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1/22/2016 2:58 pm  #221

Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

jconcilio wrote:

OK, haven't checked in for a while, but just wanted to say hi, and in SMALL WORLD news, I think my daughter and I know your pod-spouse! Pretty sure hers are among the animals at the farm where my daughter does her 4-H alpaca work, and semi-sure she owned one of the ones Sarah worked with!

Yep, that's her.

Boze and Parker.

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

-Me again


1/22/2016 2:59 pm  #222

Re: The Random Thoughts Thread


 The mood is very unstable.

 I'm swinging wildly from anxiety, to black depression, to a feeling of hopelessness or profound sense of loss.

 I had to leave work early today. I really didn't want to but it was becoming increasingly more difficult to focus on anything long enough to do anything useful. Everything was too loud, lights were too bright, I was getting a severe of those ones where my eyes feel like they're too big for my head.

 I miss people...a lot.

 I'm talking about specific people. While I was on active duty, I became a role-playing game geek. It was the most amazing thing I'd every experienced. I'm a dyed-in-the-wool fantasy novel addict. I devour as many as four or five novels in the average week.

 Discovering role-playing games changed my world. Imagine, not just reading the novel but participating in it. Directing it. Determining what happens and where things are going. And it was all with people who were largely like me. Social misfits with wild imaginations and staggering levels of creativity.

 Artists without a canvas.

 It was my niche for more than a decade. Every base I went to had gaming groups at the rec centers or ran games from their homes.

 There was one group in particular that I'll always remember.

 I was stationed at Laughlin Air Force Base in the thriving metropolis of Del Rio Texas...population 12. I'm exaggerating...a little. Anyway, I hooked up with a group completely by accident. I was trying out some archery at an indoor range and ran in to a couple who were part of a gaming group.

 We got along from that very first meeting and I met a lot of new people who were essentially like me. We had games every weekend, and on holidays, basically any time we could fit one in. We'd game together, go to movies, go to dinners, have the occasional jaunt into Mexico (just 6 miles away)...all sorts of stuff.

 I'd found a place. Somewhere where I was accepted. Somewhere where I was cared for. Loved. Like family. Or at least like my perception of what family should be like. I belonged.

 But The Thief of Time takes everything away, eventually. While I was where I wanted to be, safe, secure, comfortable; the world moved on. The earth turned. Things changed. And we all ended up going our separate ways.

 My view of reality is child-like. I just can't understand why I can't stay where I want to be. Why things end up being altered. Why there's no going back. Why things can never be the way they were. It's like being on a roller-coaster you can't get off of. There's no way to stop and trying to get off in the middle of the ride will end badly.

 So it's one of those days where my thoughts are running in that direction. And all I can feel is a profound sense of loss. I have fond memories of those times but they end up being over-shadowed by the desperate need to be there.

 And there's no way that's ever going to happen.

 Just wanted to get this out for now.

 There's likely to be an addendum later.

 Thanks for listening.

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

-Me again

     Thread Starter

3/02/2016 7:30 pm  #223

Re: The Random Thoughts Thread


 The mood is very relaxed...possibly groovy.

 I was out on Tuesday.

 I had another sleep-walking episode on Monday. It wasn't one of those where I wake up once or twice, I slept through the whole thing. I fell asleep around 10:30 or so and woke up at 5am when the alarm went off.

 I just lifted one arm to hit the snooze button and I was suddenly wide awake. My arms, legs, and every muscle in between felt as if they'd been used—a lot—just recently. I recalled several nightmares, probably inspired by my effort to seriously injure myself. So I'm just laying there, with one arm slightly raised, afraid to even lower it again and risk another jolt.

 What to do?

 After a lengthy trip—eight feet-- I made it to the medicine chest in the bathroom. Took the recommended dosage, decided to just lay on the floor for a bit. I eventually dragged myself back to the bedroom and called in. Fell into bed. Slept most of the day.

 I'm currently pondering what triggered the sleep-walk and I'm drawing a blank. I have no idea. I've had a very long streak of good days. I like good days. I've been cranky occasionally, mostly at work and mostly over equipment.

 But those are minor wrinkles. So I'll keep turning this over until it resembles something I can think about.

  I dislike presidential election years. Campaign managers routinely resort to appealing to the baser aspect of humanity. Advertising agencies produce ads meant to invoke a strong emotional response—largely fear.

 This troubles me.

 People kept in a constant climate of fear will eventually lash out. Against whom? The object of their fear, I think.

 So I'm thinking about what constitutes an 'object'.

 Ideology, certainly. Social or political or philosophic viewpoints? In other words, there are no shortage of things to be afraid of. But the ideas are just ideas. They require a mind to exist.

 Other people, in other words.

 So now there's a focus for the fear. And at the risk of ripping off Frank Herbert, “Fear is the mind killer.” Fear can produce completely irrational behavior..

 What troubles me is I believe the people responsible for engineering a climate of fear in order to gain power have absolutely no idea what the long-term effects on a population would be. Seriously, it's not that hard to see.

 And I'm perplexed that I'd spent so much of my life being manipulated without even realizing it. I was hearing, but I wasn't listening.

 So I stepped outside myself. And I'm looking back—objectively.

 And I'm finding a lot of things that need improvement.

 So I have some work to do.

 But I'm okay with it.

 Thanks for listening

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

-Me again

     Thread Starter

3/03/2016 7:09 pm  #224

Re: The Random Thoughts Thread


 The mood is still very relaxed.

 I've discovered something recently. I'm finding it somewhat unsettling.

 When I started doing this the idea was to find ways to be a better man.

 But that isn't what I've been doing.

 Ranting about the ills of society is a dead end. Anyone can do it. But in doing so I completely overlooked the only thing I truly have control of—myself. How can I be a better man? Not “Society would be great if everyone did things the same way I do”

 So I appear to have gotten sidetracked...a lot.

 I think this is the first true reflection I've engaged in in months.

 So, this is going to be clumsy. It feels like I'm starting all over again. I have to unlearn the bad habit of examining Society and return to examining the self. Trying to avoid generalization and excessive commentary on something that has no relevance at all.

 Society is a collection of individuals.

 I can only make one individual a better man.

 Thanks for listening

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

-Me again

     Thread Starter

3/08/2016 9:44 am  #225

Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

CT I think you have made a great discovery that could be very helpful for you!

Man in the Mirror
Michael Jackson

I’m gonna make a change, for once in my life
It’s gonna feel real good, gonna make a difference
Gonna make it right...As I turn up the collar on my favorite winter coat
This wind is blowin’ my mind
I see the kids in the street, with not enough to eat
Who am I, to be blind? Pretending not to see their needs
A summer’s disregard, a broken bottle top
And a one man’s soul
They follow each other on the wind ya’ know
’Cause they got nowhere to go
That’s why I want you to knowI’m starting with the man in the mirror
I’m asking him to change his ways
And no message could have been any clearer
If you wanna make the world a better place
(If you wanna make the world a better place)
Take a look at yourself, and then make a change

Last edited by Common Sense (3/08/2016 9:44 am)

 “We hold these truths to be self-evident,”  former vice president Biden said during a campaign event in Texas on Monday. "All men and women created by — you know, you know, the thing.”


3/16/2016 5:46 pm  #226

Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

Wow.  Okay, so I finally finished one.  I've been getting about half-way through then saving and walking away.  Sorry, it's not proofed.  A little too shaky to press on.


 The mood is a little over-wound.

 But not in a bad way. In fact, I had gotten to the stage where I babble incessantly about every last thing. I mean, my poor pod-mom Joan spent ten minutes trying to politely escape since her day ended while I was just jabbering on and on.

 Kinda like that.

 (Listen for the grinding noise as I attempt to change gears)

 An anthropologist name Robin Dunbar devised a theory regarding the size of a brain in mammals. Based on the size of a brain, he could roughly determine the maximum number of individuals this brain could store detailed information about.

 That is to say, there is a limit to how many people you can have direct information about. He was very accurate when testing his theory. Dunbar created a list, or a set of tables, or something...I'm not thoroughly familiar with this subject. The number is referred to as the Dunbar number.

 The Dunbar number for a human is one-hundred and fifty. A human brain is large enough to detailed information on about 150 people.

 What I'm thinking about is what happens with the seven or so billion other people?

 Certainly, I'm aware they exist. I haven't directly contacted a majority of people on this planet but with media the way it is it's not difficult understand they're there. So I have a circle of roughly 150 people. I know their names...mostly. I recognize facial features, hair color, clothing, etc...

 I was kicking this around when I realized the primary difference between the people in the Dunbar number and the people outside the circle; I was not thinking of the people outside as individuals. They were invariably assigned to some form of 'other' category.

 As massed sort of 'they' or 'them'.

 And I realized that anything at all could happen to 'them' and there would be little or no emotional impact. Apparently this is because of the size of my brain. Because I can't 'know' an unlimited number of people.

 And there's no emotion at all attached to this realization.

 I'm pondering whether or not there should be.

 And I'm hoping I can scrunch things up enough to fit number 151 in.

 Or more. I like knowing people. They're basically very interesting when taken in small enough doses.

 People do the oddest things. Or, at least, things that look odd to me...okay, I'm probably not the best standard of comparison for what constitutes 'odd'.

 I tossed this bit in because I'm really drawing a blank as far as reflection goes. It used to be quite easy. Everything would assemble itself throughout the day and the only thing left to do was write it down.

 I'm a little overloaded at work right now so I have very little time for observation and commentary. I'm hoping once I get caught up things will start to flow again. Right now it's a total log-jam.

 Still, I'm having very good days. Apart from the occasional crankiness things are going very well.

 And I'm well aware of the good things in my life.

 Or, at least, as many as I can fit in my head. That's okay enough for me. Thanks for listening  

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

-Me again

     Thread Starter

3/28/2016 6:10 pm  #227

Re: The Random Thoughts Thread


 The mood is on an upswing.

 So much has happened since I last did this. Not really sure where to start. So try dialing back.

 The road-trip to Houston.

 My car broke down on a highway in Mississippi at 1AM---while I was passing a truck. I recall agonizing over this. So much went on. And I finally identified the reason for simmering anger and a dark depressive episode. I allowed this to overshadow the reason for the trip.

 Seeing my brother for the first time in four years.

 Thomas is a younger brother. He's happily married to Vicky, my sister in law. I also have a niece and a nephew named Jami and James, respectively. Tom, Vicky and Jami all work for the post office. They have a nice 3 bedroom ranch-style house in a place called Conroe.

 I was perplexed by the name. Or, at least, why it had a different name. From the time we hit the outskirts of the city of Houston to Tom's house it was one continuous city. They have some serious sprawl there. It's not something I could deal with on a daily basis.

 Oh, but get this...they have a fricken drive-through margarita place! No kidding. And the convenience stores have those big plastic barrels full of ice that we put soda and such in. They have ones that are stuffed full of beer and coolers.

 And while I was watching from the car when we went places. There were liquor stores...with a gun store next to it. Or a pawn shop...with a gun store next to it. I swear I could not see a single strip mall that didn't have this configuration.

 Texans really like their guns and their booze.

 Anyway, I have a sister, a niece, and a nephew. Family. The only thing in the world that truly matters.

 I'm kicking myself for not visiting years ago. It was so much fun being around people. I was so comfortable. Tom has a giant charcoal grill. It's one of those that looks like an oil drum cut in half. My talent. My element. And a good setting for socializing.

 So we went out on Friday evening, had dinner, some pina-coladas (my current fave), then went to the grocery store. I couldn't find a whole rack of pork ribs, just those half things they call baby-back. Vicky found some huge packets of country-style pork ribs so we hauled off five or six packets and ended up with dozens of ribs.

 So the ribs went into the marinade with the event scheduled Sunday. Monday was a federal holiday so one one had to work the next day. All of the rest of the time there was just relaxing, shopping, going to dinner. It was so...I don't know how to put what I'm feeling into words.

 Thomas and Vicky met at work. I don't know how long they dated and I didn't know he's gotten married. I was out of contact with pretty much everyone when I was on active duty so I missed out on a lot of stuff. Vicky's a kick, especially with a drink or two.

 My brother is one of those people that are totally unflappable. Always laid-back. Friendly. Calm. I've always been a little bit envious of Thomas. Everywhere he goes he always people around him. People that are as close as family I've never been able to do that. Everywhere I went someone adopted me because they realized I was totally clueless when it came to socializing. Not really the same thing.

 I didn't get to talk much with my niece. She's twenty-two and she's at that point in her life where you're still finding your direction. She's smart and she's a hard worker. I think once she chooses a path nothing will get in the way.

 I got to spend a great deal of time with James. He's sixteen. He mostly hangs out in his room but we sat together on the back patio and we talked a lot. James likes reading. And he gave me a book—which makes him my one of my most favorite people in the whole world. He told me a great deal about some of the stories he read. They sounded very interesting so I've added some of his authors to my list of books to explore.

 The barbecue went great.

 I don't usually use country-style ribs when I'm doing a large number of ribs. They have to be turned individually instead of flipping them a rack at time. On charcoal this can be problematic. Pork grease is the second-most volatile after chicken.

 So, the marinade turned out well. I did this one by scent and it was perfect. The barbecue sauce was spiced up and ready to go. After a bit of a rocky start I was able to get a grip on the pattern. What to turn and when and such.

 They turned out sooooooo good. And were pounds of them. So everyone went away happy. And I got to meet people. Tom's bestie and Vicky's parents. James and Jami. And me!

 No pressure, no work, and people you are close to. That's a good vacation. I have leave scheduled and I'm saving up for a plane ticket for the end of October. The renaissance fair is on and I'm going to try to go.

 There was so much good about that trip.

 And I allowed the journey to overshadow all of it.

 That won't be happening again.

 Thanks for listening

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

-Me again

     Thread Starter

3/28/2016 9:20 pm  #228

Re: The Random Thoughts Thread

So sorry you had car trouble and in all places and time, in Mississippi in the wee hours, during your trip.  As we grow older family becomes more and more important to us and hopefully, you now understand this after making this trip.  From what you've written it sounds like it was a wonderful time for you, especially, and look at you--already planning a return visit. Flying to Houston will give you even more time to spend with all those great people! 


4/21/2016 5:10 pm  #229

Re: The Random Thoughts Thread


 The mood is up.

 I'm having a run of very good days. Some are difficult to deal with. Extreme highs can be as bad as extreme lows. I'm using the metronome and it helps keep me focused on one thing at a time. I'm getting all of my work caught up and I feel very good about that.

 There were a couple of dark spaces.

 There was a significant change on the board where I'm a moderator. The other moderator was fired. The board's owner reached his limit with the complaints he was receiving. The other moderator didn't take being fired well, became abusive, and was permanently blocked.

 This happened some time back. I'm not sure how long. But things got better. People were discussing things and they didn't have to worry about being stepped on by a moderator because he doesn't agree with your viewpoint.

 This is an abuse of authority from my viewpoint.

 People who had stopped posting because it was incredibly frustrating were talking again. Things were good. Then the chap who was banned created a new account and began leaving messages. The very first post was basically three paragraphs of abuse.

 But I didn't jump on him right away.

 I asked him to tone it down and stop picking fights. He toned it up and kept picking fights. So I blocked his account. Then he created another account and did the same thing. So I blocked that one too.

 Then I got complaints from other members about the posts that were still on the board and the avatar which was a picture of a guy giving everyone the finger. So I deleted the accounts.

 Frankly, I didn't feel good about doing that. I didn't want to do it. But it's my job. So I had to act. I don't know if it was the right thing to do and I'm not sure if I overstepped my authority. But it's in my head and I want it out so there is it.

 The car dealer who rents part of the property where I live blocked up one side of the carport. It's inconvenient but I could still get in and out. Then he parked two more cars where he wasn't supposed to and blocked off half of the other side of the carport. I complained to the property management people who did nothing.

 So I'm squeezing in and out of a relatively narrow driveway. It's still doable.

 But wait. The assholes renting the garages decide to park their cars in front of my very narrow driveway. And I'm fucking angry. Very, very angry. I go to great lengths to make sure that people who are visiting me do not block the garages. I tell delivery people not to block the garages. I tell the people plowing the snow not to push it in front of the garages.

 My question is, is everyone like this? Did the world suddenly become populated with inconsiderate assholes while my back was turned? So I'm not sure what to do about this. There's no button to make this go away.

 I just want my quiet little part of the world.

 Is that too much to ask?

 The mood is still up. Just cranky.

Thanks for listening.

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

-Me again

     Thread Starter

4/23/2016 9:16 pm  #230

Re: The Random Thoughts Thread


 The mood is up.

 Another is a long string of up-days. The darkness that shades a disproportionate space in my life isn't gone but it's...manageable. It's manageable because I have people who love me. That makes all the difference in the world.

 Or, at least, in my world.

 I feel good about getting things accomplished today. I've been needing a new shower curtain for quite a while now. At some point, no matter how carefully you dry it, or how much you bleach it, the 'pink death' eventually becomes unmanageable.

 I'm talking about that nearly invisible fungus or mold or alien invaders...whatever the hell it is, that comes in pink and eventually won't go away no matter what you do. So my shower curtain has been pink for several weeks now.

 It's kinda like wiper blades. You remember them when you use them but forget as soon as you get out of the car. So I set today aside with that singular mission in mind.

 My shower stall is home-made. It looks like the cut the floor out of a larger stall then used fiberglass panels and sealant to make the stall. Apparently there's a standard size for the curtain and they got the size right from side-to-side but the bar is about four inches too low so I have to cut the bottom off of the curtain.

 I learned the hard way that those little round weights need to be there. Once I stepped out of the shower and onto a very squishy mat I learned. So I have to cut the bottom off, then cut out the weights, then tape them back on—duct tape, of course!

 I got two curtains this time since it's hard to find curtains that are sized for a stall and not for the full-length bathtub type of shower. It's a huge pain in the hinder trying to cut a full-length curtain down so it fits.

 The weather had cleared up by the time I left the house so I also stopped by to take the new Thingy for it's first wash at that car-wash on East Market street. I don't know what the hell it's called now. Seems like that place changes hands very few weeks so I don't keep track anymore.

 It looks really pretty sitting in the carport. I had the windows tinted earlier this month and I got some in-channel deflectors for the windows. I love the way it looks. And the fact that I'm not terrified the transmission is going to explode any minute now is definitely a plus.

 I picked up some new clothes from Target. I'm happy I can do laundry again without everything coming out looking like I slept in them...for weeks. The new dryer works great. I'm never, ever buying another appliance from Sears. Screw them.

 I actually went out into the world today. Went places with people there. And did okay with it. I still much prefer having one of the Wendy's along but I managed and I feel okay about that.

 I'd picked up three bags of charcoal the last time I did my online shopping at Weis and I'm down to my last bag. I've been grilling just about every meal for the past two weeks. The poor, lonely gas-grill is quietly corroding without me.

 It's like crack. Once you start cooking on charcoal, you never want to stop.

 A friend is in pain right now and I'm doing my best to be a friend. Making her laugh even when she feels like crying. This is important, I think.

 I spent the day pondering some abstract stuff. I was thinking about the word 'respect'. Not just the definition but how it's used.

 I know what respect means. That's easy enough. The thing is, respect always struck me as something that is earned, not something that is owed. I've never been able to understand how I can respect someone without even knowing them.

 It seems to me that many people believe they are owed respect without doing anything at all to earn it. In fact, many people appear to demand respect while actively saying or doing things that make me feel anything but respect for them.

 Social interaction is not something I do well with so perhaps I'm misunderstanding the use of the word. But the expectation of respect while utterly failing to live up to the concept is confusing.

 I hear the term 'disrespect' used a great deal when someone believes they are not being shown respect. Disrespect is an action just as much as respect. A lack of respect doesn't automatically mean disrespect. Disrespect is earned just as much as respect is.

 If someone is being 'disrespected', there's probably a good reason for it. So why does 'disrespect' imply a failing in others and not a failing in oneself? I've been turning this over in my head because I think I might be misunderstanding the word.

 My thought on the matter is that people seem to be confusing 'dignity' with 'respect'. Dignity is a thing that is owed. At least in my view of the world.

 Show me some respect??

 Show me you deserve it.

 Thanks for listening. 

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

-Me again

     Thread Starter

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