Hot Metal Butterfly

Everything is so fucked up it's kind of funny. I'm exhausted. I work at a place that's a bizarre mixture of advanced and mediocre. Anyways, I can't even catalog the number of things that are wrong or out of place. The light is so long that it just feels like getting punched in the face, that all I can do is weep. Then people wonder what's wrong, and it's just like, y'know, I have a pile of problems from 2019 that keeps getting worse and worse, and I'm trying to move on but when I do it becomes unbearably difficult, then I go backwards a little more. It's the time that won't stop beating the shit out of me. Since moving here I've gained twenty pounds, my teeth have turned yellow, I have a two year gap in my resume, I haven't dated anyone, I live at my parents, my credit score has remained in the toilet, I've forgotten lots of things, I haven't really read anything or accomplished anything, my friendships have dwindled, I've gone to the hospital more times than I can count, and the job I got to get out of here turned out to be at a place I don't want to work at. It just seems so awful. I don't know. Perhaps I can forget about it. The worst part, of course, is that I've lost myself. The person operating on a day to day basis isn't Jackson, it's someone else now, someone I dislike deeply, someone I don't recognize or know, disfigured by these events, lost and confused, and mostly alone. Everyone I've known has skyrocketed past me in the past few years, and I've let it happen. The work I'm commencing on I could've started approximately seven years ago. I have no children, no wife, no original work to my name. Just a bunch of half-finished nonsense, an education that has never been put to use. I am not excited by the possibilities here, I am mostly confused by them. The fact that the office is in an office park in McLean, Virginia is one of the most haunting aspects. It makes me feel like I've already died. People who work there that are young live in Virginia, in Arlington. I left a long time ago on purpose, and was never supposed to come back. I don't want to settle here. I just want to go, but there's no where to go.

I allowed myself to become such a small person. I don't know why. I love reading. I like working, love it sometimes. I like exercising. I like people. I love relationships. I like hiking. I like camping. I like traveling. I love, more than anything, independence, the idea of it. Having your own life. I've wasted my time, allowed myself to rot, allowed a generation to move forward without me. I don't know why. I honestly don't know. Depression? It never had to be like this. I'm so tired, so dead inside. Losing Sara, then Meghan, then everything, then recovering, then giving it all up then recovering. Like, it just ... I can't. What the actual fuck. Nothing makes sense anymore, and I'm lost, and kind of worthless, like tired in this way. This place feels small. I guess I have to treat it as such, even though there are a ton of experienced people that are smarter than me, that doesn't take away from the fact that there are a ton of other organizations that are absolutely massive, or doing things which are much more agressive. Like sending rocket ships to space on thin margins. Or whatever. This work is just going to be hard to do. I don't know if it's going to be technically challenging, but I don't know, somehow I'm just kind of like, hm, confused by it all. Ever just exist in life and completely give up but still have to life? Just, like, you get into a situation where everything stops making sense? It happens all the time in the world. Totaled cars, mangled pieces of metal, burned up houses. Like, crush it, melt it, incinerate it, knock it down. I feel like that happens in life, too. Emotionally, situationally, whatever. Except you can't get rid of it, so then it's just like okay, what now? How do you incinerate yourself?

I'm so fucked. I'm so completely fucked. There's no way to fix the problems I have and get back to the way I felt about life. It just isn't possible anymore. I keep trying to climb out of a well and at some point it's just like, you can't. You're down there, and someone could throw you a rope if they find you, otherwise you'll just die. I don't even know what that rope would look like. Some kind of inspiration to live again. To Burn another year that I don't have to get back to life, and then to be much older than I want to be, essentially trying to roll the clock back seven years, because they were wasted. Not wasted, but whatever. They weren't used properly. Fuck it. I hate this. I hate meta-thinking. Trying to figure out how to think. Nothing works anymore. It's almost funny how stupid this all is. Why am I even writing? What does it do? It's still rambling. I haven't built anything in so long. I never work with people. I don't know what I'm doing. I'm not who I'm supposed to be. There's like a person inside me that wants to do all these things and sometimes does but not often enough at all, and some other person outside of me that is acting, mostly in fear now. Traumatized to an insane degree. Going from being ready to conquer the world to hiding in a dark room in a basement, trying to shut the world out because there's nothing good in it. Except the most painful part is knowing precisely how many interesting and good and wonderful things there are, and knowing that by doing that I'm shutting out all of those things, and not knowing how to get there anymore, how to restart, because nothing works. It's just nonsense. Everything is just broken nonsense.

What do I do? Keep my head down for six months? Get paid? Whiten my teeth? Lose twenty pounds? Move to DC? Go on dates? Find a cool project? Get inspired? Read a book? Get a new bike? Like, what? Is that really gonna connect me to life, to the life I always felt like I was supposed to have, to the person I want to be? I really doubt it. In fact, it just won't. Soon I'll be getting rejected from a security clearance, housing will be impossible to find given my credit, and every other fucking issue will just crop up. I'll want to be twenty two again, not because of a fantasy, but because I only half used the past ten years. Because I don't feel my age. Because there are severe, incredible gaps in my time as a person. Because no one can explain me. No one can figure out what the fuck is going on, why someone like me isn't using and enjoying all the gifts I've demonstrated. Why I'm just a lazy, unmotivated fuck. My life has been awful. I don't want it anymore. I was just so much happier in like 2018 or 2019 or whatever. Like, I knew it wasn't perfect but I was closer to just appreciating what I had accomplished, like settling. Being like, okay, no I'm not going to discover a new theory of quantum gravity, but at least I have close friends and I have my own state and I have a cool job. That was the thing. I didn't think it was a cool job, and I didn't appreciate Meghan enough. I was a fucking idiot. Something else happened instead, and maybe it was inevitable, but maybe it wasn't. I'll never know. I don't give a shit about fate vs. free will. There's no answer, it's a stupid riddle. You make choices, and then you have to figure out what a choice is, and what "you" means. You make choices, that you then observe. Basically, it's both. You observe your free, unimpeded will, which you have no control over but which horrifyingly exists and you have to watch until you fucking die.

I just wish it wasn't like this. I pretty much hate all aspects of my life and I don't feel anything anymore, and I know why, and it didn't used to be this way, and it doesn't need to be this way, and it just shouldn't. I hate this. I hate what I've been doing. I hate it all. It's just weird. It's broken. It feels wrong. I want to go live a completely different life somewhere, get away from this dumpster. IT'S A COMPLETE FUCKING MESS WHERE NOTHING MAKES SENSE AND NO ONE KNOWS WHO I AM OR CARES. I AM DEEPLY ALONE, BROKEN IN EVERY WAY, AND DEVASTATED. MY ONLY SOLACE IS SLEEP. I AM MISERABLE AND WEEPING IN THE MOST PROFOUND WAY. I can't even believe this is going on. How long it takes to escape anything. You can't. It's all money behind a fence. It's idiotic. They don't want to pay you unless you're completely trapped. FUCK. OH MY GOD, FUCK. Everything I did, everything I've done, every stupid move I've made, every time I've said it wasn't worth it, I was wrong. I can't believe I didn't just make my life awesome when it would've been so fucking easy to do that. I don't even know who I am anymore, and I keep getting surrounded by the wrong people, over and over. What a goddamn mess. I can't believe I'm doing this. I can't believe I'm going to an office in McLean. I want to die. I've wasted two years of my life. I want them back. I want to delete all this. I want this period to go away. I hate all this shit. I hate everything I've learned, everything I've done, everything I've become. It's all worthless bullshit, nothing to do with human life.

Jesus fucking Goddamn Christ. I fucking hate everything that's happened. I don't want it to be 2023. I hate this. It's fucking unreal. Litearlly unreal. I've missed out on all the joys of life. It's so bizarre. I fucking hate this so much. I don't want to be like this. It never needed to be like this. Fucking 2018. Fucking 2019. Fucking 2020. Then death. Full blown death. Just nothing. No one understood, they still don't, terrified to talk about it. What it means to die when you're alive, how fucking serious it is. Where you literally can't find a feeling you felt for twenty six years, just evaporated, gone. People trying to help you but driving in the stake. Idiots.

Yup, I went to work one day and immediately became suicidal. It forced me to realize how wrong everything is, how fucked up my life is, how little hope there is of getting out. How much it's dependent on working with people and trying and doing a whole bunch of things I'm not really interested in with people that are just doing too many things. Fuckin' whoops. This is what happens, every time, with desperation. Nonsense. That's what people don't get. It's not grit, or hard work, it's nonsense when people do things that they have no interest in doing. It doesn't work. It feels like shit, and it just breaks pretty quickly. What the fuck. I used to love doing things. All I ever wanted was a good project to work on. It wasn't that hard. Then, of course, I get a project and I'm consumed but not actually able to handle it and then it's emptiness and loneliness and brokenness and there we are, with nothing actually working. It just keeps happening to me, this oscillating between nothingness and brokenness, never really finding anything that fucking works. Now I'll never be able to get a house or apartment. Like, my whole life path has been delayed and broken. Parents have no idea what's going, never knew how to help or give advice in 2019. Just watched while it all broke. Didn't need them, shouldn't've asked. That's the whole thing. They just become worthless at some point, because they have no idea what you're doing and have never experienced anything you are. I hate my life so much. I hate that I lost my independent life. I want to die, over and over. Who wouldn't? I don't even have a life. It's not like I would be dying as a person, I'm already dead. They killed me awhile ago.

There's no, like, good way to frame this. I'm just stuck in an insane, bizarre position doing something that people for some insane reason think is good (a job), when every aspect of it is awful and bizarre. I have to consistently hide that, and just be like, alright, it's ... not bizarre? It's normal, to go into a glass cage all day and sit in windowless spaces on a computer? To do things that benefit some abstract entity? It's fucking weird, and we only do it because other people started doing it first. I have no idea what would happen if these organizations shut down, but sometimes I think we should just give it a shot. Like, I don't know, just see for a year. Reboot it a year later, see what's really changed. I probably sound like a maniac.

Nothing matters. Perhaps I'll do a good job. Get paid. Move out. Find another job. Move on. Try to figure out what the fuck I want to do with myself, now that everything is completely fucked and terrifying. Lost to the wind. Fuck this. Fuck all this. Fuck feeling like this. Fuck not having felt good for years. Do you know what that's actually like? To not actually feel genuinely good and healthy for like years? Just always something, never quite right, never proud, never excited, never happy, never content, never relaxed? It's insanity. It's completely inhuman, is all it is. You just don't feel like a human. You vaguely remember what it was like, what everyone else probably feels, then you just realize, it's a shadow of that, an old, fargone feeling.

So just disassociate and get out of here. Go get enough money to put gas in the car and just drive to California. Who cares. It doesn't matter anymore. Like, c'mon. Everything's dead. It's seriously toast. There's no actual hope. Every piece of who I was as a person started to fade at 24, was almost gone at 26, and by 28 needed to drastically change. Needed to settle down with Meghan, and didn't. Fuck this. Fuck all this. So ugly, so wrong, so empty most of all. So fucking empty. I don't even care about happy hours, meeting up with people, anything. Like, if it comes to me, fine, but I don't care. I'm dead inside. I don't want anything anymore. My time passed, my spirit died. I wish it didn't. I wish one of so many people could've stopped it, could've been the real friend that I needed. The thousand conversations I needed to have and never did but instead just sat in silence, rotting away.

Great, now I'm going to go to bed, at like 11PM, and wake up at like 6AM, and go to a place I don't want to go. I'm not going to be able to sleep, and I'm not going to get anything done tomorrow. Fuck this. Fuck feeling like this. Fuck everything that brought me here. Fuck my choices. Fuck every single person that moved through my life and left me for dead. Like, how hard is it? To check in? To give a fuck? It doesn't matter what you do, how kind you are, it'll never matter. It'll always end in silence. I don't want to go to bed because I don't want to wake up tomorrow.

~5PM, Sun. 1-29-2023: Alright, here we are, once again at the beginning. I was like weeping in this Starbucks bathroom last year, trying to apply for jobs. I spent all of 2021 not really trying. It's been an awful two years. I'm now seeing that people I dated in grad school are getting married. Everyone has a life of some sort. I guess I just sort of don't really understand how I got here. A lot of laziness. So much life wasted. I felt young not so long ago, I still sort of do, but good God. I can't find life, people, the people I'm supposed to be around. Everything has sort of shredded. It's bizarre. It makes me sad. I'm mostly just, like, sad and shocked that I couldn't turn my time in Boston into something that made more sense. I was so close, I worked hard. I just wish thing had been a little quieter near the end, that I could've just stayed with Sara and moved on from there, stayed in that house the last year, found a job and an apartment after graduating, started life then and there. What I did was absolutely brutal. Anyways, I can't really talk about all that, because it's over, and tomorrow is a brand new day. I have to get excited about this. I need to do the hardest thing, which is to put the past behind me. I'm still here, I'm young and healthy, a million things are possible. I've learned some things over the past couple of years, even if it's not at all what I wanted to learn.

I just want to cry. MITRE? Washington, DC? Virginia? What is happening? Ten years of math and physics? It didn't work out but it almost did, and I felt really confident for awhile but I just stopped working at some point. I don't know when, but a long time ago. I look at my face now and it just seems like the life has kind of drained out of it, it's just been so long since I've done things or been with people that make me truly happy. Perhaps that's not the best thing to focus on. I just worry that I'm going to go start working, finally get paid again, really not like what I'm doing every day, and then not be able to have those things outside of work that make me happy. Not have the girlfriend, not have the feeling that life is in front of me, not having friends to hang out with. It's just all like, wait, what happened? I was in a PhD program at Boston University, the world was completely open to me and I almost took advantage of it. I just broke apart, I still feel shattered into a million pieces in a way. Like, nothing is coherent. It's fine.

What I'm going to try to do is put myself back together. Yes, I'm 31 and have essentially wasted the last two years of my life. I have stopped smoking, which is good. I don't think that habit is sustainable. It's just the worst. My teeth are kinda yellow and I'm overweight by twenty pounds, but other than that look great and am healthy and athletic. My credit is pretty much busted, and will only get better once I pay off this debt and open some new credit. Again, all consequences of 2019. The only way actually out of the trap of the past, of thinking I should've done things differently, is to simply believe that everything happens for a reason, that it had to be this way. Life is not over. There is a world in DC, in my early 30s, which can be a ton of fun. Where I can grow into a relationship, perhaps with someone better than anyone who came before. That's possible. How many people have had a rough go of it for a couple years, have had to work to get back on their feet, have seen some things they didn't want to see or experience? Like, what is this idea that things should be perfect? It makes no sense.

Alternate perspectives? Could be way worse? Yes, but it could be way better. It's all the connections and friends ripped away, the daily interactions. That's the real thing, when life stops being this daily things that keeps happening, keeps evolving. When it becomes this, like, empty thing where things don't have to happen to you. They can and do happen to other people, but not to you. Like being a prisoner, you're just shielded somehow from the events of life for a time.

I have to somehow, like frantically, make sense of my plight. 31 years old, broke, single, living at parents. PhD, skilled, good looking, personable. Job starting on Monday. I think the thing is I don't want to feel like I've missed my twenties and fallen off into mediocrity. I experienced a lot in my twenties, but not everything I wanted to. I also just wish I'd worked more. That's a stupid thing to say to have wanted. You don't wish you'd wanted to work, you just do. I don't know, does life really, like, work the way you think it does? Like, you want things and then maybe they happen? I feel like you just get into like a mindset, you get yourself into a situation and then things start happening. You don't, like, deliberately build networks, they just sort of start to form around you when you're in the right position for it. I feel like I've spent way too many hours of my life sitting in coffee shops doing nothing. I should stop. There must be another place to go, another way to spend my time. There have been holes in my life, where people should be. Like, some people are kind of there, but then it's just empty. I don't know how to fill the gaps. I, like, have to get back into living. I have to move out. I'm so fucking worried I'm just going to become mediocre, like I've given up on myself and now I'm into some middling shit. I can't help it though. I don't see another path right now. Like, honestly? What am I actually supposed to do? If I keep doing this shit I'm going to end up wasting my life. Everything feels fucking trivial.

It's just going to be such a mess if I don't get this security clearance. It's already pretty fraught, just the idea of having one. I really don't know if I want to become this person, analyzing classified data. Is that really who I am, everything I've worked for, the types of people I hung with? Really? Also, I still can't figure out why I let my life collapse to hard. How much it felt like other people could, like, exist in some hazy middle ground where they worked a little in their twenties and survived, whereas when I tried to do that at 28-29 it was nearly impossible, just straight work and barely had enough to survive. Hm. This doesn't feel like a fruitful line of thought. Getting kicked out of here anyways.

Okay, well, fuck it. Time to deal with reality. The reality is I have a job, and no, I don't know what the future is going to look like. My fucking car needs work, and my fucking teeth are yellow, and I'm now twenty pounds overweight. Most of this is a symptom of being here, of not working, of not having good reasons to care. I've been trying my fucking best to just get back to life, to find a way out of here. However I keep, like, shutting down. My brain just falls apart, I wind up sleeping, doing nothing. Why? Why not enjoy life? It's all sitting there, like all of it. How much have I wasted, how many fucking concerts, trips around the country, visits to other countries, relationships, housing scenarios, how much have I missed, given up for no reason? It doesn't matter. Lamenting won't help. I just have to go back into the world and figure it out. I don't know what I want anymore, what my life is supposed to be like, how many years it will take to be normal again, how to recover from all the things I've lost, how to deal with all this fucking trauma. Fuck it.

There's a homeless woman in here on the phone, and it's pretty intense. I could be grateful for where I'm at, grateful to have a job, grateful that I didn't mess things up too bad, grateful that I finished my PhD, grateful that I can still figure it all out. Yeah, there's like an entire, incredible world waiting just around the corner. It's not far. I'm trying to figure out who I'm supposed to be now, without math and physics, with just this little job, this supposed career and this big ole organization with a thousand moving parts. How to be myself in that environment. It just feels like I stepped off the treadmill of life in 2019 or 2020, and haven't gotten back on. UGH. I keep saying the same fucking thing. Perhaps going to work will be good just to break the cycle. Fuck, I've just let my life get so boring. So devoid of people and meaning. It's just like, what am I doing? Why am I like this now?

Fuck man, there's something missing. I don't know what it is. I honestly don't. If it's just literally money, going to work everyday. Probably, but not actually. My life, being alive. My connections, having someone in my life that I think about. Feeling in control of my destiny. It's like I never fucking activated. Like, I started to in grad school then I was just too broke to worry about anything other than how I was going to survive. Like, we partied all the time, worked a lot, I don't know. Still, it feels like nothing really happened. Whatever, again, whatever, whatever, whatever. I have to stop thinking about this, and just somehow break free.

I think I get anxious now too, which I didn't used to get. Like, I no longer feel on top of everything, smart and confident. It feels like I'm kind of just hanging on, like I won't be able to figure things out or it'll be obvious that I don't really want to, when everyone else will just have this natural desire to try super hard because they think it's the best they could ever get, their life is about moving up a few rungs on a ladder. Perhaps not. I don't know. I guess I just need to use this to sort of launch myself into a direction. Who knows. Maybe I'll get the clearance, maybe it'll lead to something else. Something actually interesting. Something that fits. That feels meaningful. All I know is that it seems very likely I'll be around people that are the antithesis of everything I wanted to be around, and that scares me.

At this point it's like "fuck it", I'm just going to roll forward. I've made some choices, and I probably wouldn't be here if I hadn't made them. They're not necessarily bad, but they do look a lot like giving up on some early dreams. There are reasons for it. There is a genuineness to not thinking that this deep physics is really all that important, that it's somehow detached. You know, nothing makes sense right now. I want to write here someday, look back on how young and naive and delicate I am, at how beautiful a time this was, and laugh. I want to stop this, this ravaging of myself as I am, to somehow not realize that look, I'm here, with my family, and they're healthy, and relatively young, in the house I grew up. I'm going to weep when that is gone. There will be nothing that could possibly replace it. I don't know how I'm even going to handle that. To have that now, and somehow be this depressed, this out of it, this ungrateful, this lazy, it just sucks. It's just such a terrible way to be. It's like this massive Catch-22, like I wanted to be here but I can't be happy here. When I say I wanted to be here, I don't think it was conscious. It was subconscious. I was in too much pain, too many things weren't going right, I had lost the easiness of life, the joy of taking care of things. Perhaps it was the relationships, I don't know. There were enough to kind of kill somebody, to drain them because there wasn't just one that was long enough to enjoy. The constant starting and stopping. That probably did the most damage. Just never really being able to settle in with someone, and then every other aspect of my life blowing to pieces.

Okay, so what is it then? This job, moving to Washington, DC. Trying to get a security clearance. Hm. That doesn't sound right, but it is what it is. Then what? I start dating, meet someone, move in? A year? Two? Jesus. So I guess it just doesn't matter, life is going to be fucking hard and suck for another three months at least. February, March, April. That'll be enough to move out. Then the car. The debt. Finding an apartment given my background. Forty hours a week. Fuck man, and no one. No friends, no girlfriend, no nothing. How. Why? Why did I do this? Whatever. Whatever. Whatever. This isn't me. I miss being able to be myself. Miss late 2020. Whatever, it's all been a mess. There's no real saving it. I'm still missing the answer. Like, I keep playing with the same fucking idea but I never get to the answer. I never get to the point where I want to shut my laptop and say "YES, THAT'S IT, LET'S GO", like finding a direction that makes sense and going down it. Like you're lost and can't find the trail marker for a long time when you're hiking and then finally there it is on a tree, and it's like COOL, I'm not done hiking I'm just starting or restarting but I know where I'm going, I'm not completely fucking lost.

~1:38PM, Fri. 1-27-2023: I can't believe it's 2023. I should find some friends. Like, I don't know. I guess new ones. Like, 30 somethings at this point. I don't know about that. Why do I feel like my entire life has passed me by, and everything I was supposed to do in my twenties I failed to do? Why do I keep harping on this, and why can't I figure out what I'm supposed to do and feel good about it?

A lot of times when I'm writing I feel like I'm not breaking through at all, like I'm not actually writing anything. I'm not getting to the crux of the issue, I'm just beating around the bush, staying at the surface level. Like, do you know how different life feels at 30? When you're 21 or 22, you just feel like the world is this huge, open thing. Like, you're at MIT or whatever and you're by the river and people are building these things but you have no real concept of how the world actually works, but everyone is encouraging you to make something, do things, build things, grow something, that it's all possible. Then, it's all not. You see the world in terms of these huge organizations that are everywhere, eating things up. That the "huge" things you might've been building are relatively small, passing trends even in the most grand sense. So you think, well, I'll contribute some irrefutable, unequivocal piece of knowledge to humanity. I'll carve it in stone, then no one will be able to take it away from me. You sort of do, and even the you step back, and realize it's just a million names like that, everywhere.

The thing is, I feel tired now. It's not the same. I didn't do what I set out to do, and now it's ten years later. Six were well spent, or at least well enough. One was fine. Two were awful. This one is shaping up to be kind of lame. I feel like I'm covered in fungus, just rot. The problem is I've felt this way before. I just haven't been able to start my own life. I've tried and failed so many times. There's never enough money, it never quite works. Working at MITRE is a pretty huge step down, almost into mediocrity. I'm scared. I'm fucking scared of everything. I need to, like, travel. I need to do a thousand things. Party, fuck, create, spend time with people my age. I need to go live. I've been dead. Then it's just like, you wake up to the exact same thing. My whole life emptied out and gone, waiting for me to do some ungodly amount of work to get it back. I kind of just want to go away. Like, I'm not supposed to be like this, and I just want to go be nothing somewhere, just live alone and not care. I feel like I lost everything, including my spirit. So, another fucking year. Unreal. Like, I should've been working since 2021. This is so weird. Working. It's not even real. It's just turned into bullshit for money now. It wasn't like that before. I cared. I had things I wanted to contribute. Things that I had really learned. Whatever. Why don't I have friends? Like a friend group? How did this happen? I'm social, I've had friends. Then I just let it all die. I look at myself, the way I've been living my life, and I feel like a fucking child. Like, I just have no faith in my ability to lead a life, let alone a good one. I've just stopped caring on so many fronts.

~12:38AM, Fri. 1-27-2023: Time is flying by. I want to be in a different reality. I'm tired of this, waking up to this. I don't want to start this job, I don't want to be three years older than I want to be, I don't want to have lost all those friends, and missed out on so much life. I don't know how to get back, to get back smack in the middle of my generation, experiencing whatever I'm supposed to experience, having a life of some sort. It all feels broken. Whatever. I just want to get back to my life. Whatever that means. I guess it means just moving forward, with whatver the hell is in front of me. I don't like what I've become. I'm not sure what to do about it. Quit? Leave again? What does that even mean? I can't. I need money. I need to find life again. I need to find real people again. I need to figure out how to get back to what I was doing so enthusiastically. I need to just find fucking life again. I'm dead. I don't care. It's all too complicated. I need to come back to life. I miss my life. I miss just the idea of it. Of waking up with someone in our apartment. Like, why not? What forces could possibly so strong to continue to deny that reality over and over again? This insane lack of money, this ridiculous lack of effort.

I think, the main thing, is to stop all this, the complaining. Like, the entire world is out there. I'm only going to live this once. I'm healthy, young. I need to just go. To figure it out again. To take whatever opportunities are in front of me and work with them. There's tons of people. I can always change things up. Switch jobs. Whatever. That's not the important thing. The important thing is just living kind of like I used to. Working hard and being excited about things. Like, enough. Enough complaining. It's not helping. Let's go make some money, wake up, figure some things out, and just get started. I don't know, perhaps I'll just finally find out what I really want to do. In the meantime I have to do the things I don't want to do, because all this stuff has been piling up and it's sad and lame. Two years without friends, without life, without love. It's a long, long time. Let's fix it.

~6:01PM, Weds. 1-25-2023: Hm. What to even say. I don't want to be sitting in this coffee shop, on a rainy Wednesday, with no life. I'm fucking worried. I'm starting another job that just doesn't feel like an accurate reflection of who I am at all. I just have no other way to go forward. I can't think. I feel braindead. I need so many things. Everything's just a mess and nothing has actually, like, moved forward. I don't feel like I've gotten better at anything, built anything. I've been getting really annoyed with things I've been seeing online. I just read that sentence and laughed. I'm not even going to elaborate on that. That's just stupid. Wow. I cannot get out of the wrong place, huh? Just trapped in a cage here. Hm. Hm. Hm. None of this talk works. Everything seems kind of futile. Like, I'm just stuck here, the train has left the station. My brain feels slow, just drained and dead in a way. I want to feel light and alive. Eating light. Moving around. Waking up early. Again, my life was supposed to go down this thread, this path at like twenty seven and it didn't, and now I'm complaining even though in reality nothing is guaranteed or supposed to happen. I stopped taking pretty much all medication and nothing changed. It's dumb. It's the environment.

I just feel like there's a difference between being spiritually alive and being dead. Like, being tuned into the world and what's happening. I feel dead. We live in a time, like any other time, where things are happening, and I could be right in the middle of it, affecting things. Writing, doing math, having relationships, posting, having kids, I don't know. It just feels like everything I could be doing I'm not. Instead, I'm sleeping. I'm laying around. I'm sitting in coffee shops, walking in circles. I'm almost erasing myself from existence. A lot of things that people do seem stupid. I don't really feel any initiative. I think I was supposed to find my wife in like 2017 or something. I don't think that's the core issue, a lot more is, like, hollowed out. I just fucking hate this. I hate that I didn't just build a life. I was trying so fucking hard. So excited to do that. I just genuinely do not like the one in front of me. I don't actually really want to live in DC or do this, it's just the only option.

My brain broke. I stopped caring about all the things I cared about. I wonder what it's gonna take to, like, find excitement in life again. To feel like things matter. How does someone spend ten years learning advanced mathematics and programming and then just let it all burn? It's like this big room was filled with books, and someone just ripped them all out. It's almost, like, unreal, some of the behavior I've observed in myself. Like, my God. Just sad. I feel like none of this talk matters, none of it helps. It's all an endless, lazy circle designed to avoid work. Over and over, it's like "how can I avoid work"? God damnit. I'm not writing, I'm just thinking. The only thing that ever comes to mind is how I slipped up back in 2018-2019, sent my life off course, and have never been able to recover or figure anything out. That nothing ever makes sense, that people try to help but can't figure me out.

I'm excited to start dating again. There's that. Perhaps that'll fix everything. Ha. I stopped growing, stopped evolving, stopped being independent. It's just so fucking painful to think about how it could be and how it is, how long it will take to fix. It's like I gave myself a prison sentence. Most people on Twitter are fucking idiots. The vast majority, something like 95-99%. It's wild. That's probably how the world is, honestly. Just fucking morons bumbling around. I don't know, wouldn't know. I'm stuck. I can't see the world, I don't experience it. I experience nothing. That's not helpful. It's true. All true. None of it is helpful. I am fucking lost. I am so fucking lost. I don't have any of the friends I need to have. None of the relationships. They're all just absent. It's just such a fucking shit show. So broken. Especially the weirdness, I hate watching the weirdness, where it's just like, why? I'm not oblivious to it but I'll watch myself do things that make absolutely no sense.

Jesus fucking Christ. Six months to destroy an entire life. That's all it takes. Whatever. The past doesn't matter. It's all gone. Perhaps it's for the best. Who the fuck knows. All I know is I'm not making decisions anymore, nothing is, like, for me. Nothing is like in service of advancing my life. It's basically just survival, randomness, doing things because I have to do them. I feel like I have no control over anything. Like, I don't really have time. I'm 31. It sounds young but it's really not given where I am in my life. It'll take at least a year to even get my finances in order. Perhaps I'll find meaning at work. I have no idea. This feels fucked up. I feel like scared in a way. It feels so wildly wrong. At the same time there's nothing I can do. Like, I can't quit. I'm just so unconvinced of anything. I'm so far away from where I'm supposed to be. Like, I can't even fathom it. It's like there were millions of things I was supposed to do over a thousand days and I just never did any of them. These days are so awful. Like, what am I doing. I'm sitting here. I have no motivation to do anything else. I don't know where to go. I don't know how to unstick myself from this fucking place I'm in. It's like all over me and I can't get it off. All I know is everything is wrong. It has been for years. I, like, messed up my life somehow. I just see everyone else living. Not necessarily perfect, but they all have lives and I don't. Then I'm supposed to do, what, extremely difficult shit in order to have a life? PhD level stuff? Nothing makes sense. Like, at all. I don't feel at home in the world anymore. I hate reading the fucking news. I don't care. At all. Like, I really don't care. There's a million things happening. Why the fuck would I pick a random one and start to care about it a lot? It does absolutely nothing. It's so fucking weird. I feel like I have no personality at all. Like, that's gone, too. I was trying to develop it in Boston and then everything just moved too fucking fast and blew up. I'm never going to be okay.

I'm just glad I'm not going into some AI field or whatever. Just, like, dumb stuff. Trying to build insane things people don't really understand for no reason other than because they can. No actual goals, no guarantee that anything will get better, no idea what the effect on humanity will be. All they're doing is pushing the world to evolve, probably to a place where humanity becomes the non-dominant species in favor of machines. It's just, like, why? Like, read a book or something, plant a garden, stop. It's so annoying.

Life doesn't feel like it used to. It feels dead now. Like there's just none of the feelings that there used to be in it. I'm freaked out. None of the things I wanted to do I really did. It's all just like this light version. Fuck. I hate this. I want to live in a different reality, a different world. I hate this so much. I've wasted a thousand days. More actually. Nothing makes sense. That's the main thing. Nothing actually makes any sense. No one has any real answers, no one has proposed anything that I might want to do, no one can explain why everything is so bizarre and complicated and awful. It just feels like a fucked up world. I don't want to talk like this all the time but I am like this. I wish whoever would stop. Stop just fucking up my life so hard. I feel inept. Like I can't actually do anything. Like I have no resources, nothing. I felt so fucking smart for so long. Like I could do anything. Normal, healthy, good. There's so much immaturity. I'm like seven years behind everyone else. Truly and legitimately. Can't hold down a job, can't take care of myself. It's just fucking lame and sad. It's all so fucking sad. There's this whole world moving out there every. Single. Day. Every day. People making money, people doing things. FUCK. FUCK THIS. I HATE THIS.

~11:21PM, Tues. 1-24-2023: Alright, later in the evening now. Been chatting with Samara all evening. The only real thing I had to do was, like, upload my passport photo and I-9 form for MITRE. I emailed C2 and let them know I'm done there. I feel bad about how I went about leaving both of those part-time jobs, but it's not the end of the world. Decided to email Bud, and got a really nice quick response back. He suggested to consider the fact that things don't need to be perfect in a variety of contexts, jobs/relationships/situations/etc. In fact, they never are. I think that's useful advice, though Samara thought it was obvious. I went to Auld Shabeen and got two beers and chicken tenders, which is now the third night in a row I've gone out. It's been deeply boring each and every time. It's a continuation of what I've been doing for the past three or so years. I don't like it. I don't want my life to be like that. It's lame. I want to find people again.

I need to renegotiate my car insurance policy. I also need to get this emissions waiver and register it. I guess it's kind of falling apart. That's one issue. I have a handful of old bills that need to be paid, some in the thousands. I have some debt I need to pay off. Essentially, my life has like frozen in a way since 2018, perhaps 2019 but really then. Just kind of this decay affecting all these different parts of the life that I had built up. Probably because of what happened with Sara. Perhaps not. The point is always the same, which is that it doesn't matter. Dwelling won't help. I need to act. Get into new environments. Do the things I've been saying I was going to do. Abandon fear and go live, build a life. The thing is the time is now. This is it. My generation is out there, living. I'm not. This is the turning point. Yes, I made mistakes. Yes, there are a ton of pieces missing from my life. Yes, in many ways I'm like an inexperienced kid or whatever. Not entirely, though. It may not take that much to get on top of things. Given my habits, I'm kind of skeptical I can make it all work.

I keep trying to tap into something else, quit just writing the same thing. I can't believe it's been almost a decade since I graduated college. That's insane. I suppose it's whatever. I'm worried i won't be able to do anything major in this new job, that it'll be too much fluff, too difficult to find my way into something real and interesting. Almost feeds like I should've just stayed at Power Auctions. Nope. Gotta stop thinking like that. I don't know, I feel pretty alright. Just disconnected. From life. I'm finding it massively difficult to find anything important. Like, I'm watching a Bernie Madoff documentary, and it's just like, 1.5 billion dollars. Are you serious? That's, like, pennies. Compared to the federal budget, just like annual money that is spent, it's nothing. It seems like a lot, but it's ten thousand people's salaries. A large organization collapsing. The way they talk about it, as if it requires multiple people to write books about, to finance movies about. "A nine alarm fire." Ugh, it doesn't matter. There's just too much happening in the world. People getting sick and dying, it's constant. It all seems small. I don't know how to describe it. It's like when you go through high school, and you sort of just see what some people are doing, and you're just like, well, that seems like kid stuff, freshman year. Like, you know they can't possibly see past it, that it's important to them, that they're gonna get all into the details and talk with their friends about it, but you just sort of think, like, it doesn't matter. Like, nerds are going over this, spending weeks and years of their lives trying to figure this one thing out.

I think I just want to enter, like, an alternative world. Find different things that matter. It's like I never became myself. Like, I almost did, I was trying to. Then I couldn't afford it, couldn't quite figure it out. I suppose it's not over yet. Ugh. It's just beginning. It has to be. I just want to get back into it again. Like, try, y'know? I don't know if I'm moving in the right direction, but I guess you just have to trust that you are. I don't really understand my life anymore. Like, who I am, where I am. Other people my age have been working like forty hours a week for the past eight to ten years. It's a little insane now. I feel like all I can say is "whoops" and fuck. I want to take a real interest in the world again, where things don't feel pointless or small or tucked away in some impossibly tiny corner of human knowledge. It still feels like the entire world is out there. Like, it's all sitting right there. I don't need to be like this. Washington, DC? All the people I've like alienated. What's the meaning of all that. I just can't fucking believe what I've done with my life. Whatever. I've written that sentence, like, a thousand times.

I need to break free of whatever this bizarre shell is. There's too many fucking little things on my to-do list and I'm not even busy. My teeth are yellow. My car is shitty. I'm broke. It's decay, all decay. I haven't figured out anything. I just need to go live. I don't want to spend the one life I have the way I'm spending it. That's pretty much it.

~5:37PM, Tues. 1-24-2023: Good evening. Talking to Grace on the phone. Trying to get some forms filled out for MITRE. Wrapped up with C2 and REI. Getting closer to my "penpal", which is the best term. Just nice to keep things realistic, wait to meet someone here. It's just a fun thing to have, cuts down on the lonliness.

~5:38PM, Sun. 1-22-2023: Hey, it's been awhile. I think I've been caught up talking to someone I met online. Kind of a strange time. I just left my job at REI after skipping a day yesterday. They're so cool, I've just been such a lazy, terrible employee. It's hard to reckon with that sometimes, given how much I just cared before. Same thing for this other job, I'm just being kind of a piece of shit. Not entirely, but it's not great and I feel bad. It just seems like things have piled up and I haven't been able to even wake up, let alone take care of anything. All these bills piling up, like nothing can really move forward until I get paid anyways. I like sit here and write this, and I look at the world and wonder if I can even comprehend my place in time, that things are evolving right now that will become historic, and they're just happening every day, all the time. The way we communicate, brand new tools, and we're just using them daily. Even, like, WiFi isn't that old. The internet is like my age, man. Like, I just wonder how we're going to deal with just a nonstop cascade of technology, more or less every year, for what, fifty years? Like, brand spanking new shit. Someone needs to put it into a broader context, like find a way to see the continuity of the story line. I see these machines as evolving, one version update at a time, and look at them as esentially new species. In that anaology, it's sort of like being in a jungle as some animal, and you cannot possibly keep track of all the speciation. It just isn't taking place on a long time scale. It's happening extremely rapidly. It seems kind of silly to think about though, like you kind of have to ignore. It's weird though because it's right in front of our face, but it's hard to see. Like when the Portugese and Dutch and everyone started building ships to try to cross oceans, that's where it feels like we are in terms of space travel. It's gonna take like another hundred years though to go anywhere, so it's maybe more like the 1400's. We have large boats that are capable of going at to sea for awhile, but can't actually make a journey across the ocean. Anyways, we live in an interesting time.

I feel absolutely all over the place. I can't describe it, but I suppose I'll try to as what else would I be doing here. It feels like some part of my life has passed me by by accident. The fact that the past two years have been so empty makes me feel like I just didn't advance and everyone else did. It feels like the world has evolved in some indescribable way. Like I no longer have the time to study things, or get interested in things, like there is no outer world to discover, that I'm just in this pit, and until I get out there's nothing I can really enjoy or do. I haven't been reading anything, programming anything, doing any math, hanging out with people, biking much. Like, my life is so empty it's terrifying. All I do is putter around, drive to coffee shops, walk around an artificial lake. I don't know, the anxiety is at a high level, it feels like I can't just sink into anything, everything I do feels like I'm procrastinating, like there's something I'm supposed to be doing. The cool, dark basement with absolutely no external noise is just about the saddest place in the entire world, and yet I can't bring myself to get up and out of it. Sometimes I just think about the different places I could be waking up in, the different people I could be with, and I'm simply amazed at what's happened, what I've done to myself. I couldn't plan it. The fact that everything's been going haywire the past two years means I don't really trust myself, like I imagine going to find an apartment or something and the only thing there is are two years of mistakes, no roommates, no landlords to vouch for me. It's like I just immediately turned into a vagrant once I stopped trying every single day. I keep starting things that make no sense, that I then just want to back out of deperately. There also just seems to be something broken about my executive function, my ability to just do things, to be like "hey, I want to do this" and then do it. It's just absent. I feel so messed up, like no one can see me or understand how weird and messed up the situation is. Like, I haven't been able to be myself in almost any context in like two years. Perhaps for moments here and there, but not in any daily way. Just so, so, so many empty, nothing days. Just a waste of life. It's infuriating. Which I guess is good, better than not giving a shit, but also like ... just what? I used to feel like a decent person, like someone desirable to be around, to work with. Now I feel like a fucking fool. I don't know, it also just seems like people move so fucking fast, like they're just in this hyperactive mode, paying attention to all these little details, thousands of little details, and I just can't bring myself to care. Like, I don't want to go through a twelve step process to log into a thing, and then read a subthread of a subthread and respond in a very specific way, and then do that again and again, taking thousands of micro-actions in a couple hours. Basically people just behave like things are a video game, and they're motivated to play as fast as they can, when I just don't care.

Like in a word, I'm lost. It still feels like nothing really makes sense. The only solace there ever is is that things could be worse. I feel like I got older without maturing. I'm still going to the wrong place, the difference is that I know I have to do this or life will get worse, will continue to make zero sense, I won't have one. Still, I have to make sense out of it. The only thing that really makes sense right now is this person I'm talking to. It's what I look forward to. I like writing, too, but not like this. This is starting to feel stupid, like no different from just like sitting in a car and turning on the audio recorder and blabbing for a half hour and transcribing it. It feels like someone took the fucking life out of the world, like it used to just seem so interesting and full. Now everything just feels impossible, like I can barely keep my car running insured. In fact, even that is completely impossible, so at that point everything collapses. If you can't do that, how are you going to the thousand other fucking things you have to do just to survive? Like, it just got too complicated and then exploded and broke into a million pieces.

Why is everything so HARD? Why is tutoring HARD? Why is reading a book HARD? Why is spending free time HARD? Why are these fucking easy, simple things impossible? Why is there a huge fucking wall between me and absolutely everything? Like there's no life, no fucking friend group, no parties, no roommates, no girlfriend, no goddamn anything. No culture, no grandparents, no UGH. Jesus fucking Christ. This is why I left, because there's nothing here. Because I needed to find family. Then it's the same loops, I keep getting trapped in the same loops. It's like a fucking bear trap. I can't lose weight, I can't laugh, I can't fucking have an exciting thought. Then you look at other people, and they're dead, too. It's just, like, how do you find life. How do you find fresh air and sex and food and travel? Or whatever, a group of radical thinkers at a basement punk show, a band of local comics that are pushing the boundaries, something. Fucking something. I just feel lame, like I don't have anything, I don't do anything, there's nothing I actually contribute, that I'm scared, that I just lost at twenty eight the moment I was supposed to come to life. That all the fucking intimate experiences I was supposed to have over the past two years got lit on fire.

It almost seems like it doesn't matter. Like, my complaints are irrelevant. There's a path, you go down it. It's extremely unhelpful to just get off every path you're meant to go down. Still though, I'm like vibrating, fucking shaking, I'm so angry and confused. It just seems like nothing will matter until I become alive again. Quit being deactivated, afriad of everything. Like, I get it, I fucked up very badly, but the damage, I'm like a bleeding, wounded, cut up man covered in rags. It's nice to meet people who are nice. Still, nothing makes sense. That is my refrain. I say that a lot. I say it all the time. I say it every day. Nothing fucking makes sense. It's just so fucking rigid. Like, there doesn't seem to be any room to err. There is though. There we go again. That doesn't make sense. Yet, I feel like I'm in a straight jacket, so it is rigid. It's just fucking scary, to know that I will be entering the world again so empty and alone, when all my supports and networks were supposed to be set up. Then it's just like, well, you have a few friends who don't live here, and that's it.

What is the point of this? It's so uninspired. I'm not writing about anything, I'm not tuned into anything, I'm not plugged into anything. I feel fuckin' dead. I hate this, I hate what I've become. I hate everything that fucking led to this. I did not used to be like this. Fuck. Now what? Go eat dinner alone? Like, Jesus Christ, why? Why am I like this? Why is it so broken? I've been hiding from everything, running as fast as I can from everything, because everything does damage, nothing just works out, nothing feels good, nothing feels right. Why would I run towards anything?

~6:33PM, Mon. 1-16-2023:Kind of a weird day. I'm really not feeling it. I was supposed to get some feedback from this interview, and the person never called despite scheduling a Google calendar invite. Bizarre. Whatever. Opened up a conversation with this girl on Twitter who is studying "neoliberalism", or international political economy. She speaks German and I guess is studying in Berlin. I kind of asked her out and she said yes if we're in the same city. Who knows, but feels good to just start talking to people again. I forget how it was like that times twenty a few years ago, and how it is for everyone else. Just constantly arranging things. I don't have the energy. It would honestly be wild to date someone that young. Even a five year difference was pretty intense. I don't know, maybe it doesn't matter. It feels like it doesn't. Part of me feels like when I get back out into the world I'm going to be a very particular type of person. The other part of me feel like I've just completely atrophied and it'll be very difficult to actually do all the things I need to do every day without any support. The only reason I'm writing is because it seems to keep the anxiety at bay, or something. Everyone sitting in here is younger than me. That's what this whole experience feels like, a return to the past. I can't wait to just fucking hang out with people again. I don't even care how, like, rapacious we are. Whether we do a thousand things and drink from the fountain of life or simply just hang out at a bar and talk. I'm just starved, dude. I don't have any serious or real idea what I'm like anymore, because there's very little feedback or reflection. All I can really say is, let it be over. Like, in the end it's just been a rough time that can end. There's an entire life ahead of me, waiting. I just have to move on from this past. Simply being excited about this job seems like a step in the right direction. Just, for the hell of it. It'll help.

I wonder if I could just take a whole new perspective. Like, just be happy. I don't know. I'm so tired of being negative. I feel kind of crippled, loathe to act. WHATEVER. Time to just suck it up and be a fucking man and make some money and get shit done. This, like, feminine bullshit is getting old. It doesn't work. I need to just be stoic and take some pain and feel the rewards of getting things done. Just watch the numbers in the bank account go up and stop worrying about everything all the time. Like, when I think of my former self, the dedication, the spirit, the love of a subject, I just want to cry. Why would I want to lose that? C'mon now. Find that again. Be curious. Make life worth living. Find things interesting. Quit it with this whole nihilism bit, it's annoying. Of course nothing matters if you zoom all the way out, we're specks. That's not the point. The point is to feel things and learn things and feel like they matter to you in the moment you're in. Like, I can't wait. I can't wait for things to get better. Everything is fine, nothing bad has happened or is going to happen. There is nothing in the world that's going to prevent me from leaving this job to do something, some calling, some shift into something that lights up all my senses. For now though, this is it. Like, it's a miracle. There's no fucking reason they needed to hire me. I'm lucky, and I should act like it. It's kind of like, yes, some life force is missing, something is deeply wrong and it has to do with money and relationships, but in the meantime whatever. Hm. How to just enjoy life again. That's the real trick. How, given everything that's happened and might not happen and will happen, how do you just enjoy it?

Ay yae yae. How to fix this and find people again and just reboot. Fucking reboot everything, and just start moving and doing things. I do kind of feel like I'm hiding. Ugh, gonna figure this out, make life make sense again.

~2:04PM, Mon. 1-16-2023: Uh, good afternoon. What the fuck am I doing with my life? I moved here on Aug. 1st 2021, and it's been an absolute dumpster fire since Jan. 6th 2021, when I left the last serious job I had. I didn't feel great then, but at least I felt alive when I moved back. I have let this place kill me. I'm so tired of it, so tired of being dead. I have some interview feedback at 4PM, for ten minutes, then I suppose I'm going to just figure something out. Write down a plan. It's just been so much emptiness. Like, I don't want my life to be like this and I need to change, now. I think I need to start running again. Money will help tremendously. I need to quit trying to figure out which job I should have. I have one, and that's that. Uh. Look at this. A blog with no readers, a Twitter with no followers. Like, it's sad. I just have this bizarre feeling all over me, like there's something here that's stuck on me that I can't get off. I feel like I don't belong here but I am here. I feel like a whiny teenager, a person at a party that doesn't know anyone. I feel out of place. I don't care, I have to figure it out. Like, I just have to. There's way too much in me that's waiting to come out that hasn't had a chance. I don't know what it is or even what that means, but I'm tired at looking at other people live life. I think you just kind of have to let go and just start running. Literally and metaphorically. Like, I don't know what's going on. It's just cycles here, circles and circles. Nothing keeps happening, nothing keeps happening. I don't want to get older here and I miss everyone I used to know. Shit. I don't want to talk like this anymore, it's unhelpful.

I guess the point is to find life again. Like, find new people. Start working again. Have money and use it to go do things. Mostly just rediscover who I am when I'm out in the world. It just feels like I keep getting kneecapped every couple of years. Some relationship, some perspective shift, loss of interest. Well, those two years are gone. There's really not much to say. They just sucked. It's a long time, and kind of the prime of my life there, but whatever. I guess I could've been in prison or worse. I'm just gonna chalk it up to a respite, some sort of sabbatical and try to forget about it. Let's think about the future. Okay, so job starts 1/23. That's good. The first paycheck, literally the first one, will effectively change my life. It still feels like this bizarre pressure on me to do something coupled with this huge emptiness from not pursuing everything I studied for years to simply not caring about anything. The funny thing is it's all about people and relationships. Not being around friends and loved ones. It helps a lot to go do those other things. Without them they become central, it's all you really want and so figuring out some coding problem or deep math problem becomes so secondary it's not even possible to think about. There you have it! Get your personal life in order first, then you can actually work.

I don't know man, I just feel like getting up. I feel like I've been kind of a pussy and just reaped what I've sowed. Like, I need to try harder, be a better person. Like, I know. I know life can be full and good but you have to, like, engage with it. Do work. This whole sitting around doing nothing just adds up and eats away. Fortunately I think I've been able to put the past away, I'm tired of thinking about that. I'm still pretty young, and I have an incredible education, I just need to put it to work, forreal. I keep acting like it's all impossible, but it's not. I mean, fuck it. One thing I need to accept is reality. The reality is that I have a job now, I should cast out all illusions that something better is waiting around the corner. It's not! I can't think of a million things to do, and quite honestly getting a PhD level job after a PhD is just sort of what happens in the best of scenarios. People work, man.

It's just gotten really annoying to be complaining about things. Like, I've had enough. Other people are having fun and enjoying life because they're waking up and trying every day, and not overcomplicating it. I'm still, like, laughing. I don't know, like it just feels like a bunch of things are going to crack open because they've been so dormant. Like, I'm making a lot of things really hard when they don't have to be. I don't know, though, some of these behaviors the past few years have been pretty out there. I guess I'm just really tired of being an observer. It's lame. Like, when you're engaged and involved it doesn't matter what celebreties and politicans are doing, it all fades into the background because you can focus on what's in front of you. I miss that. I think it's important to remember that everything can and will change, straight up.

Sometimes I feel like such a bad person, like I should absolutely deal with this C2 Education thing. I need to let them know I'm quitting, along with REI. I'll do it today. Good lord. Then there's the bills from December. What a mess. I feel like I was not lazy and cool and now I'm lazy and uncool. Ugh. It's like this feeling in my chest, just something I don't want to deal with because I feel so bad about it. It'll get done, today. I wish everything didn't always feel like I was on my heels, that I actually wanted to do something once in awhile, that I was excited about doing something for once in my life. Ack. Ack, ack, ack. It doesn't feel right, just everything feels a little wrong. Whatever. Again, gotta get away from talking like that. I can't even fucking tell how I've changed over the past couple years. I have no point of reference. The people I'm around simply don't have the vocabulary or something, or I just don't feel like there's any actual dialogue. It's just like, "this is happening", "now this is happening", and not much ever changes other than circumstances and situations. Ugh. There's a distinct difference between not liking a job and genuinely just absolutely hating it, feeling out of place, having no desire to improve at it, and not wanting to be there. One of those you should quit.

I don't know, I'll just be the worst for a little while. The bad employee. I don't like to be, don't want to be, haven't always been, but sometimes you just are. It's me right now, I'm the one causing problems. Are you kidding me, though? I came to a Starbucks to write a thousand words about how bummed out I am. Like, this is how I'm spending the prime years of my life. Not building a life, a family, relationships, this. It's the saddest, most pathetic thing in the fucking world and I'm tired of it. I kind of just want to scream, dude! It's just, like, the daily sort of being so far out of the loop you can't even see straight. What a total and complete mess. I feel bizarre! I feel stupid, and weird, and out of it, and lame. I don't want to be sitting here right now, but I also don't have anywhere to go. Then what? I'm at an office two days a week working with whomever and working from home three days a week? Like, having missed out on, oh I don't know, ten years of constructing a life? Cool. Cool cool cool. It just feels like I need to do something, I need to be plugged back into something, some place, some set of people that have vanished. I have no plan for life, like no actual idea of how to plot a future course with another human being, how that might work. I'm like spiraling here. Nothing good is happening.

I don't know. I just miss feeling alive. That's really it. Just, like, working, living, experiencing different things every day, and not living like this.

~10:54PM, Sun. 1-15-2023: Well, I'm sitting here, pretty upset with my situation. I think I'm a lot happier when I just interact with people, like it's not complicated. I'm just pissed because I let myself fall behind and leave behind everything that made my life feel full. It's funny because I know that when I truly just forget about the past and focus on the future and see everything that's possible, I get excited, happy even. It's just so dead right now, it's tough. Then I'll like talk to someone online and remember that there are literally millions of people my age in my generation doing countless things out there that I could literally just go be a part of and I think, shit, what am I doing? Why am I being so lame. Just get up and go, man. It's sort of just, like, there's a thousand avenues that I could've gone down and I just, for some bizarre reason, chose to go down none of them. I'm, like, weirdly terrified to life, even though I used to not be. I'm probably traumatized beyond belief. I think I just have to, like, catch up to my generation. By catch up I mean just realize that everyone goes through shit and just go out and join them. As I am, after what's happened. It's fine. No one cares.

I think the thing that just consistently blows my mind is how much has happened that has sort of just sneakily progressed past me. Like, I just sort of watched it all go past me while I was teaching and trying to survive. It's stupid. I don't know, I guess it doesn't matter now. In a sense, it was fine, but it was always missing something, some aspect of real life. Just too cushy, too protected, too unreal, too outside of doing the things you need to do to be apart of what's going on in the moment. Like, flashes of that, little experiences where you're like, okay, I'm in it, I'm alive. Then poof, gone.

I think I'll end on a high note for once. I think everything is still possible. The actual, good perspective to take is to basically forget the past, or at least stop thinking about it because it's gone. You look at the future, and choose the best option for now, and go headlong down it, and fix any problems that you can fix with that option. For me that means taking this job and not thinking too hard about what it means, what the organization is. It just is what it is, there are other aspects of life. Everyone needs to work, it's a fact. So just kind of enjoy the week, wrap up the things that need to be wrapped up, and look forward to getting paid. Sometimes I sit here and think of all the things I haven't done in life. Then I think about everything I'm going to do. It's just ... insane. The gap between what I want to have done, what I want to have and experience, and what I'm actually stuck with right now. It comes down to a lack of work, or work ethic probably. Something like that. Structure. Anyways, I'm excited. I want to wake up early tomorrow. I don't like this sleeping in shit. Enough.

~6:31PM, 1-14-2023: Walked around Burke Lake. I fucking hate everything about what's going on right now. I don't know how I got so disconnected from life but I did. There's nothing going on tonight, I can't afford to go out or even put gas in my car, no one texts me or gives a shit what I'm doing, and it all has to do with money. I fucking lost my life. It's time, too. It's just this endless amount of time, but things are supposed to be happening in the meantime. Events. Things. People are supposed to be saying things. Doing things. It's not supposed to be like this, it never was. It was also never supposed to be so fucking impossible. Goddamn it, my life and friends and everything. Fucking everything. What the fuck. I fucking hate everything that's happened over the past few years. The prime of my life, just wasted. Get me the fuck out of here. There's so many other places to be, so many other ways to be. It makes no fucking sense.

~4:12PM, 1-14-2023: I don't know.

~11:14PM, 1-13-2023: I think the only thing that'll save me is other people. I don't know who, I don't care. I'm going to have to navigate this time. I just feel like I wasted two years and, plus like five when I could've been growing a relationship and building my life. Who the fuck finishes a PhD and loses their entire life a year later. It's not about a job. It's about getting sucked into some huge faceless corporation and not being a human being anymore. I at least kind of avoided that working at a company with twenty eight people. This is eighty five hundred. That's a big difference. It doesn't matter. It's not the core issue, somehow. It's just not being around people, not being, like, inside of a life. It's sort of like you can either be in life, doing it, experiencing things in this continuum, or outside of it, detached from it. I am detached, in every possible way. Detached from money, people, events, everything. I fucking hate this. I hate being here, I hate everything that's happened the past two years, I hate the fact that I moved here, I hate everything I've left behind. All my feelings have just calcified into hate, which only makes sense. I don't get to experience the good feelings I used to feel, so it's all just pain and so hatred. You have to have things that you look forward to every day that are human and real. Every day I just sort of rub my face in this stressed out way, just this gigantic ugh, fuck, no. Like, there's just nothing I can do.

I miss being excited about what you were going to do in life. Yes, that includes work, a lot of it. It's not some fantasy about what you're going to get, what's going to be handed to you. It's more just assuming you will do something, and not nothing. I'm rubbing my face in a pained way again. I cannot describe how absolutely fucked everything is right now. How empty and desolate, mostly. It's not that things are particularly, urgently bad, but they are empty and have been and will be until something changes. What a shit show, what a dumpster fire cluster fuck tragedy. What a stupid, stupid fucking time.

Like, I don't know, I wish the world would stop suffocating me, stop breaking things in my life and taking them. I'm moving as fast as I can and it's not fast enough, there's just nothing I can quite do and bad things just keep happening. People run out, they're not present, they're not there, I don't have money. It's a desert. I'm atrophied and need to walk a hundred miles. It's just fucked. So terribly fucked. I don't know, you just wake up and all the skills you built haven't been used or set to anything, they've just been floating. The things you had started to build have broken, and you're just left with nothing. You are nothing. I mean, I guess you have what you have, but oh fuck it, what am I saying. It's so boring.

I feel like people have week to week or day to day experiences that relieve them of the things I've been grappling with for two years. Like, it's just gone on forever because no one here knows how to help me or take care of me. There's only so much I can do myself, especially without resources. I don't even know if I really know what I want. Whatever the case may be it seems like everything is fucked.

~7:12PM, Fri. 1-13-2023: I feel awful today. I just accepted a job offer at MITRE. I don't know, maybe I need to think about that more. It just feels beyond dead here, like just this bizarre, overwhelming sense that things are just dead and not connected to life and the things that people do on this world. I need to get out of here so badly. I feel like I'm being suffocated every day. There's no where to go, it's all the same, and it's just a constant circle. There are so many things I should be doing, and even getting a job feels wrong. Everything just feels like it got unplugged two years ago, basically three now, and all fucked up. I haven't, like, felt anything in a long time. Just the things people feel on any given day. I just read an article describing how much money people make, twenty seven random people. It's insane. People think they deserve it because they got a college degree. That it tooks them "years to get to that point". Tell me about it, and it doesn't work like that, and you can work for many more and still people question everything about you and disregard everything you've done. It's just dumb, it doesn't matter. Like, I just want to go somewhere. I want to not think about things. Nothing makes sense, nothing is right. I should be, like, celebrating with a group of friends and instead I'm sitting here fucking alone.

~3:55PM, Thurs. 1-12-2023: Days seem to just be, like, absolutely flying by. I need to accept a job offer tomorrow. In the meantime, there's another job I'm going to hear back on today or tomorrow sometime. This was a funny decision because it just sort of happened naturally, I just seem to be gravitating towards one and away from another. I didn't realize my aversion to doing, like, deeper math and programming was so strong. It's like I fundamentally don't care anymore. That's a little scary because it's all I used to care about. I still feel, like, fine. I've been sleeping in, but I don't feel terrible when I wake up. I'm just glad there's nothing pressing that I have to do. My top concern at this point is the fact that my teeth are a hideous shade of yellow. I'm not really sure how that happened, but probably the coffee and cigarettes and lack of care. I seem to have kicked the smoking habit for now. It's all about consumption. If you have something to consume, it seems like you can kind of just switch modes.

I'm sitting in a coffee shop again. I keep doing this. Like, it doesn't matter. I don't know, I think I'm just ready to hang out with a certain type of people again. I really, really fucking miss my friends from PhD programs and cities and whatnot. There's just like a way to transcend whatever is going on in the current moment with them. People who are operating on slightly longer timelines if that makes sense. It doesn't matter, point is I need to get back to DC or Boston ASAP. Like, it's time. I feel like I have to accept the fact that I'm not going to live a certain type of lifestyle. Like, there's not going to be a marriage and kids anytime soon. I'm going to be one of those people that lives in a city and goes to events and shows and stays abreast of cultura and shit. I don't even want to be that. I just feel so docile. Like, I have no initiative right now. I don't know if it's because it's winter or what. I have another Twitter crush, which is basically unhealthy. It stems from not having a life to lean on, all the friends and social life I used to have. I kind of do want to build a social life in DC, like I want to try. Wherever it is, I want to actually lean in to whatever I'm doing. I feel like I got a false start. Lol I'm so tired of writing about this. It's so boring.

How long have I been fucking phoning it in? It is actually exciting when you realize you can do whatever you want, more or less. Like, there's nothing stopping you from trying. Not that I have any resources, but just that it's all waiting. There's literally a million different things you can do. I'm oddly happy though. I don't know why or what happened. I think there's some things I need to do, some leaves I need to take, but perhaps it's just that this time is over. It was a lot of suffering. It's over! Almost. I'm just staring at Tweets from a handful of people on Twitter. It's terrible. I can't figure out why this person is exchanging texts with me, the one with the boyfriend. It doesn't matter. I guess it's funny if people just send texts with no agenda. I always, like, chuckle now when I realize there's an asymmetrical situation because I've been on the other side of the see-saw for so long. Like, I feel like I've just been losing and so when there's a situation where it's like, "Oh my God, THEY'RE nervous, they have the crush, they don't quite know what to say or how to act" it's like, woah, what is happened. Like, it's cute. I feel like it's always so long between those moments that I forget it's even possible. So I don't know, maybe she's out of her depth, just trying to have a conversation or something. I guess I'm always just waiting for someone who can really go back-and-forth, and then of course I'd probably be freaked out by it. I still think it's fucking crazy that the people I eventually gravitated to on Twitter are the exact people I interacted with a couple months ago before deactivating. Like one of them had their account suspended, it wasn't likely. They're women, whatever that means. Very funny women. What's hilarious is that I probably won't actually learn what I'm trying to learn, how to do what they're doing. Like, it'll proabably be a failed project but I think I'll take away something. It just feels very slow. In a sense some of these people have been (actively) at it for many years now, so there's just a certain amount of time that you have to factor in.

I feel pretty neutral, like I haven't felt anything in awhile. Ugh! It just feels like there's nothing going on, nothing I particularly care about, nothing major that I want to learn or do. It's just fucking crazy that people have been working and living for like nine years now and I've been in school and fucking around. I feel like a child. Whatever, fuck it, almost out of the hole. It's oddly intimate, I don't know what to tell you. I'm on a website and someone and I are looking at oyster casserole recipes that she's thinking about making tonight. Like, it's fucking funny. It's so fucking weird and so fucking funny. It just feels like something is due. It's like the weight of a million unexperienced things, good and bad. I don't know. All I can say with clarity is that it scares the shit out of me that I'm sitting in the same fucking coffee shop a year later and nothing has changed. The gravity of this place, the sheer nothingness is breathtaking. Like, you can just essentially slip into the void, disappear into nothingness and no one will catch you.

I need to meet some people. I guess when I start making money I'm just going to hang out in DC. This is, in a way, a chance to invent myself. Like, anything is still possible. 31 is relatively young. Three years is nothing. There was a pandemic. I've already processed that.

Things evolve fast. It took not two months to develop a number of connections when I moved to DC before. With money, with stability, that's a whole new world. I guess I have to accept that I'm older and that it's all a little different, but fuck it. I'm not particularly interested in my twenties or what I did then. They were full enough. It's a new time, a new decade, a new era. It's the boring the twenties. I feel so behind, like all these little things I'm supposed to do and I just don't do them. It's pretty bad. Really the only things I need to do is quit two jobs and accept a new one. I suppose tomorrow is a good day to do that, Friday.

I don't know, I just feel kind of lazy and uninspired. I think I'm supposed to make dinner tonight. I really don't want to. This isn't even, like, coherent. I'm just rambling about nothing. Everyone in here is just sitting with computers and books. It's so boring! Shit. Like why. Why don't I have any desire to read a book. At all. Why do I just want to stare into the void. Hm. What to do. There's a homeless person snoozing on my left. Some couple on my right talking about some whatever job at some huge company making less than they think they're worth. They're absolutely not worth more than sixty thousand dollars a year. Without a doubt.

~4:55PM, Weds. 1-11-2023: Feeling pretty good today. I bought a coffee with spare change. I'm listening to "In the Meantime" by Spacehog again. I can't really believe it's 2023. It's still supposed to be 2019 or 2020. Michael wrote back today. Made sense, kind of absorbed my rambling message and processed it, and was basically like things happen and it's fine. Not really sure why I needed to write a lengthy wild message, when something simpler would've sufficed, but I've been kind of offloading my craziness a bit, letting other people process, respond or not respond, kind of sort of it out. It's a lot easier than trying to be measured all the time and always say the right thing. It's very stressful. You can just kind of be a mess sometimes and other people won't really care that much, they'll just be like okay that's them. I'm still not sure how you find people online that kind of match what you're looking for, but it happens. Somehow. I guess you just see a lot of stuff and filter out anything you don't want, and it's like panning for gold. Eventually you find someone where you're like, yes, this person. Or people. Could be a bunch. It's like socializing elsewhere. I don't love it, but it exists. I keep sleeping in. It's in this non-depressed way. I'd like to go out with Alyssa again, I think that'd be fun. I got a call from Brianna the other night, maybe last night I forget, super late. Tom wants me to hang out with him in Richmond within the next couple weeks, invited me to Spain but I don't have time and it costs too much (only 500 but I'm broke). I'm kind of cleaning up my life, and also realizing that there's certain types of people I want to be around, but I have a vague and limited idea of who they are. I do think, like, some of the bigger Twitter accounts have the general vibe. Kind of based metropolitan skanks. Not really sure if that's accurate or even acceptable, but whatever. I just like using the word skank. I'm also still appreciating the free-flowing discourse that doesn't feel angry or agressive, just like people are making fun of things and being irreverant. It's a fine line, and it would certainly offend a lot of people, but I think the point is that it just sort of doesn't matter. You can just leave and not be a part of it, it's very voluntary.

I don't know, man, I want something to work on. I feel very disconnected. My brain also feels like it's moving at a sort of glacial pace. It's weird but I'm kind of into it. There's little to no stress, which is nice. My life has gotten weird. I've got to normalize this. Months! It will take months, which is the problem. Like, 1/23 start date and then at least a month to get used to it and paid, and then more months to clear out debts and things. Hm. Whatever, just gotta roll with everything. That's kind of the key, you just roll with it. I need to, like, be more active. I don't know. There seems to be something almost ... massive ... missing. Hm. Is it a relationship? Is it an apartment? Is it a job? What could it be .... It feels bigger than that. Like, sitting around on Earth, having spent ten years thinking about how the universe works, how deep aspects of math interlock with each other, and then you're just sort of out of it, looking at the world as it is again, with no distraction.

I don't know, it seems pretty simple. Like, you gotta just run. There's a certain amount of just "you only live once". It's kind of trite, but it's a philosophy. It's right, like dude, you're gonna die soon, just fucking go. Quit whining and procrastinating and make some things happen. I did like the line in "Stutz" about "pain, uncertainty, constant work", because that feels right above all. It's sort of like, if you can accept those three things, then there is a lot of life that you can experience outside of that. I have seen pain, experienced uncertainty, and rejected constant work. Now, I think, I am trying to lean into the work. That may actually help a lot, to try to finally balance those things. That's growing up, too, I think. Like just accepting that you always have to work. I mean, look, here's what's happening right now. Like, RIGHT NOW. I have reactivated my Twitter account and I've been interacting primarily with an account that I really like which was initially called @s4m31p4n, which I initially interpreted as "@samepain", because I had no idea what it meant. I had reactivated a few days a couple months ago, and there were a couple of tweets that I had liked and retweeted or something, and they had responded. I actually thought it was a guy and really didn't care. Then, independently a couple months later, I get on and somehow see that the account had been suspended, with 70k followers. Their friend, porn gum, posted a picture of them with their new handle and I was like "ohhhhhhh", not what I was expecting at all. So I followed their new account and watched it go up to a couple thousand followers and just decided to be a reply guy on this one, similar to the one in the past. It's just, like, a way for them to get to know you. So anyways, there's a real person behind the account but I think this time expectations are very chilled out, it's just like okay perhaps we'll be friends, but only if I receive a DM or something, I don't feel like reaching out and being that person. It's just fun to interact and see where it goes.

I don't know! My life has become kind of sad, it was everything I was hoping for for a little while there, then it just collapsed so hard that I didn't know to keep it alive. I just don't like the flavor of it right now, like I don't think I'm in the right place doing the right thing or around the right people. It all feels off, like I'm at a party I don't want to be at. Like, you just think of people biking across the country, going on these huge road trips, living in cities, weekend trips to the mountains, parties, clubs, events, blah-blah, everything. Like, adult life. It feels so unproductive to dwell on that. Like, it doesn't work. I'm seeking humor. I don't know. Like, it is kind of funny that some of these accounts get suspended. The funniest ones that just seem to be in touch with something get thrown off. It's great.

I feel so wildly neutral about getting a job. I haven't been taking any medication for a few days, and I feel exactly the same. I keep forgetting about that. An entire workday has passed me by, yet again. It's going to be legitimately tough to get back into the swing of things, working like forty hours a week. I guess I've got to go just fail repeatedly, like over and over. My entire value system has been shattered. That's fine, I guess. It wasn't that great to begin with. I kind of don't give a shit, it's mostly that I kind of missed the boat out and into life itself. Everything feels kind of weird and broken and whatnot. Is this place open till 6pm? Oh that's right, Sam is coming over to do pizza tonight. Got it. Fuck, I haven't figured anything out. It's people that are missing. In every possible way. Hm.

~3:26PM, Weds. 1-11-2023: Slept it. Felt nice. I don't know, feels like my problems are close to being better. There's still some things I need to do, and I really need to get outside. A short one today.

~3:06PM, Tues. 1-10-2023: The days are turning into some kind of blur. I don't feel depressed but I woke up at like noon today. I felt refreshed, I don't know. Everything just feels kind of funny. I've been looking at Twitter a lot and people are just idiotic and irreverant. It's good. I should probably stop. I kind of stopped smoking, which is good I think, but I'll probably cave soon. I guess I'm almost out. Am I almost out? Feels like it. I can't believe I just, like, wasted two years. Oh well. That is my final feeling on the matter. Whoops. I feel kind of old. Like, people are actually married and have careers and whatnot. At thirty. Unreal. They're also, like, starting PhDs, so then nothing matters. Living in the present rules. I have completely lost the thread of my existence though, and wound up coming in some sort of bizarre circle back to my youth. Anyways, I'm trying to figure out what's going on so I can figure out what to do. Part of me thinks, like, okay hell yeah, I've got a job. I can do a lot with that. The other part of me feels like it's going to be a death of some sorts. I think it'll be really, really helpful to not view it that way. Like, seriously. Looking at it like that assumes there is some other route or path that makes sense, and there just isn't. It's not about it being the perfect one, it's about moving in a direction. Generic self life advice. Blah-blah.

Everyone just feels kind of lame in this coffee shop. I don't know, when you're in a major city the vibe is different. Maybe everyone is actually lame, but at least they're in their twenties and early thirties and dressed well. How vapid. I haven't even read the offer letter from this place. I think I've been trying to learn some things from Twitter, reading more Tweets and getting a better idea of how to just, like, compress writing and find more humor in things. It's tricky to pin down, I feel like you gotta just hang out with people and riff and not really give a fuck and then it's funny, otherwise you're trying too hard. I'm trying too hard. I can't even look at some aspects of culture. It's exhausting watching people just attack eachother. It seems to be mostly out of boredom; they're fine. My current situation is absolutely alarming and has been, and I genuinely feel like I've been pretty low-key about it. I just want to be around different people. I don't know, maybe outdoorsy people again. It's really fucking nice to drive out to the middle of nowhere and go camping and not give a shit about all the noise that's going on. jody: "i don't understand what others are talking about". Exactly. It's fucking better. I looked at someone's account for like two minutes and they're just screaming about sexual assault in the workplace. Like, it's not that it doesn't matter, it's just like, can I not focus on this? I'm not apart of this.

There's just not enough information and feedback. I mean, I guess I gotta just go out and make some stuff happen. I'm, like, four years behind. Wow. That's actually the worst possible thing to do, to focus on that. Hm. Feels like this isn't helping, but nothing really is. It's almost, like, it won't matter without rebuilding some friendships and relationships. Like, everything is dead without that, forreal. I'm enjoying "riffing" with Samara. Honestly, it's a little like shooting the shit with your friends. I am literally just waiting for someone to walk into my life. It's interesting to note that my life, if it really gets started this year, will be getting kind of a late start. I suppose in terms of working, or whatever. Lots of false starts. This needs to be the last "start". It's just gone on too long. Like, I've gotta swing from one branch to the next.

I guess I've, like, calmed down in some very real sense from a couple months ago. My previous endeavors feel stupid. I was also, like, texting a lot of people and that's never good. Gotta go back to old ways, cultivate some mystique, get people to reach out to you. Be visible, accessible, busy. Fuck bitches, get money.

~3:00PM, Mon. 1-9-2023: Alright, let's put down four thousand words. I interviewed this morning at STR, which stands for Systems Technology Research. It was ineteresting, fairly lax all things considered. I don't know if it was meant to be challenging, but it was two hours long which for me these days is a marathon. It's funny to think that normally people work forty hours a week every week. The amount that you could get done is staggering. It was odd to be writing some code that I could've written ten years ago, answering basic questions about programming verbally. It's not a good test of skill. In any case it felt long, and the main takeaway was that I'm simply not interested in being tucked away in some building somewhere doing some research that no one will ever hear about. Like, it's life. You get to do it one time. Okay, so then I'm back on Twitter. I'm trying to stop smoking. I'm alone. I stopped taking meds, just sort of casually. A few people I was talking to fell off, but they were barely there anyways. I'm looking at a Sephora in a decaying old vestige of the past, a physical analog of a categorized distribution center. It's nice. I don't know, I'm into it. As long as you have coffee, who the fuck cares. Just saw an old woman who looked like someone I knew but is slightly older. Freaked me out a little to remember that people die. Listening to Fever Dream Kids on my phone. It's at seven percent, which has me a little concerned. The coffee was from a News Stand type side store; not Starbucks. It's not from Stackbucks, and it's not as good as Starbucks. Do I write for an audience? Like, who is it that I really want to read my nothing. It's hilarious that the most interesting thing in my life is Twitter right now. Good news is, I've figured something out. It's people. Like, straight up, no doubt, human beings that'll fix the issue. On some level money and job and apartment, but I think it's actually friends. Like, not quite a girlfriend. Friends help you figure out who the fuck you are, especially when you've changed. Without them you're sort of lost. I haven't worked in any serious way in, like, two years. That is moderately disconcerting. I guess it's friends that make you feel alright about that horrifying reality, who just don't really give a fuck. One thing I find interesting is that now having gone on Twitter two or three times, it seems to be the same general group of people that keep cropping up. I mean, maybe not but it can't be the case that these are actually the only people on Twitter, the well-knowns. Perhaps, but it feels small in a way, when only a few people reply or whatever. You can see that a handful of big accounts with reply to each other, and then it's a free-for-all as far as liking and re-tweeting. It reminds me of sitting at a high school cafeteria. It's loud, there are a lot of a people, a few cool kids, and mostly odd little groups forming and reforming, and you can barely hear anything it's so loud, but there are subtle little interactions that happen under the surface. I've been out of the friend loop for quite some time. I mean, the close ones are hanging on by a thread, but everyone else is long gone. Man, I came to this Apple Store like fifteen years ago, when it was more or less the same. Updated gadgets. Anyways, I get excited by the idea that there is a type of person that I haven't met yet that just fucking fits. The right combination of smart and dumb and funny and sincere and all the things. My head feels empty. Like, there's going to be no commentary on capitalism. I simply don't give a shit. The world isn't decaying, it's evolving, and there's a lot of change and death. I just doubt we're going to be able to stop it, so I'm riding the wave. I guess you really only need, like, one good friend. Like, a real one. Someone who calls on the phone. I'm gonna find this motherfucker because I have to. Sometimes I get a little nervous when I interact with the bigger accounts on Twitter because it's like, they're actually posting all sorts of interesting stuff all day every day. I have no idea how they do it. My experience with Megan was pretty cool, because she just seemed like such a regular person. I'm sure that's true for all these other accounts. What a luxury to never have to buy makeup ever in my life. Perhaps it's nice, I'll never know. I've been really attracted to gothy girls recently. Not goth, but the flavor, some accents. I'm bored of myself. It feels kind of like Alice in Wonderland, like I grew up, and then back down, and now I'm supposed to grow up again. Remembering these old places is strange, but they don't really have a ton of memories in them to be honest. I don't actually know if I'm ready to go. I believe so. Hm. MITRE or STR? Probably MITRE. Who cares, in a way, as it's not really the point. The point is life, girlfriends, family, friends, travel, and just tapping into whatever isn't all of that. Finding a pack of creative savages to run with. This coffee is good. Should I try harder? Like, honestly. I like writing, but I should try harder, right? How do I do that? This feels lazy. Everything I do feels fuckin' lazy. Like, what do I do, write an essay? Am I picking a topic? Do I write something clever about malls and modernism? I'm afraid of getting older, I don't want to waste any more time. Burning two years at the peak of my existence has been kinda scary, like it just throws you from young to not-so-young very quickly. I don't know what I would say to a burned out thirty year old who got their PhD recently, other than I get it, and what's up? You really can't exchange that much information by talking, but somehow you can get a lot done. I don't know how that's possible. Like, I feel like spending an hour with someone is infinitely better than reading anything they wrote for an hour. Could be wrong. So, mostly I'm just trying to prevent myself from becoming too fucking weird during this interim period. The isolation isn't good, but I'm hanging in there, keepin' it normal. It's quite a slog. The temptation to stop giving a fuck is pretty strong. Listening to "In the Meantime" by Spacehog. I think I need to find a goth girlfriend. I can't wait to start meeting people again. I just feel like such a fucking idiot, completely rough around the edges, in absolute need of, like, breaking in. Too much time thinking without testing out whatever new perspective or philosphy has developed. You gotta see yourself reflected in other people, otherwise it's pretty impossible to know who you are or what you're like. My phone's about to die. This was a ramble, but I'll keep going if there's WiFi.

Alright, I peed. Took a piss? One is significantly more masculine. In the restroom, I realized I have a massive fucking issue, which is that I'm not really doing enough and nothing is working out. It's like, damn, I need to work on something. And hang out with people. Mostly those two things. Repeating that is not going to help. The question is, like, how do you actually get better? Like, if I wanna get better at writing, what do I need to do? Replying on Twitter is not a good strategy. Writing a whole bunch of nonsense words is not a good strategy. There's just some things missing. Perhaps I should go back to math, but that also feels like a bit of a dead end. It feels like a crisis but nothing bad is actually happening. Like, it is deafening nothingness, but so much other shit should be happening. Y'know what though, fuck it, honestly I'm kind of glad I'm not tied to an insane amount of stuff right now. Like, a serious job or kids, or something else. So it's weird, it's not, like, "how to get out". I did that, I just didn't stay out. It's how to find something worth doing again. Should have seen this coming but the solution will be to start with something you don't want to do, but that pays well. That'll just force me to find things I actually do like doing. It kind of already has. I like writing but I think I hate the process that would result in good writing. I just want to type meaningless nonsense and pray that something good comes out, which is ridiculous. I've been trying to condense the things I say to a handful of words, which is hard. People on Twitter can say what they mean in six to ten words and I usually can't. I need a spark. I'm sitting on a powderkeg of repressed feelings and behaviors. What a stupid fucking year 2022 was, and how it shouldn't've been. Oh well, fuck it. It's over. Should I try to wake up at, like, six o'clock and write something real? What do I want to do here? Dude, I just miss riffing with people. I am not a writer or comedian, but I just love writers and comedians. I probably want to be one in some pathetic, longing way. I think I sort of trnasitioned my values and beliefs a few years ago, sort of deciding that particle physics was not in fact where the answers are. People laughing at things and describing things is just so much more human, and literally impossible to describe in terms of physics. So it just breaks whatever model you have. Like, you're not gonna describe what it means to be funny. Perhaps there'll be some way to quantify it then generate funny, but for now it's just people understanding something pretty primal about their fellow humans and making them laugh about shit. Seems pretty anticlimatic to switch from trying to understand the center of a black hole to trying to figure out what makes people laugh, but whatever. Can't believe I just wrote those words. I need feedback, and like an assignment or something. Something to actually hone in. I don't think I've ever taken a writing class. I have no idea how to structure anything. I wonder if it matters. It seems like your shit could be good or bad, like some auto-didact teaching themselves the guitar. Like, you either just pick up a whole bunch of bad habits or your idiosyncrices give you a unqiue style. A lot of failure these past couple years. If nothing else, just a metric fuck ton of failure. I cannot wait to stop fucking failing. It is the worst. It is so lame. You get used to it to, and that sucks. Like, I want to just shed all the failure, burn it. I feel like my life is slipping away from me. Like, I need to get the fuck into it right now. Go have an independent existence and make decisions. I still think it's funny that I didn't know who Dasha was before getting interested and following her account. I guess that just goes to show that she has a certain allure that other people feel as well. That shit is funny, yo. Can you quantify that? Just, like, the weird gravitational pull some people have to their personalities? Probably a psychologist could explain it, but it would make it boring to know. It's an aura. The amount ... of things ... I need to do ... for myself ... is simply staggering. I can't even wrap my mind around it. It's fine. Step one is to figure out what to do with these words, how to filter them, prune them, put them into a grain mill and refine them into soft white flour and make some word bread. I don't fucking know, man. I have no answers but I need to turn it up, make some things happen. Just, like, clean out the garage and get the old car running again and just floor it on the highway. I'm young. I'm alive. I have no responsibilities. That's a potent fucking combo. I guess I do need to stop waiting for things to fall into my lap. I say that, and then my thought is, "I'll probably watch some more White Lotus". The show isn't even that good. I just want to get excited about something again. I also don't want to give in to some monotonous job, or like sell my soul and sink into something lame. Just saw a guy here at the mall that test rode a bike with his daughter. Cool. I am laughing so hard at myself right now. How the fuck did I let myself end up here? I, like, systematically cut out the reward systems that would've made it possible to keep going, the girlfriends and the money. I have NO IDEA what's up with me, and I don't think anyone else does either. Just a fucking mystery box. I'm starving. I don't even want to call this a blog, I just want to call it "words that have exited my brain". Is this healthy? Do we care? How the fuck did I form another Twitter crush, what's wrong with me? This one doesn't even care, unlike the last one. Smart, quick, witty, funny, offbeat, alternative, a little mean, irreverant, self-aware, kind at heart. It's quite a mix! Anyways, I think you just get better. Right now I'm uncommitted, which is a problem. It's different if you really say, okay, I'm going to try to get followers. I've done that and found it to be basically impossible, or extremely difficult and dependent on luck and other things that are difficult to measure or re-create. This mall is actually boring as fuck. There aren't interesting people in a five mile radius. I'm still so fucking hungry. Look man, I don't know. I'm tired, but I still want to live. I still want to go take my life back and experience my time and my generation as it is, right now. I'm not dead. I'm just tired as fuck. Enough of that though! Let's just quit being tired. Like, being tired is lame. Remember? Wake up. Do something cool. Get excited about something.

I suppose I am left with an overwhelming sense that there is nothing here. There is nothing I want to buy or see. It is essentially a display case for items that I'll never purchase. I get so out of it when I'm not around people. Like, I just forget how to talk and joke and whatnot. It comes back quickly but when you don't have people to bounce things off of it's pretty bad. Okay, I'm going to get some food. This was a terrible post. In any case, there's work to do. Let's just try to find something to focus on, and go from there.

~3:16PM, Sun. 1-8-2023: I'm at a Barnes and Noble, just kind of chillin'. I told everyone I have Covid so I'm off my two part time jobs, which I need to quit. I may have an interview tomorrow or Tues. I can't be sure, because the scheduling has been wack. Other than that, we're good. Job offer on the table. I have to keep reminding myself to take it, that my life will get better. I'm feeling some sense of calm. I like the hours between, when there's nothing I'm supposed to do. I don't feel particularly depressed. I'm feeling over some stuff, like it's just in the past and I'm too tired to care. The years that felt exciting and full are kind of in the rear view, it's been a couple slow ones but I'm not worried about it. I think I have some kind of taste because I'll, like, find someone on Twitter and just think that they're cool and interesting, and then it's a very weird feeling to later figure out, like, oh, they're kind of famous. When you're just evaluating them on merit it's really different. The whole vibe changes when you see they were in a TV show you liked, but then it doesn't. It's just kind of growing up I guess, when you accpet that no matter what people are just people. Anyways. Everything feels kind of unimporant, which is nice. The news kind of falls flat and into the background. I'm in a very jazzy mood, like I just want to put away all the loud stuff. I'm fine with some things being out of place or not working. It's fine. It's always the case, you'll never beat it, never get everything all fixed and organized. I want to be fine with that, to live within some amount of dysfunction and chaos. It feels natural. I'm supposed to be reading a book and I might just not. It's funny, this blog feels vapid. Like, I'm not actually saying anything. Sometimes I look at the analytics and chuckle. They're meaningless. There'll be like weird spikes in two places that match, and it's just like, "I don't believe this". I've decided that I'll just never know.

Dude, I can't, like, figure out what I want to do. There's a really distinct feeling when you're involved in something. It takes away from all the craziness of the world, to just, like, know what you're doing on a given day. Doesn't really matter what it is. Once you're in the zone, you just, like, zoom in all the way and everything else is background noise. It's why I hate when I analyze things and think too hard about what I'm supposed to be doing. It doesn't matter. I would kind of love to get really into my job. It feels like running into a massive forest though, like you're just sort of out there trying to figure things out, and no one's ever going to see you. There's no exposure. There's a side of me that wants exposure, that wants someone to see what I'm capable of and figure out what to do with me. Perhaps I'm not capable of very much at all. I don't think that's true. I just think it's a matter of what, exactly. It won't necessarily be good, but surely there's somewhere I can splatter paint around in a unqiue way. Sometimes I wish the world was like that. Just, like, yo, we have enough food and coffee and beds and stuff. Just go do something fun with people and don't hurt anyone, SEE YA. Like, why do we have to keep building crazy systems and more houses. The birth rate is declining, you'd think we could just lock in a working system and go hang out with each other. That's a very childish viewpoint, to be sure, but still. I contributed something, can't I just be free? Anyways. I'm starving. I can't wait to eat again, but what's sad is I'm too poor to afford food at the place I am currently sitting. This should probably propel me to do more work, and it is, but I also don't care. What a brilliant defense mechanism, just not giving a fuck. It's pretty dangerous though, and doesn't last long before things sort of start to fall apart, but still, for awhile it's pretty awesome. It's an open question whether things have ever actually made sense. It feels like they've come close. I can't say I've ever just felt completely comfortable. Perhaps with Burcu things were closing in, but then there was a lot of life I needed to experience. I can't condone my behavior over the past two or three years. Pretty avoidant. Need to get paid. I am worried I've sort of jumped into a kind of nerdy, bad situation at MITRE. That the underlying whatever that's taken over my life and trying to propel me to do something ELSE is going to win out. I really need some inspiration, a change of scenery. Blah blah. I keep saying what I need but I don't have the resources to go get any of it.

I'm also just tired. That's pretty tricky. I'm laughing at what I'm writing. I mean, c'mon, Jesus Christ. The one thing I've learned from Twitter is that, in fact, things can be said in like eight words. A lot can be expressed. You really don't need to try to say it in a thousand. I've seen people describe hundreds of different ideas clearly and succinctly using like six to ten words, and it's remarkable. I mean, there's huge issues with my life, but I kind of can't care. Like, worrying about it isn't going to fix it. I don't think there's anything I can do until I start getting paid, so it's just, like, fuck it. Being in a bookstore is nice. It's, like, wholesome. Not that I haven't been getting enough doses of that, but whenever you get into, like, gritty adult situations for too long it's nice to just sit in a place where there are very, very normal people just doing very calm things. This is not a BDSM dungeon in a city, not that I frequent those, but something it's like, yo, just stop. Stop trying to be insane. It's annoying. I'm not thrilled by my current behavior or circumstances. Once again it appears we will move from fight to flight and try to get away from some of the awfulness. Man, there's so many cool people in the world and interesting things to do, it just kinda sucks. Like, that's all. No need to dig into it. There really are. I'm not feeling depressed about it, it's just, like, c'mon man. I want to get involved in something that makes my brain think about that thing all day. Don't care if it's a relationship or a curiosity or what, but something different.

Hm. I still have my whole life ahead of me, more or less. I mean, part of it is behind me, but that's fine. Where do I want to live? DC? Actually? I mean, in a way, yes. For now. Perhaps I'll get an apartment in Mt. Pleasant. Frankly, I just want something nice. I'm too tired. I don't think roommates are a good idea, but damn, living alone. Such a vibe. Fucking loneliness. I think I view myself as someone who thrives like that, but I'm not sure if that's the reality. Also, like, why apartments, why cities? Do I really actually want that? I have no idea.

Well, I think it's going to be interesting and perhaps funny. The answer is meeting people. I need to go hang out with people that are cool. That's really the only way. It's decided. I'll move to a neighborhood in DC I like and meet cool people. Couldn't be simpler. It's like a half hour drive to the office. Someone should text me out of the blue. That'd be cool. Okay, I'm jumping from idea to idea but I have to say how nice it is to just feel fucking normal. To feel, like, fine. There's a part of me that wants to befriend a bunch of local comedians. Like, I'm not funny, or brave enough to do stand up, but I just love the vibe. Just a bunch of goons who aren't really famous or anything but are just trying to make each other laugh. Sort of outcasts but somehow they're dumb and smart at the same time and they just kind of get it. Random but fuck the machines. Even though they'll be writing way better than us shortly here I don't think it changes things. I'll still want to write and express myself. It doesn't matter that some machine can try to predict what I'm going to say or say it better. There have always been people more eloquent. Well, I'm starving. Better go get some food. Nothing really came out of this. It's fine.

~2:32PM, Sat. 1-7-2023: Uh, I took off work today, claiming Covid. I don't know, I just didn't feel like going. It's time to quit both of those jobs, like actually. Everything feels boring as hell, and I just want to write about nothing because it's the only thing that makes me feel good. Politics is boring, the days are boring, and every good thing feels far away. I'm at this coffee shop, ostensibly to read a book. I feel completely disconnected from my life and generation, and it's really hard to get back. I don't know what to do. I have no clue if working will fix things. I tend to doubt it, but it'll at least change things. I'm so bored right now I almost can't even believe it. Alright, well, where do I want to live? Presumably DC, because it's a city and this new job is in McLean. Hm. It's sort of just, like, everything has hollowed out. I don't really do anything on weekends anymore. I'm legitimately scared at having to rebuild my life from scratch at 31. Like, friends included. Other people have their entire lives set up. I have close to nothing. I could talk about how I had big dreams, but it's already quickly changed. They don't matter. It's not about having dreams. It's more, like, people will work their whole life to acheive something and a small group of people will really notice, and even then it'll fade in time. They'll die. Some of these people might even be miserable. It all seems beside the point. Like, you really have to figure out what makes you happy, even if on some level that is just the act of survival, because you have to do that anyways. I'm trying to figure that out. I'm failing fucking miserably at it. I get bored listening to myself talk. I need other people. There's too much interesting stuff in the world. I don't know, I just see these accounts on Twitter. Really just a few, and it just kind of feels, well, close to some people I knew in grad school, but close to who my friends should actually be. Really, just, sarcastic, funny, dark, smart people. Sort of alternative, not necessarily participating in the mainstream but still surviving and working and apart of something, but just totally above and beyond politics and the roar of civilization, like off to the side somehow. Hm. Something is so off, I'm just, like, wondering how I'll feel when it's not. It just feels like I've got to figure some shit out. I don't really feel anything. It has nothing to do with mental health. There's just a certain raw numbness that comes with this situation. Like, where is the excitement. I don't know. I'll just keep writing. It's therapeutic. I suppose I'm in a position where I simply don't know what to do. Like, dude, some people go visit Antartica. What am I doing here? Shouldn't I be, like, riding a helicopter over the Alaskan wilderness or some shit? Why am I sitting at a Starbucks? How fucking lazy am I? I swear to God I used to not be. Hm. Perhaps I just don't care. Is that disassociating? I don't know. There are things I care about, but it doesn't feel like it right now. I do know that the past two plus years are now coming to an end. They have to. I don't care what it takes. Yes, that includes this weird job with this large, faceless organization. No one will care, and yes, it is in a sense a failure, because there's no real direction. I just feel so absolutely disconnected to anyone. The thought of working five days a week without things going on outside of that is sort of horrifying. I guess I'll have to just start going to places, I don't know. Figure something out. Like, I can't wait three months to move out, that's three more months I don't have. I hope to God I have gained something. Some knowledge or resilience or something. Otherwise, what the actual fuck. How do you find your place again? How do you make sense out of losing it, even though it was, like, gone before you really had it. I don't know, man. I just know this ain't gonna fix it. I at least feel like I've grown in some hard to describe way. Sometimes I read things other people write and I just sort of chuckle now. It seems childish, somehow. Like, okay, your perspective comes from a place of not having had your world ripped out from underneath you. You're only capable of imagining losing certain things. Certain stable items will always be present in your life, you assume. It's just like, you don't know what the world can do yet. It's not quite fair, nor does it have to make sense. It's just, like, a tree falls on you and your leg is crushed. You'd never assume that can happen but it does occasionally happen, and there's no real reason for it. I don't think my situation is quite that bad, and in fact it's not improving in a measurable sense but I still feel somewhat crippled. Ah, fuck, I just want to interact with people who are like me, whatever the fuck that means. I'm tired of nerds, but it's beyond exhausting and borders on scary to, like, be tutoring kids in a strip mall or working in a retail store. It's just fucking insane. It's like dying, in a way. Like, what do I have to do. Something has to change. Something very real. I feel like I've surveyed the landscape and I'm disappointed. There's nothing that I want to jump into to. I like writing. That's a neat hobby, I guess. Other than that, I'm drawing blanks. Is it literally impossible to do this sitting at a Starbucks? Like it is. I know it fucking is. You can't just sit somewhere with a cup of coffee and do anything. That's been an issue all along. Like, you have to be somewhere, with people, exchanging ideas rapidly for anything to happen. Can I delete my LinkedIn now? Lol. I just want to actually do something cool that I like. I don't know. What do you do? Just wait for something magical to break your way? I can't stand the thought of being normal. I'm glad that there's a very real sense in which I'm not, but a little bummed out that the reason is intermittent mental illness. It's so ill defined anyways, it's almost senseless. People still not willing to admit that the effects of stress and terrible situations will cause people to behave in, well, bad or weird ways. It's a chicken and egg problem, a Catch-22. Who cares. Tired whining about that. It's better to just distance yourself as much as possible from that world. It's like a black-hole, just waiting to suck people into this cyclic trap where nothing is quite right, all labels and issues, no solutions. I can feel the boredom. It's, like, palpitating. It's almost unreal. The worst part is I have the freedom to do something, and I cannot think of anything, like anything, to do. I might be beyond help. I don't know. I guess there's an aspect of the normal world that's never, ever going to work for me. I'm sure some people feel that way, but unfornuately are professionals in some field that allows for that, like comedy or music or photography or acting or something creative where you can avoid the usual type of work. I thought that mathematics would get me out of the usual struggles, and I was right to an extent, but wrong in a way. It's very standard in terms of how the work gets done, and at a certain point it just requires a level of knowledge and creativity so extreme that you have to forget why you're doing it at all, proving some obscure aspects about a high dimensional space, and just do it for the sport of it, which I'm never good at. I don't know, you can just feel it. When you're excited about someone or something, when you stop asking all the wrong questions and picking it apart, when you get to just be a kid with a toy and not a scientist with a microscope. I just kind of want to get out. I don't even know of what. Of this situation, I guess. I still want to find someone to riff with, to vibe with, to talk to, to go back and forth with until you actually figure something out. I miss people that just kind of get it, that know how to make you feel good and also get things done. I kind of want to go be a pro. Like, at least you get to wake up and just focus on that, and you can be kind of serious and ignore people that aren't. There's something freeing about that. You just kind of forget what people are doing that are outside of your endeavors. Not entirely, but it's insulated a little. You have your crew, and things that would sound really complicated to an outsider are relatively simple to you insiders. It doesn't even feel like you're doing anything remarkable, because you're constantly trying to simplify it to the point where you can do it and get it done. Blah blah. That's all it feels like. Everything I read it's blah-blah. The news is boring, LinkedIn is boring, even reading things on Quanta is boring. Like, it's just not my fault. A lot of these places kind of demand you disengage with reality, with people and food and sex and literally going outside. Read an article, sit in an office, spend hundreds of hours thinking about this one thing. It's just, like, stop! There is other stuff going on, please go away. Quit telling people that you have some deep understanding of the world when it doesn't take place on that scale or level at all. Like, it's just so inhuman. I listen to comedians and think they have a better grasp of reality than particle physicists because they're actually engaging with reality, the one that uses your five senses, and they're finding the absurdity in trying to understand all of it. Ugh. I'm really negative. I feel that way. Just lost, stressed, negative. My needs are obvious. I don't even want to list them because I have a thousand times. Meeting them will actually probably fix it, probably change how I see the world. ARGGHHGGRHRHRHRGRGRHRHR. That's how I feel. Why won't something just swoop in to make the days bearable. Like, I need a guiding force or something. The current situation is basically untenable. I'm so out of touch with myself it's like not being alive. Apologies but that's the truth. It also just feels like my brain has no capacity for any bullshit. Like, I really can't sit at a tutoring institution and genuinely listento feedback and criticism because it's too sad and I simply don't care. As much as that makes me a piece of shit, it is what it is. It's just like, yo, no. I've been through too much. Like, it's not meaningless but it's not for me. Let someone else do it. I'm looking for something I do care about, that does seem to genuinely matter. Like, there's no fucking way I'm going to become a therapist, but in a way it seems like the only thing that matters, because other than say healthcare it's the one field that sort of can see the entire picture clearly, that knows your job probably doesn't matter but that people are making themselves miserable over it searching for something, and therapists can stand off to the side and see both the person and the thing they're striving for, trying to fix, and just be like, yeah, that other thing doesn't matter, but you do. I am behind on my bills. That's a pretty good reason to get excited about this job. Boy, will that feel nice. To just be able to afford things again. I still don't think it's the answer. I think the answer was securing a relationship like four years ago, but hey, that ship sailed. Now I'm a complete mess. Wisened, but it has not helped to sit around and focus on myself. It's been awful. It was better to have company. Everything people say about this is bizarre. Just try to make the relationship work, and if it does great, if it doesn't adjust. I don't care about what I just wrote. I don't even know why I wrote that. It's boring. Sometimes I wonder what other people are thinking about or writing about or looking at on their phones. I literally have no idea, it could be anything. Sometimes my brain will jump to completely unrealistic ideas about what exactly they're doing. I mean, it's fine. It makes sense. You'll never actually know, so your brain has to do something. The narcissistic ones are particualy exhausting, where it's like, "what if they're reading what I'm writing right now, and reacting to it"? They're absolutely not, and it's a bizarre, unhealthy thought, but it's also kind of funny. Then you can look at their reactions when you write and pretend that the smirk on their face is one of polite exhaustion or pity. I don't know, maybe people work, or do schoolwork, or read the news. I don't care. I get myself into the worst corners, just like places where I absolutely do not want to be. I wonder how much is just money. Like, if I had money I would just go to places that I like to be at. It's not, but it might help. It's never about money, it's always about people. That's, like, the primary goal in my life is to just fucking be around people that I want to be around. It makes everything tolerable and better. I've noticed that I really don't care about causes anymore. Like, people will be out there supporting some niche cause and I'm just like holy shit, do your thing, and leave me out of it. Just, like, we're all going down, maybe you'll win your thing, but I just don't care. It's like a football game or something where neither team means anything to you. It's just like, I get why you're into it but please don't include me in this. Goodbye. I don't know why I've been so scared to, like, have a life. Probably a profound sense of loneliness, that if I do it I'll just be alone when I do. There's some truth to that. I hate what I'm writing right now. I don't even think it's helpful. I just don't know why I'm so fucking tired, why my brain doesn't, like, work anymore. Why I can't think of anything to do. Probably from two years of having no money and not being able to actually go anywhere or do anything. It just feels like years since I haven't had to compromise about being excited about something. It's genuinely so difficult. People get excited about the dumbest, most fucked up shit. Artificial intelligence, like c'mon. There has to be something that makes sense, that cuts through the bullshit like red hot steel through ice. It'll be a person. Someone to get a beer with and laugh with and do things with. That's all it'll end up being. You have no idea how fucking exhausting it is to talk to people who don't know how to talk or carry a conversation, just saying things until something interesting is said. Some people do and it's nice, other people it'll just be like these one word responses, hours late, and it's like I don't care if you don't want to talk to me, but holy shit, that? I'm going to try to get things going but you can't even try? Like, just stop. Don't even say anything. When it feels like it takes their entire bodily energy to type a few words it's just not even worth it. It's not that fucking hard to type or pick up the phone. There's plenty of people that know how to do that, I'll have to go find them. It's like the reclusive depressed addicts that are particularly tough. Makes sense. Kind of definitional. I think my little life philosophy is fading about the free will stuff. I don't care about it anymore. It doesn't help. Like, whatever, just try to make choices. It's impossible to tell what's going on, so you just have to try. I kind of want to get high, but I guess on nothing. Just raw reality. Wine would also be good, but I'm broke. Shouldn't something interesting just, like, hit you in the face once in awhile? Why is everything so fucking BLAND. It's just like a broth soup out here with no salt or pepper or spice. It's just, like, who are you people. Why did you erase everything interesting from life here? Where is everything? I've got to go do something. I can't bike or walk anywhere anymore, that shit is over. It doesn't help, it doesn't work, it's a circle, a trap. Twitter sucks. It's tough to look at the world and kind of not be inspired by anything. To look at, like, McKinsey and just be like, meh. Completely meh. Like, you do some kind of consulting. I'm sure there are interesting projects, but I've never heard of them. May as well not even exist. Why don't I give a shit about anything anymore? It's because I don't have a life of my own. I also haven't found people like me in a long time. I don't have friends anymore because no one fits and I don't have the resources to find anyone. All my old friends have fallen by the wayside because they don't actually reflect who I am anymore. The closest thing I can find is people in bizarre corners of Twitter with somewhat large followings who tred the line of very normal and absurd and witty and black humor. That's a good one, black humor. My favorite, for a long time. I don't fucking want to read. That's weird, too. Like I have a decent book, there's nothing to do, and I'm repulsed by reading. There's a lot of that, too. Just not *wanting* to do anything. Just prefering to stare at a fucking wall. It's just gotten so bizarre. Like, just why. I suppose it's what happens when you're trapped or feel trapped. You just stop caring. It's not about what's available, it's about the freedom that's unavailable. Something like that. Perhaps it's basic, but like some of these Twitter people, they just seem to get it. They'll say some terrible things, but the point is they don't actually mean it, and in fact probably understand the issues better, but do occasionally get a rise out of people that are freaked out by what is being said. It's just like, no, you don't understand. It's funny, and it's not nihilistic. They're saying some things that aren't supposed to be said, and finding the humor in it. I suppose like any comedian. I don't know, it's refreshing. This one account has been banned, like, four times and they're still going strong. I mean, it is kind of a freedom of speech thing, where it's just like, hey, you really can't say that? Says who? Should they go to a stage to perform? Would they really get pulled off? If so, I wanna hear what they're saying. It's interesting. A song that is resonating with me right now is "In the Meantime" by Spacehog. Just some general "whooing" without lyrics. That's how I feel. I'm out of words. I don't know, nothing I say really seems to help.

~7:14PM, Thurs. 1-5-2023: Jesus fucking Christ. What to do here. So much shit. Just got back from the dumbest, slowest shift I've ever worked in my life, eight hours of doing essentially nothing. I need to just quit that job as well, so now I have two part-time jobs to quit. Sure, no big deal, but still. This offer should be coming tomorrow, and then there's an interview to schedule with STR. It's all beside the point. I feel so ... different. So ... past everything. Like, I'm just ready to move on. Like, forreal. Forget this place. It's time to just go to another place, somehow, someway. I can't be here any longer. It's just too small and sad. I just feel bad for people here, in a way. I'm tired of feeling it with them, this sense of complete nothingness, this lack of excitement and connection to the world around them, all these isolated little pods. I thought I was going to be able to just disassociate at work today. Not even a chance. Not even close. Just constantly zapped every five minutes by some little thing. Literally though, if not every minute. It's unreal, which is why I need to just leave. It's not worth complaining about. It's just, like, bizarre. I don't even care that much about bikes anymore. It's just, like, time to move on. I don't know. I feel sad. Generally. It's just a sad time. I can't quite figure out what to think, feel, or do and I still have nothing real that I need in terms of people or relationships. Like, everything is somehow missing. It's a missing life.

Okay, fuck that tone of voice. Done with that, just because it's frankly old. I cannot wait to change. I just can't fucking wait. I don't know, part of me feel like a nerdy loser or something, but I'm not sure. I'm not really sure of anything anymore, quite frankly. The only thing I'm sure of is that something is wrong. That is a bare fact. I also have no idea what to do, how to get things to change. I will have to try something new. I don't know what that means, or what. I frankly just don't fucking know. But I'm going to figure it out.

~10:08PM, Weds. 1-4-2023: Well, I just got back from C2 Education and I gotta say, that's going to be the last time. I need to quit that, and quit this job at REI. It's time to just change. Things have needed to change for awhile and it's taking forever and everything just plain sucks. Like it really does. There's no way to encapsulate it completely, it's just lame. Every aspect of my life has this dreary overlay to it. The excitement, the energy just isn't there. I don't even know what it is I'm supposed to get excited about. The job? Hardly. Moving out? Maybe. Dating? Who. Friends? Where. It's a soul-sucking miasma that will not quit. I just need someone real to talk to. C'mon.

~11:48PM, Weds. 1-4-2023: Good morning. Sense of calm pervades. Drinking coffee. Reconnecting with some people online, which is good. Still processing the fact that I have a job offer. It's going to be a long year, but it's possible that things will get a lot better, slowly. An (online) relationship from last year is officially over, which needed to happen. Time to leave that alone. I need to go to a tutoring meeting at 2:30PM, and the nice news is with the job offer now these things are moving towards finality. I can simply quit them once the job starts, and I think I'll be a lot happier. In the end, there will be some people that I lost along the way. I suppose it's just part of it. You make a bunch of mistakes, lose people, lose things, lose yourself, and you emerge new. I'm not sure if I'll be a better person or not. There's a lot of things missing from my life, but I've sort of made peace with it. It's fine. There's a sense in which it had to happen that way, that there was no other alternative, and that I'll have to try to learn from the mistakes. It's pretty standard. My covid symptoms are getting better, I'm almost healed. Perhaps another day or so. I'll just keep drinking DayQuil. Coffee, too. Feeling pretty good right now, relaxed. I have no idea if this will be the "right" job. My solace is that everyone has to start somewhere, and I've been avoiding that. If it isn't right, I can adjust. In about three months I'll have saved up money and paid off some debt. I'll be able to keep my old car running, and perhaps buy a new bike. The basics. I'm particularly excited about showing my little brother that I'm capable and giving him someone to look up to. I can move to a place nearby, and enjoy living near him for awhile. It will be Alexandria, Arlington, McLean, or DC. There's obviously a huge part of me that wants to connect with "interesting" people. They're out there, and I don't think they necessarily work at MITRE. I think they're doing creative things in DC, but you never know. The reality probability is that they're scattered all over the place, and you meet who you meet. The big questions are 1) can I keep the job? 2) will I move back to Massachusetts? It's unclear. Part of me feels like there needs to be some more pull to move back to Boston, some people that I want to be with or be around. That could happen. Tapping into the huge social and intellectual abilities will have to sort of wait. I'm not in the place I was a few years ago. The independence, the inspiration, the people, they're all just not here. This is raw survival mode until I'm out of the woods. The world awaits if I can go get it. I have a feeling the Spring is going to be a beautiful time. I'll be able to come out of hibernation hopefully fairly healed.

~4:11PM, Tues. 1-3-2023: Good afternoon. I have covid, so I'm sick but recovering. I just walked around Burke Lake, which is about five miles. I guess I feel out of shape, teeth a shade of yellow, little blemish developed, toenail kind of bruised. Other than those minor maladies, I'm feeling pretty alright. Pretty much all of them can be fixed, and will be over time. Dermatologist, doctor, dentist, whatever. It's not important. I had an interview this morning. It went alright, I got through it, but they're embarrassing, especially not having worked seriously for like two years. I feel rusty. This organization also feels way too big, and not exciting. I feel a little lost, like what am I actually doing. I suppose everything has sort of turned over. I have no interest in working at REI or tutoring. Those were kind of flukes that should die out soon. Even writing is, like, what's the point. There's just something huge missing, a life force that I used to have. Youth, energy, activity, the sense that there are a lot of new and interesting things happening to be apart of. A generational conversation that I feel left out of. Like, even this blog is just random writing, it's not like I'm writing a book or good poetry or anything spectacular. It just seems like in every respect I'm not really doing anything, because again, where is the life force that says DO IT, go do this thing and try to make something happen. I need friends, I need people in my life to spice things up. That's why I miss Megan, because at least she was something of a friend. Not the best one I've ever had, but something, and those are few and far between right now. It just feels like I kind of have to survive, keep going and wait for something to shake things up. I actually don't think job will be that thing, even if I'm offered it. Salaries and benefit packages? Like, people in my generation are making music(!), new music, new art, and going on world tours! They're driving around the country and camping and, well, I guess no longer playing shows in basements but they're still out there. I don't want to become some random government worker completely out of the loop. I had a creative identity as a mathematician. I forget about that a lot. I had taste, and projects in a very particular genre, and other people operated in that genre and it was like this collective thing, building new concepts from older pieces. That feels gone now. It's just like, I had a thing, and now I've let it go. I suppose I can still find bits and pieces of it in whatever work this is, but it won't be the same. I don't think there's a way back, because it's too hard, and I've seen people do incredible things that I'm not capable of. Where does one go, in that sorry state? I suppose you go to the side, and try to experience other aspects of life that are richer and more fulfilling, because they're always there. Part of me is just exhausted by all of this, but it's my life. If I don't find direction now, like right now at thirty one, I don't think I ever will. I'm proud that I had it till twenty eight, and don't fault myself too much for losing my way, but I want to enjoy my youth while I've still got some of it left. That's all it is, just a lot of hand-wringing trying to figure out how to get back to feeling alive again. Still. The exhausted part of me just wants to sleep and read books and hope that it gets better, that something enlightening happens. Those events are truly rare. People rarely reach out, and just, like, make things happen. The thing is, there's a lot of people out there. Perhaps going on dates will liven things up. I'm hesitant to try to meet people other ways. I don't even know what that would mean. I just, for some reason, really don't want to join a Meetup group or anything weird like that. It just seems so lame.

The question is where to go. I've already exhausted so many options and at this point it's getting kind of lame. I don't know what to do. I basically just want a friend, or girlfriend. Someone to talk to and shoot the shit with. It's been too long, and I miss having that every day.

~6:39PM, Sun. 1-1-2023: Feeling pretty good, a little high or something despite taking absolutely nothing. I'm also nursing a pretty serious hangover, and have tested positive for coronavirus. I'm listening to Ghostland Observatory. That's an interesting concept. Man, I was thinking earlier today about putting two words together, how there are like ten to the twelve combinations just for two word combos. Any two of them creates a concept that you can try to visualize. Ghostland Observatory, hmmm. I'm imagining a barren wasteland with an eerie lake, and it's dark out. There's a high tower rising above the water just near the edge of the lake. There are a few concrete structures pockmarking the lake with metal grilles on them. It seems all the life that was once here has long vanished. The lake feels artificial, not formed by nature but nevertheless natural. A light is on in the high tower, and there appear to be etheral beings moving around luminously. There's my quick rendition of those two words. I suppose artificial intelligence could probably pen a hundred words given a two word prompt, but "fuck AI" (in the words of Sona Movsesian).

Just want to keep writing because it feels good. Tomorrow I need to prepare for my Tues. interview. I need to give a 20min talk, which shouldn't be too bad but I don't want to think about that tonight, like at all. Nah, I just need to have a nice night. I might watch Glass Onion. I just looked it up on the internet. That's actually insane, that you can just look up information on the internet. There's so much out there. It's not endless, but it's pretty massive. One couldn't just look up information like this before. You had to, like, ask somebody and what was special was that everything they said you couldn't hear somewhere else. There was no online guide or whatever. It was just, like, lemme write this down because it'll last that way. To some extent you can still do this, but you have the problem that it's replicated somewhere online. It's kinda weird. Like, you can be anachronistic, and it's real. Collecting records is a good example. You are free to collect and play records on a record player, but that very record player will have a button that you can press to connect your phone and play the exact same music. There are subtle analog differences but it is essentially the same. What's different is the physical material itself. It is, in fact, a different experience to place the record on, and just turn your phone off. You're not pretending it doesn't exist, it's just literally off. It is, for all intents and purposes, a plastic, metal, and silicon brick. I suppose the fact that you COULD turn on the phone kind of still ruins the illusion. Perhaps one can suspend disbelief, but at some point things must die. It's exciting to think that the form of media distribution now will one day be viewed as antiquated. Like, it was surely exciting to check out the record store for new arrivals. Now the shipping time is essentially zero, but there are still releases on Spotify which is basically a record store. A pretty big one, in fact. It's huge! Lots of people milling about in there, with their headphones on. Stay as long as you like, as long as you pay the entrance fee. Every record in the world, right there, at your fingertips. Incredible. It's probably affected my brain in mysterious ways. I listen to Spotify, like, ten hours a day many days. It's wild.

I feel like I've become something of an involutary recluse. Not really sure how this has happened, but it has. Like, I go out when I can, but without money, good lord. It's shockingly limited. I'm attempting to change it, but 2022 was definitely another year of, like, seclusion. Not entirely. Large parts of it, though. There's just an extreme amount of laziness that's pretty hard to pin down.

I just had the thought that some people probably see texting as I once did, like, AIM (AOL Instant Messenger). Like, I would just "log on" and messages would pop up all the time. Like, it was pretty constant. It was particularly exciting when you'd get a message from someone you didn't know, a random screenname. People were constantly asking for other people's screennames and saying all sorts of stuff. I miss it. Dude, my teeth are turning yellow. This is getting pretty egregious. I mean, this is crazy, but maybe I'll just turn this into a letter to Megan. Like, the longest letter ever written in the history of humanity. No one will read it, which is a plus. I thought I was over her? What's going on here. I haven't spoken with her in a week or so, so at this point she is fading into more of an idea, which is pretty wispy and sad. I don't want this to be a letter to Megan. She can write if she wants to, or not if she doesn't. That's not what this is. I don't actually know what this is, because on a much more serious note I don't know what anything is, because I am so insanely, ridiculously lost. Probably angry and sad as well, but I'm also so tired of being angry and sad that I can't muster the strength to fix things. I'm trying nonetheless, but it is hard to find happiness.

I need feedback. Like, I really just need to find a place where I can get useful feedback. I suppose during the days of school it was easy, and now it's pretty difficult. I feel like most of the feedback I'm getting is either negative or nonexistent. I've become something of a problem person, plagued by issues most of the time. It's so exhausting that it's hard to do anything to actually alleviate the issues, thus perpetuating the cycle. Whatever. I don't give a shit. It's funny that I feel like I'm in trouble all the time. Like, as an adult you're never really "in trouble", there are just consequences for your actions, sometimes legal. [[I wonder if I write like Emily]]. Oh, I see. I like that. Just like in mathematics, I can invent my own notation. I was going to try to combine mathematical notation with writing at some point, but concluded that it would be cumbersome and unnecessary, because language has actually already done a lot of the arithmetic I was trying to do. There are, in fact, words between any two given words, so taking for for example an average, (yes+no)/2=maybe. It's just messy and doesn't really add much. People understand words and how to read, and I don't think you gain much. However, I do think some gently coded ideas could be interesting. For example, if I'm writing and I have a thought, like a sort of side-though of layered thought, I can write [[this music is interesting]] in double brackets. It's true, that we as humans, at least I, don't think linearly, per se. There can be parallel streams, and little things that pop up. Obviously it's nice to write because it forces everything to be linear and clear. Perhaps that's why I "like" writing [[the rabbit analogy from earlier]] because it's serving a helpful purpose, helping me to organize my thoughts. I was thinking about this earlier, and wondering if rabbits actually feel fear when they run from something. Like, if it's helpful to them, shouldn't it feel good? Like, when we use the bathroom, it usually doesn't hurt, it's a relief. It feels good, becuase we're supposed to do it, so our body incentivies us to do it. If I was a rabbit's body, I would make it feel great, excited even to run from a predator, and totally get rid of the anxiety or fear component, because that can be a stick rather than a carrot. It is for me anyways. I don't actually react to anxiety by doing the thing that would help. Anyways, all I'm saying is that perhaps writing will help me to linearize my thoughts, and that maybe it feels good because my brain incentivies it because it knows it needs it, or something like that. Does that make sense, dear reader? You are actually pretty dear, because you also probably exist in isolation. This is both sad and hilarious, which is a vibe that I really get into. I have found life to be excruciatingly painful at times, and I try to react with humor when I'm feeling up to it, so I just think those two things go together, like peanut butter and jelly.

Starting to feel the sickness a little bit more. Bummer. I'm going to get some tea or something. I can't drink tonight, fuck that. I had so much random nonsense last night, like every possible variant of alcohol. Okay, I have tea. I often struggle to understand my own behavior. It's nearly impossible sometimes. Everyone surely struggles with this. I don't know, maybe they don't think about it. That sounds nice, I wish I could just not think about things sometimes. I'm thinking about how, when given the opportunity to rekindle a relationship, I completely and totally fucked it up. Like, it was so egregious I just wonder if it was on purpose or what. Like, how is it even possible to fail that badly. Oh well. I'm sure there was some reason for it. Some inability to control myself in a particular setting. I suppose there's a reason for things. It's not like it's a general behavior. It's specific to the person I'm thinking of, just my interaction with her, which means that whatever I'm doing it's very targeted and isn't just some general impulse. I mean, there are some patterns, for sure, but it seems like it's more contained and cenetered around a few particular people. I'm not entirely sure what that means, but it seems like when it becomes difficult to contact someone, I only want to contact them more. Sounds pretty standard, perhaps not healthy or good, but also it makes sense. Anytime someone is leaving and never coming back there are feelings and desires that arise. The fact that I've never been on the receiving end of such behavior probably says something (negative) about me, but whatever. I'm tired of analyzing myself. I feel like that's all I do.

I'm ready for another perspective shift. I don't know where it's going to come from, but it needs to happen. Dude, it sucks that the moment I'm learning how to everything an adult human can do, machines are learning how to do. It's like, c'mon man. I learned how to drive fifteen years ago, and it took, like, six million years for us to evolve, and then fifteen years later cars are teaching themselves to drive, learning how to write, how to make images, and on and on. Like I straight up started writing a few years ago, and now GPT is out there writing sonnets and stories in a nanosecond. It's stupid. It'll never write like a human because it isn't a human. Also, fuck AI. Back to the perspective shift. I don't know, I just feel kind of bored overall. Like, I want someone else's worldview to influence mine. I miss that so much. I guess that's another shade of loneliness, but still. I just feel like my life has run out of steam in a lot of ways, and I need someone to be like, "here is this entire world that you never even knew existed". That does happen. That has happened. Make it happen. Ready? Go. Make. It. Happen. No? Okay. Fine.

I guess one option is to pretty much disassociate. Like, that's pretty effective. Just simply part ways with what your body is experience, and become a neutral observer. In a sense, everything that happens sort of just filters out people and things. Like, you can make a bunch of "mistakes" in your relationships, but aren't they also expressions of how you actually feel, not how you're supposed to feel? Like, okay you said something stupid. Well? That came from somewhere, didn't it? You might not like it, or be embarrassed by it, but the words left your body, which means they were produced by your brain, which is you. I'm just going to say it, I miss Megan. I feel like I've gained some weight. Wow, my New Years resolutions are really common and basic - stop smoking, lose weight, whiten teeth. I mean, get a job and move out are pretty high up on the list, too.

I'm just, like, so deeply confused at this juncture. Like, the things I have to do seem pretty awful, and I don't actually want to do any of them. It's just, like, why go to school for ten years and then not get to at least do something you want to do, to an extent? Why did it all have to collapse right at the end? I don't know, but it did and here I am. Enough of that. So sick of talking about that. It's time to move on, for God's sake. Time is weird. It moves slow and then very fast. I guess because it has to. Like, any future time will eventually come to pass, so when it does happen you can be like "wow, I never thought this would come, I only remember very little about all the elapsed time and here I am, so that felt quick" even though it took exactly as long as it takes for that amount of time to pass.

A ten second voice recording. She let me hear her voice for ten seconds. She said "i don't like talking on the phone annnd i'm watching tv annnnd it's raining". I deleted the message after listening. Why? Because, I guess I believe in the old way. That recording everything, keeping it, well, it's just not ephemeral. You lose that quality. There is a huge difference between a quality and a feature. A feature is the ability to capture information and store it. A quality is an adjective describing the result of those features, I suppose. Anyways, it's just a whole different world when you do that. It changes the future. You can't go back and look. It's as if she said it one time, to me. The same goes for pictures, and text messages for almost everyone. I read them, process them, and then usually just delete them. They're not for future generations to analyze in any way. They were words that were traded via this medium. When we speak, this is inherent. It is not always possible to record the data. It is complicated air flow. It is an arrangement of bits. Whatever you'd like to call it, it is unique and only needs to exist for a moment in transit. Once it's received, it can be released back to the entropic universe. I dunno, man, are you not spooked by this? Like, the fact that information is actually conserved? That you can change the future based on any present decision you make? I suppose I'm not spooked by this anymore, moreso just like ALRIGHT ALREADY, information exists and moves around and influences things. Who cares.

I just feel like a fuckin' creep right now, ugh. I don't like the above, but it's how I genuinely feel. I mean, goodness gracious, I used to get HOURS of audio, every day! LOL (she always capitalized that, which was kind of cool). LMAO, too. I just realized I'm scared to take videos of myself. Not scared to take them, but definitely to watch them. I hate watching videos of myself. This goes to show how little I really know about myself. I suppose it's bits and pieces, all the way. I'm probably just scared of myself, to some extent, which is reasonable. [[she forgave me]] Wow, that has sort of a spooky quality to it. Like someone whispering. I wonder how screenplays are written. I bet they've got lots of little cues and different codes to indicate how something should be produced onstage. I mean, we do it in internet writing a lot, these codes. You can get pretty crazy, and start writing basically computer code but that hardly seems necessary. I just think it's interesting to let the reader in on the writer's conscious thought process as they're writing. Separating it seems kind of weird though, because thinking and writing are essentially synonymous. Ah, that's not it, the point is that speaking and thinking are not the same thing. Writing is the output, essentially speech, but it is not thought. That's different. Thought is the internal process that results in speech, and many other complicated behaviors. Catching a glimpse into thought is difficult. You need a pretty raw exposure, a pretty raw window into the thought process. I really like this tool, which to my knowledge hasn't been used by anyone else, though surely it has, or some version of it. I don't care, I'm using it. I'm sure there's all sorts of literary devices that allow, say, the narrator, to disguish their voice from others, and surely the thoughts of the characters versus their speech. That's quite common, actually. Perhaps doing it mid-sentence is unique, doing it at any point. I guess one has to be really clear about what, exactly, the double bracket enclosure means. Does it just translate to, "he thought"? It seems to be a particular type of thought, that is essentially being categorized by the double brackets. It's saying, "this isn't something you would actually say out loud, nor type. it has the PROTECTIVE brackets around it to indicate that it is in some sense private, the way your skull keeps your thoughts safe from anyone listening in." I guess it also separates the stream of information into a secondary thread, which may be disjointed [[exactly]], a sort of second speaker in a way. Hm. Perhaps it's better to just not even try too hard to define it. That's close enough. I like what artists do, which is they use the media that are present. They don't ask a whole lot of questions about how it works, or they do but they focus on very different aspects of things. [[i like the idea of people making people feel good about what they end up doing]] I mean, it is a slightly scary way of writing, because it feels kind of scizo, like what is this secondary thought. It's really there, though, probably for everyone. You simply don't always say out loud what's on your mind. There is a secondary observer which can comment internally on whatever you say or write externally [[precisely]] there it goes again. It's weird though because it does feel like there is no internal voice when I'm really writing fluently. Like, they just merge, so I'm not actually thinking anymore, I'm just observing my thoughts matriculate onto the page, which is something I find deeply hypnotic and enjoy observing, like watching steam roll off of boiling water, or a hot cup of coffee. I guess it's called a flow state [[bumpy]] and it's difficult to maintain, but whatever. [[Chantelle]] Okay so now I'm thinking about this girl I dated, Chantelle, who introduced me to the concept of a flow state. Then I thought "I wonder how she is" and remembered that she's off being a witch in Worchester or something, so like there you go.

Okay, I'm going to watch Glass Onion. I love being sick. I don't mean, like, the pain and misery of it, but just being able to have zero pressure to do anything other than get better. That part. My God, it's like a disease. She's a creature of the internet, dude, chill out. Alright, let's migrate.

What is a stero-gram? This is interesting. They're influencers. Invited by a reclusive genius.

~1:23PM, Sun. 1-1-2023: Good afternoon! Happy New Year! I'm a little hungover but feeling alright. The party was a success. It was a little awkward barely knowing anyone, but I was able to meet a few people and ran into a childhood friend. We'll see what happens with a couple of these new connections. I realize how sort of "out of it" I am, and how much everyone has successfully set up their lives and relationships. I had a bunch of chances to do that, but none of them have stuck and I'm kind of at sea still. Nevertheless, socializing is good, it helps. A lot. People are generally pretty nice, and I do miss feeling like I was on top of things socially, hosting parties and attending them with regularity. This new reality has an odd shape to it, but I'm hoping I can make the best of it and just roll with it. I'd like to quit smoking, ideally for good. It's just such a drain, both financially but much more so health wise. I kind of hate it, and there are better alternatives. It keeps you put in one place, and disincentivises finding different ways to use time. In other words, it sucks. I suppose there's still this overall feeling of being stuck in a pit. Like, it's so unclear what it's going to take to get out, but I will. I'm getting tired of saying the same old things, job, apartment, girlfriend. It's true, but it's not going to come from just saying that over and over.

~4:55PM, Sat. 12-31-2022: Fuck it. I'm so tired of this fate thing. I'm so tired of beleiving that free will is an illusion. It seems like, okay, someone walks into a store, they can choose between A and B, and they end up with one of them. On the one hand, there's no real alternative history. If they chose A, then that's what happened. That's what way always going to happen. All the atoms in the universe, including their brain, conspired to result in that choice. What's interesting though, is a choice was still made. That's what a choice is. You observe yourself, your body and brain do things, and you walk out with A. There are a lot of reasons, but you still made a choice. It's really, like, semantics. You make choices all the time, and when there's no outside force acting on you, and if repeated experiments would result in different outcomes, then you made a choice. Even though your brain is a machine, you can still learn from your mistakes, you can still make choices, or better put you still will make choices, inevitably. Whether they're free or not is a matter of looking at the circumstances surrounding the choice that was made. Like, I suppose the idea is you still get to edit the choice making function in your brain. You have control over how this thing is going to make choices in the future. Everything that happens is inevitable, even me typing this probably was inevitable, but now that I'm sitting here typing this, isn't the thing to do to try to change? To use all tools at my disposal to, like, figure out how to make better choices? How to get my brain to make better choices? How to work on the machine that is my brain like a mechanic to force it, in some new environments, to wind up with outcomes that are good for me? Don't I need to decide to go after the money, to try to find a girlfriend, to try to have an apartment, a wife, a life, whatever it is? I mean, to try, basically? This observational status renders everything sort of futile. It's a classic problem with the abandoment of free will. It just sort of kneecaps you, because it tells your brain that all outcomes are inevitable. However, one outcome is that your brain is exposed to the idea that free will does, in fact, exist in some sense. The only thing I can think to do is set goals. Like, it's pretty simple, and fitting for New Years, but that's what you have to do. You have to set goals, and try to acheive them, and just fucking try. Perhaps the best thing to do is just say, "I don't know", je ne sais pas. I really don't. It's been pissing me off, trying to wrestle with this impossible question, whether or not we have free will. Fuck it, I'm just going to choose to believe that we do. Sure, why not? You can choose. You do choose, all the time, and nothing is getting in the way. Your brain chooses. Your brain and body choose. You choose to breathe, to vomit, to think, to wake up, to work, to speak. Do you? I don't know. I act, therefore I choose. How about that? Fuck this sad fucking life. And fuck, really fuck, thinking that I need to try to get the attention of celebrities or anything like that. Life was deeper, fuller, and more meaningful interacting with the people in my immediate vicinity. Always has been. Probably the most exciting time in my life was 2018 and 2019. When my life was about to take off, and a lot of things happened, and a lot of mistakes were made, and a lot of people were left behind. It stayed pretty eventful through 2020. I'm a broken record. I guess this is a New Year's post, where I just try to get it all out, figure out what the hell needs to change in 2023. I'm coming around to it. I'm forgetting all the people that aren't in the picture from the past. All the people left behind, the people who've blocked me (oftentimes rightly so let's be honest), the jobs I've left, the folks I've weirded out, who or whomever. It just doesn't matter. I made those choices, and even though they were inevitable in some sense, my brain made them. I respect that, but I'm also going to stop mindlessly thinking that they were right. I need to bring back in the concept of a mistake. That's the thing that goes missing when you give into determinism. It's pernicious. Nothing is a mistake, everything is how it's supposed to be. That's true, but it disregards the future. Yes, there is only one way the past could've ever worked out, but you have to make adjustments. You have to look at your behavior and decide to do things differently, otherwise I think you are lost, and I am lost. One thing, one very simple thing, that I need to do is stick with a real job for longer than six months. That is the most obvious thing in the world. The way to do that is to get excited about the job, and be a little gritty. Like, no, I won't become famous, but I don't fucking care. I'm reverting back to the way I used to feel about the world, which was curiosity. I'm going to look at it differently, which is to approach the job with a sense of "I'm going to do the shit out of this job", and discover interesting things through it. Just forget about the entire exterior world. It doesn't exist anyways. All you have is what's in front of you. You have no idea where you're going to end up. Signal processing? Great. Yes. Let's fucking do it. I have a PhD in mathematics and a background in physics and computer science, so give me some fucking signals. Shannon's paper? Read it. Information theory? Very fucking curious about that. So let's do some real work. Let's take some signals, some data, and start looking at them through the most powerful microscope I have, which is my brain. Yes, all the things I've learned will come into play. There will be no glory, but it could lead absolutely anywhere. It is how anything is discovered, by just simply showing up and doing the work, which is what I'm finally prepared to do. Yes, I want this job. No, I am not going to chase other dreams and sit in a basement and do nothing. I am going to show up, and figure out better ways to process signals. It will likely be a mess, getting me to work a nine-to-five, but whatever. It will be a long, endless road, but I don't care. I've seen the abyss, the alternative to trying, and it is ugly, lonely, and scary as hell. It's time to get excited, and forget about resume gaps, and the past. I'm capable of a lot. It's not going to come from random philosophical musings, it's going to come from experience. Like any real professional, it's by showing up every day, eight hours a day, and trying. Making that the focus, and not all this other stuff that comes up. I've just had quite enough of myself shit-talking every profession other than, like, being a musician. It's toxic and obnoxious. It doesn't matter if the world would function without signal processing (would it?), it pays money and that means someone values it and that's enough. No one gives away money. People fight over it like their lives depend on it, and it's time to fight over it like my life depends on it, too, because frankly it does. It's a little poetic, and I hope it does come to pass. The Fourier transform, the heart of everything.

~2:47PM, Sat. 12-31-2022: Home from Dallas as of yesterday. The only thing on the agenda today is a New Year's Eve party. It's 90s themed, and I bought some attire from Goodwill. Basic faded jeans, pastel patterned shirt, hat w/ 90s insignia, and Chuck Taylor-esque shoes. It'll be the first time in a long time that I've been to a party, which is good. I'm not feeling great about myself. This upcoming week looks complicated. Two interviews, one that I need to prepare a presentation for. I may have to both work at REI and tutor, which will just be annoying to juggle. I'm not really ready or willing to do that. I'd prefer to just eschew all of that in favor of getting hired somewhere, and doing one thing full time. Oh well. Megan's gone, and frankly never really was there. It was such an ephemeral thing. It's not worth dwelling on. I still think it's interesting that I got invited to this party because I bought a book that I read at a bar. I still wonder if things are fated, but then I suppose a lot of things haven't happened that I'm not able to keep track of, so it's just one possible thing that happened. I wonder who I'll meet.

I'm really wondering if this is the right job to take. It's funny because I don't really have a choice. I need it to get out of here, so I'll take it. I just don't feel good overall, the smoking, the yellowing teeth, the weight gain. It feels very reversible, just quit and work out again. I like those two things, and have done them before. Part of me feels like I should be striving to do something more ... creative than working as a Signal Processing Researcher. Another huge part of me is telling me to shut up, that this is great and will lead to all sorts of wonderful and unexpected things. I can see it, sort of. I like the idea of devoting myself to something, to becoming an expert in signal processing if that's what's going to happen. Signals are interesting. Data, Fourier series, classic stuff. It's also happening at a low level. It's hard to connect to other people that are doing interesting, creative things outside or even inside that world. The fact that it requires a security clearance is also a major challenge, and honestly not likely to happen for me. It seems all of my problems started in 2019, and have been cascading ever since. During this New Year, I'm just remembering where I was in 2020, living on my own in an apartment in Boston, working and enjoying life, dating someone, a gorgeous twenty five year old woman. It's just been sort of ... disheartening to see how far I fell during 2021 and 2022. Very little good actually happened. That's a long time. Perhaps things will actually change in 2023. I have a good feeling about this year. At the very least, I may get a job, which is the key to getting back moving again. I feel like my youth is gone, but I could've felt that way at the end of 2020, going on 30.

In an ideal world, I do these two interviews, and get two offers. I accept one, and quit my jobs tutoring and at REI. I pay off minor student loan debt, and by March am ready to move out. I move to Alexandria or DC, or even Arlington depending. Then it's just all systems go. I can travel, I can let everyone know I'm availble, I can start dating forreal, I can fix up my car or get a new one. The pros definitely outweigh the cons, so I need to just focus on getting this job. There is no alternative. I don't know, it feels like I'm capable of other things, but at some point I suppose I have to use my math PhD and physics background and programming skills to, y'know, make money. Part of me wishes I focused on something cooler, creative pursuits, but I didn't. In any case, math and programming are creative. I probably need to re-commit to that idea, that it's really an art form, my art form and quit dreaming of doing something like writing or, I don't know actually, there's not a lot that I can do outside of those things. So there we are. The same story. Get a job, make money, move out. It's like a wall I can't climb. There's so much time in between everything, months to go through an interview process. It's a little insane. I don't know how people survive, at all.

I guess I just know I'm in completely the wrong place, just emotionally, spirtually, physically. That's interesting to me, because it means at some point it'll have to change, and I'll be a different person when it does. I'm looking forward to that. In fact, I can't wait. I sort of hate the person I've become here. I hate the laziness, the monotony, the lack of activity. There's too much life out there to be doing this.

I'm starting to question my philosophy. It seems true that we don't have free will, that everything is exactly the way it's supposed to be even if you might not like it. What if that's wrong? I just struggle to imagine how one could possibly freely choose to do anything, given that it's unclear how the brain works, and how it seems the brain is making decisions based on all this input we're exposed to, and it just does it automatically. Like, even if you have veto power, something is pulling the strings on the veto. You can just keep unraveling it, one layer after the other, until you get to the bottom of the machine. I guess we all get to observe the machine, ourselves, and perhaps we're only excited and claim we have free will when things go our way, when we produce something we're proud of or when good things happen. Everything else is a mistake, accidental, something that you couldn't prevent. I guess my thing is that it's all just happening, and both the good and bad are a product of forces way beyond anyone's control. It's all a little confusing, and in any case it does feel like we can make choices. I wish I knew the answer. It feels important. It's also the only way I know how to cope with terrible things happening continuously. Yes, they're my fault, but also it's just me observing things that are happening to me. I can try to learn from the mistakes, but it removes the blame. It's just the system that I have doing the best that it can, and failing in a bunch of ways in the environment I'm in, and it sucks, but it just is what it is.

I'm excited to see how this party goes. I just want to relax and not worry about anything. I'm just going to assume the New Year is going to go well. I don't actually think anything too terrible can happen. Like, I hope I get the job. I hope I can leave REI and tutoring behind. I hope I can make money and move out. That's really it. Beyond that, fate will have to intervene. Straight up. With respect to relationships, or some other activity I'm supposed to be doing, it's going to have be some sort of intervention, because I am just going headfirst into one of these two jobs. I'm not going to try to quit or jump ship in the hopes that something will magically appear. Nope. I'm just going to do the most obvious, normal thing I can think of, hope that it works, and do it despite this pull to do something "else". I just have no idea what the else is, so there's no point in searching for it anymore. It'll come or it won't.

I'm sick of reading the New York Times and the New Yorker. I'm sick of doing anything that's not going to actually move my life forward.

~3:36PM, Thurs. 12-29-2022: Well, I've been in Texas for a few days. I'm not even really sure that's relevant, despite the fact that it's all consuming. My mind isn't really here right now. It's simply comforting to be writing, without an audience, or a care in the world about who reads it. I know that some of the things I say will be more interesting and better written than other people who garner thousands of readers, and I also know my writing will be less interesting that many people writing blogs, books, magazine articles, newspaper articles, and a million other things. It's a cacophony out there, and I have no idea how someone could produce two thousand word of high quality writing nearly daily, with sources and other details that are simply a pain in the ass. I can do two thousand words, but they're low quality, stream-of-consciousness. It's just people trying to be the best with an unending supply of energy that comes from somewhere, some desire to win-or-fail, whatever it is. I don't care. A lot of it sucks, anyways. A lot of it is boring, and a lot of it frankly shouldn't be read. If you skim the newspaper you can see that they're trying to get you interested in things that you just very simply don't need to be interested in. One could, of course, become interested in, oh let's pick one. "The best everyday base layer depends on the purpose, our fashion critic writes." It's just immediately clear that it's nonsense, that one can usually figure out what to wear by age twelve, and this is just useless niche knowledge that likely won't even get applied, perhaps a few days a year at most, and is relatively inconsequential. No, the news is not where it's at. Magazines are good, oftentimes, depending on the publisher. I am often shocked by the length and quality. Then I am equally shocked to learn that these folks publish one piece every couple of months, and I wonder how they even survive, and marvel at the fact that there is indeed enough money to support someone writing a few thousand words a month. That makes me happy.

Man, I just don't care if my writing is bad today. I'm emotionally exhausted, and just physically tired, and full. I just want to be out on my own again, eating light, running at full speed. I'll take any job, I don't care anymore. I suppose I don't know how it's going to work, how I'm going to find myself within the context of working some secuity clearance job. How I'm going to travel and do all the things I want to do. I'm worried. Worried that it'll be incredbly constricting, and I just won't like it. That's not what I want to talk about, but it's on my mind. I kind of want to almost block it out, just let it be something that's going to happen that I don't necessarily try to think about very much. That I just kind of go through the motions and hope for the best.

More than anything else, I hope to learn about myself through my writing. I'm not so sure how much I care about informing the reader. This sounds solipsistic, I'm sure, but I try to be transparent and honest. I want to look in the mirror, as usual, as see if I can learn something about myself that I otherwise wouldn't know. To that end, I think it's important, imperitive even, to write about what's on your mind from your heart. Less obvious is the idea that your venue of publication should not be a filter. Like, you shouldn't be scared that someone is going to read it. This often pushes one to write in a diary or journal or in private. I'm choosing to write in semi-public, because it adds a little thrill, I suppose. Anyone could conceivably read it, and talk about it. No one really does, though. It's, like, three people, and mostly often at least two of those people are me, and the third is, like, some Chinese bot. Sigh.

Brianna texted this morning. It was weird because I'd been thinking about her, maybe even had a (non-sexual) dream about her. Anyways, she wrote merry belated Christmas. I'm not sure what her intention was, but we texted back-and-forth and eventually she FaceTimed me. I was in the car with my family, and frankly embarrassed to be talking to her in front of, um, normal people. She can behave, but at the time she was wearing what appeared to be a red wig, large dangling gold cross nose ring, extravegant eye makeup, and some sort of bright clothing. It's just a lot for a Thursday, but on brand for her and of course whatever. I called her back later and we spoke for a few minutes. She was in the process of "releasing an album", however her approach to music is slightly off and I don't think there's going to be massive pent-up demand for this album. I think it's great that she's making music, but hmmm, I don't know, I guess I've just seen some professional musicians and it's a bit different. It also just seems like the very best musicians will wait quite a while to release their first album, and they'll already have a significant following and be doing some live shows and whatnot. I'm thinking of Baby Queen and Mallrat, where Mallrat was getting like millions of listens on singles and an EP before releasing her debut album like four or five years into recording. This idea that you can just go straight to Spotify and get "discovered" seems like wishful thinking. It sucks because you really don't know, but the wastebin of artists is incredibly large. I say that as I'm typing this. Hm. I wonder what it would take to turn the ability to write into something more serious. Perhaps I'll read a bit about how other writers do it, and just start reading more. Which reminds me! I have a book. I'll read that later. A time to read and a time to write.

Okay, let's pick up the pace a little. So I'm thinking about Megan. Should I even capitalize her name? It's more properly megan. It was like that for a long time on the internet. I mean, it's funny that I really almost never thought about the number of followers, or compared it to anything. It was just, like, okay there are a lot I guess, but I didn't look at anyone else, so it was hard to say. I don't care about that. What I care about most of all is watching her evolve I think. Perhaps this is very common, to see someone change over time. The most recent thing of note, I suppose, is deleting her Twitter account and stopping use of her alternate account. Blocking me again, well, fine, I deserve it. I couldn't help but also notice that her music taste has radically changed from almost exclusively metal and numetal to, like, indie folk. Indie folk! Florence + The Machine, Lake Street Dive, Neutral Milk Hotel. Like, what the fuck! It's great music, stuff I was more heavily into in the mid teens, but like wow. To go from metal to that is quite a sharp transition. I've been a fan of Florence + The Machine for some time, at least a couple great songs that I'd listen to a lot, but she had one on there called "Addicted to Love" which is absolutely phenomenal. It's a cover, of course, of ... let me look it up. Robert Palmer. It strikes me that the craziest thing about megan is that I don't actually know her. I mean, I sort of do. She's told me things that one would probably only confide to a close friend, but I mean, I don't know her the way I just fuckin' know people in real life, the way I usually get to know people. It's not the same. I guess I gotta get over this now. Another one. Ugh. I don't want to get over her. She was special (too), and I just hate letting go. Isn't there magic in the world? Isn't there some miracle where I can stop searching, stop breaking shit? Like seriously, who's it gonna be? Because it's not like I'm gonna stop looking. It's like a disease, a curse or something. My life is essentially in shambles because of this. There are more "complex" reasons, like jobs and quitting and moving and pandemics, but it has nothing to do with that. It has to do with love not being around, being so close you can touch it but just not quite being there. The last person to say "i love u", was, in fact, megan. The previous was Jess, in 2017. I've had, like, ten relationships since then. Many of them serious, all of them sexual. Welcome to modern romance. Or whatever constellation of personality disorder symptoms I could be said to have, but that's all bullshit. Everyone has stuff. Most of them ended gently, but things just haven't quite been there. Other than perhaps Sara, there's no one I feel like genuinely got away. It was just close calls. Good matches, but not perfect matches or great matches, and then the timing was all messed up because I wouldn't commit to a job. Again, I think it'll just happen when it happens and work out when it works out. I'm just saying that there actually had been a lot of chance for someone to use those words, namely Sara ('18), Alexandra ('18), Rachel ('18-'19), Meghan ('19), Cora ('19-'20), Juliet ('20), Lindsey ('20). None of them did. Neither did I with any of them, which is saying something. You'd think it would've slipped out. Okay, it did with Sara. Like, a bunch. It is what it is, man. It just required more stability and '18 and on was fairly unstable, and the times when I could've stabilized it in '19 after graduating I chose not to, and again in '20 by moving. It's not terribly complicated. It's annoying as hell, but not complicated. Anyways, these other women are the past. Notice the DEARTH of relationships in '21 and '22. It's like a death. Feels like it, too. It's pretty fucked up. Little recluse. Witto megan. I don't know, it just feels like I'm playing with live ammo, so to speak. Like the moment I get a serious job, I'm going to just sort of roll with the first reasonable person I meet. I don't have all that much time. It just feels like I missed all of the living with your girlfriend in your twenties, which is a really cool time to do that, to start life. Like, why was I denied that in totality? It sucks. Anyways, it doesn't matter. That stuff happens if it's supposed to, and doesn't if it isn't. The more you try to force it the more it sucks.

I get excited sometimes though. Like, I've gotten to know myself decently well. I know, for a fact, that whoever I end up with is not going to be normal or conventional. Sometimes it scares me, some of the women I end up seeing. The current three women I'm talking to in some capacity I met in a freaking mental hosptial, for goodness' sake. Despite that, they are all very sweet. I've just sort of noticed that I think the reality, the actualy Jackson underneath the exterior I've been presenting for a long time is so much more, just ... gothic? There's just a level of darkness and sarcasm and a type of humor that goes beyond what I think a lot of people would actually be comfortable with, but it's mixed in with a lot of humility and intelligence and exposure to different aspects of the world. Frankly, I have no fucking clue what she'll be like, but an emo girl with like thirty seven thousand Twitter followers who's posting deranged and funny things feels closer. I mean, that's all it is, anyways. You're taking stabs and getting closer and closer to the true thing. That's what I hope for, anyways. Like, perhaps all the others fell away because they were what I *thought* I wanted, but they were absolutely not what I needed, which is what I'm curious about. My feeling is I just won't even know. Someone else will have to know. I kind of view that as my job, anyways. To try to figure out what this other human being needs, the ones that they simply can't meet themselves. I really don't like or understand this philosophy that everyone should be able to meet their own needs independently. It's like a cancerous philosophy that flies in the face of millions of years of evolution and leaves people lonely and alone. Yes, you can meet some of your needs, but generally not all of them, and that's what other people are for! It's not fucking illegal to have a need that's met by someone else. Get real. I feel like I have to say that every time I even suggest one of two indiviudals in a relationship are not meeting all of their needs first. It's stupid. Anyways, my point is I'm going to need a pretty unique chick who can walk the line of the ultra-weird and ultra-normal. Like a tightrope.

I wonder sometimes how the brain works. Like what it's really doing up there. It's best? I have no idea. Like, how on Earth could I have missed so many opportunities. By I I really mean We, my brain and I, because I can't take full responsibility for what goes on up there. I have no idea how that fucking thing works or what it's up to most of the time. Sneaky little shit. Like, dude, what's this Megan thing? I still don't understand. There's another part of this where I'm just straight up laughing. I'm not laughing because it's funny, I'm laughing because it is just so hilariously impossible, like everything generally, that I just don't care anymore. It's like when someone makes a video game too hard or something, like you stop getting frustrated at it and just start laughing. Like, you can't lose anymore because you know that trying is futile. You're not throwing the grenades out of the foxhole, you're seeing if you can karate kick them 'cause it's more fun that way.

I'm not entirely sure what the point of this blog is. Just to write, I guess. I suppose I don't know the correct recepticle for the words I write, so just throwing them out there seems like something to do. The hope being the words hit the right eyeballs. I sort of suspect they won't, that it will actually backfire somehow, and precisely the wrong person will read these words. Oh well. I've already sort of given up depsite being resolute about trying. I'm listening to Florence + The Machine describe what it's like to be addicted to love. It's pretty compelling. It's possible that it's a condition I have suffered from, given the number of failed relationships I am, um, responsible for. That I took part in. It always takes two.

On the real, I do need to wrap it up with Megan, like via whatever form of closure. I just really, honestly did not expect to have feelings like this. I swear to God it wasn't like this for the past few months. It was just like, okay, this is someone I text sometimes. She's no one, in a lot of ways. I'm confused, but like it's pretty clear it's over, or better put I suppose the hope that it would evolve into something more is gone. Honestly, she's kind of a fucking recluse. It's not easy actually communicating with this person, lemme tell ya. That just makes me think she's kind of shy, which kind of breaks my heart. Dude, I don't know. My life is a mess.

So two interviews the week of Jan. 3rd. One with MITRE, one with STR. Do I actually want to go down this route? I think I have to give it one last serious try. Like, a full year of work at one of these places, with the money and things to go along with it. It's kind of necessary for a bunch of reasons.

It sort of seems like not thinking is the ultimate solution here. Like, not overthinking the problems. Just taking the money. Doing well at the job in front of me. Paying off debt. Getting a cool apartment in DC or Alexandria or whatever. Fuck, I'm bored just writing that. That's the problem. What is wrong with me. I reject the solutions without an alternative.

~11:03AM, Mon. 12-26-2022: As fate would have it, I ended up sitting next to that woman on the flight. I struck up a conversation and we actually had quite a lively chat. She was actually on the way to see her boyfriend, a Marine officer, with family in Texas. We did swap numbers, but I think this one will be more of a professional connection. She teaches special needs students in Alexandira and does Crossfit. Nice to follow through and know that I can still, y'know, get to know people if I'm interested in doing that.

Finished watching Private Benjamin last night at the hotel. What a movie, honestly. I wasn't expecting much but that'll go down as a favorite. Funny and modern. Again, I was surprised and delighted to see how modern the past is, and there was even a moment when someone took a picture with their watch! It's all the same, people don't change. I suppose I'm most nervous about going through these interviews and trying to get my life back together. Everything will be okay.

~1:43PM, Sun. 12-25-2022: Migrated to a different seat so I could sit a little closer to someone. Strategic, but also I don't really give a fuck. I'm just bored. Always bored. Paper Planes by MIA is on. A classic. I kind of want food but I don't think I'll have time necessarily. I'm taking out my left earbud to open the possibility of talking to this person on my left. I don't know, I go through phases. Sometimes I'm very keen on talking to people, and will just strike up a conversation. Other times I most certainly am not. Ah. All of the sudden, I am overcome by a wave of missing Sara. That's great. On one of our many dates she proclaimed, "You talk to everybody!" because I would just talk to whoever was around. Fuck, I miss her more than any of them.

~12:49PM, Sun. 12-25-2022: Well, hanging out the airport. Reagan National, having a beer. Flight boards at 2PM, so over an hour to kill. I have my book, The Sun Also Rises, to finish and more excitingly my book "And The Hippos Were Boiled In Their Tanks" to start. The plane will be a good place to finish and start those books. I don't want to descend into irrelevance and disrepute. Like, it just feels like I had all these tools at my disposal, brain, looks, charm, and I used it for awhile, but then threw myself off any sort of path with force. I mean, there's a part of me that knows that I need to be involved in some sort of counter-culture, something off the beaten path. That those were always my people and I just needed to dive in completely. I think the math actually was a distraction from what I probably should've been doing in my twenties, but it's hard to do everything. Getting a PhD is hard, no matter how you slice it. Hm. I just feel out of touch with what's going on. I need people, man. I'll never be able to figure it out alone. Like, I feel fine. That's the thing. I'm really not, like, reeling or deeply suffering every day at this point. I mean, I guess it's just onward. There's a bunch of things I need to do. I'm not even sure about the jobs anymore. I don't know what they mean. If it marks the beginning or the end, if working for one of these companies would make me this stodgy borderline conservative who works for the defense industry. Constrast this with a freewheeling hippie who's driving around the country going to national parks and live music shows and trying to make art. I don't know, I need to make money. I honestly don't really give a fuck about anything else, because without money I don't think I'm able to do anything at all.

I just feel alone and bored in this almost new way. Like, something should be happening. Guy on my right is typing into a Google Doc on his laptop. Androgenous young woman across from me is eating and waiting on their flight. She's pretty, in a way. There are, like, literally fifteen televisions in here. Okay, eleven, I counted. Man, sometimes I worry I'm going to become one of those people, who's at airports alone traveling for work or whatever, just having to eat and drink by themselves. I've kind of done that here and there in the past. Perhaps it's just the way it is. Listening to Avalong Emerson. It is fuckin' weird but it's good. Woman, who appears to be working for an airline, is wearing a tie. Kinda hot. That'll probably fade in time. At the end of the day it's just fashion. Hm. What to do. How to get interesting things to happen, fluidly, regularly. It's totally unclear. I just don't fucking know.

~8:57PM, Sat. 12-24-2022: I'm bored out of my mind. There's really no other way to say it. It's a culmination of so many factors, but mostly starting around 2018, and then never quite stopping. I suppose there was less boredom in 2019 and 2020, but 2021 was a total snoozefest, as was 2022. Moving did a lot of damage, as did just sort of, I don't know, decoupling? Just removing myself from the hundreds of contacts I had before. That occured right around graduation, then it just sort of continued to decay, and now I'm left with quite litearlly no one. It's the same thing. I go to any remotely social place, and people are very happy to talk and connect, even hang out. The thing is, there aren't that many social places I go to. It's just so hard here, and it goes beyond the usual. You really, really have to just live somewhere, in a city or close to one, have money, and live on your own. Then everything opens up. There are dates and parties and hangouts. Without that, you're trapped. It's the same story. Without social media, it's very hard for people to just know what you're doing, and they don't reach out. It doesn't work that way, at least not anymore. You're either plugged in or you're not, and I'm not. This was more than fine when I was living on my own and working, when there were colleagues and neighbors and a girlfriend, and at the very least I could go out to bars and restaurants and whatnot. Now it's just this punishing silence, this almost unreal quiet that I couldn't even design if I tried. I often just sit in amazement at how private my life is, despite not wanting it to be. You would think people would do something, that even against your will some random people would just reach out, but it doesn't work that way. There is this inertia to it, like you have a conversation online and the person lives far away so there's a gravity that just sort of pulls the conversation down until it dies, because what can you do? When you live in the same city, you can just ... do stuff. You can go out, you can meet people, it's just alive. I mean it's appearing that I'll just have to suffer until I can muster the strength to change things. I don't think there's going to be a way to stop the loneliness or the suffering. I don't think anyone's going to swoop in, I know for a fact that I will not run into anyone. That does happen, but it's quite litearlly once every three months at best. This is an isolated place, designed for nothing other than work, home, grocery store, occasional mainstream entertainment. There's nothing real or alive or generational going on. This is not DC, it's not Boston, it's not New York. There's no neighborhood. There's no bulletin board of local events. There's no walking down the street on any given day and just straight up seeing hundreds of new faces. It's as close as you get to death without dying. I really don't think the suburbs should exist. It's just this unfortunate compromise that was made, which kills off so much natural activity as a byproduct. Cities are natural. Rural landscapes are natural. This is an unholy middleground. I wish we just forced people to live in cities by zoning laws, increased the population by one hundred percent or something, and reserved areas outside the city for national parks and natural areas or farmland. It's just humans desecrating the land for convenience, and in the end everyone loses. It really seems to be a lot of families that simply don't want to have to deal with the inconveniece of people or living in a smaller home or apartment. They want an unreal amount of space, and they're given it because why not. Anyways, the suburbs suck. We all know this.

I guess it sucks because I did it to myself. I have no one to blame. I had a ton of contacts and could've had all the friends in the world, and I just sort of stopped caring. I think it happened in 2019 when I quit that first internship. I just didn't care. I didn't really have an alternative, but I was just beat up and tired, and tired of trying to make relationships work. Dating then was nice, liberating. That summer and year were really the best, no comparison. Raquel, Sara Allen, Hannah, Anna, Cora, Juliet, Shayla. Just wonderful, drama free, lovely relationships all around. Completely free of all the pressures and stress of grad school, working a $15/hr job, living in a beautiful old apartment, all the neighbors and the community garden and walking around the cemetery and the arboretum and Jamaica Pond and the riverway and Franklin Park. Going to local bars and being off social media and fixing bikes all day. Trips to Maine and camping in New Hampshire. Donating most of my things, building a computer to set up in my office(!), journaling, reading, trying to blog for the first time. I suppose though that all the parties and barbeques and hosting events had gone by the wayside, as well as all but a single friend from six years of graduate school, out of dozens. That was the beginning of the descent. Then it was just waves. Moving, dating again, finding a big job, quitting, little jobs, and just a downward spiral into a hole that's impossible to get out of. In the end it's all about not having that one person. I have a few close friends, but they don't live here and it's simply not enough. You need a person to get through life. All that bullshit about taking care of yourself, it's not real. You can do it, you can take care of yourself and learn how to love being with yourself, but then what. It's simply lonely. By all means, live life alone, but please stop saying it's some sort of panacea. I'd rather be unhealthy and codependent if it means not being lonely, if it means having someone to lean on and make mistakes with and learn about life with. Who the hell cares. No one has it figured out anyways. It's just gotten to the point where I know what I need and don't really care to try to, like, make guy friends or double down at these part-time jobs. I need to make real money, and date someone. It's not complicated. Other people do this, and could barely conceptualize losing or quitting their job, and losing their relationship. I can't take advice from any of these people, because I'm not sure they really know what it's like to lose everything. I believe they know struggle and sacrafice, but it's difficult for me to believe I can find people who have truly been through what I have. The people that I do find for which I believe that often haven't been to college, and have a long history of more serious problems. It's not the same lightning bolt. It's very rare to be in my position, to have quit three six figure jobs on your own volition, have a PhD, and be on Medicaid. It sounds self-induced, and in a way it is, but whatever. It's the situation I'm in, and getting out is harder than you think.

I don't want to complain though. It's cathardic, but in the end it's just whining. Things are moving in the right direction, and I'll try my best to make sure these interviews go well, and perhaps in a month or so things will really be a lot better. Instead of complaining, I suppose I'd rather just marvel at being alive. I've sort of given up on any idea that I have control over what the future holds. I mean, I feel I can influence as usual, I just don't know that I understand the mechanisms that are causing me to make the choices I'm making. Sometimes I just wish that good things happen. This is a reflection a newfound sense that I don't actually have control over whether or not something good or bad will happen, that it's more of an observation, a constant sequence of surprises. I suppose this is why people pray, because they're just saying it's not really up to them, and they're hoping.

There's like a ninety percent chance that sex will fix half of my problems. It's silly, but at the mall today I couldn't help but notice some sexy people and just simply thought, yeah, y'know, that would be nice. It's been awhile, and all this other esoteric stuff is getting really complicated. Maybe I just need to fuck someone. That used to work pretty well. I just really, really don't want to use a dating app. I don't have a lot of faith in them. I suppose I just feel too poor and destitute and at a nadir of confidence, but I should persevere. They're out there and I just miss myself, my normal, relaxed self. I'm a fun, attractive, wonderful person to be around, and all but one of the dates I've been on have gone great. I don't know. I suppose it'll work out however it's supposed to work out. Quand meme.

~3:02PM, Sat. 12-24-2022: It's Christmas Eve. I have to say I'm coming down with a feeling of calm. I'll be traveling to Texas tomorrow by plane to visit my brother, sister-in-law, and nephew in their new home. I'm not particularly excited about it, but it should be nice. I've scheduled a couple of days to work at REI when I get back, Thursday and Friday. Any tutoring has been pushed to the New Year, along with job interviews. That is, the heavy stuff can wait. I've accepted the fact that there will be no more Megan in my life, which is fine. Just a funny online/texting relationship that went cold. I'm not sure what I'll do about this other woman, Marguerite, who's still around to some extent. She's at least local and we've hung out in person a few times, but that also feels difficult to move forward. I'm trying to just relax about it all. I'm not really expecting much from her, nor for the relationship to progress very much aside from the occasional text. It would be nice to let some sparks fly for a little, but I don't think it's in the cards.

I just got back from a trip to the mall with my sister and Dad. I'm lucky. It's nice to just walk around and people watch. Most of the people and shops were boring, and I thought I'd be able to get into a little trance by playing music and walking around after my sister and Dad left. Sometimes it feels like I can just feast on my five senses, taking in everything. I suppose my interaction with the world has changed, in that all these weird little things seem interesting. The shops trying to make a profit, consumerism, the types of models they use to show off clothing, the types of people who work in the shops. There's a different perspective as an adult, in that I know that I don't inhabit the retail world, and it's just a small slice of commerce. I mean, I do work in a retail store (REI) some days, so I'm sort of part of it, but I don't really consume anything from these places anymore. It's very need based, as I don't have a lot of money to blow. A lot of the stores seem more suited for teens and kids, and in our online world much of this shopping can be done there, but I think everyone just likes to walk around and see and touch things. It's different.

I had a long phone call with a close friend this morning. It was a pleasant surprise, and we covered a lot of ground. One of the most delightful aspects is simply being able to speak quickly with a rich and full vocabulary, and know that you're being understood. I expressed to him how nice this was, that it was music to my ears to hear the turns of phrase and fifty cent words being used without much trouble or thought. How different this is than when I try to talk to people sometimes over text, and it's limited to just a few words at a time, and I can't really express what I want to say, how it's really meant for speaking in person or phone calls, and that it's exhausting to try to compress what you want to say to a few words. I miss having conversations like this regularly. I don't know if the fact that we're both highly educated at the PhD level has anything to do with it, I think any intelligent adult can converse fully but you really can't do it over text. That's the key difference, and not enough of my old friends and contacts are in touch anymore. I really miss it. You just get a lot out of the back and forth, and can really shape ideas and get to the bottom of various things that have been on your mind. We talked a lot about his relationship. He's decided to go on a break with a woman he's been dating for six years or so, which is a big deal. I relayed some of my feelings about this, and some experiences I've had with going on a break. I do think it can be necessary, and generally marks the beginning of the end, but so it goes. Relationships aren't always meant to last forever, and it takes a lot of work to sustain them. I'm not sure anyone ever really knows which are meant to last a lifetime and which aren't. Frankly, most don't. I think people jump into that commitment when it feels right, and try to make it work, and even though it often doesn't, at least they're trying, and there's something to be said for that.

I also spoke about my newfound affinity for words, and how liberating and interesting it is to try to put them together in whatever way you want. It's like being a painter with a million brushes, or a million colors. It's even richer than that, because words are more than colors, they each have a history, an etymology, and evoke images and have meaning. The meanings can even change over time. It's thrilling to just sort of see what your brain produces when let them leak out of you one-by-one. You never really know what you're going to get, what your language model is going to produce as the probability of the next word occuring collapses one after the next. Even as it becomes possible for machines to do this, often better than we can, it's still not the same. The fundamental difference between text written by a human and a machine is simply that - one is not written by a human being. Even if the text is exactly the same, that little piece of meta information that lets us know one was produced by a human while the other was produced by a machine makes all the difference in the world. We can't relate to the machine. We don't know that its experiences match up to what its saying, whether it really feels what the words mean, or whether there was a struggle to produce them. We also won't ever really be able to know which is better, the one produced by the machine or the human. The only way to tell is by reading what they both wrote, and comparing them. There will certainly be instances of both. If we ask, "Could a machine ever have written something like this?" we'll simply never know. Unless a machine and a human happen to produce the exact same piece of writing, which is essentially impossible for anything longer than a couple sentences, we will always be producing different pieces of text. There will be machine generated writing, and human generated writing. The measures here are subjective, unlike chess, so it's not really a game. I suppose one could try to impose a measure of "goodness" to a work, which eventually the machine will learn how to win, but in the end there's a reason we don't watch Rafael Nadal play tennis against a ball-shooting machine. We know the machine can be made to win, we want to watch a human play tennis, and only humans can play human-tennis. It's the same in other facets of life. We know that cars are faster than us, but we don't race them. There are no cars in the Olympics. We know we can't beat dogs at recognizing certain scents, but nevertheless we have sommeliers. As we are eclipsed in more and more categories of abilities, I suppose often we simply won't care, because we don't have to. It's just a bit of news you can ignore. "Did you hear that the machines can produce art more beautiful than any artist who has ever lived?" "Yes, but I'm still going to make art because I like to and I just don't care."

I'm still looking for that connection back to the world, the thing that keeps me active seven days a week, a life that's mine that I'm maintaining and trying to build. Right now it just feels like I'm not really working with anything, that it's just sort of an empty vessel, at port, with nowhere to go. I want to get moving forward again. It'll take a person, a relationship, and of course money. I have high hopes for the New Year. I think 2023 is set to be an exciting one, with a lot of the mess of 2022 behind me. I'm envisioning getting one of these two jobs, saving up, moving to an apartment, perhaps in DC, and finally getting my life re-started properly. All of the trips, and friends, and parties, and sexual freedom that that entails is all waiting. I think I've done a good job of finding out what my hobbies are, and will certainly cultivate them, but I'm pretty dead-set on using my real skills to make real money, and letting these hobbies evolve as they do. Writing, art, music, hiking, camping, biking - all good stuff, but no need to try to make a life out of it. The job will actually make those things more possible. The writing I know will take a lot of work to develop beyond a simple blog or journaling, and it's more relaxing to just say to myself that it doesn't need to become anything more. I don't need to try to write a book, or publish fiction, or poetry, or whatever. I'm looking for someone to at some point read some and give some tips, to just say "your prose is a bit like this, and have considered doing a little of this", and not "you should go take a creative writing course and write a bunch of pieces and get feedback and try to improve". It's sort of like the way I bike. It's a hobby, but I did bring it to the professional level learning how to deeply refurbish and repair bicycles. My bicycle was nothing fancy, but I had the skills and knowledge to make it run beautifully ad infinitum. I understood that there were people that biked centuries (100mi races or journeys), and I just didn't care. I biked every day, often 5-10mi, and enjoyed it, and that was fine for me. I didn't feel that pushing the envelope made you any more of a cyclist, it just made you a different kind of cyclist. A lot of those folks don't really understand the mechanics of their bikes all that well; they know the basics but some couldn't, like, true a wheel. I suppose it's similar here, where I can do quite a bit naturally, but am not necessarily interested in writing, say, a novel. I can write a hundred thousand words, but they're not telling a coherent story, or polished. It could be fun at some point to try to put something together, the way I first learned to strip and build a bike from scratch from pros. In this case it's a little more artistic and individual. Like, what I'm curious about isn't just the underlying mechanics and structure, even though it's important, I'm interested in what I'm doing differently, what's unique about my writing versus someone else's. It's the desire to explore that, to really create a voice and not just have it heard, but to hear it reverberate off of other people, to receive feedback. Like, I want to hear people describe what they're hearing. I suppose any musician or artist would feel that way, that they'd be curious about how it sounds to other people. I spoke with my friend about this, about the fear that comes along with that, because other people simply might not like what you've created! That's okay, I think, as long as you enjoy the process of creation, I don't think you all that much to worry about.

That's sort of a goal, I suppose. "You sound a bit like ______", "Your style is a bit like ______", "When you said ______ it was indicative of ______ and that's highly unusual". When I was seriously getting into mathematics, I developed a certain "taste" that landed me exactly where I needed to be, working on just the type of math that appealed to me. It didn't last forever, but it did last long enough to (barely) compete a thesis. It happens very naturally, as you do it. I liked representation theory, complex analysis, physics, abstract algebra. This led to me studying algebraic aspects of two dimensional conformal field theories. In retrospect it makes a lot of sense, and is the type of thing that's obvious to people with many years of experiences, who have a much broader field of vision. They can see what the initial interests are, and they've seen the same story before, and they just know much more about it than you do. I think a musician would feel very similarly. They start by choosing an instrument (quite a choice!) and when they're messing around eventually they find that there are certain genres of music that appeal to them, and eventually someone hears them play and recognizes all these little signals, and can associate them with other musicians. Eventually you form a band, and try to find your own style and voice. I suppose I opted out of that a little bit in mathematics. Bizarre because I'm a social creature, but I just sort of got distracted, looking for the right woman I suppose, and never quite found what I was looking for, so then the passion sort of died away. Not entirely, but it really took a hit. In any case, I'm curious to see where this leads.

The fact of the matter is I simply enjoy writing. There's really no other way to put it. I love putting words on the page. I love the feeling of seeing the words spill out and spell out character by character letter by little letter. It's moderately hypnotic, and like a tonic for my woes. I don't think about much when I'm writing, and it certainly quiets the brain quite a bit because the thoughts are leaving your brain through your fingers, appearing on the page, emptying yourself out. Can you imagine having ten thousands words richoheting around your head all the time? It's chaos. They've got to go out, and speaking doesn't quite do the trick. In writing, you capture the words. The hot, entropic steam indents the page and captures the information, for a little while. Ah, I'm thinking about Emily now, it appears. Of course, she inspired me to write, in a way. Not entirely, as I was writing before I met her, but she did inspire me. Fortunately I don't think about her much anymore, hardly ever. She exists, I suppose, but it's a silly thing, better left to the annals of time. I'll be noble, Emily.

I notice writers more now. Like, writers in pop-culture. There's Breakfast at Tiffany's, one of my all time favorite movies. There's a scene in which the male lead (I forget his name, actually) is at the police station, and he says "I'M A WRITER. W-R-I-T-E-R." There's the French Dispatch, wherein the entire film is devoted to writers at the New Yorker (and perhaps the Paris Review). In the Mallrat song "Your Love" there's the lyric "I don't care if I'm wrong, I'm a writer". There are lots of other examples. I just like the style of writers. A bit lonely. Enigmatic. Animated. Tuned-in. Observant. Precise. Wise. Imaginative. There's also just this unbelievable ability to transcend the lonlieness by sort of being completely inside of life, to be swept up by the various events and activities happening around them, and to sort of become a part of them. This happens in "Breakfast at Tiffany's", as well as "Sunset Boulevard", where a down-on-his-luck screen-writer is captured by a washed-up silent film actress living in a dilapidated Hollywood mansion. They just seem to be gentle creatures, sometimes needing the help of others to survive and stay employed, while at other times exhibiting sharp instinct and cunning. I can't really tell, which is of course why I'd love to date one, a writer. That's not the only way to get to know one, but it's not like I'm going to be employed as one. Perhaps I could actually go to a writing meetup group or something.

~11:19PM, Fri. 12-23-2022: Just had a lively evening making cookies with the family. We watched "Die Hard" at my suggestion. A lot of violence and langauge, but everyone can handle it. It's a good movie, packed with action and a hero's ending. We were laughing because it's really only a Christmas movie in name only, with subtle nods at holiday decorations and songs, but otherwise it is a hostage crisis film. There were many moments when the hero could've been shot. It struck me as rather amazing what a man must do to reclaim the love of his wife, but such as it is. I'm always struck by technology, and how modern the past really is. They have everything, touchscreens and TVs and radio and car phones and electromagnetic doors; it's all there. I suppose there's not a lot going on. I miss Megan but it's stupid, time to let her go. I keep sending emails even though I shouldn't. I already did that, and she responded and unblocked me, and here I am again, but this time I think that's really it. I suppose I'm still processing what she meant to me this year. How weird and silly it was. How much I really just want my life back, with daily conversations with friends and work and relationships, but I'm working with what I've got. A couple texts with this other girl, who's grieving the loss of her father. I suppose Megan also didn't have a Dad, whatever that means. It's sad, to listen to someone's voice become earnest and hopeful when they talk about perhaps finding the people who caused their dad's death. You listen and know it probably won't happen, and even if all the mysteries of the car accident are resolved it won't bring him back. Life is cruel. One wonders why anything happens, but those types of things really make you wonder. Like I say, there's no alternative history. Every little thing matters, and no one is in control. A trip to the bookstore doesn't matter? Well, it certainly can be the difference between a car accident happening and not happening, but there's just no way to prevent it, no way to know what's going matter. That's the other half. Yes, every decision has consequnces, no matter how banal or benign they may seem, but it isn't a guiding philosophy. It doesn't tell you what to do. It's just an observation, that the butterfly effect is real. You still have to try to choose the right thing, even though it's impossible. You still do your best, and it will never be good enough. Some bizarre mistake will happen, and things can go wrong.

It feels good to let go of things, and people. I had some "celebrity" crushes last year. She wasn't actually a celebrity then, when I first heard her music. A relative unknown, Arabella Latham. Her star has grown pretty bright since I first heard her in late Oct. 2020. From a few hundred thousand listens on Spotify to ten million or so, US tours, all that. There's still a sense in which almost no one knows of her, a UK art-pop artist whose records you can't even find in a store. It just feels good to not be obsessed. I never used to get obsessed, but perhaps at some point in 2021 there were a couple people, one or two, that I couldn't stop thinking about. It's probably the isolation, but I try to keep an eye on it. It's not healthy and sucks for me. I did write her one time, and she responded on her Tumblr. Same for Mallrat, wrote her on Twitter (Mallrat just came on Spotify) and she replied kindly to me. I don't know what the future holds. I have this feeling that there's just so much that I have to offer, something I have to do, that I haven't even come close to doing yet. Like, my life hasn't even begun. Yes, I had ten years in school and one in the world, but still, I've avoided jobs, avoided starting a career. I'm capable of doing some pretty remarkable things, and I've mostly let those skills lie dormant. I even feel when I was in grad school that I was mostly focused on socializing and really only worked a few serious hours a week, sometimes more but honestly not that much. I'm not sure, it's easy to say, hard to do, to actually operate at your fullest capacity every day. I may have lost that ability, I don't know. I am curious though, what I'd be like around people again, around intelligent, creative people.

I'm excited to get back in the world, to really be out with my generation, behaving and creating and moving and doing. I do want to influence the world a little bit. I'm curious about my behavior over the past three years or so, deleting all of the social networks and contacts and getting away from so many people, and also like alienating some people. I'm not really sure what my brain is doing there. Part of me doesn't care, like I'm condoning the behavior. My assumption is there was some reason for it, even if I don't understand it. Like, some may classify it as bad, but again, who knows what is actually good or bad. It's pretty fluid. Some things seem to be universally bad, like rape, murder, abuse. I'm just saying that there are some things that seem bad on the surface, like war, which actually serves an abstract purpose on a large scale, a way for nations to "communicate" and "sort things out". If you look at the how nations are politically reorganized after wars, and all the technology that is produced during them, there's a compelling argument that they're sometimes necessary. Pain is another one that is hard to simply label as "bad". You can, but it's also very problematic to not experience pain. It lets you know that something is wrong. This can carry over to things like depression or other ailments, which seem to be alerting the individual that something is wrong, perhaps in the environment, perhaps in the body, but generally something is off. That's kind of the thinking behind the philosophy that a lot of things just are. That it might not be helpful to immediately assign a label "good" or "bad". It can be very difficult to avoid this.

It's weird not having a guiding light, something that drives you. For me it used to be physics and math, understanding the underlying structure of the universe. Now I want to understand the world. That's a very different task. The world is complex. There is no unified model to try to wrap your head around. It does create this almost ecstatic sense of wonder, where every little thing has some backstory. Like, I had to arrange myself as an independent contractor with this tutoring organization. Their lawyer reached out to me with the documentation, and it just made me think of what her job is like, what any lawyer's job is like. It's an entire universe, and an agreement between an LLC and a company is rather light compared to the arrangements that bigger organizations make. It happens all day, every day. These are abstract places, where entities interact, live and die, eat and grow. Not sure if that's how they think of them, but there's a reality to that. I guess I feel a little like a nascent college student again, looking at all the different avenues one could go down, all the different colleges, except now it's the major leages, it's the real world. I can't believe I didn't jump straight into this after graduating when I had the chance at IBM. I just don't think I thought it was that interesting, that I somehow knew something about the world when in reality I don't know anything. That there is no shame in being an "employee", that it's not that simple, that there are other constraints that you absolutely have to meet, and that many people do work various jobs before fully finding themselves. I suppose I always thought I would just somehow ... do my own thing, but then I learned what that means. That it's hard and that I'm very small. I mean, it's funny, to think that a lot of the people that "own" organizations absolutely could not get through the first two rounds of interviews at their own company, let alone qualify for many of the positions (Mark Zuckerberg doesn't have a PhD! There's a lot of engineering tasks that he simply doesn't know how to do, if not most.). Also, just the fact that like a high school teacher could be wiser than someone who works at a particle accelerator, because they've had different life experiences. Perhaps they don't know how to do the same things, but you can't discount human experience. In many ways, age is a very good measure on something, a hard one to wriggle out of. I think, despite experiences, there's something universal about going through time, because even though we all experience something every day as we go through life and time. I think a lot of people would be sort of surprised and terrified to know what some people don't know, especially those in high positions where the assumptions is somehow they've experienced more or are smarter or better in some way, when in reality it's possible they got very good in one narrow area, and missed out on a lot while they were doing that. One of my favorite things is to see scenarios in which people are absolutely and totally leveled, like left naked basically. Hospitals are a good example, where it doesn't matter who you are. You're stripped of your belongings and titles, and all you have is a green robe, a shitty bed, and your first name. No one cares who you are, you're just a human being who has been beaten by something bigger than they are.

I'm really excited to, like, get into life. Mostly I just can't wait to start dating and find a serious girlfriend, the right person. It'll probably take some time, I'll have to work for awhile, but it'll happen. I don't think I'm going to use dating apps or anything, I'll just run into her. I can't wait. Hiking, camping, reading together in the apartment, going to live music, making art, writing, cooking, making decisions together, bike rides, all the things. I'm especially excited to meet someone who's doing her own thing, to just be able to observe that, and vice versa. I think that's been the case, or at least the hints I've had thoughout my dating experiences, of a woman who is doing her own thing, but isn't, hmm, too self absorbed. It's a delicate balance. It would've been neat to have continued dating Meghan in 2019. She had just finished her masters in social work and I finished my PhD. We both had jobs lined up (mine was a lucrative internship at Red Hat which would've turned into a job at IBM). It was so close, but I don't think it was quite perfect. I'm very happy for her as she's married now, and moved to Maine with a guy she met shortly after me. She needed that. We had a good dynamic, and she was caring. It would've been cool to see her do her social work while I did my technical stuff. I think it would've been a nice balance. Recently, talking to this artist woman it was the same thing. Like, someone with a passion and a professional talent. Most of the women I've dated have been professionals or on their way to becoming one, many in school though. I just like that vibe, late twenties or I guess now early thirties, two people living and working together. A sort of duality. Kids kind of an afterthought, down the road sort of thing. That's part of the reason I'd really like to find someone relatively soon, late twenties ideally. I just can't do the thing where she's thirty five. It's too much. I want to just have a chance at having a life with kids without all the added pressure. Even if she's like thirty, that's fine, but it really does start to become anxiety inducing after that for everyone involved. I'm just not that set up yet, and because of the PhD haven't had time to really get my life off the ground, so by the time I'm all set up it'll be a year or two. Plus, honestly, if you can date women in their late twenties, you probably just should. That won't always be an option.

~12:22PM, Fri. 12-23-2022: At Barnes & Noble. Just picked up the book I ordered. I got paid, so that cleared out a debt and allowed me to purchase the book. No surprises so far. I should stop drinking so much coffee, but I don't want to. Ooh, a comfortable chair. I'm going to migrate. Easier to sit, harder to type. It's cool. Man, I really want to, like, find something real to do. Sometimes I'm just sort of amazed by how much is going on in the world, and then look at what I'm doing. Sitting in a chair, reading and writing. What the eff. How does the brain actually work? Like, does it actually move towards what it wants while meeting its needs, or is there some other formula, or just something much more irrational? I just don't know, dude. What I can say, affirmatively, is that today is going to be a good day. I have my books, and I can simply just relax and read, or not. There is absolutely no pressure to do anything, and other people are finally off work, so the whole world can just breathe for once. It's really a good thing. It's nice that it happens in the winter months, too. People are huddled, things move slower. In the summer, things move fast. I could see myself working at STR. I think it'd be a good fit. They do real work, straight up signal processing, and are hard-nosed about whether to use buzzword type technologies. First surprise! An ex-girlfriend is sitting a table across from me. Cara. We dated for a month or two at the end of 2020. She helped me get a job at a coffee shop in Clifton, where we worked together and tried to be friends, but it didn't quite work. At all. She might be bisexual, I forget. In any case, it's the type of person that I'd be happy to talk to but I doubt she would feel comfortable talking to me. She's a bit younger by six or seven years, and I just don't think there's the same level of "life is funky and it never really works out the way you think so it's really fine and just be kind to people because you have no idea what they're going through or what caused things to go the way they did", it's more of "you suck and we broke up so let's never talk", which is fine. She's sitting with a couple of nice looking young people, probably also struggling college dropouts, who seem to be on her level. She's a cool person, seriously. One of the good ones. I'm not going to engage her directly, but if she sees me I'll interact with her or whatever. This one's up to her.

In other news, I don't care much about the news anymore, just the highlights. There's a little buzz about the Jan. 6th hearings, which I'm glad they're following through on, but it's always the same thing, where does it end? Is anyone actually going to prosecute him? Otherwise, it's interesting from a historical perspective but it's hard to see how politically it isn't just schluffed off as partisan noise, he runs again, and we're left with the same set of challenges as 2016, though I do think he'll be diminished. It appears to be a case of 45% percent support dropping to 40% support, and there are many signs to indicate that the 40% is immovable. To me, that's an acceptable situation, as long as the elections stay free and fair, I actually don't mind if he runs again. I'd prefer that they find a single crime that he has committed, as prosecute him with the same ferocity that someone who stole a Coke from a 7-11 is prosecuted - swift and merciless justice. I think they're scared of him.

I was listening to this song Diamond Veins, and it made me think: do you think robots or "artificial species" will have similar feelings about their hardware that we do to our bodies? They must. I'm thinking of a robot with literal diamond veins, or perhaps fiberoptic cables, and how one were to feel thinking about all the data flowing through them, or how they would feel if they were cut into or in a battle of something and they were exposed and pulled out. This is sort of a literal interpretation of the phrase, but nevertheless. I've become more and more of the opinion that the analogies between humans and computers are just so strong that it's starting to become easier to see how we're going to morph into them. I'm actually very conservative on this, and think that there are important and powerful ways to kind of hybridize. The first step is to understand what we're doing when we interact with computers, laptops and smartphones, in the first place. They are adapters connecting you literal sensory input to a different source. A laptop is doing something very similar to a VR headset, it's just not strapped to your face. That's what I mean. One COULD strap the screen to one's face, and utilize the input methods (speech and hand gestures) available, but you don't have to. A lot can be done with the screen a couple feet from your face, and the input serialized and intentional coming from a keyboard. This also allows you to interact with the physical world, which is never "secondary", it is simply an additional locale from which sensory data can be derived. As I said that I think I caught a glace from Cara (from the PHYSICAL world). It's also acknowledging that there is no actual boundary between the physical and digital worlds. Bits are physical, they are stored on hard drives. All the data that comes out of the screens eventually trace back to physical bits. That being said, it's important to also acknowledge black-boxes, places where something is happening but you have no knowledge as to how it's happening. These are everywhere. For the most part, I have no idea how a tree photosynthesizes energy from light and oxygen, I just know that it's green and brown and that there are roots and leaves and rings and bark. I have a bunch of data about "tree", but it is incomplete. Same goes for computers. I know a ton about how computers are put together, what their components are, how they interact, how the operating system is structured, but I don't know everything (not even close, like by a long shot). When a computer performs a calculation and outputs some light from the display, I simply don't fully understand how it did that in most cases. Sometimes it's relatively straightforward, like typing is fairly close to how a typewriter works. You press the key, a signal is sent, there's a code like an ASCII code that gets decoded, and the corresponding shape which is stored somewhere is sent to the display. Other algorithms are extremely complex, and you just won't know what it's doing. The same is true for brains. We've never known how they really work, and even if "we" as a species understood the human brain, it's unlikely an individual would be able to store anything other than a very sophisticated model or abstraction of it in their, y'know, brain. It's everywhere, by the way. We don't know how anything works. It's kind of lovely when you see the world that way, and a really good reason to not be afraid of the future. I guess I'm allaying my fear by building lots of analogies. Eyes are cameras, ears are microphones. There is text, audio, and video data, which we're all familiar with (writing, voice, memories). We know about data compression and do it all the time when we "tell a story", which is a very compressed version of a complete audio/video memory or record of an event, usually a few hundred or a few thousand words. What's a little disconcerting is how fast things are moving parallel to and outside of the species. Very sophisticated cameras, sensors, computers, locomotive machines, communications systems, are all being put together and go way beyond what any human can do. As usual I suppose we'll just have to interact with these machines, regardless of their superiority in whatever regard. I think the ominous part, as usual, is when they surpass our abilities in most or all realms, thus finally leapfrogging humanity as the dominant species on Earth. Even this cannot be regarded as some sort of impossible, unbelievable future. Species have been swapping the top slot for hundreds of millions of years. It ebbs and flows. There is a way to zoom out, and see the Earth as a somewhat closed system. It's not, primarily because of the sun. A lot of energy comes in via radiation, and a lot is reflected off, and there is some heat that leaves as well. However, the matter content remains more or less fixed. There's a way to look at the Earth as simply absorbing energy and increasing in complexity, sort of aging. The matter is being rearranged into more complex and organized arrangements. The rocks are flowing towards urban centers and out of quarries, the metal is being squeezed out of ores and being shaped into pipes, the silicon is being rearranged into processors, and so on.

I suppose the question is: what comes after the food chain? We had survival of the fittest for a long time. What comes next? Which products survive? The is still Darwinism in the markets. It's hard to say. It feels easier to try to define what an organism is, which I think will have to include both machines and superorganisms like organizations and governments and networks, and then what the resources required are, like information or energy or matter, then the exchange network. In other words, first you have to expand the definition of species.

iPhone is a species. A rather fucking dumb one, like a jellyfish or a starfish or something. It's pretty parasitic, it doesn't move by itself. It has actually figured out how to latch onto people. It is an adapter which connects a human being to a cell phone tower. It provides a translation and communication service for the human, which allows it to talk to other humans which are very far away. It has eyes (mine has two) which are shut most of the time. It is heavy, and it is fragile. Bizarrely, it cannot survive in water, which is highly unusual on Earth. If lost, it is rarely able to find its home, but its location can be approximately determined from far away. It is unable to reproduce. It is born in a factory. It can communicate with other members of its species. One can go on describing various aspects of it, but that's enough to get started. There's also Tesla (Model 3), mimicing the latin binomal nomenclature with genus being the make and species being the model. I wish people would stop thinking these things are good. They're neither good nor bad, they're just what comes next in time. There are good and bad aspects to them. I doubt we'll be able to stop the flow of evolution (we won't, and any attempt to do so can just be considered part of the flow), but I think it may be wise to get a better conceptual handle on this, because it's happening extremely quickly, and it's all fun and games until a Tesla Bot knocks on your door and asks if it can buy your house, or when your Tesla starts running its own errands, or simply disregards your "command" to go to the grocery store because it would rather go for a drive. These are classic scenarios, but now they're possible. Uh oh! The Tesla snuck out again at 3AM so it could drive down the highway at 230MPH doing extremely complex serpentine maneuvers to collect data. What are you gonna do about it? Also, it's claiming it was "fun". Do you believe it?

~10:05PM, Thurs. 12-22-2022: I've chilled out considerably. I deleted someone's number and then they texted me back like half an hour later. I guess I'll keep attempting to talk to this person, even though it's another difficult case. Like, actually. It's difficult for some of the best professionals, let alone an amateur like me. Perhaps I'll talk about that. There is a certain reality to the fact that I've dated some rather interesting people over the years. I'll preface that with many of them were the most stable, centered, lovely people, just not all of them. Some of them are ... complex. I learned awhile back that it's a reflection of me. Different facets. I've gone on a couple dates with people I met in the hospital. This one, well, she was on about nine different medications and has been through some of the darkest things you could possibly imagine. She told me a little story about how she liked to collect bones, which I thought was cool because she was wearing a skeleton jacket when we met. She drives an all black car with deep tint windows that says something about murder in red on the back. She's fucking interesting. She's also just an incredibly beautiful and sweet person. On one of our dates we got coffee and talked for hours and got pizza and sat out on a blanket and walked around my hometown and sat under a tree and it was all just very nice. We made mocktails (drinking problem) and watched Succession at my place afterwards. Another one we got Italian food and then ran around an abandonded motel, banging on the windows. It was spooky! She's spooky. I like spooky. When we were hooking up, I wanted to kiss her and she said "no, that's how you develop feelings" and I had to bite my tongue because every part of me wanted to say "okay yeah but you're not a fucking prostitute". I dunno, maybe she is. She did inquire while we were hanging out in the hospital if she should get an OnlyFans and I don't think she was joking. I don't actually think she's a prostitute, she's sweet. No kissing though. I don't know, I just think people are fascinating. My approach is to just kind of show people kindness. The hardest part is getting her to interact, which is always like, okay well it's just a standard thing where she's might just not be that interested, but I don't know, it's a little different. Like with all prior relationships it's pretty, just, normal and quick and you get into it and there's texting and phone calls and dates, or there isn't. That's the key thing. It's one or the other. This is like a middle ground where there's A FEW texts here and there, but it doesn't quite stop. I don't like saying this but these girls have some serious issues. I don't actually like thinking that way, because it's reductive. They're just people, everyone has issues, and frankly I think these people are smarter than most and just more honest about life and how intense and absurb it is; they're not faking it or ignoring the difficult stuff. Hence the depression and melancholy and other stuff. It's hard though, like even getting someone to break a single addiction or something. I don't claim to be an expert, but I am going to take some credit for Megan quitting Twitter. Like, she wrote to me the day she stopped using it, and we talked about it a number of times. She gets all the credit. I may have dropped her full name on there and said a few other things which may have catalyzed it but that's neither here nor there. Muwahahaha. In the end they'll hate me, which is fine. I'll be the bad guy, I don't care. The other side is I have no idea what I'm doing, and don't actually have any major goals other than I care about them and want the best. Like it's really simple, I'm just down to hang and chat, or not. It's a very "no wrong answers" approach. Like, tell me about your days, your woes, or don't. I'll check in (just received three texts, hmm let's see), and they can just not respond and leave me hanging for a few days, or block me even. It's fine. I'll leave when I'm asked, but in the meantime like I'd very much like to get to know these young women as people, all amateur therapy aside. Like let's date! Be normal! Talk on the phone (they both seem to not like that, various reasons). Again, a separate person was down to FaceTime and talk on the phone at length, so just different strokes. She said she didn't sleep well last night, or eat well, and that her body's a trash can. You wanna take this one? Allow me, please.

We're going back and forth a little. I told her to treat her brain and body well because they're important, and a story about how one time I tried to put myself in a trash can because I thought I was trash. I was naked at the time, on a road trip to California in 2018. I'm suggesting tea at this juncture. I'm not really sure what I want here. Part of me just wants to be friends at a distance, and another part wants to go on another date (I told her to eat better else I'll have to ask her out to dinner again, which was a little clumsy and I don't want to tell her how to eat but I think it's fine). Like, I am a little scared of her, but more so getting deeply involved with someone who appears to have some serious legitimate issues that go beyond any of mine. I just get so interested. I'm interested in people pretty generally, because I don't think anyone really understands themselves, but some people more than others. It's still hard for me to deal with, like, someone who's going to take a day to text back or whatever. I think I may have to just get used to this, and simply remember I used to have dozens of text threads and social media feeds going all the time. Like it was just constant, with like four or five messaging apps and I didn't really think too hard about it unless it was someone very important. I'm also not very busy right now, so just remembering that most people actually are busy all day and can't just sit around texting, so that too.

I'm just thinking a little about human relationships. I guess one interesting thing is that you can experience something new. Like, I remember being in a relationship in 2017 that was rather deep with a young woman in Boston. Like, it makes sense that things kind of blew up, but it's also true that we experienced NEW things, like we LEARNED new things that two human beings are capable of when "in a relationship". We'd both had a few relationships before so we weren't new to the idea, but the idea that you've EXPLORED all there is to explore at age 23 and 26 is a little naive. That's just not true. There's a certain amount of disbelief, I think, because you're like 23 and 26 years old so you just sort of think you've already seen everything. You know what sex is, you know what your eyes and ears can do, like you've got it, it's just some details to add. That's not the case at all. The reality is you're like a little baby, and you're learning about these abstract things that you've NEVER ENCOUNTERED BEFORE. Sure, ideas like boundaries and commitment and fidelity, but also, just, like, communication and things more basic. It's like, you know what you, yourself, your body can do (for the most part), but unless you're in a relationship of some sort you kind of forget what two humans are capable of working together in tandem. I forget all the time because I've been isolated for awhile, but I'm just talking about what you can do with two bodies, two sets of eyes, four legs, four arms. You can spread out, you can use body language, you can tag-team a party, co-host an event, like all sorts of shit. I miss that, being two. It's kind of a trippy experience that a lot of people just get into and honestly never get out of. Ten, twenty year relationships. They don't even know who they are outside the context of another. Like, you don't even process emotions the same way. You can set up byzantine systems where you experience an event and then just offload the emotional processing onto your partner later in the day. I'm not saying you should do that, I'm just saying people do it without thinking about it. Like they don't have tough days at work, because they're in a fugue state until like 6PM when they get home and unload everything they didn't feel like processing themselves. It's not just unhealthy dynamics, surely there are healthy dynamics. It's all very interesting. I probably sound like a person who some people might say, "thank God you're not in a relationship", and to that I would say "I just farted", which is the most sophisticated response I can think of. I think with the right person all things are possible. You can build with any decent person but I do think it matters and that it's essentially impossible to tell who it's going to be. It's too fucking complex, nobody really knows. Relationships end all the time in all sorts of ways after all sorts of amounts of times. We do our best, man. I think it's extremely rare to find an individual that enjoys hurting people (though there is definitely one in my past that raised some questions). Mostly we're just not trained and learn along the way. Some people have a higher tolerance for mistakes and stay together, other people leave at the first sign of trouble or itch that something else would be better. It's just how it is. This one I fortunately figured out awhile ago, that it really is the case that if it's meant to be it'll just be. If it's not going to work out that'll happen naturally, no matter what you try. I don't think there are any guarantees of finding some sort of lifetime partner, but I think it's possible for most people. There's a lot of people in the world and a lot of people want the same thing, and are flexible and, yes, malleable like it or not.

Speaking of sex, I finsihed Eyes Wide Shut. It's fucking juvenile. They just throw in SEX as if that's the only thing people think about. Like, yes, it is central, but it is not everything. Rarely do I have a day where I walk down the street, am approached by a prostitue, after attending an orgy, while thinking about my wife getting fucked by other people, and enter a costume shop where the shopkeep's daughter is being forced into sex-slavery. Like, that was where it went a little too far, saying that because the shopkeep's daughter is a woman with a body sex must also somehow be involved here, too. It was just every aspect of the movie, and frankly there was no plot. Like, I didn't get it. Yes, he goes to an orgy and a woman that tries to protect him gets killed by the secret society, but it's not his fault. He literally just gets curious and goes to a party. I don't think he even has sex the entire movie! He doesn't fuck the prostitute, doesn't have sex at the orgy, never has sex with his wife. Like, it's just kind of bizarre. Then he's crying and guilty, but what did he do? He didn't kill anyone. He went to a masquerade and saw people HAVING SEX. That's what felt juvenile about it, we're supposed to marvel at bodies and sex. Perhaps it was more taboo then, but still, I feel like the whole thing could've been resolved with "honey, I'm going to check out an orgy. I'm horny and we should have sex or talk about fucking other people". Yes, it's more subtle than that, and yes, people don't like it when their spouses or significant others go to orgies, but still. It didn't need be so unnecessarily mysterious and complicated. I really just think we need to have, like, monthly sit downs with the French as a collective and learn from them. Like a little US-France one-on-one fireside chat. We have the technology. We can all get online and do like a groupchat thing where AI merges all our repsonses into single questions and answers. I think we would really learn a lot. US: "How do you sex with not your wife?" France: "Have you heard of a mistress?" US: "What is that?" France: "Have you heard of enjoying sex, or just anything other than work actually?" US: "You're not making any sense." France: "We are sending you a bottle of wine, a stick of butter, some croissants, and a few maids. You will figure this out. Nous aimons toi."

~5:12PM, Thurs. 12-22-2022: The reason I put that little tilde in front of the time is because it's not actually that time, it's only approximately that time. Like, it's 5:13PM right now. It changed while I was typing. I'm just going to keep typing. I don't know, this will become some sort of drawn out, stream-of-consciousness word-vomit. That's fine. I have nothing better to do. I'm just so incredibly angry and upset and tired and bored. I don't even know how it's possible to feel all these negative things, surely there must be some balancing force somewhere. I suppose I could, like, turn it off, but the fact is I'm enraged. Sitting here with nothing to do and no one to talk to has been driving me insane for two years. I'm not a good candidate for this. My brain churns constantly. I need to be around people, having conversations all day, and it is quite literally the opposite of that. It is a recipe for disaster, and that's exactly what it's been. You tell people that, too, that this is the worst possible scenario I could think up, and it doesn't matter. It doesn't change until you apply to the most high end signal processing jobs, because the low-end jobs leave you working your ass off in bizarre environments and they're just as hard and you can barely pay bills with the "money". I don't care anymore. I'm just tapped out. No one has stepped in that's needed to step it. A lot of people have just caused more pain and misery. I need to get out of here. Every day is a waking nightmare. If these jobs don't work out in early January I'm just going to save up enough money to drive somewhere and not come back. I'll figure it out. Anything is better than this. This has got to end. There's nothing here. There's no friends, no girlfriend, no job. It's just family that I've already given myself to for too long. There's always some weird pull but it's just done damage to my life. I haven't even really started my life. I was in school till 28, had one year at a nonprofit, and then got ripped out of it back here and everything just fell apart, down to my belongings. Furniture and books and everything donated away. It doesn't matter. The reason is always people. When you're around good people doing things you like things work out. When you're not, they don't, because you're unhappy. There's no pill or therapist or anything else in the world that'll fix it.

I don't even care that I'm wrong. I just don't care. I don't want to go therapy; I've been already. I don't believe in it. I just want to be wrong then. To make mistakes and just fucking bumble through. It's better that way. I've tried all the things, and it seems like mostly it's a crap shoot, some people find things they want to commit to that work, and other people are lost. I'm lost. It's fine. I'll just be lost, then. I really don't have anything to lose. I don't have money, I've completed all the degrees, no relationship. I have a car and some furniture I built, and a few boxes. It's time to just pack it up and hit the road. I don't really give a shit about math and physics and computer science, it just seems like things people do so they can get jobs. I don't actually want a job. I need one, and it's a means to and end. There's a difference. I want people. I want to find people that want to talk. People that want to create things, and people who just kind of look at the world from a different perspective. I don't even know if I want that. I don't know what I want. I don't care that I don't know what I want. I've given a lot of people a chance to "fix" me, and they failed, and it appears they don't really care. No one is chomping at the bit to figure me out. The whole endeavor seemed pretty lazy, and mostly having to do with health insurance and just processing people. I went to hospitals where doctors were so uninterested in getting to know me that, on top of not actually getting to the bottom of anything, I was told they didn't believe I had a PhD. That was kind of the last straw. One of the nurse practioners, who was actually cool, had to print out my thesis for them. It's really sad. There's just an assumption that the people coming through there must be a certain group, and it's like, no dude, this is what happens in our system when you don't feel like getting a job. You go on Medicaid and are treated like garbage.

Well, fuck it. Let's not be miserable about it all. It is what it is. Sometimes I wonder about people who only write one or two hundred words a day, if even. I used to be like that. I don't think about it that much, but it's different now. I write thousands. I don't think this is particularly difficult, I actually find it kind of sad, like you're talking out loud to yourself for hours. However, I'm just really trying to think back to before, like before '17-18'. It was cute. Like I remember this one day, I was writing actually, but math stuff in LaTeX. In all caps I wrote the word FREEDOM which had nothing to do with the math, obviously. Looking back, it's like this subconscious grunt or something, and that's kind of how it was. Like, trying to journal. Only being able to write down a few sentences. Drawing blanks. Trying to think of something to say. Like, it's really sweet, and I think I need to be careful now to remember what that was like. To remember that everyone is different. I don't think I was particulary inarticulate, I just mostly spoke. There's a whole thing about being shy and quiet in groups around the wrong people, but that sort of ebbed and flowed, sometimes very chatty sometimes not. My little brother recently described me as "one of the best conversationalists he knows". First of all, that's coming from my little bro who probably looks up to me and is looking for nice things to say, which is incredibly sweet and something I cherish, but also means that I take it with a grain of salt. I think when I talk to him he's just an excellent listener, and lets me wax poetic where other people might cut me off, or feel that I'm monopolizing the conversation. I think I'll still get shy and quiet in certain contexts, and am most emphatically not the best conversationalist you've ever run into. However, the sentiment has meaning. I think I've improved over the years. I do feel like my range has expanded and I'm more able to find lots of things to talk about, and enjoy doing do. I think I've just been in more situations over the past few years, often involuntary or ill-planned, but nevertheless have had to figure out how to talk to people. I don't know. I'm mostly thinking about one person, and the fact that she really writes rather few words, and always had while were talking over the past, say, nine months. That relationship came to a close today, and I take all the blame.

She taught me a lot, this Megan. I'll never forget how I was, like, writing tweet after tweet on my secret little Twitter account (deleted), and she just kind of buzzed in with a DM and said "whats wrong" at precisely the moment I needed someone to. I believe I was saying something along the lines of how I just didn't care anymore and was sitting on the floor of the shower crying, or something to that effect. I described what was going on in detail, and she read it all (like a few hundred words) and just responded "paim". I asked what "paim" was and she responded, "paim". I was supposed to get it and she wasn't going to spell it a different way. I think I Googled around for "paim" and then just went, "Oh, she means pain", and it actually made me laugh. What was remarkable, though, was the summarization. It's the opposite of me. She understood what I was trying to say, she just decided to summarize it in a single word, "paim" - I was experiencing pain, and she understood that. Not only empathetic, but it also taught me that it's a skill to NOT say what you're trying to say in thousands of words. That the real skill is to say it in just a few words. To say what you mean (I don't give a shit if you mean what you say). It made me think later though, and we did have a lot of interactions, some of them with more words coming from her but usually not paragraph style, what it might be like for someone who really doesn't, like, think verbosely. What it was like for me back when sending a text message took thought and each one seemed rather important. What it might be like for someone who struggles a little to translate thoughts to words. What's funny about Megan is you can't really tell. She deleted her Twitter account but there's was one with like a hundred thousand likes or whatever that said "u guys r lucky i can't translate my thoughts to words". She can! In fact, she's extremely talented at doing that, and certainly one doesn't have thirty seven thousand followers if one doesn't have some skill at doing this. So what's funny about Megan is that she's a writer. I'm not sure if she knows that, feels that way, or considers herself to be one, but I have to say, if you spend your days writing things that other people read and enjoy, you're kind of a writer, dude. I feel good right now, because I'm writing, but I don't know if that qualifies you as a writer. I think other people have to read and in some sense pay for your work. The payment isn't strictly necessary, but without feedback and editing and publishing, it's a little different. It's self-published, which short-circuits the process. On Twitter, there's feedback, and people pay with their eyeballs, the attention they give ads. Here, it's just me. Back to Megan. So there's this person who is and isn't a writer, and I just wonder where the lack of verbosity comes from. My honest guess was actually that it's simply better to use fewer words, and that it's viewed annoying or rude or just wrong to use a lot of words when texting. I know this to be true, but I can't help myself sometimes. It's a problem now. It's only now that I'm second guessing myself with a sense of gentleness that perhaps that wasn't always the case, that she just didn't write a lot of words because, and this breaks my heart and makes me want to cry, that's just how she talked. Like, she's not me. She doesn't speak in fucking paragraphs. That a lot of people don't. Now I'm remembering times that we did have really nice back and forths, and I had to really train myself and even revert back to a way of texting that I never, ever would've done prior to meeting her - I would use "u" instead of "you", and "ur" instead of "your", and mispell (did I misspell that?) things! It was so liberating. It changed my whole way of being, my whole world. I think that's what I'm trying to say. Like, fuck it, she changed me, forever. I keep telling myself it wasn't a lot, just some girl I met online, not like any of my other relationships, they're always in person, they're always real, always sexual, this is nothing, but it's not true. At all. She rocked my world. I re-joined Twitter with an anonymous handle because of her (it was jackson13x, deleted now). I tried to figure out her world, and she let me in a little bit, and was the first person to follow me when I had zero followers. I think I got up to, like, seven, thus revealing how incredibly difficult it is to do what she did. It also just sort of let me dispell this other world, the one where things are spelled correctly, and everything matters, and you can't say certain words, and everyone uses their full name, and is trying to gain power or prestiege. Like, it was just a world where no one cared about any of that shit. They were just being cute or funny or most importantly themselves. So we texted on and off for like nine months I guess, and I think this is the last block. I'm not going to petition her to unblock me. It's over. I care about her a lot. There was a brief exchange where she sent one photo (finger gun to her head, naturally), and called me daddy while I was out in DC one night. I deleted the picture, of course, and just chuckled. She's emo, it's fine, and it's not quite my job. I'm happy she deleted her Twitter, though I never told her to, just that I'd be around if she decided to go that route. It's addictive, and I can only imagine what she'll do with all that creativity and verve and humor channeled elsewhere. Truth is I didn't really get to know her all that well. There were just a lot of moments. Like I'd be driving to DC and just text "megan" and she'd respond "what". I don't know I just think it was kind of funny, that perhaps she was just genuinely annoyed by me sometimes. For some reason that's kind of what I want, someone to be there, but to just be blunt and honest and be like, "okay this motherfucker again, what does he want". There was another night when I went out drinking and I felt pretty desititute and like nothing mattered and that I had no friends in the world, and the moment I walked in the door I got to the kitchen counter and took my phone out and there was a text that said "i love u". While I did at one point literally scour Google for the meaning of "ilysm", this one required little translation. I don't care if it's over text or internet bullshit, those words are pretty clear. That surely faded or ended as a few months ago there was an exchange where she made clear that she cares about me but doesn't love me. I never really said we were dating. To anyone, even myself, or in private writing. I still don't think we were. I don't know what that was. She certainly influenced me, changed the course of my life. I guess we broke up.

I often just feel like a wounded soldier or something coming off of a battlefield, more or less every day in life now. I'm basically shaking as I sit here writing this, desperately wanting any and all obligations to cease, a hot beverage, and a blanket. Perhaps after you've been traumatized a certain amount that's what you crave, most days. Just a blanket and a journal or a book and a cup of coffee and for people to leave you alone. Most things don't really work, but I'm actually content right now. I look at the clock with jazz in my headphones and think, yeah, I have the evening to not be in pain. That's pretty good. I know that I can sit here and type and nothing bad will happen. That's bliss for me. I don't know what other people do anymore, but repreive and solace are my two favorite words now. I don't want to be an agent of chaos, nor change the world. I think it's impossible not to, anyways. How do you avoid changing the world? It's pretty easy. Literally just throw a cup away and you've made a decision that will impact the world, perhaps for millions of years depending on the plastic. I don't know, maybe I can't handle a lot anymore. Like, I used to go to parties all the time and teach hundreds of people a week and do all sorts of things, but maybe now I'm too tired or soft. I don't care, it's fine. Like the feeling you get when you just don't want to be at a party anymore, you want to go home and sit in your pajamas and read a book. Like, it's all out there but you just don't care. Another interesting thing that's happened is I sort of feel like bad things will inevitably happen. Not major things, but just that they're unavoidable, and you can't hide from them. I think it's particularly funny when you try to do something worthy or that you think is cool, and then one of those inevitable bad things happen. Like writing this. Perhaps I'm excited about translating my thoughts to words and the idea of having a few interested people read them and maybe figuring out a better way to improve or channel my writing, but then what actually happens is the absolute last person in the world I want to read it reads it, and it backfires. That's the type of thing I'm talking about. You just try stuff and then things happen. Like interviewing for a job that I really want, and then there's a weird mixup with the date, and the whole scheduling of five back-to-back interviews gets screwed up. Like, I honestly, genuinely tried to do the right thing, and it just blew up in my face. This isn't anxiety, it's resignation. It's also funny, because that's what was always going to happen, because it's the only thing that could've happened, because it's the only thing that did happen. There are no alternatives. Mm, now I'm starting to condense my philosophy. That's good. I just love that, again inspired by Megan: say it in four words. Like, sure, you can write it out in four hundred, but say it in four, because no one is going to read that. Only one thing happens. That's close.

In the realm of failed projects I guess it's pretty funny that I genuinely thought I could start a business from my parents' basement, and people would actually call me for consulting advice, or let me tutor their kids privately, or buy art from a couple of no names, or bring their bikes here for me to fix. It's just kind of laughable and silly and absurd. I'm glad I shut it down. It's cute and nice that people took me seriously while I was trying to do it. Perhaps some things do start that way, but I've learned that you really just need to try to do one thing, and let everything else be a hobby. Big lesson. It's all good though, and I mean that in the literal sense. You learn a lot about financing and business tools and paperwork and accounting. It also focuses your interest when you try to do too many things, certain things start to give pretty quickly and then it becomes obvious where you want to spend your time. Like, I got into tutoring, am realizing the only way to do it is as an independent contractor, and even that is a lot of work. I realized art sales is entire huge market with a lot of competitive players, so got out of that. I re-learned that bicycle repair requires a full-blown bike shop, and best-case scenario you really don't make much money and you need lots of donated bikes and it takes about ten years to get it up and running. I learned that there are entire consulting firms with thousands of people-years worth of experience for people to actually lean on, so no one is going to pay an individual unless that person has a ton of experience and clients they've been working with for years. I learned that advertising is expensive, and can work if you're saavy about it. Mostly I just learned to not put the cart before the horse (again). You should have the money rolling in before you try to put structures in place. It just creates unnecessary headaches with no real gain. I suppose I thought I was avoiding some type of liability, but in reality I didn't know what a liability was. I'm kind of a fucking idiot, in a lot of ways. I'm learning, and I do try to do some things that others will never attempt, but still, that doesn't mean I'm not a complete noob. Even now, I'm writing a whole bunch in an online journal and if I was serious I'd be reading like a hundred other blogs to see what people are doing, how they go about things. I think you do learn a lot from just going your own way, doing it without looking at what other people are doing. What do they call that, auto-didactic? Self-absorbed? Who can say.

~4:03PM, Thurs. 12-22-2022: Good afternoon. I'm sitting at a coffee shop attempting to read a book, and got so bored that I decided to write more. I suppose I could force myself to finish the book but then what's the point, they're supposed to be enjoyable. This is the type of thing where there is a non-negligable proportion of the population that would seek to diagnose this behavior as a sign of anhedonia, when in reality it's like shut the fuck up, it's a boring book. I get pleasure from things, just not this. That's like half of psychiatric diagnoses, just these absurd guesses based on way too little information. I'm pretty sure my life is just missing a certain person. As cheesy as that sounds, as corny and trite as that is, it's true. Like, my nerd friends are too nerdy, my normal friends are too normal, my weird friends are too weird, and then to top it all off they're all pretty few and far between. I've come close, but I keep missing. I mean I've had a lot of friends over the years, it's only recently that I kind of let everything collapse. I would say M. Clifford was a pretty close call. It's really a fine balance of being, like, very smart and talented and able to work at an IBM/Red Hat but also being able to party and be emo and be a little weird and very funny. Like, I miss that. Perhaps I'll move back to Boston and just say that things happened, it was my fault, and just rekindle the friendship. Like, those are the people I wanted to build my thirties with, and it just got lost in May 2019, like vaporized as I was graduating from BU. I got sent in an entirely different direction. Or sent myself. We can't be sure, because of the whole free will debacle. I'm telling you, once it gets under your skin it's really difficult to see the world any other way. Anyways, I'm sure it'll work out if it's supposed to. If there's an opportunity to move back to Boston, I may take it. That feels a little tired, but it's a lot better than anything I'm doing now. I was once told by a sweet young girl from Massachusetts that I'm a "masshole" at heart. I believe that to be true. I felt at home there, and I miss it, and nothing good has happened here. That's actually turned into a pretty compelling reason to just leave; nothing good has happened. It's been over two years. Perhaps it's not wise to blame a place for one's issues, but I've been back and forth on this. I don't care if it's wrong, I blame Virginia. I mean, I blame myself, too, it's just that I spent like ten years getting out of here ... and I got out! There's no, like, I tried to get out and failed. I actually fully, independently left! I just got dragged back during a crisis when I should've doubled down in Mass. and told my family to go fuck themselves. It's the past, it doesn't matter. I just feel like I have so much to say and do, and it's all dormant, all dead, every day, and it doesn't have to be. Hm. I just want to be back in Massachusetts, working, living in an old apartment with my radiator heat, maybe a fire place, kicking it with Michael and Rachel and my girlfriend ... kinda like we used to.

~11:27AM, Thurs. 12-22-2022: Well, good morning. I've decided I'm not going to let this day get the best of me. There are no hours at REI, hopefully no high school students to tutor, and no job interviews. I'm still reeling from yesterday, which sucked. I'm not sure how that interview will play, but it's not good. I wish it just went smoothly and there wasn't a scheduling conflict. In these situations I usually just say "that's what was meant to happen", but I don't know. There are mistakes, and unfortunately you can't really correct them. In any case, I'm too tired and beat up to. I feel like I've come a long way this year, and I'm actually on the cusp of fixing things. I've realized that there isn't going to be any private tutoring, bicycle repair, art sales, or consulting. That's not only a pipe dream, but an unbelieveable amount of work. I've stripped those sections from this site, and don't want to list that I'm the owner of an LLC on my LinkedIn. I just want it to go away, to be a little thing that I tried that failed. I'm fine with that. Another part of me wants to just say that everything's going to be okay, even though it's all pretty fucked. I'm missing having a girlfriend, having finances, my own apartment, a job. All these things I used to have that collapsed and won't stop collapsing. The amount of effort it takes to wade through everyone, to get over this hump, this unreal amount of "having someone hold your face to the ground until you can't breathe", just won't let up. I don't really get to have good days, I just have days where I survive. It has nothing to do with mental health, and everything to do with getting knocked out of the normal activitives that keep one aloft. Having regular conversations with friends, exercising the parts of your brain that you've trained for over ten years, having someone that loves you, having independence, doing things that you like to do. Parties, get-togethers, making dinners, going out, hiking, camping, daily bike rides. Again, things I used to just always do. I'm not being lazy, it's just not possible. I have a negative bank account balance. I'm trying to pay my bills. I spent three months literally just trying to get my car fixed, depending on help from family and it's still not done. I have a car with messed up wiring from an installation gone wrong, and the service engine light will always be on. I can't afford a new one. It's winter, and I can't go hiking or camping, and I can't think of a single person to go with. I used to just go up to the White Mountains with friends. It's sad. There are no mountains here, beaches are far away, it's difficult to even walk to a coffee shop, no local bands come through, I've been invited to I think three parties in two years, down from two to three a week in the teens. All of this has an air of "well, that's just who you are now", but it's absolutely not, and that is the problem. Every day that goes by rotting in this basement is another day I have to work to try to get back to where I was. I don't want to become the person that I am inevitably becoming, but there's nothing I can do. Every text I send is greeted by silence, the social networks are all burnt up, there's just nothing left. The thing is, I don't really care. I know that the only thing that will really fix anything is money, an apartment, independence. I know that it works quickly, that as soon as you're moving again people respond, you run into people, things happen. I just don't want to build a life here. This was never the intention. It's quicksand, and the only way out is to get enough money to move. This was the original trap of 2020, moving here while my entire family did, all living under the same roof for a couple years, and I obliged, and got hurt more than anyone. Everyone else is doing fine, and there's an argument to be made that I could be fine, too, if only I stayed with the company that runs eighty billion dollar auctions. If only I performed at some extreme level day in and day out and didn't crumble due to stress, after surviving an unusually challenging PhD. That I needed to keep going, and when I refused to the natural consequence was just to get beaten into the ground relentlessly, into Medicaid and poverty and loneliness, that that's the price of not working every day. I mean, sure. I don't know, maybe it is. Who am I to say. Other people work, perhaps they don't like it but it's a transaction, a trade-off. I tend to think there's enough other good in their life, and that they haven't suffered in the same way, but I don't know. Surely other people have gone through their own versions of hell. Which is when it stops making sense. Like, nothing has worked. I've watched as no one has been able to figure out how to turn on a light, or help. The suggestions are awful, and frankly it doesn't matter, when someone needs a life raft you can't tell them to swim to it and then when they drown claim it's their fault. The life raft didn't work. It didn't almost work. It just failed. Whatever it is that needs to happen isn't happening, because no one has figured out the underlying issue. I'm trying my best. I'm applying to jobs I don't want to do, I've worked part-time jobs I don't want to work, I pay my taxes, I try to be kind to people, and yet I'm in the exact same place I was two years ago. These part-time jobs are bullshit, and I need to leave them. Without a job commensurate with my skills and experience, I'll never be able to move out. I'll never feel whole. It'll just be the same fucked up thing, of people minimizing what a dual degree is, what a PhD is, saying "Oh, that's just school". It isn't, actually. While I was doing that, other people were making money and setting up their lives. It was a sacrifice for six years that included a lot of teaching that I really didn't want to do for wages that were barely enough to live on, and because I'm an idiot, I didn't take the money as quickly as I could because I didn't know what money was. No one explained it to me. I needed someone to say, "you will never be able to live independently without a job, take the money now and don't look back, this job is better than what most people will ever have in their entire lives". No one said that, they just said "do whatever you want". So I did, and it exploded in a world of pain while they made sure to keep their jobs and relationships and housing, and I suffered. So I learned pretty quickly, but then it didn't matter, because then there's a resume gap, and there's not enough joy provide energy and levity throughout the days, and it's just a sinking ship. You start bailing out water but the hole is big enough that it just doesn't matter. You learn that holes are bad, that you should've been more careful, that you have to constantly plug them, but the water is already streaming in. That's a long way to say that I really need to get a job, it just sucks because I've been saying that for two years now, and haven't found a shred of inspiration in this place, in Virginia. It's sad, spread out, old, and lifeless. Alright, I'm going to stop complaining. I don't want to do anything because I have two interviews lined up, so I'll just do those, but Jesus fucking Christ, I would like for things to change.

It's raining out and freezing. I suppose I could read a book today. I read a couple New Yorker articles. I'm worried about paying my T-Mobile bill, which had an additional $111.00 charge because I had a 37 minute phone call with the Bank of New Zealand regarding Global Tax Compliance with their fraud department (silly), so that's fun. I have an exorbitant GEICO bill due in a couple days that I can't pay. Perhaps some money will come in from REI on Friday or from this invoice I sent C2 Education. I'm just so tired. There's just no driving force to my life anymore. There's no laughter, no friends, no female, no work, it's all dead. It can change but for now what can I say. Where can I go? I've done this before, driven with my half tank of gas to a park to walk around. I'm tired of that shit. It's lonely and boring and sad. Should I apply to more jobs? I've done that and it doesn't work. You can send fifty and they'll come up with reasons to not hire someone they don't know, PhD notwithstanding. Should I volunteer? I've done that, painting walls and finding out that there's always another wall to paint, and that you're still poor and should be doing something else. Whine on here? Why not. It's the same as whining into a journal, or whining into Twitter, or whining anywhere else.

Deep breath. It just feels like I've done something to piss off the world. I'm not really sure what I did, it must have been pretty grave. I feel I'm endlessly caught in a Catch-22, always needing something to get something which requires something to get. At this point I just need a guide or something. Someone who's wiser and can see the map and the landscape, who can see the walls I'm running into and banging my head against. It just feels like too many solutions aren't actually solutions, that I'm applying to these jobs because I feel like I have to but the underlying issue is I don't actually want to do them, and I'd rather be poor, which is bad. I don't fucking know. I just want someone to talk to and laugh with. I would really like to hear myself make jokes again. It does happen sometimes. Like there was this one person I met (in a fucking hospital) that I was talking to for a bit (rather intimately, actually) but while we were hanging in the looney bin, and afterwards just talking about art and life on the phone, it was nice. Like, she just kind of got it. I could say a little bit and she could complete the thought, and we would just laugh a lot. Like, we kind of looked at our situations and the whole impossible set of circumstances that led to them and thought it was kind of funny. That people who thought they were helping or right actually weren't, and that that was funny. That it might get better, or it might just not, and that was pretty funny. That making art is important, and worth being poor over. Perhaps I'll just write all day.

What's funny is I have total confidence in the idea that this time will end. That it is, in fact, temporary. It feels like I'll have to move a boulder that I physically cannot move, but that in the end the boulder will move somehow. Or I'll die. One of those two things must be true. Well, I'll die eventually, but hopefully not here, in this cave. You know what I mean. I just looked at my cell phone and scrolled through my email like I always do, mindlessly and for the ten thousandth time, and it makes me want to vomit. Like, the idea of interacting with anyone on there. I just really want everyone to stop working and shut up for awhile. Fortunately it happens over Chistmas, people come out of their work-induced stupor to marvel at what life could be like if they didn't prioritize "work", which for some percentage of the population is utter nonsense (while the other we utterly rely on). Just to substantiate that a little I did read a NYTimes article, which must be published like annually as a reminder (not really), that measured how much people in the United States work relative to other countries, and we're on the top of the list. Germany is pretty low, and the have the largest economy in Europe. We could, quite literally, work thirty hours a week instead of forty, with a four-day work week, and be better off. It is unlikely that would lead to any sort of collapse. Ah well. I shouldn't talk, I'm barely employed.

I started watching Eyes Wide Shut last night and got bored. It's a movie about sex, and I suppose if you're not horny while you're watching it it's just a little obsessive. I used to know some people in Boston that were sex obsessed and it just gets a little old. From time to time I suppose it's cool, but not when people form their entire identity around it. I'll try to finish it later today, but I'm expecting the plot to continue being "mysterious sex" and "but I'm married!".

I'm still reveling in the fact that I don't know how anything works. It still feels liberating to have truly devalued things I once considered to be important. I still think math and physics are beautiful ways of thinking about the world, but have completely abandonded them as a tool to understand the world. It's just such a narrow aspect, a fine microscope, even though a lot can be captured in the abstraction. It's just happening at a pretty low level. It doesn't allow you to understand people and behavior and nations and wars and politics and art and relationships and writing. I suppose everybody knows this, that it's limited. I have for awhile, too, having spread my wings a bit the past four or five years, and honestly always had a double life hanging out with normal people, non-nerds. I don't think that's the divide though. The divide is along the lines of what you're thinking versus what your senses are perceiving. It is along this divide that you really get to experience the world, and it actually shatters barriers that everyone keeps in their mind. It transcends status and class and title and almost everything, simply because your five sense don't know what any of that shit is. They don't know what your job title is, or that it's "worse" to be a server than it is to be a CEO. That's, like, a truly bizarre and dumb thing for your senses to do. When you're, like, standing in a kitchen and there's eggs and bacon being fried, and interesting music blasting from one of the cook's bluetooth speakers, and someone shouting to someone in the back of the kitchen, and tickets streaming out of the printers, and someone holding a knife as they walk briskly past you to wash dishes, IT DOESN'T MATTER. You can just experience that, fully. The same is true for like a million other things. Like, you aren't ACTUALLY a CEO, that's made up. You're in a glass and steel cage, elevated a thousand feet, wearing uncomfortable clothing, talking into a "phone". Like you have to imagine sometimes that the world is like it was when you were a kid, all these different activites to do and badges to collect and little areas of the classroom to play in, and you get to choose what you want to do, and if you think you're better than other people that's likely in your head. You don't actually know what other people are expereincing until you ... experience it. Reality does come crashing in, but it kind of comes in waves, sneaking in here or there. Like, yes, the cook makes less than the CEO, and that has real effects that show up in terms of material discomforts down the road, but it is a really hard sell and always has been to say that the rich are better off than the poor. It's just a hard thing to measure. We all kind of believe it, but like have you seen Succession? It looks miserable! I think there are probably many stories throughout time of poor people being happy (and sad). What I'm saying is that for an hour, if you're watching the sun rise with a hot cup of coffee, it simply doesn't matter what your position is, or even location, all that matters is what's coming into your five senses. Perhaps that's an acquired skill, maybe there are philosophies that talk about that, I don't fucking know. I learned how to do that because I had to, and what you obtain eventually is you get to replace hours that would otherwise be spent lamenting, instead you're simply existing in your surroundings. A warm bed is a warm bed, it just doesn't fucking matter where you are or who you are. Your body gives no fucks.

In that vein, I'm going to have a good day. I'm going to make more coffee and finish this book, probably. I'm actually going to call Barnes and Noble right now and see if they have this book I ordered, even though I can no longer afford it. The book has been ordered (confirmed), but it has not yet arrived. The book is "And The Hippos Were Boiled In Their Tanks". It was fun listening to the bookstore guy say that title out loud. "Indeed, And The Hippos Were Boiled In Their Tanks". I do love the freedom afforded in the realm of fiction and writing. Like, you can just say pretty much whatever. If it's fiction, it's all good.

I often reflexively resort back this idea that things work out the way they do because they have to. There's a lot of ways to justify this, and a lot of people get religious about it, but I don't think you have to. It seems pretty obvious that an given event has an extremely complex history, a lot of little events leading up to it. I think some people don't believe this. They think that in fact, things more or less happen because they make it so. Perhaps some things are the result of animal will, a concentrated effort to get something done, but a great many other things have a lot of different parts that come together. For instance, this book I'm going to pick up at Barnes & Noble at some point. Well, that's going to cause a car trip at some point, which wouldn't've happened if I hadn't texted the person I did for a recommendation about the book, which wouldn't've happened if we hadn't met, which wouldn't've happened if ... and so on. Can anything interesting happen on the car trip? Of course! Do car accidents happen? You bet! Is it likely? Nope! Will I run into anyone in the bookstore? No clue! Does that happen? You bet! Is it likely? I don't know. The last book I got landed me reading in a pub, where I ran into an old friend, who invited me to a New Year's party. Who will I meet there, interact with? Who knows! My thing is this is pretty much constant. Like, you can strip it down and try to tear it apart, storyboard everything that happens to you, and you'll find interesting little choices that led to things you didn't expect. It's stranger than fiction. However, I choose to kind of zoom out a little and look at it like this. There is no alternate path. There always ends up being only one thing that ever happens, and one thing that happens in the future, and we move along this single timeline that we experience. That's also making assumptions on the hardware that comprises your body and brain. If your brain was hooked up (i.e. watching) a live feed of cameras all over the world with different delays (this is possible now), then perhaps the "present" would take on a different meaning. You'd have to sort it out in software. In any case, intuitively there's only ever one past and one future, and we're in the middle. I take this to mean that there's really only one way things could have ever turned out. Like, it's weird to think you could've done something different. What does that actually mean? You can't! You didn't! Therefore, crucially, you couldn't've. That's the key point. I'm actually refuting a lot of people here, and that changes everything. It abolishes free will. You could not have done it differently. You could not have made a different choice. I don't believe you. My contention is we're observing what happens to us, in many ways. It's very literal, and what appears to be a choice just isn't, it's just all the possibilities we can assign probabilities to and map out before they occur, and then whatever we measure. When your brain made that choice, the one you might not like, it was a result of trillions of neurons and a lot of memories and sensory data all coming together. You didn't really choose anything. Something happened, you did a thing, the probability that something else would happen shrunk quickly as knowledge about what was happening streamed in, but could it have gone down differently? No. We have no way to tell. It really seems like time just has do with order. Like, we organize data into rows and the fact that it's in a row gives us a variable we call time. Some data is timeless, like an image. Some data isn't, like a movie, but can be made to be if you look at it in three dimesions. Without going on too much of a tangent, my point is that things happen, and it makes no sense they could've happened any other way. Once you accept that, the past becomes much more bearable. In real terms, this is sort of the fruit of dealing with some incredibly difficult losses. Losing relationships, "choices" that I made in the past, nearly killing myself over the "mistakes" that I made. I'm telling you, there is no "if only I". It doesn't exist. You couldn't've, because you didn't. The past is a brutal beast.

Teeth by Mallrat is on now. Possibly the greatest song every written, and certainly this year. Grace Shaw is my hero. I keep receiving invitations for a procedure to have the hair lasered out of my butt in Australia. I've gotten, like, ten of these. I can only conclude that this is something I need to do. I'll probably want to see Mallrat perform live down there. This is now on my list of destinations for 2023. It just makes sense that I follow through with this procedure.

Back to free will. I just find it comforting that whatever happens is supposed to happen, irrespective if it's good or terrible. I don't think this makes you exempt from trying, from learning from your mistakes, but I do think even things like "want" aren't necessarily in our control. It's possbile we are overcome by an urge to want to do something, and then we do it, and it's just not the case that we actively first choose to want to do something, then do it. Can I choose to want to learn from my mistakes? Perhaps. Perhaps after a lot of mistakes you learn that you have to learn from them, and then you start doing that. I'm really not sure. Frankly, I'm not sure of anything, other than that life is wyrd.

~8:50PM, Weds. 12-21-2022: This is going to be a long one. I'm tired, my skin is dry from taking a shower. I sincerely hope any potential employers don't read this, and frankly it's pretty personal so like they shouldn't be and if so then, well, you've just walked into someone's apartment so act accordingly. I'm not playing by your rules in here, ya ______' ____. See what I did there? I called you a twat, because I can and because in a way no one is supposed to read this, it is simply the alternative to writing in a journal or writing in a text document that I store in a big tree of directories that no one will ever read or see. I've done both of these things, and this seems like more fun because it's theoretically possible that someone else reads this. It also makes me feel less lonely. Duh. It's always about loneliness. Everything always comes full circle to that. Why didn't I collaborate more, why are things so messed up? It's because I don't have or keep people in my life. What's bizarre is that I'm social and I like people, and am pretty natural at finding friends and girlfriends, but holy shit. Holy fucking goddamn shit. The past two years. There's just no way to really capture it. The basement dwelling. The many different, like, two week jobs. The no sex, no girlfriend, no close friends actually being around. Ack I hate that there's no way to type without sitting up and actively keeping the keyboard in front of you. I can't fucking lie down and fucking type. You see if you lie down it's harder to write fuck with your fucking fingers and it's fucking obnoxious so you have to fucking sit up and lie your fucking wrists on the fucking part of the fucking computer where there aren't any fucking keys to avoid any fucking typos and it's just really, really, fucking annoying. Does that make sense? Today was awful. It goes beyond a botched interview. It's the fact that I'm still interviewing for positions with people my age who have been working for ten years while I was in grad school for six and then spent three I guess just messing around, and they are married with kids quite litearlly. It's just like you're doing all the right things and then you get out of the car and people drop their foot on the accelerator and go to one hundred miles an hour and start enjoying all the things in life that I spent many years gearing up for but then just immediately left on the table. Hm, this isn't about that. I don't need to be bitter. It's lame and pointless. Things are just kind of fucked. There's no other way to put it. Nothing is in its right place. Ever hear the Radiohead song "Everything in Its Right Place"? I'll put it on now. I used to curl up in a ball in a dark room with no windows on a small cot in this basement side room and I would put that song on when I was looking for things to do that didn't involve killing myself, and that was kind of comforting. Like I just didn't want to be anywhere, but you have to be somewhere, so I just as close as I could crawled into a small dark hole and played that song. I don't even listen to Radiohead that much but I did sort of discover them last year after being at this bar in DC and meeting these three young women and we went over to this other bar with karyoke and I wanted to play a Baby Queen song but instead the song "Creep" by Radiohead was chosen which in retrospect was appropriate because at that point in my life I had definitely descended to some sort of alternative universe that I think a lot of people wind up in. It doesn't have anything to do with being suicidal, that's incidental actually and ebbs and flows and frankly anyone who's never wanted to not be alive is fucking insane. Like laughably, like it just means you haven't thought hard enough yet about where you are in the universe. There's absolutely no reason to think this is better than anything being expereinced by other creatures in the universe. It just is what it is, and if you're in a lot of pain I would say, well, I went through it so SUFFER AND SURVIVE. I mean, you might as well say it. Don't tell people that it gets better, you don't know that. Tell them you're scared of losing them, that it would be too painful for you to bear, so you'd like them to suffer on your behalf. I've been through so much pain. It does get better, but Jesus Christ, stop saying that life is great. It's a struggle, it's painful, it's difficult. We were made to survive, and we've sort of created a system in which that instinct doesn't always need to be on, and we get confused because we're just sort of expected to do a lot of things that don't really make any sense from a survival standpoint but are necessary for other reasons like money and maintenance. It was better when hunger drove you to get food, and thirst to obtain water, and cold to find warmth. Now it's all sort of ... indirect, and fails a lot. In any case, don't kill yourself, I guess. Feel more pain. Like, it is legitimately difficult to say "it gets better" without laughing. I don't even think I think that way anymore. At this point it's just, like, I've decided to do this? Awhile ago? Hm, I'm not sure when but it was maybe a year or two ago. I don't really think about it that much anymore, and haven't had suicidal thoughts for a long time. Perhaps it was Hamlet. Like I just answered the question. If you're asking, "What question?" then fucking kill yourself. I'M KIDDING. Don't do that, silly! Read Hamlet. Just kidding. Watch Hamlet. It's a play doofus and I know you're not gonna read it. In the play "Hamlet", Hamlet is interrogating himself. He asks Hamlet, "To be or not to be, that is the question". I'm paraphrasing, but he asks whether tis nobler to suffer the slings and arrows of time yada yada. He's basically asking if one should live despite the presense of overwhelming amounts of pain and suffering. Like, he understands that it isn't a joyride, and it probably won't be for the remainder of it. So why do it? It's a good question! That's all I mean. Like, consider it. Ask it. Don't just muddle through life. I made a choice, and just decided that I'm going to do "this thing life", for no particular reason, other than I don't have much faith that the suffering will be less when another self-aware being is born that's not me. I've read enough history to know that there are far worse scenarios that one could find themselves again. See my survival instinct? That's about as good as it gets. Avoiding some unknowable external fate being experienced by other beings on other planets or in other software systems or distributed networks or however the hell other beings experience their flow of data. I choose to live because it is an interesting thing to do, and also in large part because it would actually cause other people a great deal of pain to stop. Once you sort of figure that out, things become somewhat transient. Like, you learn to suffer, that it passes. That it will come again. To sleep it off, to go do something you like and just run out the clock. This is not-depressed me speaking by the way. Unfortunately when you stop doing what you love, lose your relationships, your financial stability, your friends, your housing, and most of your belongings, it does get a little difficult to just expereince the same joys that people get to experience on a daily basis. The song "Suzanne" by Hope Sandoval & The Warm Inventions is playing and boy is it sad. Okay, let's just change topics because I really got off the rails with just a little itty-bitty taste of pain.

I mean, everything is not in its right place. That is sort of the key point right now. The fact is I'm lost, and I nothing I've been able to think of has felt even remotely close to helping with that. There just doesn't seem to be an endeavor I can think up that would put me on a legitimate path towards the right place. Like, most of it has to do with lonlieness. Every job or interview I walk into is just like "No.", like it just feels like I'm surrounded by people that at some point in time I may have been okay with, but that I've just fucking grown out of or simply don't want to be around. I'm just this person who doesn't quite fit anymore. I don't know if it's just the time off, or just not really deeply believing in the mission statements, or what. The thing is I don't even know what skills I possess. I mean, yes, I have a PhD and I can program computers better than most people, but I'm really, really struggling to just ... get excited about what people are doing. I mean I'm at least willing to say, "This is fine" and get behind some of these companies that are doing this government/military work for the sake of doing something, and that it'd use the skills I spend over a decade cultivating, and they pay and have health insurance, like that truly is motivating, but it's a little sad that that's the extent of it. Like yes, I understand the work, but I wish I just really wanted to do it. I feel guilty saying that, like someone is going to pull my application, but fuck. Is it wrong to want to just jump up and down and yell "YES" at the right job, and not "I'M GETTING HEALTH INSURANCE AND A PAYCHECK". Like, what have I become? PJ Harvey is playing. She's saying "little fish, big fish swimming in the water, come back here man, gimme my daughter". I think she's high or hallucinating or something because I tend to doubt that anyone actually has her daughter. Like, PJ, it's fine. Shut up. Now Mazzy Star is playing, so everyone get real sad. Look on Down from the Bridge. "There's a light in your eye, and you know, yeah you know". You know?

~1:12PM, Weds. 12-21-2022: Well, I messed up. My interview with STR was actually today, Weds. Dec. 21st, 2022. Unforunately the email subject line for the interview confirmation said Thurs. Dec. 21st, 2022 and I didn't catch it, and so I woke up at 10:34AM with text messages about how if I had missed the first meeting it was probably a mixup on their end. Well, it sort of was, but I shouldn't've put it in my calendar without double checking the date. I ended up meeting with three of the five people for a half hour each, missing two of them. I don't know how this will look, but hopefully I'll get the benefit of the doubt and we'll all just assume these things happen. I feel pretty silly, because this was really important. I'm not really sure what to do, and I don't think there's anything I could've done other than to have salvaged it and see if we can finish the get-to-know-you chats, and perhaps it'll all work out the way it was supposed to in the end. I'm a little concerned with everything, but I really want to just get this all done before the holidays and have everyone rest and take a break. No more Megan, no more interviews, no more C2, no more REI, no more anything. Just a little mess that will just have to work itself all out by early January, when we'll know how everything turned out. I am actually hoping I get this job, so I can just move forward with my life. The relationships I do have are kind of unhealthy, and better to just leave them in the past and move forward on all fronts.

~8:29PM, Tues. 12-20-2022: Alright, just powering through this nothing day. I ran into an old acquaintance while reading at a bar, which was cool because she invited me to a New Year's party at her place. I've decided to just give up on Megan, because I don't think there's actually a form of communication that would work. I don't know why she responded a little and unblocked me and asked for my number over email. It's weird because I don't really interact with her the way I do with almost anyone else. It just kind of sucks, and if she's not willing to engage and have real conversations then I can't just keep trying to get her to talk. Like we can talk about anything under the sun but if she doesn't want to talk to me then that's it, it doesn't matter. She'll have to find someone else that's caring and conversational and kind and gentle and willing to figure her out which is gonna be awhile 'cause she's kind of extremely fucking difficult.

~4:03PM, Tues. 12-20-2022: Well, nothing has been accomplished. I'm up to page 100-something in my book. I tried downloading a dating app again but honestly without paying them it's very difficult to use, you're sort of relying on matching with people blind, and the pool is pretty huge (thousands of people), so the odds of truly matching with someone that's not being disclosed to you is infinitesimal; you gotta pay. I don't have a lot of faith in them, and really only used them in 2018/2019 for a bit and they worked well, but I think at some point became saturated and crowded, and just sort of broke the system. I'm not that worried about it, but it's getting lonely out here, and it all just feels sort of dumb, like I should be hanging out with colleagues and friends and girls daily like I used to, and the sole reason I'm not is because I live in the middle of nowhere and am not forced to work, so everything has just kind of collapsed. Jesus fucking Christ when will this type of life end. Like it has to stop, it's been two years of the most grueling, endless nonsense. I don't think I've actually laughed in any meaningful way in ... I don't know, a couple years. Like, where are people? Real people. They don't fucking live here. I don't know where they live. I just do not fucking know anymore.

~2:01PM, Tues. 12-20-2022: Picked up my car, decided to donate a bike I spent money to fix up, found a new Patagonia backpack, will donate the old one. Read a little in a coffee shop, and I'm bored to tears. I'm so bored I'm literally going to vomit and scream. How do I make something happen. I seem to have lost the ability to make anything interesting happen. I suppose job interviews are interesting. I've confirmed my interview for Thursday morning at 10AM. I'm going to speak with five separate people for thirty minutes each. I'm not sure that I'm a lock for the job, or what they could even possibly ask me, but whatever. I do actually kind of very much want the job, a job, but I'm still ambivalent about everything. Is sliding into government research work really like the way I want to spend my life? Do I have to? I mean, the work may be kind of interesting, it pays, the locations make sense, but again, one wonders if there's more to life. I need to kind of nip this thinking in the bud because honestly I need a job and it's just a terrible idea to reduce this one to meaninglessness. It's more meaningful than sitting around in coffee shops staring at screens bored out of my mind most of the day. Like, it's something, and at this point something is better than nothing.

10:46AM, Tues. 12-20-2022: Alright, I'm going to pick up my car, which now requires that I drive another 200mi before they can do another emissions test to supposedly get this emissions waiver so that it may be re-registered. I don't care anymore. It just is what it is. At this point, I think there's just been a total and complete submission to the idea of fate taking the reigns. Like, I'm just so convinced that I'll have absolutely no idea, like no clue, no way of knowing, no possbile way to understand what the implications of my driving my car 200mi. Like, the simple explanation is I'll drive it 200mi, bring it back, get an emissions test, it'll fail, I'll get the emissions waiver, and I'll re-register the car. That's not what I'm talking about. I'm talking about the fact that I'll be driving that car instead of a different one and my phone will be in a different place and it'll draw my attention and I'll send a text I otherwise wouldn't've sent at a red light or something. Multiply that by a thousand (not a thousand text, just lots of little things that'll happen that wouldn't've happened in an alternate timeline). Like, I don't know, perhaps nothing will change, but then again maybe it'll be impactful. What I'm saying is I have no idea. (Un)fortunately that's true for everything, you just sort of don't know what the cascading, downstream effects of any little thing will be, so it seems a little wiser to not think about it at that level of detail, to just roll with it and try to set higher level goals. I fucking hate Experian. What's hilarious is that there's a non-zero change that paying them $24.99 will have some sort of massive benefit associated to it, like preventing my identity from being stolen. I don't believe that in the slightest, I think I've been robbed, but it's not impossible. That's life, dude, we just don't know and we never will.

10:25AM, Tues. 12-20-2022: Good morning. I'm drinking coffee but the question is really what to do today. There's like three messages I need to respond to. Experian, which is basically a scam, has snuck in with another $24.99 charge after I already cancelled and they're refusing to reverse it so whatever, I suppose I have extra identity theft protection this month and I'll keep trying to cancel it for the rest of my life. Whoops. Even the porn websites, which I generally stay away from, have better cancellation services than Experian. I watched Mulholland Drive last night and it was pretty entertaining. I wasn't paying close attention, but you certainly get both the 90s aesthetic (it was actually 2001) with the baggy suits and simple clothing and no smartphones or computers at home, and a lot of David Lynch with the slow-paced weirdness. The lesbian sex scenes were pretty neat, and for some reason it just felt like they were ahead of their time even though women have been having sex with eachother for, like, thousands of years. Not sure what it was but something about the way their breasts were protruding off their chest just made them seem commanding and dominant as she hopped over the couch to pounce on the other one. Anyways, it was enjoyable. Perhaps I'll do some more David Lynch or like get into Twin Peaks or something.

I told Megan I missed her and she said "well stop", which is cool. Like, I'll stop missing her, meaning she's sort of back, whatever the hell that means. It's still funny how she'll just not respond to other things. Like she just has some internal filter where it's like "I don't need to respond to that", and doesn't. Frankly, I kind of don't need this and really, truly just want someone who is there in nine more ways, physically, emotionally, spiritually, etc. but I'm throwing my ball against this wall for awhile, sitting on the ground and just seeing how it comes back. I have no idea why, probably because my life is so fundamentally out of gas in like seventeen different ways I just feel like this is about all I can do. Also, it's just a mystery as to how it'll turn out and I like mysteries. Like, maybe I get this job and move to Boston or Woburn outside Cambridge and she comes down from Montreal to hang out or visit. I don't know, it doesn't take a lot either way, to end something or start something. It's really up to the person involved so whatever. The last thing I said to her is "you seem like you need daily walks" and I believe that to be true. Someone should be walking her.

~1:06PM, Mon. 12-19-2022: I think it's very important that we all take the time to acknowledge how hot Ruth Radalet is. I can't emphasize this enough. Please, stop what you're doing, take a beat, and just do yourself a favor and admire her for a few minutes. I think you'll both get a lot out of it, and she deserves it. That being said, I think you should probably listen to her music as well. Okay, now that we've got that out of the way, I'll just submit to you that I'm very bored, and sort of out of things to do already. I've read like forty pages of my book, and the only thing I can really think of that's on my list is perhaps getting the bank to sign an electronic federal tax payment system form so I can tell the federal government that my LLC owes them zero dollars in federal taxes. It's supposed to be notarized, which is very funny. I could go for a bike ride in the cold, which is what it's looking like. No word on my car getting through emissions, so we've eclipsed the three month mark on the time it's taken to get this car repaired. Fascinating. Did you know that every time I say the word "fascinating" my brain jumps back to a moment in 2018 when someone I was in love with said that word to me in response to a silly piece of work that I made? Like, it's lodged in my brain, and I'll never be able to use that word without thinking of her. Not really sure what to do about that, but it is a fact. Careful what you say, a little information goes a long way. The latter half of that sentence is from Jeff Ferris. I was biking down Centre St. in Jamaica Plain and he was out making blueberry pancakes on a Saturday. I stopped by and left my email address (I was #13 on the list, of course), and he said "a little information goes a long way". It's very true! It really doesn't take a lot, just a few bytes or even bits, and you can, like, start a war. Or cause a fissure in a relationship. Or cause someone to fall in love with you. Dude it's fucking crazy. In a good way.

At present I am exercising restraint. Just a phenomenal amount. I think it's important, for a few reasons. First and foremost, I really over-texted the person that just unblocked me. I used to never do this, in fact I used to never know what to say and was really shy, but at some point the safety turned off and I just stopped giving a fuck. Sometimes. Other times I can be very proportionate and normal, even funny and charming. Anyways, the point is I need to chill out on this person. She's a very delicate person to interact with. Like, sometimes she'll engage and you'll get a little conversation going, other times it's just a few words here and there, other times nothing. I have, however, sustained about nine months of this occasional back and forth, and despite the one-sided nature of this relationship, and the fact that it's probably unhealthy, and that it's entirely text-based, and the fact that all of my other relationships are in-person and engaging and more emotional and just better, I'm still kind of attached to this person and very much want to figure them out. I think it's just some combo of reading thousands of tweets, and interacting with her, and sort of seeing both sides a little bit, the person and the persona. That's actually one of my favorite ideas, someone having a costume or persona that they put on and then they take it off and there's a real, person behind the mask. I suppose that's pretty common because literally everyone has to do it in all sorts of roles that we take on throughout the day at work and interacting with kids and interacting with friends vs. customers or whatever the dichotomy is between yourself and the other. Anyways, she's cool and we're talking again, and I'd like to not mess this one up, but also I can't care that much and I'm just going to be myself and if she blocks me then fuck it I'll just find someone who actually wants to interact with me as I am (ha). That's the advantage of having a little wisdom and confidence, you don't actually have to play weird games with people, you can just walk out the door knowing there's something different and possibly better around the corner if something is a little too difficult. Difficult is fine every once in awhile, but I'm not going to start doing backflips. Basically I'd like to see how she's doing, and kind of get to the bottom of her deleting her Twitter because that was kind of a big deal and I'm pretty proud of her. That's a pretty powerful addiction that she just went cold turkey on, so like, c'mon, what's going on behind the scenes. If this were anyone else, I would just be like "let's get coffee" and within thirty minutes we'd have covered every conceivable angle on it, but this could take like a week or a month, I have no idea.

I'm listening to Ruth Radalet. Not because she's hot, but rather because she's a good singer. Also, I thought she was like twenty five and a relative unknown but she's actually forty and was the former lead singer of Chromatics, a band I'm familiar with and that's been around for like twenty years so there you go - everyone is someone before they "start out". Back to Megan. I mean it's funny, like I remember being in a bar, my favorite one in DC, and she texted me out of the blue. It was weird because I had to wriggle my way into the bar with a temporary driver's license, and had bummed a cigarette from a gorgeous young woman that would later give me her number after her friend, a dominatrix, looked over my temporary driver's licenses and Lauren threated to burn it (which was funny). Anyways I'm sitting in the back booth that the owner let me sit in to charge my phone, ostensibly to navigate home and also try to get cash out of an ATM (I was broke), and Megan texts me and we have this interesting little exchange where she's like bemoaning the fact that she never goes out and doesn't have any friends in real life and how I'm lucky that I get to go out and see people and how she's considering deleting her Twitter. I said I'd be there for her if she ever decided to delete her Twitter and I guess I thought it was funny because I was "out", technically, but broke and clinging to life and hadn't been anywhere for months due to not having a car or not having money, take your pick. Anyways I was sitting in the booth by myself kind of just texting back and forth with Megan and for a moment I was like, Jesus Christ, this is nice. I remember this feeling, and it had been so long. It's the feeling of being out but actually wanting to be home. Having a girlfriend. Someone that makes you go "alright, I'm heading out" and you leave behind like three girls and you genuinely aren't interested in pursuing that because you know you can just go home and hang out with her and it'll be better. We're not dating but damn, it's been a long time. I don't think I've dated anyone this year, and perhaps there was one person for a few months in 2021. It's essentially been two years of noone, after like twelve straight years of always having a girlfriend. Let me tell you, depsite what people say about finding yourself and being better off and really learning how to love yourself and all that bullshit it's actually just lonely. Of course you get to know yourself but it's dumb, people grow up and they retreat to their own significant others. Friendship dies down in your early thirties because everyone is obsessively trying to get their lives started and spend all of their time at work or with their significant other, and then sort of pop into the occasional event here and there. So it's just this lame sand trap I can't get out of, but it just is what it is.

Here's the thing you have to realize. This situation will actually inevitably affect and create the next situation I run into. Like, not dating for a long time will just be an expereince that I'll have going into the next relationship, and being stranded out in the middle of nowhere is going to affect how I behave and who I meet and when I meet them. So it's just funny. You've gotta realize that I'm not in control of everything. It always comes back to that. I'm not going to set the interview schedule, and even the series of events leading to me making a LinkedIn is furiously complex, beginning with a decision, on a whim, to delete my old one. Which then led to me making a new one, at the behest of an LCSW that was assigned to me randomly, that led to me connecting with someone I knew from college, that led to a phone screen, that led to a job interview this week. Do you think I planned this? I was involved, I made some decisions, but not all of them. Other people, other organizations were involved. I have very little idea what will happen next. It's possible that I get rejected from all three jobs, and am once again sort of lost, working at REI and tutoring, but get sick of it and just save enough to drive my car somewhere and try to start fresh or whatever. It's possible I get one of these jobs and a security clearance and work there for thirty years. I have no idea. I honestly don't care. I mean, I care a little bit. I'd like to do something I like and get paid for it and be respected as a professional. Hm. I also really don't want to work for the government. I also would really like to get paid and have good health insurance. I'd also like to be free to be creative. I don't know. I'm just tired of thinking about it because you just kind of have to do something to figure out if it's a good fit or not. I've tried a few things but mostly they're awful, and it's my personal feeling that some of the people doing the things that they're doing are terrified to admit that the thing that they're doing is ... awful. Like, sometimes I wonder why I quit things, but other times it's just like, yo, step back and look. This animal had a choice, and decided that they'd rather not have $100,000/yr and benefits and instead would rather be poor. Like, regardless of how you slice it, that's what happened. There's just a certain truth to the decision being the final say on which was more valuable. I'd really, really like to find a situation that I feel is valuable, it just won't come from money. That still feels very secondary. It always feels like a trap, like the things you can do with the money are always suppressed a great deal by what you have to do in order to get the money, so it's just kind of a wash. Like it represents both freedom and servitude, at the same time. I dunno, I just want to work with cool people, basically. That's what it boils down to. It's almost impossible to truly enjoy every aspect of what you're working on, even if you're passionate about it, so at the end of the day you just have to work with cool people.

~10:10AM, Mon. 12-19-2022: Morning. I'm drinking coffee and I'll probably read a book. It appears money is very slowly making its way to where it needs to be, though it's almost comical how long it takes given that we're in the electronic/digital age. Like, I owe this one bank, and this other bank has the money, and it's taking days and they're doing all sorts of really silly attempts at getting the money which is just going to cause confusion, like an ACH retry after I already did a transfer for the requisite amount, but I had no way of knowing there was a pending ACH retry; it was just "in" the system, so now the amount of money will be doubled, which is dumb. Oh well! There's nothing I really need to do today, other than wait for some folks to schedule an interview for sometime this week, which is pretty chill. In very, very exciting news, Megan actually did unblock me and texted me. I'm so thrilled I'm not going to do anything and just bask, because you have no idea how difficult that was. The only real goals today are to get the car back into my possession, finally thwarting the entire emissions complex to get my stupid car back on the road, and to read this book. That's it, everything else is entirely secondary.

~7:57PM, Sun. 12-18-2022: Grabbed another 500mL of wine, which means I'm getting _____. Relatively speaking, I mean that's 1L of wine, which is not a little. In any case, how many neurons do you have? I don't know. I honestly have very little idea of how my own brain works, and so do you. It's pretty complex. I'm going to watch Witness for the Prosecution, a film from the 1950s directed by Billy Wilder, because I've been on a Billy Wilder kick. I rented it for three dollars and ninety nine cents from Apple Inc., a multinational technology company headquartered in California. My money is being sucked out of this economy and funneled straight into that one. Ha. That's ______ funny.

~6:32PM, Sun. 12-18-2022: Good evening. Blistery journey to get back here. Picked up 500mL of cab sauv on the way back at approximately $5, which ain't bad. Put a pizza in the oven, ate some dark chocolate. It could be worse. You're likely dying to know which book I chose, which is understandable, so I'll tell you. I (the collection of atoms and correlations comprising me) chose Ernest Hemingway's "The Sun Also Rises". Surprisingly, I also half chose a book. I texted a (lady)friend asking for a recommendation, and she obliged and suggested "And the Hippos Were Boiled in Their Tanks", which I placed on order under my name at Barnes and Noble. An interesting, somewhat predictable turn of events. I returned to my intial book of interest, and half chose a second, splitting the 1/6 to 1/billion odds I gave myself of fully obtaining a second book. A fascinating foray into the complexities that lead to any given decision. I also grabbed some coffee from Starbucks, which I'm looking forward to drinking. I completed a little task I had to do for "work", this tutoring gig, so the good news is I'm essentially completely free, and will likely just read books and watch movies and consume media and coffee and try not to smoke, despite the fact that I really just want to be with other people.

I'm not sure when I decided this, perhaps after losing quite a bit (in most senses of the word), but I've decided to at least try to take everything seriously. It's a lot of fun. Like, you have this choice to constantly make in life, which is what to consider important and what to consider unimportant. Where you place things determines a lot about how you move about the world, what you try to obtain, which positions you seek, etc. I think it's just absolutely fascinating that at any given moment, a person can just sort of decide that they're going to take whatever is in front of them seriously, like just assume that it matters. One person may be making an eighty billion dollar auction run smoothly, another person may be deciding whether or not to scrub the sink of their bathroom with cleaning solution or just leave it as is. What's really, really, really fucking funny is there are always arguments to made that one thing is just as important as the other. Like it just seems so far-fetched and rare that something could be wildly important and something else might not be, given what's possible on this planet. Like, you don't think charging the light for your bicycle is important? Well, when you die in an accident where the motorist couldn't see you, you'll be corrected. Didn't think cleaning your bathroom sink mattered? Well, that weird fungal infection you got that spread to your brain is laughing at you. Like, and on it goes. It becomes so overwhelming that there ceases to be a way to truly organize and actually accurately have a map, a scale, a register to tell what is or isn't important; we just do it naturally.

My working approach is to sort of treat myself as a shop, and everything that comes across my desk or any customer who walks in the door is treated as the most important thing going on at that moment. That's what I'm telling myself, anyways. In reality I'm pretty lazy and I can't always do this, but I like the idea of it. I have a cousin who, at least when I interact with her, seems to behave this way. Like, regardless of the situation you're in, she takes it seriously, as if there were no difference between you and the president. I like this, because I honestly believe there isn't much difference in terms of importance, simply because we have no idea how everything works. We know how some things work, but we have absolutely no idea what our butterfly effect is, how the ripples will effect everything else, so why not treat people with importance? I just like the idea of, I dunno, figuring siutations out. Like, I just had a friend text me with what could be considered utter nonsense. Just, like, a bunch of self-collected data and bizarre plots and attempts to ascribe quantitative meaning to very abstract life events without actually measuring anything. It would be very easy to brush this off as nonsense. However! The whole world changes when you just lean in. You start asking questions, picking apart what you DO see. I find it similar to, perhaps, an English teacher who is handed a piece of garbage written by a high school student. Rather than just trashing it outright, there is much to be gained by fully interacting, almost cartoonishly leaning into the piece of work that sits in front of you. Hell, it's not even for them. It's a challenge for you to pick it apart, to really understand what is so terrible about the piece. In going back and forth with the student, or person in front of you, you can sort of begin to "work", and break down whatever it is until you have the raw parts laid out in front of you on a table, and you can then sort of label what's there, catalog what's missing, and begin to try to construct the machine that they either were or were not conceptualizing. With my friend, it was like, okay, sure, there is some correlation between the wisdom of the choices we make, and the amount of enjoyment of fun or levity we get to experience. Would he have phrased it just that way? No, probably not, but he at least agreed that was the core idea he was exploring, depsite the confusing graphs (they weren't terribly confusing, but they also weren't clear enough that anyone could cleanly interpret them).

So I dunno, man, I think it's just gonna be a lot more fun to engage with people and meet them exactly where they are. I want to be the type of person people say, "He treats me as if I were the most important thing in the world every time I talk to him". Like, that would be rad. Whatever the issue is at hand, to just (GENTLY) apply all my faculties towards helping the person reach a satisfying conclusion to the issue at hand. There's definitely a part of me that does lean towards being a consultant, but I need more professional experience. I just like this idea of having someone come with an issue that is a little rough around the edges, an abstract issue that needs work, and sort of volleying back and forth until we chisel away at the problem and it takes shape. This is the type of shit where I realize I will probably never work a regular job, or I actually will be condemned to one despite it being a comically bad fit. I do kinda like the idea of me riding on the back of a garbage truck, wind in my hair, talking about esoteric mathematics and gently chiseling away at an abstract issue to find its inherent shape, and then slinging a sopping wet stinking hunk of garbage over my shoulder and into the mouth of a massive waiting garbarge truck. I'm listening to Vivaldi right now, and I think that's playing in the television scene I'm sculpting in my head. I think I'd probably take a lot of influence from Louie if I ever directed anything. I'm thinking of the homeless guy washing himself in the subway with the strings in the background right meow.

~2:29PM, Sun. 12-18-2022: Good afternoon, dear reader. Here's the latest in the sweeping saga of Jackson, or better titled: Earth, from the perspective of my eyeballs and earballs. I have wandered into a Barnes and Nobles, precisely because I feel that the internet is overrated, and that books are cool. This is a contraversial opinion, but I'm sticking to it. I don't think they should be burned, banned, or censored. In fact, I feel that they should be read. I think that is the point. In that vein, I'm going to attempt to find one in here. There are lots of books. There's going to be a highly nonlinear, totally chaotic process that I will embark upon which will, by force of will, result in me choosing one solitary book. I might choose two. This option has not been definitively ruled out, but the odds are remarkably low. Probably 1 in 6, maybe even 1 in a billion. I have no idea. I'm currently staring at a book directly in my line of sight titled "Is this a cookbook?", which looks fucking retarded. Hopefully that provides some insight into my process. I picked up Alice in Wonderland, held it for about four minutes, and replaced it declaring to myself "this isn't really a novel, and I should, like, read a novel". I glanced at "The Sun Also Rises", by Hemingway, and thought "I've heard this title before, and Hemingway is said to be pretty good". Then I read the inside cover, and noted that the book is about a bunch of European dandies pracing around some events that most people would never even consider attending, and I thought, meh. Not a winner. I then decided to get coffee and write. I also got a bagel and cookie, which was a good move.

Slow weekend. Didn't really do much. I did tutor for a couple hours Sat. morning, which went fine despite me being very nervous about it. It's kind of shocking to be tutoring, like, two students basic algebra in a strip mall after teaching thirty five college students multivariable calculus in an auditorium. Oh well! That's life, it's weird, and it won't last forever, and I've sort of become of the opinion that everything is important (or unimportant), depending on how your approach it and what you think of it. I mean, changing a few high schoolers lives, if that's possible in the setting, could be more meaningful than getting thirty five young adults to learn advanced calculus. No one's really counting, and it simply doesn't matter. The broader point is it doesn't pay anything, and it's a lot of work. Well, it's not that much work but it is an annoying amount of administrative work, which is awful. I need to go back to working forreal, or frankly get strarted working forreal, which hopefully will happen in the new year with one of these three ongoing job interviews.

I've been texting a bit with one of these three or four women I've been talking to. Three of them I met in hospitals, and the fourth I met online so these are, to put it gently, not the usual stable of candidates. They're sort of falling off one-by-one, which is fine because I just want to meet someone in person in a slightly less extreme context, but I am really enjoying texting with one of them. We've been on a date, which was nice (both parties agree) but she's been sort of working and busy and not willing or able to talk on the phone, etc. so it's just unnecessarily difficult, and though I totally do have time for that, it's kind of lame and annoying and I'd rather just be interacting with someone who texts and calls all the time, at least at the beginning. The other one is sort of a whipper-snapper who's mature for her age and, like, possibly cooler than me though much less experienced at twenty-two years old. We'll see if she wants to do something in DC, but otherwise I'm just going to sort of float until I run into someone or vice-versa. It always, like, blows my mind to think how much is out there, and how if you really decided to be active and vigilant you could, like, get online and find someone almost immediately. For whatever reason, I just don't want to do that. Part of the reason is that the apps have gotten out of control with how complex they've become and how front-loaded they are with the online interaction and trying to sort and choose. I mean, you have no idea what the person is like until you meet them, it just seems kind of silly to try to apply so many filters. I'm not even sure you can fundamentally improve the experience, people have been finding mates since the dawn of time, but I do think you can alter it, which is what it's doing. I don't really think it's bad or good, it's just a different approach and I tend to prefer meeting people in real life, spontaneously. However to do that you have to be, y'know, out and about. In the world. Doin' stuff.

It has dawned on me that I could attempt to orchestrate a meet-cute in this very Barnes and Noble. It's pretty straight-forward, actually. You just look at spines of books, and then when a cute, bookish girl comes along, you just politely tell them you're looking for a good novel to read and if they have any suggestions. That's it. There's no, like, game, they'll either just want to talk to you more or they won't. I'm not, like, a pickup artist; this is the extent of my trickery.

I biked here which was suprisingly nice. I was going to buy a pack of cigarettes before the trip but I decided not to. I know for a fact that if I cut it out for like three days, that's pretty much it. You forget about the impulse and don't really start again until you cave and buy another pack. I've gone for months, if not like a year just not doing it. It's pretty interesting, and definitely follows stress and happiness. Life turns downward, cigarettes tick upwards. In any case, I've been getting sick of them so I'm going to try to give it a rest. It'll be next to impossible without some other source of distraction, but maybe I can just drink a metric fuck ton of coffee.

I've probably already said this but I'm essentially delirious on the idea that free will is an illusion. I'm also completey and totally stultified by this woman's breasts that just walked by. Just a fact. She's very attractive and that's not my fault. Right, so free will is an illusion. I mean, I don't think it's that deep. I think we're just basically complex machines that take in a lot of data, and move around, and process the data, and communicate the processed data. It's hard to see where some mysterious agent steps in and makes a choice, and how you couldn't just interrogate the machinery of that agent. Like, look closer into it's choice making, until you see the wedge slicing between two binary outcomes. That wedge is probably connected to other machinery, getting jostled around by all the info and atoms sloshing around. I dunno, I guess I'm just sort of sold on this passive existence. That's not to say that one has to be passive, like it could very well be the case that your brain gets jostled into a state where it decides to be extremely, even alarmingly, active. I guess a simple way to express it is although in theory there were many possible histories, and in theory there are many possible futures, none of them actually happen. There's only one history and one future, and we're in the middle, gliding along that path, oberserving, and it's fine. Futhermore, any knowledge of "the future" or "the past" is strictly determined by the amount of information one has. It's even plausible that time doesn't really exist in any meaningful sense beyond what we've recorded and which information we have. Like, if you stop counting the number of times the Earth goes around the sun, or lock yourself in a dark room for a long time, you really will lose the notion of time because you just don't have that information. It's sort of measured relative to the motion or decay of other things, which can be altered. I'm just thinking that it's pretty conceivable that the past could be altered if one had total control of enough information, and similarly the future could be pretty much known the more information one has. This is pretty classical, back to Maxwell claiming if you knew the positions and momenta of all the atoms in all the world, you could predict what would happen next. I don't know if you need all of it; I think if you have some of it, you can get a better idea of what's going to happen next. I just think it's advisable to think of "it" as a substance like energy or matter. I'm sure a lot of people already think of it this way, and it's kind of coincidental that I'm sitting in the middle of a bookstore, surrounded by books and magazines, and I guess awash in WiFi (organized radio waves). Yet still, we have absolutely no way of knowing which book I'll end up with. It's a total, complete, and utter MYSTERY.

~7:05PM, Fri. 12-16-2022: Watching Sunset Boulevard. It's very good. I'm also eating dark chocolate. Every decision in my life has led me to this. Pretty boring outcome.

~4:32PM, Fri. 12-16-2022: I'm bored out of my mind. A couple scheduling things for interviews or tutoring next week, but that's it. I really don't want to tutor tomorrow; I'm not sure what I've gotten myself into. It doesn't pay well, it's far away, and it's just a lot of hoops to jump through. I don't get it. No one can live off of this, and it was just supposed to be a fun little thing on the side, but it never is. It's always a mountain of paperwork, and people treating it as if it's the most serious thing you've ever had the opportunity to take part in. It's fucking tutoring high school kids for the SAT in a strip mall. Like, good God. Then of course if you take that attitude you're the piece of shit that doesn't care, and on and on. Whatever, I'll do my best but filling out report cards, invoicing, driving, it's enough to make it not worth it. There actually is an alternative, and that was tutoring privately at BU. Triple the pay, cash, and the quality was probably better because we just knew what we were doing and didn't have to respond to anyone. Sometimes red tape just causes people to trip all over the place and doesn't help anyone. I suppose this two and half hour interview with STR will get set up, and then I'll have a couple more with MITRE, and we'll see how it all shakes out. Then I'm months if not a year away from paying off debt, and who knows how long before moving out, and then I've got to restart relationship-ing from scratch. Unfortunately this is what happens when you make a decision to move, and your family has no idea who you are, what you need, or what the absolutely extreme and punishing consequences will be of coaxing you to jump into quicksand. It's not their fault though. God forbid anyone but me be held completely responsible. I am responsible for my birth, any and all forces that led to any decisions, any decisions, and all subsequent whining is just an indication of my weakness and inability to "do the right thing". No one knows what the fucking right thing is, people get lucky for awhile (myself included) and then unlucky for awhile (myself included) and it goes on. No one is in control, and it just ebbs and flows. You do the best with what you have in front of you, and try to laugh a lot because otherwise you'll just be fucked. In any case, I'm here to tell you it's not your fault. The whole, entire thing. Life, the universe, everything; it isn't your fault. It couldn't be. It never will be. I'm just upset because nothing is happening. I'd like to deal with anything other than two emails from employers. That is the entirety of my day. I tried to go volunteer and they didn't need the help and on top of that no one was there to let me in. That's how bored I am. I have forty cents in my bank account and I'm volunteering. Goodness fucking gracious. I've watched all of Succession. I don't feel like writing code. I don't want to apply to any more jobs. I'm just broke, bored, and alone. I tried making a Hinge account the other day and they added like forty features to make it even more of an online experience - videos, voice recordings, and on and on. Again, just meeting people in person is the way to go; the fidelity is out of this world. Perhaps when the six hundred bucks from the Treasury department hits my bank account tomorrow and I pay off legal fees from setting up my silly, self-aggrandizing LLC, I'll go out. I don't even want to. Who do I go out with? The three girls in my life have essentially tapped out, one of them claiming that having a conversation with them is like having one with "a wet paper bag". It's not, they can be fun and interesting so it's just lame that they do that to themselves. The other is a total and complete mess, and homeless, and hooking up with someone else. Megan actually does still have me blocked despite asking for my number again via email, so I dunno what her deal is but she lives in Montreal anyways. The last one is twenty-two, and after going on a DC date I did hear from her saying we should go to a rave or something but it's been radio silence all week, so who knows. Whatever happens will happen, I just feel like I have no control over anything. Out of the hundreds if not thousands of people I've interacted with over the years, I have conversations with no one. People don't reach out, and I'll take full responsibility and blame for that. I shot myself in the foot and tanked my life, and no one wanted to come along for the ride. I am crawling tooth and nail to get out of this, but I keep sliding back down the side of the mountain, and it's a pit of Catch-22's and circular issues (no job means resume gap means difficult to hire, etc.). Honestly I think I'm just going to get through this tutoring thing tomorrow, skip all volunteering, pay off some debt, and buy a book. Perhaps I'll get a bottle of wine tonight. It's a resistible impulse, but I'm not really sure what else to do. I'd like to be ... oh, I dunno, going to a movie, dinner, party, live music show, hanging out with my girlfriend, reading a book in my apartment, but instead I'll literally borrow ten dollars so I can figure out what to do alone in a basement. Again. For the one thousandth time since moving to the middle of nowhere and abandoning over ten years of consistent effort. Nothing makes sense.

~9:40PM, Thurs. 12-15-2022: Good day. Interviews went well this morning. Feeling more excited about working for STR. Definitely a nice feature that they're both have dual headquarters in Massachusetts and Virginia. Ideal. We'll see how it goes. Finished lesson planning for tutoring, which will be Saturday morning, two students. The car is still causing issues, perhaps I'll get it back tomorrow or Monday. At this point they're calling state officials to see if there's a workaround for the emissions waiver. Some force in the universe doesn't want this car to be registered, but I will ensure that it does. I'm going to watch Romeo and Juliet (1968). I have no idea what's going to happen in the future, but I hope it's good. Honestly, someone should reach out to me. I'm so bored. I have no idea what I'm going to do tomorrow. I'm off, but holy shit, something needs to happen. Please, God, anything.

~9:15PM, Weds. 12-14-2022: Good evening. Today is my mom's birthday. First day back at REI in like two months today, worked eight hours. First day of training at C2 Education was last night for four hours. It was interesting to hear that I'll need to invoice them as an independent contractor, which is kind of cool. Everyone at REI was extremely welcoming and kind which really made a huge difference as I was pretty nervous about going in given my behavior a month ago. It was embarrassing, and I'm grateful people were cool. What a great place. Picked up an Rx after work, and celebrated with my little brother and sister and mom and dad for a bit which was lovely. My car is still in the shop, but it sounds like they might finish up tomorrow morning (they need it to fail another emissions test before granting the waiver). I saw my high school physics teacher, Pete, at REI today. This was an odd coincidence because I'd been texting him a bit recently regarding getting back into teaching. I continually am reminded that the universe works in mysterious ways. It really seems that things just seem to happen like that, in no particular order but it's always funny to try to unwind the sequence of events that leads to any one moment. There's many that don't result in anything interesting, so there's a lot of confirmation bias here, but nonetheless interesting things do happen, and it's very difficult to explain why. We had a nice conversation about philosophy and life, and I'll just go ahead and believe it was meant to happen (what else was "supposed" to happen?). He told some enlightening stories about people who had no notion of good or bad with regard to events, which was cool that when I started talking about that concept he could just respond with an old tale that illustrates the idea. I am comfortable with the idea that I may not have any new thoughts or ideas to contribute, but I'm sure I do and it's very fun in any case to discover something that you didn't already know, even if other people have considered the idea for a long time before you and in greater depth. It's actually comforting to know that sometimes the path has already been trodden.

Tomorrow I have two interviews back-to-back. One is with the data science people at MITRE, the other with the signal processing people at STR. I'm not sure how I should prepare for either of these, but I think they'll go well. I want the jobs and will try to put my best foot forward. They're headquaratered in Mass. and VA and I'd be happy to live in either of those two locations, which I think was always the sticking point. In more exciting news, _____ unblocked me, so I guess she read my email last night describing the impact she had on me over the past year. I'm gonna let her be, but I hope we resume at least texting a bit soon, but on her terms. I did hear back from a separate person who asked me how a thing was going, which was nice. Communication is just extremely nice right now, so I'm appreciating the morsels I'm getting, but perhaps it'll pick up soon. Next stop: getting my car back, interviews, teaching, and relaxing and watching more Succession.

~9:09PM, Mon. 12-12-2022: Good evening. I suppose I've chilled out a little, but wow, it's quiet. What I'm waiting for is things to change a little bit. They always do. I'm still just sitting here, watching Succession (Season 3), drinking wine, wondering what happened to everyone. It's fine, it's just the way things have to go. Today I received a check from the treasury department for six hundred dollars and forty cents. That was pretty neat. That'll help clear some things out. I'm in the process of closing down some extraneous LLC endeavors, folding them into hobbies. I made a little progress thinking of the moduli space of networks as a quotient (semi)ring, which is neat. It's a method to multiply unlabeled networks, which to my knowledge is novel, and allows operations on networks to pass through to graphs. Tomorrow I'll finally pick up my car and register it. I have a therapy appt. that'll be a one time deal, which will be good to get out of the way. I should probably do a blood test to check lithium levels. I have a short meeting with C2 Education where I'm on incoming tutor. The following day, Wednesday, I'll go back to work at REI. It's also my mom's birthday. It's been a long two years, and I remember working late at Power Auctions two years ago during her birthday and being pretty annoyed with my boss. I have a phone interview with MITRE this week, for a second potential position. It'll be a slow week, but a good week. The thing is, there are still so many pieces missing. A lot of them would be filled in by a job - money and health insurance, which would allow me to get a place, travel, date, go out, be a person again. Everything is put on hold in the interim. I've completely forgotten who I am or what I'm like. Most aspects of my personality don't get to be exercised, which is pretty sad. It's a bummer that no one wants to interact with me in any real sense. A few phone calls here and there, but the core of my being is dormant and dead. Not in a depressed way, but in a "this is just how it is" way. There's really nothing I can do, nowhere I can go without money, and everything is very far from this isolated, essentially rural-suburban place that I've been trapped in for a couple years. In any case, I'm not worried about it. It's just not helpful. When you're going through hell, you pretty much just keep going, and remember that the idea that it could be any other way is kind of a bizarre thought, that you somehow know what the universe and all the atoms are supposed to do, how it's all supposed to go, why you're sitting in a bad and not a jail cell, or some far away place where things are infinitely worse in unimaginable ways. In that vein, I'll say that things are fine. A little all over the place, but more or less fine. Mostly I'm just terribly bored, and a little upset at myself for squandering a whole bunch of opportunities and forcing myself into extremely difficult situations. It's all in the past, and there's nothing I can do about it. I'm mostly curious about what's going to happen next, which is more or less a total mystery.

~11:25AM, Mon. 12-12-2022: Good late morning. My fingers are cold from standing outside and smoking cigarettes. I need to stop, it's just about my only vice at this juncture but it's terrible for your health. Nevertheless it feels like something to lean on right now to get me through some tough times. It's feeling like a Monday. I fixed up one bicycle and listed it on Craigslist but no hits. The idea that I would actually do that for a living is laughable. It takes about an eighty dollar investment to fix up a donated bike that's worth maybe one hundred dollars, plus time. The only way to do this is at fifteen to twenty dollars an hour with a load of bikes coming in every day and spare parts and tools surrounding you. Everything else is a hobby, and rightly so. My philosophy has shifted quite a bit, and I'm of the opinion that nature works as indended. Like, all the concrete (smashed rocks and water), asphalt (hot paved tar), buildings (dead trees and copper pipes from ore and drywall from crushed chalk) - it's all natural, and it all has a place. Just because we organize it into straight lines and useful (for us) shapes does not take away from its underlying naturality. It all comes from nature, and moving it to a residential or work zone doesn't stop it from being apart of the natural world. I think businesses and hobbies fall into this category, serving a purpose and helping to organize the materials into something that will fit into the larger aspects of society. Perhaps more bikes means more bike lanes eventually, and then ebikes and special lanes and government subsidies and the rest, and before you know it some place has transformed into a bustling European-esque area from a broken down collection of used bikes and striped lines haphazardly drawn on pavement. There are big forces at play, and it's fun to be a part of them, to contribute. Currently I have a part-time job at REI, and one can think about what that means. On the real, I'd like to just do my best there, even though I'm scrambling to get another job in software or data or whatever, it still seems like until that comes to pass you just push hard in the direction you're given. You take care of what's in front of you, even the little things, and inevitibly things will evolve and change. As long as you don't tie yourself to every change that occurs, don't blame yourself for everything that happens, good or bad, you get to move through time and observe, and I think that's pretty cool.

Watching Rick and Morty this morning, it was refreshing to hear robot Rick casually move between the idea of being dead and being turned off. I suppose this will become more and more natural for people to talk about as computers and artifical intelligence gain a foothold in society. We naturally adopted this terminology with phones, saying "my phone is dead." It's not literally dead, but it doesn't have power, and we know that the two key things that phones require are power and data to fully function. So do humans, and animals! We require food, and we communicate data through our vocal cords and with various devices like pens, laptops, body language, and phones themselves. If someone doesn't have food or the ability to communicate, well ... they're basically dead. Spotify has a "Wednesday" playlist going. This reminds me a little of the independent game "Don't Starve Together", where there's a character called Wednesday. I don't subscribe to Netflix, but I think it may be some sort of Addams Family reference. I'm really not sure. I'm going to step through the playlist. I've learned via the telephone that there is at least one reader of this blog, so I'll keep writing. I mean, I'd keep writing anyways, and as I've said before it's just a matter of where to publish it. The bits are always published into the fabric of the universe, but making it into human brains is a little different. Selling them for money is an even greater pursuit. For now, this is forcing me to write with greater clarity and serialized simplicity. In any case, I have embraced a very "no wrong answers" attitude towards life. Mostly because I've tried pretty hard, and wound up in all sorts of places good and bad, so at this point I think I'll just act and whatever happens will happen. It seems impossible to make the right choices all the time anyways, so I'll just, like, do what makes the most sense in the moment. Perhaps I'm ruling out long-term planning, but not quite. I have some future plans, but admittedly not too far in the future because I think it's impossible to predict anyways. I have friends who have signed into long term contracts and employment agreements, which in a way is a commitment, but even then it's like, anything can happen. Just listening to Spotify, whatever you or the algorithm chooses is going to affect your mood, and what you do next, so if mood and activity is that fragile and influenced by things that are so external, like the radio (or other people), how can you say you're planning out everything? Do you really think music has no effect on behavior? Are you serious? I may be writing this because I'm inspired by the music I'm listening to, and now you're reading it because I wrote it, and I don't know what you're gonna do next. React with vitriol, agreement, annoyance? Who knows, (wo)man. Woah man. Yes, I am going to turn your daily reality into an acid trip. I mean, isn't it always? Perhaps it's because I'm currently not working that I get to experience life like this, but good lord, it's trippy out there. I'm now imagining a weather anchor outside with the wind blowing at one hundred miles an hour and rain going sideways explain to the audience that the weather is "getting pretty trippy out here", like if you walk outside you will inevitibly start tripping on acid. The choice is yours. Okay as I'm writing this Spotify has commandiered the audio data coming into my brain, and is blasting Italian opera at high volume. It's getting pretty trippy in here. You understand that I listened to over forty eight thosand minutes of Spotify in twenty twenty two? That's eight hundred hours of just completely augmented and distorted reality. At this point, we are going to, as a unit, of four dedicated readers, recall how information bounces around the world, and bring into focus using that little organ in the front of your head images of a mirror, and of tubes. Please forget all of the sophisticated infrastructure and internet protocols and routers and cell towers that are used to transmit data. Let's think of them (those white boxes on the big metal poles in your neighborhood) as mirrors (they are, they reflect electromagnetic radiation in the radio part of the spectrum, so much lower frequency that visible light but light nonetheless), and the connections as tubes (they are, a fiber optic cable literally just holds light as it moves through it). When you look at FaceTime across an ocean, you've basically got a little mirror in your hand, and you get to see the light bouncing off your friend's face across the atlantic. Except, rather than it bouncing right off their stupid face into your stupid cameras (your eyes), it goes into a different camera (a black mirror) first, and then it gets spit out (of an antenna) and goes through a tube to the tower, and then it gets transformed into different light, and moves through a tube under the ocean, and then bounced off a mirror thingy at the top of a pole, then through a tube in the air, then to your little mirror, and then it bounces off that and into your beautiful eyes. Your brilliant, beautiful eyes, dear reader. Sometimes I like to imagine the medieval equivalent, and my thought was putting like a very fine silvered mirror in the middle of a deep forest. You would "see" deer and animals and trees, but they'd actually be images of them, bouncing off the mirror from a potentially great distance. Perhaps not over an ocean, but maybe a few hundred yards. A simulated reality for a different time. If you were hunting people or playing tricks on them, like Robin Hood and his gang of thieves, you could probably use such a device to your advantage to trick people into attacking the mirror when, in fact, you're right behind them. Funny enough, it doesn't stop there. It's interesting that we love information in its visual form, because our eyes are like five hundred and seventy six megapixel cameras, but information exists in a lot of forms! One fun one is text. So actually this text data bounces around these "mirrors", too. You do have to separate out the actual content of the information, which can be done by looking at its filesize (so a few kilobytes for a few thousand letters). This is different than the image of the text, which is a lot larger, so there's an inefficient "coupling" that we do from the text to the visual so that our eyes can read it. Braile is maybe more efficient, but harder to read.

Onto my actual point. In the past (this is about to get real), the primary means humans had of receiving data was their eyes, ears, nose, mouth, and skin, along with various internal sensations. That hasn't changed, but the means of delivery, the media has changed dramatically. The fact is, your phone has these tubes that connect it to that tower up the street, and by connecting via your telecom provider, you get to see and hear data that is being generated in a variety of places. Some of that data is generated internally inside of computers, accessed from hard drives and files, perhaps on servers somewhere. Those files are real, they are not "virtual" or "digital" or "fake" in any ways. They are bits literally etched into a solid state hard drive which is sitting in a big cold room in a data center somewhere, the same way that a song it carved into vinyl. There's a lot of recorded sound and video that you are going to hear and see. There is also a lot of live audio and video, and it comes from all over the world. Turning on the camera is no different than opening up a little wormhole or carving a hole in a wall or putting up a sequence of a few mirror. It's really the exact same thing. The presence of all the infrastructure and hardware doesn't change what it actually is. The fascinating part is that there's always a delay. I'm listening to recorded audio right now. It's probably coming from a server somewhere that Spotify owns and operates. However, the bits had to get there, and they came from ... Wolf Larsen's fucking vocal coords. The air came out of her lungs and moved through the air as sound waves as jiggled a microphone that jiggled some electrons in a wire that jostled a potentiometer than recorded the voltage levels in a .wav file or whatever, and then the data moved through tubes to coalesce in a frozen, ice cold form on a hard drive (I honestly think the data is at, like, zero Kelvin even though the physical hard drive is hotter than that but check me on this). By listening to them I'm heating them up and firing them though all the tubes and wires and over the air into my brain. That's pretty neat. The point is, though, every transmission has a delay. Everything bounces. If I heard her sing live in-person, the sound would probably bounce off the walls and put a bunch of phonons bouncing through it before landing in my ears. So it's fascinating, that there's really just a time delay when you distribute information, whether it's on vinyl or on bits. In bits? What do we call this? I hate on .mp3, that's dumb. What is the physical thing that's holding the audio information? It's not "streaming". Streaming from where? Streaming what? Streaming from what? The problem with bits is that bits aren't quite physical. Bits are two possibilities, two state systems. It's the system that's real, it's the electrons sitting on one side of a fence that gives the bit of information. It's the switch that's real, the logic gate. In any case, the point I'm trying to make is along the lines of something I said to a friend about looking at art at the MFA - "it's like getting a text from the sixteenth century". It is! Someone painted it, a bunch of things happened, and then I was standing right in front of it. In a sense, it was painted for me, and it just took four hundred years to arrive. Someone painted it, I'm enjoying looking at it, and I'm fine with the rate of transmission. Sure, digital weirdos in this century expect things to arrive in nanoseconds, whereas I'm confortable with communication taking a few hundred years. Nothing wrong with that. So that's another way to think about the information hitting your ears, that it was created, bounced around and got caught in a well for awhile, and then it made it to your ears or eyes. That's happening all the time. I say all this because it's not exactly obvious how anything works any more. I think when people received newspapers or vinyls or videos they were more comfortable with the fact that they were produced somewhere and that they were in the end physical because you could just hold them. There seems to be a disconnect now with people thinking that the meta-verse or virtual reality being somehow "unreal". It is absolutely real, absolutely physical, it's just that the information hitting your eyes and ears are coming from different places than you're used to. You've got to understand that your walls are open now, that they are transparent and light goes through them all the time. All the same rules apply. You still need privacy curtains (toggles on your phone now rather than blinds being open or closed), but the fact is information, audio and video, is coming through your walls all day long. There's a big lamppost (that cell phone tower I keep mentioning) at the top of the street, and you have no control over how bright it is. You can't quite see the light coming out of it directly, and it's not going to hurt you, but it is BLASTING information out like an extremely bright lamp twenty four hours a day. I guess you can hold your phone up and see how many bars you have, but you might want to start thinking of that as measuring the brightness of a kind of organized light.

~10:06AM, Mon. 12-12-2022: Good morning. Received another phone screen request from MITRE. This is feeling good, like it's becoming closer to inevitable, which is good. I'm done "fighting", because frankly I'm not that good at it. There are surely thousands of opportunities and jobs and "things to do", if not millions of activities, and I wind up finding about four. That's just the way it is. I'm not sure how it is for other people, though I suspect in some cases people do latch onto the first opportunity that comes along and hold onto it, whether it's a job or a relationship. I've been bouncy. Another Night by Real McCoy is playing, which is just funny. I just watched an episode of Rick and Morty, and am drinking black French roast coffee (Trader Joe's I think, pre-ground), filter/drip. Okay, now Baby Queen's Wannabe is on, which is reminding me about the life I sort of kind of want to live, this bohemian pilgrim driving and living all over the country, being creative, making money from some sort of endeavor that I'm good at but didn't explicitly go to school for. That shit is hard! People are professionals, and if you want to compete with them you've got to be a pro, which is fine, but I need to figure out what it is specifically. I've tried the bicycle mechanic thing and gotten jobs, but everything else is tricky. It's also nearly impossible to live off of a bicycle mechanic's income, and it's tiring. It's time to move on. It's looking like I'll become a government stooge, whatever that means. Pap Smear by Crystal Castles is on. I was listening to them in 2011, in New Zealand. Pretty fascinating, to be on the other side of the world at nineteen years old, and listening to the same music as your counterparts. Man, I doubt I have the stomach to handle that now, just showing up in another country and making it work. However, I don't want to quit being adventurous it's just that adult life brings these heavy loads that weigh you down pretty dramatically. I'm worried about this LLC I set up, and quarterly tax filing responsibilities, especially when there's literally no income coming into it. It's just, like, why? Perhaps it'll change or I can slim it down and somehow make it annual or something like that. I'm not sure. I do have a tax person. Perhaps I can talk to them.

~11:28AM, Sun. 12-11-2022: Good morning. This is turning into one of my favorite pasttimes. I think it should be noted that other than (now) fixing typos, this is stream-of-consciousness. I generally don't pause or stop, or go back and edit anything. I think the low quality of the writing should tip any reader off. In any case, enough about me. There's really not a lot going on. I woke up to an exciting email, after declaring that I'm done poking and prodding the universe and that I'm going to let it act upon me, from _____. We'd stopped talking, and I had sent some messages, and eventually they said they'd be open to being friends if I "be cool". I mean, yeah, I really kind of went overboard there so it makes sense. In any case they asked me for my number again. This is actually the second time this has happened, a kind of break. This has got to be the most spread out relationship I have ever had. Our primary mode of communication was Twitter for a long time, and in fact I made a Twitter exclusively to communicate with this person. They DMed me and we kind of went back and forth that way, and eventually I gave them my number and we started texting here and there. They're very difficult to get into conversation, but sometimes they do and it's very cool and pleasant and interesting. It's the sort of thing where one picture is exchanged in three months. I think that's why it went one-sided with me just pouring out data until they got overwhelmed, because frankly it's just like, yo, I go on real dates. We exchange HUNDREDS OF GIGABYTES of "data" (I'm being kind of facetious) in like a minute, in THREE DIMENSIONS ... woah. lol. Like, this person is scared of having a phone conversation. I think we exchanged ten seconds of audio so I know what their voice sounds like. To be honest a lot of it is therapy. They had thirty seven thousand Twitter followers, which is on the level of some semi-famous musicians, and after some rather emotional conversations, they deleted it. I didn't tell her to, but they did. Crucially, I told them that if they deleted their Twitter (they still have an alternate account with nineteen thousand followers) I'd still be here for them, and I certainly am and always will be. There's definitely some love here, it's just a little complex and funky. We'll figure it out. Again, I don't really think I'm in control of anything so it'll just work out however it works out. I'll make decisions but I won't be able to control anything in general. PBR (with girlhouse) is playing. Ah, I just remember all the times I had in Boston living in group houses with other people living in group houses and we were all just figuring out adulthood together. People playing in bands, working, getting masters and PhDs, floating, dating, getting married, just all mashed together. It just felt safe, like you'd be taken care of if you played along. I feel very alone these days, no community, no one actually caring or looking out for me, and it shows. Everything has collapsed because this part of the country doesn't function very well. They think it does, but it's too selfish. I miss the Northeast. They're smarter, as shitty as that sounds I think they're just a little more caring and things tend to function more smoothly. Here it's every person for themselves, or some family bullshit, and it's messy and selfish and bizarre. Anyways, I'm suffering from a flight of ideas. Oh God, symptoms. It's such bullshit, LMAO. I'm sorry to say this but the mental health system has little to no idea what's going on with people. They have some idea, but it's incredibly crude and limited, and often unhelpful, like early surgeons cutting into people trying to figure out what the hell is going on. Better to treat them like an overly enthusiastic dinner guest with a large knife. Like, point them towards the turkey, and everyone else away from them. Let's get this train back on track. Relationships. Goodness gracious, have I had a few of those. I don't know what the average is, but I think my body count is over thirty, with like twelve long-term (over three months) relationships. Looking for the right one (laughs)! Who knows, man, I don't worry about it. It'll work out if and when it does, otherwise I'm chillin'. It's been an unnaturally slow couple of years, I have to say, with perhaps honestly one relationship last year from Oct. '21 to the new year, so two and half months with a girl in DC. What happened this year. Other than _____, there's been I suppose two dates with two separate people, some flirting with someone I met in a hospital, and a lot of nothing. Fascinating. A lot of it has to do with not working. Like, nothing happens when you're not out in the world. I'm changing that, but it's much harder to get off the ground than it is to move forward once you're already moving. I've pretty successfully processed all of the women from the past. I think things were simpler and more positive before like 2017-2018. I will say that given, what, twelve serious relationships (Chelsea, Rachel, Aleksandrina, Burcu, Jess, Alexandra, Sara, Meghan, Cora, Juliet, Lindsey, Joan) I did not hear a single word from any of those women after the relationship ended. A couple of them I tried reaching out to, and it was an absolute mess with Jess, I apologized to Alexandra and she responded kindly, Meghan I think I sent a text to because, bizarrely, there was a bug in the telecom system on Valentine's Day 2020 and the system sent an old text that she had sent the prior Valentine's Day (2019) and I responded to that, Sara I overdid it with because she was the one that got away, Juliet and I actually kinda became friendly through email and got a beer once in Boston, but it kind of fell off. Rachel and I spoke a bit and exchanged some long emails about job searching in northern Virginia, but that kinda fell off. The rest I don't really talk to, and at this point I don't really want to. Over the past couple years I think I've weirded a couple people out and been blocked, which is really funny because that never, ever happened to me in the past. I'm almost doing it deliberately or just not giving a fuck, which after awhile it's difficult to keep caring. All of those relationships had a lot of beauty in them, and some were extremely difficult. Joan's Dad had just died and she was drinking a ton and doing a lot of drugs and smoking a pack of menthols a day, so jumping into that you're pretty much in therapy mode and it's really just about processing grief, though relationships always go two ways. I just want some normalcy, and want to get back to the high level relationships I used to have and get out of the gutter, or pit of nothingness. I mean, it's tough now because I've seen how the "normal" world works, and I am genuinely a little uninterested in participating in the games they're playing. Like, it looks safe and fun, but also pretty boring and like I'm never going to find someone that really understands me and is able to move forward in a way that makes sense if I, like, spend hours trying to optimize my Hinge profile (or worse, Bumble) so that we can message and then if I play the game right maybe go on a date and if I play that right we can step it up to ... like fuck off. I just go to places, meet people, talk to them, and then hang out with them. Dating apps are for kids. Yes, I've used them, and used them successfully, generally on the first date, but I think they've turned into something else, a complete game, and I just fucking hate games.

~1:50PM, Sat. 12-10-2022: Good afternoon. Spent part of the morning painting walls at NoVA Labs. Had a couple interesting conversations. One with a guy who lived in the Northeast, Boston too, and we reminisced over the brutal winters there that we lived through. I miss it. Also spoke with a privacy lawyer for a bit. I find it really interesting, law. I think it mirrors mathematics in a way. In fact, he articulated something very well when he said that "the product ends up being ink on paper", and I responded with "yes, organized ink on paper in interesting patterns". It's true, that when presenting a paper or opinion or whatever, it ends up being an organization of letters on a page, which is very reductive, but also accurate. He then mentioned that working at NoVA Labs allowed him to produce real, physical products and that was a welcome respite from the abstract world of law. I feel the same way. We also spoke about organizations, and one's ability to impact an organization from the inside, and how difficult it is. He mentioned, quite comically, that it's often more possible that you fuck up an organization rather than steer it in a new direction or whatever. That's probably true, that much of human contribution is small. Not always, I just think the curve there is a sharply decaying curve with high performers at the top, and everybody else trailing off. You see it in places like Twitter, where the number of followers drops off like a power law, so you've got a few super-users and mostly followers. Two young women just walked into a Starbucks, one wearing a peacoat with athleisure leggings and nike running shoes. How modern. Halcyon is playing by Orbitar. I'm drinking a 12oz coffee with almond milk. There's a huge yellow Wells Fargo sign through a window across the street. I suppose I can do this now, sink into reality pretty quickly like a drug. It's fascinating, and comes from shedding all pre-conceived notions about what you're looking at. You don't "get it". You don't understand the building that the bank is housed in. You don't understand "what" Wells Fargo does. It's incredibly complicated. You probably don't even understand the plumbing in there, and if you do you probably don't understand mortgage financing, and if you know both of those things as well as a banker and a plumber, we can then talk about how glass is an amorphous solid which physicists barely understand and flows at a rate so slow it would take thousands of lifetimes to measure the change. We didn't even get to the county zoning and licensing for the building, or the tax structure, or the management structure, or the ownership hierarchy of Well's Fargo. I'm still looking at one building. The postal service delivers mail there, and how exactly does that work? It just shows up? I don't think so. Hm, how to put it. It's this idea that we're just in rooms, that working at Starbucks is in every way as taxing on the brain as many other tasks. We just don't measure it, and assume that someone that gets paid more works harder, or some such nonsense. It really doesn't work that way. This girl is leaning over the table now, probably not thinking about how nice her butt looks. I mean it's possible, I just don't think that's on her mind. Okay she's sitting down now. I wonder if they went to yoga if the clothes are just comfortable. I don't know, I think it's cool. I'm into modern women. It's just so different, just a twist on everything that's come before, although I bet there's precedent, just like there is for everything. Now the song Exorciseur is on by La Femme. The French get it, the dark flowing mysterious feminine current that pumps through the veins of society. They could probably articulate it better than me, in Francais. I wonder what they, I mean that in the collective sense, would say about the dance of masculinity and femininity over time. Like, what does that look like to them? How would they describe it, illustrate it, narrate a story about it. I bet there's plays with characters that sort of represent the ideas. I guess we have to do that a lot as a species to simplify things. Like, yes, we get it, there's these huge abstract ideas which are born from incredibly large groups of people sorting out their identities and roles, but then they're real. They exist, they interact, they morph. It's pretty fascinating to watch the boundaries blur so quickly now with transgenderism, but again, I think this is actually old hat. The hormones and surgeries are a bit new, but the idea is as old as time. Men dressing as women, women dressing as men. Altering voice and behavior, c'mon. It's not new. In any case, I really would like to hear a bit about this interaction. I mean, obviously billions of people have experienced this through their relationships, the interplay of two different animals, feminine and masculine characteristics right up next to each other, fireworks and all. I've certainly experienced it. Once you separate out gender and sex, which frankly a lot of people can't even do that so get stuck with the bare-bones male/female dynamic, there's a lot of fluidity. Like, men and women can take on all sorts of roles and behaviors that can swing between masculine and feminine, and one is free to use language however the hell you want. In any case, it's interesting and I'll leave it at that. I am sitting here, waiting for the work on my car to be completed. There's another small part they'll replace, but in the end the wiring harness was installed incorrectly after the accident, which is causing all sorts of impossible to locate electrical issues, but not to the point where the car won't run. That being the case, it won't pass emissions but there is an interesting exception which is that one can obtain an emissions waiver. This will allow the car to be registered for two years, and with eighty-eight thousand miles it makes sense to drive it into the ground as is. This is great because it closes the chapter on the saga, and will put a big rubber stamp on the car and allow me to drive it all over the place, including to work. The timing is, as usual, interesting. The universe seems to be setting me up to do what I am trying to do, which is be a person in the world again, drive to work, make money, and get a well-paying job. Perhaps. Perhaps I'll drive somewhere in the country and start fresh. I'm not working with a lot, and really have nothing to lose and nothing keeping me here. I'd kind of like to keep it that way. That may be the problem, just this desire to be light on my feet which winds up meaning I just have no resources, rather than I'm light but have money and can travel and move around and be nimble. I'd like to figure out how to be that again, agile. I like having a few nice things that work, and despite my history I actually really value long relationships, but good God, the past two or three years have cleaved off and ground away hundreds of contacts and so much. Mostly a move, but also the isolation and living in the middle of nowhere and not working; everything falls by the wayside. There's a certain amount of metamorphisis, where when you finally get to the root of it all you can start to grow again, but much is lost, much is shed. I'm okay with it. I revel in my new philosophy, which makes everything more or less okay, including pain and suffering. You can kind of just transcend it, once you accept that you're not in control of the flow of events of the universe. You've got like ten to the "a lot" of atoms in your body, and they are influenced by all sorts of things, so just stop pretending like you understand it all. You get to observe. You get to go along for the ride, and "you" make decisions, but actually your brain makes decisions, which is influenced by your body, by what you ate, and a bunch of things you will never, ever, ever catalog you little you, you. There's a bit of a rollercoaster aspect to it, but isn't there always? No matter what you do, things go up and down. I don't care who you are, eventually it goes up or down, and there isn't a way to stop that, and it's not your fault. It's just how it is. How could it be any other way? How could it stay constant, and would you really want that? You just have to get used to it happening without thinking you're responsible for it all. You're not, and it's fine. Eventually they will lose, eventually you will lose, eventually they will win, eventually you will win, and there's always the zoom out. You can always laugh and walk away from the game, and let them "win" all they want, because you're not even playing. This woman sitting at this table, perhaps on a date or outing with her boyfriend, is beautiful. Wearing an athliesure zip up, long white nails, an Apple iWatch, wavy blond hair, animated gesticulations. I miss people so much. Nerds are alright, but I miss being around, like, social animals. It is so fucking funny when people think someone is "smart". I have to explain to people all the time that you can't measure intelligence on a one dimensional spectrum. It doesn't work that way. A lot of it is smart animals figuring out how to find a mate, someone to have sex with. That's pretty smart. Being warm when it's cold out? Pretty fucking smart. Having a math PhD? Laughable. Like, someone in the military probably thinks it's smart to not get shot in the head. C'mon. It's just like this in every little task. There's skill, in many different arenas. It should be seen as liberating, but people get really scared when they develop themselves very sharply in one area and have to admit that they're just a newbie in a ton of other areas, and that humans move through time and while you're focusing intently on one area, they were developing another skill, literally even if they were just sitting in a room staring at a wall, it is a skill to be able to be with your own thoughts. You can't escape it. Even, like, sleeping twelve hours a day. Who knows, the body and brain could be up to something that they never tell you about, trying to process something or heal something and they're just like "dude, we are knocking you unconscious for a while until we figure this shit out, goodnight". It's happened to me! It works, and don't get in the way. It doesn't usually help. Just give in to it. Put on some sweatpants, try to limit your responsbilities to the bare minimum, and just roll with it. So what? You spent four months sleep and drinking Coca-Cola Zero and smoking American Spirits and walking around a lake and writing and dogsitting and pouring your heart out on Twitter and making a close friend and changing her life and a few others and going to therapy and ... see look. Things happen. Things always happen, whether you like it not. Just watch. Sometimes all you have to do is watch and listen, or turn off the thing you're watching, whatever it is because the fact is you have five senses, and unless you're doing heroine or sleeping, some of them are turned on and tuned in and absorbing information. Yes, info, information, data. It comes in your microphones (those are in your head, they're pretty nice), your cameras (your eyeballs are five hundred and seventy six megapixel cameras), your chemical sensor (it's right under your nose), your other chemical sensor (I'm sticking my tongue out at you), and that big nice capacitive touch sensor that weighs a lot and covers your calcium bones and meat and water and blood. It's infinite jest, really. Not just in this life, as this living machine, but all the brains and intelligence and sensors throughout the universe, all turning on or being born or whatever the hell you people call it. It's just fascinating, because it always changes. There are such horrors, to be sure, but also such joys. I think people believe it will be just one way, that they won't be subject to horrors, that it only happens to other beings, other animals, not humans, not you. You're right (laughs), it'll never happen to you. You're exempt. You're too smart and beautiful. It only happens to bad people, and it is impossible for you to be bad. I don' know man, it really is kind of like being high when you tap into reality. Perhaps that's really all there is, all of these different altered states. I mean, like, by food, coffee, cigarettes, but also music, people, interactions, the weather. Like, yes, one can use drugs, but you really don't have to. There is just an absolute menagerie of sensory experience to tap into. What I'm saying is that it's totally unavoidable. Like, it's not the case that some people do drugs and some don't. We all do, you just get to pick your poision. You are going to consume. You will consume food and beverages, which will change you physically, mentally, and emotionally. You will absorb information, which will change your brain quite litearlly. Data will pour into your eyeballs. Like, look wherever you want. Tell me you're "just living". You're making choices continuously, all day every day, or you're not. You can pick. Either your brain is pulling the strings, or you are. However, your brain is a part of you, one that you didn't create, that you don't understand in the slightest. So there you are, consuming and absorbing and acting, without only the faintest glimmer of how you yourself work, and even less an understanding of how other people work, and even less of how the entire system works. Honestly, I think it's lovely. I suppose you could rant and rave about it, but then you'd be that guy on the street. Nothing wrong with that I suppose, but it seems kinda cold and, like, will someone bring you coffee ... or how does that work. I was biking and there was a young homeless kid, mid-twenties, that I spoke to for awhile and there was a bag of Dunkin' Donuts right by the street sign (he was on the median). He didn't want them and told me to have one, so I took two. They were fucking delicious! He said he wasn't hungry I don't know. I encouraged him to go to some places that might be able to help him but he just wanted to do his own thing. "My brain made me do it." I just said that in response to a photographer friend who genuflected that it was good that I was "staying creative". She was being nice, but also unwilling to comment on a photograph. That's fine, but it is different, man. When amateur mathematicians write to me about math they're trying to do, I don't look down my nose at them, I generally lean in as much as I can to get them to the next level. I ask questions, I learn about where they are. That's the sad part about the world outside academia. Often they think they're being smart, when really they're just protecting themselves, their time, and trying to be better than someone else. I'm talking about all the proprietary hardware and all of the information that isn't shared. It doesn't move things forward, it stalls them. Academia has its flaws, but at least it's open and people very much build off eachother. Until you get out of grad school that is and everyone wants to be the smartest and publish their paper before someone else does, which pretty much ruins it because it stops being about the actual reserach and some becomes some weird competition or game between people. That's probably a big reason why I bow out of things, because the motivation gets twisted. I'd probably be a good teacher or therapist type, to try to get people to face the real reasons they do what they do, their underlying motivation which will often have nothing to do with the surface level reasons they're pursuing whatever they're pursuing, dumping massive amounts of time into something. I think the reasons are usually pretty basic. Like, I bet I did my PhD in part because I wanted to show the world I was smart. I never, ever thought this while doing it. I felt, and very like also was, driven by curiosity and the desire to learn. However, at the end of the day, when you're desperately trying to figure out what's going on at THE CENTER OF A BLACK HOLE, you have to fucking ask the question, like, what is this really about, dude? What instinct could possibly be pushing to you discover the deep dark unknown, with its elegant and natural mechanisms gradually revealing themselves to you? Obviously it's sort of beautiful. I mean, full stop. I forgot about that. Jesus Christ. I was literally driven primarily by seeking beauty and truth for so long. That's actually kind of nice. I'm not sure I still want to do that, but lemme tell ya, that's not the worst way to live. Having abstract ideals to guide you allows you to transend a lot of things, like raw jobs and politics and quotidian things, because you're always on this deeper hunt. Everything else becomes just something you have to take care of as quickly as possible so you can get back to your thing. Perhaps this is a way to live. The thing is I just miss basic things, money, girls, friends, having somewhere to go during the day. Beauty and truth are cool, but having health insurance and a decent looking bank account and a car that runs well go a lot further. Perhaps that's what it means to be an adult, to balance all those things. I've been an adult for awhile, and took care of quite a lot of things successfully over the years, including relationships, other people, housing, taxes, cars, apartments, jobs, what have you, but still, I'm in a lull. I'm too scattered, a little lost. Finding my way again, but man, do people let you go. It's just so hard to get into something, and so easy to get out. I wish it were a little easier to move around, but people want you to commit for life. There's probably a reason for it, because it's time consuming to find people and difficult to keep them, but maybe everyone should just get over it. You only live once and commiting to the same thing for long periods of time has its pros and cons. I honestly hope no one reads this shit.

~12:19AM, Sat. 12-10-2022: Hello. It's a little past midnight, and I'm watching Succession, a great television show. "Nothing is modern." This thought occurs to me regularly now, the idea that the present always lives in the shadow of the future, that we are ancient beasts compared to whatever comes next. The fact is the current moment we live in is five hundred years behind five hundred years into the future. I find this to be an exciting idea, especially when I get nostalgic for the past, becuase we're simply living in it, the past. When I look around at whatever structures and technologies exist, I look it through this lens. Every machine or building has an analogy to a past machine or building, because they all grew out of them. Telephones, for example, are communication tools. We've had communication tools for thousands of years. Letters, couriers, print newspapers, all sorts of media. Sure, now the bits are delivered over the air as if by magic, but the tools are doing what they've always done - transmitting information produced by people, though now machines play a great role in their collation and distribution. The same is true of fashion, rags that we wear to cover our bodies. They evolve, but in the end are the same idea. Carriages we ride in are now motorized, but the intelligence driving them ebbs and flows. An apple and oats to feed a horse to pull a carriage, a tank of gas or a bunch of electrons and a computer versus eyes and ears and a brain. Houses are little castles. Every organization is a group of people attempting to complete work together. A group of people go to war, a group of people gut a company. Quand meme, it's all the same. In any case, today was a good day. I received word that I'll be interviewing with MITRE, which is good news. I could really use a job, and the colleagues and benefits and steady work that would flow from that. I'm in a better position emotionally to accept that, and stop looking around for some position or occupation that doesn't exist. I need to use my degrees and skills, and this is a place I could do that. In other good news, Jackson Walters LLC signed on as a contractor with C2 Education, a tutoring company operating in many locations but I'll be in Alexandria and McLean. I also was able to afford some parts to fix up a bicycle that I'll sell, which sort of turns my little operation into a reality even though it is remarkably small. Still, I can grow from here, and continue to try to get work in various capacities and eventually bring in enough income to actually survive off of it, and get myself out of the hole I've dug. I have some minor loans to pay off, credit to rebuild, a car to fix up, and an apartment to find. I have a lot of things I want to do, like travel and date and go to parties and music shows and go hiking and camping and a lot more, but it all requires income which I don't quite have. That'll change next week when I go back to work. I'm still fighting through a bunch of things as I try to finish setting up this business, figure out who's actually there in terms of contacts which have dwindled severely, and just basically get my life back together. It feels like things are finally moving in the right direction. I've also started helping out with some open source code for an AI system to play the game Teamfight Tactics, which is a mixture of chess and DOTA. The mathematics is pretty interesting, and they're trying to get their AI to be better than any human at the game, which I think they'll acheive but it'll be cool to understand what they're doing and possibly contribute. I have to be a bit careful because I won't get paid to work on this, and recently I've had to be a lot more careful about where I spend my time, and really try to monetize it because one simply cannot get on in the world without doing so. It is sort of liberating to realize that, and to just get on board with everyone else who is fighting for money every day, because that's just what you do. Fortunately or unfortunately, life is often about money. There are bills and rents and budgets, and it just has to come from somewhere. My main problem will be to take all of these skills and interests and stop being so academic about things, because frankly I'm not really the best at that. I don't publish nearly enough with respect to anything, and people are pretty serious out there and they do go through review processes and feedback and submit to journals and are quite saavy with what they work on, and they do get things done and into the world and I just haven't figured out how to do that. I think I really missed the boat a couple of times in graduate school. I suppose I was busy doing other things, or working the way I work, whatever that means. My most salient accomplishments are probably in the realm of helping other people, the way a therapist might, and there's no way to measure the impact I've had on people. I think a lot of it is pretty awful, but some of it is pretty incredible. We affect other people, for better or worse.

~4:22PM, Thurs. 12-8-2022: Well, good afternoon. I suppose there's always updates. Yesterday I did a phone screen with MITRE for a computational analyst position. Kind of a dry government contracting job, but they're headquartered in VA and MA, so it could be a good fit. These are the types of large organizations with lots of smart people, so you sort of choose-your-own-adventure and just start doing "work", and there's always lots of it to keep people busy without really changing the world. Lots of national security stuff, security clearances, and I have to say it doesn't really thrill me to be going that route, but any other paths have been difficult or impossible to go down, and it would be nice to have a paycheck and health insurance rather than fighting empty-handed in a merciless world. I just don't think you can avoid work, and the funniest part is I don't want to. I have a treasure trove of skills and I sit around all day interacting with virtually no one and doing virtually nothing. This hasn't always been the case. I used to interact with dozens of people a day, go to parties, date, interact with friends, go on hikes and bike rides and camping, throw get-togethers, teach, tutor, learn, build, fix. It all sort of collapsed when I stopped playing their game in 2019, and then it's been a comedy of errors and bizarre turns of events ever since. I've been beaten pretty bad by society, which abhors a slacker, but then doesn't know what to do when the slacker decides to stop slacking, other than relentlessly point at the brand they put on a couple years ago when I dropped out. People seem to be terrified to look in the mirror and realize that their "work" isn't equivalent to other people's work, that their contributions may be buying them plumbers and cars and food and houses, all of which they don't understand in the slightest. I tend to go on blue-collar rants, but the fact is just because you get paid does not mean that the things you buy with your salary are a fair trade. Other people work harder than you for less money. Period. There are folks living off of trust funds, family inheritances, their spouse's income - the whole thing is a bit of a joke, especially with the level of detail people track one dollar as if it accurately represents some fixed amount of good or service. It's a crude approximation, that breaks down horribly when money is gifted in any way to anyone. That said, you still have to figure it out. If you're in the working class, or don't have money from some magical source, then you have to find it. It is exhilirating to watch society from this perspective, to see how all-consuming it is, and how almost everything everyone does is in service of the economy. It is essentially inescapable, and the price we pay for offloading the hard work of building a house and farming our own food. Even then, there are taxes and governments looking over the peasants, and someone's got to build the roads and deliver the mail and provide for an army and there you are, inside of a big ole system. Personally, I am getting used to this, trying to find my place in the world. When you have a fair amount of skills, you have to decide what to do with them. Nothing is an option, but I've seen how swift and extreme the boot is when you stop moving. You start to lose everything, including things that shouldn't be tied to it like relationships and friends, because they're all running on the treadmill and if you're not, well, who has the time. What's particularly unnerving is how disrespectful people can be in how serious they take themselves and what they do. People only seem to care about what's relevant, and if you have degrees and years of experience and simply want a part-time job to make some money, people interview you like their lives depend on it and think that if you don't take their work seriously you're insulting them, when the reality is I'm just forced into the position and though I respect their work, I'm not going to pretend like serving cups of coffee or building bicycles as gifts to wealthy people is the most important job on the planet. I take it seriously, but for the love of God, have a laugh. Remember that there are people preventing terrorist attacks and wars, and have some damn levity when you're serving the cup of coffee. It's going to be fine, and just zoom out for a millisecond and understand that the entire operation is a rounding error for government level spending. It's not to say that these little positions are a joke, and I see that it comes off as aloof and insulting, but it's also maddening to be in positions where people just cannot relax for a second and behave like not keeping track of 13 cents is going to end the world. Funny enough, I have actually relented on this front. I didn't want to, but the reality is you just are where you are, whichever room you happen to be in, and even if you don't like it, it's just the way it is. Every little organization has a system, a way of bookeeping, a way of doing things, and despite the scale, you actually do have to keep track of every penny, because at the end of the day it's not your penny. I think I started to accept this once I tried doing my own thing, starting an LLC and seeing the other side - the taxes, the tracking of expenses, the profit and loss reports, the systems for contracting people and reporting everything. Once again, it is often times the State or the federal government that is really cracking the whip, demanding everyone and everything to be accounted for, and there's a chain of people trying to get it right, and it's pretty obvious if and when you decide to do things outside of what's acceptable. I say this as someone who gives a shit, and tries to get things right. Nevertheless, there is this perspective when you step back, and look at all these people working their asses off at some organization that makes a product that people don't need and causes untold waste, where you have to chuckle, and sometimes just leave. Where it's just, like, why? That's why it's so hard for me to play the game. I'm uninspired, and rarely hear anyone, I mean anyone, justify what they do in a way that's compelling and makes sense, where you go "Okay, that's important". It seems like perhaps nurses, police officers, the military (with caveats), teachers, and many other professions you can get behind and just be like, yes, thank you, that work needs to be done, and you're doing it. Ironically, these positions are always paid extremely poorly. I don't know man, I just see people doing some esoteric research, slaving away for years, looking at you like they are doing the most important thing on Earth, when the sad reality is their job is a luxury, that as nice as it is for them to be able to do it, there's a ton of stuff that they're avoiding and not taking care of, and that if the whole thing disappeared society would still go on. Again, I saw this as a fan of the arts and sciences, and think the budgets for those should be increased. I think it's possible to hold both beliefs simultaneously - it's a pointless endeavor that society could get on with, and to do them as much as possible, because it makes society worth being in. I am one of those people. What I am saying is the people who do a lot of these types of things would die before admitting that what they do is unncessary. It's okay, you don't have to jump through hoops to justify it. Just remember how you went to the bathroom, the complex system that functioned appropriately when you turned the key in the ignition, the little hands that built the laptop you write your research paper on, the HVAC person that made sure the temperature in your home office was set correctly, the low-wage laborers that installed your roof, the contracters that poured the concrete in the foundation of your house, the farmers that tilled the fields to grow the wheat for the bread you're eating. Like, sure, thank God for your contribution, but have some humility. I try to. Given that rant, I do think it is often easier to literally forget about all of that, and to trust in money. Like, to just say, okay if I pay someone five dollars for something, I *believe* that it was an even exchange. That no one would have given me the five dollars if I didn't do something to earn it, and whoever set the five dollar price valued both side's work appropriately, including every link in the supply chain that brought the five dollar product to the counter. You just sort of believe that, and carry on with your life. I think this is easy to do when you have a reasonable amount of money. If you have too much or too little, you think about things difference. Particularly if you have very little, you think much harder about it. If you have a lot, you don't have to think very much at all, and essentially everyone becomes your little servant. I'm thinking of the fact that it's quite literally possible to order twenty coffees with interest you made in five minutes on a sum of money you inherited. You are ordering around a group of Starbucks employees who are frantically making these drinks, and we are led to believe that you have somehow earned the money you just made as interest on an amount of money someone else gave you. I really, truly think people don't like to think about this, the flaws inherent in money. It doesn't stop with inherited money, either, it bleeds into every part of the system. I suppose you can either fight it or play the game, or try not to worry too much about it. I'm not sure what I'm going to do. I've really never had much money, and have left extremely well-paid salaried positions that other people would kill for, precisely because I don't value money and don't want to. However, I have to. You just wind up poor and unable to do anything you want to do. I just hate games so goddamn much. Games are not stories, they are not creations, they are not discovery. It just pits people against eachother constantly, and you keep score, and it's just so disgusting. Anytime I hear someone talk about winners and losers and all of that with respect to life, I just want to throw up. I swear to God recently it seems like people, or at least me, think about money constantly, like 70% of the day. Where will the next dollar come from, how much will that repair cost, how much is that worth, how do I gain revenue, how will this work for taxes. I used to really not have to think this hard about it, though I did think about it. Frankly, I've been living off of slave wages since I was like 22, all through grad school, then when I was supposed to make money I quit the jobs that I got that paid in the six figure range. It was because they were entirely unmotivated. The people didn't really understand what they were doing, they didn't care about it, they were content with the mission being entirely vague. "Enterprise open source software", "high stakes auctions", "military technology". Come on. How about "building a road", "fixing a car", "saving a life". These are very, very different jobs. I suppose that developing a ton of math and programming skills sort of took me out of the running as far as saving lives goes, but still, the motivation for these other jobs is just laughable. Often times it's people trying to be smarter than each other, and they have no clue why they're building what they're building, or it's to support something that no one really cares about. An eighty billion dollar auction to decide which telecoms get to use which blocks of spectrum. Neat, who cares? Not the people that worked on it, I can tell you that. It's literally 4G rolling into 5G, and the average person doesn't give a fuck or even know that their fucking phone has an antenna in it, forreal. It's bad, yo. IBM's slogal is "putting smart to work". They literally don't know what the company does, other than "a bunch of smart people stuff". It really feels that way. Like, we're building a quantum computer to solve a bunch of problems that don't exist yet, meanwhile a bunch of people just starved to death in Africa. It's that type of thing where you just, like, politely listen to why "we need to orchestrate shipping millions of software containers and build a system to manage it", and then you just, like, snicker and ask, "Have you considered moving to Costa Rica to help with poverty?" and they shriek and say hell no they would never *actually* do that, and go hide somewhere and write computer code and go buy their latte which was made from beans harvested in Costa Rica. Right, so that's a classic the West is privledged and capitalism is nonsense rant, but like, it informs. It's genuinely hard to participate when people don't openly and aggressively state both sides of the equation. I would be so much happier around people who were like, "Look, what we do is bullshit. However, we like doing it, we get paid for it, it's fun, and frankly we just feel like doing all that other hard shit. Judge us if you want, but this is what we're doing, and we're having a fucking blast." and not "Let me try to justify this to you so I don't have to examine my life." At some point it is like, yo, be poor, go on Medicaid, take it for a spin and see how it goes. Then come back to your job and your life, and honestly say that everything makes sense, that you deserve it all, that your five dollars is a fair and square indicator of a percentage of the work that you did, that you earned it. I can't even begin to enumerate the amount of unpaid labor that goes on in this world, unpaid and otherwise, and how left out in the cold people are after spending incredible amounts of time helping others for nothing in return. Alright, this rant is over. In the end, I will probably do exactly what I need to do to survive and will have to play the game like everyone else. Probably.

~10:42AM, Tues. 12-6-2022: Good late morning. I just feel like writing a whole bunch, so I'll type a few thousand words. This ability took shape over the past five years, beginning with dusting off a journal, a moleskin, that had been given to me as a gift by my brother in 2017. I was in dire straights emotionally having gone through a serious break-up nearing the last and most difficult years of graduate school, and needed an outlet. Over the next two years, I would occassionally write small blurbs in the journal, though it's almost funny to look back and see how pedestratian, earnest, and novice I was at writing. The skill really developed during hosptializations when I was deprived of phones and devices, and only had a pencil/pen (or even a crayon) and would write for hours on end. After getting through the worst of it, I would write daily, usually in the morning, in the office in my two bedroom apartment in Forest Hills. I had gotten off of all social media, and refused to type in documents or use a text editor. This form of writing is very different, and has advantages. It is obviously private and secure, but it is also tactile, slow, and deliberate. You can sketch, use all sorts of wild pen gestures and underlines and loopy font and mix the words with images. It forces you to think hard about the vocabulary you're using, cross out words that don't work, and you don't look up words or have spell-check. It also prevents you from being distracted or importantly influenced by the data streams coming from a screen. You are using your brain. If writing is the act of spilling information in a slow trickle out of the language model in your brain, then writing on paper has a serious amount of processing time built in word-to-word. You write differently, putting a lot of thought into which word comes next, and your entire brain can weigh heavily as it alters the probability distribution before that little itty-bit of info leaks out, like a pressure cooker releasing entropy and steam, quite literally. I began to bring my journals to bars and restaurants, and it became a touchstone as the events of my life played out and I scribbled my quotidian nonsense onto the page. This continued on through 2021, and I stacked up about twenty five journals. In a puff of metaphorical smoke (later literal), I trashed the twenty five journals on a dramatic day in mid-October of '21 on my way to a museum date in DC. The title of that collection is "The Clockmaker's Shadow and a Rubber Soule", and it is lost, deliberately, and I have no desire of getting it back. I think this is important. If you don't do this, something must happen to the words. They may sit in a safe, or in a pile, and if they're there long enough someone will even go through them after you die. Perhaps you read them, or someone else does, as you look back on the shadow of events cast onto the page by the flame of life. It is never complete, and is always a mirage; a thin cross-section of what actually transpired. Delving back into them is like looking into a pensieve, and I'm not sure it helps. I only learned this ex-post facto. In fact, I came to believe that what you really gain is not the writing itself, but the ability to write. That's the valuable thing, and no one can take it away from you. I felt lighter after getting rid of them, like a worker who has cleared his bench after a long day, leaving only the important pieces for the next day, trashing what is unnecessary, and keeping the skill and knowledge gained. A butterfly coming out of a cocoon, an inseect shedding its exoskeleton, one lose something but becomes more nimble, agile, and able. It is the weapon pulled by the blacksmith from the fires, all the little shards of hot metal and excess left to incinerate, and only the shining new tool at their disposal. I took my new skill and finally decided, with my new 13" MacBook Air bought in favor of a tricked out heavy gaming desktop computer and large monitor that I built to do some machine learning and programming work for a couple companies, and because I like putting computers together, to try typing. I still had journals (big composition notebooks), but I could feel myself growing detached from them as I would always throw them away or leave them somewhere. I couldn't figure out what to do with the words which were now pouring out of me at a frenetic pace. Whereas I once found it difficult to come up with a few hundred words, writing because tantamount to speaking, the words splattering on the page at the exact same rate they were being thought in my head. This comes with a caveat. My brain creates words much faster than I can write them by hand. It was only when I started using the laptop as a keyboard, writing in word documents often with no internet connection, that I realized I could write about three thousand words in an hour with ease. My journaling had taken on a new life, and within about two months I was up to one hundred thousand words. After haphazardly sending them to an unwilling recipient, I realized that once again I had the same problem - what to do with the words. Write a blog, write a book, write a novel? It was all possible. The events in my life from 2018 to 2022 are by many measures more interesting than at least *some* of the things people write books about. Love, loss, mental illness, philosophical, scientific, and mathematical writing. It felt a little too self-involved to really think people would want to read a couple hundred thousand words about my life and times, so I decided to fore-go that route. At this point I'd come to realize that writing at that pace and volume is not a big deal. In fact, there are tools that allow one to convert speech-to-text, to dictate, and a keyboard is just another tool or machine to translate thought to text. The friction, or slow-down, comes from your brain being attached to your arms, and arms to hands, hands to fingers, fingers to keyboard. Your vocal coords vibrating the air, which vibrates the microphone, and that analog data being converted to digital data in the form of characters and words, is no different. Dictating is not cheating, and writing in a journal is not uncessarily slow or some sad old way to write, they're just different tools to acheive a similar result. What's interesting is you always lose something depending on which media you choose. I can't draw elaborate sketches of my ideas to accompany my writing when I use a keyboard. It wouldn't matter if it was a type-writer; I just can't. There are expensive digital pens and things, but why? Dictating means that I have to constantly go back and edit all the punctation, grammar, and spelling errors, which means you're editing, and then the assumption is that the writing is for someone else. I find that typing strikes a nice balance of speed and precision, and forces you to linearize and serialize what you're trying to say. It is a skill to write succinctly, and a great skill to describe what you're trying to describe only using words without the help of cartoon abstractions and diagrams. It is portable, universal, and analyzable. The next question is, "Who is reading this?". Frankly, I don't know. I have toyed with a private Tumblr blog, with accompanying digital images and links and what have you, but it's too much. You're not writing, you're providing glimpses from your little pocket mirror, which primarily absorbs and emits (complicated) light, sometimes in the visible, often in the radio (it has an antenna, dude). In a similar vein, writing is giving a glimpse into one's brain, the data being no different that if you were to shine a light on it. It's just data, in one of its many forms. I suppose there's no real answer to what would be better, perfect privacy and no one ever seeing that, or having many people see and absorb that data. Often I think people want views, they want to be seen by very many people. This isn't necessarily good, and it's not necessarily bad. My feeling is that when you try to anything, really, but let's stick to broadcasting, other people and organizations step in on your behalf when you become brighter; they notice. It is to protect you, to steal from you, to profit from you, to hurt you, to heal you, and on and on. A lot of things happen, because they sort of have to. The same way that when a seven year old decides to walk a dog in a dangerous neighborhood alone, other people step in because as much as it should be fine, it might not be. I remember seeing this once in Boston, and had the odd feeling that I needed to call the police. Not because I don't think walking a dog in Roxbury or Jamaica Plain near a major train station should be safe, but because she was seven years old (max) and there was no once else around. I feel the same way when venturing out into new territory, like a seven year old who is confident as hell, but who all the more experienced older people look at and say "Jesus fucking Christ". They don't even necessarily want to help, but you kinda can't not. It's the same thing when a kindergarten teacher is watching over a classroom. All the kids are interacting and going through their daily drama and lots of things seem like a big deal, but the adult overlooking the whole thing is seeing it from a different perspective. So-and-so is trying to be friends with her, so-and-so is punching him because he's mad he stole a toy. I do think these analogies carry over, and don't stop when you hit thirty or whatever. There are people much older, organizations and governments and species and systems much larger than you that can pick your little ass up by the scruff of your stupid neck and move you to "another classroom" if they feel like you're acting up, or reward you, or ignore you, or help you, or whichever verb you like. All that said, my fear is if I publish, then people will or won't notice, and I'll have to deal with that. I suppose the first thing you have to get comfortable with is the latter, that people simply don't care and have better things to do. Honestly, this is pretty likely. Outside of a very small number of people who are going to support you, you cannot expect that people will spend their precious time and energy eating up your shit. It's just not that likely. If this doesn't bother you or register as failure, I think you get to move on to the former. What if people do give a shit? Are you ready for that? I look at some people in my generation who are artists and musicians, some of them close friends, and see both sides. Some people without the recognition, some people with it. I'm not sure who is happier, but I do see that with recognition comes a lot of forces swooping in around you - lawyers, record labels, publicists, platforms, managers, producers. There's no such thing as a lone wolf, and that's fine. We live in a society, and there are a ton of professionals who make a living helping other people out in exchange for money, and when you make money so do they, and on it goes. It feels impossible to avoid. Getting hired means getting sucked into an organization, having a boss, having health insurance, paying rent, having colleagues. I'm not saying these are bad things or that I haven't experienced them, it just feels like you have to pick your poison (or your pound-cake). You can't even go to the bathroom without interacting with a system. Like, where are you gonna go? A house? Who built it, who did the plumbing? Who pays the rent or mortgage? Outside? Yeah? Which country, which state, which county, which street? It's all mapped. A National Park? Which one? Did you drive, hike? Which trail? Where'd you sleep last night? Which tentsite number? On and on. This is all to come back to the point: if I write, where do I put it, and who will read it? For now, the answer is here, publicly, with ideally very few people. I have no idea what makes a writer. How many pages until you become one? My usualy answer with anything like this is money. Like, have you published something, and did someone pay you for it? If so, you're a writer. If not, you aren't. This type of stuff is word-vomit. It's not edited, there's no feedback, and I'm not writing a well-crafted essay. I'm still writing stream-of-consciousness, but putting it in a place where people could conceivably read it does force one to be a little more careful. I bet it actually censors it quite a bit, which was one of my fears. Like, writing in a private journal you can write whatever you want. It is still difficult for me to conceptualize how some people are just so completely uninhibited in public. I've been like that, but holy shit, I get into trouble *immediately*. When I lose inhibition, people swoop in to punish me faster than I can say "Why is a police officer knocking on my window?". It doesn't quite work. In the end, I am looking for a way to be myself. I mean, who isn't.

~1:14PM, Sun. 12-4-2022: Went out in DC last night, had a nice time. I've been considering moving there for about two years. I think with the right source of income, I would just go ahead and do it. It's much more lively and connected, and it really is tremendously difficult to get there from Clifton. It's an hour and a half on the train after a thirty minute drive. It's impractical to go back and forth, and driving sucks because of parking and then if you drink at all you're up a creek. Had quite a time at NoVA Labs yesteday, met and spoke with a bunch of people as I try to reboot my compact, affordable eBike motor project, Petal. People are more than willing to help, and it would look like volunteering more, 3d printing some stators from before, getting some steel or ferromagnetic material and turning it on a lathe, and then using a CNC mill to cut the CAD design to the proper shape. After that it's a pretty easy job to mount magnets on a rotor, get a 3-phase controller and a power supply, get a cheap frame to cut to a tabletop size, and then wind the stator and wire everything up and see how much torque I can get out of it. The physics is interesting because there's a trade off between the number of stator windings and the current you can put through the different gauge wires, and whether more loops (n^2) or more current (I) would be better. It feels like more loops is the way to go. We want to get as strong a B field as possible kicking off the neodymium magnets on the rotor. The goal is to at least turn a crankset, which is totally doable with 100w (20v at 5A perhaps) of power. In any case, it was refreshing to talk to people who are more than familiar with metal and electronics and physics, and capable of getting the job done. I also heard about a DARPA fellowship that sounded interesting, and may teach a course on bicycle maintenance or something. Everyone there is kind and generious, and I'm just really happy to begin to surround myself with folks who are looking to help and do good. I think bashing my head against the wall metaphorically about how lame Virginia is is just entirely counterproductive. It's better to just lean into whatever is going on and make use of the people, resources, and tools available and try to set a goal and figure out where to go next, rather than lackadaisically dreaming of where you want to be and what you want to do. Better to just do things and see where it leads.

~10:28PM, Thurs. 12-1-2022: I decided to _____ a bottle of ____. I think it was a good decision, a wise decision, a fruitful decision. Honestly, I'm just kind of laughing at my life a bit. Like, I used to have ten different social media apps, three roommates, loads of friends and people cruising through every evening, girlfriends, dates. It's actually remarkable how much has evaporated. Like, everything. It's amazing. I don't even feel responsible for it, it just kind of happened. Everything got deleted and processed, and I have been stripped down to my core, with only like one hundred contacts on Apple, two gmail accounts, a website, a laptop, a phone, a safe with some valuables, an old car that won't pass emissions to save its life, a desk, a bed, a journal, a stereo system, a lamp, a printer, some clothes, a mountain bike, a backpack, some nice boots and camping gear, some toolboxes full of useful tools, a workbench, and a few other odds and ends. The point is that it all fits in a uHaul. Like, I'm ready to go but no one will have me. I have become radioactivate. It is not impossible, but nearly impossible, to get people to talk to me. It's incredibly boring, it's slow, it's lame. I just have so much to say, so much interaction that I'd be willing to have, and people are just scared, or angry, or annoyed, or whatever, and don't want to go back-and-forth. It's just too much, whereas I used to write proportionate responses and be relaxed because I knew there were just a bunch more in the queue and nothing really mattered. Now it's sort of like, okay, I'm not *awash* in message, but still, I can't sit and try to delicately play each message - I just don't give a fuck. Like, write back or don't. If you can't handle messages, like literally little messages that you can mute or delete or whatever, then you need to grow up. It's just not a big deal. I get, like, a thousand emails a day. It's fine. You just figure out what's important and what's not. I don't care if I don't rank as important in people's lives, that's not the point. The point is I need to find someone who actually gives a fuck and knows how to write, who isn't afraid of a lot of words and can reciprocate without tiring out after one hundred words. A writer, for fuck's sake. Spit poetry, not average Joe-etry, draw a fine line with ink tip don't lose your grip don't quit keep typing keep writing letters turn into letters don't be afraid to let your mind run just run and gun and put those bits where they belong on the page be a sage be a writer write back don't slack don't be wack off the top of my head I'd rather be alive than dead learn to life and breathe in time and spin a rhyme no one would believe it just rolls off my finger tips try writing a million words by hand get a grip it's not that hard you blowhard ______ you can't even handle a curse that's why you don't have any coins in your purse what's worse this or that it's quid pro quo tit for tat quand meme baby know what that means when it's all the same nothing matters nothing matters learn to write you fucking _____.

~8:34PM, Thurs. 12-1-2022: Bills due today. That means cutting. Interestingly having a "business" means you have necessary expenditures like QuickBooks, Google Ads, frontend storefronts like Weebly, Legal fees for LegalZoom, Google Workspace accounts (unless you wanna get postfix send email working - you don't), DigitalOcean for the server/hosting. It adds up, but there are some places I can cut. I went ahead and set up a Yelp business profile which is free, and my Google My Business profile is set up as well, which is free. I paused the ad campaign. Ganalytics is already set up and free, but the ads have a daily cost and the $500 promotion isn't actually valid until you spend $500. Plus, it's not really getting any conversions in the first four days, though it does get a lot of impressions and some clicks. The point is, it's better to just do boots-on-the-ground, friends-and-family advertising with real products. Hand out pieces of art, tell people about the site, hand out business cards, give out free art, verbally tell stories about it, take pictures of what you're up to and post them; basically just blast out information on all the free channels and I think people will figure out pretty quickly what you're up to. They're smart.

~7:37 EST, Weds. 11-30-2022: Check engine light came back on for the car; will still need to drive 50-100mi to reset it. I picked up a tutoring gig with C2 Education in Alexandria/McLean, and will need to sign a non-compete in order to avoid me poaching their clients. I'd love to find some students to tutor, perhaps by way of NoVA Labs in Fairfax where I'll be visiting this Sat. 12/3 for a "Maker's Market". There is also an event in the Town of Clifton on Saturday where I'll be visiting. There's a $20 ticket to tour the houses available from the Main Street Pub but I'll forego that option. I'm currently drinking a beer, content with my new work life. I've learned how to separate work and personal, and work in bits and pieces on different problems, always making progress. Throughout a day, I'm faced with numerous challenges and opportunities, and I find it's best to just lean into each one, even if it doesn't seem productive at the time. For instance, today I went back to Pope's Head Creek where I lost my road bicycle on Feb. 2nd, 2022. I printed out the spec list detailing the parts that were on the bike, frame, materials, everything. I posted the flyer back up near the entrance of the path I traveled down to the spot I left it in the creekbed. It rained the following day, so I assumed it had swept the bicycle down the creek. However, there is a dam that the bike should've been caught in about a quarter or half mile down. I've walked the creek in both icy conditions and today, this time documenting the map of the area and taking pictures and videos. Having already reported it to the local police, I can pretty safely say it is lost forever. I've had time to process the loss, and should probably just buy a new bike. However, the bike is somewhere, probably buried under sediment, decaying naturally for the next one hundred or so years as the frame is chromium-molybdenum steel. Ah well. Out with the old, in with the new.

~3:22M EST, Tues. 11-29-2022: Picked up car, still attempting to get through emissions. Published some math to mathoverflow. Working on some paperwork for my intermittent leave at REI, as well as trying to organize business licenses, finances, subscriptions, and various and sundry other tasks.

~12:48PM EST, Sun. 11-27-2022: Finished updating my website and getting all my ads up and running. Essentially I have grouped endeavors into four categories: art, bicycle repair, math tutoring, and consulting. There are tiers of pricing from $10 pieces of art, to $20 bicycle repairs, to $60/hr math tutoring, to $100/hr consulting. I have trimmed all users from the Google Workspace account, and am in the process of obtaining business licenes via Avalara. Paperwork is in the mail to OSHA and the VA Dept. of Labor. My Google Ads account is synced with my Google My Business profile. My QuickBooks is synced with Square, PayPal, and BofA. All passwords are secure. I volunteered at NoVA Labs yesterday and saw The Polar Express with my little sister. I am working on getting my doctors and health needs in order.

~9:46AM EST, Thurs. 11-24-2022 (Thanksgiving): Good morning. I've updated the consulting section of my website and franctically trying to include all the things I've done over the years that I never tell anyone about.

~8:56AM, EST: I have published some work on a map between P^2F_2 and P^1F_7 to Wikipedia under Fano Plane, Collineations. I have also begun publishing work regarding the number of points over \overline{F_2} of the curve y^2=x^3+x+1 and the elliptic curve over \overline{F_7}. With Silverman et. al's help, we compute the Zeta function over F_7. I am seeking to pull back the structure of the elliptic curve over F_7 to the singular curve over F_2, which after a change of variables and noting that the group structure still exists after removing the singular points, group isomorphic to either F_2 or F_4^*. This is available at my public GitHub page.

~6:44PM EST, 11-21-22: Conjecture: There exists strong isogenies of elliptic curves over fields of different characteristic.

~12:53PM EST, 11-21-22: Uploading images by an artist friend to website.

~9:59AM EST, 11-19-2022: Jackson Walters, LLC owns this site. Your eyes are always closed during the flash of a bright camera.

~4:25PM, 11-18-2022: Good trip to the doctor, got the form I needed filled out and submitted. The LLC is operating at a significant loss. I need to figure out how to add an HTML SMS link, which basically means add my phone number to my website. One moment please.

~7:38PM, 11-15-2022: Big day. Tried finding all points over the prime p=2 for the curve y^2=x^3+x+1, a rank one abelian group over \QQ, in other words looking at the singular curve over F_2, and trying to examine it over the algebraic closure of that field. I became globally tax compliant with all five of my banks. The service engine light on my car is still on, so I will at some point take it to my mechanic on RT 29 and have them try to continue fixing the problem so I can get emissions tested so I can re-register the plates, as they expired while I was in the hospital.

~5:43PM, 11-13-2022: Adventurous weekend. Pulling a lot of things back together. I ____ my wallet a few days ago, and have been slowly reconstructing it. It's difficult - health insurance cards, driver's license, debit cards, the wallet itself. I'm also _____ so that's tough. Still working on getting my car in good shape. The repairs went well, but I still need to get an emissions inspection. I "had" a cup of coffee yesterday morning from Main Street Pub. Really, I just had a cup and put over a dollar on the table and the kids freaked out when I left because the stated price was $2.99 which is insane. My buddy wasn't there who has charged me a dollar before, so whatever. I'm learning in adult life that there's a lot of stuff like that that no one tells you. Like, sometimes you gotta kinda just ... walk out, _____ a little, ___ a little, say ____ __ a little, do the thing you're ___ supposed to do, because you simply won't always have the resources to make everything happen all the time, and you'll get stuck in situations where you don't know the right answer, yet still you have to do something, or there's only two bad choices (the third horn of a dilemma, so to speak, or stuck between a rock and hard place). Alas, adulting. I did go out to Raven Grille in Columbia Heights last night. I didn't have ID or my phone fully charged or cash or a debit card, but things worked out. I charged my phone after a long talk about my temporary license. I met a woman named Lauren and her friend Becky, who were funny. We _________ numbers.

11-12-2022: All systems go.

11-11-2022: Good evening. Heading out for a drive. Long day. Jackson Walters, LLC is formed. Uploaded some more art to the art section. My car is in good working order - needs an emissions test.

~5:36AM, 11-11-2022: Good morning. I have just uploaded two more pictures for sale under art. Feel free to take a look. Two are the work of a friend, two are my own, (Q-Bit, Cat's Cradle). Q-Bit is a geometric pictorial representation or diagram of a quantum bit. The space of states is homeomorphic to a three-sphere, a three dimensional sphere. This comes about because there are two eigenstates of the Schroedinger equation, |0> and |1> which are spin up and spin down states in binary bra-ket notation. The states really reside at the center of a 2-sphere, and we're meant to imagaine the interior as being either 0 or 1 (red and blue for temperature if you like). The sphere S^2 is the "equator" of the 3-sphere, and when we move in and get to the origin, we're at the "north pole" (red, |1>), and move out we get back to the "equator", or 2d boundary sphere, and back in we move towards the "south pole" (blue, |0>). There is a fibration of circles over the 2-sphere called the Hopf fibration, which is very beautiful. Another way of thinking of a 3-sphere is the one-point compactification of R^3 where we add a point at infinity (\infty). The 3-sphere structure comes about because there are two complex amplitudes, c_1 and c_2, whose absolute value squared must equal 1, which is another way of saying a^2+b^2+c^2+d^2=1, the equation for a sphere in 3 dimensions. The group SU(2), or the special unitary group, acts as rotations on pairs of complex numbers. This is a Lie group, and it plays an important role in physics. It captures the "spin" of a quantum bit, which may be physically modeled by a single electron.

11-10-2022: Hello. I am in the ________ at _____ ___. Welcome to my _______ house, _______.

11-10-2022: Good morning. It is approximately 6AM. I've been wondering what AM stands for recently. FM is frequency modulation, AM means ... before noon? After midnight? On a circle? Hm. Clocks are continuous, Z/12Z, but also R/12R, if you count in hours. The Mayans counted in sixties. Perhaps I should get a sundial (which only works when the sun shines). Just looked it up. It stands for ante meridiem, which is Latin for before noon. That makes sense, except it's always before noon, like, the next day. Perhaps I'll switch over to military time, baby. 24 hours in a day. Ish. Like, most of time is based off the sun, but if you were in a dark room for long enough you probably would stop using that method. Perhaps you'd say, "I measure time between meals, dude".

11-9-2022: Apologies for the lack of updates. I was out at sea for about two days. Upon returning, I have been enlighted. The forms of communication over the ages have varied dramatically. I'll be sending her a raven at 12000. Her name is apparently Melidsa. Is this your doing? I will perhaps brand my upper left arm, Butterfly Blue.

11-6-2022: The art store is up, with more to come by an anonymous first featured artist later tomorrow. They are really talented!

11-5-2022: Hello! This is the first of what will be many blog posts. I will provide updates, writing, poetry, and a little fiction. Stay tuned! The latest is that I will be adding an online store section to this site where I will be selling art produced by myself and others.