Monthly Archives: December 2016

Live-action Christmas Niggle (Live Action)


I am trying to get excited about Christmas the holiday. I’m not.

I mean, it’s going to be a good time, but there’s a puzzle–


O THIS IS FUN! LET’S THINK LIKE THIS!– there’s a puzzle to it. (sings) Christ-mas-Puzz-le. What is this puzzle? A lot of times if we are trying to expand our thinking, we can make a lot of progress out of figuring out not the answer to a puzzle, but what the puzzle is. Answering them is easy.

So there’s just a sensation, it’s just a vibration, it’s just a feeling, just a kind of HUM in your mind…it’s a niggle. People call it a niggle. I call it a niggle, and I’m people. So what is this niggle? Does anyone else have a niggle? Let’s talk about in detail how to dig through a niggle.


  1. The thing about digging through a niggle number one is be gentle. You don’t want to go to your niggle HEY WHAT ARE YOU ALL ABOUT and start trying to give it categories and lump it into them, because you will mess your niggle up. Niggles are really very special, brilliant kinds of thoughts– but you have to leave them as they are.
  2. Basically, a niggle is a thought that’s in a ‘language’ other than the language you think in. (‘I’m using language loosely, but it applies.’) So there is meaning to the niggle already, exactly as you are feeling it. IT’S telling you everything YOU need to know, it’s just that you don’t understand it because of the way that it’s being presented to you. The ‘words’ of the niggle don’t need to be changed–you just need to learn to understand each one.
  3. So don’t mess with your niggle, because it will run away. Ok, it won’t run away– it will just break. It’s ok if it breaks because it will come back probably, but it might take some time. It might come back a year later or a month later or a week later: if it is important it will be back. But you don’t want to break it, if you are trying to figure out what it is.
  4. Niggles tend to have a pitch. For me, for everyone, thoughts are on frequencies, like musical pitches. So your niggle is on either a low note like a boat horn, or a high note, like worry, like screeching tires.  Or something like that. Waves on a beach, maybe.
  5. My best niggles, the ones that I like — I can’t believe I have latched onto this word. I apologize for latching onto a double-G word — but this thought that I am looking at, it’s like a, a.. a , um.. Maybe it doesn’t like being called a niggle and feels it’s above such a silly name .. it’s like a, a, .. um.. The point was that these are hard to figure out, so this is ok.. It’s like a, an, eehhhhh. That’s where the best ‘thoughts’ (niggles) come from, in my opinion, from that tone right there: eehhhhh. Eehhhhhh. What is that thought about? Christmas. Christmas and what?
  6. This niggle is a question; it requires an action. How did I figure that out? Well, I’m just thinking around the niggle, thinking different things about it that I feel I can be sure are true. These things won’t explain it, or tell me what I want to know about it, but they will lead me to the explanation. So even though they don’t seem like much help I think them. Have to remember not to change any of the thinking, but I don’t know what it is, so I can only pull off very little things to think about it.
    So this one: good tone, you know, very gentle, you know, I’m worried, you don’t need to do anything about it, I’m not saying that I’m worried, but there is a situation that’s on my mind, and it’s very very, of course you’d want to be gentle with a thought like this, it’s so very very gentle with you! It’s not a worry, it’s not a plan or a command, it’s not a you’d better, like an admonition– it’s really hard to say what it is. There’s some information there: there’s a way that things could go that could be quite nice, were one to go that way.. ? And really one would feel better, one could avoid some trouble….There’s a nice way to go if one wants to go that way…. Hmm. Eehhhhh…. Christmas…. .
  7. Then you can look for an emotional handle to your niggle, something maybe goofy but still true, appeal to it that way. Very emotional, and sweet in tone, this particular area of thought of mine. Hmmm.  It’s very….what would it like, something that feels like this? And there is a quick image, caught it! It was a picture of me– really? I could almost feel my arms aching. This is the niggle? For Christmas, wouldn’t it be fun to be able to pick everyone up in a hug and just carry them around the house?


No, that would definitely be fun, sure. No, really, I mean it! That is something really fun, and Christmas, but I’m not going to be able to actually do that. But I should try. According to this niggle. That is what it wants. It would be so great, so warm and cozy. Lots of smiles, laughing. So that is the puzzle; how can pick my entire family up and carry them around, at Christmas? Some sort of sling? I don’t think I’m going to be able to do that. Do I need to figure out a way to actually pick everybody up and carry them around the house? I don’t think so. Subconsciousnessess are very metaphorical. So pick them up, carry them, pick them up eehhhh .. Christmas.

  1. When your mind demands the impossible, ask about alternatives. Because we can’t pick them up with our arm, because they’re heavy, how else can we pick them up? Ah hah. And here is the puzzle answer. Here’s the fished out niggle, intact I believe: Christmas is an opportunity to teach every member of  my family something. And really give them a leg up for the new year. And won’t that make me feel fantastic, if I can get the time aside, to really do this for each member of my family, to think about what I could show them that would lift them up and give them a little bit of a boost.

In terms of the goals that I have for them. Because I have goals for my family members’ lives. And you can say, That’s very controlling, but it’s not, because the goals are very simple, like, I want them to be happy and I want them to be healthy.

Ok, so I am to think of things to do. I’ll have this opportunity, at Christmas; it is a prime opportunity, when everyone is incredibly good-willed and open-minded, to teach my family some important lessons.


NO, sure, niggle. THAT SHOULD BE EASY! I DON’T SEE WHAT WOULD BE DIFFICULT ABOUT THAT AT ALL. We’ll just carefully and systematically review the areas we’ve been working on with every single one of of our family members and see how Christmas can fit into those goals. In the next few hours. NO PROBLEM.

Also, I’m not buying expensive gifts. I don’t think I’m going to buy gifts at all. I don’t want to teach lessons through gift-giving. That’s really not the idea. So we’re going to do things outside of the gift giving.

So my father for instance, I’ve already done. My dad is done. My father is not the world’s sortof warmest person. He was raised by a guy who was actually of a generation before the one that raised the people who are my parents’ age, and who was just a very stern dude. And so my dad, from growing up with this really stern dude, is pretty stern himself. He’s very much focused on practical things, like a Capricorn*, which he is.

My dad, his Christmas lesson, is– our relationship is very much sortof business-like: he asks me for things and I do them; I ask him for things and he does them, and then we thank each other, or we say that we’re not going to do them, and that’s it. So Dad, got that one covered, I know what I’m going to do for him (and he should stop reading here if he wants to be surprised). I’m going to basically give a demonstration, that without him asking, and without it being expected: I just want to do some sortof warm and cozy things for him. He’s traveling this December, and I want to do some nice, warm, and cozy things, so that when he comes home he feels hugged, he feels loved, he feels sort of cared for– not in any kind of excessive way, but in an unexpected and very warm way. Not a whole lot of stuff, just a couple of things like, I was thinking of you warmly, and I want you to know that this is something that people can do (maybe try it some time if you feel inclined).

That it is ok. It’s almost like adding something to the me-dad rule book. This is part of our engagement, that we feel warmly towards each other and demonstrate this. So that’s Dad. Dad’s covered. Next!

You know that word, niggle, there’s something about it that bothers me. Hmm. Anyway.

My mother already received her Christmas gift from me. The lessons I am working on with my mother — this is crazy — this is really personal stuff, I don’t talk about my family much — but the skills that I am working on with my mother are her independence and her calmness. It’s not that I want her to feel like she is capable of handling pretty much whatever life throws at her — she is, and I think she knows that — but I want her to feel capable of making life look the way she wants it to look. That’s sort of the lesson that we’ve been working on for several years: that life isn’t just something that happens to you, but life is something that you get to make decisions about, and you have the power to carry those out, and it’s fun, to do so.

It’s not scary; it’s not hard work; it’s something that people are there to help you with, and it’s important to the people around you that you have what you want. We don’t want you to feel like you have to be the bottom and the last and the end of the line.

And so.. How can we do that at Christmas? Ok, here is some simple advice, easy to follow, which is the best kind I like to give: easy enough, just call mom up and get her kind of dreaming… and get her visions and her schemes for what she wants the holiday to look like.

And I know what she is going to say: she’s going to say that she wants it to look exactly like last year. JUST COME OVER AND HAVE DINNER HON AND THEN WE’LL OPEN PRESENTS. But I know that there are other things, in her heart, other things that she might desire, some group activity that is part of her secret Christmas dreams, that are sortof part of her childish and less practical self. (If you can imagine my mom — if you knew my mother, the idea of my mom’s more childish self should terrify to you. I know I’ve said before that she’s a very funny woman, and she has no qualms about being childish in her sense of sense of humor, but this is really a reflection of how not-childish she tends to be in her everyday life. But encouraging a lady who has a plastic pumpkin for a pet to be more childish definitely takes bravery.)

Anyway, we’ll try that. No gift giving involved. Easy but difficult. Plus with a group, she loves the group. It makes me feel like I have a good couple of credits towards a psychotherapy degree whenever I get to this part of my mother that knows what it wants, to be happy, and isn’t scared to talk about it. So let me see if I can do that, this Christmas….

Another thing that’s important with my mother is for her to think more that we, as a family, are not in crisis: we are the way we are supposed to be. How are we going to do that? Christmas? An easy way to teach this is by comparisons, just telling true stories about what other families are like at Christmas, to show that we’re doing better than them at least, that we are not a failure, that we are ok, even good. Many families compete to make snide remarks, for instance, while we compete to make surprisingly nonsensical remarks. That’s important.**

Ok, I have three, maybe four more to go. I try to include the people that my parents date in my family. Some of these rest I’m skipping for now, because they are pretty tricky. The lessons that occur to one to teach them are almost family cliches. LIKE, every year, maybe in your family too, everyone thinks I WISH SO-AND-SO WOULD BE MORE RESPONSIBLE AND SPEND LESS MONEY ON CHEESE ALL THE TIME not saying this is one of the lessons in my family or yours, just an example — or, I WISH SO-AND-SO WOULDN’T ALWAYS PITCH SUCH A FIT ABOUT CAT FOOD AT BREAKFAST.

And year after year we have the same takes on the same people. And we think we should do something to change these things about So-and-so. Every year. So I’m trying to avoid thinking these kinds of things.

Because the thing about teaching lessons is if you have to teach them, you can only teach people the lessons that they want. If year after year you are trying to teach them the same lesson, that’s because they don’t want you to teach them that. Whereas if you find the lessons that people want to be taught, they will jump on them. They’ll, they’ll, they’ll … love them. You’ll see them perk up; they’ll smile; they’ll get real excited; they’ll get real energetic. But I’m not thinking of these kinds of things anymore. I’m thinking of old things, that won’t help anything. I’ve moved too far away from my niggle. It will be back, and I’ll try picking it up again. :)


*I don’t believe in astrology. I am using cultural references.

** I usually lose. To my mother.


Keep it on the desk, big boy



I don’t know where to start. There are too many options. “Apparently it is my job, whether I want it or not, to protect your boys (see below)”? Or “I wasn’t kidding about the panties”?


Because the above (from—not yet me) does not seem true. See these instead:




Now I don’t know where to continue — “Searching for myself in PubMed was weird”? ” “Doctors, I say to you again, it is not a good idea to rely on your patients doing their own research?”*

Hear I was thinking cellphones were a bad idea, typing my important message on a … ‘laptop’? I mean notebook. A notebook, a notebook, a notebook computer, separated from all testes in a quarter mile radius by a quarter-inch thick sheet of lead. That’s from where I’d like to write these blogs, you mutants.



*Reminder to self to type the article about modern medicine. Recently called doctors office to ask if I could gargle with salt water while taking prescribed medication. ‘Salt water?’ said the nurse. ‘Are you nuts? Of course not. Didn’t you google it?’




A Christmas Sermon


There’s technology, and then there’s technology, you know?



I was listening to this guy preach on the radio, and he said, “You know, some of you, this year, at Christmas, as you are listening to the story, don’t feel the wonder of it, and it’s all ho-hum to you.”

And I’m thinking, “Mann, you have been preaching the same sermons, all of you, you have been preaching the same sermons, for over a hundred years now.” 

So if you get to be a certain age and you’ve gone to church at Christmas, you’ve heard this stuff every year. It’s NOT OUR FAULT WE’RE BORED.


[cute dove gif goes here]

That’s your fault, then, that we’re bored. Not ours. You can go on to say, “Well, let me explain how you can make this message practical,” and I’ll say “NO, let me explain how I’m here on a Sunday to hear something that I possibly might not have heard before. To much to ask? I disagree. See, I feel like, if you want to tell me that the world is in trouble and that things need to change, then I’m going to need new, additional information to help me make that change and fix that trouble. The same information isn’t going to bring me to anything new.

If when I stepped outside the door, everything was perfect, then it would make sense for us to recite this stuff like this. But as it is, I feel like there is something you need to teach me, sir. That’s why I’m here.

What are you going to tell me that I don’t know?

[another gif, probably candy canes in a cross]

So for my Christmas Sermon Number One, I wanted to say something that maybe people haven’t heard, and it’s really boring! You’re going to hear me and then say, That’s what you’ve got? That’s really boring. That’s obviously the case; sure it’s true; whatever, I’m bored! I hope that’s what you say. Probably. This is how it goes.

People talk about how Christ was sent to bring peace. The promise was that when Christ came there would be Peace On Earth and yet clearly there isn’t.

(pause here)


And this is easy to understand.  See, when Christ came, He gave us knowledge of how to bring peace about, and He left us with That Job.

(And here at this part you are supposed to go, Duh, that’s boring; obviously.)

Meanwhile, ‘He gave us knowledge of how to bring that peace about and left us with That Job’ . . .   runs completely contrary to almost everything you’ll hear said in a church, at any time of year.  So you and I can agree that that’s obvious; you and I can agree that that’s even boring; it’s a duh, it’s an everybody knows that, sure; but no one lives that way, or even talks that way.

Instead, what do we say? We say our peace is an inner peace. We say that we’re waiting, for the actual peace: our work is waiting; that when they said ‘Here Comes Peace On Earth’, what they meant was ‘Here Comes Peace On Earth Later’. That must be what they meant, right? (reference no peace on earth)

I mean, we wouldn’t come up with a sentence like Here comes Peace On Earth Later, we wouldn’t come up with a sentence that goofy, on our own. We only come up with it because we’re trying to reconcile* the evidence in front of us and what we were told. The disconnect between the two is so large that we have to get a little weird to make them make sense with each other. ‘Well, when they said we were going to have Peace On Earth they couldn’t have been lying, but we don’t have Peace On Earth, so they must have actually meant Peace On Earth Later, when I come back for — actually it’s the third time, right?’

But that is not what they actually said, so I doubt it is what they actually meant. Angels did not appear and say, ‘Hey, check it out, an important pre-requisite to this thing that is going to bring us Peace On Earth later.’ They said ‘This is it. This is Peace On Earth right here.

[angel gif?]

There’s a verse, Hebrews 10:16, that says that now that Christ has been here on Earth, we have all of us within us knowledge of what is right and wrong. We have, all, within us, new knowledge of this. This is a change that no preacher has ever pulled out and made obvious to me. I wonder a lot why this is not a bigger deal.** People talk so much about what changed because Christ came to Earth, but they don’t bring this up: that now we all know things that we didn’t know before.  Great teacher, that whole line, you’ve heard it from aethists. But not in church.

Can you imagine that two-thousand-plus years ago, 2500 years ago, if you were to pull someone up on the street, and question them about what they knew about right and wrong and good and bad and how to treat their fellow man, how radically different that would be from what they would know now, and what changed that? This promise — that we would know in our hearts right and wrong, because of Christ — is not a promise you need to make up some junk to understand. It’s quite practical, quite real, and quite simple.

It’s not a mystery, is what I’m saying. Someone came and taught us how to be good, and now we know.

We didn’t used to.

Get it?

[no, angel gif here, like a pair of them]

This is the peace that was brought to earth. We were taught how to be good by an amazing teacher. The mechanism of it all is not complicated; it’s not beyond you; it’s not a mystery. And now the ball is in our court. We have this knowledge: what are we doing with it? Mostly, repeating it to each other, week after week. Great start, but I don’t think that’s enough. I’ll know that whatever we’re doing is enough when there is no war any more.

You know, someone asked me this week, do you think global warming is depressing? I said, no, there are other things I find depressing, like hundreds of thousands of people, running around in poor neighborhoods on the same day of the year, wasting their time in an effort to ‘do some good’: people with degrees, people with skills, people with political influence — scooping mashed potatoes at poverty, telling each other ‘It’s humbling!’

I don’t want you to be humbled. I want you to be powerful, and to use your knowledge of what’s good to change the world. That’s what I want.

[gif – star or something]





*get it?

**Perhaps because we are too busy remembering what hopeless sinners we are to consider this kind of verse.


Shoutout to preachers. (If you want to write a great sermon every time, it’s easy– cheat. Go to other church’s services incognito and steal their best ideas. )

A Solemn Vow


I imagine it is difficult not to laugh at a time like this, but everyone manages somehow…

“Please repeat after me.”




“Say your name.”

“I, radiation-”

“Do solemnly swear-”

“Do solemnly swear-”

“In front of God-”

“In front of God-”

“And the group assembled here-”

“And the group assembled here-”

“To eat beans every day.”

“To eat beans every day.”

“No matter what may happen,”

“No matter what may happen,”

“No matter what else there is to eat,”

“No matter what else there is to eat,”

“I will eat at least some beans,”

“I will eat at least some beans,”

“Probably a whole can,”

“Probably a whole can,”

“Every day-


“Every day. Maybe with rice.”

“Maybe with rice.  Very good.”


“And do you, this crowd gathered here, pledge to support radiation in her quest to eat beans everyday? To remind her if you see her at the grocery store, to look the other way when she is fishing cans of chick peas out of the food bank donation box? If you do, please respond, ‘Yum’.”

All: “Yum.”

“And do you promise to still let her sit next to you, even if you catch her chewing on the strap of your purse again?”


“If you do, please respond ‘Yum’.”

All: “Yum.”

radiation: “YUM!”


May your holiday season be packed with healthy protein power. Make sure to take it all seriously enough. I’ll write you an Xmas sermon later.

Photo from

Dear Almost Very Powerful Person (Easy: Application 1)

(this blog is a continuation, and won’t make much sense until you read Easy, and perhaps even still not then)

Dear Almost Very Powerful Person,

My not knowing who might be responsible for your brilliant inspirations has no impact on the likelihood of their existence, of course. I’m not vain.

I am rather proud of the fact that I do know that all things done have do-ers: there is no otherwise. And the beauty of human inspiration led me to believe, before, even, I met those German math students, that there must exist some class of superhuman do-ers, some party that is responsible for our flash of brilliant inspiration, and for food tasting so much better sometimes, for the peace that surpasses all understanding, for the lyrics to Blowin’ in the Wind, etc. etc. More recently, life said to me: here, have a ludicrous explanation in the form of a frozen pork chop (that saves your life).** And so I have spent much of the time since then trying to figure out where such things come from — an answer better than just ‘the sky’ — and I have found out some things but not much. And then I spent quite a bit of time trying o understand these few things I did figure out, better. But I still couldn’t tell you much about who they are, the do-ers of these things done.

But I would like to? And I am trying to tell you something they have shown me: that in life there is a hard way, and an easy way, to do any difficult thing.

The hard way is the way we force through ourselves, that we push and push through circumstance, like a spoon through a log;

the easy way is the way we are given,

that is easy.

So 1) all things done have their do-ers, and 2) inspiration is such a fickly thing!

Why aren’t we capable of everything we are capable of at all times? Don’t we instead have two kind of capability: the kinds of things we can always do, and the kinds we can only sometimes do? The latter being the most wonderful things: the empathy we didn’t think we had in us, the wolf call we let out in the street in the middle of the night, as the bars empty out, the solid feeling of our body when we’re best at our sport. That come from the place where the color of your parachute must be.

One time I sang exactly like Odetta, for example– but this is not always possible for me, although I practice everyday — so into the sometimes group it goes. There are so many times when singing exactly like Odetta is not an option for me—it’s tragic, really—and if I want to, I’ll have to wait for inspiration to allow it, or gift it to me, you might say.

However, I feel pretty confident that at anytime I could do some of the math we learned that year in Berlin, always, although I can’t now say exactly what that would mean– what do you really do in real analysis, exactly, besides Fourier transforms and defining integration? I can’t recall; remembering things being something that moved to the sometimes group a few years ago (but I have the book around somewhere, so I’m not worried).


Let me set a point, above this explanation and connected to it by some number of puppet strings:: most things we don’t understand aren’t connected. They’re connected to something else. 


Should one of the epi contact me, would it be them who did? Not a trick question, but doubtless no.

Right now I strain my ears a little, in case I should hear their voices in the hallway, but I don’t. What would bring me news of them from halfway across half of the world would have to be a machine: a telephone or TTY of one sort or another, that had taken in some fashion as input their intention to communicate with me. A telephone or TTY of one sort or another that I would contact back, with my intention to communicating with them. A telephone or TTY we would have to simply trust did a faithful job in translating our respective intentions, but which need not. If it didn’t, at some times or at all times, there would be no way for either of us non-machines to know, short of traveling to be within earshot of each other, where we might speak, or sing, or pantomime, i.e., actually contact one another. At such a meeting most likely we would dispense with the machines—or maybe not, since they were the type of people who might enjoy pulling the logs from every link in that chain and diff-ing every version of our respective messages.***

Especially if there was pizza.

I was on the phone with a woman the other day who did not know what the phrase “face-to-face” meant. “We’re speaking on the phone,” she said. “Is that what you mean?”

“No,” I said, “face-to-face. It means in-person.” I had to just hope she knew what in-person meant, as it would not have been polite to say, as I wanted to, “No, I mean your face seeing my face, one face pointed at the other face, my sort of lined up with, you might say ‘facing’ your face? Your face, it’s that the thing on the front of your skull, remember? You put your phone on the side of it.” (It’s funny what you feel like you can say on the phone that you wouldn’t say to someone’s face.)

And so when we look at the actual complexity of a lame-o transatlantic phone call**** that didn’t even happen, we see that almost our contact is an illusion. Unconsciously we imagine we do incredibly difficult things—like project our voice across ten thousand miles or more–but we don’t at all do we. Never have and probably never will. We’ve done and do and will do instead very easy things, like speaking to machines quite close to us while being insane (convinced we have superhuman power). We rely on such machines and others like to help us pretend.

I personally don’t like pretending unless I know that I am doing so, in which case I usually pretend to be a psychic in the employ of law enforcement, or an ex-supermodel enjoying an early obsolescence, or both.

(All three are fun at parties, but I sense others’ tastes might differ. Losers.)

Even if you don’t mind pretending that things are other than they are, please still try taking this “local view” of causality. It makes the world feel so much more real. And even if that doesn’t happen for you, there are yet still reasons to look for and be aware of such illusions around one. Although at first it might sound depressing or self-defeating to give all the credit for anything you do that seems to too amazing to simply … something else, it is quite the opposite. When we are no longer distracted by imagining we are accomplishing things we aren’t, we can actually accomplish real things … that we just aren’t yet.

(Actually accomplish them. It’s not even difficult. What a relief that would be to many people, and how much their psyche needs that relief.)

Literally, you have then exactly two problems: anything in your arms’ reach, and where to put your ams. Welcome to easy.


couldn’t resist:



There’s someone running around on the street with a flashlight for those of you who might be keeping score at home. Oh— it wasn’t a flashlight, it was a car that was about to come down the street but thought better of it? Or was parked and turned its lights off and on for a second?

I have a vague hunch that the CIA is happy at this time, and that is never a good thing. Oh good, it passed.


*a listserv, which had an epilog


***this is what happens when I don’t write for months, you get paragraphs like this.

****Lame-o in contrast to the other awesome things we do with our mere phones.

You’re going down, causality. Man the hearse.

(Is this epoch’s technological revolution math’s revenge?)

You are only as rich

You are only as rich as the poorest person in your family, did you know? Makes sense, you never thought about it. Don’t buy them gifts, those poorer ones, there are no gifts for this. Just find the family; make them rich.



Merry Christmas, internet! They’re not going to help!



Why is there nothing about optometry on this blog like still. Wait, is there? It’s all blur to me.


My posts all used to be this short. I know, I miss those days too.

What’shisname, starts with a Z. (Choices and Storage)

earthExcuse me, fellow driver, I’ve got five terabytes of space in my car; makes it hard for me to fit through. Can I just squeeze by and turn right? Thank you for not making that easier at all.

What’s that guys name? Not Zipf. The other guy, the opposite direction. I always thought he was full of it. What’s his name? Doesn’t matter. And it has slowed down hasn’t it? He was full of it. Storage capacity no longer doubles. Maybe we were behind and now we’re ahead. That’s a sentence worth enjoying several times.

Ties together, somehow, choices and storage. We have our choices to make and we have storage. We’re getting —don’t we?  Well, mistakes are great. You learn from them. But there’s only so much life to go around. Have to let other people learn from your mistakes if you actually want things to be better.

Mmm, doubling. Doubling. Doubling, doubling. Pleasant word, pleasant idea to think. Sounds like bubbling. Just kind of rolls.

Choose your enemies wisely. Best advice I can give. Don’t like to give advice, but if someone said, Hey give some advice! I’d say choose your enemies wisely. Don’t put anything in your ear that you can’t fit in your elbow. Same idea really.

Get it?

Doubling, doubling doubling, and doubling. View the universe a certain way, and every decision you make creates two possible worlds. Doubling the size of the universe as it were. One wonders if the universe has enough storage for all the junk that you do.

Oh, it sounds like I’m in a bad mood. Isn’t that interesting. Here I am with five beautiful pristine terabytes of storage and it sounds like I’m in a bad mood, when of course I’m not at all. How very interesting. Why should that be? Is Someone somewhere cranky?

Think someone may have edited the words uptown funk out of last my video. Right at minute seven. Funny how often censors mishear people. It’s like, what is your job?

Good to make good decisions. There’re a lot of decisions made, make us think, probably, well– we watch people make decisions and think wow, God is going to hand that person their own behind. Which is a neat image. Really makes you think. Don’t want my behind handed to me. Don’t want that to be possible.

Wondering if the universe is operating as efficiently as it should be. Seems like no. Time to make fewer choices, maybe. Free up some swap space. Overall, I mean over-over-all*, things aren’t functioning that well anymore. System’s overloaded with a bunch of junk. Do we really need your ability to choose one of 27 different snack items? No. One snack item ought to be enough for you. Just take that snack item and go.

Everything grinding along slowly. Just isn’t as much progress as you think there’d be. Space-time busy processing all of those choices we weighed about things we didn’t need to make choices about in the first place, what kind of satt-nav you got in your car. Who cares. Get lost.

I’m surprised myself. Didn’t expect this result. Progress being slower because we’re all busy making choices about things that we don’t need to make choices about. I go to the dentist and she says, What color toothbrush do you want? and I say, Give me the toothbrush that I get. And, Well, that I can do, she says. Because I don’t want to waste one bit.

Yeah, your brain uses as much energy as the light bulb in your refrigerator. You knew that, right? That’s what you have. That’s what you have at any given time to do anything, at any given time, with your mind. And you’re going to waste some portion of that wattage when deciding what color toothbrush you want? I’m not.

If you’re waiting for me to say thank you very much, to whomever you are who made my life so desperate that I manage to realize this, I’m not saying that. Let’s stick to the point here. You have x number of years times one lightbulb. That’s all you get. That’s the capacity of your mind, all you’re ever going to think. And sure it’s amazing what we can get done, sure it’s a pretty efficient machine, the mind,  but finite is finite. All you’re ever going to think. And I just made you think about that last sentence twice.

I wouldn’t waste it. Wouldn’t waste it hating people, wouldn’t waste it jerking around at other peoples’ expense, don’t have time for that that—

Hold on, I swear someone is cranky somewhere and I swear it’s not me. Cheer up, whoever you are. Cheer up. At least you have a lightbulb.

Don’t know. I’ll probably just find some person and annoy the heck out of him. I’ll just annoy the heck out of this guy over here. What else is he going to do with his life? I don’t care. He’s not going to do it now anyway. He’ll be too busy being annoyed by me.

I wonder if I can figure out a way to make money off of that. I’ll just make a lot of money, and then when I’m old, I’ll eat my money. And my children can also be nasty jerks, and what money I can’t fit my stomach they can eat before they die. Now I’m relieved. Have all that worked out.

You know, I think it’s from the coffee that I’m sounding cranky. Caffeine’s a very delicate thing. You know there’s a red wine drunk, a beer drunk, an apple juice drunk** etc. etc. Because the chemicals in red wine are different from the chemicals in beer, they both contain things other than alcohol, can you imagine? that affect your mood in a distinct reproducible way. So there’s a reason why we like which we like. The same way with there’s a reason why we like the coffee that we like: because we’re completely addicted to it.

Whatever, brands of coffee correspond to different moods, is what I’m saying. Think that’s what I’m jiving on right now. Just drank about 12 ounces of some coffee I’m unfamiliar with; I think it was loosely based on Dippin’ Donuts. Just a little too sharp, a little too edgy for me. Starbucks, that’s a bad high. You just grind on yourself all day. That feeling of perpetually fleeing an assailant. Yecch. This one has a little bit of weird acid at the back of it, and I think maybe a little of that Dippin’ Donuts self-loathing. You know the self-loathing I mean. That coffee is fun at first, it’s like, Hey! Sugars and light! but about halfway down that little bit of self-loathing kicks in, and it’s like, hey, this isn’t fun anymore.

It’s difficult to drive, isn’t it? For you, I mean. Basing this on the fact that you can’t seem to do it well.

It’s to make you buy a second donut. You knew that, right?

Hey, if you have one of those little family stickers on the back your car, where you have your creatures, you have your husband and they’re all stick figures, hanging out the back your car— make sure as soon as that thing starts to peel a little bit that you get out there and peel it all off, because it’s really sad to see the disintegrating family on the back of your car. It’s not good.

I don’t know why you had to put it back there in the first place. Showing me you are proud of something, I can’t quite figure out what that person is proud of, but they want me to see it. In addition to this SUV, we also have a cat and sometimes wear flip-flops. Hey, I’m glad you told me. Going to run straight somewhere with this information and do something with it. No idea what. I’ll just grab the next person who’ll listen.  Hey, see that guy? He sometimes wears flip-flops, him and his wife, and it really made me think, you know? That maybe I don’t wear flip flops enough?

There’s something to this choices thing. Might even be a blog in it.

If every choice we make multiplies the size of the universe, we might want to be a little bit more careful about what we care about. Quite possible that the universe has its size limits, or at least functions better with more excess space. I imagine the great black vacuums between the planets, filled things like whether I want the curtains in maroon or periwinkle. Give me some curtains, I’ll hang them up. Can you go and entire day without making any decisions? That was a question. Can you think about having 20 decisions per day as your quota? So was that. What would you do with them? Good things, right? Yeah, good things!

We all have a lot to do any given day. Especially when we’re not watching television.

So, finite life span, overloaded, overclocked universe, God’s some kind of hacker, I imagine He’s already taken steps to try to make things run better. Clean this up, clean that out, not saving any of that, all that comes in that way goes straight to the trash. Still it doesn’t feel like we’re getting anywhere. You can see Him, kindof scratching his neckbeard, Man! Doesn’t seem like except for one every thousand years we make any kind of progress. Meanwhile, all these background processes churning: Cure for cancer, estimated time remaining ………..555 more years.

Give the universe some space. Relax. Give up. Don’t care. Whatever. You’re finite, universe is too, at least locally. Locally everything’s finite. Be efficient in your thinking. That’s what religion’s for, at least one thing it’s for. What books are for. What families are for. What school is for. Teach you things so that you don’t have to figure them out on your own. Go ahead and take that to the next level, as an adult. Not forced to sit at a desk, or in a pew, under the thumb of your parents, set up your own system that will make the majority of the decisions that make up the rest of your life. Here, look:

1. By default, do nothing except drink juice.

2. When someone asks you to do something, do it right away until it is finished.

Even a system as simple as that can handle 100% of the decisions you make daily, in advance. Yeah, you’ll have to work out what to do if you’re asked to do something while you’re still doing something you were asked to do. That’s doable. But you won’t be flailing around making every decision on its own. All made for you, by you,*** in advance.

Or try this: be on the lookout for people that are better than you, and then follow them around. They eat breakfast, you eat breakfast. Simple. Saves on the lightbulb. They go to Providence, RI, you go to Providence, RI. Simple. Saves on the lightbulb. Wait— maybe follow them around is the wrong choice of words. I meant to say learn from them.  Learn from them, learn from them. DON’T follow them around. Ok? Don’t. Say hi and things; don’t be creepy.

But still, even just as a thought experiment, you can decide to be the same as someone and be conscious about it. When he eats breakfast, I eat breakfast, etc. Try that part.

*aka exalted
**I’m very sensitive, chemically.


(If more of us would think about the same thing at once, that would be more efficient. Everyone’s got to do the same things, but one at a time only. Make our plans, different from other’s plans. I know I do this, but not to be special, just because I don’t want to be where you are. When I go on vacation, want to go where you’re not going, because I don’t want to see you. Not so I can come back and say that I went somewhere where noone else went. If we wouldn’t have to be together, I’d be fine all going to the same place.

It’s expensive. Cognitively expensive. Save your lightbulb, group up. Don’t make decisions, just do everything someone else does. Who cares about you? Don’t even think about it. Problem is that’s so efficient that it feeds on itself. More people decide not to decide, more compelling it is for people who haven’t even decided to join in. Without even wondering why. I don’t know. This is what I do. Why not? Everyone else’s doing it. Brain takes these efficiencies. Without checking with you first.)

Also, just a note:

I don’t think you have anything I haven’t seen, unless you’re going to make it up today. Even then I’m probably still not going to be too surprised, because I know how your mind works, inside and out. Thanks for sharing all these years.

Misplaced** (Part One of Thoughts, Language, and Aversion)

Life’s a treat, isn’t it?

I’m serious.

I had like a dream last night, before I was falling asleep. Someone was talking to me and they were saying, they said, “Found you, we found one, here, we found one here that is good,” they said.

And I thought, ‘Wow, what does that mean about the rest of them, whatever they are?’

Let’s take a third bite at the apple of explaining this one particular thing about language, thought, words, and aversion.

(You know, I’ll just go this way, how about that?)

It is useful to think, of thoughts like words, if only to see that they are both like them, and not like them. Some of us are more aware of our thoughts than others, I contend; having at different times in my life been to different degrees aware of my own. It is hard for me to describe whether or not awareness of one’s thoughts should ever be a goal, recalling as I do those times when I was less aware quite fondly.  I find myself in the strange position of having been forced to examine my thoughts because I found so many of them so offensive.

Let me take time to describe what that means. There are thoughts which are offensive that are like statements which are offensive: if one were to be racist, or childishly crude. However, should one think these things, they would not be offensive in the sense that I mean the word.

Other thoughts are offensive because they cause us problems: they lead us to courses of action that are not good for us.  For example, an addiction, or worry. And these thoughts also are not offensive, in the sense that I mean the word.

Rather at times, some small number of us might find that thoughts occur to us that we cannot with any certainty say that we have thought. These are what I mean when I use this word offensive. Perhaps another word could be misplaced.

For example, were one to suddenly think that one was on fire, when one was not — and should one think this more than once, perhaps after checking and quickly determining that one was not on fire, one could not be certain that one was actually thinking such a thing: knowing, as one did that one knew that the actual state of affairs was quite different and that one had no intention at this time to speculate or pretend or imagine being on fire.

Should both of these conditions be met by any thought that one knows that one knows that it is not true; and that one knows that one knows that one has no intention to think about it– one cannot say that one has thought it, and must wonder instead about its source.