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5/17/2015 9:55 am  #101

Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

   The mood is level and manageable.

  I'm an atheist but I feel blessed. More on this later.

  I did not do well in grades K through 12. I found everything being taught very difficult to understand..While I never actually failed a class, I was always right on the cusp. This was during the Time of the Tyrant. Very bad indeed to come home with a D in anything.

  I was actually the first of my four brothers to graduate high school. My two older brothers dropped out in 11th grade. I made it all the way through...barely. My graduation came down to a single grade in math. If I had failed I would have had to do the last year all over again.

  When I was in 7th grade, the school administered a test that didn't make a lot of sense to me. There were questions about practically everything. It asked things like this is to that as that is to....get the idea? So I answered the questions and forgot about the whole thing.

  About a month later, one of the administrators at the school called my house and told The Tyrant that my IQ tested out at 187...genius.

  So why was I doing so badly in school?

  Needless to say, this raised the bar beyond what I could reach. And I had no idea why. I wasn't told about this until I was 30. The expectations were increased, failure to reach them resulted in additional beatings.

  When I was discharged from the Air Force, I had no idea what I was going to do. My only talent was maintaining aircraft. And that was a job I could no longer do. It took a few years but my mother finally convinced me to try college.

  I was still under the impression that I was, at best, a middling to poor student so I didn't see the value but I gave it a shot anyway.
  The Tyrant had once said “In college a professor will just throw a book at you and say 'learn this'”.

  The man dropped out of school in the 8th grade. It never occurred to me at the time to wonder how he knew this thing. Fact is, he didn't. But I was still under the onus of 'stupid, simple, useless, moron, never amount to anything'.

  All of this had been thrown at me at an age where socialization becomes internalized. That is to say, it becomes a foundation of your basic personality. Hard wired into your brain, if you will.

  So I was thinking college wouldn't last very long.

  Based on my high school career, I was required to take some zero-level courses. Just math and English. The rest was wide open. I had to work part time so I only had room for two more classes. I took philosophy and human sexuality. Yes, the actually had a course for that.

  The philosophy class was the most crowded. I was the only non-traditional student in a class of 25. On the very first day I asked what a syllabus was. Everyone laughed at me. I nearly bolted.

  Philosophy was also my first mid-term.

  I was very attentive in class, I asked questions, read the material, looked up stuff online. I finished the test very quickly. I was concerned about this. Philosophy is a deep subject, isn't it? So how could I have gotten through it so quickly.

  All of these thoughts plagued me as the next class was coming up. With our grades.

  As soon as I got to the class, I approached the professor and told him that I feel I understand the subject but I might not have expressed it correctly, and could I take the mid-term over? He looked in his grade book then said “Why don't you take your seat and we can talk about this later.”

  I got the only A in the class.

  I was stunned. I was amazed. How was this possible? Did I actually learn something? I was on the Dean's List the entire time I was there. I actually could learn things.

  So why all the trouble before?

  College is very different than the mandatory school. In K-12 they are teaching you a thing, that connects to the next thing, that connects to the next thing, and so on. Linear. In college they let you do your thinking for yourself. They give you a basic idea how to think, then let you go.

  So patterns started forming.

  In the math classes, I was viewing how to process equations as coins sliding down a track and falling into slots. Once I established a baseline pattern the rest was easy. So the problem wasn't that I was stupid, useless, simple, a moron, never amount to anything.

  In K-12, they were teaching laser when all I could understand was kaleidoscope.

  Enough said.

  I got a new car! Yippee!

. It's a 2012 Toyota RAV-4. It's got practically every option you can think of. I was having an increasing amount of trouble getting in and out of the Elantra. With the Toyota it's just step in and step out. Much easier on my aging frame. I think my sports-car days are behind me.

  Nice Wendy was with me through the entire process to act as chaperone and ensure I didn't simply accept something I really didn't want. Yes, I do things like that.

  That that brings us back full circle.

  I am an atheist who feels blessed. I have The Wendy's. We're all friends because I think they know what to expect from me. That there will be erratic, odd, downright bizarre behavior at times. But they all look out for me. My fierce protectors.

  Am I blessed?

  Maybe. Or maybe I'm just very fortunate.

  Thanks for listening

If you make yourself miserable trying to make others happy that means everyone is miserable.

-Me again


5/17/2015 10:14 am  #102

Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Great, upbeat writing, CT.  Good to read this from you. 


5/17/2015 12:39 pm  #103

Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

05/17/2015, addendum

  The mood is, apparently, elevated.

  I haven't written anything in my journal since about this time last month. Looks like I'm going to regurgitate an entire month's worth of observations all at once.

  There is a voice in my head. It's constantly speaking. It never shuts up. My therapist said since it's my voice doing all the talking it's okay. That is what is called thinking. Huh. Now why did this never occur to me?

  When I'm at home, I sometimes like to do something I call 'skimming'.

  I lie down, close my eyes, and let that voice go where is chooses to go. I can actually see some things in my mind. They're like dreams but they mostly consist of things that I've read. The characters, the situations, all on display. Since this thought is mine I begin to think 'what if?'

  Those characters, those situations, generate thoughts of their own. I depart from the narrative I'd read and move in directions that weren't part of the original story. And I can see it as if I'm dreaming it. The dreams are erratic and lit in a very deep blue but they're nearly the same as dreams that pop up when I'm asleep. I can actually go deep enough into my mind to mimic a REM state of sleep.

  That is so effing cool!

  When the house I owned was being remodeled, I moved to an apartment in Dallastown. This was shortly before I moved to Florida. Everything was in the apartment, the move was over. I hooked the existing cable up to my TV and it was working.

  Comcast said I still have to have an installer come out--at a mere $75.00. I repeatedly pointed out that the cable was working so I didn't need an installer. They wouldn't listen.

  So I canceled my service.

  Then I discovered something. I had been watching TV from the time I got home until the time I went to sleep—every day. When I was in the house, the TV was on. So now, no TV. I became bored very quickly with nothing to focus my attention on. I decided to finally start on the books that were crammed into my bookshelf.

  And now I am completely addicted to reading.

  When I say addicted I mean addicted. I have all of the symptoms of addiction except trying to hide it. I never looked back. TV is something I will never go back to. I occasionally watch a movie on Netflix when one or more of the Wendy's are visiting, but I no longer find any appeal in what someone else chooses to show me.

  In seven years my mind has expanded beyond what I never realized was possible.

  I don't need someone else to entertain me. I can Skim any time I like. Enter a partial REM state and not only see things, but direct or even participate in them. Or let them go and just follow. Patterns inside patterns inside patterns. It's all there for me to create and explore.

  Imagination is a wonderful thing.

  Thanks for listening.  

If you make yourself miserable trying to make others happy that means everyone is miserable.

-Me again

     Thread Starter

5/18/2015 5:06 pm  #104

Re: The Random Thoughts Thread


  The mood is relaxed, somewhat mellow, kinda mellow thing.

  Did you know that nicotine blocks the same receptors as an anti-depressant called Welbutrin?

  In fact, companies that make Welbutrin re-marketed it as a stop-smoking aid called Zyban—with a significant increase in price. Now that was funny. You could tell your doctor you want to quit smoking and get the drug at a staggering price or just go to a psychiatrist, say “God I'm soooo depressed” and get the same medication for half the price.

  I was wondering why people who were trying to quit smoking didn't just fake depression for a discount.

  Okay, that was in my head. Thought you'd like to know. Or not.

  I've had a total of four cigarettes in the past 48 hours. I'm using a vape as nicotine replacement. So far, it seems to be working reasonably well.

  I'm mostly just fighting the trigger behaviors I had with cigarettes. Like an action that was usually accompanied by lighting one up. In fact I'm fighting that behavior right now. Writing in my journal was always accompanied by chain smoking.

  It's a struggle but I think I'm doing okay so far. I've already noticed some benefits. There is no longer any whistling when I inhale. There is no rattling when I inhale while trying to sleep. I can actually breathe through my nose which had been terminally clogged for the past five years.

  I have not been able to put them down entirely but I'm having much better luck this time. So far, so good. I actually went in to Sheetz twice today with out buying any smokes. I have a very small supply of bag tobacco and tubes. Once it's gone, it's gone.

  Today was the first trip of any length in the new car.

  First, the conundrum of what to call it. It's too big to be called a car. It's too small to be called a truck. So I settled on “thingy”. At least until some better word comes along.

  Nice Wendy and I drove to the VA Hospital in Lebanon this morning. The round trip is 109 miles with a mixture of interstate and surface roads. She drove on the way there and I drove on the way back.

  Some observations.

  First, I have to give Toyota a D minus when it comes to accessories. My 2011 Hyundai Elantra had a radio with a built-in satellite receiver and voice recognition with the blue-tooth and the phone. The controls were on the steering wheel so I could keep my attention on the road and still make calls.

  The 2012 Toyota does not have a satellite receiver. While it has blue-tooth, I would have to take my attention off the road to perform a complex series of actions—even with speed dialing—to make a call. None of these actions can be performed with the steering wheel buttons.

  The Hyundai has multiple odometer modes. The default was range. That is to say there was an estimate of how far you could go with your remaining fuel. The Toyota will tell me the temperature, what my average mileage is, and even tell me what my mileage is right this minute. What it will not do is tell me how far I can get.

  I had thought this was pretty much standard on every car built since 2002. Guess again.

  However, there are many up sides. The ride is very quiet, and comfortable, and it's easy to get in and out. It has climate control, heated seats, a sunroof, and just all kinds of places to lose my cell phone. It has sufficient room for a nap at lunchtime. I can actually lay all the way down. I don't feel crammed in.

  Every car I've owned in the past 15 years has sat low to the ground, with wide tires, and a low center of gravity. I've discovered I can no longer lunge into a sharp turn at warp six. No pop-up passing, no suicide sweeps, and no winding country roads doing 80.

  Thingy has much greater mass than the Hyundai but only has a 4 cylinder engine. It's somewhat under-powered. It does have four-wheel drive so I won't end up stuck behind that fool who thought it'd be a good idea to try to creep up a snow-covered hill doing 5 miles per hour. I should be able to go around that person now.

  Possibly even make rude gestures.

  As far as the sports-car behavior goes, it looks like I might have to grow up a bit.

  But I flatly refuse to wear a hat while driving.

  Thanks for listening.


If you make yourself miserable trying to make others happy that means everyone is miserable.

-Me again

     Thread Starter

5/19/2015 5:34 pm  #105

Re: The Random Thoughts Thread


  The mood is becoming erratic.

  More on that later.

  I have a few Facebook friends who are writers. Real writers. Published authors. This makes me very happy. It's an association, however fleeting, with people who have whole worlds in their minds.

  Worlds they made themselves.

  There are writers. Then there are people who write. These are not the same thing. In the former, someone has constructed entire universes from whole cloth; people, places, things, situations...all detailed and complex, a fractal, and it's all their own.

  When a writer writes, they are opening a window into their own, personal world. It's a gift as intimate as a touch. And they're brave enough to share it. With complete strangers.

  I devour novels, short stories, novellas, anthologies—practically anything I can get my hands on. Not poetry so much because, in addition to having no sense of scale, I also have no sense of meter or rhythm.

  But I read. A staggering amount in fact. So I recognize writers when I see them. When I'm able to get lost in their world then they really are writers.

  Making a career out of writing is difficult. It's about the same as trying to make it as a rock star.

  There are truly amazing writers out there. People with talent. People who shine—in a galaxy full of stars. It's hard to be the light someone else sees. But they've chosen share their gift.

  And for that I am grateful.

  Okay, back to the increasingly erratic mood.

  Withdrawal symptoms are beginning to set in.

  Sleeping was extremely difficult last night. I was up every hour and a half to two hours. Dry mouth, sweating, not able to get comfortable at all. I was a wreck when I finally gave up and decided I was up for the day.

  It was hard to stay focused.

  Had a short nap in the Thingy during lunch. Between this and the caffeine pills Nice Wendy was kind enough to find for me I managed to make it to quitting time. I have to say, I am fading fast.

  But I'm sitting here, now—and I'm wide awake.

  Biology can be a very cruel master, can't it?

  Stringing thoughts together right now is like trying to herd kittens. They're all over the place. And when I manage to get one under control, three others go shooting off for parts unknown. To say my mind is wandering is an understatement along the lines of 'root canal is kind of unpleasant'.

  I feel very thick. Slow. Very hungry but not really interested in eating.

  I guess the fact that I'm having withdrawal symptoms is probably a good thing in itself. It means this effort to give up smoking is beginning to show progress. I'm monitoring my behavior more closely. I'm becoming impatient, short tempered, snappy—but not in the nicely-dressed sense.

  I can do this. I need to do this. I've been getting the kind of signals that are saying either I can end it, or it can end me.

  On an average day, I'm not thinking very closely about my last cold. That chest-deep cold punctuated by bouts of shortness of breath that were triggering massive panic attacks that were, paradoxically, making it more difficult to breathe. I'm not thinking about unable to breathe deeply enough to feel like I'm getting enough oxygen.

  I forget what it was like drowning in a room full of air.

  On an average day there is a great deal of distance between the actual severity of that kind of attack and the sanitized version in the back of my mind. So, when I find myself wanting to reach for a smoke, I'm picking up the vape instead.

  I haven't bought tobacco, in any form, in over five days. Mind you, I was buying the five-packs of Marlborough Lights every five to seven days. On days when I wasn't working, going through two and half packs was about average.

  So five days without a purchase is a lot.

  I have a very small supply of bag-tobacco and tubes left over that has been in the closet for a few months. That supply is dwindling. Slowly, but dwindling just the same. There were a total of three cigarettes today. I may have another at 2am when I wake up again. I just can't go through another night like last night and still make it to work tomorrow.

  But it's progress. More progress than I've ever made before.

  Just a few scattered observations:

  How is a vehicle Practically Zero Emissions? Or Partially Zero Emissions? Or PZEV as it's displayed. You've probably seen a few Subaru's with this acronym on the back. Zero is zero, isn't it? I was under the impression zero was an absolute. Not practically, not partially.

  Okay, so maybe it's possible. Like it's possible to be sort-of pregnant...or kinda dead. A partial or practical absolute.

  And to think, Einstein had it wrong all along.

  Practically, partially thoughtless.

  Thanks for listening.


If you make yourself miserable trying to make others happy that means everyone is miserable.

-Me again

     Thread Starter

5/24/2015 4:06 pm  #106

Re: The Random Thoughts Thread


  The mood is dark.

  The depression is very, very thick. Like a wet wool blanket wrapped around my soul. A clenching, dragging mass holding me down.

  This is not unusual. It's not a state I'm unfamiliar with. So I'm well aware there isn't a damn thing I can do about it. It isn't caused by any particular situation. It's strictly chemical. All I can do is ride it out.

  I have to think very carefully about everything I say or do because the most extreme actions can seem perfectly reasonable. The logical path is twisted beyond all recognition but some things can bend themselves into a definition of normal that is anything but.

  So I'm home.

  And I'm staying here.

  The United States is the only country to have ever deployed a nuclear weapon in war. There have been decades of debate, loud and long, as to whether using the bombs was necessary or moral. Both sides of the issue have very valid points.

  But the argument is pointless.

  It's something that was done. Something that can' be undone. It is and that's that. I've thought a great deal about these events and I'm of the opinion that, while it is probably one of the most horrifying events in human history, it also served a worthwhile purpose.

  By using nuclear weapons in warfare the world got a good, hard look at the consequences. Up until that point, the effect of these weapons was abstract. There was testing, to a point, but the full horror unleashed had no basis in fact.

  I believe that had they never been used, the cold war would have been much shorter...and much hotter. Without the reality, right there for everyone to see, there likely would have been those who believed a nuclear war couldn't possibly be as apocalyptic as predicted.

  Cold comfort to those who survived it, but it may very well have saved the world.

  A dark turn to the thought process indeed.

  This is very likely not something anyone is enjoying reading but I'm not writing these things to please others. It's something I have to do. It's the only way to get this out of my mind. Cathartic.

  I feel like I want to sleep all the time. I'm not the least bit sleepy but I can't seem to stay awake, if that makes any sense. I finally had a shower and shaved, and I opened up the windows and blinds. Nicely breezy and less gloomy all the way around.

  Every time I need razors, I forget what type of handle I have. I have a drawer full of cartridges and three or four types of handles—and none of the former fit any of the latter. You would think at some point I would get a match completely at random but this isn't the case. Apparently companies are cranking out different types of razors and handles faster than I can buy them.

  I always write down what type of handle I have but I usually leave the list at home, or in the car, or just forget I have it. It's a blind-spot behavior. Sometimes, when I'm truly desperate, I'll buy a bag of disposable razors. As I'm bleeding all over the sink the following morning, I suddenly remember why I never buy disposable razors.

  Okay, that's the razor rant out of the way.

  Lately, I've been getting tired of reading. It doesn't happen very often but when it does, I absolutely have to shut down the thought process and go with having my imagination force-fed. I use Netflix for this.

  I've been watching horror, fantasy, and sci-fi movies on my Kindle Fire when I go to bed.

  Eight years ago, after a brief but spirited argument with Comcast, I canceled my cable TV service. After a brief hospital stay, I also stopped listening to news radio and shunned current events online. In short, I have absolutely no idea what's going on in the world.

  While this state of ignorance truly has been bliss, it also means I have no idea what is playing in theaters or on TV. There are a lot of really good movies I wasn't aware of. My Netflix play list is long enough that I would need to live for another five or six centuries to see everything I want to see.

  It's been painful trying to whittle the list down to something more manageable.

  If anyone knows of any good horror, sci-fi, or fantasy movies that just came out over the past five years please clue me in. There's a lot to choose from. And, while some of the movies I've picked out have been terrific, there are also a significant number of first-class turds that make me wish I could get that two hours of my life back.

  I read the reviews posted with the movies but I've found they aren't the most helpful things. They're either overwritten and littered with spoilers or they appear to have been typed by someone who was beating on their keyboard with a ham.

  I have a rip-off of Jurassic Park queued up for tonight. The synopsis is along the lines of “Evil corporation clones dinosaurs, monsters get loose in the city and commence to snacking on the populace, hero saves the day somehow”.

  The reviews, at least the ones that are in something resembling actual language, praise the CG graphics...while carefully avoiding mentioning the plot.

  Sounds like something I can really fall asleep to.

  Thanks for listening


If you make yourself miserable trying to make others happy that means everyone is miserable.

-Me again

     Thread Starter

5/24/2015 5:50 pm  #107

Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Thank you for the window into your depression:  "a wet blanket wrapped around [one's] soul".


As a Christian I normally like to think of my soul as being moistened by the gracious water of Baptism, but that wetness is a liberatiing wetness, a refreshment, a spring that gives life. 

What you describe is a stifiling, almost suffocating heaviness from which there is no escape.  A prison which can extinguish life.

So my focus on your metaphor needs to be on the blanket, not the wetness.

I have a couple of thoughts to explore.

Thanks for launching that mission!

Last edited by Tarnation (5/24/2015 5:52 pm)

Life is an Orthros.

5/24/2015 6:05 pm  #108

Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Thank you for sharing this, CT. I shall be thinking of you, and praying for you.
I hope writing helps you. It is an enormous benefit to those of us who have a loved one who suffers, as it provides insight for us.
My most sincere thanks.

We live in a time in which decent and otherwise sensible people are surrendering too easily to the hectoring of morons or extremists. 

5/24/2015 6:15 pm  #109

Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

It helps a great deal guys.  You can actually see the mood changing through the least that's how it felt, anyway.

I'm not saying it will work for everyone but if you have loved ones who are dealing with this, encourage them to write about what's in their heads.

Keeping everything bottled up nearly ended up costing me my life.  Getting in to therapy and exploring my own thought processes has helped lessen the severity of the episodes.

If you make yourself miserable trying to make others happy that means everyone is miserable.

-Me again

     Thread Starter

5/24/2015 9:52 pm  #110

Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Journaling can be an excellent resources later on, when certain things recur.....a tool for seeing a way out for the problems of the present by rereading the lessons of the past.

Life is an Orthros.

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