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Monday, October 31, 2005


Happy Halloween! Whee...urgh

After a huge spurt of game-related activity at first, I'm starting to back down to something more reasonable. I've also been heavily involved in correspondence (I'm verrryyy slow at writing; I tend to edit on the run, and then re-edit and repolish, especially if I am emotionally involved, so that it takes an hour to write what turns out to be a three-line note. Have I discovered an unnamed phenomenon? Writer's constipation? I know people who seem to have verbal diarhhea...running off at the mouth...this is rather the opposite.

I may not be very active physically, but my mind never quits. That can be a problem when it doesn't like to shut down at night (can't sleep at night, can't stay awake during the day). It turns into a roller-coaster cycle: from feeling energetic, full of vim, vigor and vitality, [I'mmm....OFF to be the wizard!!, the wonderful wizard of...] to being exhausted, headachy, and feeling like doggie do. It's compounded when there's emotional stress going on. And it's not a regular cycle: Saturday morning I was in fine form, by Sunday evening I was looking nearly as ghastly as I felt, or so one of my housemates observed. Up and down; I don't manage it too very well, but I *am* slowly learning.

Someone mentioned a site, www.cardiomyopathy.org, which has some discussion of my heart condition, for anyone who has any interest in the details. In my case, the mitral valve is obstructed and vigorous activity does start to interfere with cardiac circulation. How long that's been a problem I don't know, but possibly a long time. What I have seems to be inherited, and when my doctor mentioned this, I told how I'd seem some similarities with my mother..he recommended that I suggest to her that she have an echocardiogram.

But even if I'm not fit to run a marathon and the doctor's don't recommend I start trying to train for one, I'm not in a wheelchair and don't need a walker. I did notice that I've been gaining weight, and at an increasing rate, and after the sixth time someone asked when I was due, I decided that it's time to shed a few pounds. It's really not that hard for me to diet, I find, given that I often get so involved reading, studying, or writing that I forget to eat anyway...

Happy Halloween! Since I'm not going to any costume parties, I don't have to dress up as a wizard disguised as a muggle.

Wednesday, October 26, 2005


Freedom to surf

Surf the web, that is. Part of coming out of my shell involves reaching out to the wider world, and the hour or so a day I have on the computer at the public library has been getting onerously restrictive. Enough. I decided I really, really wanted to pay for a borrower's card at the WVU library for a year and get access to that system, which has fewer restrictions, plus, there are other resources and references I can use, and I can even check out books!

A few months ago, Orson Scott Card reviewed Runequest of one of the Massive Multiplayer Role-playing Games (MMRPGs). My brother (one of them) was heavily involved in Everquest for a while; for all I know he still is. I've tried a few others, since I've had a long-standing interest in role-playing and in computers, and yes, they can be addictive. Someone commented that if people devoted the time in these to their real lives that they do to these, they could accomplish a lot more in real life. Well, yes, I agree with that, too, but I've been working on ideas in social economics and justice for long enough, and have developed enough theories that no one cares to discuss with me, that I've been wanting to try them out. So, I skipped over Runequest as not quite what I'm looking for (I'm on an approximately $0 dollar budget and have to use OPCs (Other People's Computers)) and searched for some more. I found Cantr II as fitting better with my philosophy and style. I'm not a hack-em up and accumulate stuff kind of player, and I don't have the reflexes for high-speed, real-time action. I do mean to try out a few of my ideas on how society could and should be in simulated interactions before I go out and inflict them on the real world. And no, I'm not telling which character I'm playing.

And I can't afford to get too addicted; because I do have other commitments and necessities and limits. Just for one, my Independent learning interests are just as important, and hopefully potentially someday more useful. But there is a certain overlap here. Children play in order to learn, and there are all too many grim, serious, sobersided adults who have forgotten how to play.

After about two years, someone has finally taken interest in my dormant Sapience Knowledge Base and taken the trouble to follow the tracks I left for anyone who wanted to learn more about it. (Yes, I'm talking about you, A). I'm enormously pleased.

Saturday, October 22, 2005


Percussion concert

Last night I had the chance to go to a percussion concert at the arts center at WVU. The two numbers I enjoyed the most was a 5-movement piece based on brazilian folklore, and an african drum number. There was also a japanese-style number that got a lot of applause. I wasn't aware of the variety of instruments that can be called percussion, but it was overall an enjoyable piece. The whole concert stirred ideas of collecting music from various periods and cultures of world history. Those kinds of ideas, and others like them, have been settling in the back of my mind for I don't know how long, and every once in a while something gives them a stir. I have plenty of grand dreams, many of which appear to be doomed to remain just that.

I've been trying to maintain the studies I describe on my other blog, in the stubbornly persistent hope that they will lead to something beneficial. I'm seldom bored, there are too many things to do and too little time to do them. But what with the need to wait for this and that, half-an-hour here and an hour there and 20 minutes somewhere else when I can't sit down and concentrate, and with the difficulty I have pulling myself away from something once I do get involved, many things I would like to do, and even a few that I need to, don't always get done.

Wednesday, October 19, 2005


Big heart

I was told yesterday by someone that I "have a lot of heart". That tickled my sense of humor, because I had just come from a visit with a cardiologist, who told me that I have "Hypertrophic obstructive cardiomyopathy". In English, the left ventricle of my heart is enlarged and musclebound; there's so much muscle that the blood flow is obstructed. He didn't say what causes it, except that it's probably genetic.

I don't know this condition developed, but I suspect it has something to do with the high blood pressure which I'm getting under control, which is revealing this underlying condition. But over the past few months, it's becoming limiting. And, no, the cardiologist says, this is not a good time for me to start training for a Marathon. I'll be doing well to maintain my normal activity and not turn into a complete vegetable.

Thursday, October 13, 2005


Splash and sparkle

I've been getting some nice compliments the past week or so, which makes me feel rather nice. Is it an abdication of my responsibility for my own life to note that how I am treated makes just as much an impact as my own decisions?

When people criticize or find fault with me, I droop like wilted lettuce. Tell me how gloomy I am, and the gloom deepens. Tell me I'm lazy, and I become too discouraged to get up in the morning. Tell me I'm ugly, and I cease to care how I look or smell.
If it's with praise or encouragement, I preen. I shine. I splash, sparkle, dazzle and throw off sparks of wisdom and wit. If people tell me I'm smart, I become smarter. If they tell me I'm good looking, I try to look better. If they tell me I'm kind, I behave more kindly. I enjoy returning good for good; double and good measure, packed down, heaped together, and running over.

It's as natural as breathing, and slightly less controllable.

Tuesday, October 11, 2005


Moving forward

For anyone who might have been concerned, the person who I thought had come in smelling of alcohol is gone. Echoes of rumors suggest that he was removed for cause and not solely because of my report.

I also have it from one who would know that the police cleared me of involvement in the case of the missing computer from the Institute, and I am no longer suspected.

One of the things I've decided to do is start taking more interest in people around me; I like it when people express an interest in me, innocuous things like "where are you from?", but I feel like I'm being intrusive when I ask. I don't usually much care for unsolicited advice, but sometimes I don't mind. So, I'm trying to interact a little bit more. But sometimes it feels awkward, something like an elephant trying to tiptoe through the garden.

One of the things I've picked up studying is the English language; using the Bible as material. (After all, whether one is religious or not, it is the single most important work of Western Civilization, and no one can be considered educated who hasn't at least read it.)
I've also checked out a couple of books from the library; one on exercises for fiction writers; (it seems I have plenty of story seeds, but not much skill at turning them into readable and interesting works; It's a skill I would like to develop), and another on drawing; artistic drawing, that is. Some of my lesser interests have been buried under layers of permafrost. It's part of my rebuilding project to develop some of them.

Monday, October 10, 2005



C. J. Cherryh is one of my favorite authors and has a blog whis is one of the few I follow. I'm familiar with the state of concentration she describes here, although I can't say any of my own incidents were quite so amusing.
The depth of concentration this art takes is pretty well manic: I recall when Lynn Abbey was sharing our digs, and we set off a fire alarm by accident---yellow-slickered firemen in full kit were running down our home hallway past Lynn's open door: she was plugging away at her computer, and only eventually did she turn around to give them a glance and ask us, as we appeared to apologize, if there was a problem. No, we said, and she went back to work. That's the kind of concentration I'm talking about.

Thursday, October 06, 2005


Getting interesting

My activities are getting a little bit more hectic. I'm starting to have to cut back on a few such as whole afternoons reading SF&F, because there are other things I want to get accomplished. After working on some writing exercises this week, I find that I have a whole lot of stories stored in my brain waiting for expression. A lot of difficult experiences I've gone through have had time to compost, so to speak. I don't think I'll ever become a great artist; some of what I'm doing is semi-directed doodling. And there are several other "projects" I have in mind. But I'd rather report on what I have managed to accomplish rather than describe intentions. But more good things are starting to happen than I can describe right now.

Tuesday, October 04, 2005


Clearing rubble

Sometimes I think my life is like a castle. Part of it is still standing strong, but part of it wasn't well founded in the first place, and through the storms of life and enemy action, it collapsed into rubble. Lately, I've had the feeling that I've about cleared the rubble out of the way and am starting to rebuild. Part of it comes from keeping better track of my priorities; partly because the "weave" of knowledge is incoporating areas I've been putting off for some time. I've been taking a long-delayed look at writing, drawing, and music, and have started including some exercises in these areas.

For the first time in some years, I got through LDS General Conference without being stressed by guilt about what I am or am not doing. There were several talks and music that I especially enjoyed. Elder Holland, on the nature of beauty in young women; Elder Bednar's talk, with it's idea of becoming rather than going to; President Hinkley's talk on forgivess were especially memorable. A couple of the stirring choir numbers gave me goosebumps.

Saturday, October 01, 2005



Me and my big mouth. I woke up at wee-thirty in the morning yesterday when one of my roommates came to bed, accompanied by the distinctive aroma of alcohol on the breath. I got up and reported said matter to the staff member on duty. There was one person who overheard me make the report.
The next morning, when I got up, I overheard the person I had mentioned complaining that someone was trying to get him into trouble, and that he doesn't drink. I went to a higher level of staff and made the same report, mentioning that I'm all in favor of the presumption of innocence, but in this case, as far as I'm concerned, it's rather gone, and I could either believe my ears (his protestations that he doesn't drink) or my nose. Also that if said person has a problem and is in denial about it, it's not good for him, the shelter, or anyone else that resides there.

I encountered said person last night. Our conversation went like this (in different words)
"You went ratting to staff, accusing me of coming in drunk. It's a lie."
"I smelled you. Drinking is against the rules."
"I wasn't drunk, I don't drink, I'm allergic to the stuff, and you're just trying to get me into trouble. I've got enough problems and people trying to run me out of here. You should have got me up and gotten some proof, rather than go making false accusations."
"I don't think waking up drunks is such a great idea. I hear tell that some of them get violent."
"What, harmless me? And you pull stuff too, and now you've got no proof. Next time, get it before you go accusing people. And I'm not hearing you apologize."
"I don't think I did anything wrong."
"Next time you think you smell something, wake me up before you go making accusations."
"OK. By the way, nice innocent act, but I've met some con men."
"You calling me a liar?"

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