pinky's little blog

22 december 2021

Just making it past the longest night of the year feels like a triumph. Not that I was ever in danger, really--my depression is well-managed, but there's a buzz of suicidal ideation at the back of my mind most of the time, and this time of year is the prime time for feeling hopeless. But I've passed through it, like everyone else in the northern hemisphere, and now the days are going to get longer again. When I was younger I thought I preferred the dark over the sunlight, but as it turns out, I need those daylight hours. I need some sunlight on my skin to remind me that I exist after all.

As a holiday gift to myself and my household, I've finally ponied up for a year of the Criterion Channel. If you're not aware of it, Criterion is the company that puts out deluxe Bluray and DVD editions of a curated collection of films, both old and new. A lot of art house stuff, but along with it some things you'd not expect, like Robocop or Michael Bay's The Rock. I'm a fan. For decades now I've gone to an annual film series tied to a local university, but the last couple years they have been, for obvious reasons, not running the program. In that same time I've been watching a lot of TV, mostly animation and fantasy series, which I enjoy, but to a degree it feels like junk food. It's easy to digest. Sometimes I crave something a little more complex.

That's probably easily misconstrued as talking shit about TV, that it's more shallow than film or something. Which I guess is part of what I'm implying. But it's not intended as an insult, really. They're different media with different purposes. TV's strength is short-form stories and serialization, and until recently, it wasn't really possible to put something on TV that wasn't financed by some network or cable channel, which have to worry about ratings and on-air decency rules. As a result there's less variety in it.

So I'm excited to get access to the Criterion Collection again, outside of the DVDs I already own. Not everything in their collection is available on streaming, and not everything they stream is in their collection, but I was browsing through the offerings yesterday. They're mouthwatering. Film has long been a way that I expanded the size of my world, and my world feels so much smaller after nearly two years of staying home, no travel, not even much restaurant food. Nothing new, nothing exotic, two years of sleepwalking through life. At least this is a little window into something else, until something else becomes available in real life.

Last night I watched my inaugural film on the service, Son of the White Mare, a 1981 Hungarian animated film based on a series of traditional folktales. It's a beautiful movie, visually, and it has the odd dreamlike structure of all folk stories and fairy tales when you actually read them. It's something I really love about the genre, bound up in the dream-logic of campfire storytelling. Once upon a time. Does the story have a moral? Not really--the best ones don't. The film itself is worth watching, a lovely experience in itself.

09 december 2021

Here I am again. I guess I haven't felt like blogging much in a while. I had an idea to create another blog to use as a media journal, but I don't think this one is well-suited. If only because it lacks organizational features like categories and tags -- and let me be clear, I don't think it needs them. But a media journal project does, really.

I want to be able to sort by media type and look up old entries, at least for my own sake, and if I get any readers, I think they'll want the same.

My ankle is mostly healed now. I went through six weeks of physical therapy, which contributed a lot to the healing process, and I was deemed healed enough to no longer need follow-up. It's still a little sore, and occasionally has pangs of pain if I step on it too hard or at the wrong angle. But I can walk on it, and I don't always have to brace it. I'm still doing exercises at home, and will be until it feels fully normal again. That may be a while.

Already in mid-December, which feels strange. The year has passed so quickly. It's something older adults always said to me when I was a child, that time went by so fast, while at the time I couldn't stand waiting. Christmas always felt very far away, even as it inched closer through the month of December. I don't really celebrate the holiday much now so it springs on me suddenly, like a fox in the snow.

Our holiday cards are in the print shop being made. They said it would take a week, so we must not have been the only ones with that idea. I thought we weren't buying gifts, but then everyone seemed to decide that we were, and I'm still figuring that out. I like giving gifts, but around Christmas it just feels like a panic. Stressful! I really like picking out thoughtful gifts, things that remind me of the person. I don't care for Christmas lists. I will begrudgingly comply with people that do, but I'm at an age and an income where I just... buy the stuff I want, usually. It feels corny to give gift cards, too, unless they are so specific that they have a clear purpose, a clear interest in mind.

I suppose the problem won't get any less complex as the years go on. I was thinking, we don't decorate for Christmas anymore, but I have some string lights featuring Drinky Crow from the comic Maakies. I like indoor string lights. I could put them up year-round.

22 october 2021

Hey there, folks. It's been a while. If I'm being frank, I feel like there has been very little to write about. I don't know if anyone even reads this blog, but there's appeal in that in and of itself.

Being mostly stuck at home the last few weeks after injuring my foot, I've been even more inside my own head than I already was. It's harder to escape that without a significant ability to exercise or go outside or get away from screens. At the same time, it's been uneventful; I didn't realize how much time had passed until a couple of relatives called. I had been trying to call every couple weeks, but I didn't. I can't even say what I've been doing. Besides work, I've just been watching TV and playing video games. I'm in stasis.

At least now I'm out of the boot and crutches. I'm engaged in physical therapy to regain function in my ankle. It's dull but it's an improvement.

I'm still trying to decide how I want to present myself online. It's an ongoing struggle. For anyone else I suppose it would be easy, just to not present oneself online, but I must admit to myself that online communities have been a huge part of my social life for a long time. It's a minefield now, though. It's like... how much of yourself should you really put out there? I don't think it's a uniformly good thing to share things about yourself. At the same time it is absolutely vital in order to feel like you exist. And in order to meet other people. As an artist it's also the best way to get noticed.

I've been trying to fragment my identity more, but it is honestly hard. I always have the nagging feeling that I'm leaving too many breadcrumbs, that it will be too easy for someone to decide to ruin my life, and do it. There are so many examples of people whose lives have been ruined--not the powerful people who complain about being "canceled" or people who get fired for being sexist and immediately hop onto the right-wing outrage media circuit. I'm thinking of artists getting stalked by fans, or the game developer whose angry ex's blog post kicked off Gamergate. The various forums dedicated to collecting dirt on people. Any attempt to exist in public makes you a public figure now. Who on earth would want fame without riches?

30 september 2021

The weather is finally cooling enough to make it pleasant to go outside during the day, so of course, naturally, I managed to hurt myself.

A minor crack in one of my ankles, nothing serious. I took a misstep off our back porch stairs and rolled the ankle hard enough to hear a pop. Now it's all swollen and bruised. I've been trying to avoid putting weight on it until now, even though it doesn't hurt much. I'm in a protective medical boot, no cast or anything like that. The boots are, thankfully, removable for things like showering or changing clothes, so I can maintain some semblance of civilization. I've been avoiding going outside, too, since navigating up and down stairs on crutches is a chore. But now I've been given leave to put some weight on the foot, which makes life easier. Like I said, it doesn't hurt that bad.

Aside from that, well, I've been working, and I've been drawing. I've been a bit distractable.

There was an article recently published in The Verge about how young adults now use computers in a way that is fairly alien to adults of the millennial generation, the first digital natives. The short version is that younger people don't make much use of file and directory structure, and some struggle even with the basic concept. One of the students interviewed compared the data model to a laundry basket--you just throw all of your files on the desktop or in one or two catch-all folders, and use the search function of the OS to find what you need.

I don't know why that was so jarring to me. It makes total sense that the model for interacting with data would change over time. For me the file and directory model is so ingrained that it seems fundamental. It's hard to even explain the idea to someone who doesn't understand it. There are categories and subcategories and you put your files in them. It is a model that assumes organization is desirable and that the data may not be easily searchable, neither of which is guaranteed to be true for every potential user. I get that. But it seems like there are at least some circumstances under which it is true, and I didn't think such circumstances were actually that rare. It does occur to me that people aren't really familiar with using shared computers directly anymore, whether that's a shared system like or a household PC in the family room. One of the top reasons to understand file and directory structure in the '90s and early '00s was to hide things from your parents and siblings on the family computer. If every kid has their own devices, they don't have to worry about that. Maybe they're accustomed to the idea of being spied on by parental controls anyway.

I have a suspicion that the "laundry basket" works well for files with descriptive names, and text documents that can be easily searched. But I also suspect that those are the types of files most people have. Searching images is basically impossible unless they're well-named. If you don't use directories you need either a metadata organizational system like Apple's Photos app or an OS that lets you tag files. Either of which is a good solution, as long as you actually sort or mark the image files.

The whole discussion got me thinking, though, about how software is designed. We design systems iteratively, based on past systems, because we want users who are accustomed to the old systems to be able to adapt to the new ones. If there is anything people hate about software, it is the way the design changes after they've already learned the old system. There may be better ways, ways that are friendlier to human beings, but it's hard to get there when dinosaurs like me are holding onto the old ways. Nothing wrong with that, I don't think. Making big changes is hard and it's sure to alienate some people.

I recall reading a long time ago about an operating system (possibly a theoretical one?) with a user interface designed from the ground up with a goal of being friendlier to how human beings think and interact. Ideas like avoiding mode-based operation (i.e. pressing a specific key should always do the same thing) were involved. But among those ideas was the proposal that users do not and should not have to care about files or directories, or locate the file or program they want to access. They should be able to search for it. In a delightful twist, I have no idea where I saw this article, nor what search terms to use to find it. But it's interesting to think about. It's exciting to imagine a way of using computers that is less painful and frustrating for the average person, even if that is very different from the way I, a fairly computer-savvy person, want to interact with computers.

It raises the question of whether it's better to have to understand a little about computers in order to use them effectively. But I'm not sure a majority of users ever really understood them anyway. I feel hobbled when a system tries to hide too much about its workings from me, especially when there are problems I'm trying to diagnose. But I have to admit I'm in the minority. On the other side of things, I like that my smartphone doesn't let me screw around with it too much--it's my only phone, and I look at it more as an appliance than a traditional computer. I don't want to alter the OS, or get root access. I just want the damned thing to work. Most people have probably been looking at computers that way for a long time.

20 september 2021

Let's see, what have I been up to lately?

We had an infestation of yellow jackets, everyone's least favorite type of wasp, in the walls of our house. Exterminators came out to spray them, but the creatures have been all-too-belligerantly not dying. Last week they came back to plug up the holes, inside and outside, where the wasps have been coming out, except inside they've been coming through the pulley structure in one of the old windows. The window still needs to open, so the pulleys can't be caulked up. So now they're all coming through that window, which is very exciting, in its own way. Since the outer entry is closed, they should all eventually die, but until then I guess I'm spraying insecticide on that window every day to catch the ones that come in.

I'm not really big on using poisons against pest animals, but when they get into my living space, admittedly, I'm pragmatic.

Stomping around under the windows in the yard I noticed a bunch of tomato plants have taken up residence next to the house. I'm not totally sure how they got over there, as we've never planted tomatoes in that area before. The fruit's a bit late, and I don't think they'll produce anything edible before it starts getting really cold out there, but it's nice to see them. It's been a couple years since we intentionally maintained a garden, but there is a pleasure in unintentionally maintaining one.

I should probably try again next spring. I just never get started early enough.

03 september 2021

The weather is finally cooling off. Thank god. The heat here was killing me. I live in the American West, which is basically a desert. We humans refuse to let it go quietly into the night, and we squabble over what little water we manage to glean from the earth. From the aquifers that we've sucked almost dry, and from the rivers, which come from the snowmelt, which comes from the mountain snow, which becomes less and less every year. I don't think we can hold off the desert for much longer.

I say "we" because I think by existing here I'm at least somewhat culpable, even though I don't participate directly in the ravaging. But I do think the days are numbered. The overall state of the world's climate isn't great, and we see it here. People want too much from the land, and there's only so much it can give. I don't really have a solution. I think it's a little silly to suggest that we go back to the land, to lives of more physical labor. With cultural changes there might be a chance to distribute resources more equitably, but I suspect the results would be more akin to feudalism. And even that is probably optimistic. But obviously we can't continue on as we are.

The utopian Star Trek vision has always been my favorite, one where human beings resolve their differences by using technology to limit scarcity of necessary resources. But we are so far from there.

23 august 2021

I get what people mean when they say that you shouldn't identify too much with your creative output for self-worth. I get that. But at the same time I've already ingrained it so deeply into my model of social interaction that I don't know what else I have to offer. The peacock's tail is a means to attract interest, a way to be seen by others. I've always been an ugly duckling, but instead of growing into an elegant swan, I'm just a mousy female mallard, adapted to be invisible.

I always thought I'd be a swan, but it never happened. So I have to make do with what I have. If no one sees you, how on earth are you supposed to start relationships that you can build? Social relationships seem to be built so much on the spaghetti hypothesis: throw a lot at the wall, and very little sticks. How can that be successful without something to draw people to you? Better yet, the kind of people you'd prefer to know?

My parents always said I was too picky about my friends. Maybe I am. Maybe I'm a snob and an asshole. I dunno, I don't think I am, but I get kinda bored with people I don't mesh with. When I get bored I have a hard time hiding it. That's gotta feel shitty to whoever's on the other end of it. But I know I'm boring now, too. I don't have anything to talk about. I've been working from home for over a year now and doing little besides talking to my partner and my pets. What's there except for the peacock tail? What else do I have to open up my world?

I saw some jokey article a short while ago about how everyone knows a person whose best trait is being "nice." And that what that really means is that this person is boring. No one really wants to spend time with someone who is boring. Being not-boring isn't the end-all of being a person worth knowing, but it feels like a starting point of making people give a shit about knowing you.

I guess that's it. I want people to be interested. I want people to want to know me. I don't want to always be the one trying to get other people's attention. That is why I'm so invested in my creative output. I think the people who say otherwise maybe already have all the friends they want.

08 august 2021

It's been a bit--I know, I know. I've been caught up in a lot of things. I'm nearly at the end of the summer semester art class I've been taking. The pieces I ended up making are intense. Upsetting, intentionally so. The class has been both interesting and useful, and I've certainly learned a lot. At the same time I've been exhausted juggling in-person classes with my day job, and I've found myself working significantly longer hours on days that I'm not in class, just to keep up. I can't say I like working 10 hour days under any circumstances.

I'm not planning to take any classes for the fall semester. I was planning on doing some traveling, and I may still, but the delta variant has me second guessing the wisdom of it. At the very least I'll have a break, some extra free time, which I'll probably use to do art anyway. I'm not going for a degree, after all, just for personal pleasure. And to improve my skills. I have already improved to an enormous degree. It's nice to have other people to push me in different directions than I'd go on my own. I need other people to expand my world. That said, after the intensity of these pieces, I might like to just paint dogs and cats for a while. Draw porn of my D&D characters. That sort of thing.

A college friend came out to visit for a few days recently, and it was both pleasing and overwhelming. My batteries are so low. But it was good to see an old friend. A novel stimulus, even if I'm still cautious of traveling myself. I need to reopen myself to new things. The pandemic messed me up, and I don't want to live the rest of my life this way.

27 june 2021

We've only just cooled down from the heatwave we've been having in my area, but now it sounds like the Pacific Northwest is getting it even worse than we did. In Tacoma it's expected to spike past 120 degrees Fahrenheit, which is a nightmare under any circumstances, but happening in Washington state, it seems like a bad omen. Dead birds falling out of red skies, and people standing below desperately trying to read their entrails.

A friend is down visiting from Seattle today, the first time my spouse and I have had a visitor in over a year. It was good to see her. The rest of that friend group sort of ghosted us after she moved. Although we didn't make that much effort either, so maybe they think we ghosted them.

More than a year in relative solitude has left me feeling weird, resigned in a way I didn't necessarily expect. It was good to see our friend, but in the end I'm not expecting much from my future, I guess. Long term I don't know that I expect my social life to get better in any measurable way, and maybe being lonely is the natural end I fall into. As I get older I begin to feel like new things are out of reach. That magic of meeting someone and becoming Best Friends has felt like a dead art since I left school. We talked a little bit about it today, how making friends feels less and less possible as we age, and everyone already has their existing cliques that have been together forever. Seattle's famous freeze is rooted in that, but it exists everywhere. New friends are wild cards, and they're work, and nobody wants them unless they find themselves lacking.

It's a tricky problem, maybe an unsolvable problem. I made my best friends in university clubs and group chats and forums and social media. Some of those things are out of reach now, and others feel strange, foreign, awkward. I feel trapped in a liminal space. If I'm honest I've felt trapped for a long time. But like a wild-caught parrot, maybe I've learned to like my captivity, or at least mistake it for comfort.

20 june 2021

The weather's been killing me lately. Hundred degree days for the last week have left me totally drained. I'm getting worried that maybe I'm sick, though I'd be hard pressed to know what from. The thirty minutes I spent unmasked in a coffee shop last weekend, the first time in fifteen months? Being less vigilant about hand-washing? I've always been unlucky in this way, but maybe it's just the air quality alerts that come from high temperatures in my part of the world. The heat brings ozone down to ground level and it doesn't treat anybody well.

I'm reading a biography about Henry Darger, the Chicago artist whose work was only discovered after his death. His landlords are the ones who profited from it--he had no living family. He wrote some fifteen thousand pages of a novel, and more of other writings, but the gems of the collection are the paintings. I saw some of them in person at a museum when my partner and I took a trip, unknowingly, to a city where they were on exhibit. They're incredible pieces, huge and fragile, like ancient scrolls. I'm ostensibly reading this book as research for an assignment, but I was interested in this guy anyway. On first glance people have a hard time parsing his work, it's such an odd and detailed fantasy, but anyone who's nurtured a story in the greenhouse of their mind can be a little more forgiving about the wild things that grow there.

12 june 2021

It's been a busy few days. Taking a class during the day means that I need to work later to make up for it, and ultimately that means less free time overall. I haven't been writing in my paper journal, either, if that makes you feel any better.

The next section is about gross medical stuff, so be warned.

A few days ago I noticed a painful swelling on my inner thigh. At first I just thought it was a big pimple, but as I felt it I realized it was way too large. It felt like a cluster of rubbery lumps. I was just going to leave it alone for a few days, but a few hours with WebMD and I was sufficiently spooked to make an appointment with a dermatologist. They looked at it and palpated it (ow), and the doc said it probably ought to come out. That meant in-office surgery. I've never had a surgical procedure of that sort while awake before--they numbed the area with lidocaine and went about cutting. It was one of the more surreal things I've ever experienced, lying back fully sapient while watching medical professionals lean over me with surgical tools.

The thing they don't tell you about local anesthetic is that, although you're numb to pain, the surrounding nerves can still experience sensation. Cutting feels something like a small tug and release, over and over again. When they got to the stitches I began to feel the twinge of the needle. Either they got out of the numbed area or it was starting to wear off. That felt strange, too. Not terrible, just utterly foreign.

After it was over, the doctor reassured me that I had done the right thing by coming in, that this wouldn't have gone away on its own. They don't suspect cancer, but it was either a cyst or an infection, and they sent it for biopsy regardless. I sort of wish I'd asked to look at it. I'm glad I didn't watch them doing the actual work, but I'd like to know what dreadful little thing was growing inside me. Alas, I was too shy to ask. I'll probably have a little scar to show for it, right in the area at the very top of the inner thigh.

It is a couple days after now, and I woke up on my own before noon for the first time in a few weeks. I had been unusually fatigued for a while, sleeping some fourteen hours on weekends, when I turn my alarm off. So I wonder if my body had been fighting that thing for a while.

Thus ends my Too Much Information Medical Adventure. Stay tuned for next time, which will hopefully be a lot more boring.

04 june 2021

I've been taking community college art classes starting a few months after the pandemic started. I never really got an art education: before this, the last art class I had taken was in high school. At university I was a little rushed to finish my degree due to financial concerns, and at the same time I wanted to try a dozen different new things, so I didn't circle back to visual arts in an academic setting. And then after graduation I've gone through periods of feast and famine, and there just never seemed to be enough money for recreational schooling.

And then for a year travel was out of the question. So instead of spending money on visiting people, I spent it on classes. It's been a refreshing experience. I've really enjoyed it.

I'm doing one more class this summer. This one is finally at the stage where it's more focused on how to be a professional artist, which was something I never learned, and that's impossible to figure out on your own. The summer semester has just started, and I find myself confronted with the question of what kind of work I really want to create, and what I want it to be about. I have to create a series of pieces on a theme or subject, but with that is the question of why. Why this? What ideas is this really exploring? Why should an audience care? I have to write an artist's statement explaining precisely that, and it's vital that it not be bullshit. I can bullshit with the best of them, but this is a professional skill, and I need to learn to do it well.

It's all forcing me to look more seriously at my hobby than I previously was, and you know, I really appreciate that. I like being forced to step out of my comfort zone a little.

31 may 2021

Well, here I am again. Today it's raining, and pleasantly cool. I used to think I was really into cloudy days, but in practice they just make me sleepy. To my eternal chagrin, I need the sun. I don't like it either. But hot weather wakes my wild heart, and hot dry weather makes me feel lean and hungry, like a coyote.

It doesn't help that my skin burns to a crisp in about fifteen minutes.

But today was wet and overcast, and it felt good this time. It made me think maybe I could tolerate moving to Seattle. Everyone is in Seattle these days. My spouse has a predilection toward gloomy weather, so it would be better for her. For me, I'm not sure. My mental health hasn't been too good for years, really, so maybe it wouldn't make a difference. Or maybe it would be the thing that finally sends me over the side of a bridge. I'm hardy stock, and the last therapist I saw told me I seemed to be coping well, and there wasn't much she could do to help me. That disgusted me a little. Of course I'm coping well. Everyone's coping well until they're not. I'm not sure what I'm supposed to do. Without a real support system I feel pretty fragile. We had some local acquaintances who all flew the coop during the pandemic, so it's just my spouse and me. She's been pretty fragile, too.

I'm too old to be living my life as a china doll. I think of moving but I'm not really convinced things would be different anywhere else. In practice if I moved, I'd have to end up somewhere with friends I know would make time for me, and I don't think even the most well-intentioned people can promise that. People my age have busy lives. That's why we don't make friends anymore.

Sorry this is a dark one, folks. It wasn't even a particularly bad day.

30 may 2021

I've been playing around with programming again. It's not something I do so much in my spare time anymore, since it's my job now and has been my job for long enough to lose its shine. But lately I've gotten a bee in my bonnet to learn some new things, to be able to make apps that go beyond simple command line utilities. Real UI stuff. It's not part of my job description and probably for good reason, but I like the idea of building more usable stuff.

Of course I may be starting a little too ambitious with my toy projects, but I'm in the playing/prototyping stage, which is often the most fun. Just trying to build something that works! The kinks can be ironed out later. Hell, the design can be ironed out later. Software is an iterative process; if it wasn't meant to be changed, we'd just print a circuitboard and be done.

I'm trying to learn Qt, which has kind of a steep learning curve for a person who hasn't built a ton of GUIs. Not that bad, but all the examples and tutorials seem to leave out something or other that I need to make it work. I'll figure it out, though. Eventually.

27 may 2021

A friend of mine has started a Gemini blog, and it sent me on a train of thought that led to what I guess are philosophical questions, but they're practical, too.

Namely, what do I really want for a personal home in cyberspace? What do I think the internet should be used for? In what ways, if any, should I express myself online where other people can see it?

I'm a visual artist, and I dabble in poetry and other writing, and in audio, too. Over the years I've gotten pretty good at compartmentalizing. The way I enjoy using the internet is vastly different from how most people use it now--I liked the furtive connections, the sense of discovery, the feeling that it was all made by people with roughly the same goal: to express something about themselves. In part it felt safe because it was small and hard to search, and not that many people used it. That creates the illusion of community even when it's not there.

I don't want the largest possible audience. I just want interesting people to be interested in me. Being seen seems like it's only good for a tiny subset of creative people. For the rest it leads to the misery of fame without the rewards of success.

I'm not sure where I'm going with this. I guess it circles back around to what kind of web presence to have. I've divorced most of these aspects of myself from my real name, which is now strictly "professional." But there are lingering questions: How easy do I make it to find me? How easy do I make it share my work? Using Gopher or Gemini exclusively is a delightful middle finger to the social media landscape of maximizing views and engagement. Even a static website feels fairly unconventional, though it can be combed by Google as easily as any CMS. I like RSS as a concept, but I've toyed with the idea of flattening my static sites, simplifying my maintenance burden, and even doing away with that. That's a drastic step back, into a world where I cycled through a series of bookmarks every day to see which websites had updated. Though I suppose I do, in fact, do the same thing now. We live in a post-RSS world where everyone has to visit all their various social media sites to check their feeds.

Or maybe I'd keep RSS for some sites but not others. I have a visual art gallery page. Honestly maybe it should be either a blog or a static portfolio, not this in-between amalgamation it's become. A gallery with RSS notifications. I don't know. I'm hesitant to abandon the idea altogether.

This amounts to a whole lot of not knowing, I guess. I don't know that I've actually figured anything out, but I've given you something to read at least.

26 may 2021

Weird thing about the human body: it sucks. It's horrible.

I've been sick. I've had sinus and allergy issues for my whole life, but I got sinus surgery a couple years ago after a persistent long-term infection. I thought all my troubles would be over with that, but I've had other infections, too, and a little phantom pain in the places where they punched through the bone to let them drain. I thought I had another one, but the doctors haven't been able to find anything. The mucus membranes look healthy. Whatever is going on isn't an infection. So we're investigating allergies instead, and at the same time just waiting to see if it goes away on its own. The least satisfying possible medical conclusion.

22 may 2021

A couple nights ago I had a dream. I've been having a lot of dreams since I started antidepressants, after something like a decade of not dreaming at all. Or at least not remembering them. But since I started taking antidepressants, I started dreaming again. The dreams are rarely good though.

This one wasn't either. I don't even remember the context anymore, I just remember a moment of falling on the ground over a big black cat. A cat that I knew instantly was my black cat who died a couple of months ago (a couple of months! The wound still feels fresh), whose life left his body with his chin on my leg in an emergency veterinary clinic at two in the morning. But here he was, alive, happy to see me, and I curled over him and cried.

I have had other dreams about him. A lot of animals have come and gone over the course of my life. You never get used to it. But the pain of his loss is enormous. I knew he would die someday but it was too soon. There's such a big gap left in the space he used to take up.

06 may 2021

I keep falling in and out of blogging. It's such a personal thing. When I was in my teens and early twenties, the internet was a smaller thing, and it felt easier to open up. Like only people you wanted to see your words would see them. If some miserable little flea wanted to make things bad for you, you didn't really have to worry about them playing internet detective and figuring out where you live or anything.

That's what's so scary about it. I have some paranoia about stalkers--I've had a few bad experiences. But I still crave the connection that can come from an online journal. I have a pen-and-paper journal, too--a series of notebooks, something I've been better about as an adult than I was as a teenager. But a paper journal is a fantasy of connection. It has its value, but in the end it's an expression without an audience.

I don't know where I'm going with this. Like all older people I miss elements of how things used to be, things that, in the end, don't matter that much. Is the world lesser for having an internet that's less like than it was twenty years ago? Maybe, but I expect people who didn't experience it don't really feel like they missed anything. I'm old enough to have nostalgia, so I do, and I don't know if it's because the "old way" was better, or just because it felt safer and more familiar than the modern social media paradigms do to me now. The big social media platforms feel dangerous now, and I'm far more cautious about what I share there. I try to keep some emotional distance. In the end that's not very good for the soul, especially during pandemic when there are fewer other sources of companionship.