Follower Analysis…and Some Hotdogs

I wish to talk today about a milestone. My first ENTRY in this blog was July 1st, twenty ought oh nine. On the 30th day of May, twenty ought eighteen, I got my 100th follower. I thought it might be time for some “analytics” as the captains of e-commerce like to say (to me, they’ll always be “statistics”).

The numbers below that you will contemplate shortly after I finish this statement, are a data hotdog – it’s comprised of this and that to form a deliciously fulfilling tube of meaning. The “parts” I’ve so revivified include – time, number of posts and number of followers. Each factor represents an obscure part of an animal that can’t survive cuisinically (why not?) by itself. Like a butcher of information, I will grind these ingredients together, and produce…

Listen, I like this analogy, but I’m ready to get on with the data processing. To that end –

VARIABLE #1 – TIME:
It’s been 8.8 years, or 465 weeks, or 3,255 days, or 78,120 hours since July 1st, 2009. One or all may be used to represent time in my calculations. Therefore, I’ve decided to call any variable dealing with time, “TIME”.

VARIABLE #2 – LABOR:

You are reading my 200th published entry. That is, it wasn’t published at the time of the 100th follower. Therefore, I put in 199 posts worth of toil. Moreover, I estimate my total word count to be in the neighborhood of 85,291, by adding the word counts of every 19th -20th post and averaging it. That average came out to 428.6 words per post.

VARIABLE #3 – FOLLOWERS:
I have 100 loyal readers. That can be construed in many ways – such as 200 pinky toes connected to 100 brains that enjoy stimulating content. Or 93 or so appendices occupying space inside 93 or so of my readers. This assumes that my followers are consistent with the statistic mentioned HERE reporting that 7 percent of the population experiences an appendicitis at some point.

I feel like I’m flagrantly digressing. Getting back to the point – as a function of TIME (t), FOLLOWERS (f) increases at a rate of about 3.1% of a new follower everyday or a new follower every 32 or 33 days. I think of it like earning followers piece by piece, by this time tomorrow I will have earned a foot or perhaps a hand and forearm of some lucky reader.

As a function of LABOR (l), I gain one follower for every 1.99 posts. At a fitting rate of 199/3255 (I move so very slowly) – one post every 16 days.

Using my word count estimate of 85,291 – that’s 100/85,291 or .12% (.1172%) of a follower for every word, or one follower for every 852.91 words.

Application: up to and including HERE, there are 466 words or about 466 x 0.1172% = 0.546152 (55%) of one new follower. In more practical terms, I only need to write ~387 more words or work 83% as hard to gain a complete follower. At my current rate, such a task would take 85,291 words/3,255 days = 26.2 words/day. Three-hundred-eighty-seven (I can’t start a sentence with a number, so unsightly) more words divided by 26.2 words/day = 14.77 days. Thing is, I’ve written 77 more words already and I’m not done, so this post might earn me 1.4 or even (dare I say it?) 1.75 more followers!

In short, (f)=0.001172l, where l=t/0.038163. Thus, assuming everything remains constant, a period of say, 214 days (π x 100) would result in 214 days/0. 038163 = 5,607.526 words, netting me 0.001172 x 5,607.526 = 6 full bodied followers, the torso and part of the hips from another (6.57).

Inferences: like any blogger, one of my goals is to reach as many whole people as possible. Based on the numbers, reaching my next milestone – 1,000 followers, gaining 900 more – would take 29,306.058 days. If there is no change in the time I commit to blogging, that will take about 80 years (29,306.058 days)/ 0. 038163 or 767,918.45 words. In 80 years, I’ll be 117 years old. I’m not going to bet on living that long – I don’t think blogging would be high on my priority list anyway.

Listen, I transposed the 5s and 2 in the number of days figure (3,255 became 3,522). I’ve just spent an afternoon not only correcting those figures but editing the portion above “Application: up to and including HERE, there are 466 words…” so it stayed at 466 words, lest I recalculate the figures. That said, I don’t want to fade this post out gracefully; I’m hungry, I’m just abruptly halting now to go eat…a hotdog sounds good.

—–

One more thing. there are 779 words above the line, this post should snag me 779 x .001172 = .913 or 91% of a new follower. Assuming this individual is a female of average weight (168.5lbs), that’s 153.335lbs of follower. For the average dude, weighing in at 195.7lbs on average, that’s 178.07lbs of flesh that will soon receive an email every time a spin a yarn.

In closing, I’d just like to point out that the numbers listed above, notably the near 800,000 words and ~30,000 days, as big and unwieldy as they seem, are perfectly rational to me. If you’re like me, you feel belittled when some fatcat starts spouting off about Apple being worth 40 kajillion dollars or that Trump paid $17 million for this or that trivial thing. When used in this way, numbers are meaningless – merely a device for the bourgeoisie to show the proletariat how high they can count. I don’t see the numbers in this post as numbers, but as little pebbles I can collect to someday make a mountain of meaning. Won’t you be one of my pebbles?

Webp.net-gifmaker

FIN

@JarrettLWilson

Social Dysfunction and Mass Shooting

For the content below, I reference THIS post.

I’m not sure why I thought that data collection for this project would be a walk in the park, but the more information I gather, the more I realize that I have even more to gather. Let’s say I start researching how a shooter got his guns (of the 10 or so shootings I’ve researched on that parameter, 100% of the firearms were obtained legally, with a majority doing so despite a record that should have prevented the sale).

 

Big digression, sorry. I’ll start looking for how they got guns and see something about exposure to domestic violence. Then I’ll remember a blurb about so and so watching his mom get beat up, so I’ll add that variable.

 

All told, this dataset contains 20 (as I count them) variables, including –

three demographic measures (it’s been a while since grad school – some of these might not belong to “demographics”). These are the “invariable variables” – the shooter was stuck with these upon being born –

  • Location (state)
  • Date of birth
  • Race

 

Six components that the shooter had some control of –

  • Specific location of shooting
  • Date of shooting/age
  • Graduation date
  • Death toll
  • Injured toll
  • Status of shooter (suicide, KIA, or captured)

 

Three variables of what I will call “life experience”

  • Military status
  • Relationship with the father
  • Exposure to domestic violence

 

Seven dealing with guns

  • Shooter use of AR-15
  • Shooter use of an automatic weapon
  • Shooter use of handguns
  • Shooter use of other semi-automatic
  • Any other weapons
  • Total number of weapons
  • Legality of gun acquisition.

Diagnosed and/or suspected mental and social disorders.

I’m jumping the gun here when I report that, of seven of the more recent shootings, at least four had either been diagnosed or been suspected of having some disorder on the autism spectrum (including Asperger’s). Compare that to one out of every 68 kids in the US are diagnosed with Autism Spectrum Disorder. My methods and results are far from conclusive, but warrant a closer look, in my opinion. Let me be clear – I’m not suggesting that individuals with autism are inherently violent; merely that, as a social disorder, higher functioning individuals on the spectrum may lack the social coping mechanisms of the typical person, yet they are exposed to the same reality of Facebook, Twitter, YouTube and other perversions of social norms that the rest of us must face. More than the disorder itself is the treatment, or rather lack thereof. A study released in 2016 by the CDC “shows that, overall, less than half the children identified with autism (43 percent) had received comprehensive developmental evaluations by age 3.” In effect, it’s the lack of intervention that is to blame, not the disorder itself.

 

Ok, that was a big digression, please forgive me.

 

Another common factor that became apparent was military status – of the nine of the more recent shootings, four of the shooters were either active, discharged or interested in joining a branch of the military. Again, this figure is far above the national average of 0.4% or roughly 1 out of 250 people…

 

I have to stop myself now. I’m drawing conclusions from an incomplete dataset of a handful of cases. In the statistical world, that’s a sin.

In any case, I think there is evidence that this issue is far more complex than simply restricting access to guns.

This should not suggest that we should abandon the effort to better control guns. Access to guns gives the crazy inside these individuals form and direction.

I hope to have a more complete dataset soon and will report back with more conclusive observations. Stay tuned…

One more thing – You may not have heard about it, but on Tuesday 3/20 a Maryland student tried to shoot up his high school. He was thwarted by the School’s resource officer – I feel he should be mentioned by name and marked as a hero – Blaine Gaskill was reportedly facing the shooter within seconds of the first shot. Thanks to his prompt response, the shooter only fired on two individuals – Desmond Barnes was shot in the thigh and has been released from the hospital. Jaelyn Willey was shot in the head, rendering her brain dead. She was pulled off life support and died Thursday 3/22. My condolences to her family and friends…

273irg

I was initially incensed by the lack of media coverage, thinking there just weren’t enough dead school children to make headlines. Then I decided that it was a good thing. No doubt the shooter in Maryland was inspired by the Florida shooter, who was inspired by another school shooting and so on. By not sensationalizing it, perhaps we’ll get a reprieve from the bloodshed. There’s an idea media, don’t have a “breaking news” orgasm and ejaculate sensational information every time there’s a shooting. Just a thought…

 

FIN

 

@JarrettLWilson

 

The Second Amendment and the Freedom from Fear

Peep this here, internet. A nice gentleman at the Stonehenge Corner responded to my post about snowflake syndrome and the second amendment.

His opinion, notably on gun control, runs counter to my own.
Instead of resulting in strife and foul language, we’ve approached one another amicably, with a genuine desire to find out what’s behind all this violence.
I think that we’ve arrived at a satisfactory alternative to guns as the root cause – a cause that I will be delving into in greater detail on my next post. The issue I speak of is fatherlessness. To find out how we arrived at this middle ground, you’ll want to read my original post linked above, his response – which I’ve reblogged here and our commentary on his blog.
Please feel free, nay compelled, to comment with constructive suggestions and opinions – agree or disagree. Be part of a solution. You are but one voice, but together we are an ear-splitting din.

Happy reading!

The Stonehenge Corner

bill-of-rights

The attack on the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkville, Florida, by former student, Nikolas Cruz, has generated much anger, bitterness and arguing. In the nineteen days since the shooting, Florida has banned AR-15 rifles, only to rescind that legislation fifteen minutes later; survivor David Hogg has become a media star and the new face for gun control; and, according to a new survey, the solid majority of people who make up the Left in America, want to ban guns—not just AR-15s but other rifles and handguns as well.

I wrote last time that tragedies like Parkland become the nuclei of what has become the cyclical gun debate between the political divide when other questions, such as fatherlessness, would be more important debates to have. But, as I also admitted, (paraphrasing Samuel Johnson) people do not so much need to be taught new things as reminded of things and…

View original post 1,804 more words

Mass Shooter Profiles

As reported LAST WEEK, I’ve started to compile a database of mass shooter profiles.

I didn’t get near as much done as I would’ve liked. All the same, I’m going to publish my labors up to now.

I haven’t collected all the data that I’d like to and, as a result, I haven’t started running basic statistics (frequency tables, etc.) But, there are a few curious trends I’m picking up on.

Firstly, I’m using the top 20 shootings listed HERE as a starting point. Wikipedia has a similar page, but every fact is linked to a more credible reference. During my initial sweep, I didn’t take note of how many guns the shooter had or the category of the weapon(s). I will continue to add –

  1. Gun data
  2. More specific notes about the shooter – including analyzing background. The words “autism”, “Asperger’s”, “loner” and “bullied” are mentioned frequently – I’d like better numbers on that stuff for each shooter
  3. More shootings. I’ve decided to go beyond NCLB, but not rule it out as a key factor in our troubled times.
    1. NCLB era shooters can be isolated from the rest of the shooters to see if they possess some unique characteristic that might point more definitively to issues caused by the parameters of NCLB

A few curious coincidences (curioundences?) I’ve found are –

  1. The prevalence of social development disorders, like autism spectrum disorder mentioned above, and
  2. The desire to enlist or successfully joining a branch of the armed forces.

All that said, here is the table that I’ve labored to produce. Again, it’s not finished, with the way things are going it’ll probably never be finished, unfortunately. If there are any variables you feel should be included, please leave a comment.

Uhh, I dont’ know why, but despite all my effort to get the data into an embedded spreadsheet, it defaults to the bottom. Scroll up a ways to see the content.

The Second Amendment and “Snowflake Syndrome”

I’ve been somehow involved in education for about 13 years. At this point, I’m subbing – mostly at the local HS, sometimes at the local middle school where my education career started. I’ve a daughter in public school.

 

With all the school shootings, am I scared for myself, my daughter, and the students I’ve come to know? Yes.

 

I don’t espouse the idea that violent video games/movies, etc. are responsible; seems to me that this belittles the issue – like avoiding a cancer screening because the abdominal pain is “just indigestion.”

 

I do think that, like a stubborn virus or infection, the cause is a gnarled lattice of factors fit for Dr. House.

 

Submitted for your review, internet, I’ve identified two components that I believe to contribute to our troubled times –

 

  1. The second amendment/right to keep and bear arms –

Let me start by saying that the right itself is not the issue. The issue is the narrow-minded, no compromise mentality of its proponents

 

Does your right to keep and bear arms supersede my right to peace of mind from knowing that my daughter, her friends, students I’ve come to love in my own way, and my own person are safe as we go about our daily lives? Another way to say this might be my right to life, liberty and pursuit of happiness.

 

Listen, we don’t have an amendment that specifically says “The right to attend school without fear of being massacred by a confused guy with an assault rifle.” BUT, we do have one that “Protects rights not enumerated in the Constitution.” (amendment #9)

 

This is a gross oversimplification of that amendment, but we can no longer imply safety and security for ourselves individually in this once great nation (still waiting for you to “make it great again”, comrade president – dead school children and unchecked bigotry do not a great country make).

 

Anyway, as “The right to attend school without fear of being massacred by a confused guy with an assault rifle” is not “enumerated” and we’ve become perverted enough as a nation to think that the right to own a shiny piece of metal that makes lots of noise and puts holes in things is more important than the life of someone’s child, perhaps it’d be appropriate to “enumerate” this right or invoke the ninth?

 

Let me be clear – I’m not saying take away all guns. I’m simply saying that we need to have a more rigorous process for acquiring a gun and to prohibit the sale of assault rifles to civilians.

 

To accomplish that, we need to compromise.

 

HERE,  the blogger from Engineering, Parenthood, and a Solid Attempt at Adult Status

provides several compelling reasons why civilians don’t need automatic weapons.

 

Ok, I feel like I’m digressing. Shootings are merely one symptom of a much deeper problem. Getting back to the virus/infection analogy. There’s a school of thought that says that society functions like an organism. A dysfunction occurs when some part of that organism fails to perform properly and throws the whole system into chaos.

 

So, what social organ is dysfunctional? It would be tacky of me to raise this point and not offer my explanation, so here goes –

 

  1. “LOOKATME! LOOKATME! LOOKATME!”

 

In my opinion, our country suffers from an affliction that I will call “snowflake syndrome.” We have become accustomed to praise and recognition of our achievements, no matter how small, we are surrounded by stuff we want but can’t afford and a social media juggernaut that has evolved beyond our control.

 

This paints a picture of a world of material success and social acceptance – for most Americans, is that the case? The individual has taken over. Instead of “ask not what your country can do for you, ask what you can do for your country”, it’s “ask what my country can do for me, then sue for more”

 

Listen, internet – my education is in sociology. Indeed, in my case the old phrase “if your only tool is a hammer, every problem is a nail” rings true. When I hear of a mass shooting or other such atrocity, I instantly look for information about the suspect’s race, gender, socioeconomic background, affiliations, etc.

 

Such information can be compared to ingredients in a recipe – each of us is a dish made with slightly different ingredients and preparation instructions. Time in the oven could be family makeup, oven temperature could be schooling experience (public/private, and so on), an extra teaspoon of salt might be an abusive dad.

You will, as many have, say this is far too simple for a creature as complex as a human.

Such a “flavor” prediction is far from possible at this time precisely because of its complexity. Is it possible? Given rigorous application, yes I think so.

 

“But wait, I’m a special and unique snowflake!” cries the millennial. In a way, that is what the school shooters are saying with their actions. Gloominess and despair that was once reserved for suicide have become a license to commit atrocities in order to take center stage in a nation obsessed with being a unique individual.

We are not a nation of ~327 million people, we are a collection of ~327 million egos that happen to live on the same patch of earth.

 

Based on the demographic data from 2016 found HERE), that number includes a hair over 200 million white people. To each individual white person living in the US I say, you are not special.

 

Almost 60 million of that population is Hispanic or Latino. To each individual Hispanic or Latino person living in the US I say, you are not special.

 

African Americans are more than 42 million strong. To each individual African American living in the US I say, you are not special.

 

Even the American Indian/Alaska native population sports a shade over four million. While this certainly makes you more unique I still must say to each individual American Indian/Alaska native living in the US, you are not special.

 

I hear the refrain of a lonely white person in Hawaii “surely I am unique among all these copper-colored people!”  . To you I say “nay! You are but one white bird in a flock of 266,400!

“What of me? A female in the far flung land of Alaska.” To you I say “don’t despair madam! You share that frozen chunk of earth with 350,499 other members of that whimsical gender!”

 

It gets better, dear reader. Take heart, foreign-born male of two or more races located in Payne county, OK, seek and ye shall find 71 other souls in circumstances as unique as yours.

 

I could continue on like this – “I’m a white woman with red hair living in Waldo county, and I’m so frustrated that I can’t fit a whole hand into a Pringles can.” I don’t know if you will find other redheads living in Waldo county vexed by the same predicament. Believe it or don’t, a community over 900,000 strong shares your frustration. Find it HERE. You’re welcome.

 

Some of you are asking “where’s Waldo… county?” It’s in Maine. The county seat is the city of Belfast.

 

Moving on… if you’re like me, then you can’t abide standing idle watching your hot pocket spin as its bombarded with microwaves. That’s 90 seconds that you could’ve spent cleaning out your belly button or throwing away expired cans of pinto beans. Look no further than the Facebook group entitled “Accomplishing something before the microwave reaches :00” I tell you what, I’ve since joined this thriving (1 million +) association of go-getters, and I’m wracked with anticipation to learn the nuggets of wisdom that are surely waiting for me.

 

HERE is a short list of groups that cater to very particular interests. You can bet that if there is a group established for the sole purpose of spending Sunday mornings cleaning public toilets in Japan for the fun of it, you’ll find something out there that offers an opportunity for you to rub elbows with like-minded individuals who are as “unique” as you are.

 

It is my first instinct to apologize to anyone I’ve offended with my words here. However, the persons inclined to be offended by my message are the ones who most need to hear it. That said, let me offer some consolation – you are very, very special; as special as everyone else on this plot of earth with its imaginary borders and it’s constitutional government.

Bashing Through the Prose, In 100 Days…

I recently tried an accelerated writing program offered by thewritepractice.com. The program is designed to help the aspiring writer complete the first draft of a novel in 100 days. It is aptly named “The 100 Day Book” program, the brainchild of Joe Bunting (not to be confused with the “100 Novels in a Day” program from Bo Junting).

Full disclosure – I didn’t finish a first draft, but I’m still pleased with the overall experience. To finish a draft would’ve been great, but I did come away with several valuable lessons.

First and foremost, I learned that I am what Kurt Vonnegut refers to as a “basher”, as opposed to a “swooper”. Hard as I try, I can’t churn out 800 to 1,000 words a day. The basher

“goes one sentence at a time, getting it exactly right before going on to the next one. When they’re done they’re done.”

The swooper

“write[s] a story quickly, higgledy-piggledy, crinkum-crankum, any which way. Then go over it again painstakingly, fixing everything that is just plain awful or doesn’t work.”

Teh Basher
“Hey Joe, where you going with that hammer in your hand?”

I did have a few breakout sessions where I produced 1,000 words, so I can swoop, but for the most part, I bash. All the same, no matter what your approach, this program provides sage advice, deadlines and a support forum for other aspiring writers to hold you accountable and provide feedback on your writing.

Perhaps the most useful feature of the program is the daily email tips to spark the flame of goodly writing inside the budding writer. Notable examples –

“Today, have a character do something. It can be as small as eating a cookie or as dramatic as drawing a gun on someone. Whatever they do, use it to show us who that character is and make them stick in our minds.”

And

“Open up your book to something you wrote a few days or weeks ago. Glance over it and take a few minutes to laugh. Then, once you’re feeling good about writing again, jump back to today’s scenes and keep writing!”

Uno mas,

“Challenge yourself to write something deliberately bad today. What’s the worst sentence you can imagine? Write it down, and then keep writing.”

 

This last tip is especially meaningful for me. As were all the messages concerning what a pissant perfectionism can be. That was what held me back – the unquenchable desire to be perfect.

Many of the daily emails harped on the myth of perfection. Applying the practice tips from these messages were tools that allowed me to write 1,000 words in one day a few times.

I saved all the emails and plan to revisit them as I do my own thing.

BONUS! A cute lady with a squirrelly last name sends you weekly emails with your progress and other words of encouragement. Perhaps most impressive of all is that both cute, squirrelly last name girl and the Joe himself always responded to my questions and concerns with a genuine, not canned response, and in a timely manner.

And Joe is a good sport, I’d message him on Facebook, starting with “Hey Joe, I heard you shot your lady down” or “Hey Joe, where you gonna run to now?” and he played right along.

I was way short on the word count, but that’s because I need to get over this idea that my writing must be perfect as soon it’s written. I’m happy with every single word that I wrote – wish there were more…

I suppose that’d be a complaint – the program didn’t write a book for me. Writing a book is frickin hard, but this program breaks it into manageable tasks, making the process a more… manageable task.

Another perk was weekly author interviews. I attended a few, and it always got me thinking about my own writing process, but while sitting there listening I was jonesin to write, so I skipped some. Looking back on it, I wish I would’ve sat attentively through all of them, that’s part of the experience that I paid for.

In closing, I’d say this program would benefit any budding writer. You may not finish a book, but you’ll be writing and you’ll gain an understanding of the logistics involved in writing a book. In the end, if my ho-hum attitude toward interviews is any indicator, you get out what you put in.

Doctor Pillow…Talk

The universe has spoken to me once again (for previous occurrences describing words descending upon me from the totality of existence, read HERE and HERE). I’ve experienced a singularity of my present and the experiences HERE chronicled.

You see, I got a comment on the above linked post from a woman whose husband has sustained a brain injury and is contemplating having a Baclofen pump “installed” (for a compendium of my posts concerning the Baclofen pump, direct the graphical representation of your mouse (i.e. “cursor”) HERE and apply pressure to the left button on said mouse). It is to these good people, that I dedicate this entry.

Listen, the battery on my pump was near death, so I had to have the whole pump replaced.

This I did, or rather had done, two days ago. There are a few remarkable occurrences that I would like to relate to you, dear reader.

1.          This first point is not particularly remarkable compared to the other two, but deserves to be mentioned – the procedure was performed by the fabulous Dr. Deborah Fisher. She does surgery, pump refills, Botox injections and pain management, all with a very cool South African accent. She is, without a doubt, one of the good ones and one of my favorite people.

2.          The name of the anesthesiologist was, I sh*t you not, Dr. Pillow. Put another way, the man whose responsibility it was to put me to sleep was named “Dr. Pillow”. Dr. Pillow had an assistant named Rip Van Blanket*…twas the darnedest thing that team Pillow/Blanket should manage my sleepy time…

Syringe Doc Pillow Head

3.          True to their names, the Pillow/Blanket duo had me so stupefied that, when I woke up in the recovery room, I could swear I was in a staging area, awaiting the procedure. I was nearly set off when this blue flaming nurse asked me if I wanted something to drink, I had to check myself because I was indignant that this guy was trying to thwart this procedure that I worked so hard to set up by offering me a drink minutes before it was to be performed.

The hoops I had to jump through to get this operation scheduled is a saga worthy of its own post. Moreover, my recovery from this procedure has been much smoother than when I got the first pump. For next time, I’ll give a full summary/timeline of the major events associated with the pump.

That the words on this website have reached but a few people is reason enough to keep it up.

 

FIN

 

@JarrettLWilson

 

*This name is total bullsh*t, his real name was “Todd” or “Bill” or some other such name common to a suburban, middle class white male. He didn’t say his last name, so for purposes of this blog let’s say his last name was “Valium”.

Dialectical Menialisms III – Back(lofen) and Forth

CHOICES! Keanu Reeves via Neo asserted that choice can be a form of oppression when the choices lead us to an undesirable outcome. Indeed, Geddy Lee boldly posited that “if you choose not to decide, you still have made a choice”. And who can forget the words of the bazillion-year-old knight in Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, when he cautioned that “you must choose, but choose wisely…” That malevolent Walter Donovan chose poorly and, despite having just taken a drink, very quickly became the most dehydrated human in the history of forever. I, myself, have discussed the perils of being stuck between two choices in my critically acclaimed series “Dialectical Menialism” (found HERE and HERE). Since discovering this critical, yet sorely misunderstood facet of existence, I’ve been hypersensitive to any and all choices I’m faced with from the very specific (for example, when battling ninja robots, should I use a sword or nunchucks? Or what color sweetener packet should I use at Panera to sweeten my dark roast?), to the very broad (for example, “yes” or “no”? And the proverbial “up” or “down”).

It is concerning this very quagmire that I blog to you today, dear reader. You see, I’m part machine (more info HERE). Put briefly, I’ve a medicine pump in my abdomen delivering a constant supply of liquid baclofen to my spine, thus bypassing the stomach, the blood brain barrier, and so on. The “up and down” comes from the dosage – too high= lethargic zombie mode, too low= hypertonic spazz mode. I’ve crunched some numbers that I just made up and labored to produce some graphs to represent this conundrum.

Staggering data that affirms the supposition that more baclofen leads to a more sleepy, yet less spastic Jarrett. Conversely, less baclofen is associated with an increase in both wakefulness and muscle tension – diabolical!
Respondent were asked “would you say that higher doses of liquid baclofen result in elevated wakefulness?” If the respondent wasn’t already asleep, the answer was a very groggy “no” for ALL RESPONDENT! The chance of all or nothing is statistically remote
No surprise here. Respondent answered “yes” when asked “does a higher dose of liquid baclofen result in a decrease in spasmodic muscle behavior?”
This graph shows the (egregious) negative linear relationship between increases in dosage of liquid baclofen and a decrease in wakefulness.
The reciprocal of the “Crushing Fatigue…” graph. This line demonstrates the negatively positive linear relationship between decreased dosages of liquid baclofen and a reduction in the occurrence of NOT experiencing spasticity (what? The line has a positive slope, and one of the answers is a negative…)

These data were collected over the last six years by the Institute of Jarrett Existing and processed and quantified earlier today when I dreamed this up.

A few things to note –

  1. I use “Hypertonicity”, “spasticity” and “muscle tension” interchangeably. There are subtle differences, I know. But for my purposes, they refer to a muscle’s irrational, yet overwhelmingly persistent need to constantly contract (constranctly?)
  2. I forgot what the second one was for the moment…
  3. …Oh yeah, I don’t know that I mentioned the dialectical part of this post in plain terms. You see, with this pump I’m stuck between a state of soothed fatigue and wakeful muscle spasms. Where’s the balance? Hmmmm…I’m starting to think there isn’t one, but I have to choose, but I must choose wisely …if you choose not to decide and that proves to be the wisest choice, have you chosen wisely? Moreover, does choosing not to choose some option confound the design of the machines that control us? I have a machine in me, and I’m tempted to say that it doesn’t control me, but it certainly limits my options. So that’s what Neo was talking about…
  4. There is no spoon.

 

FIN

 

@JarrettLWilson

 

TO FALL IN LOVE…COUNTY

Hello, Internet,

I composed a short story for a short story competition. I’m publishing that story here, so that you might read it, and go vote for it HERE.

I am pretty proud of this story, so I am pulling out all the stops. I hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it. Cheers –

—–

I’ve fallen in Love…County, Oklahoma – Thackerville to be precise. If the proprietors of Winstar World Casino were here, they’d say I was in Paris. Amor, indeed.

Probably less confusing if I say “I took a spill in Love County, Oklahoma.” I’m now a guest at Carter County’s Mercy Hospital Ardmore, Thackerville’s exotic neighbor to the north. It didn’t take much testing to diagnose severe dehydration.

It’s funny how similar casinos and hospitals are. There are the blinking lights, and the veritable symphony of bells, chirps and beeps. The IV infusion pump at the other end of the tubes in my arm could well be a less enthusiastic coin machine. Instead of coins, it runs on bags of liquid. Instead of winning money, the player wins a cocktail of meds.

My adventure into a state of critically low fluid levels started two days ago. At that time, I was a well-hydrated 47-year-old man visiting “Paris” for a poker tournament – Paris if it became a gaming room parody of itself populated by muffin topped rednecks & chain-smoking grandmas and offered overpriced drinks, gimmicky slot machines and token table games.

“Falling in love” – either the kind where gravity forces you to the ground in south central Oklahoma/Paris or the kind that makes you act like a child – was the last thing on my mind. I’m recently divorced, so I’ve done the whole falling in love, til death do you part song and dance.

Get this, the theme of the tournament was “Fall in Love (County)”. It’s early September, the casino was kicking off Autumn with sappiness.

Now I’ll tell you about how I was hustled by a native American woman physiologically, emotionally and financially.

Firstly, my name is Gavin Cleveland. I’m a real estate speculator, or I used to be anyway; I did so well last year I retired. “Retire” sounds off – I have a lot of money, I don’t work. The end.

I enjoy gambling. What is real estate speculation but a high stakes gamble? I’m trying my hand, literally, on the pro poker tour. I’ve started small, at a casino in southern Oklahoma.

I say Thackerville, they say Paris, let’s call the whole thing off.

Shortly after my arrival, I met an exotic native American woman named Awanasea. The thing about her that revved me up was that she looked so wholesome, so genuinely native; a real woman with calloused hands and crow’s feet instead of Hollywood’s Pocahontas. Like a bay horse, her soft mocha skin contrasted sharply with her jet-black hair and brought out glimmering shades of brown in her dark, dark eyes. Her hair was long, with the crimped wavy quality of the occasional “I only have hair because it’s not acceptable for women to be bald” hair days.

I was at a table with two others, playing Texas hold ’em, when Awanasea, garbed in glossy black leather, squeaked leatherily (that is to say, uncomfortably) into the chair at the end of the table. She reached into her purse for some cash to buy in as I raised the dealer to the single bet limit of $50. After hearing that and gawking at my healthy pile of chips, she said “you must be here to Fall in Love.”

“Beg your pardon ma’am?”

“The poker tournament…” she winked.

“Oh.” I smirked. “That’s right. How’d you guess?”

Well, there’s the huge stack of chips, then your miffed expression when you said ‘I raise to $50’, right?” she raised her eyebrows. The house lights set off facets of umber in her eyes.

“That’s right, miss…” I trailed off inquisitively.

“Awanasea. Call me Sea.” she framed ‘SEE-YUH’ in air quotes. “Head over to the poker room for higher stakes, Mr…” She trailed off, imitating my ham-handed approach to learning her name.

“Gavin, name’s Gavin. Where’s that?” I asked.

“Well, Gavin – The poker room, higher limit tables, and the dollar machines are in London.”

“Such diversity in southern Oklahoma…” I quipped.

“Despite you people’s best efforts to the contrary…” she jabbed playfully. “That’s okay. We’re evening the score.” she said. She held a copper hand level with her nose, and rubbed her fingers together in the pan-tribal, indeed pan-galactic sign for money.

She was a feisty one, this Sea. I stood, gathered my chips. Then asked her, “How do I get to London?”

That’s right, a Caucasian American man in “Paris” asked a native American woman for directions to “London”.

She pointed towards some sparkling golden dragons to her right, hanging from the ceiling around a brilliant, terraced jade fountain. “Go through Beijing, Rome, then Madrid, the next area is London. The poker room is at the far end.”

She sounded like a demented geography teacher.

“Thanks. I guess I’ll ‘see-yuh’ later” I said, with a big shit eating grin.

She sighed. “I ‘Gavin’t’ heard that one recently!” she replied.

I was starting to like this girl.

“Clever!…I’m really going now. “You said past Beijing and Rome, through Madrid and to the far end of London?”

She nodded. “Tell you what. I’m pretty hungry. There’s a buffet right there, I’ll walk you over there, I’ll even point out the weak dealers.” she said as she lit a long cigarette, exhaled a cloud of smoke.

We left the table and joined a flowing river of pilgrims seeking fortunes from bedazzling machines and black tables topped with green felt.

We passed through two continents, and now stood before a relief of Big Ben on frosted glass. The buffet was just off to our left, and just beyond, a neon blue “poker room” sign.

Sea grabbed my hand, and we carved a path through machines offering the “Gems of Africa” or “Treasures of the Amazon”. These machines operated as much on money, as on the life forces of the players. She stopped well short of our destination.

“Let’s get a few games in…” she sat at a machine, patted the seat next to it, her dark eyes beckoned.

“I thought you were hungry…” I countered.

“I can wait, it’s open 24 hours anyway.”

What’s a few games on a nickel machine? I thought. That wouldn’t be the last time such a thought crossed my mind. I sat down, fed the machine a twenty and noticed that, being in the “high roller” area, all machines were a dollar. Sea reached over me and pressed the “max bet” button. Her leather jacket squeaked as she stretched. Her fingernails brushed my leg on the way back. This little touching was making me more curious about her.

We spent $60 of my money at the machine (well, not all of it. I still have $0.55 and $1.10 vouchers in my pocket), then we walked to the buffet.

“Well, I guess this is goodbye.” I said, feigning sorrow.

“What? A date with no dinner?” she asked indignantly.

I started. “Date?” I queried, confused but curious.

“Why not?” she replied, eyes sparkling.

“Yeah, why not” I parroted.

So, we ate and had cocktails.

Finally, the check came. I grabbed it to indicate that I was ready to go. Sea jumped up, grabbed my arm and hung on me as we walked to the register.

“Poker room?” she asked innocently.

“Yeah, you coming too?”

“Want me to point out the weak dealers?”

“Oh yeah. Let’s go.” I said, looking down at her. Our eyes met and she came up for a kiss. Nothing too salacious, just a quick peck on the lips.

At that point, it was early evening on Friday, August 25th. It is now midday on Sunday, the 27th according to the whiteboard in my hospital room.

In a casino, there is no time – there are no windows to indicate what time of day it is. There are clocks, but who cares about time when you’re throwing away money?

Sea had me so bedraggled by Saturday night, I forgot to do what I went there to do – play in the poker tournament.

Every time I tried to call it a night, she’d feed me a new reason to stay out. If it wasn’t “one more drink…” or “one more hand…”, it was seizing opportunity, or as she put it, “time to strike while the fire is hot.” The third time she said that, I asked, “as opposed to the fire being cold?” she stopped saying it after that.

Early Sunday morning, I excused myself to the bathroom with the intention of slipping away. Suddenly, the hallway was an old rickety bridge swaying violently back and forth, for me anyway. It got so bad that I staggered headfirst into a water fountain and went lights out. Talk about have a drink.

I woke up at the hospital with an arm full of needles.

My fluid levels are improving, still haven’t seen my wallet, car keys, phone… not to mention the girl I “fell” for.

At least I’m not in Love anymore…county or otherwise.

Again, go here: http://shortfictionbreak.com/fall-17/#poll) to vote. my name is Jarrett Wilson. This story is called “To Fall in Love… County” and when the menu drops down, stories are listed alphabetically by author last name, so mine is near the bottom. Thanks again!


 

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