Facing the gaping jaws of hell

As I explained to Jenny earlier, my increasing worry about finances now consumes my every waking moment.  If I fail to find gainful employment by the first of the year… well, let’s just say I’m pretty well fucked.

Surprisingly, I made a horrible mistake in assuming Texas would think of sabbaticals as a normal consideration for people like me who have been working diligently for 20 years (okay, not quite 19, but I rounded up).  Apparently, I was wrong.  There is a sad message to be heard when too many voice concern and reluctance based on that one fact: being out of work since March.  It’s disheartening.

But I keep going.  I’m broadening my horizons greatly and attempting to delve into work I never before considered.  Writing will not provide immediate financial assistance, nor does it open its doors to newbies like me without trepidation and doubt, two things normally responsible for sinking whatever hope might have existed.  You know how it goes: Until you’re published somewhere, you can’t get published.  It’s like credit: You have to have it to get it.  Those managing such decisions always fail to realize how ludicrous that premise really is.

If not for the cold and ice today (oh, and it was still snowing a few minutes ago when I looked outside!), I likely would have found the strength and ambition to hang myself from the bottom of my office chair.  Sure, it would have taken some time to die—by starvation, lack of water, or boredom—but it’s the effort that counts.  And that justly encapsulates my mood.

December will be a dark month, I’m afraid, and January looks to be shaping up as my homage to homelessness, or at least my destitute destination if I can prolong getting kicked out of house and home until February.  But perhaps I’m being too melodramatic.


I feel a bit like this today (definition #1, by the way).

otiose (o·ti·ose): / OH shee ohs | OH tee ohs /

(1) idle; being at leisure; indolent; lazy
(2) futile; ineffective; producing no useful result
(3) useless; worthless; superfluous; functionless

[From Latin otiosus meaning “at leisure, idle,” from Latin otium meaning “leisure.”]

Usage: Days like today with wintry precipitation always make me feel otiose because I want to enjoy the weather more than anything else.

Cool . . . literally

Yesterday, the temperature reached 80°F (27°C).  And then the cold came.  As of right now, we have a mixture of sleet and snow falling heavily outside, and forecasts claim the situation will get much worse before it ends this evening.  The proclamations are that we will get a good layer of ice before topping it off with an inch or two (2-5 cm) of snow.

Oh, one important point: It’s sticking.

I say that because far too many people misunderstand the physics involved and believe the ground has been too warm to support accumulation.  In fact, I saw a comment on a news site yesterday that said it would take longer than 24 hours below freezing in order for ice to accumulate on the ground (bridges and overpasses notwithstanding).  I laughed when I read that.  Nothing could be further from the truth, and that comment singlehandedly defines the scientific ignorance of too many who believe themselves wise in such matters.

Temperature is only one small piece of the puzzle in determining how quickly the ground cools off.  Precipitation, humidity (above and below ground), and wind also play important roles.  In the case of this cold snap, we have the right mixture of all four ingredients to support rapid cooling.  Anyone looking outside right now would see it has taken less than 24 hours since yesterday’s high for the ground to become capable of freezing and accumulating ice.  It’s called atmospheric physics and thermodynamics.

For that commenter, all I can say is thus: Duh!  Speak with conviction only what you know, not what you think you know, and don’t bellow your ignorance in public forums because that accomplishes nothing except providing fodder to people like me who wish to mock and scorn you.

So, for people in North Texas and all the other places where this storm is or will hit, be careful.  For folks specifically in North Texas, be aware there’s a lot of sleet coming down right now, there’s a bit of snow and freezing rain mixed in with it, and the roads are quickly going from passable to dangerous.  They will become more treacherous as the day moves on and the frozen precipitation continues.

Random Thought

I beseech you, my brothers, remain faithful to the earth, and do not believe those who speak to you of otherworldly hopes! Poison-mixers are they, whether they know it or not. Despisers of life are they, decaying and poisoned themselves, of whom the earth is weary: so let them go.

Once the sin against God was the greatest sin; but God died, and these sinners died with him. To sin against the earth is now the most dreadful thing, and to esteem the entrails of the unknowable higher than the meaning of the earth…

What is the greatest experience you can have? It is the hour of the great contempt. The hour when your happiness, too, arouses your disgust, and even your reason and your virtue.

— Friedrich Nietzsche