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July 25, 2008

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Andrew Klavan thinks Dubya and Batman are very much alike. There are some similarities, but not the ones Klavan sees.

Mmm. Liver punishment.

Any other Milwaukee Brewers fans in the house? I'm still giddy over the four-game sweep at St. Louis. I especially enjoyed the last game, where Braun hit a 2-run shot of Ryan Franklin in the 9th to win the game for Milwaukee, just moments after the Cardinals announcer had declared Franklin the "Budweiser Great Player of the Game."

Is this the thread where we all get to present a 180-degree version of our true views?

Now, shall I argue for (a) gay marriage is dangerous and should be outlawed (b) abortion is evil and must be stopped (c) American elections are honest and reliable and Bush won fair and square in 2000 and 2004 (d) I am frequently if not always wrong?

;-)

(The weekend started 5 hours ago on my side of the Atlantic. I am baking a pink cake and drinking red wine.)

Any other Milwaukee Brewers fans in the house?

No, and thanks for stealing our Cy Young award winner. >:-(

Jes, are you sure that's not a red cake and pink wine? Better have another glass just to be sure!

Stealing? You got four prospects, including our two top prospects. All for a rental player who wasn't doing you much good this year anyway. Given that you weren't going to be able to keep him anyway, I'd say you got a great deal!

You want better baseball karma? Get rid of that obscenely racist mascot. :)

I think I'm probably an anti-Brewers fan, seeing as how I root for the Cubbies every year. They remind me of my hometown football team, the New Orleans Saints. I fully expect my Cubs will have me excited until September and then fail magnificently.

i think that's "gary HUSSEIN farber"

The only topic on my mind lately, really, is clinical depression.

I write here so much because I'm frantically trying to distract myself from severe, severe, severe, clinical depression, total apathy, anhedonia, and lately too many thoughts of despair that it will never change, and it's all too painful, and that thing you shouldn't mention because it scares people.

Since moving to Raleigh some months ago, I've had to wait to get a voter ID card, which is necessary to get a state ID, which is necessary to get into any medical clinic other than an emergency room (which I've come extremely close to being asked to be taken to, for depression, and suicidal thoughts, despite knowing what happens, and how little good it does, and how harrowing it is).

I finally got my voter ID card yesterday (those State ID card requirements are so benign! They hurt no one!), so I hope to be able to manage to move myself to get out to get a State ID card next week -- if that's manageable without a car -- and then I hope to finally get some medical treatment again. And though the North Carolina state mental health system is in a state of infamous bankruptcy and collapse, maybe I can get at least some short term help, and maybe start trying some anti-depressants again, which I'm ready to try again, because I'm ready to try almost anything to get this near-constant irrational pain and despair to at least lessen in any way.

Meanwhile, I'm stuck in an attic with no windows, so no sunlight, it's too hot out to do much walking in sun, I've got a difficult living situation I don't care to go into in public, I won't have money, at present rates, to move into a place of my own for years, I'm not sure I'll ever qualify for Social Security disability, I have little reason to expect I'll ever be capable of holding onto anything resembling a fulltime, non-freelance, job, for more than several months, or 18 months max, the maximum I've ever been able to manage it, and when I'm not spinning my wheels managing to try to maintain a connection with other humans via this blog, and blogging, and some email, I cry a lot, am overwhelmed by irrational pain, constantly recurring panic attacks and anxiety attacks, and feel like life is hell. All irrational, all a product of the mental illness of severe lifelong clinical depression. Along with the gout flaring up a lot in recent months, and my other physical ailments.

I should delete this before hitting "post," and filling out the captcha, but maybe I'll let it slip out.

I know all the recommendations on what to do for depression, so asking seems useless, but, then, everything seems useless, so I'll just ask anyway on the remote chance someone knows something I haven't read about in a lifetime of reading on depression treatments.

Life sucks, and that's why I post here so much, rather than that I have so much cheery time on my hands. Basically, it's all too close to either this, or killing myself.

Thanks for the open thread, Eric.

And for the TMI for everyone who doubtless feels it is, my apologies.

And I can't wait for someone to throw this at me next time I piss some troll off.

Incertus(Brian):

Knock knock. :) 1/2 game, baby!

I think that my liver has been much naughtier than yours, and it shall be punished accordingly.

Colorado Rockies fans are trying to create their own version of over-optimism this year. Last year the team was exceedingly mediocre (other than fielding, which was outstanding), than went on a 20-for-21 tear to finish the season and get a tie for the wildcard spot. Spent the winter listening to fans tell me why the last 21 games were what we'd get all of this season, rather than the 141 games that preceded that. My standard bet with them was for a bottle of wine; so far, looks like my liver will be working hard in the off-season...

And I can't wait for someone to throw this at me next time I piss some troll off.

You’d have to get in line to smack them Gary.

I don’t have any experience with it or any advice that wouldn’t sound contrite. All I can say is hang on and hang on tight to any positives you can spot. (OK, that was contrite.)

Knock knock. :) 1/2 game, baby!

Trust me, I know. I'm torn right now because they're playing the Marlins, and I currently live in south Florida, so there's a bit of local pride at stake. Plus, way back on April Fool's Day I predicted an Alligator Alley World Series, and it's still in the realm of possibility, frighteningly enough.

Best I can do at the moment Gary:

Gary hereby has 5 “get out of jail free” cards to totally rip the hell out of OCSteve on any threads of his choosing. OCSteve’s response shall be limited to “Thank you sir, may I have another?”

"Get out of jail free" cards are limited to one use per day.

Should OCSteve forget this commitment and pour a virtual beer over Gary’s head – Gary earns another “get out of jail free” card.

Not valid in some states. Not redeemable for cash. Past performance is no guarantee of future results…

Gary, how about turning your mind and talents to creating ObWiCon?

Does any one else remember this from Casablanca?

Major Strasser: What is your nationality?
Rick: I'm a drunkard.
Captain Renault: That makes Rick a citizen of the world.

So the true CotW isn't Obama, it's Bush.

I would probably be a Brewers fan if Bud Selig and Tommy Thompson hadn't conspired to rip off the taxpayers of SE Wisconsin, but I guess it is nice to see them doing well. Thompson is making his millions lying to business and Selig is now commissioner, where he is limited in how much harm he can do.

I cannot see why a Cubs fan would be upset about the good fortune of the Brewers. It's not as if the Brewers ever managed to stop the Cubbies cold in their chase for the pennant. The best thing about the NL Central is that it is the answer to the trivia question: "What division has two teams that played each other in the World Series?"

Pink cake, check.

Funny though, I would have taken Jesurgislac as a white wine drinker.

My open thread topic is wind power. But I will point out that people are safer drivers after a drink. Wind power cannot meet our energy needs. It can only provide 15% of a small country’s electricity. It might be able to provide 20% of a large country’s electricity. This is because wind must be backed up by a steady-state energy source to support modern economies.

We subsidize wind power at 1.9 cents per kilowatt-hour. This subsidy is due to expire on the 31st of December. T. Boone stands to lose $19,000 per hour if these subsidies end. He also wants to get the government to exercise eminent domain to allow him to deliver his product to cities at a discount. He is already into it for $2 billion. Thus the TV commercials.

The answer is to end wind and solar subsidies, build nuclear power plants, electrify the railways, and take Iran’s off-shore oil next time they misbehave. Note that you don’t need to invade Iran in order to take islands. I think we’ll have to nationalize oil. That is the Brick Oven Plan. It is much better for the country than the Pickens Plan.

Gary: fwiw, I battled a very nasty bout of depression a few years back and I still slip back now and again. For me, drugs (Zoloft, now off-patent) were literally a life-saver.

Also, I found human contact also to be critical to recovery. Is there any way you can make it to a public library / air-conditioned coffee shop and practice talking to people, even random strangers?

Have you ever looked into being a paralegal? You can clearly research and write well, which is more than most Americans.

Remember that no matter how alone and useless you feel, you are NOT; you have friends and acquaintances on this very blog who would miss you terribly if you were gone.

Please take care.

Gary,

I hope you feel vastly better as soon as possible – please hang in there as you make a positive difference to me on a near-daily basis. You deserve to feel better than this.

I'm torn being offering advice which risks being trite, irrelevant, impractical, redundant or otherwise unhelpful, and silence which feels callous. Better the former than the latter (or so I hope), so here’s what I do when I’m feeling crappy, maybe you can find something of value in it:

I read with particular emphasis on what I call deep-time subjects: Astronomy, Evolutionary Biology, Geology, anything long and far away from the here and now, which helps put the latter into better perspective, so our present troubles don’t seem so big anymore. John McPhee’s Annals of the Former World series (especially Rising From the Plains) is a favorite. Also reading about historical periods when people faced immense challenges and made it through to rebuild. Chinese history is particularly favorite for me, since the collapse of an imperial dynasty is always a spectacularly messy process and yet somehow life went on, culture recovered, etc. The Late Ming dynasty was a very interesting period with some fascinating parallels with our situation today, about the culture of which Craig Clunas for example has written some really interesting books.

Finally, have you considered taking up calligraphy as a hobby? It requires little in the way of materials or space, and can have a very calming effect if practiced in the right spirit/frame of mind.

Best wishes,
LeftTurn

Two unrelated, but not irrelevant, comments about denizens of ObWi:

1) Gary, I so sorry about your condition(s), and wish that I, as your near neighbor in the Triangle, could help you out more. Alas, Mrs. Dr Ngo has had health problems of her own (just finished 4 rounds of chemotherapy), so I'm stretched a bit thin right now in terms of time and energy. But look me up in the Durham directory and give me a call sometime, why don't you?

2) The inestimable Anarch, having defended his dissertation a week ago, is now the inestimable Presumptive Doctor Anarch. All hail the PDA!!

Gary, I have no more answers than anyone else, but one thing I want to say is that I don't consider what you wrote to be TMI, quite the opposite. And for a very specific reason.

I haven't struggled with depression myself, but I have watched someone very close to me almost leave this life because of it. One of the horrible things about it for that person was the loneliness and the feeling that it was his fault somehow, that he just wasn't "strong" enough to "beat" it, that other people weren't that weak, etc. etc. He was young (as you might guess from this much of the story), and it came as some comfort to him when he finally realized that in fact he wasn't the only one, that other people suffered in that way too, and that it wasn't their fault or his fault, it just was. It wasn't misery loving company, it was a step on the way to understanding that he wasn't alone in his struggles.

It seems to me that writing about your situation is the kind of thing that helps people like my friend feel less alone. There isn't enough of that kind of openness going around, because we are all so thoroughly trained to hide our troubles, to put the best face on difficulties, etc. So people who are blindsided by some kind of difficulty think it’s only them, and often suffer in silence and far more loneliness than is necessary. And the loneliness can make the original problem worse, or get in the way of any possibility of healing.

I had another friend a year or so ago whose life fell apart around her. (Another long story that's not mine to tell.) At one point we were talking about it and she said that she was always on edge wondering who knew what had happened, how people would pass judgments, etc. I said, "Look. Life is a mess. And a lot of people do know that." By that time, she had run into enough other people who, when they heard her story, had shared some pain of their own that they had up til then kept hidden. And that helped her feel less alone. (P.S. I could speak with authority about messy lives because mine has been a textbook case. ;)

Basic point: to quote a cliché, but with feeling: thanks for sharing. I consider it a public service to contribute to our collective reality check.

Philosophical rambling out of the way, I second the suggestion about a library or café. Near where I live, the only place (other than bars, which I don’t enjoy) where random people can hang out in public and (potentially) meet other people to chat with is the café at Barnes and Noble. I spend whole afternoons/evenings there sometimes, and there are quite a few other people who do the same (ranging from high school age people to retirees). They never throw you out, you can read the books and smell the coffee, and over time I have come to have some very nice acquaintances there, possibly on the way to being friends in some cases. I take work to do or (when I’m teaching) homework to grade, or I just read the latest Sarah Graves mystery (set in Eastport, Maine). I do feel obliged to buy something if I’m going to sit there all day, but not everyone does that. They also have an informal chess club on Tuesday nights, with a bunch of regulars and any random hangers-on who show up. B&N might not be so accommodating in a busier, more populated area, but my daughter and I had half a dozen regular B&N stops between Maine and Pittsburgh when she was in school there, and they were all like that. The Borders in Portland is similar, though the café isn’t quite as nice, and the store in general doesn’t have as many comfy chairs.

Hang in there. Thanks for finagling an open thread. A few travel stories to follow.

Gary, I'm just a shadow of a presence here, but, first of all, for what it's worth: You are one of the prime reasons I read ObWi; you provide such a high information-cum-rational-argument/noise ratio that in a just world you'd be on the editorial board of the Times or the Post.

It's pretty clear from your post that what I call "depression" isn't in a league with what you are dealing with, but -- in the one-in-a-million off-chance that the following has any value for you....

One of the most vicious things about depression is the way it defends itself. I have a little internal checklist that sometimes helps me, but of course, when I feel totally immobilized, the depression makes me forget about it or unable to access it.

On a lucky day, my best friend will happen to call, hear the tone in my voice, and remind me: Could it just be that I'm exhausted? Have I eaten? Do I have any symptoms that might suggest I'm coming down with the flu (or something similar)? Could it be a low-grade narcoleptic attack (which often feels, for me, like a sudden onset of despair, and can be reversed by even a few minutes of REM sleep)?

If I think there's even a chance it's one of those things, my friend then pushes me toward the appropriate action.

If none of those applies, then I try to distract myself with what would normally be pleasurable activities. The problem is that many of those activities -- in particular, reading -- are beyond my powers of concentration during these spells.

But there's one that isn't, and (after the fact) it drives me nuts that the depression forbids me from thinking of it -- i.e., music. I listen to something upbeat that I love that doesn't have powerful emotional pull on me. (Rubber Soul, for example, is on the proscribed list; even at the best of times it has the power to throw me into a pit of morbid nostalgia and despair. Uptempo Motown/Stax/Volt/New Orleans funk works much better for me.) Music has really helped; at the very least, I can focus on it and keep my mind busy until whatever has a hold on me passes.

You probably know all this, but I figured it wouldn't hurt to bring it up.

Gary, that sounds terrible.

I have some experience with this and the one bit of advice that I can give (apart from seeking professional help) is, that it's incredibly important to meet and talk to people in the real world on a regular basis.

This might sound trite and it must be very hard in your situation to go out and do it, but there really is no substitute for it. While communicating on the internet is better than nothing, there is a basic, partly physical, human need for direct human contact and interaction. It doesn't really matter all that much in what context this takes place at first, it just helps - a lot.

And while it's probably only part of the solution in your case, the best professional help will only get you so far, if you deprive yourself of this. Most people who don't have to endure the conditions you have, who are not indicated with clinical depression, suffer immensely if they go without direct human contact for prolonged periods of time.

So that's that, I hope it didn't sound patronizing and if it did, rest assured that it wasn't meant that way. I hope you get better - no one deserves this.

Gary, I am surprised. I have enjoyed your comments more than any of the other comment writers.

I have a history of rather deep depression. For me it has always been hard to get out of. Once, when I was having trouble, a friend I called on the phone told me to "hold yourself together." That was all she could do, as she lives far away. But it was good advice nonetheless. When I get out of the worst of it, then I can take steps to improve other parts of my life. Some of them I succeed at, others I don't. But "holding yourself together" at the worst times is a good thing.

Best wishes. I look forward to reading your comments in the future. And if you decide to blog somewhere, I hope it gets listed on ObWi (you hearing this Hilzoy?)

jdog: five down on the blogroll is Amygdala. That's Gary's blog.

Brewers fanhere. Thrilled at what is happening with them. Go back to 1982 when they blew it in game 7.

Also happen to be just as miuch of a Gary Farber fan. Gary, FWIW, and at times it may seem very little, there are a bunch of people in your corner.

All hail the PDA!!

I'll believe it when I see it, complete with embossed seal, etc.

Seriously, hearty congratulations to anarch and family.

The inestimable Anarch, having defended his dissertation a week ago, is now the inestimable Presumptive Doctor Anarch. All hail the PDA!!

Congrats Anarch!!!

Can't imagine why the doc wants us all to hail the iphone, but, well, ok.

Gary, you and I don’t always get along. But I like to think that we never lost respect for each other. One of the highlights of my friggin’ month, is getting online and viewing overnight posts and seeing a one line comment from you that amounts to, “I agree with OCSteve.”

“I agree with OCSteve.”

Do you have any clue what kind of weight that carries here? That is a happy dance… I’ll never rub it in your face that you agreed with me one time, but I relish it…

You are a tough bastard to beat. Beat isn’t right – more like wrestle to a draw… If I can get you to agree with me every six months I am feeling just freakin’ fine.

Gary, I don't know if any of this will be useful or relevant but here it is, for what it's worth.

1. Get out of the house. Every day. Yes, you don't like being around other people, or you think there's no point, or it's too much effort, or you're ashamed for other people to see you, or you have no where to go, or whatever. Doesn't matter. Get out of the house every day.

This is really, really important Gary. You've got to do it. Even if you think it won't help. Do it anyway. It will make a difference.

2. Get some exercise. Yes, it's ridiculous. "I can barely get out of bed and you want be to exercise??!" I know. Expecting someone with severe depression to go to the gym is delusional.

So this is what you do: get on a bus and go somewhere--you don't have to plan where you're going if that's too much--get off at some point and walk home.

Yes, it's not fun. Yes, it's hot and you'll sweat like a pig and everyone will look at you. Doesn't matter. You're walking through some area you may never be in again. Are you ever going to see these people again? Maybe. So what? Just walk on.

Don't overdo it at first. Start off slow--maybe half an hour the first time. Try to work up to an hour. You want something that is long enough so that when you get home you feel like you've accomplished something and not so short that it feels like it's not worth the bother.

Feet or back aren't in shape to walk? Try to do it anyway. Seriously. (And, the bus-ride-and-walk-back thing also accomplishes no. 1 above!)

3. Feed yourself properly. Again, not easy. But try. You don't have to succeed, but you need to at least try it.

Protein can really help. Eggs are easy and last for a while, there's almost no preparation involved and little garbage to throw out. If you aren't up to actual "cooking", boil them or crack them into a mug and cook them in the microwave. If your living situation isn't such that you can have a hot plate or a microwave, try peanut butter.

4. Get yourself washed and dressed every day. Do it first thing in the morning, before you to anything else. DON'T TURN ON THE COMPUTER. Don't turn on the tv or radio. Do not pick up a book. If you wear glasses, don't put them on.

Stand in the middle of the floor until you are forced into the bathroom. Turn on the water as soon as you get the bathroom. You don't have to get the shower, you just have to turn the water on. You don't even have to turn on the shower itself. Just turn on the water.

Sit on the floor, sit on the toilet, whatever. At some point, you're probably going to (1) turn the water off; or (2) take off your clothes and get in the shower. (And if you leave the washroom with the water stilling running just to prove that you won't let yourself manipulate yourself into having a shower (if you follow me), that's just dumb, ok? Don't do it. I'm telling you now that I think it's dumb.)

If you turn the water off, that's ok. But you know what? Seriously, it's just as much effort to take your clothes off. And once your clothes are off, you might as well get washed. Lie on the floor for a while if you have to. You only have to do the next step. You don't have to do it all at once.

Clothes are dirty and you have nothing clean to wear? Put them on anyway. PUT THEM ON ANYWAY. Don't use "nothing clean" as an excuse to not go out.

Why should you do all this? Because when you're washed and dressed, going out or doing other things seems more possible.

5. Call the library and ask them about mental health services in your area. (No, you will not find out about everything that's available by searching the internet. Not everything is on the web.) If they want you to leave a number and they'll call you back, and you're not comfortable with that, ask if you could call them back, and when.

If the information they give you is useless, call them again on another day and time. You might find out something else.

If there's a medical officer of never mind. Sorry, but the US health care system is stupid.

6. You need to be followed medically. (Again: the US health system is really, really dumb.)

I'm pretty sure there's a university in Raleigh; do they have a medical school? If so, they have any sort of free clinics? Is there a teaching hospital? Do they accept uninsured patients? Do they run any sort of (free) therapy groups?

Is there a university health clinic for students? If you were a part time student, would you qualify for it? How many courses would you have to take?

If you can't find any free therapy groups, join an AA group or something like it. Seriously. I'm not suggesting at all that you follow a 12-step programme. What I'm suggesting is that you find somewhere you can go and talk and be listened to--or just to sit and know that someone is paying attention to you.

If AA won't let you in, try Addicts Anonymous. And if they won't let you in, tell them that if they think depression and addiction aren't linked, they're idiots. You can tell them that some anonymous person on teh internet said so.

7. Don't beat yourself up over work. So you're only able to work 18 months at a time. That's ok. That's ok. You can do that. Be proud of yourself. Working for any length of time is not easy for someone with depression. It's so much harder. Don't compare yourself to the general population. Compare yourself to someone who's undergoing chemo and radiation and still working. Yes, you can only manage so much. That's ok. You do what you can do.

8. Try to get yourself on a schedule. Even if the schedule is "stood in the middle of the floor for 10 minutes, then took almost an hour to get washed and out of the bathroom; ate my 9th boiled egg of the week then got on the bus", that's fine. Keep at it. Having some sort of structure to your day will make it more bearable.

9. Get yourself a puppy. Seriously. It will force you to leave the house every day. And you'll have a community of fellow dog walkers to interact with. People will talk to people they wouldn't talk to otherwise if there are dogs involved.

Even if you don't like dogs, get a puppy. It's worth it, because a dog will always be glad to see you.

Things do get better. Even if you aren't able to make yourself try to make things better, they will get better anyhow.

Keep at it.
And good luck.

Good advice from soo, especially the parts about having a schedule, getting out, and getting some exercise.

And talk to people. Ask someone for directions, or what time it is, or which bus goes downtown. Anything.

Gary- FWIW, I know what you're going through. (Except the gout. But I have had a kidney stone!) Everyone else's strategies are way better than mine, though, so no advice from me.

Now then. Someone answer Drew these questions two.

1.) Is http://www.redstate.com/diaries/Moe_Lane/>this the same Moe Lane from olde tyme ObWi?
2.) I don't really have a second question. I just liked the sound of my rhyme.

Here's something http://www.straightdope.com/classics/a5_151.html>incredibly painful for grammar mavens to read. But painful in a tingly fun way.

I'd suggest fishing. Seriously. Not "serious" fishing, but catching small largemouth bass, and perhaps sunfish, bluegills, pumpkinseeds, etc., on jigs or other artificial lures. Going for the bass is easier to do the catch and release because, well, it has a big mouth, and attacks the lure, rather than swallows it.

If you want to sit in a lawn chair and bait fish for bullheads or some other kind of catfish, which is also okay, buy a bunch of cheap hooks, then if you dont want to eat the fish , you can just cut the line with fingernail clippers and let the fish go. The hook will eventually dissolve or rust away. Don't try to remove a swallowed hook.

If you are patient, you will eventually find your mind quieting down to where you are just perceiving your surroundings. You can fish alone and enjoy solitude and nature, or in other settings just put a worm on a hook, cast it out, sit back in your lawn chair and enjoy people-watching.

I'd like to thank everyone for their responses, so: thank you, everyone, for your responses.

I'm extremely volatile emotionally, which means I can swing within a minute from profound despair and seeing everything as negative and feeling nothing but self-loathing and hopelessness, to being relatively ok and even cheerful, and then back again. It can be triggered by anything and nothing.

And I largely tend to feel like whatever I'm feeling that minute is how I mostly feel.

I'm also both full of extreme loneliness, and yet loath to talk much in publish about such intimate and personal details of my life, as I both live a fairly open life, and yet also feel very private about many things, at least at times.

And I simultaneously wish for people to talk with in email or instant messaging, but if depressed enough don't feel remotely up to it at all, or if more cheery, want to spend the time on the vast number of more productive things I need to be doing.

So, as with all this depression stuff, I'm a mass of contradictions and self-limiting behaviors.

I have, as I've said, lived with this all my life, though I only became really aware of what was going on in my early twenties, or at least my late teens -- but I'm now 49, so I'm also fairly experienced and well-read in much of what can and I should do.

Which doesn't mean I'm necessarily up to doing any of them at any given time, week, period, whatever.

A lot of what's going on with me right now is that my circumstances changed drastically in recent months, in ways that are largely better, but which also have presented a whole new set of strains and challenges, most of which I've surprised myself by how well I've managed to cope and adapt, but yet some of which are truly new things for which I'm just not well-prepared, and not well able to cope with at all.

And some of it is looking at myself at 49, and seeing all the things I'll never be, as well as all the things I've screwd up, and feeling the loss of all the things I'll never have, including simply things like having a relationship that started when I was much younger, and that actually lasted, rather than going off the rails, or rather than, at this point, being one that can never be like it might otherwise have been.

Stupid, I know, and one should look at one can still have, and all that. I know, I really do.

But the feelings are real, too.

Ironically, one thing is that while I'm currently no longer in immediate or near-term danger of losing the roof over my head, as has been the case for much of my life -- including losing my dwelling several times, and all my possessions on more than one occasion -- and also no longer suffering from having to count pennies to see if I can afford a potato this/that week, or another couple of ramen noodles -- because I've always rationalized that so much of my depression was situational, and that if I could only cure the situation, I'd be ever so much better, now I'm suddenly facing the dismaying fact that although those worries are not currently relevant (though I'm still very much in need of money to get in a position to move into a place of my own ASAP, and out of my current difficult situation; donations certainly welcome and cheering, see the top of my blog, also with links to past crises), I'm nonetheless finding myself spending much of my time bursting out crying for little or no reason, feeling overwhelming despair and hopelessness, and all the other negative feelings/emotions that make up the screwed-up brain chemistry and subjective hell of serious depression.

And I'm having that experience even more than I largely have had in years. I'm being even more anhedonic much of the time than when I had more obvious cause.

And that kinda scared me in a whole new way.

I'll know how irrational my feelings are, but that doesn't stop them from being overwhelming feelings nonetheless, and although some stuff I can sort out intellectually as delusions of depression, other stuff can be confusing as hell and unable to sort out.

And most of all it's so unbelievably tiresome and boring, because this has just gone on for all the decades of my life, and it can go on for hour after hour, each minute feeling like a year of anxiety and panic and fear and sorrow and self-pity and worry and loneliness and despair, day after day, week after week, month after month, year after year, though always, to be sure, interspersed with periods of being able to distract myself, and sometimes even significant periods of days, or even weeks, in which I feel more or less cheerful a good part of the time, mostly because I'm so carefully removing myself from all possible strain and stress and pressure and testing.

But now I'm in a situation where I am in contact with some people -- and I have to be careful what I say here, as I frankly wish to say very little about the specifics in public -- where one person loves me, and others hate me, but the person who loves me has problems of her own, limiting her ability to help, and also provoking some anxieties and fears in me that then provoke some of her problems, and so we can hurt each other in complex ways, while meanwhile I'm otherwise in an environment with considerable hostility, and being an extremely emotionally sensitive person, I'm finding that extremely difficult to cope with.

It's easier, it turns out, to isolate one's self from people, and feel overwhelmingly lonely and unloved for years, than to be constantly faced with happy people who are in your face about caring for each other, but hating you and deliberately excluding you all the time. At least, that's how it is for me. And that's really more than I should be saying as it is.

Meanwhile, while I've mostly avoided turning my blog into a personal journal, I've certainly blogged about depression quite a few times, and even about aspects of my personal situation on occasion.

Indeed, enough times that even I have trouble sorting out which posts might be most relevant to those interested, but new to my blog.

And then there's the fact that I can get desperate enough, finally, once in a great while, to slip and ask for help, or seek contact, I also wind up greatly embarrassed, and full of shame, and again with the self-loathing, and the hatred of getting too much attention, while still wanting the contact. Again, it's all very contradictory. Which makes it again, endlessly frustrating.

It's such a fncking boring disease. It's all so repetitive. And I hate the self-pity. I hate it all.

But it's also not easy to get away from the obsessive aspects.

But let me make clear that I've helped myself considerably over the years with various cognitive techniques, and it only occurred to me just earlier today that some of what's going on is that in my new situation, I'm experiencing new self-reinforcing cycles of Bad Thinking, Negative Thinking, and have to come up with some new cognitive devices to interrupt some of these new bad cycles. I'll be working on that, as that's the approach I've found most beneficial in the past.

As for getting out, it doesn't help that I'm in a place, Raleigh, and a suburb, essentially thereof, although within the city limits technically, where not having a car greatly limits how much one can get out.

I'm not responsible enough, or in a position to be responsible enough, long enough, to take on a commitment for decades to an animal; I take that sort of thing far too seriously. But thanks immensely for the thought.

And yes I'll be pursuing anti-depressants, much though I've found them useless in the past. I know I have no choice again, and I'm desperate enough at present to know they may be the only way I can save my life. There are ways of late that I've felt more despair than ever before, with far less cause, arguably, than ever before, and that's truly scary.

I do get up and shower and all that every day, and have for the past couple of years. And I make myself eat, even when I don't feel like it. I've made that much progress, and a bit more, over the years. I've just had some regression of late, due to new situation and new stresses.

The panic attacks and anxiety attacks have gone up a lot, though. Anyway, enough for now. Immense thanks, again, to all who have commented, and please forgive me for not responding individually; I'm just not up to all that right now. I'm embarrassed enough to have caused such a fuss.

All congrats to the inestimable Presumptive Doctor Anarch!

I am, by the way, sharing a household with a small cat, barely out of kittenhood, and she's a source of considerable comfort at times.

"1.) Is this the same Moe Lane from olde tyme ObWi?"

Yes.

"Gary, you and I don’t always get along. But I like to think that we never lost respect for each other."

I've never felt I've not gotten along with you from my end, OCSteve, but I constantly feel no animus or dislike towards endless numbers of people I apparently give the opposite impression to. I don't take offense at any kind of intellectual disagreement, so long as it's not of the kind of nature where I conclude that someone is a serious Nazi, or over that kind of line.

I only otherwise take offense at people whom I consider to be seriously and deliberately and repetitively vicious, and you've never, ever, ever, ever, ever said a thing I'd consider in the same universe as that sort of thing. You, like most folks here, are folks I'd like to think of, perhaps largely a fantasy of mine, but whom I'd nonetheless like to think of as friends, real friends, whom I enjoy debating with and shooting the breeze, and, yes, harassing in what I'd like to think is largely friendly fashion.

I know I stink much of the time at getting that "friendly" part across, and so I'm often shocked and greatly dismayed (and, yes, depressed) at how much ill will I suddenly learn I've inadvertently generated with some people I think nothing but well of, or at least think largely well of, but really, I just like good argument and don't confuse it with emotional dislike at all. I like Charles Bird perfectly well, for instance, no matter that I emphatically disagree with many of his opinions, and don't think highly of some of his reasoning; but that's no reason not to be friends in my book.

Ditto I have no ill will towards any of the front page bloggers here, no matter how I harass any of them when I think they've said something worth harassing them about.

Anyway, I respect you greatly, Steve, and I often agree with you, and will try to find occasion to mention when I do more often.

Dear Gary: I'm in my late 40's and have had my ups and downs too, with life taking me to different places than I thought I'd go. I think the less than perfect moments mean that we have been living and trying, not that we have failed. It's ok and human to need help and it's ok and human to get help. Sometimes we give help, and sometimes we receive it, and that too is part of being human.

You are innocent and you are sacred, though it may not feel that way all the time. Take good care.

Re transportation.

This is direct quote from the North Carolina Department of Transportation website:

"You must be age 16 or older to operate a moped on North Carolina highways or public vehicular areas. A driver's license is not required, and the moped does not have to be registered, inspected or covered by liability insurance. A motorcycle safety helmet is required by law when operating a moped on North Carolina highways. A moped cannot have a motor of more than 50 cubic centimeters, an external shifting device or have the capability of exceeding 30 miles per hour on a level surface."

One hundred miles per gallon. You would need a lock of some sort, plan routes carefully, and it would be somewhat dangerous.

you are sacred

Oh ferchrissakes, first the Obama worship, and now the Gary worship.

Gary,
FWIW, You've had a significant life change recently so what you're feeling is to be expected. I (who am really nobody) think you'll be okay in time.
Get out of the attic - get some sunshine every day, however you do that.
Good luck.

Davec,
You're a really weird guy.

Huh. I gotta' say, though, Moe is tolerable. RedState usually turns on "DREW SMASH!!!" mode.

What's really awesome is that depression is uniformly boring at ALL LEVELS. I think there's some kind of theorem that says this is impossible, but it has to be wrong.

Gary, I've been under treatment for depression/bipolar disorder for the last 10 years, and fully on SSDI for the last 8. I hope I can help by sharing some of what I know.

First, mental illness is not a stigma; please do not feel ashamed of how you feel and behave or guilty that you've somehow not been able to "cure" yourself. I find that most people accept it when I mention that I have a mental illness, or that I am bipolar; it is an officially recognized disability from all governmental agencies, and it is no more a disgrace than any physical condition that prevents you from living a normal day-to-day life.

It's obvious, from both your writing here and previous mentions of your condition on this blog and your own, that you suffer from, at least, clinical depression; this is not a condition subject to circumstances, or "situational" depression. Telling yourself to "get it together" and then feeling ashamed because you're "failing" makes the problem worse; it is your brain chemistry, not your willpower, out-of-whack here.

Treatment may or may not enable you to work, either part-time or full-time; even with psych treatment and drug therapy, I'm unable to commit to anything, even volunteer work, on a regular and reliable basis. As you may already know, antidepressants are not "happy pills," but they do significantly decrease, if not totally eliminate, suicidal thoughts and tendencies, and stabilize the depression; the definition of "normal" shifts for each individual, but it's something you and the people around you get used to. Drug treatment itself can be an ever-evolving process; I've been on several antidepressants -- and one good mood-stabilizer -- with plenty of dosage tweaking for each. The costs varies; the one I'm on now costs me all of $4 at Wal-Mart -- a lot of the older drugs are quite cheap (the generics).

I'd gone through the whole ringer to get SSDI, so I'll be more than happy to help you in any way I can; just let me know. But one thing I'll share now; at the end of my first hearing, the judge noted that I spent a great deal of time on the computer, was obviously intelligent and capable of focusing my attention on performing research -- and thus was not disabled. He changed his mind a year later after an appeal. I'm capable of doing a great many things; unfortunately, I'm often unable to do much of anything -- beyond daily care -- "to order." My brain processes -- including related problems such as sleeping problems and chronic migraines (more common among those with mental illness than in the general population) -- simply don't permit me to function as I once did. So, please don't believe that since you are capable of reading and researching a great deal online and participating in blog writings, that you should therefore be fully capable of doing the same (or anything else) when required.

This is getting very long, so I'll get to the more practical side of things. You must get a psych evaluation and referral; one, you need help and, two, you will need these to begin the process for SSDI or SS Supplemental. Holly Hill Hospital (I don't know if that's near you) provides an initial "no cost confidental evaluation" available 24/7; call RESPOND at (919) 250-7000 or 800-447-1800. The NC Mental Health web site mentions there are 39 area programs in the state; call 800-451-9682 to get the name and number of one near you. Remember, the ability to pay is not an issue; these evals and referrals are either free or very low-cost, and the costs of subsequent treatment upon referral will either be picked up by Medicaid -- which you can be placed on automatically if your condition requires immediate treatment -- or you pay on a sliding scale.

Remember, legally you are not required to be under medical/drug treatment to receive SSDI (Social Security taxes) or Supplemental (general taxes), but that's pretty much meaningless in the real world; you must be diagnosed and you must prove that you are trying to get treatment.

Some very interesting comments here. I'm wrestling with depression both personally (though it is nothing like Gary's experience) and with an increasing number of students here who are being diagnosed with it. A recent documentary, entitled "Does Your Soul Have A Cold?", and my living here for over 2 decades suggests that there is a cultural change in the perception of depression here, as discussed in the NYTimes article. It is especially problematic for students who, for the first time after high school, are essentially told to handle their own affairs after being instructed on how to do virtually everything. With university classes meeting only once a week, it becomes difficult to figure out who is actually suffering and who is gaming the system. In relation to class, my current strategy is try and make explicit the precise requirements of the class and explain that if they can't fulfill them, I can't give them credit, and those requirements usually hinge on some sort of weekly work. Of course, when the demographics were such that we had huge numbers of students taking entrance exams, this problem was unseen, and students dropping off the rolls were seen as attrition, but now, with the drop in high school age children, we get a lot more pressure to make sure that students are able to complete their course work, so the pressure is on ways to make sure they complete their classes, which most often manifests itself as a lowering of standards.

At any rate, what I have read about the film is quite interesting and here is an interview with the director, Mike Mills.

Gary; I hope you feel better. I agree that you should go fishing. Jogging is great too. If jogging doesn’t work for you go walking. I personally enjoy screaming at the TV, shooting ice, and weeding. But triangular gutters is right.

The 1911 is better than the Beretta, or something like that.

Gary,

I have something very similar that is currently (thank appropriate deities) on the wane. That fact may or may not be related to the drugs I am currently on, it's hard to tell as the biggest recent shift happened suddenly 3 years ago for literally no reason (miserable living situation, lousy job, suddenly was able to think again). One of the weirdest things about major depression is how it can have almost no relationship with one's outer existence. In fact, (at least so far) even when my depression is very bad, I have been able to deal in a crisis. However, as soon as the crisis is over, I (almost literally) deflate and it's back to (what feels like) dragging around a corpse. That sort of calm in a crisis could be a bit of what you're dealing with now that your living situation is better, but your depression is worse.

Drugs are absolutely worth trying, as they can be a big help. As it sounds like you know, they don't make everything suddenly better, but, at least for me, they make it much, much less difficult to actually do the things that I intellectually know will make things better. Though they do not test drugs on mathematicians ( feel free to substitute your occupation) I have been able to find a compromise dose between treating my depression and being able to do math (namely, too low of a dose, and I'm too depressed to do math, too high a dose also means I can't do math, but for more complex -and quite possibly idiosyncratic- reasons). One warning is, you might not be able to function for the first month or so after starting a new drug. It can completely suck, but it has gotten much, much better over the years. Going on a dopamine inhibitor 12 years ago made me unable to even READ for a month - pure hell, a SSRI 5 years ago made me unable to drive for much of the month (I'm from Detroit and have been driving since I was 15, this is actually a big deal), while going on a SNRI earlier this year made me intermittently dizzy and a bit nauseous for a month, but still more or less able to function. One shrink put it this way: a lot of money goes into development of new anti-depressants because many depressed people can hold jobs and therefore afford meds. (Schizophrenics, on the other hand, very rarely have money, so research into new anti-psychotics is comparatively poorly funded.)

I've always admired your posts. Even for a casual lurker such as myself, it's obvious you're a pillar of this community.

I hope things do get better, making it 49 years with that sort of brain chemistry is already an achievement... I wish you 49 more years that go considerably smoother.

Rebecca

The pediatrician who my mom used was a neighbor. I mowed his lawn in high school for ten bucks. When I graduated from high school, he bought me a fishing pole as a graduation present. This pediatrician’s widow ended up with a reverse mortgage because his earnings were modest.

Doctors’ wives these days don’t have reverse mortgages. The pediatrician I take my kids to has a 8.5 by 11” Xerox on his wall that says “do you want a prescription?”

Skip the drugs, go for a walk.

Gary - I see many people here have offered you good advice. As someone who has suffered through prolonged clinical depression while living in an attic, I just wanted to offer my profound sympathy and two pieces of advice.

1. If you are persistently thinking suicidal thoughts, go to a hospital and check yourself in immediately.

2. If you've had limited success with medication, try other things. I tried all sorts of medications, and even had ECT treatments, to no avail. It ended up being a tricyclic of all things that gave me the breathing room to recover.

Gary,

I was just thinking about you last night (as I watched The Dark Knight in a suburb of Belfast--oh the wonders of modern technology and the connections it makes). But before I get to that point I'd like to say:

1) Completely agree with sooo's advice. My gp keeps telling me to do more exercise (as well as telling me to concentrate on the good things in my life.) But I also think the getting out of the house, talking to people, getting dressed, etc. stuff is important too (don't think, know, be more positive in my writing).

2) cat a very good idea. I have a friend and I think the only reason she is still in most of one piece is she figures if she does something drastic to her body, who will look after the cat?!?

3) I kind of like me some Gary worship (but then you can guess how I feel about Obama). Not that you don't terrify me, Gary. You can be quite comprehensive in your drive to bring enlightenment to the web. And a little bit scary. But I like you. ANd OCSteve who seems okay for a conservative voice.

4) My original need to post. I was watching The Dark Night and thinking about what I understand as the 'renaissance of the comic' or the graphic novel and Frank Millar and all that. And I was born in the mid-60s, would have gone through the comics phase in the 70's and all I remeber is Archie (and maybe a little Casper the Friendly Ghost and Richie Rich) while my older brother read a little werewolf and there was some comics books of creatures from outerspace. But I seem to recall it wasn't the best of time for comics. Is my memory completely wrong? What was up with comics in the 70's? And as I thought that in the movie theatre, I thought you know, I bet Gary Farber is the guy to ask. I need an open thread at ObiWi. And here it is.

5) I hate Christian Bale.

6) I would so be willing to get on a plane for ObiWiCon and I am just a lurker.

While not as bad as you Gary, I understand the "Once this gets better, I'll be okay, right?" And well, for some that's true, for me it wasn't. So I got a little better, but every so often I'd slip into one of my slightly manic or slightly depressive moods (gee, about every 4-6 months) and be on an evil binge.

I don't know the triangle or your hobbies well enough. But I know while I was unemployed for a good six months the highlight was my daily trip to the public library, not to really chat, but to see something other than walls of my then girlfriend, now wife, and soon to be ex-wife. And there you might find a hobbyist group with interests that suit you.

And I second the paralegal - I'd look for a small firm (2-3 lawyers) or something similar, some place where they don't need you full time, and can work around the swings in mood.

Good luck.

Kate, it looks like you are talking about the Silver Age, which was, to quote a comic-reading community that I participate in "Crack-tastic". The wikipedia article has links to the Bronze age which also follows.

"What's really awesome is that depression is uniformly boring at ALL LEVELS."

And the thought is forced on one endlessly recurringly, and thus endlessly recursively.

Most aspects of severe depressive are, in fact, endlessly recursive, which is part of the... curse.

Folks posting all this stuff has really helped. Of course, it all gets wiped over the next moment something hits me that makes me start crying and feeling despair, but it's still a large thing to intellectually cling to and try to hold onto, so it really is a huge help, despite not making everything all better. Thanks awfully to everyone.

Thanks awfully also to the two people who sent donations. I don't want to be crass, but both the expressions of substance by the gesture, and the actual help having a bit more $ makes, helps a bunch as well. I like to fool myself that I give something in return, over time, with my writing.

Meanwhile, one of the things that tosses me around about that relationship I mentioned is that the woman in question is utterly committed to being uncommitted, and utterly committed to being non-monagamous, and maintaining another, longstanding, relationship (thus the primary person who hates me), as well as yet other relationships, and thus is big on the idea of my finding other relationships, romantic, sexual, just-friends, and more, so as to not have our she-only-has-so-much-time relationship be too big a thing for me (and for her), so, hey, any women tempted to fall in love with me should know I have major openings. Feel free to email me and flirt. :-) (Hell, that's how I wound up in this current non-monagamous relationship.) (Honestly, all I really want these days is a simple single monagomous committed relationship, but I'll take what I can get, up to a point, if I can't get that, and, as well, of course, as many good friendships as I can make, both in person and online.)

(Because there's nothing more fun than flirting with a depressed aging balding chubby broke guy who is largely unemployable! But, y'know, still mostly has a sense of humor, and some say he has a cute smile.)

I got references that I put an awful lot of energy and attention and care into the people I love. :-)

(Along with the depression, and various annoying characteristics, along with sometimes making people laugh.)

"So, please don't believe that since you are capable of reading and researching a great deal online and participating in blog writings, that you should therefore be fully capable of doing the same (or anything else) when required."

Yeah, that's something that I get thrown at me a lot by others, and it's painfully difficult to try to explain that I'm not just a lazy oaf. It's when I start feeling like I have to defend myself, or explain, that is another time I just start crying and want to give up. Even thinking about it makes me do that.

But, then, lately looking cross-eyed has made me feel that way. It's tedious in the extreme. Stupid brain chemistry.

"Most aspects of severe depressive"

Should be "severe depression."

Going for walks, is very good, BoB, but there is the gout angle. Walk when you can. I don't know whether a cherry juice, banana, plenty of water, B vitamins regimen would help, but it's worth a try. And good, wide toed boots.

Geez, that Farber guy runs a cool thread.

Thanks, Gary.
Excellent stuff.
Words are pretty amazing things when you know how to use them. Your love is well-placed.

That other love thing, of course, as they say, not so much.
I doubt that it’s any encouragement, but twenty-six years on top of forty-nine I feel as if I may have gotten past that ruining obsession. Made (or found) my peace, as it were.
You do seem to have found yourself in a high-emotional-crime-rate area; that’s for sure.
You can at least see yourself as Thomas Covenant the white-gold-wielder, struggling with the forces of vast darkness. Or some suitable surrogate.

A respectful high-five on making it this far.

And DaveC, you get the LOL-of-the-Day prize.

Oh ferchrissakes, first the Obama worship, and now the Gary worship.

Purr-ice-lest!

@Gary: I'm nonetheless finding myself spending much of my time bursting out crying for little or no reason

When I finally had a son, after years of infertility problems and treatments, I cried like crazy for months and months. I figured it was release because I had to keep on going the years before and could give in to the sadness now. I never had those crying bouts anymore, but I think I needed them to get rid of the grief that had build up in me.

No real advice, just a few remarks. In general talking with 'experts through experience' helps. When I have difficulty walking I can usually bike well enough to get my excercise. Stroking animals helps, so be nice to the cat ;)

Gary Farber:

Check your email. I'm not spam.

May I say it is very cool that lurkers as well as regulars come out of the cyberwork to commiserate with Gary as he fights black gravity pulling from below and heavy darkness sitting on the chest.

I hope everyone gets well.

AndyK:

You mentioned that _Rubber Soul_ sends you down the drain. As a counterweight, when I've needed some sonic pick-up throughout my life, I put the headphones on and let the Beatles (the troubadors of the 20th century) make me happy.


Dr Ngo:

My best to Mrs. Dr. Ngo.

"Doctor Anarch" I guess James Bond is looking at a sequel to Doctor No. I'm thinking in this one James finally succumbs to Misch Moneypenny, who for my moneypenny was always the one for 007.

This I know.

Gary Farber:

Check your email.

May I say it is very cool that lurkers as well as regulars come out of the cyberwork to commiserate with Gary as he fights black gravity pulling from below and heavy darkness sitting on the chest.

I hope everyone gets well.

AndyK:

You mentioned that _Rubber Soul_ sends you down the drain. As a counterweight, when I've needed some sonic pick-up throughout my life, I put the headphones on and let the Beatles (the troubadors of the 20th century) make me happy.


Dr Ngo:

My best to Mrs. Dr. Ngo.

"Doctor Anarch" I guess James Bond is looking at a sequel to Doctor No. I'm thinking in this one James finally succumbs to Misch Moneypenny, who for my moneypenny was always the one for 007.

This I know.

Yes and hail the new Good Doctor having reached through anarchy to the higher orders.

If you mentioned and I’ve forgotten, what’s that you’re Doctor Of?

Hi Gary,

I want to join the chorus of best wishes and advice. Fighting a battle inside one's head is more than hard.

My advice, in all seriousness, is: get an old dog. Since you live in an attic, get a small old dog thaht can be carried up the stairs. Why? Bbecause you are a decent kindly person and willnot allow your depression to prevent you from caring for the dog and the process of caring for the dog will help to sustain you.

MidAtlantic Pug Rescue has old pugs that need homes. I went over to their website to find an example and right on the front page was this horror story:


» More photos
Angel's angels are:
Angela Irby
Chandi Singer
Robin Bennett
Maitri Libellule
Mary Knapp
Liberty, Cecil, Darla and Spanky Zirkle
Kimberly Strader
Virginia Storey
Lynn Laravie
Angel

ON MEDICAL HOLD
My foster mom named me "Angel" because a fellow MAPR "rescue angel" guided her to me. I was released to mom by a breeder who cares more about selling pups than our health & well-being. I had my very last litter of pups 8 weeks ago and had to have a C-section. This is why the breeder decided she didn't want me anymore. They took my puppies from me when they were only 5 weeks old so they could sell them (my babies are very likely sitting in a pet store cage right now). I will be 7 years old this fall and I feel so lucky and grateful to finally be out of that miserable kennel. Mom said seeing me for the first time shattered her heart, but she kept her game face on and took me gently into her arms with dignity. The misery I suffered at this kennel was painfully plain to see as the breeder apologized and made excuses for my condition. Mom told the breeder she would make me well again and find me a good home where I will only know love, kindness, and live a comfortable retirement. During the ride home in the car, Mom spoke this same promise to me. I perked up my ears, tilted my head back and forth, and licked her fingers thru the crate in the backseat as she spoke to me. My condition is the worst Mom has ever fostered to this day. I have a long gaping infected wound under my right arm from getting my arm caught through my collar. No one at the kennel paid any attention and didn't help me get it off, so it stayed that way until the breeder caught me to take me to Mom. The wound looked and smelled horrible and I limp to protect it. I also have an ear infection, some bad teeth, and I am severely underweight (you can see/feel every bone in my little body). At this time, I weigh only 12 lbs. I will be spayed, have a dental, microchipped, and up-to-date on vaccinations when I'm healthier. In the meantime, my foster mom and rescue vet are taking great care of me. I am on strong antibiotics now for the embedded collar wound and have medicine for my ear infection. Mom had to syringe-feed me human baby-food and water because I wasn't interested in eating or drinking -- but now (only 2 days later) I am getting drinks from the bowl all by myself and this morning I ate a good portion of puppy chow coated with that yummy human baby-food---on my own! I'm such a good, sweet girl. I let Mom wash and treat my wound twice a day, dab on my vet-prescribed wound ointment, and I swallow my antibiotic without much trouble. I'm very timid and pace around in a submissive posture, but if Mom or Dad sits on the floor, I come over to them so that they can pet me and fondle my ears (I really love this!) ---sometimes I get so relaxed from it, I start to fall asleep.


And so on. Most dog rescue organizations will waive the adoption fee for a good low income adopter. Some even provide assistance with medical bills for people who agree to care for dogs that are unadoptable due to old age.

From my experience the hardest thing about depression is the way the depressed person's own thoughts can subvert the person's will. In his last years when sensory depreavation due to deafness and blindness brought depressin to my dad he drfew comfort and some measure of happpiness from caring for his two cats.

Anyway I wish you well and hope you can keep on fighting the good fight.

Gary: I second all the best wishes, and more particularly soo's advice. To which I add a couple of glosses:

(a) Depression does, as AndyK said, defend itself. One of the things that (in my experience) it hates above all is to be laughed at. This is actually pretty convenient, since even though it never feels the least bit funny at the time, it actually is, if you look at it in a certain mordant way. Thus: one way to do what soo said about the shower is to say to yourself: either I will get into the shower, now pouring away, or I won't. If I do, that's great. If not -- well, that's kind of funny in its own right. (Crucial, here, not to laugh at yourself. It's the situation.) I was once talking to a friend of mine whose particular most horrible thing ever was cleaning her apartment -- she hated it, the longer she didn't clean it the more overwhelming the task, you can see how this goes. I said: look, just set yourself the goal of cleaning one square inch every day. If you succeed, that's great; if not -- well, that's kind of funny too.

It hates to be laughed at. But it is pretty easy to laugh at, being so deadly serious about itself.

Also: the exercise thing is key. Walk around the block. Heck, walk up the street and back. If the gout kicks in, do something else. But there are a bunch of studies showing that exercise does in fact alter your brain chemistry in anti-depressive ways. And while I agree with everyone that antidepressants are good, and there are a lot of them now, exercise is good too, and a lot cheaper.

About the situational things: first, moving just is incredibly stressful. It doesn't make sense, they way it makes sense that e.g. divorce is stressful, but so much for the idea that we make sense. Second, a lot of depression isn't situational, though it often picks aspects of your situation to glom onto.

But third: the fact that it hasn't gone away now that your situation has changed does not, I think, show that it isn't situational. Sometimes your situation changes, and presto! your mood does too. But especially with long-standing issues, I find that my mind works differently. It's as though there are trails that I've worn in it, and it takes a while, sometimes a lot longer than I would want, for them to grow over and revert to wilderness when I no longer need them. It could be that something like that is going on here. Or it could not be situational at all. But I don't think that the fact that it hasn't changed yet settles the issue.

Most important of all, though: big hugs.

Gary: One of the most important ways mental illness gets destigmatized is that people like you have the courage to talk openly about it. You're providing a valuable, if poorly remunerated, service, among many other services you provide, and I'm admiringly grateful.

As for depression, been part of the way there, done some of that. One of my symptoms was a loss of interest in speaking and writing, which is a bother when you're in the middle of an English literature Ph.D. program. I never got the degree, and at 51 I can relate to coming to terms with what you'll never be. The big wrench comes when I sell off books I know I'll never read now. (As for "simple committed monogamous relationship," I think that may be one of those "pick two" situations. My committed monogamous relationships have never been simple. But that could be just me.)

Be strong.

"You're providing a valuable, if poorly remunerated, service, among many other services you provide, and I'm admiringly grateful."

Thanks, and for the subscription, but the email address you used for PayPal returns mail; if you could drop me a line with a working email address, I'd appreciate it. Thanks again!

Gary: done.

I feel like a big weight has been lifted off my chest. Given the responses to Gary's comments on this thread, I now feel free to admit to everyone here that I would run for President of the Worldwide Gary Farber Fan Club if there were such an organization. I guess I could just start the Worldwide Gary Farber Fan Club and appoint myself president. Okay ... done. Well, that was easy. Tough luck for the rest of you, not being president and all. And don't any of you smartasses try anything stupid like starting the Intergalactic Gary Farber Fan Club or the Five-Dimensional Extra-Universal Gary Farber Fan Club, or even the Independent West Trenton Gary Farber Fan Club.

(I don't know if this sort of thing helps, Gary, but there's a kernel of truth to it. It's my way of sheepishly expressing my high regard for you, which is all I can do in the face of the other great responses to you on this thread.)

Wow, one moment I'm trash-talking Cubs fans and otherwise having a light baseball conversation; I go away for the night and everything's taken a turn for the uber-serious.

Gary:

I'm going to second (third?) the suggestion of getting a pet. And I agree with the "no puppy." Find an older rescue dog -- but not TOO old, don't want to bum yourself out by losing a pet you just got attached to -- and as noted, there are plenty of rescue organizations that can help you find the dog with the right temperament. Walking the dog will get you out of the house, and the dog will always be happy to see you, no matter how crappy your day has been.

If rescuing a dog isn't an option, rescue a second cat. They're much lower-maintenance, and while they don't force you out of the house, the affection they give can really perk you up. I do recommend a male cat, however: in my experience, they're considerably more affectionate than female cats. And having two cats lets you watch cats play, which can really be oddly relaxing. Be warned, though: Cat #1 will probably be upset about cat #2 for the first few days. After that, they'll be inseparable.

Oh, and if you're worried about dogs and cats getting along, don't be. Snoop Dogg (the cat) takes naps on top of Mugsy (the dog) while he sleeps all the time. Does it with our other dog, too.

(Apologies if some of what I wrote was already addressed above -- I only had time to skim the thread, and may well have missed some details.)

john miller:

In '82, I was just at the age where I was starting to realize that the games actually counted for something, beyond just winning or losing that game. It was pretty heartbreaking.

In other news, I went to see a Huntsville Stars game last weekend (they're the Brewers' AA affiliate), and got Don Money's autograph. He's managing down there.

Brick Oven Bill:

I'll bite. No, wind can't provide all of our power, but it can provide a substantial chunk of it. The truth is that there's simply no one "silver bullet" solution. It has to be a combination of different power sources (wind, wave, solar, and where feasible, hydro, plus anything else that might be around the corner), as well as more stringent efficiency requirements.

I don't rule out nuclear, per se, but it has some serious drawbacks, including an obscenely high startup cost, a long startup time, the NIMBY problem, the waste problem, the security issue, and the part nobody really wants to talk about: a limited amount of usable nuclear fuel (unless you start talking weapons-grade, which introduces a whole host of issues).

If I were emperor for a day, we would subsidize wind and solar more than we currently do, pay for it with a carbon tax, and also subsidize retrofitting all existing coal power plants to modern efficiency and cleanliness standards.

If we made clean power our generation's Manhattan Project or Apollo Project, we could replace well over half our current coal use in the next decade. Probably without breaking much of a sweat.

Thanks to everyone again, and again my apologies for not feeling up to getting into individual responses to everyone.

A bit more info is that I'm staying in the small-attic-room-turned-into-bedroom of my non-committed/non-monagamous recently-acquired sweetie, in a house with her teen kids (one of whom, the 18-year-old, severely dislikes me and resents my presence, who is also the cat owner), and her other involvement (who dislikes me and my presence even more -- thus my allusion to strains unpacks a bit more), and while I'm paying a low rent, I don't have the right to bring my own animals into the house.

I do spend a good amount of time with the present kitty/cat.

"I don't know if this sort of thing helps, Gary"

It does a lot, actually, as do all the good wishes. It really does. It's too bad that it doesn't do as much good when an anxiety/panic attack strikes, or another attack of the self-hates, or the weepy despair, but in less bad times, it does very much. Thanks hugely to all. For various reasons, including you guys, today has been a much better day than most of this week.

Tgirsch says:

“…a limited amount of usable nuclear fuel”

http://www.roibal.net/blog/wp-content/uploads/2008/04/reverend_wright.jpg ">No no no Tgirsch!

While corn, gold, natural gas, and oil have tripled in price recently, Uranium prices are half of what they were a year ago. At $64/lb, the price of Uranium consists of only 0.2 cents per kilowatt-hour, compared with the 1.9 cents per kilowatt-hour subsidy alone T. Boone is getting for his windmills. 0.2 cents per kilowatt-hour is less than 5% of the operational cost of generating electricity.

If we choose to adopt breeder reactors, there is enough energy in the earth’s crust to meet our electricity needs for tens of thousands of years. http://www.americanenergyindependence.com/uranium.html#Deffeyes1 ">This is a really good paper on the subject.

Wind cannot power a modern economy because wind can stop for days at a time. You can spread windmills over a large region to average out the wind patterns, but only to a certain extent. Denmark is at 15% wind and is starting to have problems.

The future is nuclear power and electric railroads. Maybe tidal power will work out. When the time comes, NIMBY won’t be a problem. Some not-to-distant-future government will put power plants on federal lands and deport anybody who objects. Probably along with their families.

But I agree that there is a lot of work to be done to make the transition. I’m not sure that we can pull it off in an organized manner. That is one reason that I have a large garden.

Some not-to-distant-future government will put power plants on federal lands and deport anybody who objects. Probably along with their families.

BOB,

I just wanted to say thank you, for making me feel like a sunny optimist. Your comments are fun to read and usually leave me smiling, because I don't feel like such a gloomy gus after reading them, somebody else is carrying that load. And I really do mean that sincerely, not sarcastically. Thank you, and don't ever change.

De Nada ThatLeftTurnInABQ. I wrote that sober. And there’s beer in the fridge. It might get better still. You are a very insightful person by the way.

Gary,

I am an inveterate lurker for two reasons:
1. I am simply not on the intertubes enough to consistently contribute here.
2. I could never hope to bring the depth of both caring and persuasion that you, OCSteve and others bring to the table.

I just wanted to let you know how much I have always valued reading your thoughts, and what an essential part of my favorite intertube hangout you are.

P.S. -- heres another vote for ObWiCon.

"P.S. -- heres another vote for ObWiCon."

Thanks. I hope to get to some work on that in the second half of November.

My ratio of lurking-to-posting is about 99 to 1, but I would like to chime in with best wishes for Gary and Mrs. Dr. Ngo. And a yes vote for ObWiCon, too. Oh, and congrats to Anarch.

Speaking of windmills and NIMBY, this gives me an opportunity to poke fun at Ted Kennedy, which is my conservative duty, even though it's an old story. Best wishes for his health, too, though.

Gary -- the open thread is moving down the list, so I'd better give you at least a little bit of vicarious travel. I’m going to break it up into 2 or 3 comments.... Here’s the first:

People here at home have asked me what my one favorite thing was. It's a hard question to answer, but I say: for one single thing, it would have to be York Minster. For which part of the trip, it would be London itself, no question and no contest.

York Minster is grand and ancient and full of light. At the moment when I was there, there were two different choirs in different parts of the building, one rehearsing, one some kind of school group singing near the area where people come into the building. That's one of the kinds of places that always brings tears to my eyes, the tears I call "Johnny Tremaines" (my own private joke; maybe I'll explain someday). Everywhere we went, there are memories of war -- or wars, many many wars. This seems inescapable there, in a way that it is not inescapable here in New England. (Though I do have an impression that there is one war the memory of which is still inescapable in parts of the American South....) (I may get to go to Brussels this fall for work. It would be my first trip to continental Europe, and one of my goals is to see some of the WWI cemeteries that I should be able to get to pretty easily from Brussels. My grandfather fought in that one -- though he did come back alive and is buried (he died young) in Ohio. Music connects here: “The Band Played Waltzing Matilda”; “Willie McBride” -- if you’re a folk music fan. Is this interest morbid? I don’t think so, but I don’t really know what’s at the bottom of it. I think it’s a continuing attempt to come to terms with the reality of the fact that light and dark are inextricably mixed in human existence. “Help us to be the always hopeful gardeners of the spirit, who know that without darkness, nothing comes to birth, as without light, nothing flowers.” -- May Sarton)

As for London -- I am not a city person, but I would go back to London in a minute if I had a way to live there and just be part of it for a while. (A school year, maybe? But I'm a little past school age...) It's hard to pick a favorite thing in London, but the image that keeps coming to mind is of the morning we got up earlier than usual (not my best thing) and walked from an LSE dorm (just south of the Tate Modern) across the Millennium Bridge with St. Paul's in front of us the whole way. It was sunny -- as it was, surprisingly, almost the whole time we were in London. The Thames was peaceful, there weren't a lot of people out and about yet, some of the other bridges were of course in view, and the whole sweep of the city ahead of us. I have some pictures of St. Paul's from that approach, the last few of which are of a memorial to the firefighters during the Blitz: “heroes with dirty faces” (Churchill). Since my dad was a firefighter, I figured my family would take special pleasure in those pics.

(End of 1st installment.)

2nd installment:

Things I went inside:

-- Westminster Abbey: I had to see the poet’s corner no matter what, but I hadn’t realized how incredibly many people are buried or memorialized there -- Darwin being the one that most sticks in my mind after George Eliot, Wordsworth, Henry Irving (a Shaw connection).

-- Yorkshire Museum in York: It has cool stuff from Roman times onward, including http://www.middlehamonline.com/page4.htm>this pendant, which was familiar to me from seeing pictures when I was reading about Richard III years ago -- and which sits there in this quiet little museum, in a well-protected case, of course, but otherwise barely guarded -- I can’t imagine such an object being displayed with so little fanfare or security in the US.

-- The National Portrait Gallery: my favorite bit was a little collection of images of Ellen Terry, Irving’s theatrical partner and another character I know about mostly because of my interest in Shaw.

-- Edinburgh Castle: another high point, and if I wouldn’t go back to Edinburgh for any other reason, I’ll go back to the Castle if my son and I ever do our castle tour of the UK. I have some pictures of the cemetery for soldiers’ dogs. Little coincidence: there was fiddle music (which I love and used to play) in the Great Hall the day we were there. The music was brought to us by a group called “The Cape Breton Fiddlers”! Almost like a touch of home!

-- The National Gallery in Edinburgh: I’ve never studied art at all, so I am not an informed gallery-visitor. But I enjoyed a couple of hours here.

-- The British Museum: Aiy! The Reading Room was closed! Alas!!!!!! But I did see the Rosetta Stone and a few other things. I didn’t give it hardly any time, and I was also totally exhausted by the time I got there. So -- next time (she said optimistically).

-- Harrods: Yes, you read that right. Not to mention Harvey Nichols in both London and Edinburgh. (One of us is a shopper. It isn’t me.) We didn’t buy anything in these places except a few chocolates from Harrods Food Hall as a gift for someone at home. But one thing I got a kick out of was how happy all the attendants in Harrods were to see us. I smile even as I write this: I hate department stores; you always seem to have to walk through the make-up section to get anywhere else, and I don’t wear make-up, and walking through the cosmetics department always puts me back into a place where I wonder if I even belong on this planet. At Harrods I was kind of a faintly disreputable-looking American tourist with no money, and even so, these people were just as cheerful and happy to help me (find the bathroom) as they could be. That was impressive. Harvey Nichols was snootier. While my traveling companion used the bathroom there I saw a dress that I thought was just incredibly beautiful. Mind you, I haven’t worn a dress for 20 years and I expect never to wear one again in my life, and I wouldn’t have bought this one even if it hadn’t cost.......... $3000. (1460 pounds GBP.) !!!

-- This isn’t something we went inside, but we did catch the changing of the guard at Buckingham Palace. My favorite part was when two of the guards (important flag-carrying ones!) went over and spent a very long time talking with a group of fairly little kids that had been allowed inside the fence (I assume it was a school group, and that this happens all the time).

(End of 2nd installment.)

3rd and last installment:

Other than those specific visits, we walked and walked and walked and walked some more. Most of my images as I let memories bubble up are of neighborhoods we walked through...buildings from various approaches...many many languages being spoken. (Not that different from Harvard Square in that respect.) We had fun with restaurant customs during our few restaurant meals (they don’t bring the bill; in fact, rather pleasantly, they leave you alone while you eat; they either do “take-away” or eat-in, but often not both; when we asked to take the rest of the food home one night when we couldn’t remotely finish the meal, the waitress looked at us like we were Martians and said, very snooty, “We don’t do take-away; we don’t even have any containers” -- this, in a shabby-looking little café/tea room in York).

I always enjoy talking to people, so I had a lot of interesting conversations. (My daughter gets a little impatient with this....) Our last splurge, because we were walked ragged, was to take a cab to Heathrow. I couldn’t face another round of schlepping luggage onto and off of the Tube -- when we arrived it was evening, and the trains were pretty empty, but we had to get back out there in the middle of the day, with one more bag than we had had at the beginning. (Excuses, excuses, I know.) The cab driver had lived in London for 20 years but was originally from Morocco, and was about to go on vacation with his wife and four kids: a ferry/auto trip -- across the water to northern Spain, a drive to Gibraltar, another ferry, then Tangier, where his mother still lives. He spoke several languages and was incredibly fun to talk to. I was embarrassed not to be able to identify the little triangular flag, with a star on it, that he had hanging in his cab, that represented Morocco. Similarly, I had a conversation with a shopkeeper in Edinburgh who has his own little line of healthy snack foods called “Jordan Valley” -- he asked me where I thought he was from (aiy, why do people have to give quizzes!) and I guessed Jordan...Israel...Syria. Well, he was from Palestine. But he didn’t seem to hold it against me -- he offered me tea, which I declined, because we were heading out of Edinburgh at that point.

One thing that is always kind of a theme for me in England/Scotland (2 trips now) or Ireland (10 or 12 trips over the years) is old stone. With anything crafted, but especially stone (castles, stone circles, burial crypts, Stonehenge itself), I end up trying to remember/imagine, just a little bit, that the people who shaped the stone, or piled the stone (or wove the cloth or the baskets, or whatever) were...just folks. Someone’s neighbor, uncle, sister, cousin, with worries, hopes, aggravations, resources, struggles. That’s one of the big reasons I like to travel: it takes me out of myself in one way, but also takes me deeper into myself in another: in the “we’re all in this together, if only we would look at it that way” way.

I should have shuddered a bit about accuracy before posting. A couple of adjustments (it was written for Gary, after all :)

-- The link to "the pendant" is a web page that mentions "The Middleham Jewel" (which is the object in question) near the bottom. The picture doesn't do justice to the beauty of the sapphire, which is very very large.

-- It's "heroes with grimy faces" (not "dirty").

-- My knees and Achilles tendons hurt a lot, even with ibuprofen to take the edge off. That's my major excuse for spending an unconsciounable wad of money to take a cab to Heathrow. ;) It's also my excuse for not doing twice as much as I did! Ah, to be 30 again.

-- Off the trip topic: congrats to Anarch, and best wishes to Mrs. Ngo for a good recovery. And to Dr. Ngo in supporting her.

Grovel before Doctor Anarch! Grovel before him nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooow!

[I miss Giblets :( ]

I just wanted to say thank you, for making me feel like a sunny optimist. Your comments are fun to read and usually leave me smiling, because I don't feel like such a gloomy gus after reading them, somebody else is carrying that load.

I don't mean to dump on what was obviously a well-intended comment, but this has been bothering me all day.

I, too, enjoy reading Bill's posts. He's a funny guy, and often has something relevant, if not telling, to say.

Unfortunately he also believes that black people are inherently unable to participate as responsible actors in public life, for mysterious reasons that are somehow linked to the color of their skin. Their ethnicity has given them other talents, perhaps related to basketball and the bongo drums, but responsible, effective participation in public life, sadly, is not available to them. Because they're black.

If I misunderstand his opinion, I'm sure he'll set me straight. The floor is open.

Jews, likewise, suffer from a brain defect that prevents them from taking full advantage of their otherwise superior genetic endowment.

In short, Bill is a racist. Unfortunately, for me, that puts him on the other side of a line that is not negotiable, and which prevents me from sharing your happy opinion of his contributions.

I also find his fantasies of social dissolution offensive.

Members of my family, and my wife's family, going back a couple of generations, lived through poverty. By "poverty", I mean no shoes, send the kids to live with relatives because we can't afford to keep them poverty.

They were not unique in this. Many, many people in this country lived through similar circumstances.

In spite of the failure of the economy of that time, and of public institutions like banks, and of the government itself to effectively address the crisis until that damned commie Roosevelt came on the scene, the nation did not devolve into an anarchic stew of small landholders holding off the ravening hordes with firearms.

People helped each other out. It wasn't perfect, quite often things went south, but by and large people figured out ways to help each get through it.

That's called civil society.

If similar circumstances arise, I bet we can find it in ourselves to live up to the example our parents and grandparents set. If we can't, then we deserve to go down in flames.

In any case, BOB's potatoes and AK47 plan offers nothing of use to anyone other than himself.

I have no desire for BOB to be banned. I'm sure I'll find his next comment to be amusing. But beyond entertainment, I don't see that he brings anything of value to the table.

Just my two cents.

Thanks -

Russell: I don't see that he brings anything of value to the table

Well, he does, for me anyway. I look down-right moderate and reasonable by comparison. So – sorry B.O.B. – but that is true. I recognize something of myself in your comments, too much actually, and it makes me uncomfortable. Actuality, it makes me damned uncomfortable.

I’m not sure where to go with that – except to say that someone always has a bigger gun. If it comes to the point where I really need your potatoes – I won’t be coming with small arms…

While the open thread is still semi-alive, I'd like an explanation of something from one of the resident people on the other side of the fence.

Obama's Western Wall prayer was stolen and published. (I don't want to dignify the theft and promotion of a prayer by linking to it, but the prayer shouldn't be hard to find.) In it, he asks for protection for his family and himself and help guarding against pride, among other things. A very nice prayer that anyone could make.

Yet on the CNN story's comments, there were quite a few to the effect of, "Wow. Look at how arrogant this man is!" I really don't get this. Why in the world do some people think Obama is so arrogant? Why would a simple prayer make (or provide evidence to) anyone think he's the most egotistical being on the planet?

I know, for example, conspiracy theorists can take any evidence and fit it into their framework, but do we really need to put the 'Obama Haters' on the same level as the moon landing hoax people? If you disagree with his policies, fine. If you're a racist and won't vote for a black guy, that's not fine, but I get that (as much as anyone can 'get' racism). But thinking the guy's prayer to protect his family and to do God's will makes him arrogant?

(Of course I realize that there's a certain number of racists that are just using arrogance as an excuse. I'm curious about people who actually believe that this prayer reflects negatively on him.)

MeDrewNotYou: No idea from my perspective. IMO this is tabloid crap, like sitting in a tree with a 1600m lens and taking inappropriate pictures of him or his wife or kids in their own backyard.

Innapropriate, bad, really bad – full stop.

Grovel before Doctor Anarch! Grovel before him nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooow!

The inestimable Anarch's doctorate, if anyone is still wondering, will be in mathematics.

Not diplomacy.

But thinking the guy's prayer to protect his family and to do God's will makes him arrogant?

I suppose, in their narrow little minds, the idea of a black guy thinking he can do God's will is pretty arrogant.

BOB:

You've linked to an interesting site, but it's still too heavily focused on nuclear, IMO. Waste problems are real now, the NIMBY problem is real now, and the startup costs for nuclear are still far too high, for too much risk (IMO) and not enough upside.

As for the availability of nuclear fuel, notice what the site says:

With reprocessing of spent-fuel, advanced fast reactors will be able to get 60 to 100 times more energy out of uranium, extending the reserves to tens of thousands of years.

That "reprocessing of spent fuel" is the type of thing that make us really nervous when Iran and North Korea do it. So again, the security concerns there are not insignificant, along with the other concerns that I've already mentioned.

You keep talking about how wind can't do the entire job, and that's all well and good, but nobody here said that it could. In fact, I'm pretty sure I explicitly stated that there was no silver bullet solution, and it would have to be a combination of things. Why, lookie here:

The truth is that there's simply no one "silver bullet" solution. It has to be a combination of different power sources (wind, wave, solar, and where feasible, hydro, plus anything else that might be around the corner), as well as more stringent efficiency requirements.

Say, I like that guy. He seems kind of smart! :) [Too bad his baseball team blew it today.]

I will say, though, that in that list I missed geothermal and natural gas as other power options. Yes, I realize natural gas is not carbon-neutral, but it's preferable to coal and oil for a host of reasons, and doesn't suffer from some of the limitations of solar and wind.

I don't mean to dump on what was obviously a well-intended comment, but this has been bothering me all day.

russell,

I'm not sure if you were wanting an explanation for my comment directed to BOB, misinterpreting my comment as endorsement of his views, or just venting.

The short version is: he and I have views sufficiently incompatible that there is little to discuss apart from exchanging pleasantries. I see little or no evidence that the rest of you are making any headway getting him to change his mind about the things you mentioned in your comment, so rather than pound my head against that particular brick oven, I thought I would just wave and say "hi!".

My comment was really intended mainly as a sort of in-joke referring to the fact that I'm know I'm a pessimist because I think about what may happen and how we need to prepare to deal with what are basically 3-4 sigma events on the outer edge of the probability distribution of possible things that may happen, and BOB is worrying about 8-10 sigma events (wake me when the meteor hits).

From his reply, it seemed to me that my intended meaning got across reasonably well. If my comment was misunderstood as anything else, then I do apologize to everyone involved who may have been offended or misled.

tgirsch;

All I remember from the Brewers game I went to was the tailgate part. Then there were just lots and lots of people.

When people talk about metallic waste being stored underground they talk about corrosion of the caskets. Which may or may not be an issue is ten thousand years.

What these people do not mention is that in the same area, WE USED TO BLOW UP NUCLEAR BOMBS RIGHT ABOVE THE WATER TABLE AND PEOPLE ARE STILL LOOKING NORMAL IN BEATTY.

Go Badgers. Breeze Terrace was great.

Russell;

I read your comment and will reflect upon it.

I propose that we collect up some dollars and have a skylight put in for Gary, if that'd do any good. And if his current landlord would permit.

I don't have any sensible advice to give, but I think I can manage a heartfelt compliment. As it happens, someone beat me to it above-

"you provide such a high information-cum-rational-argument/noise ratio that in a just world you'd be on the editorial board of the Times or the Post."

The only problem with that is that it is far, far too kind to the people who write the editorials at the NYT (and presumably the Post, but I don't read the Post.)

Gary,

Get well! I hear you on turning to the blogosphere because the real world is a drag. Here's a GG Allin song that always cheers me up if it'll help.

Gary,
You may be soaking up some of the negative ambience in Raleigh. The attitudes of Jesse Helms had to come from somewhere. When he died they had to go back on the market so to speak. In a sense we may owe Jesse a debt of gratitude for sequestering that spiritual sludge in his own brain which let other souls continue unmolested. There is also the mystifying sense of humor displayed by persons with whom you have been forced to associate. Then there is the higher incidence of stroke that is being recognized in an area of the Southeast which includes your area. You may be acclimating to your surroundings, and it doesn't feel good. It shouldn't feel good. You're normal.

We're pulling for you Gary, but you've gotta pull back too! Even if you don't live close to anything try going for walks early in the mornings or late in the evening when you're able to. It's not going to be a climate controlled 74 degrees, but a little sweat never hurt anyone. The more you do it the more you'll get used to the temperatures and hopefully before you know it you'll be getting a little sunshine and regulating some of those hormone levels associated with it.

Incertus(Brian):

You've got the bragging rights for today, but we'll get you next time! *shakes fist*

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