You’re Email

yourIt’s bad enough that it’s winter and cold and dark and I’m stuck inside and my back is bugging me and I’ve got a major case of the seasonal blues.

The icing on today’s cake is the email from the ISP that supports my personal webpage. A large professional organization. (In point of fact, I’d give their support a C- rating at best, but the price is hard to argue with, and you get what you pay for.)

Were dommed I tales yu. “Literally” Dommed!

About Wyrd Smythe

The canonical fool on the hill watching the sunset and the rotation of the planet and thinking what he imagines are large thoughts. View all posts by Wyrd Smythe

61 responses to “You’re Email

  • rung2diotimasladder

    Don’t call me “email”! I’m an instant message.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Good one! 😄

      I mentioned to you recently I was going to post about some nice SF I’d read. That post is the previous one [points to the left]. I think you might quite like Galactic Bus! If you’ve ever read Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy or any of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld books (and liked them), you’d definitely like those Parke Godwin books.

  • Hariod Brawn

    Don’t you mean “there support”?

    • Wyrd Smythe

      ROFL! Yeah, I missed a bet there (their? they’re?).

      Grammar: Knowing your shit from you’re shit.

      • Hariod Brawn

        What are you going to do to cheer yourself up a bit? Not that you need to be cheerful, of course.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Mostly I hibernate until spring and I can open windows and go for walks. I curl up with old friends (books) and try to hang on the last shreds of my sanity.

      • Hariod Brawn

        Sanity is so very overrated; I learnt that from Nellie.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Indeed. There is madness that is exhilarating and is to be sought. There is also madness that is debilitating and that is not so much fun.

      • Hariod Brawn

        You’re (your?) sounding terribly serious about insanity W.S. – are you classifying depressive states as a form of madness? I can quite understand that they must feel like that whilst they endure.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Oh, I’m fairly sure I’m not clinical. There is still joy and laughter, so hope isn’t vanquished. It’s just that… well, the next signpost reads three-score, and somehow I’ve driven most of those miles alone. I feel like I’ve used myself up accomplishing that (meager accomplishment that it is). I’m tired, and I don’t like the way the world is going. There are too many days I ask myself why I bother to stick around. After a while, the stuff you can understand seems old hat and the things you’ll never understand… you’ll never understand because no one understands them. I just seem to have come to the end of my own road.

      • Hariod Brawn

        This will sound terribly facile, but do you sometimes wonder whether you over-think or excessively analyse things? I don’t mean to suggest specifics as I couldn’t possibly know what they might be, less still do I advocate any burying of the head in the sand and which wouldn’t be an option for you I know. I’ve known so many people who have set much store by their own past life-story and have perhaps ended up being trapped by it. What I’ve noticed is that it’s the failed volition that seems to impact most powerfully: this and that should have happened; or this and that can never happen. The distress seems to come only in the nagging comparison with the ideal that was not, or cannot, be realised. Do you feel there’s any truth in this general observation as regards yourself?

      • Wyrd Smythe

        “The distress seems to come only in the nagging comparison with the ideal that was not,…”

        I am largely without regrets concerning my past. I’ve never been one to spend much time looking backwards. I realized a while ago that I had — to a great extent — actually lived per the old Sinatra standard and done it “my way.” I’m comfortable with my choices, and the road is littered with enough successes to give me a sense of accomplishment. Some spectacular failures as well, but I’ve always believed in my reach exceeding my grasp and sometimes the best lessons are hard learned.

        “…or cannot, be realised.”

        That comes closer. Ships do sail, and trains do leave the station. I can never be a young husband or father. I’ll never watch the birth of my child. I’ll never spend years in a relationship until it fits like an old glove. Those doors are gone, but even here it’s not so much regret as the sense of isolation in yet more areas where my star seems to orbit so far from galactic center. It seems I’m always the “none of the above” guy… Beatles or Rolling Stones? (The Who) Chocolate-Chip or Oatmeal-Raisin? (Ginger-molasses.) Pepsi or Coke? (Dr. Pepper.) That list goes on and on, and sometimes it gets lonely always living so far out on the flats of the bell curve. (One thing I love about baseball is that it’s mainstream — that’s a real change for me.)

        Without the internet I’d think I was truly unique, but at least I do find others around the globe if not locally.

        “…do you sometimes wonder whether you over-think or excessively analyse things?”

        As with my (metaphorical) OCD, that seems reserved for (or subsumed by) my work (computer programming). In my personal life I’m a classic slob and a go-with-your-gut kinda guy with a warrior heart. On the Myers-Briggs, I’m INTP (if I recall correctly — maybe INTJ if not — but the INT_ is right). “Artist” is a label I self-apply; “scientist” is not.

        Analysis is important for logic and thought and knowledge, but life transcends it.

        No, for me it is not being able to turn to (a female) someone during a ballgame or good movie to share in that moment with someone who knows me well and wants to be there. Or to try new restaurants or go on vacations with. Hell, even grocery shopping is more fun when there’s two of you. I’ve tasted that enough to know what it’s like, but it’s been fleeting moments.

        Meh. It’s normally filed under “It is what it is” and that’s okay. Sometimes the weight of it is overwhelming, though.

      • Hariod Brawn

        I know a man who turns 69 next month and who last year hooked up with a woman of 28. He had known her casually for some 8 years. They now live happily together and are trying for a baby. This seems wrong on two levels to me: firstly, the woman is looking for a father figure which may not be the healthiest basis for their relationship; and secondly this man will be 90 when the kid (if it ever materialises) reaches college age. Nonetheless, it just goes to show once again that romance can happen at any age; though of course, one has to seek it out; and one has to be in a position where a relationship is viable practically speaking.

        Earlier, you said “After a while, the stuff you can understand seems old hat and the things you’ll never understand, you’ll never understand because no one understands them”. And a while later you said “Analysis is important for logic and thought and knowledge, but life transcends it.” Perhaps I misunderstand, but these two statements seem slightly at odds – in the first, you stress the paramountcy of knowledge acquisition and in the second it gets relegated. Coincidentally, the man I refer to just above is a college professor who had always been a voracious reader and knowledge-acquirer until about 4 years ago. Then it began to dawn on him that all this ‘knowledge’ was increasingly slipping away from him as the years progressed – either as it became redundant through new discoveries in the world, or because it became (as you say) ‘old hat’ (his Marxism for example), or simply due to his fading powers of memory. That was when he switched tack onto what you point to when you say “life transcends it.”

      • Wyrd Smythe

        You seem to have answered both your points, Hariod. 🙂 Fatherhood so late in life is a bit of an absurdity and a disservice to the child. It’s not something I can even conceive of wanting at this point. And, as with your college professor friend, the mind wearies.

        You are correct that, to even begin a relationship, one must seek it (or put oneself in a position to encounter it), and it must be viable. I counted them out at one point: the woman I finally married was #36 in a line of generally short-lived relationships. And no exception to the rule, the marriage was short-lived. And those three-dozen were the serious relationships. There’s an equal number that weren’t. Per the old Air Supply song, “I’m All Out Of Love” (after the dust of the divorce settled I was on Match-com for over a year, but closed the account when I realized I really had nothing to offer anymore).

        I don’t know that there’s really any dissonance between seeking knowledge and the understanding that (A) you can’t learn everything and (2) not all knowledge is accessible anyway (c.f. Cantor, Gödel, Turing, Heisenberg). One gathers the rosebuds one can.

        (For the record, I didn’t stress the primacy of knowledge acquisition, but that analysis and logic were its tools. I’ve never ranked it as #1. Actually, I think you just inspired an upcoming post. Many years ago (I have a text file dated 1988) I wrote a “Top Ten” list of favorite things in life. I just pulled it out to see if “Learning” was even on the list (it wasn’t). What’s interesting is how I view that list now, and therein may lie a post.)

      • Hariod Brawn

        Don’t make that “Top Ten” list of favourite things in life until you’ve tasted Innis & Gunn (original).

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Heh! That’s far too specific to fit into a Top Ten Favorite Things In Life category. No single food or beverage could possibly qualify. In fact, beverages, foods, cigars, sex and a number of other delights all fall under the second category. Here’s a preview to give you the flavor of the categories:

        1. Laughter — the thing I would most mourn its loss
        2. Sensuality — anything of the physical senses
        3. Water (on or in) — an ocean for preference

        Others on the list include: Teaching, Dogs, Being Outdoors, & Reading.

        Whereas if you asked me of my favorite food, I could reply: Mexican! If you asked about my favorite beer, I could reply: Ellie’s Brown Ale! (At least for now — that one changes over time, especially due to new discoveries. (I only discovered Ellie’s a few months ago.))

      • Hariod Brawn

        I really don’t know if I could find 10 things to put on a list, ridiculous though it may seem. I could think of many things, but their priority over each other would blur. I think ‘tranquillity’ would come top above all else by a long chalk. ‘Contentedness’ is too overarching a term to include I suppose – that would have to be everyone’s #1 whether they realised it or not. But tranquillity for me is something that makes life rich, vital and engaging, strange though that may sound. Laughter would make the list though; top 5 somewhere, certainly.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Yeah, the ranking can be the toughest part. I don’t take that part of it too seriously; I’ve never been a “#1 favorite X” kinda guy — it’s hard enough whittling it down to a Top Ten (or Five or Twenty-Five, depending on how many contestants there are)!

        Tranquility is a good one! In ages past it would not have made my list — I thrived on chaos and hustle then — but these days I do value it pretty highly. If I do write a post on it, the interesting thing will be comparing the 1988 list to today’s. It’s been over a decade since I did much on, or in, the water, so that one is probably no longer in the Top Ten.

        (I just realized my Raves page actually sort of is the current list, although Raves aren’t quite the same.)

        I often come at it from the other side, so to speak. Rather than trying to figure out the favorites, I try to figure out what isn’t on the list… whatever remains is.

  • dianasschwenk

    Aww that sucks Smitty! Hope you and your internet feel better soon!
    Diana xo

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Thanks. (Is it Spring, yet?) ((Is it at least Winter Solstice, yet?)) (((Drat!! Wish I was a bear and could just sleep through it!))) 🐻

      • dianasschwenk

        Oh I don’t know Smitty, we already sleep a third of our lives away!

      • Wyrd Smythe

        “To sleep: perchance to dream: Ay, there’s the rub!” ~some Danish guy 🙂

        I love my dreams! They’re like weird movies, but they’re always interesting. (Just last night I had a dream that my dog, Sam, was in. Unfortunately it was one of those you don’t remember until later, and by then it’s fading and seems just like a dream. The ones I remember and write down are always strange. You may recall two posts I wrote recording a couple I had. [here and here])

        To be honest, Lady Di, some days I wouldn’t mind staying in the dreams.

      • dianasschwenk

        I can’t remember them now, but there have been a couple of dreams that I have been sad to wake up from. ❤

      • Wyrd Smythe

        See? Sleep isn’t so bad! 🙂 I’ve had dreams I would have paid money to see in the theatre, but I get’m for free in my head! 😀

  • reocochran

    I cannot believe this, but I must. I am more and more upset at broadcasters and journalists who constantly make mistakes. I also worry about the shows where the actors read the lines that go, “Me and my daughter,” “My boss and me” and “You was …” I want to scream, but am silent since this is a never ending battle, my friend. Take care and thanks for getting me started! (Oh, and I do admit I make mistakes!)

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Yeah, it’s like a disease that keeps on spreading no matter how we try to disinfect it. What’s dismaying isn’t the error — since, as you say, everyone makes mistakes — but the apparent lack of concern (even disdain) people have for getting it right. People can get downright ornery if you point out the proper use of “their,” “there,” and “they’re” (or “your” and “you’re”). The hostility to correctness and precision is alarming.

      Nice point about “my boss and me.” My aunt once taught me a good way to get that right: remove the other party and see if it still sounds correct. “Alice and me went to a tea party,” becomes: “Me went to a tea party.”

  • Doobster418

    Their, they’re, WS. Don’t take it so seriously. Your going to give you’re self an ulcer.

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Ouch, that hurts my head like a hangover! o_O

      I know there is the idea of ‘not sweating the small stuff,’ and there is something to be said about that (certainly true when it comes to interacting with people). But another view is: if you can’t get the small stuff right, how can you be trusted to get the big stuff right?

      • Doobster418

        I agree. I am a stickler for that sort of thing and would have reacted the same way you did. It’s painful to see things like that from a commercial enterprise, where attention to detail is most often critical to business success.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Yes, exactly. If my ISP isn’t concerned enough about precision to get the subject of a mass email right — if they care so little about what all their customers think — what does that suggest about how they handle things that really do matter?

        (And, frankly, as I intimated in the post, indeed they do seem a bit casual and sloppy in other areas. On my TODO list is having to call their “helpline” (because their email support is non-existent) and have a conversation about why the site — my site — log files are created with permissions that don’t allow me to access them. Suffice to say I’m regretting the three-year contract that sticks me with them for 2+ more years.)

  • Wyrd Smythe

    If anyone is getting notifications about new comments here, don’t mind me, I’m just trying a new WordPress trick I just read about…

    :beer: :pizza: :birthday: :rose: :hamburger: :fries: :baseball:

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Nope, that’s a fail. Drat!

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Trying again:

      {deleted because the emoji data messes up the XML save file}

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Hariod: “Snow shoes?”

        I read that WordPress now supports the entire Twitter emoji set, so I was trying to see how it worked. The article links to a cheat sheet, so I was trying a few out. With limited success.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Hmmm… so the raw codes work if you cut-n-paste them, but the “colon names” (or whatever they’re called) don’t.

        Interesting, but the emojis are too small and the process too much of a pain.

      • Hariod Brawn

        I’m just blathering on about your wretched snow flakes again W.S. – wondering if you had an icon for them; don’t mind me old bean.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        I don’t know how much this helps, but if you set the focus to some other window, the snow in the blog’s window stops falling.

      • Hariod Brawn

        “Set the focus to some other window”

        Sorry, I don’t know what that means. o_O

      • Wyrd Smythe

        It does assume (1) you’re using a computer or laptop rather than a smart phone and (B) you’re using an operating system with windows. If so, the “focus” is the active window — usually some part of the frame is a different color than any others — often the entire top bar of the window. (One thing that bugs me about my current O/S is that the only difference between the active window and the others is that the “close window” [X] in the upper right is red-ish rather than clear-ish like the others.)

        So, to stop the snow, scroll the window to expose as much text as possible and then click to some other window (that won’t cover the one you’re reading). Once the blog window is no longer active, the snow freezes. I mean, it stops moving. 🙂

        Of course, you have to click back to the blog window to scroll new text into position, but if you click back to your other window, the snow stops falling again.

      • Hariod Brawn

        Oh yeah, making the snowy window inactive deactivates (duh!) the snow. It still doesn’t help when you’re composing a comment though. Virtually everyone seems to have the snow switched on currently; so roll on next year.

      • Wyrd Smythe

        On other blogs, I sometimes write my comment in a separate editor and then paste it into the comment box. I never liked those small boxes (plus I’ve got some macros in my editor that help with quoting and text formatting). Maybe that can get around the distraction of typing in a snowstorm!

      • Wyrd Smythe

        If you’re looking for a snow shoes emoji, there doesn’t seem to be one. {remainder deleted because the emoji data messes up the XML save file}

      • Wyrd Smythe

        And another thing: I quite agree with you that WP does disturbing things to the comment timeline when the blog author replies in their Comments “dashboard” rather than right on the page. This comment thread is a good case in point. The timeline is confusing unless one pays close attention to the timestamps.

      • Hariod Brawn

        Thanks W.S. – and yes, if I have a heavy-duty comment to make I might resort to doing it in M.S. Word then copying it to WP in any case. The snow isn’t quite as much of a distraction as I make out; I think it’s as much my aversion to companies doing ‘fun ideas’ as if to project the notion that they’re not solely interested in profits – a nauseating marketing trick which I think may have begun (here in England) when tobacco companies were banned from advertising cigarettes overtly.

      • Hariod Brawn

        There goes the chronological cock-up in the comments thread again. 🙄

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Yeah, the timeline gets odd. I suppose it’s just not much of a problem given the very short nature of most comment threads. I just go back to the old days of long-running online conversations — back when computers were kerosene-powered and we all walked to school twelve miles (uphill both directions) with bare feet in the snow. Did my homework with a lump of coal on the back of a shovel by the light of the fire…

        As for the snow, I suspect it’s less a corporate trick than a geeks response to a “cool” idea (pun not at all intended). It’s more a fascination with what tricks one can play with the technology. Web browsers have severe limits on what they can do, and some love exploring the possibilities of those limits.

        The snow trick actually goes back many years to the earlier days of web pages that had clouds of whatevers (bees, angels, balls, etc.) that followed (or in some fashion reacted to) your mouse movements. Depending on the exact nature of the trick it was either cute or really annoying.

        So I can appreciate your annoyance, however strong or mild it may be, but WP (I suspect) is more run by geeks than by corporate overlords, and they just think it’s a “fun idea” not a marketing trick. (Or maybe it’s just me looking for a good spin and trying to assume the best… I have days like that.)

  • siriusbizinus

    I am sorry to here your having a case of the seasonal blues. Eye red in another comment that your cure is to reed old books. Do ewe reed any in particular?

    (Sorry for the silly first post, but I couldn’t help myself after your “Dommed” statement! I followed you here from Doobster’s blog. I wish you the best in fighting the blues!)

    • Wyrd Smythe

      Thanks and thanks for dropping by and commenting! Silly is good! For the sorts of things I read (lots of SF, some technical stuff), see previous post.

      Your comment reminded me of a great poem called I Have A Spelling Checker:

      I have a spelling checker.
      It came with my PC.
      It plane lee marks four my revue
      Miss steaks aye can knot see.

      Eye ran this poem threw it.
      Your sure real glad two no.
      Its very polished in its weigh,
      My checker tolled me sew.

      [full poem]

  • SelfAwarePatterns

    LOLS! I have to admit that I had to stare at your image for a while to understand what was bothering you. (Obviously I’m not the most detailed oriented person when it comes to grammar. I’m very lucky that modern editors constantly point out my errors.)

    Take care of that back. On seasonal blues, don’t know what the weather is like for you, but I’ve found walks during the day help a lot (I often walk at lunch).

    • Wyrd Smythe

      It’s been cloudy and below freezing for weeks. At least most of the sidewalks are clear now, so walks are a possibility. The walks also help the back, so I’m looking forward to getting back out there (their? they’re?).

      Grammar Rules: They’re there for their purpose. :\

  • ~ Sadie ~

    WS – I get those seasonal blues myself occasionally, but I live in Southeast Texas & it may be freezing and raining for 2 weeks, and then hit the 80s the next day – life is always an adventure around here. I also very much walk to the beat of my own drummer – Stones AND Beatles AND many others, peanut butter cookies, Dr. Pepper. I don’t believe you’ve come to the end of your own road – just a invisible fork . . . and we’re never to old for adventure, but you have to be open to it – look for the open doors & windows, feel the breeze if you can’t see them 😉 Here’s to brighter days & thoughts ahead!!

    • ~ Sadie ~

      Oh yeah – pet peeve of mine when businesses can’t spell simple words or employ simple grammar!!!

    • Wyrd Smythe

      I have many fond memories of various visits to Texas — especially the Tex-Mex (which I’ve been told was invented by a Texas rancher (or his cook?) to feed his ranch hands). Friends I’ve visited there have taken me to the great places tourists never find out about.

      Sadly, the future may hold some extreme unpleasantness weather-wise. I know there are folks down that way already suffering from drought, and it’s expected to get worse. (So stop being so insufferably cheery! Can’t you see we’re all dommed?! 😄 😄 😄 )

      You’re right about adventure, and I’ve had my share of it — traveled, explored, seen and done things, jumped out of airplanes — now I’d rather sit in a nice rocking chair on the porch, hold someones hand and watch the world go by. All I need is a porch, a rocking chair and someones hand, and I’m set!

      Here’s an idea. There’s too many people in the world today, right? What if we made Persistent Public Misspelling a capital crime? We could thin the herd, and who wants people who persistently misspell around anyway? I agree we should only jail those guilty of Gratuitous Grammar Generation, but those PPM offenders? They gotta go! 😐

      • ~ Sadie ~

        Totally laughing right now!!! And WS – I think when you least expect it, you could find that hand . . . that’s usually how it happens . . .porch & rocking chair are the easy part 😉 (And YES, I know we are all doomed 😉 , but until then . . . most days I make the best out of my lot in life, what else can I do when life is lemons, I figure out how to add them to my tequila!!) Always good to hear from you!!

      • Wyrd Smythe

        Oh,… “doomed”… Well, that’s much worse! I’ve been wondering what was so awful about a big dome! :/

        True about hands. When I think of all the ones I’ve held, many of the best have turned up from unexpected directions.

  • E.D.

    i see the forum is in great gear again. I must come back to read those comments – never seen so many before. Winter is a difficult time at best, and as we age, even worse – the cold always gets to me and the damp. Why was i not born into a warmer climate!!!!! Eve

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