’t confiscate the Internet. Although if I had known what was going to happen, I might have had second thoughts. What’s happened to Mister Driscoll is a nightmare and an outrage and people should be ashamed of themselves for saying what they have been saying about him. For God’s sake, Leonard Driscoll is a human being!

P4 : I think I can clarify a few matters, as I am Leonard Driscoll’s personal physician and therapist as well as being the person the Internet has dubbed “King Kong”. I tried to tell the policeman not to tase Leonard as his condition makes him vulnerable to seizures, but the policeman was clearly terrified of Leonard and not listening to me. Luckily, I always keep Leonard’s anti-convulsive medicine with me, and I was able to restrain Leonard enough to slip it under his tongue. Physically, Leonard will make a full recovery, The damage to his fragile psychological state will take much longer to repair. Knowing Leonard, I believe he reacted as he did because he thought the cop was going to take him “back home”, and for Leonard, home was never a safe or happy place. He never meant to hurt that policeman. He was only trying to get away.

P5 : Are you sure you’re from the government? It’s just that I’ve had a very hard day, and the doctors say I shouldn’t get too excited right now. But I guess someone has to tell the real story, right? Right. Right. It’s all kind of jumbled up right now, but I remember the blood… so much blood. Blood everywhere. And the smell of ozone from the taser. And the confusion. And people screaming, screaming screaming… the screaming was worse than the blood. (pause) I’m sorry, I’m sorry. No, I’m okay, I can keep going. I know what people are saying about me, and it’s not true. Not true. Not true at all. I’m not some violent, out of control lunatic. I’m a human being, just like you. The only difference between you and me is that you work in a big dance office, and I decided to become a cop.

Well, that’s it for tonight’s homework, due tomorrow. I hope you all enjoyed it. It is going to be weird sharing this stuff with a group of fellow students of various degrees of perspicacity to “workshop” it, but WTF. I need to learn to be more open and trusting. Tear down the wall, and all that.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

Vcon 40 Con Report

Friday, Oct 2

Due to a number of factors beyond my control (like having class until 4 then needing to reg and eat), I wasn’t able to attend any panels this day. I was, however, able to spend a few pleasant hours in Hospitality, grazing on munchies and chatting with fen, and an even pleasanter couple of hours sampling the various gin type products at the Montreal room party.

Saturday, Oct 3

12:00 pm : Politics of Science Fiction. After an unusually long trip from unconsciousness to wakefulness, I made it for the second half of this panel. Thankfully, it was not about any form of Puppies. Sadly, it was mostly about the politics in science fiction, rather than the far more interesting topic of the politics of science fiction. I personally think that there is an area of surprisingly broad consensus of opinion represented in both science fiction and its fandom, and that would have been great fun to discuss. As it was, it was still a very interesting half a panel and I enjoyed discussing books like The Dispossessed by Ursula K. Leguin.

1:00 pm : Future Was Then. A panel about retro futures. I love this subject because it provides such a rich bounty of perspective on how we view the world and how we look upon the future. Admittedly, we did not do the greatest job of sticking to the topic in this panel, but I have never considered that a particularly high priority. I did manage to bring up one of my well-ground axes, the one about how many very intelligent people were sure that we would all be standing in our government allotted three feet of space by now due to overpopulation despite the fact that basic mathematics would have shown that to be total bullshit. So that made me happy. And it was a good discussion overall.

2 pm : Free Period.. There was nothing on that I particularly liked, so I took this time to mosey on up to Hospitality and see what there was to eat. Pickings were mighty slim at 2 pm, after the lunch rush, but I was able to cobble together something vaguely like a meal and, more importantly, talk to strangers. I had a very nice discussion with two older ladies, one of whom was named Elizabeth (damn I suck with names), and went into my next panel feeling quite good.

3 pm : Pulp Movies. The basic jist of the panel was the question of whether or not it would be possible to make a good movie based on the old pulp heroes of the past like Doc Savage. That was the stated purpose, anyhow. I think it was actually just an excuse for some older fen to discuss the beloved pulp heroes of their youth. But the panel was well moderated and so we kept to the topic surprisingly well. I have no skin in the game, and hence no real opinion on the issue. Certainly anything’s possible, despite disasters like Jack Carter and The Lone Ranger.

4 pm : Handling Stress. I went to this panel assuming it would be about how to handle stress in your life, seeing as going back to school has put so much more of it into my life. And largely it was, but apparently, according to the con book, it was also (?) about how the characters you write about experience and deal with stress. I suggested we combine the two missions by talking about how to handle stress in your life by transferring it to your characters. That got a big laugh. And while I can’t say that I gleaned any valuable stress busting tips from the panel, that big laugh did me wonders.

5 pm : Justify The Science Flaw. The fifth incarnation of this panel, and I have been there for every one of them, and loved every minute of it. The idea is that the moderator shares examples of flawed science from popular media and challenges his panel, made up of actual scientists, to come up with an explanation of how that wasn’t really flawed science after all. These explanations are, of course, extremely absurd, and I always end up laughing myself silly (short trip) as all these high IQ people have a wonderful time being very silly about science. This time was no exception.

6:30 pm : Second Free Period. The previous panel went to 6:30, and my friends’ panel went till seven, so I had half an hour to kill. I pondered joining my friends at their panel (about Lovecraft), but decided I would be better off going back to our room, room 124, and taking a half hour Introversion Break in order to recharge my social batteries.

7 pm : The Quest For Food. My friends arrive, and it is time to venture out into the world to obtain sustenance. Being native to the area (this convention took place around 6 blocks from where we live), we were able to guide our friends from out of town to one of Richmond’s many fine eateries, and there, we feasted.

12:30 am : Having lingered too long chatting with my friends about various and diverse topics, I missed the room party for the HMS Calisto and was forced to once more entrust myself to the fabulous folks at the recurring Montreal party. This time, there was more than gin around, and I was able to try Kraken brand rum, something I had been wanting to do partly because of its name but mostly because of its inky blackness. It was surprisingly complex for rum, and tasted quite good, especially with a mixer. (What can I say, I am a cocktail drinker, not a ‘snap back a shot of this’ drinker). I had a fairly deep snootful of the various alcoholic offerings, then floated on back to our room, took my sleeping pills, and slept well. Damn well.

That’s it for the con report for last Saturday. Tomorrow, I will do one for Sunday, plus add whatever general marks about the convention I have floating around at the time.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.

On defining consciousness

(This is schoolwork. I have covered this subject before.)

In her lecture on October 2, 2015, Doctor Dukewich expressed her feeling that there must be more to consciousness than proton flow, and noted that in a dish of electrically neutral solution, protons will pass through a permeable membrane just like they do in the human mind, but we would not consider the solution to be conscious. Ergo there must be something more.

I respectfully disagree. The awe we feel when our minds contemplate their own complexity is palpable, and gives us a feeling of irreducible complexity, but that is an illusion. The truth is, to my mind, even more awe-inspiring : that the most complex phenomenon in the known universe, human consciousness, actually IS just proton flow on its most fundamental level.

This in no way detracts from consciousness’ magnificence, any more that pointing out that Shakespeare’s plays are “just” strings of letters makes them any less brilliant, or that everything the device upon which I am writing this assignment does is “just” ones and zeroes make what it can do less impressive.

To quote a man I admire greatly :

The most incomprehensible thing about the world is that it is comprehensible.

Albert Einstein

It is true that there is, in fact “something more” than proton flow happening in human consciousness, just as there is “something more” happening in a computer than ones and zeroes. But that does not preclude our understanding that complexity comes from simplicity. The mightiest star in the sky is made of nothing more than hydrogen, helium, and a little bit more.

In short, pointing out that complex things are made of simpler things does not in any way reduce the complexity of said things. Ergo, to point out that human consciousness is fundamentally proton flow does not, in any way, make the complexity of the human mind any less extraordinary.


And what the hell, here is my weekly journalism assignment :

Name of Student: Michael Bertrand
Question : As a general rule, should news organizations report on suicides? Why/Why not?
My Answer : Yes. They should cover them because the coverage both spreads awareness of the problem and because it will point potential suicides to the resources which may save their lives. Contagion is a possibility but we have no way of knowing whether those people would have committed suicide eventually regardless of the news coverage. Coverage could save many more lives than contagion takes. I say, do it.
My Question for the Class: If someone close to you committed suicide, would you want the media to cover it? Why or why not?
Your day of the week (see chart in syllabus): Monday
Date: October 5, 2015
Headline: Flint, Michigan, declares emergency; high lead levels in kids linked to tap water
Reporter’s name: None listed
Why I think this is a noteworthy news story: (40 to 50 words): I think it illustrates the dangers of a certain shortsighted form of the cost-cutting mentality that seeks to make a number on a ledger go down without any understanding of the complexity those numbers represent. These people eschew complexity and hence are woefully inadequate for achieving concrete results.


And now, the actual blogging.

Had fun at the con. The night I forgot my sleep meds was not fun, but I got to sleep eventually, and slept decently well. Saturday night I slept quite soundly after drinking a significant amount of booze then taking my sleeping pills, which I am almost positive must be contraindicated. Best sleep I have had in ages, honestly. A peaceful eight hours, and all without CPAP.

Same for Sunday night. I didn’t have liquor in me, but I had stayed up till four in the morning playing Cards Against Humanity (damn, I love that game) with various con-goers at the deadest Dead Dog Party ever.

That was a debacle. The DDP started out in someone’s suite, but after two noise complaints from the hotel, we realized this was intensely stupid. Parties have a minimum volume and that number goes up for each partygoer, so there was simply no chance we would be able to keep it down.

After that broke down, most of the partgoers said to hell with it and went to bed, which was dispiriting. But a group of us went to a conference room with a nice big round table and started playing Cards Against Humanity, and that game is goddamned hilarious, so we entertained ourselves that way until the wee hours of the morning.

And this, after having gone to the Turkey Readings earlier that day, followed by a marvelous dinner with the usual gang plus Jax, Spuug, Dara, and Ana, wherein we amused the hell out of one another.

All in all, I consider it to have been a socially successful weekend. There were a few socially anxious moments when I was at a room party and nobody was talking to me and I began to feel morose and alone and some bad tapes about being forever an outsider started playing, but I powered my way through those and was mostly okay.

More importantly, I made a lot of people laugh over the weekend. My little jokes didn’t always work, but most of them did, and few things make me feel as good as making people laugh and thereby putting a little more sunshine into their lives.

I emailed in sick to my Ideology and Politics class today. I feel weird about that. But I was so damned tired from the convention that I had little choice. I will get back into the flow of things tomorrow.

It did make me realize that, if you strip away all the externalities of what gets me out the door and off to class, what remains is a very strong fear of missing out and falling behind. The idea of all my classmates learning without me fills me with a deep dread. I guess when you are the youngest of four, getting left behind is one of your worst fears.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow, with a proper con report.

Somnia deficit redux

Well Martha, I done did it again. I forgot my sleeping pills at home again. And like I say every time it happend, the thing about my sleeping pills is that without them, I don’t sleep.

So I decided that I will use the only sleep aid at my disposal, and that is blogging. Hopefully, by blogging at all you nicenbsp; people, I can disperse enough nervous tension and mental energy to sleep.

It’s a longshot, but it’s the only shot I got.

Learned lots of neat stuff in Psych 1100 today. We are out of the basic neurology and into what I think of as real psychology. Today’s lesson was about one of the most fascinating subjects in psych : consciousness.

That ended up bringing me an important epiphany. See, the prof was talking about the whole stupid “but what is consciousness, REALLY? ” question, and how “it can’t just be protons moving through membranes” and I said “of course it can be… because that’s what it is!” and said people know what consciousness is, they just don’t like the answer. No matter how refined our picture of the brain becomes, people are going to say it can’t be “just” that. Even avowed materialists like my prof will insist it can’t “just” be that.

But it is. There is no magic ingredient, like Descartes believed. And breaking things down to their smallest part always makes them seem absurd. Shakespeare’s plays are “just” a string of letters. DNA is “just” a string of protein. A star is “just” a bunch of hydrogen and helium.

So I brought this all up in class (in fewer words) and she wrangled with it for a bit and then just dropped it and moved on.

And I suddenly realized how obnoxious I was being. Whether or not ny points are valid (they are), she didn’t want or need them at that time, and neither did the rest of the class. All I was doing was interfering with the learning/teaching process just to show off how smart I am. It was neither the time nor place to start an argument or attack what the prof was saying.

And yet, I was doing it to try and impress her, in a way. And this is hardly the first time I have done this. I have done it since grade 1, to be honest. And that made me realize that I have spent my whole life trying to impress teachers and profs in a way that is sure to piss them off solid, ANDnbsp; make the whole class wish I would just shut the fuck up already.

That… is a fairly harsh thing to realize about oneself.

I don’t want to make it sound worse than it is. Most of the time, I am not consciously trying to impress anyone (and that is good because I was REALLYnbsp; obnoxious today.. I cringe to think of it). I am just very eager and have certain boundry issues when it comes to arguing (I love it TOO MUCH) and it was not until today I realized how wrong I have been.

So in the future, I will restrain myself. I will pay close attention to the differebce between a request for clarification and an attack on what the prof is saying, and for the most part, STFU, listen, and learn.

And keep my wildly original thoughts to myself, for the most part.At least until I find the proper venue.

Like, say, this blog.

This doesn’t mean I will be silent in class. That would be asking too much. But I will ask fewer questions, start no arguments, and for heaven’s sake, pay close attentiin to the tone of my voice.

And keep in mind thst I want to help the prof, not bust their chops.

I am tempted to email her and apologize, but I am fairly certain she would just tell me that she appreciates my eagerness and interest in the subject matter, and not to worry about blah blah etc.

That is both the proper professorial response – they can’t very well tell a student “you’re right, you’re obnoxious, stop being so interested and engaged with the subject matter and STFU – and what I understand of her personality. She seems very sweet and shy, and hence probably not keen on confrontation. So she probably would tell me everything was cool even if I was pissing her off so bad it made her eyes cross.

So I will take it upon myself to improve. It was a painful revelation, but one which opens the doorway to enormous personal growth.

Plus, I kind of want to see what happens if I go an entire class without answering any questions. I am sure there must be other students who would love to answer who just don’t think as fast or speak as easily as I do.

I am being obnoxious again. Better rein it in.

Why am I up?

Woke up at around 7:30 am and couldn’t get back to sleep, so I figured I might as well blog. After all, today is the first day of Vcon, and I am going to be too busy to do it later.

I will probably post con notes here throughout the day, assuming I can get on the Sheraton’s WiFi.

It is going to be weird going to the con straight from class. It means that I might end up having to take all my clothes and stuff with me to school. Depends on whether I can find my other kitbag, the old one, or not.

I can put up with using that ratty old thing for one class if it means I don’t have to lug my cloths and other essentials around with me to class. If I find the old one, I can just put my clothes et all in my newer one and ask Joe to take them to our hotel room when he checks in.

Or maybe the other way around. Dunno.

I can say one thing without fear of contradiction : we have never lived this close to the convention before. It’s like six blocks away. So going back home for stuff we forgot to bring will never be easier.

This begs the obvious question : if we live so close, why the heck are we getting a room? Basically, because getting to stay in a hotel is part of the convention experience to us. And we really like having the security of knowing that we have a room right in the same building to go to when there’s no panels on that interest us or if we are feeling a little overwhelmed.

Okay, that last one is mostly me.

And I like staying in hotels. It makes me feel like a competent and legitimate adult for a change. Most of the time, poverty leaves me feeling like a failure. Not in any specific way, just in the way it leaves you out in the cold relative to the common pleasantries that most people take for granted. It makes you feel like an outsider, like you just plain missed the bus to life, and therefore getting to spend three days living as well as everyone else is worth the hundred bucks for a room share.

It really is that sad.

I guess the fact that I am a student now means I shouldn’t feel so bad about myself and my lot in life. But I have this stupid lack of ID thing hanging over my head and it’s keeping me from just relaxing and being a student and feeling like I belong there. I thought I would be done with all that falderol by now, but no, it will continue to oppress me till mid October at least.

Why is nothing ever easy?

Oh well, someday this will all be nothing but a memory, and I will laugh at how fucked it up it all was.

It does mean that I will, once more, be stuck convincing the people at registration that they should sell me a membership even though I have no ID. Knowing that is in my near future is going to do wonders for my social anxiety. Previous years, I just sort of cluelessly fumbled my way through it.

But school has raised my background tension level. Mostly because of the ID thing, honestly. I wish I could just relax about it, knowing it will all sort itself out in time. But I am not built that way…. not yet, anyhow. So it will just lurk there in the back room of my consciousness, in my mind even when it’s not on my mind, dragging me down.

Now it’s my fault that I didn’t get the whole birth certificate thing started until I was already in school and had been for a couple of weeks. I wasted a lot of time thinking I was somehow going to find a way around it. That’s why when I finally got around to it, I had to pay them a shitload of money to get it here in a reasonable time.

But I could never have seen the whole “it will arrive within three to four weeks via mail” bullshit coming. That’s just batshit crazy. I can’t be the only person who finds that a mite inconvenient.

I mean, I need my ID to get my student loan and student ID and such. But a lot of people need theirs to DRIVE.

I wish I had remembered to ask Joe what sort of room we have so I would know what I can reasonably bring with me in terms of foodage. Some hotel rooms are cool and have a microwave and a (non-mini) fridge and whatnot. Others, you are lucky if there’s a coffee machine. So it would be nice to know what I can bring.

Oh well. As usual, my budget goes like this : $75 for membership, $75 for meals.

That means the weekend will be $150, and my weekly budget is normally $100, so this WILL take a bite out of the rest of the month. I am hoping that this month’s GST cheque will be extra fat, so that I will have some left over after paying Joe back for my share of the room.

I would hate to have to pay him back partially and then pay the rest on my next check. But it may come to that.

At least this isn’t a five-week month, like other GST cheque months. That always feels like a kick in the nuts. Oh look, here’s extra money…. and here’s the extra week between cheques that has arrived to devour it! Because FUCK YOU.

I was so worried about that happening this month that I checked the calendar again and again, convinced that it really was a five week month and I somehow wasn’t seeing it.

But no. Normal four week month. I think. Probably. The math works out, anyhow.

I better try to get a little more sleep. I will talk to you nice people again sometime soonish. I will do my best to blog from the convention, but it probably won’t be 1000 words a day because I will be typing on the virtual keyboard and that sucks.

Love you all! See you soon!

I’m so clever

Too clever for my own good, sometimes.

As my Dad would put it, I out-thought myself today. I thought it would be super clever of me to post my revised short stories to this blog, knowing we would be making a WordPress site in class today and figuring, being the Wordpresd stud that I am, that when the time came, I would just cut and paste.

Nope. You would think that would be the simplest thing, but I had forgotten how weird WordPress can be about pasted in text with HTML in it. I won’t go into the boring technical details, but I ended up struggling with the damned thing for the whole time allotted for it before I got it right and just stopped fucking with it.

Technically a victory, but it sure doesn’t feel like one.

Oh well. Now I am home (and cold… REALLY have to stop forgetting to wear my jacket) and now I can relax, blog, do my video, and maybe even HOLY SHIT, IT’S VCON TOMORROW.

I thought I was ready. I was ready on Wednesday, or at least I thought I was. Mentally, that is. But then today I ended up lounging around naked and sleeping a lot and such, so as a result, today went very very fast in subjective time.

You know your sense of time is seriously messed up when, for a moment, you can’t remember if it’s AM or PM, and you end up having to like, deduce the answer.

I swear, absentminded people must make the best detectives because we are constantly having to figure out WTF is going based on current evidence. Let’s see, I remember having lunch, and the light is a little dim, and evening comes after lunch, so it can’t be 5 am…. a ha! I have it! It’s 5 PM!

Brilliant deduction, Holmes. How DO you do it?

That is seriously the kind of process that goes on in my mind on a far too regular basis. The relevant memory isn’t gone, it’s still there in short term memory where it belongs, I just lose contact with my short term memory now and then, and I have to deduce things in order to fill in the gap.

That’s… not good, is it? Hmmm.

I can’t help but assume this has something to do with my dangerously high levels of interiority. Sometimes my inner processes demand so much of my mental resources that vitally important functions like temporally contiguous current memory break down, and because all of this goes on under the hood with me, consciously, I dunno WTF.

Sometimes I wonder how I dodged the serious, psychotic-level mental illnesses. I feel like they are always there, waiting for me to lose my grip. One false move… one step too far… and I will fall down the bottomless well of total madness and lose contact with the light forever.

That is, in and of itself, crazy. But what’s a fella to do? It’s what I have to work with.

I guess this is the price you pay for ignoring the walls that hold others and exploring the vastness of human thought without, as it were, any guardrails. The center-flock types might not be creative geniuses, but they are safe from falling over the edge, too. We philosopher types, on the other hand, blunder about blithely and act like we can’t get hurt.

Well we can. But we blunder own anyhow, because truth is our obsession.

And I wonder why. In my case, it might well be that I am driven to seek the truth because it is through that drive that I remain in contact with reality. Through all the chaos and madness of this mental neighborhood of mine, I can deduce that which is solid and reliable in the world and makes myself an amorphous island in the storm.

And the thing is, when done right, that amorphous blog grows more solid with time. Not everything you build up gets torn down again by new info. Some things stay, and resist all weathers, and it is those rocks upon which you build your church.

Damn it, you slipped into the second person again. I mean… I did.

I have been trying to get a better picture of this fanatical drive I have within me to seek the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. I intuit that it is intimately connected with my way of making sense of the world. That this truth machine within me is my way of conquering the chaos within by rolling over it with a mighty mighty steamroller of reason and intellect.

That’s how I force the world to make sense to me, so to speak. With that mindset, I could easily have become one of those narrow minded math fetishist who worship math and engineering and science and so forth because they represent a form of reality which responds to direct inquiry and produces verifiable answers.

But I could never accept such a limited framework for reality. My mind is broad as well as strong, and my search for the truth could never be limited to only the sorts of answers that can be described by mathematics.

I need a hell of a lot more answers than that. I will take whatever path will get me there.

That is why I am glad I am an intuitive intellectual. It means that I basically can’t pick one side of the brain or the other because I draw so heavily from both. I think I lead with my left, for better and for worse, but an awful lot of my seemingly rational processes are purely intuitive.

The rational brain just verifies the results. And if the results don’t hold up to reason, they are corrected and resubmitted, or if it’s bad enough, abandoned altogether.

It really is the best of both worlds, I think.

Except for the fact that it leaves fruitier than a nutcake.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow…. probably.

After all, I will be at VCON!

Triple Flash, Revised

Got an assignment today for those same three flash stories, revised. Here they are.


Two girls. They were still friends, that was the main thing. The “thing” that had happened “that night” hadn’t ruined their friendship. Not yet, anyway. Two bottles of wine, split between them. Two tabs of ecstasy, one each. Their embrace. Their kiss. Their… lips. Under the influence of Aunt Molly, they had been two halves of the same magnificent sexual whole. But now, in the light of morning, they were just two girls. Shopping.


“What say you?” “They are not ready. ” “No progress?” “On the contrary, they have progressed well. When last I came, the humans were children telling stories and forming gangs. Now they are adolescents, growing rapidly in power and wisdom, full of optimism and doubt.Their souls grow restless and yearn for something more than this shallow material life. They are on the cusp of adulthood. My next visit will be in 200 years, not 2000. ”


Nope. Nuh-uh. I won’t do it. So shut up, Bad Man In My Head. If we do it again they’ll put us back in the Home and we don’t need the Home. We’re not bad people any more. We have a job, a girlfriend, and people like us and some of them even know what we did to that girl. And we don’t want to hurt anyone ever again. Ever. So SHUT. UP. BAD. MAN.

Who let me in here?

I demand to see the manager about the declining entry standards.

Well, it is 3:40 am, time to blog myself to sleep. Tomorrow, I will have therapy at one and class at 2:30.

Although that second part is not certain. I am not entirely well. I have been experiencing sulfurous belches all evening, and that tends to be an ill omen indeed for my digestive future. So I may be unwell tomorrow.

I will still go to therapy, of course. I don’t miss that for anything short of hospitalization. But I might miss Ideology and Politics.

Honestly, it is my least favorite class right now, anyhow. The prof does not seem to be good at putting together a coherent lesson plan and instead sort of bounces around a subject. Plus, like I said before, I find her voice uncompelling to the point of tedium.

I continue to hope she will find her feet and teach from a more grounded and linear point of view. I don’t need a Prussian style teacher, but she tries to fit too much material into too little time, and the result is that there is no time to think about things.

And thinking is what I do best!


And now I am sitting at Kwantlen, miffed, because TODAY’s class got canceled. And the email informing us of this didn’t even go out until 1:06 pm, and the class was supposed to be at 2:30 pm.

Funny, I seem to recall that we students are supposed to give our profs 12 hours notice before an abscence, and even then, we have to bring a doctor’s note. Maybe I will ask her for hers when I see her again Monday.

At 1:06 pm, I was in therapy. Joe dropped me off here after. If I had known the class was canceled, I could have gone straight home.

Creative Writing (tomorrow night at 6 pm) better not get canceled. It’s my second favorite!

Or tied for first. I could go either way.

If it got canceled, I would achieve Maximum Miff and might even experience a full blown Tizzy.

I mean, whatever happened to substitute teachers? I guess this is what you get with for-profit educational institutions. Why pay someone to substitute when they can just pilfer a tenth (well, a twentieth, in this case) instead? The professor gets paid either way, and it’s not like they will lose my business ar this point, so why spend the extra money?

If this was a public educational institute, they would be be legally obligated to educate me or die trying. But businesses are always looking to cut corners.

Fucking private-public partnerships.

Well, guess I will schlep on down to the bus stop. I may pick up some condolation donuts on the way.


At the bus stop now. No donuts. The line was too long. I thought about sitting down in the cafeteria and monitoring the line in order to swoop in when the line is at its shortest, as I have done once before. But I decided that was too much work just to poison myself with something I might not enjoy very much anyhow, what with my recent digestive issues.

Those seem to have quited down now, thank goodness. I probably just need some good hydration and maybe a hot bath now.

When you have Irritible Bowel Syndrome, you learn these things over time, mostly by trial and error. Like I have said before, my IBS doesn’t bother me much most of the time. I know the warning signs and can usually head off any major symptoms before they happen. Every once in a while, one gets through, and I suffer through an hour or so of nausea and pain, sitting on the bowl, until things sort themselves out.

Even then, I know I can just wait it out.

I might miss my youth and vigor and enthusiasm sometimes, but I sure as hell don’t miss how emotionally unstable I was back then, or how freaked out by everything I could get. I used to be such a mess!


On the bus now. I am liveblogging my life!

Oh well. An addiction to blogging as a stress release seems fairly harmless, as long as it doesn’t metastasize into full on hypergraphia, or whatever the modern equivalent would be.


And now I’m home. And, I just took my first ever ativan. This should be an interesting mental experience.

See, I talking to my therapist about how I felt like jumping out of my own skin yesterday, and we decided that was basically a panic attack expressing itself as a painful energy surge. So he prescribed me some ativan to use as needed.

I was tempted to decline the offer. But then I realized I had no sane reason to do so. And I think it will do me some good to know that if things get really bad, I have a “in emergency break glass” type solution.

Can’t say I care much for dissolving it under my tongue. That felt and tasted odd. It gets into the bloodstream faster that way, though, and that might make a big difference if I am freaking out big time, so… I dunno.

So far, I am feeling a mild calming effect. A nice, cool, relaxed kind of feeling. No side effects, at least not yet. If this is as weird as it gets, I can dig it.

My therapist told me to try one so I could “test drive” the drug and see how I react to it before I actually need to use it in some kind of emergency. I figured that made sense to me, so here I am.

Now I feel like it’s getting hard to concentrate. My consciousness is getting all melty around the edges, like a cheese pizza in mid-bake. Things are getting kinda groovy. Guess I better finish up quick before I forget what words are.

Yeah. I could see how people might get addicted to this. And how it might disinhibit people and make them “silly”.

Gonna go lay down and catch the ativan wave.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.