Momentarily homeward bound. Escaping before 8:00 AM local, which has to be some kind of personal best. BashCon was good, and remains my favorite con, even though this was pretty much a trainwreck year for the BashCon organization. Back to the more or less real world.
I had lots of opportunities to be social this weekend. I got comfortable, and let my filters slip a bit; this is never a good thing.
I am NOT, repeat, NOT depressed. Really. However, my head is full of depressing crap, and sometimes I let it slip out. This does no one any good, and I know better, but, well, I get sloppy.
I offer my apologies to anyone who wants them.
Foolishness: When I arrived at the University of Toledo on Sunday morning, the lot hadn't been plowed, and I had to guess at where the parking lot markings should be. When I left five hours later, someone had parked me in. I couldn't get in through the driver's door, and I can't crawl across the center of this vehicle. I could get into the car from the passenger side, though, so all I needed to do was get the car into Neutral and push it forward until I could get at the driver's door. The shift lever does not move with the ignition locked, or with the ignition unlocked, or with the ignition unlocked and the brake depressed (using the snow brush as an extension to depress the brake). The solution was to start the car, depress the brake, and then shift into Neutral. Taking the car out of Park with the engine running is NOT for the faint of heart...
Two years ago on this very day, February 22, 2016, Syfy aired an episode of "The Magicians" in which two of the characters participated in the first meatside gathering of an heretofore online magical study group. The name of the group was mentioned in passing.
A year later, more or less, a group with the same name was formed on FaceBook for "free trade metaphysical services for psychics, healers, and intuitive readers." The group name and purpose are obvious references to the Syfy show.
The thing that I find wonderful about this is that the name the groups share is itself a shoutout to another sort of geekery that, as far as I have been able to determine, is completely unaware of the phenomenon.
The name is, "Free Trader Beowulf", as referenced on the (wonderfully dramatic) cover of the "Traveller" RPG back in 1977. (For the uninitiated, "Traveller" was one of the first SF RPGs, and the very first attempt at a "hard" SF RPG. It never escaped into the larger world the way D&D did, but it is very well known in the RPG community.)
There is a resonance here that makes me grin from ear to ear whenever I think about it...
I am running two degrees (F) of fever at the moment, so let's have a bit of a rant, shall we?
First, a triva question: Which of the following is the best statement of human body temperature:
A) 37 C
B) 37.0 C
C) 98.6 F
The answer is "A", which is to say, "37 C plus or minus one degree C depending on the individual". "B" implies a range of 1/10 degree C, and "C" implies a range of 1/10 degree F. The "common knowledge" factor of 98.6 F is really a conversion error. Individual persons have a much narrower range than that; I take my temperature every morning as part of a ritual to bring my reluctant consciousness on line, and know that I am 97.8 F, plus or minus 1/10 degree F. But that's ME. I have never seen a statistical breakdown of human body temperature; I suspect that the curve is skewed low, and that I am in the vicinity or minus 2 sigma. But the basic fact remains...
My relationship to musical theater is is inconsistent; I love some things, am indifferent to others, and some leave me completely cold. On the other hand, musical theater shout outs in other forums make me giggle uncontrollably. Case in point: We are grinding through "The Magicians", and in the episode called, "Lesser Evils", they do a large part of a major production number from, "Les Mis", "Les Mis" is well down the "leaves me cold" part of the scale, but the sequence still had me grinning like an idiot.
Forty-two years ago today, I walked up to the edge of the abyss, looked into the face of Oblivion, and then turned around and went home. Of course, once you have been down that path, you always know where it is, and part of you just STAYS there.
I believed whole-heartedly in the possibility of righteous suicide then, and I still do. I didn't have grounds for righteous suicide then, and I still don't. (Which is to say that those of you who were so inclined have no more reason to worry about my sanity than you ever do.)
I didn't make a note of the date at the time, but in hindsight the choice to continue was the first adult decision I ever made. I recovered the date a few years ago, because I knew it was a Wednesday in February of 1976, and that the weather was GORGEOUS; in the internet age, that is enough.
I still haven't solved the fundamental problem that brought me to the edge 42 years ago, and time is getting short. Despair is easy; I will solve this, or I won't. It is better to face the dragon than to run away.
The fundamental question, then and now, is, "How do I arrange my life so that it is actually worth the effort of living?" I have never found a stable long term answer to that one (though there have certainly been some very good times along the way), and at the moment I am in dire need of that answer.
I'm currently consuming an audio book called, "Harrison Squared," which is pretty much Lovecraft's "Shadow Over Insmouth" retold as a YA adventure story. Our Hero has irritated the English teacher, who declares a vocabulary pop quiz. There are a few lines of description, and then, "Number four, squamous. Repeating, squamous. Number five, rugose. Repeating, rugose."
I laughed out loud.
There are those who would argue that every single scene needs to advance the plot, but there is something to be said for working in a joke that makes the reader just plain glad to be there. (For the uninitiated, those two words, in something Lovecraft related, are kind of like an Adam West cameo in a Batman movie.)