WOOM

(Thanks to M. for naming this phenomenon.)

WOOM is the sound you hear when the muscles deep within the back of your neck tighten up. I’m not sure if the sound comes from those muscles themselves, or if they are somehow pulling on your inner ears and that’s what’s generating it, but whatever it is is perceived as a WOOM sound.
It is associated (in my case at least) with a very pleasurable sensation, like something is caressing your neck from within — and the muscle tightness feels like a faint but satisfying espreguiçadela.
I’m able to generate a mild version of it at-will, whenever I want (possibly requiring some tiredness?), and a stronger version by tilting my head backwards until the main neck muscles are fully engaged. The two versions feel different — a bit like the difference between this track (loud!) at 0:40 and at 4:00.
Alcohol, at low doses, is a common trigger for woom — a combination of the relaxation and the openness to enjoyment. I once took too much MDMA, which gave me low-threshold-for-woom for several hours, and then for a few days afterwards I would get woom uncontrollably for a few seconds whenever I slightly closed my eyes (which happened frequently, since I was having a 2-day training on Microsoft Azure). Because I’m a catastrophist, I immediately thought that it would never go away, which I found worrying but also funny, in the context of my varied dysfunctions.
(Also: is this what ASMR is? I tried it but found the whispering women too unsettling.)

On the topic of weird sensations: these are two songs that induce mild derealization in me, as in, glitch-in-the-matrix I genuinely find it hard to accept that they actually exist:
Another Sunny Day — You Should All Be Murdered: how something I’d never heard can sound so familiar; how the song that sounds most like The Smiths is actually by someone else.
Almôndegas — Androginismo: how someone wrote those INSANE lyrics.

the competence of senescence

Aparte

One of the good things about getting older is that I’m much more diligent about commenting my code. Mostly because I used to think (correctly) that I’d remember everything I was writing, whereas nowadays I assume (correctly) I won’t keep any memories of anything I’m doing as soon as I’m finished doing it, so rereading uncommented code from more than two days ago is a puzzling Memento-like experience of trying to put together clues my past self left me with no idea of how I got to the present situation.

tips for dates

  • If you’re going to a bar to have some drinks and chat, don’t choose a place where you’ll be sitting on opposite ends of a table. This is terrible: it (i) places a physical distance between your bodies, preventing physical contact from arising throughout the date, (ii) generates an overall oppositional mood, which ends up reflecting itself in the conversational tone and in the feelings generated, (iii) forces you to always be looking straight ahead in order to look at the other person, so you can’t try out different configurations of your body. You should always aim to sit either side by side at a bar or long table, or sit on adjacent corners of a table. This problem can be prevented by… well, going to bars where that’s the table layout. If there’s no other option, then maybe have a drink there and suggest moving elsewhere.
  • Move through different locations throughout the date — it’ll increase the sense of familiarity and time spent together, which will, some could say artificially, increase the sense of closeness. Obviously be sensible, don’t take 3 trains across the entire city, etc. Ideally when selecting a date location you should have a couple of nearby places in mind. At night these will probably just be bars; during the day maybe include a museum and a garden.
  • Be present and confident. Nothing boosts your presence and confidence like cocaine. So, do cocaine before dates? Alternatively, work out before the date, which makes you focused and alert and generates a physical bias-towards-action. Maybe avoid planks or too much ab work, if you’re a straight man.
  • Bring a notebook and pen. This can serve to write down notes that arise in conversation (like “Share Portuguese music playlist“) or, even better, ideas for future dates that arise in conversation. If you can manage it without getting too distracted, having a parallel conversation happening on the notebook can be cute/teasing too.
  • Make a mental list of topics you want to address in conversation, both general ones (if you sometimes struggle with those) and specific ones that you may have come up with from their online profile or previous online chatting. If you’re bold enough, you can even use the notebook to write down a couple of the specific ones, as long as you own the choice to (see: confidence, cocaine).
  • Obvious, but listen to music beforehand that puts you in the right head-space and counteracts your own failure modes (this, for me).
  • Me-specific, use as applicable:
    • Don’t sit somewhere with too much of a view on the street outside: you’ll get easily distracted
    • Don’t drink red wine: you’ll get sleepy
    • Don’t have sugar/carbs/white wine: you’ll sugar-crash

невдохновение и отчаяние (iii)

I’ve been feeling uninspired, lately.
Some days, you give up. Halfway through the afternoon, you realize your remaining chances of achieving anything particularly worthwhile are low, from a lack of something like (motivation/ energy/ bias towards action/ mental clarity/ drive), so you just give up on hope and effort, and just aim for your remaining waking hours to pass by without causing you much trouble, hoping you’ll fall asleep easily and early enough to wake up the following day with the energy to do whatever you’d given up on. It is a violent act: a deliberate murder, through neglect, of one of the irreplaceable components of your life, but one done with such a graceful and meek resignation that its inward cruelty seldom becomes apparent.
Lately I’ve been finding that more and more of my days are ending in this way, and that this insidious desistance, as I call it for self-amusement, has been happening earlier and earlier, with some particularly outlying ones occurring in the early stages of hyperglycemia-induced post-prandial stupor.
I wonder whether this trend will continue. Perhaps by Autumn I will be down to one single day of morning-to-evening activity a week, with the six remaining desistances coming up A.M.: maybe right after the morning check-in video meeting, as soon as we decide on what are the day’s tasks that I will not even attempt, or even right after waking up — an eye slightly opened and immediately closed to avoid the aggression of the entering sunlight, followed by a long wait for the cycle to repeat again.

Incidentally: all of the above is both a description of a real behaviour and an evocation of one of my favourite passages from La carte et le territoire:

Ce que je préfère, maintenant, c’est la fin du mois de décembre ; la nuit tombe à quatre heures. Alors je peux me mettre en pyjama, prendre mes somnifères et aller au lit avec une bouteille de vin et un livre. C’est comme cela que je vis, depuis des années. Le soleil se lève à neuf heures ; bon, le temps de se laver, de prendre des cafés, il est à peu près midi, il me reste quatre heures de jour à tenir, le plus souvent j’y parviens sans trop de dégâts. Mais au printemps c’est insupportable, les couchers de soleil sont interminables et magnifiques, c’est comme une espère de putain d’opéra, il y a sans cesse de nouvelles couleurs, de nouvelles lueurs, j’ai essayé une fois de rester ici tout le printemps et l’été et j’ai cru mourir, chaque soir j’étais au bord du suicide, avec cette nuit qui ne tombait jamais.

Would the former exist if I hadn’t been exposed to the latter? Maybe I’m just a victim of books. Like Don Quixote, in that book.

There were two occasions in my life in which I, for lack of a better phrase, “stopped being depressed”. Meaning, the ranges of moods I experienced before and after each of these had limited overlap: the lower end of the “before” range feeling thankfully unreachable in the “after” period, and a low-to-middling “after” mood comparing positively with a good “before” one.
In both cases, the change was triggered by my experiencing an extraordinarily intense happiness, beyond my previously existing range of moods — and the experience of this intensity, the subconscious knowledge that such a feeling is possible, somehow inevitably affected all future experiences, pushed them upwards in this newly opened mood-range space. The two occasions were: in 2012 in Barcelona, repeatedly listening to Arctic Monkeys’ first album Whatever People Say I Am, That’s What I’m Not and going to bike messenger parties; in 2016 in Madrid, taking MDMA and walking around parks listening to Boards of Canada.
Now I essentially don’t feel depressed anymore: more like permanently listless, resignedly accepting my inability to do, which I’m not sure is better — at least the deep overwhelming anguish I almost constantly felt was sometimes motivating, I suppose.

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dúvida

Aparte

Se uma pessoa, homem ou mulher, estiver deprimida, mas arranjar um amante sul-americano intenso e viril, e o sexo com esse amante for tão incrível e prazenteiro que a pessoa deixe de estar deprimida e volte ao normal, pode dizer-se que essa pessoa melhorou paulatinamente?

Embrace transience accelerationism?

Someone I was once very close to recently deleted their IG account and, with it, most pictures of me that exist “in public”. I’m divided about this. Slightly sad at seeing records of a younger self and happy times disappear, but mostly actually liking it, wanting to take on some sort of transience accelerationism — delete it all, embrace impermanence, dive into the traceless existence I’m currently merely floating around. But another but — I’m always hedging against my own instincts: call it impulsive contrarianism, or maybe built-in memetic vigilance. And self-erasure isn’t a bold step forward — it’s the easy way out, a defense against the boring job of change and reconstruction. So, –

No fa falta…

… anar a la Quebrantahuesos, tots dopats, i ples de oli, i pastilles, i potingos. Ací, açò que veieu ací, açò no es Suïssa. Açò es el Mondúber, MAMARRACHOS. I això que n’hi ha ahí no es el Monte Calvario, això es la rampa que falta pa arribar dalt… hen? Tan de potingo i tanta preparació i tan de preparaor personal… vi, cansalà, botifarres, i collons per pujar ací. No en vec a ningun de vosaltros per ací.. hen? Això d’allà baix es la Drova. No, no son els salons eixos que aneu vosaltros allí a mirar-se a l’espill. Ací, ací, ací no en vec a cap, tots molt de que i pujo jo i molta bicicleta i molt de romans.. vingau ací, vingau.. i voreu.. en la manguera del gas, quan jo vos donaré malícsia pa pujar

empty spaces

Aparte

we woke up one morning and fell a little further down

Desde la Dehesa de la Villa, en las mañanas laborables, el ruido lejano de la A6 se parece un poco al del mar. Ayúdame a huir de este simulacro. Ven conmigo a la sierra y entiérrame bajo la nieve con benzos y mdma y una botella de Laphroaig. Puedes venir a por mí después del deshielo; te dejaré la piel de mi espalda para que hagas grabados de la vista de tu balcón.

невдохновение и отчаяние (ii)

I’ve been feeling uninspired, lately.
The boredom and stasis were making me anxious, so I’m eating pickles on crispbread. Crispbread helps; I find the crunchiness relaxing. Scrontch, scrontch. Does that transmit over text somehow? It’s sort of like the textures on some of the tracks from my anti-anxiety playlist, mostly on Tim Hecker’s Mirages.
Carefree crispbread eating is one of the advantages of being alone, since, at 12% fiber, it leaves my belly grotesquesly bloated for about a day and a half, too much so to go on a date that could result in me exposing it.

Which I’m not annoyed about, the aloneness. Sometimes, women help; other times they don’t. Mostly it’s unclear, with goods and bads. The last time I went out with someone we talked for four straight hours and laughed a lot and had good beer and really clicked and ended up going to her place and having sex for most of the night and the following day, but she lived right next to my office — so, all in all, good ab workout, but I didn’t get to experience coming home from a different metro station than usual which as previously mentioned is mostly what I get out of meeting people; net benefit unclear.

I’ve been trying to find inspiration in other places but mostly end up right where I started. Recently I tried it with the notations in Sigfried Karg-Elert’s pieces — I figured they were probably no better or worse than anything else, as I guide for how to live my life, or just to insert a little bit of non-self into it. Help me become somebody else, as that song says right before the chorus. So, Karg-Elert — but mixed results, again. Like, first I came across the Clarinet sonata, Op. 110, which at some point orders “Wie früher, doppelt so rasch! leicht beschwingt“, which made me feel energized and euphoric like I haven’t in years, love and beer and MDMA all at once, I was ready to start power-skipping around town preaching this amazing new way to let yourself be guided through existence. But then I listened to the amazing Piano sonata No. 3, Op. 105, Patetica, which ends with “in Nichts zerfließend” and then “von hier an immer mehr abebbend“, and immediately felt compelled to be nothing under the stairs for a day and a half.