Be Good To Yourself

I’m one of those people who doesn’t believe in affirmations. If I tell myself “”You’re good, you’re wonderful, your talent is amazing!” the voice at the back of my head just gets sarcastic. And frankly, it gets sarcastic enough to undo any even vague acquiescence I might be giving to that stuff. Plus my sarcasm…. I’m really good at it. So I emerge beaten.

In the same way, I don’t believe in pampering yourself. Look, I know myself. I’m made of laziness and loving not to do much. Yeah, I say if I win the lottery I’d probably write more, but I’d have to discipline myself to do so. Because otherwise I could easily while my life away going down rabbit holes on the internet. And don’t pretend you don’t know what I’m talking about. I’ve recognized the disease in a few of you. Something is mentioned and even if you don’t have any interest in it, suddenly you have to know EVERYTHING about it. You look up what seems like two minutes later, and 400 years have gone by, give or take a week. This is actually how Deep Pink came about. From simultaneous deep dives into apparitions (some of which smell a little of the diabolus and to be fair aren’t certified) and Hard Rock bands history. Okay, I lost less than 400 years. Only about three months, but seriously, I could have done so many other things with that time. Including written other books that have been waiting longer.

Anyway, the point is if I say “I’m going to pamper myself” I don’t even know what that looks like. First thought is a lot of chocolate, but that has its own issues. I mean, that type of pampering, when I used to do it after finishing a writing jag, usually meant a day or two on the sofa sleeping, drinking hot chocolate, or eating ice cream out of a carton, and watching the A & E Pride and Prejudice.

That’s good for like a day, but then I start feeling guilty, mid of the second day. And by the third I’m too guilty to enjoy it.

Just letting myself do whatever no judgement has the same issue. I’ve slipped into that a few times this year, more out of of “I can’t even” than out of “I’m going to let myself do this.” It’s not fun. After two weeks you start feeling you’re completely useless, and why are you bothering getting out of bed in the morning.

So, we’ve established I have no clue how to be good to myself, right? And I suspect I’m not alone. In fact, according to older son, I only ever accomplish stuff by being the most complete (compleate, really) *sshole to myself. He’s not wrong.

But listen to me anyway, if nothing else because I’m a past expert at doing this all wrong: Be good to yourself.

We’re all hanging on by our fingernails, barely surviving. No, really. Well, okay, I am. 2020 has been a scouring year. I feel we’ll emerge from it stronger and more determined…. if it doesn’t kill us first. The jury is out on the “if,” but hey if it kills us our problems at least in this reality are over. And all I accomplish by telling myself “I’m not worried” is that I worry at a subconscious level, and then don’t sleep. We’ve seen our country turned upside down by fiat of a bunch of dictators. We’ve seen petty criminals and the children of the rich riot and burn down our cities. We’re not allowed to engage in commerce unless we muzzle. And we’re told things that are patently not so — this virus is the most dangerous evah! The country is tired of capitalism! We’re the most racist nation evah! — even while our eyes and reason tell us something different.

And some of us — okay me — have lost all our fun stuff. I haven’t been out to the botanic gardens or the zoo since March. Dining at Pete’s is okay, if you feel like having food in the apocalypse, with most of the diner empty and everyone looking strained. Oh, and nothing can be spontaneous. One of the joys of both of us working from home most of the time has been “oh, hey, I’m not getting anything done” Headache/whatever. “How about we go for a quick walk and then hit up the lamb’s special at Pete’s/have the charcuterie platter at the German place/go to x lecture at the museum?” And we can do stuff at the drop of a hat. It might be we have to work two hours late, but we can go and do it then. Only not now. Most of those things are not happening/curtailed/I’m not sure they’d let me in with “just” face shield.

And most of us — even my husband, which is weird — have lost our “time”. I don’t have a very accurate time-sense. Oh, I’m pretty good about “what time is it” but not “What day of the week/month is it.” It used to be anchored by our day off — Saturday — I could kind of figure out how many days it had been since we’d taken an afternoon off. Most of the time. But that is… gone.

Other people had other things they did. Gaming night. Saturday breakfast with friends. The day they meet Bob for lunch and to catch up (Bob gets around.) BUT all that is gone. So most people are disoriented and have no idea what day it is, or sometimes what month it is. (March. It’s the billionth day of March 2020. I swear.)

And because everyone is frayed and stressed and on our last nerve, we are getting other hits. A lot of other hits. Stress increases illness, and at any rate some of us are on the run from our doctors, who make us wear masks though they know damn well we have breathing issues. People aren’t going in for routine checkups, and everyone assumes it’s fear of the ‘rona, but I think that’s stupid. It’s like college students not wanting to have classes in person it’s assumed to be fear of the ‘rona, and that’s stupid too. Sure, some of them — those who mainline XINN on the daily — might be scared. But given the ratings of those stations, I doubt that’s a majority. It’s just that most people don’t enjoy going out in public during the pretend apocalypse, or LARPing the end of civilization. Everyone in masks, and having to stay out of shouting distance of each other (which btw in Europe is only 3 feet, or as we call it in the states “normal”) and everyone acting like we’re all going to die? It’s depressing and stressful, and none of us — even those who CAN wear masks without huffing like Thomas the tank engine after five minutes — wants to do that.

So, stress and lack of medical care, we’re all losing friends to death, or finding out they have cancer. And all our personal relationships are stressed as heck. Even our impersonal relationships. I’m still not sure — and kind of gobsmacked — at the commenter who took offense/though I was casting him out yesterday. What the hell, even? Normally, at least I have a vague sense of a suspicion of a glimmer of what I might have said, but not that time.

And if it were just commenters on the internet, I’d just take a vacation from it. But all human contact is strained, (and rare.) Husband and I are making a point of being extra nice to each other because we realized we were each overreacting to everything, for instance. And in the store I feel anger and fear radiating from people. And what’s worse, as Herb pointed out in yesterdays post, I’m not even sure what they’re angry about/scared of.

Me? I wake up screaming at the thought that our republic has barely two months to live, if things are done as they always have been and the frauding is worse than ever.

And I don’t know what to do. I’ve been doing (rare) writing jags, reading the world’s stupidest cozy mystery series (No, let’s see…. The main character has the same name as the author; in the inevitable love triangle she chooses the insane-sounding beta male (kind of like Dyce deciding she’s in love with Ben, but only if Ben were WAY more effeminate and weird); the police are complete bumbling fools. Not “the character is so weird that she/he sees what the police doesn’t” but complete bumbling fools.) I’ve been reading them one after the other because they require no mental effort. I’ve been doing covers for books that haven’t reverted and might never revert and obsessing on them, like it mattered (Oh, I do have plans to engage a lawyer and/or burn it all down (which would be entertaining) at the end of September, but at best it’s going to be a bitter battle. Also, I figured out Luce’s clothes were too tight/weird so I changed them this morning, and will post at end.) And I’ve been cleaning/refinishing/fixing because I’ve found that being exhausted means I sleep for at least a couple of hours.

None of this is healthy. None of this makes me feel better.

We’re going sort of on vacation (it’s complicated) tomorrow for a week (which means posting here will be weird, meh, like you’re not used to that these last few months) and hope to get my head in order as far as writing/getting back to writing. Well, at least I can’t RENDER on the laptop.

And then I’m trying to figure my way back to some sort of sanity. Because if it all goes to hell and gets very bad this winter (which I fear will happen no matter who wins) I need a routine in place, so that I can survive it mentally, emotionally and physically. And hopefully be around for the rebuild. (If they don’t catch me first.)

I think part of it is establishing a routine and sticking to it. Not that I know for sure, because I suck at both those things: routine and “establishing.” But it might be time to make an unwonted effort.

But I hear routines have a calming effect. And you feel like you’re safe, because you’re doing things you’re supposed to be doing at a time you’re supposing to be doing it.

And I’m going to try to make part of that routine being good to myself. No, not that way. Not endless deep dives into internet useless trivia. Not eating ice cream from the carton (well, maybe once a week, but probably not from the carton.)

Because being away for a week — I’ve found in the past — is enough to shatter my “habits” particularly the dysfunctional ones (I’ve fallen into this before, and gone away to a hotel for a week to “reset”) when I come back, I’m going to try really hard to establish a routine where I walk or do something vaguely like exercise every morning (it used to be a thing pre-march) then work, then take an hour and make something nice for lunch (this has become a thing, but it has been erratic) and then I work again till five or so, and then I’ll have something diffferent and fun each day of the week. Yes, rendering (though some of that is work. I owe a few of you covers. But that is not necessarily for “fun time” unless… well, some of it is) and crocheting and, once the sewing room is done, some sewing or drawing (same room.) And I’m going to try to put in time to just sit on the sofa with Dan and read. And I’m going to schedule in the occasional low-carb hot chocolate or dessert. Because.
And I’ll try to write blogs at night for the next day. And do more articles for PJ, because some stuff still needs to be said.

And then I’m going to hope it works. I’m going to try really hard to be good to myself. Even if in my case that means doing it on the schedule and forcing myself to do what’s good for me and being good to myself on the clock.

I am, of course, also open to suggestions, because, you know, I’m kind of new at this.

But I suspect most of you are better at this than I, and I want to ask: What are you going to accomplish by worrying obsessively, or getting in fights on the internet? Will it change a yota of what’s to come? If not, then it’s probably best to be good to yourself, and get yourself in good shape, so you can survive what promises to be the most difficult winter of our lifetimes.

Be good to yourself while you can. The time for sacrifice is coming soon.

And below is my latest iteration of my time-waster.

UPDATE Well, one thing can be said…. you guys are making me learn Daz. I should probably scrap the figure and try again. Came CLOSE to it, and lost the positioning in the process. I think this physic is more….believable? Realistic? Though it actually looks worse/bizarre naked, but works better with clothes. I think there’s something toggled on this figure that I can’t see/find and might be from an installation issue. As in most body mods I tried to make it more believable made it even weirder. (Sigh.)
Anyway, this probably looks better…. maybe?

227 thoughts on “Be Good To Yourself

  1. Get rest and get sane.

    No reason for you to join me in insanity. [Very Very Crazy Grin]

                  1. My last extended trip was 5000 miles in 10 days. Visited favorite (and non-favorite) relatives, but the thought of driving the necessary miles each day is just too much. We’ll have to do a Costco trip in December, and that’s 210 miles. I’ll be in the area for a few days next April; much easier on the butt to get some rest after the 105 mile drive.

                    Damn, I’m getting old. Beats the alternative, though.

            1. As I learned in Auditing 312, it is an interval of a week or more when you are required to be away from your workstation so that management can rifle your files looking for anything incriminating. It is also an opportunity for work to pile up so that when you return to work you are a week behind.

              1. Most banks require two consecutive weeks. It is, actually, a most effective fraud detection device. The list of big trading frauds where this was ignored is long. As you might expect, since it actually works they’re changing it from two weeks to one week.

  2. Routines and try not to beat yourself up too much (I know, I know) And yes, get some rest. All easier said than done. I’m experimenting with meditation. I did a bit last summer. But now husband is home all day and I’m not comfortable meditating with somebody else in the house (I have no idea why, but I am. It’s not as if he’d interrupt me or anything…just…I dunno). But, uncomfortableness aside, I think I’m going to try to get back into the habit. I did notice an improvement in my writing time and my overall attitude.

    1. I can’t meditate. First I think of blue monkeys. THEN they start dancing.
      And after a while people like those shady characters I rendered look in on me and go “If you’re not writing….”

      1. The only way I can successfully meditate is by saying the rosary. No, I don’t meditate on the 5 (fill-in-the-blank) mysteries, but having the rote prayers going through my head and my fingers moving on the beads allows me to actually let the Big Guy in to push me in the right direction.

        1. Yeah. Praying helps me.
          But — this sounds weird — it’s harder since Greebo died. You see, he used to sit with me really close, not moving, purring, so it was me and him and Himself. And it worked. Now it’s harder.

      2. Yeah, the whole advice of “empty your mind…” My mind is never empty, and if it looks like it’s getting close, I have about half a dozen imaginary people who will start bringing their baggage in.

            1. Shhhh. I’m fending off Nat. He wants me to do the book 15 years after AFGM…. I’m not ready for that. It’s about disturbances amid USAians.
              BTW until I did the render I didn’t appreciate how nuts Nat is….considering how many times he threatened Luce….

        1. Nothing against meditation, per se, but contemplation means you don’t have to empty your mind at all. Heh heh heh.

          There’s nothing wrong with action prayer, mental prayer, visual imagination prayer, lectio divina, etc. Lots of different ways to pray, or just spend time being quiet.

      3. I meditate by emptying my mind of all but the target, the sights on the gun, the wind, the sun, and front sight press *bang* ride the recoil, reset, front sight, press…

        Not unlike flying the airplane and trying to make the perfect landing. That, too, takes all my concentration and quiets the mind.

        Lovely stuff. Going to go do that again this weekend.

        Also, when you’re under the bar, doing a heavy squat? There is no room for other thoughts, only concentrating on perfect form. I do that 3 times a week, and it helps burn off the cortisol and adrenaline, and leaves those of us who are lifting feeling a lot calmer and more relaxed.

        I do recommend hunting, fishing, flying, shooting, and lifting. Leaves people a lot saner than too much television, twitter, or facebook ever will.

        1. Recoil Therapy cures many ills.

          Especially if there’s a giggle switch involved.

          I seriously need to get back to the range….

            1. “We don’t one close enough.”
              Maybe or maybe not doing something about that with a reach out maybe or maybe not through Larry Correia. But here’s an affirmation from Michael Bane at his Secret Hidden Bunker: Would love to meet her! I have tremendous respect for her writing and her vision.

          1. I KNOW where this leads. I’ve lived this movie. I can feel it at the back of my brain. Like BGE I’m going “You guys don’t know what you’re calling up.”

            1. I think that some of them think they do, unfortunately on both sides. Once the shooting starts it’s game over, What we had is gone and I don’t see the goodwill to rebuild it.

              The American Civil War is very unusual in how it ended, which is probably why they are so opposed to the men who made the peace. The men of Culloden, or the Boyne, or Vinegar Hill, or any other civil war didn’t move back together and rebuild the country. It was fire and sword. Rape, pillage, burning, hanging, and exile. Best case, it took generations for any kind of settlement more often bitterness that has never healed.

              Stupid, mindless, destructive, savage, narcissistic children.

              1. Oh, just ask them what they think of The South, rednecks, or hillbillies, and you’ll see that they still hate that peace and reconciliation, and would be cheerfully happy to keep inflicting and inflaming wounds that generations have been trying to heal.

                1. Oh, hey, this week I learned something nice about Cromwell. EEEEEEK!

                  Cromwell decided that it was annoying that people were exporting so many Irish wolfhounds, without keeping up breeding stock, and without first getting control of the wolves and other dangerous critters, that he decided they were going to have to ban the export of Irish wolfhounds (or “wolfdogs,” back then). And if people did try to smuggle out wolfhounds, the local county would confiscate them to hunt dangerous critters with, and to breed them themselves.

                  So freaking Cromwell, who killed so many Irish that they started having a wolf problem again, also helped save Irish wolfhounds until today. And had some very nice things to say about them.

                  People, man.

                  Of course, they also have letters from some spoiled beauty who was trying to get her Cromwell family boyfriend/suitor to smuggle her multiple male Irish wolfhounds, because the female Irish wolfhounds she’d already gotten were not big enough. Finally she got some other boyfriend to smuggle them out to her. I mean, excellent taste in doggos, but sheesh.

            2. ‘You guys don’t know what you’re calling up.’

              Is it just me or does that sound like a Dresden Files prompt?

              1. sigh

                I saw a discussion of the sorcerer’s apprentice recently, and it reminded me of a variant on that tale: one where the apprentice is students at Harvard, the spell is summoning a devil, and the sorcerer is the Harvard president. Back of course in the days when it went without saying that the president is an ordained minister. Some parts of it are plausible today. . . .

              2. Well, HP Lovecraft said it first……

                “I say to you againe, doe not call up Any that you cannot put downe; by the Which I mean, Any that can in Turne call up somewhat against you, whereby your Powerfullest Devices may not be of use. Ask of the Lesser, lest the Greater shall not wish to answer, and shall commande more than you.”

                The Case of Charles Dexter Ward

          1. I need to get a suite of suppressors, so and time in both our schedules, and lovely weather days, so you and I can go hang out on the range and chat away as we put holes in paper and ring the steel. (Have you seen BRCC’s Song of Steel for the 4th of July? That’s a really nifty challenge, and I’m quite tempted to get a set of tuned plates to see if we could do that!)

            This is slightly more likely to happen than pigs flying… if only because now I’m doomed to try to drive to the far side of Fort Worth for the nearest glider lessons.

            1. A good first suppressor given the price and delivery on the ATF stamp is something like the Griffin Optimus. It costs more than many given specific purpose suppressors but with mix and match non-restricted parts in hand it covers more possible uses with one paid for stamp no waiting. “Universal suppressors, such as the Griffin Optimus® 9 and Bushwhacker® 46, are capable of use on tilt barrel semi-automatic pistols as well as sub guns, fixed barrel firearms, and rifles covering nearly all popular commercial cartridges and firearm combinations.” The Optimus runs a little smaller OD for handgun suppressor sights but with add-on extensions on the length runs 9×19 with a kicker, extended good for .308/7.62×51, second extension good for .300 Win Mag.

            2. I heard the 4th of July BRCC one, and thought there was at least one other. Any pointers to those?

              I’m finishing the overbuilt garden shed (good for a 7.5 earthquake, most likely), but as Murphy and tradition has it, come time to roof, it’s 95 degree weather with no shade. I’ve done that twice before and it’s not going to happen until it cools off a little.

                1. And for those who haven’t seen the USAian song of steel… may your hearts be merry and light! (and set off all the tannerite!)

        2. This is the seed of truth underneath the pop-zen “don’t care about anything”.

          Your job is to get the bullet-hole in a certain place. How much thought this requires depends on skill level.

          If you are thinking about how awesome it would be to drill out the center of the target you aren’t thinking about the problem.

          If you are thinking about yesterday’s argument with your spouse you aren’t thinking about the problem.

          If you are thinking about your plans for next year, You. Aren’t. Thinking. About. The. Problem.

          The only things that exist are the sights, the position of your body, and the target.

          And this is one of the functions of a good introducer: coaxing the new shooter into this mindstate, and then when they get the first shot off and break concentration because THAT WAS AWESOME, stopping them from turning around with a gun in their hand. Because they are no longer thinking about the problem. how could they? They’ve probably never had this sort of meditative training in their entire life.

          1. Riding a fractious horse in a potentially dangerous situation. I was one hundred percent focused on staying physically relaxed and yet completely aware of my surroundings so I could anticipate if I saw or sensed something that would send the Hell-Gelding off the deep end. I had no brain left for anything else – just monitoring my body and my surroundings.

      4. You think blue monkeys are bad? Check out what’s been dancing through MY head the last 24 hours:

        Found that gem via Jonathan Blow’s twitter feed yesterday. Eerie, yet strangely hypnotic.

      5. I can’t either. But karate/yoga/taichi are good substitutes, where you mostly focus on where your arms and legs went. (I prefer karate because it lets me imagine mayhem)

        1. A heavy bag and heavy metal ain’t a bad thing for stress relief. Speedbag in between. Like my old Tai Chi master said, meditation in motion.

        2. Oh, I’m so glad to see you!
          We were explicitly ordered not to drive cross country, so we’re not. Meetings taking place in zoom. I don’t mind that. We’ll still be “vacationing” of sorts away from home, just not that far.
          But I meant to check on you and make sure you’re okay.

      6. It is an observation that I have heard attributed to St. John of the Cross — when you are meditating, your will is doing nothing to control your imagination and your intellect (because it’s doing something else), so they just run wild.

  3. The losing track of what day of the week it is has been hitting me. It probably started back in April (I started work from home in March,) and it’s only gotten worse.

    I’ve had mornings where I wake up before the alarm would go off, start thinking about what I need to do work-wise for the day, then realize it’s Saturday or Sunday. And at that point, I’m awake enough I probably can’t get back to sleep…

    I think it’s the unchanging-ness of it all. My work commute no longer involves idiots on the road, no coworkers to chat with, so every day is the same as the last…

    1. I started working full-time from home six years ago, and all that unanchored stuff hit me about five months along, after the novelty wore off.

      Forcing a weekday routine and a weekend routine that is different helped. Always going through a getting-ready-to-go-to-work routine also helped (i.e. a strict no-pajamas-work rule), and forcing breaks and quitting time.

      It’s been entertaining reading about all the exact same stuff getting worked through by basically everyone due to the lockdowns.

      The one thing I do not miss at all is the daily ever-worsening commute. Plus my backyard is way nicer to look at than my cube walls, and I can go walk around in it if the wildfire smoke is not too bad.

      1. In many ways, working from home has been great for me since it eliminates the 3-4 hours a day I spent with my closest friends on N.J. Transit and the MTA. What has been bad is my inability to concentrate on anything that is not essential. All I’ve done is putter and ponder.

        Some of this is anger and stress. I had a doctors’ appointment this morning and my initial blood pressure was very high, which I attribute to having to watch the news in the waiting room. — why are they wearing masks. — the wife has forbidden me to watch the news. The blood pressure was fine at the end of the appointment when my irritation had died down. Someone should piss on them to put the fire in their hair out.

        Some of it is fear. They’re playing with fire they damned fools. I lived in a village in Antrim, not far from Belfast, when I was a boy so I’ve seen it. The thing about a civil war is you don’t choose what side you’re on and there aren’t any neutrals. The more extreme always come to the fore until they’re dead. If you’re lucky they are few and die early, if not, well, Belfast still has 30 foot walls through the middle of neighborhoods and the Middle East has been a mess these thousand years. Trump seems to have brokered something between Kosovo and Serbia so maybe there’s some hope, but by and large they go on and on.

        The last is sadness. There was a picture of the Antifa skell that killed that guy in Portland, he was talking to two girls. All three were eating junk food, One girl was all in black and the other was just a little plump girl in shorts and chucks. — carrying an aluminum baseball bat. Stupid damn girl, she should be home with her mother. yes, she could hurt someone, if she caught them by surprise or someone else was holding them. More likely is they’d take it away from her and kill her with it. I doubt if she ever got a smack in her life, never mind the blow of an angry, strong man. Two idiot girls playing revolutionary.

        I suspect they hate daddy and they have reason to since one of the basic duties of a father is to make sure his daughters understand that it’s not a role playing game and he failed at that. One blow from a man, and it doesn’t have to be a very strong man, could kill her.

        Still, take not counsel of your fears. In the end, we win and they lose.

        1. At least the conclusion of the hunt for 100% Antifa man had a happy ending. Antifa tears of rage were sweet, too.

          Cue the 1970’s poster. Two vultures looking around. “Patience, my ass! I want to kill something!”

  4. Moving to Kansas has actually been beneficial for us, once we recovered from the stress of being on the road for more than a week during Covid. Given the lower cost of rent, we’re in a larger apartment and have more money to spare. So one thing we’ve been doing is getting art out of storage, framing it, and putting it up on our walls. We just put up a beautifully simple line drawing of a pegasus in our dining room. Having a new piece of art go up every couple of weeks has been rewarding.

    When I was in my teens I read Bernard Shaw’s maxim, “You had better take care to get what you like or you shall have to like what you get.”

  5. I hope you don’t mind if I say that the face of the slighter man is *wonderful* and has (to my perception) gone completely past the uncanny valley!

    1. Yes! Thanks for raising that. Prior renditions had me taking him as android, with the skin on his face looking plastic.

  6. It’s been hard for me to get a lot of work done, and I find myself letting non-routine bills just pile up (bad, very bad). I want a, “I survived 2020,” T-shirt to go with my, “I survived the 60’s” T-shirt if I get that far. Is it 2021 yet?

      1. It’s his right eye – to me it looks like Luce is focusing on something just left from the parallax of his eyes taken together. If I block off his right eye, his left is looking the same place as the gun is pointing, but if I block off his left eye he’s looking just slightly to his left, so together it looks like he’s looking at a point kinda close just to his left of the camera.

        It might also be the JJ Abrams highlight reflection on that eye, but I’m wondering if the modeling stuff has a setting making it go slightly off because he’s not focused at infinity right behind the camera position.

        Maybe make him do a bit of Clint Eastwood squint?

  7. I’ve never thought affirmations made much sense. Of course, wallabies are so obviously wonderful that affirming that wonderfulness is just silly. Nor am I fan of pampering oneself, as it leads to bad habits (like not wearing a mask while getting one’s hair done) although the occasional small indulgence is only one’s due.

      1. There are no ‘white facts’ or ‘white logic’ — they are expressions of philosophical principles and physical laws embedded in the very structure of reality itself, which the universe enforces with absolute impartiality. Failure or refusal to understand those principles is not consistent with survival. You will do something stupid, like set yourself on fire and die.
        Natural selection — making the world a better place, one idiot at a time.

  8. The faces look really attractive, as in want to look at the face, not weirded by being a cgi face. The first Luce vs the second, the second I can’t figure out if he’s bursting out of his clothes, or there’s a skin tone underlayer.

  9. But what if worrying while obsessing over internet fights is good for me?

    (It isn’t, but I think y’all have figured out by now how tedious I can be.)

    1. The day I consider you NORMAL, in any but the geometer’s sense, at *least* one of us will be in dire need of therapy.

      That’s the GOOD choice.

      The bad choice?

      Oh, how the world will be [FileSystemChecK]ed.

  10. Oh, one bit of good news the den of the Bookloving Dragon. I’ve got my car back. Now I have to build up my money hoard for car repairs and/or a new-to-me car.

    Oh, why does a dragon need a car?

    The US Air Force gets annoyed when it scrabbles for a UFO report only to find an unscheduled/unreported dragon flight. 😀

      1. Getting your car fixed is very important. Failing to do that can lead to it roaming the neighborhood at night, pestering other cars, fighting for primacy, and marking driveway pavement.

          1. What?! You don’t want his neighborhood overrun with little baby cars, do you? My kid brother collected matchbox cars and while they’re cute but can hardly fend for themselves.

        1. I shan’t argue with dragons (bad for one’s health) but I lean more to the unicorn version. Yeah, yeah, ungulate thing. There’s no “unless you can be a minotaur” as far as I know. I am *NOT* sore about that. If nothing else, at least we’re not on boxes of sickeningly sweet cereals and pudding cups.

          1. … at least we’re not on boxes of sickeningly sweet cereals and pudding cups.

            Perhaps – but I think I saw one of your relatives on a package of beef jerky the other day, and another of those relatives has long made a living flogging dead horses.

        2. Ah “vacation”.

          Where I can go to a different part of the country and NOT BE ALLOWED TO DO ANYTHING?


          Not any of your fault.

      1. Without me sending Air-Traffic Control my flight info, I was unidentified as far as Air-Traffic Control and the Air-Force was concerned.

        I’m not bothered by the above as I’m encountered things in the upper atmosphere that neither dragons or humans wants around any place where humans and/or dragons live. 😉

  11. “Be Good To Yourself”

    Yeeaaaah, but who is going to treat me according to what I know of myself if I don’t do it? You want something done you gotta do it yourself.

    I should go see if I can find a Peterson lecture that I haven’t already seen.

  12. And most of us — even my husband, which is weird — have lost our “time”.

    I’ve noticed that too.
    In fact, I’ve taken to calling 2020 “The Year The Calendar Quit Working”. Perhaps in part because “fifteen days to flatten the curve” is approaching half a year. Who knows.

    People have been losing track of what day it is, or even what month it is.
    The first date I was given for admission to City of Hope was September 7. When I pointed out that was a holiday and asked if they were sure they were admitting patients on Labor day, I was given a new date.
    And this is not the first holiday that’s snuck up on people. At work, I had people scheduling meetings on Memorial Day.
    Go figure.

    Maybe in the future, I will be recorded as having been born in the year 60 BC (Before Coronapocalypse).

      1. Errr, about that:

        Numbers show lockdowns didn’t help contain COVID-19 — opening up didn’t boost it
        By Donald Luskin
        tates has now carried out two large-scale experiments in public health — first, in March and April, the lockdown of the economy to arrest the spread of the virus, and second, since mid-April, the reopening of the economy. The results are in. Counterintuitive though it may be, statistical analysis shows that locking down the economy didn’t contain the disease’s spread, and reopening it didn’t unleash a second wave of infections.

        Given the high economic costs and well-documented long-term health consequences beyond COVID-19, imposing lockdowns appears to have been a large policy error. At first, when little was known, officials acted in ways they thought prudent. But now evidence proves that lockdowns were an expensive treatment with serious side effects and no benefit to society.

        TrendMacro, my analytics firm, tallied the cumulative number of reported COVID-19 cases in each state and the District of Columbia as a percentage of population, based on data from state and local health departments aggregated by the Covid Tracking Project. We then compared that with the timing and intensity of the lockdown in each jurisdiction. That is measured not by the mandates put in place by government officials, but rather by observing what people in each jurisdiction actually did, along with their baseline behavior before the lockdowns. This is captured in highly detailed anonymized cellphone tracking data provided by Google and others and tabulated by the University of Maryland’s Transportation Institute into a “Social Distancing Index.”

        Measuring from the start of the year to each state’s point of maximum lockdown, which range from April 5 to April 18, it turns out that lockdowns correlated with a greater spread of the virus. States with longer, stricter lockdowns also had larger outbreaks. The five places with the harshest lockdowns — DC, New York, Michigan, New Jersey and Massachusetts — had the heaviest caseloads.


        The lesson isn’t that lockdowns made the spread worse — though raw evidence may suggest that — but that lockdowns probably didn’t help, and opening up didn’t hurt. It defies common sense. In theory, quarantine ought to control the spread of an infectious disease. Evidently not in practice, though we are aware of no researcher who understands why not.

        We aren’t the only researchers to have discovered this statistical relationship. We first published a version of these findings in April. In July, a publication of The Lancet published research that found similar results looking across countries rather than US states. “A longer time prior to implementation of any lockdown was associated with a lower number of detected cases,” the study concludes. Those findings have now been enhanced by sophisticated measures of actual social distancing and data from the reopening phase.

        There are experimental controls that all this research lacks. There are no observable instances in which there were either total lockdowns or no lockdowns at all. But there is no escaping the evidence that, at minimum, heavy lockdowns were no more effective than light ones, and that opening up a lot was no more harmful than opening up a little. So where is the science that would justify the heavy lockdowns many officials are still demanding?

        With the evidence we now possess, even the most risk-averse health officials should hesitate before demanding the next lockdown and causing the next recession.

        Donald Luskin is chief investment officer of TrendMacro. This column was adapted from The Wall Street Journal.

        1. ‘The Science!’ gives them an excuse — paper-thin though it may be — for imposing arbitrary rules on the people in their power. It gives them a stick to beat Trump with.

  13. It’s probably just me, Sarah, but the “Gun Safety” fingers off the triggers when they’re (Obviously in my opinion) pointing at something they feel they need to shoot, is a bit off putting. Again, probably just me.

    Sitting up here on top of the world, these “Crazy Years” don’t restrict or define my life to the same extent as happening to you guys down there, but I still find myself cussing far more and laughing much less. Your, week away, Sarah, I think is a great idea, I just found even a few hours break from the new norm makes a big difference.

    After a trip to town yesterday (Used to be if I could take care of any business in town & be out of there in less than 3 hours I was happy. Yesterday I got things done and was out of Dodge in less than two but still cussing and cranky when I got to my property line.) an owl swooped and paced my Jeep after I got off the pavement, making life a bit cheerier.
    Later my son came by with a Black Hawk pilot buddy, we had a few beers, did a bit of music making, guitar, drum, harmonicas, even a little singing.

    So! My point, that I’m trying to make, is even little things, even a few hours of the real normal, away from the nuts, real or digital, can, especially now, reaffirm what’s really real. I suspect I’ve at least a week of more laughing and less frowning before needing another attitude adjustment.

    Enjoy your week away, but always have a plan ‘D’.

    1. They are both speed enhanced, so they can go from zero to several shots in seconds.
      Also, I think it’s more of a “Okay, let’s not do anything stupid” stand.

          1. Iirc from my CCW class average from holstered to three rounds in the target was 1.4 seconds.

        1. So the alternative is they should both be at low ready with booger hooks off the bang switch? That would be not as striking a cover from the given pov, then.

          From a pure tactics point of view, someone should be covering that door on their six.

          But from a design perspective, I like it.

  14. When you said it’s still March 2020, I was reminded of Narnia “Always winter and never Christmas.”

    1. Given that let us hope that Aslan is on the move and that Father Christmas is on the way. I think I have a perfect job for Ms. Pelosi (or perhaps Ms. Whitmer?).

  15. By the way in case you missed it: the Portland Executioner was killed by Federal Marshals last night.

    No matter how dark it may look there is always some good news. Be not afraid.

    1. Good riddance to bad rubbish.

      They’ll make up songs about him though. I might do one to the Horst Wessel Lied.

        1. Well they did Oppose the Reaktion if not the Rotfront so today’s rotfront shouldn’t really object to their cousin’s song. les extremites se touchent and all that

  16. I’m trying to figure out how to get more work done, because I’ll need the money and I want to get something done that I can really show other people. It’s hard when you’re watching people go bug-fuck nuts, watching the news demonstrate their massive blue balls and huge rage-boner, and dealing with the “what are we going to do next” thing in my life.

    Yes, things are crappy all around. I know that. Please stop hitting me with your tiny-yet-rock-hard cock.
    Yes, you don’t like Trump. But, Papa Smurf has seen your balls and he wants you to let his people go.
    Yes, there are issues with the Crow Flu and casualties from it. Please stop looking so gleeful when you say that, because you think you can tie that into Orange Man Bad.
    Yes, you think that the Bidenstein Monster and Harris will win. The question is, where in the queue will you be when they decide they don’t need you anymore?

    I’m working my routines and my programs. I’ve got projects with check marks to get stuff done. I’m looking at college programs (and, geez…business math…), and writing up the whole “what makes me happy/what do I want to do” thing.

    Chin up, keep calm, carry on, and aim for center of mass when you shoot.

      1. I’ve contemplated much the same. After all, I never figured out what I want to be when I grew up, but it appears I’ve accidentally found my way into something that I’m rather comfortable with being when I grow up.
        In fact, I appear to have grown up, as well, while I wasn’t out to do that.

        Maybe if we do it together, we’ll find out other things to do and be – or find we are where we want to be, doing what we want to do. Wouldn’t that be a surprise?

        1. Gwor older? Yes. Grow up? I’ll get back to you on that (types she who came around a corner while wearing a full Plague Doctor mask and happened to behold Fr. Martial [headmaster] and Monsignor Imperator [visiting from the head shed as he does the rounds of all the schools in the diocese]. They were . . . amused, in a clerical sort of way.)

      2. *blink*

        I completely forgot about that thing.

        One of the problems with 2020 is that on top of everything else he dropped off the face of the earth, removing one of the more important voices of sanity.

  17. Bob gets around.

    Of Course Bob gets around! Bob’s your uncle – not the funny one but the amusing one, the one who tells marvelous stories, the one you secretly think must be a spy. If Bob didn’t get around he’d be ordinary and if there is anything he isn’t, it is ordinary.

    1. Quote From “Strangely Familiar” by Alma Boykin

      “Eleven?” Lelia squeaked. How on earth could you feed eleven Familiars? Or clean up after them?

      “Yes. All ferrets. Frank, Fiona, Fluffy, Fred, Felicity, Fidelma, Fabian, Farleigh, Fionn, and Furiosa. And Bob.” Mrs. Altman took the pen from behind her ear. “Bob’s strange.”

      Tay snorted. “And the ferrets take turns being Bob.”

      End Quote

  18. I’ll have something diffferent and fun each day of the week.

    Have you considered making a set of political plushy dolls? You could have a Polis, a Biden, a Schumer, a Pelosi, a Harris.

    And the next day you get yourself a set of long pins or maybe slim skewers …

      1. But but but shouldn’t they be wearing masks? For the sake of realism? Or sharing our pain? Problem solved!

    1. Traditionally one uses wax for that purpose :-). And given that voodoo is right out there must be something more fun to make models of?

    2. Making a Polis doll would take a lot of material…and a whole lot of stuffing. Then there’s the Boss Uniform and jackboots.

  19. I think my problem with Luce is not helped by the crop top. He still seems too big, in the wrong ways. His torso doesn’t look muscular so much as it seems oversized, and his butt and thighs similarly look like the character drawing should be larger.

    I don’t have the training to adequately describe what is setting off the “That’s not right.” response, sorry. And i a way it makes no sense, given as my early artistic favorites were Frazetta’s Conan covers, Kirby’s Thor depictions, and Infantino’s Flash & Hawkman.

    1. Yeah Presuming Luce is the one on the right there’s just something odd there. Waist to chest proportion? Jacket would definitely accentuate that. Of course these folks are in a world with pretty high tech body mods and genetically enhanced people exist. Whats amazing is that the tools exist that let our hostess do that at all. I imagine the render didn’t take too long at all. Something like that would have required a SGI ONYX and 50K of software in the middle of my graphics career in the 90’s. I think before that it would have been effectively impossible. Looking back at the hair and cloth renderings we may be more like early 2000’s.

      1. 1) The crop top reference was to the jacket which appeared to end mid-torso. Subsequent iterations seem to have reduced that effect.

        2) I am not in the habit of looking at people and imagining them without their clothing. I understand that some people do enjoy that sort of thing but my imagination rends to conjure … disturbing images which I prefer to not dwell upon.

          1. Mmmmmm … the lower is the corrected? It seems in some ways better. Losing the half-jacket and its heavy thickness seems to reduce the body disproportionality. I like the texturing in both … opening the image in its own tab seems to have “fixed” some of the oddness in the waist-to-thigh portion, although that outfit does seem to make his butt look too big (in fairness, I spend very little time gazing at people’s rumps, thus am a poor judge of that anatomical element.)

            His right arm and hand seem to suffer some foreshortening which affects its apparent proportions, a problem not afflicting Nat because of the shadowing there and the billowing of his half-cape(?).

            Thinking of it in terms of book covers suggests I am over-fretting the matter, problem not uncommon with accountants. In that context the important thing is the initial impression it makes, not its anatomical accuracy, and it is doubtful anybody buying it as a book would dwell nearly so long on it as art.

            Forget I said anything, but make sure you’ve room for the title and author name without obscuring the picture. If you opt to put the title above the picture and author name at the bottom (probably the most common arrangement) I trust you realize where that will place your name vis-a-vis their anatomies. ;-P

  20. I found a bit of absurdity in always taking put downs seriously and mocking affirmations.

    As a first approximation on meditation I suggest trying a blood pressure cuff and dropping your blood pressure and pulse with feedback. Other feedbacks such as alpha wave monitoring work for other people.

    As mentioned above I can be entertained by plinking or practicing with guns using a timer but at need I try precision pistol or rifle and watch/feel my pulse settle. By now that’s a many years’ old conditioned reflex.

    As a serious suggestion that will only add stress I suggest it’s time for you to move downhill. I suggest the Olympic Peninsula unless guns matter to you.

    On guns if you can bring yourself to try it I suggest getting with Michael Bane and working with red dot sights to see if you and your eyes can work with that and also enjoy it.

    But mostly I remind you that low levels of blood oxygen will give many of the symptoms associated with diabetes (e.g. retinal issues) where grossly oversimplifying of course but making the point sugar crowds out essential blood fractions. He’s dead now but I had a friend in the metro Denver area who was put on oxygen and very foolishly tried to avoid using supplemental oxygen by sitting around doing nothing – for fear of ever more depending on the oxygen. His health care providers, Denver VA not a bad place for old men who fit their profile, pretty much went ballistic reminding him that oxygen is a medical necessity and shorting himself accomplished nothing.

  21. I’ve found of you take heavy whipping cream, cut it with four to five parts water, and mix in the Bavarian Cream and the Banana flavors from Cappella Flavors, along with liquid Splenda, makes a very nice carb free milkshake equivalent.

    I’ve sort of found in general, you can take cut heavy cream and use it as a milk replacement, and per calorie, I’m finding it’s actually cheaper too.

  22. I say January, we all get t-shirts. “You can’t scare me; I survived 2020.”

    Yes to the loss of time thing. Complicated in my case by dealing with the death in the family, “okay, what information do we need to hunt down/talk to the lawyer about/wait on legally” next. Also by a roommate whose work schedule is not the same from week to week, which upsets my schedule ’cause Roommate is desperate for social contact and… won’t go out, “there’s too much to do!”

    On top of that my gut has about had it with all the stress and it’s currently a never-ending battle to figure out what can’t I eat without Consequences now. It’s… hard to write when you only got 5 hours sleep, and that in chunks separated by a 5-hour gap.

    2020 officially sucks.

    On the upside, turns out I have a copy of 1177 B.C., the year civilization collapsed, so I have a little more Hittite info on hand than I thought.

    1. Roommate needs to schedule time.

      Look, there are times when doing more hours does not equal getting more done. It’s an old truism that you should leave time every day to pray, but that if you’re really busy, you need to leave more time to pray. And because prayer helps you get input from the Boss, and also helps the Boss help you get your mind right, you really can get more done.

      The same thing is true of social time with other people than the Almighty, for a lot of people. The work doesn’t get done faster if you skip the coffee break and chat, because you get tired and cranky and inefficient. That’s why breaks and lunches exist, not out of the goodness or frivolousness of a boss’ heart.

      So yes, tell your roommate that she needs to schedule herself some breaks with other humans outside the house, because otherwise it is cruelty and oppressive slavery of the Roommate, by Roommate.

      1. Been trying. I’m not good at doing the people thing FTF. Really not good. And.. she just… doesn’t go see people outside of her work. I used to go to the library, when there was no mask craziness involved.

        And I don’t know how to broach the topic without it turning into an argument. I was never taught how to have a polite argument with family. It Wasn’t Allowed.

        1. . I was never taught how to have a polite argument with family. It Wasn’t Allowed.

          Mom’s family just yells and gets it over with. (It’s amazingly relaxing, really.)
          Dad’s family does the Intense Discussion thing and then pretends nothing happened.
          With occasional outliers, and of course the nefarious influence of college type social hacking. -.- Sounds like the social hacking was all your family HAD. That sucks.

              1. It’s the whole complex of tactics and Things that are common on colleges and seem to be inspired by Rules for Radicals. Weaponized bad manners, mostly, or abused disagreement resolution tactics which seem to be used a lot in colleges.

                Social Engineering is (short form) using manners to break through security. Say, “oh, darn, I forgot my badge at home! Son of a– can you wave me through?” or the old “walking up to the secured door with a huge load of boxes” so someone holds it open for you, because you CLEARLY belong there.

                So, social hacking is similar, but trying to reprogram more of the response– the solve-stuff-by-social-manipulation garbage.

                Which seems to be mostly spread at colleges.

                  1. Given the tactics you grew up dealing with?

                    It probably got shuffled under “wow, that’s a lame attempt…” *dodge* and didn’t think twice.

                    1. I suspect so. I do know I’ve had exactly that reaction dealing with a lot of people in the past years – “Wow, that was a lame attempt at manipulation, what were they thinking?” Shrug and move on.

                      I mean, sometimes you can’t even get mad, it’s so inept. More, “there there, go play with the kiddies now….”

                      Much of the college stuff likely also went over my head because it was sexual/dating stuff based.

                      me: Ooo, books! (Completely misses any seduction/shame attempt.)

                    2. I mostly noticed it because of the change in friends/relatives that went to college, and then kinda never got out.
                      The College Libertarian cousin was probably the first time I noticed it, I had even less tolerance for the “I get to yell but I’m going to start talking like you’re an over-reacting maniac if you yell back” thing than his dad, and he only tried the “we really agree, you jsut don’t understand” thing when he thought I was my husband. 😀

          1. Thing is, I can pretty much predict how it will go if I bring it up. “What do you expect me to do while there’s a lockdown? I can’t talk to other people about this anyway, it’s family!” And then there will be slammed doors, and the Cold Shoulder, and Angry, Angry, Angry looks all the time, and it’ll go on for, potentially, weeks. Sigh.

          1. My birth family doesn’t have polite arguments. Well, not if mom is around.
            We scream, throw things, get in each other’s faces.
            Once I forgot that dad’s family is more English in demeanor and did that to HIM. He was ill for a week.

            1. *clears throat* I’m in this statement and I don’t like it… At least I don’t, unlike mi mama, scream at 250 words per minute en espanol? Peter is extremely British South African. So when the above happens, he starts imitating a granite mountain to my cumulonimbus. And then after the storm blows over, we have A Discussion. and then the apologies, and how do we avoid this next time.

              We really do try to have the discussion first, not least because the sheer cultural mismatch on arguing is rather painful for us both.

  23. If I tell myself “”You’re good, you’re wonderful, your talent is amazing!” the voice at the back of my head just gets sarcastic.

    I “look” at me and ask why I am saying that. If it was true, then there should be a specific reason, with examples and solid logic— if it’s not, then I’m lying to me, and why should I trust someone who is lying even if it’s because they’re trying to be nice?

    1. That’s why I take a long, hard, honest look at myself and say: “Eh, I’ve seen worse.”

      Doesn’t leave much room to argue with myself about it.

    2. and why should I trust someone who is lying even if it’s because they’re trying to be nice?

      A lesson that desperately needs to be taught to the airheads that try to be “nice” to children all the time.

      “Let’s tell all sorts of obvious lies to kids constantly!” (not even meaning things like Christmas here, just the everyday crap)

      “Why are all the teenagers such cynical assholes!? No one could have ever seen this coming!”

    3. I think believable phrasing can be important. Well, some people probably do fine with more sweeping affirmations — I’m sure there’s a lot of individual variation. I personally find that “You’re wonderful!” is fine as an expression of love and praise to/from another person, but if it’s an attempt to cheer me up when I’m already getting down on myself, I just end up thinking, “You aren’t accounting for all the things I don’t get right or could have done better.”

      On the other hand, my dad was trying to tell me the other day that — while recognizing the roles of blessing, help, mercy, and chance — it is not reasonable to think like I had nothing to do with any of the good stuff in my life and simultaneously claim all the blame when something happens that I don’t like, regardless of whether I could reasonably have anticipated the consequences or was taking a reasonable level of risk and precaution. Which… I have since realized is basically doing to myself the thing I described from “The Good Place” that you commented on as being a classic example of abuse.

      So… yeah. It is maybe better to focus on a mix of “I am loved” and “It is good/progress to have done X (even if there are another couple of alphabets to go).” (Also, incremental progress on purpose is Hard.)

          1. Works on me because, religiously, I am worthy of love.
            Himself said so, He’d know, He was willing to die quite horrifically for the chance of saving me, so I am worthy of love.

            …which is not the same as being lovable. But I can try.

              1. There may be psychological advantages, but the biggest advantage is has is truth. I believe it not because I’ve found it benefits me to believe it, but because I investigated it and found that it was true. (As best one can investigate an event 2000 years later). Short summary of my conclusions: if these five statements are true, then Jesus really did rise from the dead.

                1. Jesus of Nazareth really existed, and was not a fictional character.
                2. He taught some new-to-Judaism teachings, and a large number of disciples followed him.
                3. The Jewish leaders of his day didn’t like his teachings, and managed to have him killed.
                4. A short time later (a few months or so), his disciples started claiming publicly that he had risen from the dead.
                5. The story of Jesus’ resurrection spread all over the world (despite much opposition from the Jewish authorities), and throughout history (despite much opposition from the Roman authorities and many others), to the point where billions of people now believe it.

                Note that all five of those statements are undisputed except by crackpots (there are some who say, for example, that Jesus was fictional, but there are enough hostile-to-Christianity witnesses who mention him as a real person that it’s pretty safe to conclude that he was a real person).

                Thing is, those facts inescapably lead to the conclusion that Jesus’ tomb was empty, or the Jewish leaders would have been able to exhume his body and say “the disciples are lying. He didn’t rise from the dead; see, here’s his body”. And then Christianity would not have become a faith believed by billions, but a minor cult believed only by the brainwashed. So the body was missing; who stole it? The obvious suspects are the disciples themselves, but they went to often-horrific deaths still sticking to their story. One or two people might die for something they know to be a lie because their pride is too strong, but dozens? Hundreds? No, that doesn’t fit with human nature. So the tomb was empty, and the disciples didn’t steal the body. Who else could have done so? The Jewish leaders? Obviously not, or they would have shown the body later on to discredit the resurrection story. Some random grave robber? That makes even less sense than the resurrection story: someone after riches wouldn’t have picked that tomb as Jesus was not at all rich, and someone after fame/infamy would have produced the body later on because that would be the best kind of fame, to discredit a rapidly-spreading resurrection story. No, the only conclusion that fits with human nature is that nobody stole the body. So if the tomb was empty, but nobody stole the body, then Sherlock Holmes’s principle (“When you have eliminated the impossible,” etc.) leads us to conclude that Jesus really did rise from the dead. And if he rose from the dead, then that puts a whole new perspective on his claim to be God in human flesh.

                1. I believe it not because I’ve found it benefits me to believe it, but because I investigated it and found that it was true. (As best one can investigate an event 2000 years later).

                  I believe it because I believe it; I do not like that kind of sureness without reasons I can lay out carefully, so I’ve tested pretty harshly. I can’t find any fair arguments– standards I would apply elsewhere– that work.

                  /wry I’ve gotten a LOT of folks doing the “ah, here, this will SHOW YOU that it is ALL A LIE”– it’s usually something that St Thomas of A. wrote. Without the responses…..

      1. it is not reasonable to think like I had nothing to do with any of the good stuff in my life and simultaneously claim all the blame when something happens that I don’t like […] being a classic example of abuse

        Come on man! Where is the fun in that? The best way to handle life is to make yourself invulnerable to abusers by abusing yourself first!

        1. … make yourself invulnerable to abusers by abusing yourself first!

          I have been given t’understand that self-abuse is bad for the vision.

      2. “It is good/progress to have done X (even if there are another couple of alphabets to go).”

        I’ve found that this one is very effective in the short term, but decays rapidly if I’m not making regular progress on stuff. *cough* 2020 *cough*

        I have found something less explicable, but harder to deny; “People reliably like you”. Turns out that even the smallest positive detail is useful if it can’t be twisted into a negative.

  24. Mr. BTEG took the two adult daughters and went tent camping a couple of weeks ago. I did the smart thing and stayed home, because a spider in the shower, a frog in the bathroom, and cooking over a fire didn’t sound like anything I wanted to experience. I enjoyed the glorious days of having the house to myself. Mr. BTEG even left me a large bag of chocolates and a gift card to our favorite steakhouse, bless him. I have to admit I was kind of resentful when husband and youngest daughter came back the night before they were supposed to, on account of rain.

    1. You forgot about hanging your packs from trees to keep the bears from getting into them, and watching out for skunks. Finding out your tent is pitched in a little ground depression AFTER it starts raining at 2AM. There’s just so many different kinds of fun to be had! 😛

      1. Come to the desert, and enjoy all that PLUS rattlesnakes, scorpions, black widows in your boots every morning, stink beetles in your underwear, stealth cactus, and flash floods from storms 50 miles away! Excitement in every moment. 😀

  25. Hope you greatly enjoy your “sort of” vacation! And come back refreshed and ready for your new routine. I’ve found that if I FORCE myself to follow something new in my routine for a week or so, it becomes a habit that I follow without thinking. (Unfortunately the same is true for new bad habits also…) (Also, unfortunately, forcing myself is painful, usually involving threatening notes all over the place and timed locks that make giving in to temptation a bit more trouble.)

  26. I’m gonna break out the woowoo for juuuuuust a second and recomend valerian root capsules to anybody who’s having nightmares or difficulty sleeping. Plant supplement, available at most drugstores, makes for better rest and better (frequently more vivid, but much nicer) dreams in a lot of people. Not all, but lots. Personal experience suggests to set aside at least 7 hours for sleeping, take at bedtime, and be DAMN SURE your eyes are closed by 20 minutes after you take it, because if you miss the “sleepy window” it’s hard to nod off thereafter.

    This concludes your woowoo. We now return you to your regularly scheduled snark and analysis.

    1. As always with the caveat that herbs ARE drugs, and you need to review your current med list with a pharmacist or qualified medical herbalist before adding anything to them “natural” or otherwise.

      1. I don’t think I’m taking anything that interferes. I just haven’t been this completely crazy in years, so I forgot. I think the last time I had to take it was after 9/11.

          1. My only serous med is for thyroid. I sometimes take adderal but there’s problems with that right now (long story. I basically don’t want to go in for an appointment.) Other than that I have the world’s longest list of vitamins. And sometimes like now, when my autoimmune is crazy, I take benadryl at night.

          2. BUT I do understand the caution.
            When we visited my FIL, 4(?) years ago, he could barely speak/gather his thoughts.
            Robert asked the nurse in charge for FIL’s meds-list. Then called FIL’s doc. Asked him if he had noticed that two of these had a bad interaction for cognitive function.
            Doc wasn’t happy with smart ass med student, but grudgingly admitted son was right, and FIL improved dramatically as a result.
            It’s easy even for doctors to lose track, when one takes a lot of meds. (Robert said more than three.)

      2. And a second caveat that with pharmaceutical drugs, you know the precise dosage you’re taking. With plants, you don’t know precisely how many milligrams of the active ingredient is in that plant, so you only know the approximate dosage you’re taking. This plant may have produced a higher concentration than that other one, and so on. For some drugs, where the safe & effective dosage range is large, that doesn’t matter too much. For other drugs, where the safe & effective dosage range is quite small, you’re very likely to end up taking either too little so it’s not effective, or too much so it’s not safe, if you take the drug in plant form.

        So while some plant-based remedies are perfectly safe to take because their safe & effective dosage range is quite large (and valerian seems to be one of them; one site said 300-600 mg, another said 400-900 mg, but either way that’s a HUGE range that should be pretty easy to land somewhere in the middle of), do do your research on the plant supplement you’re taking, just like any other drug, and make sure you’ll be able to get the dosage close enough to correct.

    2. They make a tea form, too– “Sleepy Time Extra” from the same folks that make Tension Tamer.

      It seems to reduce how often I wake up in the middle of the night, but feels a little like having tissue paper wrapped around me before I head to bed.

      One of those few herbals that is strong enough to be useful, but weak enough to not be dangerous.

  27. I’ve never been a morning person but one thing I’m going to try to to set an hour aside each morning for myself instead rushing through everything to go to work.

  28. I, for one, really like the last image! I was rolling with the other one as super-human body engineering, but I accept the last one visually more quickly. I’m not an artist, just a bookworm. Value opinion as such 🙂

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