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BY Jacktwo

01/01 Direct Link
That time again: the month or two where we regular gym-goers suffer. And there they are, shiny new memberships in hand: the lardy resolutionists; the panting, post-pig-out porkazoids, faces set somewhere between determination and desperation, sweating out their accumulated guilt and gravy. In my milder moods I want to help them, correct their mistakes, give advice... especially on how to keep this up, how to really persist. But I don't, of course. I just silently will them out of my way, and look forward to March when, like fat little birds, they will fly home for spring.
01/02 Direct Link
Nobody expects you to be silent. Nobody expects you to live your life on creeping, slippered feet. Nobody thinks you should take a vow of silence, constantly shush your children or listen to your various electronic sonic pabulums through headphones. But if you regularly speak loudly when you do not need to, if failing to tell your kids to be quiet when they are screaming and stomping around is normal for you, if it never occurs to you to consider or care about the people on the other side of the wall, then you, sir, madam, are a toxic neighbour.
01/03 Direct Link
I try to post positive things, or light-hearted things, or purely descriptive things, but my success in this endeavour has been limited, to put it mildly. I continue to feel burdened by my own mind and nature, which, although capable of humour and happiness, are not naturally sunny things. The weight of worry and sadness is heavy again. Because of your health issues, and mine. Because of the endless farrago of foolishness we see from our fellow humans. Because you, I, and our fellows are doomed and I fear, in each case, probably much sooner than we would like.
01/04 Direct Link
Australia burns, Trump cynically initiates international violence as a blatant ploy to boost support for the upcoming election (something he previously claimed Obama would do), the Tories are cock-a-hoop and rampant, enjoying the support from the useful idiots in the north, the right continues to rise even in the face of evidence that they are chiefly responsible for the mess we are in and I, yet again, await medical test results that could contain doom. I am exhausted beyond description. I want it to be over, yet like the human fool I am, not via death. Not yet.
01/05 Direct Link
Everything is so fragile, temporary, unpredictable. The immutable law of entropy will prevail, and our best efforts to resist it will fail. We slow, crumble and disperse under its inevitability, like a hurled but loosely-packed snowball. Things come apart, and so do we. So do I. Now it feels like my recent period of hard-won fitness and health was like a last ditch attempt to hold together, one last spit in the eye of decay, deterioration and death. And I knew that’s what it was at the time, too. I have never been especially given to self-delusion.
01/06 Direct Link
Reasons to be cheerful. One. Two. Three.

Depression both is and is not my nature, but my more cheerful self is not currently in the ascendant. Illness, and the fear of it, keeps that side of me down like almost nothing else. I try to elevate my mood, but I know that I cannot simply will that to happen. All that stuff about positive thinking is as useless as yoga for a person like me. Also, this entry is basically a repeat of the one I did three days ago.

So, reasons to be cheerful... lemme get back to you.
01/07 Direct Link
Our biological evolution has not come close to keeping up with our technological development. Evolution works very slowly, over huge expanses of time. We are still essentially the same creatures as we were long before the days of the Akkadian empire. And so naturally, we still act like it. And I cannot help feeling that some of the major behaviours we cleave to are damaging and inappropriate ones from ages past. Tribalism of all kinds. Religion. Nationalism. The worship of culture, of identity. Unless we can understand how these things hobble us, we are doomed. That is: we are doomed.
01/08 Direct Link
Death doesn’t look so bad right now. I am tired. I am so very tired. I am tired of trying to make things work. I am tired of people. I am tired of taking my clothes off, and of putting them on. I am tired of eating and drinking and shitting and pissing and masturbating. I am tired of opening my eyes and seeing things. I am tired of hearing things. None of it is good. None of it is worth a damn. Bring it, biology. Let this miserable, futile grind end. I think I might be ready at last.
01/09 Direct Link
Every one of the neighbourhood trees has been cut back to the branch stumps. The council’s tree barbers have gone over them like the army on new hippie recruits. The trees stand there with their multiple mangled arms and black lightning limbs upraised like supplicating cripples, cut off at the elbows and knees, all knuckles and bones, fingerless freaks; a ruined, frostbitten army of the denuded and defeated. But the dogs still piss on their roots, and their anguished, naked, sky-clutching pain will pass, and I know they will be restored and verdant again, long after I am dead.
01/10 Direct Link
One day I really must ask one of our guards why they routinely make announcements in which they say “If you require any help or assistance please do not hesitate to ask.” I want to know if anyone ever requires help but not assistance, or assistance but not help. Or perhaps both help and assistance. This is not the only example of redundant repetition I hear in announcements, but because of my job it’s the one I hear most. I don’t understand why people seem so reluctant to think about the words they intend to utter before they utter them.
01/11 Direct Link
One day I really must ask one of our guards why they routinely make announcements in which they say “If you require any help or assistance please do not hesitate to ask.” I want to know if anyone ever requires help but not assistance, or assistance but not help. Or perhaps both help and assistance. This is not the only example of redundant repetition I hear in announcements, but because of my job it’s the one I hear most. I don’t understand why people seem so reluctant to think about the words they intend to utter before they utter them.
01/12 Direct Link
Death has been much on my mind lately, primarily for reasons of age and illness - my own and that of people I care about. I absolutely must make a will this year... but that’s incidental. I’m thinking about this strange legacy we now leave. One that those who died before the mid to late nineties never did, because it was impossible. I am referring to the legacy of our internet presence. From trivial trolling to drunken rants to profound insights to profile pics. All our silly little opinings and chatterings. Our immortal remains. Social media cemeteries. Email epitaphs. Cadaver comments.
01/13 Direct Link
I need to not write about this anxiety, nor the related frustrating experience I had today. I need to drink, to get back into the toxic alms of my only balm, and try to focus on the fact that tomorrow I will be heading west. I’m worried about her too, but we will be together, if only, as always, for an insufficient period. I will try to do what she does better than me, and put all this tension “into a box”. I wish my black mind would let me write that without adding “before they put me into one”.
01/14 Direct Link
Why are we doing this, we few remaining one-hundred-worders? When I did my original batches all those years ago, my life was strange and exciting, and I found this to be a good way of recording it, and an enjoyable exercise in writing. But now... I am really not sure. Perhaps because life is now strange in a less enjoyable way, and perhaps this small discipline grounds me in some minor way. But that feels like a rationalisation, not the real reason. I don’t know what that is, now. For me or any of the others still here.
01/15 Direct Link
All comic-based movies are infantile bullshit. Absolutely every last lousy fucking one of them, without exception. Because: fucking COMICS, for Christ’s sake. And, yes, even those “Ooh, no really, so adult, such dark” comics. Comics. COMICS. Stupid fucking costumes. Stupid fucking stories. The moral compass of a retarded chimpanzee. Bang, flash, glower, explosion, fight, bullshit CGI... crash, bang, codswallop. The relentless inability of alleged adults (almost always allegedly male) to put away childish things is one of the many behaviours that will ensure the destruction of humanity as a viable force on the planet. And thank Christ for that.
01/16 Direct Link
Soon I shall be skiing in Italy, and damned glad to be in Europe instead of my lousy, stinking, hateful homeland. I shall raise several glasses of robust Italian red wine in celebration of being away from Britain and its malodorous pack of xenophobes, ignoramuses, bigots, Tories (and their crop of useful idiots in the north), shameless propaganda-spewing media outlets; cap-doffing, monarchy-loving throwbacks, anti-intellectuals and smug, blinkered Brexiters. And I shall toast Europe with a sincere wish that the UK fall into utter ruin. I have never hated my nation as hard as I do now.
01/17 Direct Link
I am back in New York City, and mostly in Williamsburg. The old ‘hood is a very new one now, and often not in good ways. Those stark, sterile waterfront hi-rises, packed with what we used to call yuppies; the new money cold and cancerous, eating the poor, the old and the struggling out of their homes. And the yuppies do not care. Why should they? They have their expensive artisanal cafes and bakeries, their five-dollars-a-pop coffee shops, their doggy day cares, their professionally-priced gyms and their casual, careless, regular-run-toned, self-centred hearts.
01/18 Direct Link
But I am with you, and that matters above all else. I am worried about my health, and yours, but here we are, together, as it should be, as I will always wish it could be all the time. My miserable musings on death can be put on hold, at least for a while, at least mostly. A terrible mistake occurred, but realising that has been more than half the battle. Now our precious and insufficient time together is much more the joy than the previous frustration. I hope that lasts. I hope we last. We need to live, love.
01/19 Direct Link
I wish you did not have to deal with difficult room mates. I wish you did not have to deal with five flights of stairs. I wish you did not have to deal with health concerns. I wish you did not have to deal with financial insecurity. I wish you did not have to deal with anything but ease, rest, good food and drink, happy times with your children, and the love of a strange and sometimes difficult limey who is just so happy to be with you right now, trying to be in the moment; the bright, precious moment.
01/20 Direct Link
I am bored with writing about myself, my problems and fears. Is this how it is to be now, this 100 words lark? I used to sneer at people who used it as some sort of dreary, self-obsessed diary, so I hate myself for lapsing into a version of that, in spite of my efforts to do otherwise. Perhaps this needs to be the last month for a while. Maybe forever. I returned to this because my life has been so troubled, and I felt the need for a potentially steadying outlet. Perhaps that has happened. And perhaps not.
01/21 Direct Link
And the extent to which I am repeating variations on the same gloomy theme just will not do. I hope my skiing holiday will go at least some way towards lifting my spirits, but to be honest, the uncharacteristic absence of real enthusiasm I feel about it does not augur well in that regard. I think I am in actual depression, and few things are more depressing than listening to or reading the words of a depressed person. Depressed people are dull, miserable bastards. We’re not supposed to say it but god damn it, it’s true. And I’m no different.
01/22 Direct Link
I am loved, and I never forget that this is a miracle. I was the kind of guy who could so easily have never been loved; an incel before incels were a thing, but without the misogyny. It was always clear to me that I did not deserve the love or attention of women. Fourteen years of physical inferiority and physical bullying drove that into me like boot camp on crack. You are weak. You are a prat. You are short and skinny. You are useless. You are the untermensch. Of course no woman will love you. And yet, nevertheless.
01/23 Direct Link
Like many - possibly most - people, when I say I love to travel I mean that I love being in different places, not that I enjoy the process of travelling, which is usually a tiring grind involving a series of annoyances and discomforts. Travelling is the pain I put up with in order to be somewhere interesting, different, and stimulating. Everything comes at a cost. But the other cost of travel, less often mentioned, is the aching sense of loss, almost mourning, that ensues after returning. You were there, in this enchanted other place. And then, with alarming suddenness, you weren’t.
01/24 Direct Link
The day before skiing, and my back is bad. Not fully out, but in that place of sudden painful twinges that cause a sharp intake of breath and a fierce stiffening of the muscles. I can see my pelvis is tilted when I stand in front of the mirror. This means I am on the edge. It could go at any time. I managed to get cracked at the chiropractor today and it has helped a little, but I am still not right. This is not good. I may not be able to ski. My annus continues to be horribilis.
01/25 Direct Link
But off I went, nonetheless. A remarkably annoyance-free journey with no delays or stresses. I could feel my back nagging away but survived with no worsening. But... I have a bad feeling about it. We arrived in the resort at around 19:00, relieved to see that there appeared to be sufficient, if not plentiful, snow. A quick settling in to our two rather nice apartments, then a short walk to a very good pizza place. Gear ready for tomorrow, not too late to bed, and a surprisingly good night’s sleep, at least by my lamentable standards. We shall see.
01/26 Direct Link
Well, at least I have done some skiing. Actually a pretty good morning, just Pete and I having a moderate burn around the local reds and blues whilst waiting for the others to organise themselves. But as lunch approached I felt my back becoming achy and stiff. And when I got up after lunch I felt a real twinge, so with a sad combination of good sense and weary regret I told the others I was done for the day, and skied home very gingerly. I fear there will be no more skiing. I hope not, but I fear it.
01/27 Direct Link
Today I took a day off. A major twinge in the lower back as I got out of bed and so, as I had booked a massage for 3:00, I decided to be sensible and not hit the slopes. Most upsetting on only day two of the holiday. And, of course, the weather was glorious and the mountains looked spectacular. I spent a gloomy day making breakfast then wandering aimlessly around Corvara (which proves to be a rather dull, sterile place) then had one of the best massages of my life. Perhaps it will help enough to let me ski.
01/28 Direct Link
I decided to risk it. And of course the weather had closed in. On the plus side, we’d had a couple of centimetres of snow overnight. Pete and I hit the lifts early, and after a couple of reasonable runs my back, although stiff and dodgy, appeared to be holding out. And then we hit white-out, and rediscovered the challenge of skiing whilst peering desperately for any sort of visual cues at all. And yet I managed quite well, and almost enjoyed it. Nevertheless, I finished after lunch. Sensible, and glad to have got a bit more skiing in.
01/29 Direct Link
Last night’s traditional “local produce evening” left me in need of extra sleep, so I chose to lie in while the others headed out. Back still twingeing, so it was touch and go whether I’d ski at all. I decided to go for it, but the first run was hard, bumpy and made my back throb like hell, so I started to head home. And on the way, discovered a beautiful smooth run that made me change my mind, resulting in an unexpectedly pleasant half day skiing alone in bright sunshine, and contemplating the wonder and sadness of it all.
01/30 Direct Link
Day five and, finally, I hit it full force. Today the twingeing was less and my hips looked almost level in the mirror, so it was game on. Pete, Mike and I did a full day on crisp snow, in blazing sunshine under a bright blue sky. Clockwise Sella Ronda, finishing with hitting almost every run above Colfosco, including the really rather easy black. A shame it took until day five, but considering I wasn’t sure I’d ski again after day one I feel very happy, and hopeful for tomorrow. The apres-ski beers tasted even better than normal tonight.
01/31 Direct Link
A glorious final day, making the long hike and triple cable car ascent of magnificent Marmolada. Only Mike fancied joining me, and although he struggled on the long and bumpy red down from the giddy height (3,256m) he claimed to have enjoyed the experience. It was a lengthy trip home, and we didn’t make it until 4:20, having started at 8:45. A long day for men of our age, but we still have it in us.

A strange one. It looked like it was going to be a washout for me, but somehow I pulled it out of the fire.