My many modes

Today, as an exercise in self-exploration, I am going to try to enumerate some of the modes in which I function.

I am going to treat them like they are separate and distinct for ease of communication, but please remember that these are but facets of my personality, and I am the gem.

Let’s see. Well, there’s Fun And Breezy Fru.  That’s my mode when I am relaxed and comfortable but not particularly agitated, inspired, or stimulated. In that mode, I respond to what is going on around me but I don’t necessarily engage with the flow of conversation. I just do what I can “social basking”, where I bask in the warm feeling of being around others like they are the sun and I am having a nice day on the beach.

It’s a rare mode, and generally comes from a confluence of factors creating a temporary zone of peace within me, like the eye of a storm.

And while it is a happy mode, it is also fairly dull. Hence its short shelf life. Before, my inherent restlessness will move me to find something more active to do.

Then there’s Professorial Fru, or Didactic Fru.  EVERYone who knows me knows this mode. It’s the mode I get into when I am holding forth on some theory of mine or sharing some knowledge I think is interesting.

In it, I express myself clearly and colorfully but in a mode that uses a more formal vocabulary, sentence structure, cadence, and tone.

It makes me sound a trifle pompous sometimes. I am sure, but it works for me.

And it truly comes naturally to me. Ask my siblings if you don’t believe me. It’s the mode they found so galling when I would use it as a child, and it’s not hard to see why.

After all, I was far younjger than them, and here I was lecturing them!

Sounds adorable to me, but I might be biased.

It’s also the mkode I tend to slip into when writing these blog entries. It is the form my intellectualization takes by default and while it gets the job done, more or less, in that it conveys someting I am trying to convey, it arguably is the primary thing that leads me to wander off on a tangest when I am trying to express something emotional.

I would probably be better off if I could stay out of that mode and stay focused on the emotional message, but I don’t see that happening any time soon.

All I can do is drag myself back to the point when I catch myself at it.

And then there’s Silly Fluffball Fru.  Those who mostly know me as a certqain cute and fluffy fox have seen this side of me. The real world, alas. has not.

It is engaged when I am feeling silly and playfully and firmly disinclined to take anything seriously, and as a result, I tend to riff off what people say, clown around, and have fun.

My friends know a version of this mode because that is the mode I am in when I am with them and relaxed and having fun. Being limited by reality, it’s nowhere near the flamboyance and expressivity of the fluffy fox version, but it’s the same idea.

Then, alas, there’s Barely There Fru. That is the mode I am in when there is a lot of heavy weather going on inside me and it is taking up most of my attention and that leaves only the barest shadow of me left to deal with the external world.

I imagine that those who know me end up seeing this mode on occasion. Superficially, I am showing no signs of distress or discomfort. At most I seem dreamy and distracted,. like I am sleepy. But I smile and respond and say everything is just fine.

But anyone with any emotional perception can tell I am not fine and that there is something strange going on with me. My affect is flat and there is a haunted quality to my presence. I seem “weird” to people.

It’s not a good mode. Eighty percent of the time you see me in it, it means I am depressed. The other twenty percent of the time, I am merely preoccupied with deep thoughts on some topic or other.

Oh, and let’s not forget Prosecutor Fru, or Hyper Analytic Fru. This mode engages when I have caught the scent of the truth and I start pursuing it like I am a bloodhound dashing madly after a deer.

It takes the form of my asking questions, more often than not, and if that was all, it wouild not be a problem. But the questions I ask are probing and incisive and delivered too quickly after each reponse, and that tends to make people feel like they are under the microscope and on trial for something.

I don’t mean to offend, I just get carried away by my insatiable curiosity sometimes.

Finally, there is Ship’s Computer Fru, or Robot Fru.  This mode gets activated when I am so engaged in my analytical left-brain thought processes that I lose most of my emotional affect and become almost robotic in how I deal with the world.

Usually, these trips into my  inner machinations are brief and directed at answering a specific question. But there are times when that massive brutal truth machine of mine build up so much power that even when the question has been answered. it is still running at full speed and not willing to shut down and that is when I feel alienated by my own mind, like I am not really in control.

It can be pretty scary. The feeling of power and competence I get when my mind is really ticking over like that can be seductive, and that is what tempts me to try to stay there even though I am also terrified.

Well, that’s enough modes for today. I have dozens more, of course.

Perhaps this article will have a sequel. Perhaps not.

Either way, you know what comes next.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.




Spoon shortage baffles authorities

Spoon Shortage Baffles Authorities

Well that didn’t work. It was supposed to be able to insert it inline!

Well let’s try it like this  then :


Local authorities are baffled by
the sudden disappearance of over
five thousand spoons from the local
area last night. We caught up to a
clearly distraught Mayor Tommy
Dougie Daniels to get his reaction
to this shocking crime wave.


The camera is following a portly man in a Sears business
suit, who is lightly jogging down the hallway.

Mister Mayor! What can you tell us
about this shocking violation of
the public’s trust?

The MAYOR pauses, confused.

You’ll have to be more specific.

A few moments of pregnant silence.

Oh! You mean the spoons thing!

Of course! Why, what did you…

The mayor resumes jogging

(rattling it off rapidly)
I just want to go on record as
saying that we are doing everything
possible to find the perpetrators
of this heinous crime and, most
importantly. get back our spoons!

I see. Tell me, Mister Mayor…
does the spoon shortage mean we
will have to cancel next weekend’s
International Soup Festival?

The Mayor once more stops, and this time, he looks directly
into the camera with a very serious look on his face.

Listen. I want to make this
perfectly clear. This weekend’s
Festival is on no matter what.

But when reached for comment, the
festival’s organizers said :


I’m sorry, Mayor. But we just don’t
have the spoons for that.


Hmmm. Still not right, but it will do. Click the PDF if you want the properly formatted version, if not, then… don’t.

Anyhow. obviously spoon theory has been on my mind ever since I brought it up in last night’s blog entry. It’s something I have known about for a long long time, but for some reason, it wasn’t until mentioning it last night then letting ti sit in my consciousness over night that it suddenly dawned on me that it’s the solution I have been looking for all my life without knowing it.

For my whole life, and especially adult life, I have been trying to find a way to express what I can’t do things which seem easy and obvious and totally helpful. I have felt very vulnerable and helpless because of this total inability to justify or explain myself.

SImply saying “because depression” isn’t enough, and not just because it’s bad grammar. [1] I needed a more specific way to explain to people why someone like me, who doesn’t necessarily come across as having issues, can’t do things.

Those who know me know I am somewhat of a hot mess, but people who are not that familiar with me see a very intelligent, well-spoken, self -possessed, confident (ha!)  individual who seems to have, if anything, fewer problems than most.

This contrasts wildly with the truth of my interior life, where I have trouble getting together the spoons to do damn near anything that does not consist of my usual regimen of video games and meals and blogging.

Even the social times I enjoy with my friends on a regular basis require a significant act of will to overcome the voice in my head that views the oncoming socialization as a violent attack by people who want to tear me away from my nice safe hole and make me go out there where I will be exposed.

Let’s call that goddamned voice the Rock Crab, who wants to stay under his rock and doesn’t listen to or care about anything else.

I see I have veered off topic. Back to spoons.

Spoon theory, and specifically the ability to say “I can’t do that because I am all out of spoons” or, like the organizer, “I don’t have the spoons for that”, is the key I have been looking forsince I was a kid

And not just for that specific languageeither, but for the whole world of expressing one’s lack of interior resources it opens up.

It even lets me explain why I can’t do sudden things. Why if someone showed up and said “You want to hang out right now?” I would have no choice but to say no, even if I know I would enjoy it and really wish I could say yes.

But I don’t have the spoons for it. In order to be able to leave my teeny tiny comfort zone, I need lots of time in which to save up the requisite number of spoons. I also need that time in order to go through the many attacks of Rock Crab emotions I will go through before I actually do the thing.

It takes many spoons to defeat the Rock Crab. And if I don’t have those spoons, there is nothing I can do. The Rock Crab wins, and I stay in my hole, hating myself.

Now, looking at my psyche as a system (how INTJ of me), it’s clear that the real problem is that spoon generation is far too slow to meet demand. Both total spoon capacity and spoon production need to be increased until a satisfactory level of social capabilities are available to me.

But I do not know how that is done. Presumably some of my very deep social injuries need to heal properly before I can regain the confidence necessary for the needed boost in spoon manufacture.

It’s really fun for me to talk about spoons this way. Just so you know.

I deeply wish that I could be the person I sometimes seem to be. Smart, confident, funny, charming, and a heck of a nice guy to boot.

But until this black hole inside my soul disappears, I will continue to need to use most of my spoons as fuel just to keep from being annihilated.

And that has to come before absolutely everything else.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.



Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)

  1. Funny bad grammar, but still, bad grammar

You cannot lose what you never had

Tonight’s topic is innocence.

But first, the scary thing that just happened to me. I think it’s happened once before. Either way, it was scary as hell.

I had been playing Skyrim for a while and I got up to go get my supper and thus begin the enbloggening process. And, somewhat thoughtlessly, I had popped up abruptly instead of getting up slowly, and getting up fast like that is a very unwise thing to do when you are old and fat and diabetic and have been sitting in the exact same position for hours on end.

So when I hit the kitchen and stopped moving I experienced the effects of my blood being rapidly redistributed in my body from where it had pooled in my lower torso and crotch to something more like healthy bloodflow and temporarily disrupting the smooth flow of blood to my planet sized brain.

In other words, I had a massive head rush.

That’s not unusual for me, though. The unusual part was that it didn’t merely come and go like a wave, like it normally does. I

It just kept coming in wave after wave of dizziness and nausea. I had to put both hands on the coutner to steady myself and hold myself up so that I didn’t fall and there were some very bad moments where my nightmares about losing consciousness and waking up immobile in a hospital bed with tubes everywhere swam into view.

Plus I felt like I was going to faint, and that might have landed me in the ER too.

I counted four separate waves of dizziness. plus a couple of aftershock waves. It was terriblt frightening and has left me feeling rather shaken.

No, I, of course, know all the things I am supposed to do if I want to prevent such things from happening in the future. Stretch my legs. Wiggle my toes. Get up and walk around the apartment every hour or so. Rub my legs briskly in order to stimulate circulation. Get a heating bad. I know all that bullshit.

But for me, it is never a lack of knowing. I have a lot of problems but ignorance isn’t one of them. I know lots about a lot of things. I both take in a lot of information and via deduction get even more information out of that information.

It’s a lack of doing. And until someone has an answer to the question “What if you don’t feel ;like doing anythuing?” that doesn’t boil down to “do something”, my lack of doing will continue to limit my life.

I mean, I just don’t have the spoons for that shit. Know what I mean?

Anyhow. it was very scary and now I am kind of freaked out about it. I keep waiting for my medical issues to join forces with my utterly sedentary lifestyle and total lack of useful exercise and finally go in for the kill.

But it doesn’t happen. So… so far so… good?

And I can’t explain why I can’t do all the obvious things that would improve my life other than to say that I don’t have the internal resources to do it. Hence the spoons thing.

Damn that is a useful metaphor. I dream of coming up with something that good.

Anyhow, innocence. I never had any.

Actually, that’s not true. I do have memories of an early childhood where I was happy and precocious and not yet terrified by the world and reality in general. A time when I was that cute redhaired kid who talked like an adult and was a source of warm stories about odd but delightful encounters people had with me.

Then I got raped and it all went to hell.

And no child shoul lose their innocence that early. Innocence is meant to protect the child from the scariness of the world until they are old enough to handle it. That is its sole function.I grew up without it.

As a result, I always knew more than I should have, and knew the evil of the world from far too young an age, and that made me scared of the world at a time when I should have felt like everything was great, the world was the block where I lived,  and my biggest worry was getting enough quarters to go play games at the arcade.

I think that it was this primary trauma that forced my mind to so radically favour the cold circuit of icy intellectualism over the hot circuit of emotional reasoning and faith.

Being smart was the one thing I knew how to do. The onset of bullying told me that I was socially disgusting. The torture chamber that was gym class showed me that I was physically incompetent. Later on, shop class and sewing class would show me how badly wired for physical coordination at the small level I was as well.

All I had – and all I have – are highly intellectual assets like creativity, high information retention, asbstract reasoning skills, emotional insight, and heap and heaps of raw brain power I can throw at any question.

And that should be enough. It’s far more than most people get. And it would be enough if it wasn’t for one thing :

I’m broken inside. And I can’t fix myself. And nobody can fix me for me. So I’ll stay broken. forever and ever.

All I can do is keep bailing this boat of mine out and hoping that some day,. it will be light enough to float again.

I’m lighter than I have been, and getg a little lighter every day. But I am so very tired of waiting for my life to begin. I was so sure VFS would be the start of the life I was meant to have, but I forgot to factor in how broken I was and how my mental illness would be lurking in the corner of my mind at all times, just waiting for a moment of weakness in which it could convince me to act very much against my best interests and thus have me all to itself again.

So back to the doldrums I went, and that where I will stay until some kind of fatefull breeze can stir me to action once again.

I won’t be holding my breath waiting for that to happen any time soon.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.






On the turning away

Been pondering my turning away from life lately.

Anyone can see that my depression has made me turn away from the world. Lately I have learned to catch myself in the act of doing it and can feel the very specific emotional reaction that I am calling my own “turning away”.

Have I done the rubber ducks thing yet? It’s like rubber ducks.

Rubber ducks floating in the water like in some kind of carnival game. And when I try to contempklate expanding my little world, those little duckies turn to the wall and silently cry and that means I can’t do it.

Lately, this image in my mind has come with a single word : “No. ”

No, I won’t do it.. I won’t look. Leave me alone. No, no, no. I hear it in a childlike voice. But it’s not said in a tone of defiance or even anger or fear.

It’s closer to a tone of despair. Not the wailing and the gnashing of the teeth kind. The voice of someone who has literrly given up and can do nothing but wait for the bad thing to go away.

And it’s quite clear to me where this voice comes from : the sexual assault I endured when I was but three or four years old.

That’s what made me turn away from the world for good. When it was happening, I did what millions of other sexual assault survivors did and took my mind away. I de-focused my inner vision until everything was a blur and denied reality as hard as I could.

No. this isn’t happening. No, this isn’t real. No, no. no. I’m going to go far, far away by going deep, deep inside myself. I am going to retreat into a little box inside myself, even though I have to make myself very small to do so, and all that empty space I leave behind will be filled with hard cold ice to protect me from the horrors of reality.

And from that point on, I have been in that little box, looking out at the world from deep inside myself, a tiny child trying to operate a large body and deal with the realities of life while deeply insulated from reality.

No wonder I am so awkward.

And here I sit at 44 years of age, 45 in a couple of months, and I am still in that little box. Still keeping the world at bay, still dealing with life through thick layers of protective ice, still fundamentally rejecting reality unless it comes to me in the sort of safe, media-based way I can handle.

And that means I have been mostly dead inside for a very long time. Most of my life, in fact. Nothing can live in such icy conditions. I am profoundly number, and I keep myself that way because I am so afraid of what happens when I come to life and have to deal with the memories of being raped when I was a preschooler.

That is, in effect, the answer to why I can’t do some things even though my vision issues are not an issue at all. [1] The real answer is “because that would involve dealing with more reality than I can safely handle without waking the demon sleeping in my soul and waiting to annihilate me. ”

I feel quite cold inside as I write this. That’s fine. I have come to accept this kind of inner chill is a good thing, a sign that I am pushing someof that god damned ice out of myself and onto the page or my therapist’s ears.

Like a glacier calving, I birth my ice and let the bergs drift south and melt. I have no idea how many of them I have in me. PResumably one hell of a lot. And so I don’t know how long the process is going to take.

But I don’t care. Doing it makes me feel better, in the long run. And I can look to the past and see just how much lighter I am now than I was before. That confirms that this is, indeed, a thing worth doing.

And it’s not like I have anything better to do.

And I know that underneath all that ice and snow and deeply dead dirt, I am still alive. I love, I grow, I gather strength, I improve, and with every day and every blog entry or therapy session, I get closer to healing my damaged soul and being able to havbe that long delayed springtime of the soul, where the waters flow free and the flood comkes and goes and when it is all over, the land will awaken and life will start again.

I can clearly feel how assiduously I have kept reality at an entire Shiva’s worth of arms lengths away and relied on my thick wall of numbness to keep the world at bay.

It’s like when reality comes calling, I slip away and let my ice shield take the hit instead. Which might sound good, but when you realize that this means I never actually deal with any problems, you begin to see what a bad thing it is.

I’d be far better off if I just met my problems head-on and solved them right away. But I am just not the kind of person. Not yet.

There’s still too much “no” in me. A lot of me still wants to hide away from everything. To disappear completely so I don’t have to deal with anything any more. SOmetimes even my tiny life as I am living it now seems like too much to handle and all I want to do is go away and never come back.

Those are thee bad days. The dqays when even getting out of bed to play Skyrim seems like too much work.

But I press on through my half-chilled days, looking for that door… into spring.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.


Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)

  1. And how much of my eyesight problems are actually psychological, I wonder?

The constant strain

Gonna talk about my weak eyesight again tonight.

I’ve mentioned before that I think thqat for my whole life, I have had poor vision – worse even than my earing of glasses would suggest. Even with the glasses on, I have trouble seeing things sometimes. And anything that requires fine vision is impossible.

Beyond a certain level of deep focus, everything is double.

I was reminded of this issue when I mentioned a depressing little incident to my therapist. Last Thursday morning, I was getting ready to go to therapy and as usual made sure I had the Holy Trinity – wallet, watch, and keys.

Evrything was fine until I stood up and my wallet fell on my foot. The wallet that, until I stood up,. had been in my right front pocket.

Hoping that it was just that I had not had the wallet fully ibn my pocket, I checked said ocket and found that no,.I was not so lucky, the bottom had really fallen out of that pocket. Completely gone. Like it had been made of tissue paper.

When I mentioned this to my therapist as one of the small frustrations that had put me in a foul mood, my therapist said “time for the needle and thread!”.

I told him that there was no way I was going to do that, and by way of explanation, I told him how my experience with sewing class had been both tragic and comic because when the rest of the students were learning to sew and progressing in the class, I spent most of each class just trying to thread my needle.

And that[s what it was like for the whole semester. I only passed that course because the teacher took pity on me. I had done virtually none of the work. Everyone else had made their cute little stuffed animal and I had made nothing but a lot of divots on my fingers from trying to grip the needle hard enough to make it submit to being threaded.

Of course now, in hindsight, it’s obvious that the problem was that my eyesight was not up to the job. For me, there was never only one eye on my needle. There was always two, and neither of them were the right one.

But the thought “the problem is my eyes” would not have occurred to me at the time. Instead, this failure was simply added to the large, dynamic, challenging file known as “reasons why I suck and am pathetic” and made me feel helpless and lame.

The real problem, my eyesight, would not have occurred to me because that would mean I was not at fault and that’s just not how life worked, in my experience.

Even worse, even if I had managed to have that thought, I would have immediately rejected it because that would mean I would need new glasses or even something more, and that would mean asking my parents for something, and that was absolutely not going to happen.

Even now, I can feel the fear associated with the idea of asking for something. It’s like ice cold water in my veins. It terrifies me even to contemplate it.

And I am 44 years old now. 45 in a couple of months.

Some things never change, I suppose.

And it’s been like this all my life. My glasses have never even come close to giving me actual normal vision. I have always been struggling to see things. I think I learned at an early age to force my eyes to focus.

And that most of the “clumsiness” that has plagued me and made me feel worthless and incompetent and utterly helpless to deal with life has actually been the direct result of my visual impairment.

Anyone with my vision issues would be just as “clumsy” because you can’t possibly have good hand eye coordination if the eyes don’t work.

Take other things I have never been able to do. Like have good penmanship. Or draw. Or yes, thread a needle. Or wash the dishes and actually get them clean. Or do damn near anything that people consider “working with your hands”.

My hands can work a keyboard and a mouse and that’s about it.

And to think, I have hated myself my whole life right until this point for something over which I had no control, and all because I couldn’t conceive of it being some kind of external, solvable problem that was not my fault at all.

I truly wonder if I qualify for the mildest form of being visually impaired. It certainly makes normal everyday tasks my difficult, sometimes even making them impossible.

At least now I know why I am so prone to eye strain. my eyes work way harder than a visually normal person’s just to give me the poor eyesight I have now.

And here’s the kicker – the reason my vision is poorer than usual right now is that last time I went to get my eyes checked, I gave the people at Ironwood Optical the wrong phone number (I think), and I never called them to fix it because I am too shy to talk to a stranger and admit I made a very basic error that most people would never make.

No wonder I live in a constant state of cringing shame. I have been blaming myself for not being able to do things all my life. And most of that was due to poor vision.

I’m not sure how to process this information. I am afraid that I will forget it because it doesn’t fit into the bulk of my feelings about myself and thus my brain will rule in favour of the existing order rather than go to the effort of changing everything.

But I will try very hard not to forget it. And that means telling others about it too. Because I need people to cut me some slack on stuff.

It’s not my fault that I can’t do basic things.

It’s because of my messed up eyes.

And there is no guarantee that there is any way to fix them.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.


The perils of villainy + other stuff

“And once that fool of a so-called HERO kills all the monsters in this dungeon, he will come back to the ‘kindly old man’ who game him this quest in order to get the magic sword I promised him, and hand us the Crown of Ages without us having to lift a finger! He’ll do all the dirty work, and we will get the prize!”

Corporal Meatshark twirled both his cap and his moustache as he turned to his able assistant, a toad-man named Esel. “Is it not the most brilliant of plans, Esel?”

Esel croaked loudly and sharply, then said “Yes, Master. One of your best ever!”

Corporal Meatshark quirked an eyebrow.

“I mean THE best! The best one ever!” Esel hastily added.

Corporal Meatshark smiled and nodded his approval. “Indeed. Now all we have to do is sit here and wait. ”

Corporal Meatshark smiled and stroked his goatee as he contemplated how powerful he would be with the Crown of Ages on his head. There would be feasts in his honor, monuments to his glory, a picture of him looking stern and paternal on every street corner. Songs woyuld be written in his name. Not just songs…symphonies. Operas. Entire musicals devoted to praising him. Ah, it would be glorious.

And there would be sex. Oh, so much sex.

His egocentric reverie was interrupted by his becoming aware that Esel was making the soft, choking, constipated noises that he made when he desperately wanted to say something but needed permission to speak.

Corporal Meatshark regarded Esel and, for a brief moment, pondered ignoring the toad-man’s unspoken pleas and returning to his happy thought. After all, it might be fascinating to see if the toad-man would actually choke and pass out if left in that state for long enough.

But no. He’d designed Esel better than that.

Besides, this was too glorious a day for such petty acts. He was soon to be Emperor of the World. Such low acts were beneath him.

“Yes, Esel, you may speak. ” he said in an indulgent tone.

Esel let out his breath in an explosive croak. “Oh, thank you, thank you, Master! You are so kind! You are so wise! You are so benevolent! To give a lowly disgusting toad-man like me permission to speak his unworthy thoughts before… ”

“Yes, yes. ” said Corporal Meatshark. “Now speak, Esel. ”

“Speak, boss? ” said Esel.

Corporal Meatshark sighed. “Yes, speak, You did have something to say, didn’t you?”

Esel looked shocked. But quickly recovered. “Oh yes, yes Master, I did! I mean I do! Thank you for reminding me, Master!”

Esel then drew himself up to his full three foot five inches of height and, in the polite and studious tone he always used when he was going to say something Corporal Meatshark might not like, asked “Master, are we powerful enough to defeat all the monsters inside the dungeon ourselves? ”

“Of course not. ” said Corporal Meatshark impatiently. “That’s why we are getting that idiotic elf to do it for us. ”

“Oh, OK, Master. Thank you for letting me speak. ” said Esel.

Silence fell, with Esel smiling broadly, and Corporal Meatshark looking at him, pondering whether to prolong this conversation or not.

He could read Esel like a book (after all, he’s the one who wrote it)  and could tell by the faint confused look on his creation’s face that something was still bothering him.

But did he really want to know bad enough to ask? The answer would likely annoy him. He pondered this question for a few long moments.

Finally, curiosity won out. “Was that all, Esel?”

Esel looked up, and nodded happily “Yes, Master! I mean…. no, Master! There was something else! Something to go with the first thing!”

“And what was it?” said Corporal Meatshark.

Esel scrunched up his face and tapped his flippers on the floor as he always did when he was thinking very hard.

“Oh! ” said Esel. “I remember! If the elf guy is strong enough to beat the monsters and we are not, doesn’t that mean he is stronger than us? ”

“Well of course not… hmmm. ” said Corporal Meatshark. Then he lapsed into a thoughtful silence for a few moments.

“Well, ” he eventually began, ” I suppose that technically that’s true. But do not forget, we will have the element of surprise. He will be expecting to be rewarded for his heroics with a magic sword given to him by a kindly old man. He will never suspect that this kindly old man is really world menace Corporal Meatshark!”

“Oh I see!” said Esel. “And when you surprise him, we take the crown and run!”

“Uh… ” said Corporal Meatshark. “Well again, yes, technically that is what we will be doing. But once we get back to the castle, I will don the Crown of Ages and take my rightful place as the Emperor of Time!”

“Oh, of course, Master! ” said Esel. “But… may I ask another question, Master”.

“Yes, Esel, you may ask. ”

“What if the hero elf boy puts the crown on his own head?”

“What?” said Corporal Meatshark, genuinely shocked. “But… he wouldn’t… he couldn’t… why would he… but then he wouldn’t get the sword!!

Esel cowered in advance of what he was about to say “Master, maybe the Emperor of Time… doesn’t need swords.. any more?”

Corporal Meatshark raised a hand to strike Esel for his insolence, but then dropped it. “No. It’s not your fault. You are only trying to help me, and that’s what I made you to do.  Forgive me, Esel. ”

“Sure thing, Master. ” said Esel eagerly. It made him glad not to get hit, but sad to see his beloved Master so deflated.

So he thought very hard again, then said “You know, Master, we could just go back to the castle and pretend none of this ever happened. ”

Just then, a stentorian voice from somewhere deep within the dungeon said “CONGRATULATIONS! You are now the Emperor of Time! Welcome, Your Majesty, to the Mansion of Time awaits!”

“That sounds like a good plan,. ” said Corporal Meatshark.

And the two of them quietly slipped away.

It was just another quiet night in Castle Meatshark when Corporal Meatshark’s evening tea was interrupted by a mighty fanfare that sounded like all the bells in Heaven ringing in harmony sounded, and a silver gate formed and opened, and a massive man, clad head to toe in royal finery, stepped thought it.

“I AM THE EMPEROR OF TIME. ” boomed the figure. “NOW WHERE’S MY SWORD?”


It occurs to me that I could have said all I really had to say in that story in around 100 words and saved myself a lot of trouble.

But stories grow as I write them. Details keeps coming to me and getting included and the end of the story disappers into a distant vanishing point, and voila, story bloat.

I probably should work on that. Learn to filter out most of the ideas popping into my head and get the basic story down before I do any embroidering.

Oh well. I learn by doing, and now, I am done.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.


Emails and failure

First, a quick catch-up : had therapy, good session, he didn’t interrupt much, I got some bad stuff out of my system, and I finally cashed my monthly cheque after having had it in my pocket for an entire week.

Because I was too lazy to go cash it myself, that’s why. I missed my chance last Thursday’s after-therapy period, and so I ended up just waiting till the next one.

In my defense, the weather was horrible. If there had been a day as nice as today in the last week, I would have cashed it then.

Luckily, I had enough money left over from last month to make it through the week, and only had to dip into my savings once.

Anyhow. Back to my actual topic.

today, I am going to try to describe a phenomenon I have noticed within my depression and I suspect in other people’s depression as well, and to do that, I will begin with a small detail of my life that I hope will help illustrate the point.  To wit :

I have a funny relationship with email. Like everybody, I have a lot of spam coming in, although thankfully, in this day and age, it’s all stuff I signed up for at one point.

Just think of that, though. We beat spam. It’s not a thing any more. Amazing.

Anyhow, I get a lot of the modern form of spam, and every once in a while I get so sick and tired of it that I go on a unsubscribing spree and unsubscribe from like the last five things I got and that makes me feel better.

But I know that I dare not get rid of them all, and the reason why is, I believe, highly illustrative of what I am talking about.

I don’t get rid of them all because I know that when I check my email and there is nothing new, I will feel like I failed. .

I failed at getting email. I tried to get new email, and it didn’t work, therefore I failed.

And that’s stark raving wrong. I didn’t fail at anything. I set out to check my email, and I checked my email. It was a total success. I now know whether or not I have email.

But that is not how my mind will record it. Checkng my email produced no result, and therefore It writes it down as a failure and adjust my mood downward accordingly. And if that happens too many times in a row, I will simply stop checking my email because it is far too painful.

And then people can’t contact me via email,. and my life becomes even more tragic and absurd because now people are mad at me for not replying to their emails.

I know this to be true because it’s happened to me in the past. I know better now. But the fact that such measures are necessary means something is very wrong.

Now my email example is picayune, to say the least, but this irrational bias towards viewing things as failures has deep and grave implications.

It certainly explains why us depressives are so reluctant to try new things. We know that if it doesn’t produce a strong positive effect, we will feel like we not only failed, but that we gambled and lost and are now worse off than before.

And when I say a strong positive effect, I am talking about a level of reward that is so strong it can make it through both our thick hide of protective apathy and our depression’s tendency to maintain itself by setting absurdly high if not downright impossible standards for what constitutes a success.

Depression stacks the odds against us in a very intimate way.

And when I speak of trying new things,  I mean across the board, whether it’s a new novel or therapy. The feeling of there being little to no chance of success makes us cling tightly to the sources of reward that work for us and therefore have become deeply embedded addictions that come with huge blind spots as to the harm they are doing to us and even bigger ones to the idea that anything in the universe could replace them.

And I mean anything. That’s how addictions hollow you out. The deeper they embed themselves, the more they turn off the pathways to the reward center of your brain for other things, and by doing so, they displace those other sources of reward, even if those sources are things like the love of their families, the trust of their friends, their reputation in their community, or even the paycheck that pays for everything.

It’s downright terrifying to think about, at least for me. Like demonic possession, but real, and quite deadly.

Anyhow. Where was I? Right, the bias towards viewing everything that is not an overwhelmingly positive experience as failure.

And depression will negate those too, it just takes longer. That’s why you have people who feel like failures despite objectively massive success. No matter how mjuch success they have, these depressivess depression is so strong that it will negate all potential threats to its dominence without any regard to truth, logic, or evidence.

So you can have someone with three gold medals and a Nobel Peace Prize who think of themselves as failures because they still feel like failures. Whatever joy they got from their achievements has been attacked and destroyed by depression’s immune system and now they feel hollow and empty and fraudulent.

Because I am aware of this, I have vowed to fight this negation as hard as I can. I wll not give in to the forces of “yeah, but that doesn’t count, because… ” and “well, technically, yeah I did that, but…”.

I did a year at Kwantlen and got great marks. That happened. That’s real. And that belongs to me forever.

I am a graduate of VFS. I did that. That, too, is mine forever.

There are two thriving communities, namely the local furry scene and Vancovuer freecycle, that only exist because I started them and ran them until they were big enough to survive without me, then set them free.

These things are real. They count. They matter.

And the voice in my head that sardonically asks “Yeah, but what have you done LATELY” can go straight to hell and die.

Fuck YOU. I’m a survivor.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.


The Great Conflagration

One by one, the villgers approached the Great Conflagration, scraps of paper in hand, some holding but one, some carrying dozens all clipped together.

They stood in front of a mighty bonfire that could be seen for miles around, its flames dancing crazily as the north wind fanned its flames ever higher.

They had been drawn there by those flames and what they knew those flames meant. They meant that the priests of the Children of the Void had arrived in their area, and those who would do business with them knew that they had but one short week to do so before the priests moved on to another town, far more than a day’s walk away.

And so the Children would travel all through the land of Cassaway, until by the time the spring came, every citizen of this small kingdom had taken their turn to face the Great Fire, and been cleansed.

To demur was unthinkable. Spend a year unclean, with all your neighbours talking about you behind your back and burning things because you touched them?

Not even the village idiots were that stupid.

And so they came. And for each one, the ceremony was always the same.

The head priest, known as the Elder Child,  would greet them with a scowl as they approached the fire, and one of his assistants would shout “A supplicant approaches!”.

Once they stood before him, the Elder Child would loudly ask. “Do you come here to be made clean, unwashed one? ”

And the supplicant would give the ritual answer, “I submit myself to the flame, Elder Child, before all who know me. ”

The Elder Child would then ask “Have you brought with you that which you want to consign to the Void and therefore to be forever gone? ”

The supplicant would then hold up their scraps of paper, and reply “I bring these things which I desire to sever from this and all worlds in thy Holy Annihilation. ”

The Elder Child then asked, “Do you have the understanding that what you feed to the Void must be something you feel connected to but wish that connection severed?”

The supplicant would nod, and say “As the fall wind blows the dead leaves off the tree, so shall this act remove these things from me. ”

The Elder Child would then give the supplicant his sternest glare, and shout “And do you know that if any of these things should be false to that oath, the Fire will know and tell all, then mark you with its flame? ”

The supplicant would then reply, “Yes, and I desire this judgment with all my soul, for my things are true to my oath, and all should see that it is so. ”

The Elder Child would then shout “THEN YET YE BE JUDGED!”, and then stand aside so that the upplicant could approach the flames.

Once there, the supplicant would take the scraps of paper on which they had written the name of their dead leaves, shout “Be gone from me forever!”, and then throw the scrap of paper into the heart of the flame as those in attendence chanted “Gone now, gone forever, never to return, thank the Void. ”

The fire would consume these scraps of paper quicker than a heartbeat, and if the words were true to the supplicant’s oath, there would be a burst of purple flame, and all would know that they were clean.

But if the words were false, so it was told, the fire would belch black smoke upon the supplicant, and that person would wear a black X on their forehead till their dying day.

Most people knew someone who knew someone to whom it had happened. Few had ever seen it happen. Those who did were said to be forever changed by the experience, and to be “clolser to the Fire” than others.

Because of this, those who had seen the Judgment of the Flame, called Witnesses by the common foolk, were much in demand, for they were considered to be the only proper performers of funeral rites, fall sacrifices, the dissolution of contracts, and all other things which were brought to an end by ther hand of Man.

Nobody ever asked anyone what was on their scraps of paper. It might be a person’s name, or the name of a place, or of something which the aupplicant felt cursed them, like habitual drunkenness or guilt for wrongs for which there could be no amends.

It might even be the name of a sin too heinous to ever confess. But nobody would ever know except the supplicant.

Not even the Void would know, for the Void was perfect destruction, and knew nothing of what it was fed save that it was to be destroyed.

There were some local variations on the ceremony. In some villages, the ceremony was much longer and contained passages spoke in the language of the Era Before, and elaborate spiritual preparation was thought to be necessary if the community was to accept you as truly cleansed.

In others, the whole thing took place in stony silence, without a single word from the Elder Child, and when it all was done,  all the supplicants gathered the ashes of the Conflagration, buried them in sanctified ground, then went home to reflect.

Still others demanded that the supplicants scream out their pain as their dead leaves burned, and would view with suspicion anyone whose scream was considered too quiet or insufficiently agonized.

The Children oversaw all, and all through the fall and winter, they performed their rites and saw to the needs of the people of Cassoway.

Then, when spring dawned, they returned to their mountaintop monastery, where was said they spent the warm seasons in communion with the Void, slumbering in deep dark chambers far from the sun and performing strange rites that filled their souls with the sacred nothingness they needed for their cold season chores.

But the spiritual needs of the citizens of Cassoway were not left unattended to during the long warm days of spring and summer.

For spring was when the Ancenstral Guardians came.

And theirs was an altogether different task.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.




So now what?

As usual, I had many great ideas for tonight’s blog entry mere hours ago and now I can’t think of any of them. So if the title of this entry is “So now what?”, it means I either didn’t think of one or forgot to change it.

C’est la vie.

The anti-Skyrim pressure within me continues to grow. For a long time now, there has been a rebellion against my Skyrim lifestyle brewing and gaining support in my mind, and I have done nothing to suppress it.

After all,. it’s the voice that cries out, with a voice that rrows louder and more comfident every day, that there has to be more of life than this and we are in pain because of the limitations this Skyrim shift puts on our lives.

I, of course, agree. But I also know that I have to let this thing run its course. More sooner than later, the dam will break and the new mind will dawn across my ice-ravaged landscape, and I will be washed clean by the water thus released.

Or at the very least, I will get to the point where I played a variety of video games, and did othing things too, like making videos and music and stuff.

Right now, I fele like Skyrim is a kind of purgatory for me. Or maybe it’s my bardo bridging the gap between two states of being for me.

I toil and toil, and most of me is happy.

But the percentage that is unhappy grows every day, and one of these days,. I will finally be will and truly sick of the damned game, and I will uninstall it and never want to see it again for the rest of my life.

I feel like that day is coming soon. I have already had nostalgia for another, similar game called Witcher 3, which I purchased and played to death years ago.

It’s sitting there on my Steam account, ready for me to install and play once more, and it has a lot of advantages over Skyrim. The battle mechanics are more fun, the plot is rich and varied, the graphics are way better, the world is amazingly dense with genuine content, and most importantly. there is no custom character building.

You are Geralt. That’s it. End of story. One of the main things that has kept me in Skyrim’s clutches for so long is that there are so many potential character builds, and each one makes the game fresh again because it strongly affects everything about how you play that character and thus how you interact with the game.

Take my current character. He’s a mage. He fights with spells. That makes him very powerful but it also means that, along the route I am taking, wearing armor  (and thus increasing your skill in that armor type every time you get hit) is not an option, and so my guy is very powerful, but also very vulnerable.

PRetty much any idiot with a sword can kill me if he is lucky enough to get to me before I can take him down with my fireballs.

And there is no perfect solution for that. My guy can summon demon-ish creatures called Dremora to act as his bodyguard, but there are limits to how much protection you can  get from one or two creatures.

Especially when there is no way to tell them “No, don’t chase that fleeing enemy or go darting off after the first enemty you see, STAY WITH ME, damn it. ”

There’s armor spells, too, but they are nowhere near as effective as actual armor. They, at best, make it so that the aforementioned idiot with a sword has to hit me two or three times to kill me, and that gives me time to turn him into a charcoal briquette.

God, I love fire magic. I am such a latent pyro. The other two options for offensive magic are ice and electricity, and ice sucks dog taint because so many creatures are resistant or immune to it and electricity is awesome – theres’s no qay for shooting lightning from your fingers like you’re Darth Motherfucking Sidious  NOT to be awesome – but it doesn’t please me like fire magic does.

Anyhow. Back to the pklot.

My point (Surprise! There’s a point!) is that when I play a character lik emy mage, I have to be cagey and alert and ready to zotz someone with the speed and accuracy of a quick draw artist at all times.

Then take the polar opposite : the Big Thumping Monster Build.

That’s when you play a character who specializes in huge weapons, thick armor,. and very little else.

You hit things very hard until they die.

That’s it. You need to have some caution early in the game, but once you have some good armor and the skill to use it well, you are pretty much a tank and can more or less walk through even tough dungeons barely having to break your stride.

It’s a totally different experience. And that means that when I get bored of playing one kind of character, I can make a different kind of character and play it,and boom everything is fresh and exciting again.

Then add in the effect of nearly 30K mods that change the game in ways both subtle (like the one that makes enemies glow so I am less likely to fireball an ally) or profound (ones that are practically entire new games), you can see how this game has had me in its spell for so long.

It’s one game that can be played thousands of unique, distinct ways.

It’s a wonder I ever come up for air.

But I do. And some day soon, I will surface for good, and unintall the goddamned thing, and that will be it. I will have overcome it for good.

Or at least for long enough to get another steady gig.

I will talk to you nice people again tomorrow.




An attack of the usual

(TRIGGER WARNING : Roy Roger’s horse just broke out of jail and is believed to be armed and dangerous… )

(REAL TRIGGER WARNING : I am going to talk about gross personal health sutff tonight, so if that kind of thing is a proble for you, spin on, my friend. It’s OK!)

I am not feeling very good right now. I am suffering an attack of… whatever it is that meakes me have a headache, be nauseous, feel a weird feeling in the puit of my bowels, and have a strong dull ache in my testicles, all at the same time.

I’ve been here many times before. My theory is that it is some kind of inflammatory response to something. possibly allergic in nature, because that is the only thing I can think of that could set off all those different symptoms all at once.

One by one, they can easily be explained via my usual bullshit. The headache comes from stuffed up sinuses, a plugged up nose, and clogged eustachian tubes. I deal with that frequently, mostly via taking a combination antihistamine and sinus medication and doing my best to keep ears and nose clear.[1]

Yes, that means I pick my nose. Deal with it. It’s that or lose like 50 percent of my air intake capacity of my nostrils, and I am not a mouth-breather, so that’s kind of important Plus, it feels good, especially when my sinuses and ears are clogged and freeing up my nostril lets out all that tension all at once.

It’s quite euphoric.

.So basically, that issue boils down to poor drainage in my skull.

The nausea, well, I have a sensitive stomach which can get tied into knots by tension that I am not even aware of. And sometimes that tension is not caused by any one thing, but rather it’s an accumulation of unresolved minor stresses that are harmless on their own but add to that stored tension in the tummy until I end up with a knot in my gut that could crush coal into diamonds.

As for the bowel weirdness, that is part IBS and part the whole stomach knot thing making this worse further down the line. Because I am an old pro at handlimng these situations now, I don’t panic like I did when I was younger and therefore the problem does not escalate like it once did and land me in the hospital because imy lower intestine is spasming so hard that I see stars and it feels like I am Mel Gibson getting his guts reeled out at the end of Braveheart.

So while these attacks are not fun,  I am always comforted by the knowledge that I can remain calm and in control through the whole thing and that I know a lot of different ways to attack the problem and by opposing, end it.

Now where was I? Oh yeah, my testicles.

The ache there is a lot like “blue balls”, our charming vernacular’s phrase for the deep ache that males get when they haven’t ejaculated for a while and the semen has therefore accumulated in their testicles, causing them to swell painfully.

Do the ladies have anything equivalent? Is there some part of their body that aches when they haven’t gotten laid recently? I am not talking about horniness, that’s on a different track than this. I am talking about a literal physical body ache that gets worse and worse until you take matters into your own hands or find a suitable playmate.

I am guessing that they do not. But they get menstrual cramps and all THAT bullshit, so I think we men still come out ahead on that.

After all, you can’t relieve menstrual cramps via masturbating. Well, orgasms do help, supposedly, but not for very long.

Or so I have heard.

One last thing about blue balls : they make me nauseous, which is a bit of a problem, because it’s very hard to masturbate to completion when you feel like you might puke.

Anyhow, it’s a lot like blue balls, but the sudden onset along with the other issues suggests that it is more than that. Blue balls plus, if you will.

And it seems like it is also tied in with the stomach knotting thing and especially the nausea. As all men who have been kicked in the junk at least once (and that’s most of us) know. problems with your testicles can make you nauseous real fast.

So all these areas are prone to problems of their own for yours truly. But when they all go off at once, I feel like there must be some phenomenon affecting them all.

Hence my inflammatory response theory. It really feels like, when this happeneds. everything in my body contracts and suddenly there is not enough room in me for the usual amount of stuff and I am in deep doodoo.

Insert your own poop/IBS joke here.

Luckily, like I said, I have many techniques for dealing with these attacks. I clear my ears and nose, I drink small sips of water in case the problem is a clog down below that needs a little moisture to get things flowing again, I check to see if I am cold or shaking in case it’s actually a low blood sugar thing, I make sure that I am not sitting in a way that squooshes my testicles, and so forth and so on

Thatt means that 9 times out of ten, I can slay the beast, and get more the brief but marvelous endorphine high and a sense of accomplishment and victory.

Not bad for someone who is not particularly competent in other areas.

I guess with the right incentive, anything is possible.

Even me getting my shit together.

So to speak.

I will talk to you nce people again tomorrow.





Footnotes    (↵ returns to text)

  1. I admit it, I will take any chance I get to show off my excellent scientific mind and how much I know about various branches of science. It’s not just about showing off, though. It’s a muscle that feels good to stretch, too.