At the back of the hill

Warning: If you stay here long enough you will gain weight! Grazing here strongly suggests that you are either omnivorous, or a glutton. And you might like cheese-doodles.
BTW: I'm presently searching for another person who likes cheese-doodles.
Please form a caseophilic line to the right. Thank you.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010


When someone is going through a mood talking to them can be beneficial. Even if there is not much you can say. Simply engaging their mind and distracting it is a good thing.

I've noticed, over the past few months, that I sometimes lapse into a funk in which my awareness of external stimuli fades out. I don't really hear what's going on around me, my vision-field narrows to a tunnel with darkened walls.
Usually the same sentences start to repeat inside my head.

[Don't worry! I'm not hearing voices or going crazy, I'm just rhetorically beating myself up. I'm simply far far better at it than you could possibly imagine! It's both a talent and a well-honed skill.]

Sometimes this lasts for a few hours.
When Savage Kitten notices it, she asks if there is anything that she can do.
There isn't. What would help is something I cannot and will not ask.
Nor will I discuss it with her.

[Note: Savage Kitten is rather oblivious to moods and body language. It's an Asperger trait of hers which has worked against me in the past. Now I'm actually rather glad of it.]

I have too much respect for her, and this is just something personal.
It's far too late in any case.
But her conversation is often enough to get me out of it.

It is far better to hear other people's voices than one's own.

Problem is, in the middle of the night there are NO places where one can go to let the background noise distract one - sane people just don't populate the darkness.

[On the other hand, in the wee hours a far broader spectrumof entertaining and instructive San Francisco "eccentricity" is visible in the alleyways and dark corners. Don't these folks have coffins to go back to?]

It used to be that doing math, or figuring out the calendar several months in advance, or something similar, would be enough to still the brain to the point where sleep would follow.
That no longer always works. I've figured out the date of every Saturday through 2035 and beyond, in sequence, several nights a week, for the past few weeks.
I've also done full three-D technical drawings in my head for several hundred variations of book cases, storage chests, winding stairways. With cut-away views, specifications of materials, inlay patterns. And the exact placement of screws.

I think I'll try mentally practice Chinese calligraphy in my mind next. Rememorizing the Tang and Sung poems ought to be splendid exercise. Chancellory script.
Or siu syuen (小篆).
Should keep me busy for a while.

After that, Breero, Gerard van den Reve, and Jean-Pierre Rawie.
Insular half-uncial, I think.

Years ago I returned to the United States to get an education.
Eh, I'm still working on it.

NOTE: Readers may contact me directly:
All correspondence will be kept in confidence.

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  • At 12:30 PM, Blogger Tzipporah said…

    Bad Cohen had a biography of Bach - or maybe it was Beethoven? that was guaranteed to do the trick for anyone, music lover or not, within about 20 minutes.

    Have you tried reading Ulysses?

  • At 12:42 PM, Blogger The back of the hill said…


    I’ve read Ulysses. Twice. Both times when I still lived in Berkeley. Reading just doesn’t put me to sleep at all – years ago I started collecting foreign language dictionaries, and various reference books, to aid me in falling asleep. I ended up inventing a game called "spot the Arabic and Persian Borrowings in Indian or Central Asian Languages (or other 'Islamic' tongues)" – great entertainment. You discover many more of them if you go through the dictionary of Chagatai or Bengali several times.
    Read the Nederlands Etymologisch Woordenboek from cover to cover several times too. What words are cognate with Anglo-Saxon? Old Norse? Proto Indo-European? Related to Sanskrit?

    Remembrance of Things Past is always vastly intriguing, until it becomes vastly infuriating.

    Reading is just too stimulating. And I start taking notes. Then end up grabbing one of my other notebooks to search for something I wrote down years ago ..... it seemed important at the time ..... was it about verbs? ..... surely Monty Python’s "All The Words" has it ..... haven't looked at that textbook on Electronic Drafting in while ......

  • At 12:46 PM, Blogger The back of the hill said…

    Finally got to sleep just before four AM. Guess who got up at five thirty? And by softly padding past inadvertently woke me up.

    Got nearly two more hours after that. Then a steaming cup of strong coffee magically appeared on the bed-side table.......


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