Foul Word of the Day


I keep starting and restarting this, and I'm getting very little further onward. So, baldly and with no flowery speech:

I know people. Some of them have chronic pain, or processing issues that result in poor behaviors, or loved ones causing major stress, or massive overwork, or -- lots of things. Life.

I was raised, and later, I considered deeply who I want to be and chose, to be compassionate and helpful. Sometimes I hit that mark, sometimes not, but it's sort of the center about which I try to orbit. One of the repeating poor behaviors I exhibit is that I tend to not show compassion to me.

Not exactly true -- I feel amply sorry for myself, but that's not what I mean. I frequently will not bother with considering what I might want or need. Instead, I'll make my plans, obligations, task lists, grocery lists, considering what those around me might need from them and leaving me out.

Last week I watched me do it, in real time, with enough detachment that I could hear the internal dialogue. Like this: I was achy and tired and my head hurt. I thought to mention this to Shannon, but recognized that she was having a Truly Horrid Pain Day, and chose to suppress not just the conversation in which I'd say I was hurting, but any action I might have taken because I was hurting, as well. That was normal. The internal dialogue went something like "My pain is nothing compared to hers. I shouldn't burden her with my issues, too. By comparison, mine just isn't important."

Gah. My jaw clenches as I write this.

The implication, based on my internal decision process, is that unless my inconvenience outstrips everyone else's, it falls short and does not merit acknowledgement, let alone action. "I don't hurt more than other people, so I don't deserve --"

Good grief. Who thinks like that? Is there some rule that only one person in the world can get a hug, a "poor baby, there there", an ASPIRIN ferchrissakes? Seriously.

So I looked a bit more, and noticed that I do this all the time.

All. The. Time.

If I am tired enough, if I am so achy or exhausted or whatever that my mouth says stupid things, things that might come out sound like "I've been hurting/wanting/needing all day, but I didn't DO anything about it, so I DESERVE WHAT I AM GETTING, which is nothing and serves me right--"

People do not utter, under stress, things that they do not think or feel other times. They just let them out when they might not normally. So the syllogism is pretty simple:

- If I am well and rested, I should put others' needs first
- If I am not well or rested, I should consider whether I am more disadvantaged than others.
* If so, I should try to bootstrap myself and manfully do for others
* If not, I should shut up and manfully do for others
- When I finally break from exhaustion or pain or overwork, I should punish myself as much as possible, so that I will Learn My Lesson, because the only way I ever change my behaviors is through punishment or, when possible, actual abuse

This is, I feel, pretty obviously horseshit.

In the last week, I've been trying to revamp my decision tree, but it's slow going. I've noticed that it isn't always dramatic. It might be:
- I deal with work & obligation to a certain degree and completely break
- Anti-depressant taken
- Feel better
- Since I am no longer utterly broken, I take on extra work & obligation

So the things I've done to limit the fallout from my decision tree actually results in a deeper level of messed-up.

The direction to go is pretty obvious. Keep doing the things to limit the fallout, but then STOP taking on other crap and be nice to me. Take a nap. Do something fun. Write. Paddle.

It'll be interesting to see if I do those things.


Today I took my lovely purple kayak and dropped it into Baker Bay, at the Chinook boat launch.  My thought was to traverse the bay to the unnamed sandbar, then hand-rail up Sand Island, take a peek at Cape Disappointment, and rejoin Shannon at Purly Shell in Ilwaco.

Excellent plan.  Didn’t work.

I have been in a kayak (including today) four times.  Several miles of open water, even in a calm bay, might be a bit ambitious, it turns out.

About half a mile to the sandbar I noticed that the swells were becoming more pronounced.  Something about the depth of the water, I imagine, but it’s difficult to be certain.  I was the talk of all the birds floating in the area, who didn’t even have the courtesy to lower their voices while speaking harshly of me.  Obviously sea fowl of low social circles.

I had worked out, based on a rudimentary understanding of physics, that one puts a pointy end of one’s watercraft directly toward the incoming swells.  That seemed to help with the stability a bit, although it had me going south, and I needed west.  I’d been planning to continue south and west until I overshot the bar, then go north and west until the bar shielded me from the waves.  As the roll became higher, I began to question this plan.  I wondered if the coldness of the water might become a hypothermic issue, if I capsized and had to swim the kayak out (assuming I couldn’t right it with me inside).

Actually, I didn’t wonder.  I knew that hypothermia would be an issue.  I wondered about the likelihood of capsizing, though.

Resting and thinking a bit, I saw that I wasn’t alone.  A harbor seal was sharing the blank stretch of water for which I’ve no specific noun.  It was obviously seated on something, as harbor seals aren’t terribly tall and the water was rising and falling around it.  We enjoyed a moment together, recognizing in one another, I assume, the aged depth of soul that only true lovers of the sea can note in another.

Then I wondered what the seal was sitting on, to rise above the water like that.  I didn’t see anything … which means I was five kayak-lengths away from having a swell raise me above it and a trough drop me on it — whatever it was.  It occurred to me that, if only part of the kayak dropped on it, the rest of the kayak would demonstrate in practical terms a very neat real-world use for notions regarding angular momentum.  I mentally raised the odds of capsizing.  I thought some more about hypothermia.

Then I turned around and decided following the shore to Ilwaco was a much better plan.  Hypothermia a couple hundred feet from shore is much easier to handle than the same condition a mile or three off shore.

I felt wise; I recognized hazards, I acted in accordance to my best interests, and all would be well.

The tide was, at the time, just finishing coming in.  This gave me some lovely swells (which I’d disliked somewhat a few minutes earlier) to ride on.  The effect, for those who haven’t had the chance to try it, is half the time one gets to paddle downhill.  A nice bit of speed is picked up, and if you push on the uphill you don’t lose it.

So you go faster next time down.

After playing with this for a bit, I was startled to notice a standing wave a couple lengths in front of me.  On rivers, standing waves mean a rock, or perhaps a sunken kayak sufficiently weighted down with poor judgement so that it stays submerged.  I looked around for my best direction to dodge.

And saw that all of the waves were standing.

I was surfing.

That was nearly as cool as a harbor seal.  I had a blast with that for a time, until I reached the north end of the bay and had to turn west.

The waves did not join me.  They felt they’d made a good day travelling north, and were going to stick with something that had been working and working well.  They had managed maybe 18 inch to 24 inch peak-to-trough (which likely has a word, but I don’t know it yet), and could pretty much continue north against all of my protests.  My best efforts did not change their direction, nor decrease their amplitude.

It was, in every aspect, as if I were not supremely potent enough to still the seas when they displeased me.

In our disagreement over how to proceed, the waters had stopped displaying swells and moved into the more staccato motions called “chop” — with the same amplitude.  This meant there was a certain amount of breaking, as well.

This is not water motion that is conducive to serene contemplation of the infinite as one gently paddles along.  It is very conducive to contemplation of how close one is going to be to the infinite, and how soon, but the contemplation is less characterized by “serene” and more by “adrenalized”.  I found that it took me half an hour to traverse a quarter mile, and I had two miles left to go.

Capsizing now had such odds in its favor that no one was willing to make book on it.  ”A done deal,” seemed to be the general belief in the sporting community.  I imagine the harbor seal was cashing in nicely at my expense, having been afforded a look at me fresh out of the stables.  He knew my form, and harbor seals are notorious for diving on a sure thing when they’ve got one.

I considered all of my options, and my various futures.  I came within a twitch of capsizing several times during this consideration.  I turned my prow into the waves, and found that there was a contingent of diagonal traverse waves to account for me, if I tried it.  Obviously the local currents either held a grudge or were taking a bit under the table from the harbor seal.

I was becoming somewhat down on that damned seal.  Not a sportsmanlike bone in his flippered body, was my feeling.

I found my best chance for a happy ending, and took it.  I brought her about (as we sea-dogs will say, against all advice) and paddled strongly and with specific ambition.  In a few breaths I was grounded about 100 feet off the nearest road, and texted Shannon for a lift.

Turns out to have been a good thing.  Once we were back at the shop, I ate a sandwich and utterly passed out.  I think I was too tired to have traversed those waves, even if my luck had held me upright.

Good day.

Crossposted from Epinephrine & Sophistry

Eldritch Paddling

I believe that the erratic and wind-blown path I paddled yesterday, with the pauses at various stations to perform ritual cursing as I fought to escape eddies produced by bridge footings, may have been interpreted as the passage through a mystic and wet labyrinth.  A strange, dark sign was thus produced.

The mute-staccato gestures I expressed while achieving the dock without letting gravity and flowing water have their way with me appear to have served as the occult kinesics needed to draw the attention of Entities from Beyond.

I realize now, far too late to help, that when I ate a cold bean burrito in a puddle on the dock I was acting in the role of the hideous presence that had been partially summoned.  My consumption of the wet tortilla sacrifice pulled It through fully.

I have unwittingly brought an Acidosis Fiend into the world, with its foul entourage of lactic acid imps.

I apologize.  Do not chastise me for my part in the sore-muscle apocalypse; I promise you, I am experiencing penance for what I have done.

Crossposted from Epinephrine & Sophistry

Joyous Anticipation

I’ve a habit, a coping mechanism, something … when I know there is an interaction coming up that may have stress associated, I will role-play it in my head, trying out different actions I might control against possible (however unlikely) actions the others in the interaction might take.  I consider this something like a chess problem.  What moves can the other(s) make, and how can I respond to improve my position or achieve certain goals?

This isn’t all cold-blooded.  I am a cooperative and socially-conscious, empathetic sort of guy.  But I do this thing.

I’ve an upcoming meeting with a particular associate who, I feel confident, is approaching this meeting with hostility and more need to vent and get satisfaction than need to come to some sort of terms to get things done.  My role-play of this kept producing bad scenario after bad scenario.  Coming to a cooperative and positive solution pretty much requires both parties to want that, and I don’t see that as the case.

Which means, I guess, that I should stop stressing over it and just focus on performing at my best.  If I can’t win in any permutation of this game, I guess I’ll have to find solace in having played well and in a gentlemanly fashion.

Not much solace, that.

Crossposted from Epinephrine & Sophistry

What Everyone Gets

Bunnies are just cute.  They whiffle their noses and jump around and over and sometimes on each other, and decide it’s time to be over there right now, and dash and then sit and whiffle and wonder who decided it was time to be over here now.

And sometimes bunnies hurt themselves, or another bunny hurts them by mistake.  It just happens, when you’re very small, still growing, and have all the muscle-and-leverage gifted to a bunny.  Cats get stuck in high places, dogs eat things that hurt them, bunnies run and jump faster than their baby bones can cope with sometimes.

One of the babies hurt herself so badly that she was paralyzed.  It didn’t hurt, but it confused her and she couldn’t do the things that bunnies do.  I made sure she had cuddles, and was warm, and did what you can do for a bunny who can only move one leg.

I will never like this.  I’ve sat next to too many bunnies, cats, dogs, people.  Every time, I think of something from Neil Gaiman.  Every time I know it’s right.

Every time it is no comfort at all.

What Everyone Gets

Crossposted from Epinephrine & Sophistry

Independent Publishing Links from Radcon Panels

Really, start and end here: Northwest Independent Writers Association

With the exception of NIWA, above, I present these links with no feelings or knowledge of them one way or another; they were mentioned in Indie panels, so here they are.


  • Indiegogo - raise a chunk o’ cash

  • Patreon - get chunks o’ cash each time you produce something

Website building:



Crossposted from Epinephrine & Sophistry


Somewhere between the poles of imaginary friends, faith, hypnosis, and creative writing, there lies power — specifically the power to change and guide oneself.

I’m so tempted to stop there.  But no, cutting the limbic flow of words is not in me, nor will be.

So, in disorganised format, this.  For — ever — I’ve rehearsed conversations in my head.  Some conversations in my head were with folk I knew and loved, and over time I fine-tuned the rehearsals to have better representations of those I talked to.  These homonculi are generally of those I love, and who care for me, and so, frequently, they stick around.

Yeah, I know.  Get therapy.  But, hey, they love me, so they have my best interests at heart.  And, at my heart, I know that they started in my imagination in any case.

So, good.  Imaginary friends, who help me talk things out.  Fine.

Now you take this a step further (and roundly offend a lot of faith-based people) and suggest that, if you’ve a guardian angel or a direct line to a holy ghost (lower case to reduce the offense), maybe that’s akin to my homonculi.  Now, I’ve some recurring what-I-will-call-spiritual experiences with threads of continuity.  I could declare that they are of supernatural origin and be all holy and stuff.  I could say I’ve experience with imaginary friends, and this is just a new flavor.  I could say lots of stuff.

What I do say is that I have experiences of varying value and interest, and the experience is actual.  So is a dream, and so is a delusion, and so is being hit with a material brick.  If you hit me with a brick and don’t leave a mark, and take the brick away, and have no witnesses, did you really hit me with a brick?  It goes into the pile of “I experienced it but cannot prove it”.  Other people are given to declarations on the reality-basis of these experiences, but I’m too aware of myself to do that.  I say “I experience this”, and when someone asks what the nature of the experience was (spiritual?  hallucinatory?  clever ruse?) I shrug and move on.

Which is not to say I am unmoved.  I am frequently moved.  From above, below, within, or by myself, I get some guidance.

I strive for true agnostic; when there is demonstration, I will have belief.  Until then, I will agree there is possibility, even if actuality has not been demonstrated.

You’re with me.  Good.



jump –

– I am, in general, a bit bound by rules and expectations and duty and other tripe.  Not my best trait, although it makes me wonderful to plan around.  I may or may not show up to a party, but if you give me a duty, you can pretty much count that I’ll either delivery or writhe in pain at my failure.  Impulsively following my bliss, though, that I’m not so hot on.  I tried to make it a duty, many ways, over the last decade, and it just doesn’t work.  Duties are to make me behave and be unhappy, and so a duty to be happy will result in a failed duty that I will inflict unhappiness on myself over.  What I need is the ability to drop the tension and just GO after my bliss, without all that agonizing.

– and another –

– I have, with repeated success, added homonculi intentionally to my cast of characters.  I have had remarkable success with hypnosis, and retain vivid experiences from years back through that medium.  So I could, if I wished, add a spiritual entity/homonculus/backdoor into my skull for something horrific and alien, and do it on purpose –

– Oh.

Oh, he said.

So, I’ve a contact with my inner psychopomp, and a half-dozen close friends.  Sometimes at sort-of will.

What if I intentionally [added a homonculus]/[invited a rider]/[requested a guide]?  I have the tools at hand, and they are polished and honed with use and care.

And I’ve been doing that, carefully.  What I want is something like a female Ghede, with just a touch of foresight and willingness to delay gratification for greater good.  An Id-advocate, who will pop up and odd moments and nudge me.

Astonishingly, this appears to be working.  It is nearly always sub-vocal, but is now added to those things I experience.  I am actually pursuing things just because they seem a good idea, or fun, or sometimes for reasons that I don’t know … but it works out that it was a good idea, or fun.

There’s a bunch of tedious detail and stage setting involved in my head, but I may have actually have found a way to take my wound-too-tightly brain and put it to work in a direction that reduces my Duty Angst.

I’ve no idea if I’m going to show this to the world.  But I needed to write it down, so there y’go, potentially.

Crossposted from Epinephrine & Sophistry

Alternate endings

Life goes like this.  You can’t tell someone what your life is really like, because the only perfect map is a complete model of the terrain.  You’d have to recapitulate the universe to get it right.  So, instead, we pick and choose, and, in the process, we change things.  Always with the intention to mislead, although it might be an intent to mislead in the direction of greater truth, rather than away from that.

We all do that.  Polish the facts just a little, present them in just an order, such that the point we feel should be gleaned gets across.  We don’t try to represent things accurately and objectively, because that isn’t what we are experiencing — we, none of us, live objectively among the phenomenae.  We have reactions.

So.  Stories.  Life.  Now you know.

When one is writing a story (I’m talking about literature now, not the other kind), one gets to decide what happens.  There’s a lot of folk who claim that the story HAD to be written just so, HAD to end a certain way, but really what they mean is the story they wanted to tell had to go like that.  They chose.  Okay, then.

Maybe all stories work like that.  I’m talking life now, and literature both.  Maybe the metaphor bleeds actuality across, and taints and traits of the one are stained on the other through the medium of reality diluted in figures of speech.

Maybe.  I could analyze it for a day or two, consider deeply, draw inferences and pose difficulties.  Or I could just try it and see what happens, gain a data point that might draw a more curve-y curve than a single point might.

A long time ago, 18 months or so, someone commissioned me to make her a picture frame that matched, in pattern and finish, an aged frame she already had.  She purchased wood (a different wood), and stain (which would have colored the new wood opaque tar), and presented them to me with her model, asking me to use the wrong materials and come up with the right frame.

And, hey, I did that, mixing her stain with a bunch of other things (including rusted steel wool) to get just the right overtones in artificial and sunlight.  The patterns for the frame matched.  It was spot-on.  I got $20 for about three weeks of my free time, but I felt okay about that.  Future prices would be haggled a bit, and I wouldn’t let someone else declare the obstacles on the next projects.  I got my $20 and a hug and squees of delight.

A week or so went by.  She reached out to me, saying that the intention for the new frame actually required it to be deeper than we discussed.  It needed to be more of a shadow-box, really.  Could I take an extra piece of the wood, cut it exactly flush to match the frame, and just layer them up and make it deeper, then stain the new wood to match the existing wood that would then, as a whole, match the original frame?

Being an ass, I said I could do that.  Then life exploded, and by and large, I had no wood-working time available to me that was not better spent on something else.  I kept the frame and the stain and the extra wood, and they gathered dust and cursed my leisure time; I would walk into the shop, consider what I’d like to do, and realize I had this obligation on me and I could do nothing else.  I could not complete the work on the frame because I hadn’t the tools to do what was needed correctly.  Couldn’t go forward, couldn’t skip over it.

18 months of that.  When I thought of it, fairly frequently, I considered it a fine example of how lacking in virtue and trustworthiness I was, how useless and in fact detrimental I was to society as a whole, and how I should be sent into the outer darkness to live, unloved and alone, where my failures would not burden others.  It was, I felt, obvious from the problem statement what the conclusions were that should be drawn.

The nice woman eventually asked to have the raw materials and the frame, to the degree it was a frame she needed, returned to her.  I did, and she was nice about it, although she never did say that it was all right that I did not deliver as promised.  I assume she stays up nights, hating me, hurting herself to spite me, finding strangers on sidewalks and in bars and low establishments with diseased patrons and telling them her tale of woe and misuse at my hands.

It is just possible that this is not exactly how her experience of this goes, but it’s what I tell myself when I am trying to be kind to me, to soften the blow that my actions make me so deserve.

That, friends, is the story I would tell you of the picture frame.  It is not a story that makes me happy with myself.  It may be, though, that a different ending could be put to it.

So, let’s try, for the sheer philosophic wonder of it all.

18 months ago, a nice woman commissioned me to make her a frame.  She’d purchased materials for it, and was excited by that, so I agreed to use the materials to let her continue to feel happy.  She and I agreed on the dimensions of the frame specifically, and how it would look, and I went home and made the frame for her, nailing exactly what we’d agreed.

Shortly after, she called back and asked if it was possible, after the work was completed, to make it come out to completely different set of specifications.  I had doubts myself, or perhaps I was just assuming I’d get that done without really thinking through what was involved.  Once thought through, though, I realized I’d gotten into a bigger set of technical problems than I could solve with the materials at hand — what should be done is actually start over.  I didn’t consider that an option though, and sidelined the project for months.

Eventually she tired of waiting, and called to check on her project.  Rather than lead her on, I told her outright that I thought 18 months ample to show I wasn’t going to be able to get to her project, and offered to return it to her.  She had no problem with this; I’d offered to try to make the re-specified version for no further cost, and she got all her materials back.  I returned everything and we parted on a friendly basis.  I even told her that, while I regretted not being able to deliver the new specifications, I mostly regretted not recognizing sooner and tossing my hand in a long time back.  We would both have gone on to other things.

…   …

Both of those versions are exactly true.  I can’t say that I’ve learned anything from the re-telling, but maybe there is something perking in the background that I won’t recognize until later.

Mind, if I tell you about it tomorrow, it’s likely that the story will be somewhat different.

Both versions, of course, will be true.

Crossposted from Epinephrine & Sophistry

MAMBO BLEND (a nearly allegorical recounting of my one attempt to stop drinking leaded coffee)

The rain tapped counterpoint to deep-throated drums last night, and the steady thunder is still pounding in my temples and behind my eyes.  Looking out the dark window of my room, I thought for a moment I saw the outline of a skeletally thin man dancing in a ring of trees, shaking a fetish and casting graveyard dirt toward the house. His shadowed face seemed not to move, but I could hear, just below the current of my blood, chanted prayers I could almost understand.  The moment passed, and there were just trees, and the pain building in my head.
This morning I rose without waking, and moved with shuffling gait through the house. I acted out the rituals of the day without feeling, spoke without thought, ate and drank without affect. There was no periphery in my sight, nor in my thoughts; what I looked at was all there was to existence, that, and the pain that underlay everything.  I made and drunk potions that seemed necessary at the time I did so, found them without savor, and I am unchanged. People speak to me and I answer, and do not know what has been said. I act, and do not think to wonder what I am doing, nor why.
The darkness is still all about me, pervasive but not menacing, and the echo of chanting is still resounding within it in rhythm to my underwater movements.  Somewhere, I know, living things bleed out their lives and shadowed men shuffle and stomp in dance.  I lift my cup, and smell only graveyard dirt.
Somewhere, there is unquiet within me, but it is far, far from where anyone will ever hear it again.
Papa Cemetiere croons from over my shoulder, “No more decaf.”
Unfeeling, I nod to my skull’s beating rhythm.

Crossposted from Epinephrine & Sophistry


This is not a fan piece.

Okay, then.  Quick and dirty, and with almost no bells, whistles, or other accompaniment to the [can/equ]ine dance.

Amanda Fucking Palmer appeals to me.  I’ve found many other artists who perform more polished, who write more beautifully, who play with greater skill…I don’t know of any who are more unabashedly forthright and belligerently honest and some forthcoming that, halfway through the first paragraph, you want to back away, palms extended with repulser blasts of social space, fighting for a little bit of time for the overshare police to come and take her away.

That last bit is the one that gets me.  Someone who shows me his/er slip, and points out the smudged bit, and describes how that happened and why s/he is still wearing it and what they did in it when no one was looking — that is a pint of ether with whiskey back for me.  Drink it down and try not to weave, that’s the stuff and I’ll have another, thanks.

Intimate.  You can’t even say forced or aggressively intimate, because she doesn’t come to one’s door singing at a shout into stranger faces; you come to the media player willingly or you haven’t come at all.  This is what you’ll get.  No arm’s reach conversation, but naked spooning with bits sort of intermingled and noses in armpits and snuggled together while she sings you the thing she had in her head.

That’s AFP.  I value that largely because it is, in spite of my hopes of literary achievement, what I do best when I’m doing anything at all (and what I stopped years ago because of fear, but we’ll get to that).

I’ve her book on Audiobooks.  I’m enjoying it.  I listen on the way to work, and coming home.  I have company in the car.  Joseph Campbell was stimulating, Christoper Moore was entertaining and funny, but AFP is THERE, right there in the car with me.

She yammered on a bit about being a performance artist (living statue named The Eight Foot Bride), and how she felt she was a success in contacting people while doing that, evoking emotion,  being seen and making others feel seen … but that wasn’t sufficient.  The Bride was an act.  Her songs were her.

She didn’t just want to be seen, she wanted HER to be seen, to be heard, and to interact thereby.  She’d held back a quarter century because of fear of rejection, but moved because it finally hurt enough to not move.

There.  That.

We share a tendency … a certainty of intimate and captivating overshare.

She recognized she needed that to live, and went with it.

I recognized that showing myself that boldly would hinder me in the conservative circles where I work, and silenced myself.  That is the chief reason that I don’t write much, apart from over-commitment.  How can I write about cannibals and molesters and the horrific and wonderful things people do and all off-color and tongue in cheek or in your face you WILL experience this, and not expect to eventually be removed by the discomforted conservatives that rule my paychecks?

I could work under a name that isn’t mine, but how honest can I be if I won’t say my name?

I lost about five minutes of her book, while this all avalanched through me.  Then I had to pull over to the side of Hwy 26 on Sylvan hill during rush hour, in the dark, in heavy traffic, and sob.

I’d sold myself for groceries.

My clogged sinus and puffy eyes say that I need to find a way to go back to my  overshare with the world, or there will be higher prices than grocery bills.

Now I just need to figure out what to do about that with minimum risk and maximum relief.  I can’t say that it’s an energy thing, not anymore.  Today I had four hours sleep, worked a heavy and stressful, crisis-control day, got home 14 hours after I left and did chores for an hour before I sat to this.

*looks up at the page*  I appear to be able to write, if not necessarily well.

I appear to have lost my excuse.

Crossposted from Epinephrine & Sophistry