Machination Log 180810 - Waking up
Welcome to episode one of the rest of my life.
I woke up today. It wasn’t light out. I would have patted myself on the back for this subconscious achievement, but I was lying on it at the time. I kept lying on it until it was light out, trying to remember what I wanted to do today when I woke up. I don’t think it was to wonder what I wanted to do, though I wouldn’t put it past me. People give me a hard time about giving them a hard time, but they only have to put up with me once or twice a week. They don’t even live here, except Matt, who had to change his name just to do so and is changing it back now that he can leave.
I shift over to the left-hand side of the mattress and look at the Table: a 2 by 4 foot plank of fiberboard I fastened to the wall a couple weeks ago while bathing in reverence of my most recent daily work regimen. The schema in question had been functioning for 6 consecutive days at that point, and when a structure in my life lasts 6 days, rest assured: it can be counted on to last for at least 6 days. This, sadly, turned out to be one of those least times. Now I have a table fastened to my wall, at an ergonomic 5 degree decline. It’s nice, but it never served its original purpose. I recognized a organizational pattern in my life and tried to physically capture it with wood. I didn’t fail but instead succeeded at the wrong time, which sounds like something a failure would say to make themselves feel better. In case in you were wondering: yes, I do feel better. Not because of this rationalization and not even because I’ve gorged myself on poisonous trash the past few days.
I’m in a good mood because I’m prepared to talk about myself again. This is abject narcissism from a base angle, granted, but the world outside these bones has yet to give me an identity I can use. I didn’t see someone in a fursuit one day and become a furry: I saw someone in a fursuit one day and spent the next 9 days in a nauseous coma reassembling my sense of humanity, the result of which was furriness. I’ve been playing video gaems nearly my whole life, hundreds of them, and will hesitate to say I like them (let alone call myself a “gamer”). Ask anyone who knew me in high school if playing the trombone for 7 years made me a band kid. I don’t absorb culture. It can sock me in the face, but it doesn’t soak into my skin. It’s easy to blame this on whatever new name the mild kind of autism I have will be called in the DSM-6, so let’s just do that and keep moving.
I remember that talking about myself in this fashion is the thing I wanted to do when I woke up, and so I get up [these two states of upness rarely occur in the same hour]. I walk up to the Table and slowly rest both palms on it. I slide the index cards on it around. Each bears a terse description of a midterm objective, with date stamps indicating days I’ve worked on them. None of them are stamped from the past week (I really liked that regimen). The oldest card says Happy: an essay which might get done here someday. There are three cards with book titles scrawled on them: Confessions of an Economic Hitman, Moby Dick, and Stories from your Life. I don’t even know what the last one is about, but it’s a library book so time is surely ticking. I told someone at a party not long ago that I don’t read books and immediately started doing so. Having just admitted this publicly, I expect I’ll stop again. One card reads across the top:
Badge bag / Bags / Fannypack CJE
The slashes separate evolving end goals for a container that isn’t as cumbersome as a backpack—one that doesn’t transgress into tier 2 in a 4-tier mobility ranking system I created for gauging such things. It goes:
1. Pockets – doesn’t need to be removed to sit.
2. Baggage – doesn’t require hands.
3. Luggage – maneuverable.
4. Storage – non-maneuverable.
I tried so hard to make “Pockets” into a 7-letter verbal noun with a matching suffix. Postage? Message? Package? Nothing so perfect as to bag, lug, or store seems to describe what one does with form-fitting containers.
The fanny pack / utility belt are the final frontier in ultramobile carriage [FUCK....carriage! It’s 8 letters, though] and I’ve been experimenting with designs.
The C, J and E are initials in two separate productivity heuristics. Positive psychology founder and 7 child-haver Martin Seligman swears by both the VIA character strengths survey and a five-point well-being chart acronymized as PERMA. You’re supposed to try to use your top five strengths identified in the VIA survey in everyday activities. My 5 are:
Love of learning
Appreciation of Beauty and Excellence [barf]
The first three tasks I applied my strengths to upon learning them were to
1. collapse Curiosity and Love of learning together into a single concept
2. collapse Judgment and Appreciation into a single concept
3. identify a strong contingent in items 6 to 9 identified as “love”, “forgiveness”, and “kindness”, creating a new fourth strength under the three cardinal ones to bring me closer to the recommended five.
I started marking my index cards with the initials C (creativity), J (judgment), L (learning), and K (kindness because L for love was taken by apparently more important things) to know which strengths the indicated activities rely on. I did that for about 3 days. I also marked them with PERMA (by the grace of God those letters weren’t taken) for about 1 day before I abandoned that, for reasons I might discuss in a later chapter.
[Coming as a surprise to no one, my bottom 5 VIA character traits are teamwork, hope, spirituality, perseverance, and humility]
I move two red six-sided dice across two other index cards, indicating what dietary and productive guidelines I should follow today based on what happened the day before. Both cards are masterpieces of elegant flowcharting if may be allowed to exercise my greatest weakness, forged iteratively over the course of three hours yesterday. More of that time went into how to visually represent the stages on the card than into the systems themselves. I would explain how they work, but there’s absolutely no way I’ll be using them by tomorrow. Today’s a fasting day according to the chart, and I woke up knowing how I plan to subvert that. The productivity chart says I’m supposed to lay back today and take a breather; I give that until 9. a.m.
I put beans in my Instant Pot and hope I don’t forget about them. A stray memory hits me of Nicole asking about my experience with the Instant Pot. It has a curious cult following; many Japanese appliances do, such as the Nintendo Gamecube (a tiny disc console what’s got a handle that continues to shape the lives of several of my friends) and the Hitachi Magic Wand (a vibrator so good at sex stuff that no one can name another product this 82 billion dollar company sells besides accessories for their vibrator). I tell her that the Instant Pot seems like a mostly functional pressure cooker and that my only real problem with it is forgetting about things I put in it, which reminds me that I forgot about the beans I put in there five hours ago now. And now I’m here typing this.
All this is to say that this is the first episode of Machination Log season 4. Yes, season 4 started a while ago. Don’t worry about all that. This is your life now. And mine.
Good morning, everyone.