Last night I picked up Leah from Cracker Barrel in Mount Holly. One nice thing about the errand was starting my drive from Toms River around 6:15 in the evening and watching the sunset as I headed west on Route 70. At one point night had completely arrived in the pine barrens while the sky was split between gold in the west and varying shades of blue higher in the sky as night progressed across the Earth. The contrast between the light sky turned all the trees, branches, and leaves into two dimensional silhouettes making for a lovely visual. By the time I reached the third traffic circle along this route night finally settled in.

Driving home with Leah was fine. Halfway through the drive I started talking and became self-conscious because I was afraid she'd tell me to shut up or roll her eyes at me for being boring and not talking about stuff 'normal' people would understand. Rather she listened to me, only interrupted to talk to me about what she has learned about attachment styles and seemed to get distracted when I brought up how two online personality quizzes determined my Dungeons & Dragons alignment as being Lawful Neutral.
In retrospect I anticipated being shut down or ignored because that was the script when we were together. Still I felt like an emotionless android talking to her and, in the back of my mind, figured I'll probably be that way for the rest of my life. Whether it's to protect my sanity or avoid being hurt by others.

She acknowledged something I posted in an Instagram story in the past week.

a screenshot of a thread from tumblr. katevictoriax writes boys need to be cuddled more. put his head in your lap or on your chest. stroke his hair, scratch his back lightly with your nails, rub his shoulders, kiss him on the top of his head. anytime, not just when he's feeling down or trying to fall asleep. pinjauski responds, when i did this to my boyfriend for the first time he almost started crying because no one had ever done something similar to him before. and i think that is awfully sad.

After Leah acknowledged that sentiment, she reached over and rubbed my right shoulder but it wasn't the same. She wasn't my life. Leah is not interested in me with a capital M. This was more friendly than intimate. Plus I was driving and couldn't relax.

Twenty five dollars and three cents later, Leah put gas in my car which was awfully kind of her. Dropped her off, carried her bags inside, and headed back to the 'hood.

Coming in my room I discovered something had gone horribly wrong. Something stunk like death and old socks and I couldn't figure out the source at first. Took out my garbage and recycle, nothing really changed, then remembered the plant.

The plant???

Leah has a Crassula ovata 'Gollum' plant and, during the week she was in South Carolina, I plucked four leaves in hopes at least one would become a new plant. Found a plastic pot, filled it with desert mix soil with a lot of blood meal. Maybe too much. I soaked the dirt through-and-through with water then put in the leaves so they could do their thing. I brought the pot home on Thursday evening.

The soil was still wet and I discovered the pot was resting on my window curtains. Through the magic of capillary action, the stinky and blood-tainted fluid sank into the curtains and began to stink. So after writing for the fortean website, I hoofed it to Walmart for new curtains and picked up a few essential items to boot. Ibuprofen, vitamin D3, a soap dish for the shower, and Pirouette chocolate hazelnut cookie sticks. Now that I have replaced the old curtains the room smells a whole lot better. One thing's for certain is I am relieved I took care of it and the culprit wasn't my own bad hygiene.

Besides that, I watched a video about some Vietnamese kids building a homegrown Bugatti out of clay. Yeah, okay that's neat but I was struck by the sight of the Vietnamese flag which is a red field with a yellow star. Really fucking simple design but I thought the play of color, coupled with its simplicity, was genius in a vexillological context. Another fine example of flag design is New Mexico's state flag which is a yellow field with a red sun symbol of the Zia people smack-dab in the center.

As for examples of awful flags, take a look at New Jersey's flag or Georgia's state flag. The former is just boring, complicated, and unmemorable. The latter is complicated, poorly designed, and harkens back to them being a Confederate state.

Anyway this made me think about Esperanto's flag, a green field with a white canton bearing a single five-pointed green star. It'd be nice to do a pastiche of the Vietnamese flag except it's a white star on a green field or a green star on a white field. Thing is a white field would imply 'surrender' which is not a good thing for a language intended to promote peace. A green field with a white star would be okay, depending on the choice of green utilized, except a green star is a symbol of Esperanto.
Not a white star.
Also a green star on a green field would be futile since Libya, under the Gadaffi regime, had a plain green flag.
I thought about the Esperanto flag being a green field but a white star in the upper corner near the flag's heading. While boring, the white star not being front-and-center would make the eye move across the flag. Since, in my opinion, green and white are not a good combination of colors it's important to make the flag more visually interesting and why not through placement of the star?

Also I ruminated upon my ability to concentrate. It's easy to blame smartphones for being a blender for my attention span, but I haven't the foggiest clue as to if they are truly to blame. Whether by amplifying my ability to become distracted through dependence on dopamine/serotonin rushes, or the hand-eye combination has made these black, handheld gadgets vitally important to survive in the 21st century. Then I wondered if this is the same reasoning used by abused spouses who won't leave their partners by thinking, "It's me, it can't be them!"
What precipitated this line of thinking was my friend Henry in Ohio. He put a lot of work into designing icons for media on his computer and those icons look really good. I remembered back in the very late 90's and early aughts where I'd sweat and pore over my html to ensure heptapod.org looked good. Heck, I would try and revise it once a year.
Reckon I stil have this capacity. For example there's the astronomy club newsletter which was my labor of love between 2015 and 2021. Must've revised the newsletter's layout three or four times. Also I still remember sometime last year when I posted a link to my archives of the astronomy club newsletter to Twitter and how my friend Tim in Massachusetts remarked upon the quality of the final product and he expected some dinky typed-up nonsense from 1970.

Here's hoping I can recapture that magic again in another pursuit, or in more avocations relevant to my well-being.

an old dream from 10/15/2011

Woke up at 5 a.m. to write for the paranormal blog. Walked the dog we are dogsitting twice and came in to finish up my writing. Around eight it was time to head back to bed for more shuteye since I have yardwork ahead of me. If I don't get it done, my bitch wife will bitch at me because she says I'm sliding back into depression that had me hospitalized in August. I'm not the one staying on a couch for 8 hours at a stretch watching reruns of awful television that were barely broadcast in the 21st century.

The dream began where I was living in a house similar to my own in waking life. Instead of just having a detached garage there's a whole detached apartment. I was living the idealized life of a writer where I was able to write, do chores, nap then write again as the need struck me. I woke in the guest house after the garage had been laminated for varying strange reasons. I went into the garage and discovered a series of spiral staircases going down to a basement party room with very 60's decor. When I reached the bottom I was struck by the sight of not being underground. I was in a gazebo on the other side of town. Looking up I could see the garage through the roof. Clambered outside and there was nothing over the gazebo's red roof. Ran around a few times trying to find evidence of visible strangeness on the outside to no avail. In the neighborhood I saw a university library butted up against its glassed-in walls. Back in the gazebo I traced the inside, the stairs were along the walls and very thin.

Back upstairs I took a second look, the effect was still there and realized I had a scoop. Kept thinking about how to contact the guys at the paranormal blog and post it before anyone else knows about it. I found a few people, encouraged them to climb down and tell me what they saw so I'm not the only crackpot. I squeezed down again and the place was alive with people marvelling at the basement defying physical laws.

Someone hired caterers who were serving waffle cookies dipped in chocolate which were the most awesome things in the world to eat. I found a hidden middle floor with lots of hot foods behind metal lids. I stirred back into the waking world thinking that was a very vivid dream.

Eat me, this is a first draft. Yeah, I know the second and final won't be much better. LOL

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