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July 5th, 2005

Seasonal Affective Disorder

Folks who've known me for a while probably know that I've had some massive depression in the past, and particularly in 2000-2001 or so it was really, really bad. With medication, counseling, and lots of support from good friends I came out of that a whole new person.

I still have (and probably always will) what I believe to be a variety of seasonal affective disorder, which comes in two types, winter depression and summer depression -- and I get the summer kind. If you look at the history of outages in Suburban Jungle, you'll see they tend to be in the July - September range (not always, but often). I tend to spend most of summer in a constant state of edgy exhaustion, feeling overwhelmed and barely capable of getting up in the morning to go to work, much less being creative or up to kung fu -- and the hotter the summer is, the worse I feel.

I've read a theory that summer depression is basically the same as winter depression, and that both are caused by lack of sunlight. The people who get summer depression, the theory goes, get less sunlight in the summer because they've fled indoors to the air conditioning. I don't buy this, myself. It's true that I spend more time outdoors in the fall, winter and spring -- but not that much more time. Frankly I think it boils down to not being able to sleep comfortably, even with air conditioning. Sleep is to depressives what food is to the starving.

This summer has hit me particularly hard; for the past month or more I've been slogging my way through, trying to keep SJ going, trying to write and do art occasionally, and so forth, but I've been fighting a losing battle. (In fact, it's been three months since I went to kung fu, which I am beginning to really feel the effects of in terms of my physical fitness -- but again, when the time comes to go I'm just too damn lethargic to actually do it.) I haven't been 'depressed' in the sense of being sad -- but I have definitely been out of energy and having mood swings. (Instead of getting sad, like I used to, depression makes me cranky now. Not exactly an improvement, but at least it's different.)

I'm hoping that AnthroCon will perk me up a bit. Certainly being in a more creative and cheerful atmosphere than the daily grind at work for a few days should help. I may end up putting SJ officially on hold for a little while to get that particular weight off and let me regroup; I'm going to have to see how the rest of the week goes.

-The Gneech

Two Tids ... or Are They Bits?

Firebird Arts sent me back the following:

Quarks & Quests was a promo album done many many years ago for a company long out of business. It is out of print, out of stock and out of production [and] has been for years.

Well, at least somebody else heard of it!

Also, here's Today's Forgotten English:

sawdust parlance
Circus language, in allusion to the sawdust strewn in the arena of a circus.
--Albert Hyamson's Dictionary of English Phrases, 1922


The Abominable Showman
Birthday of Phineas T. Barnum (1810-1891), American showman extraordinaire who, even if he never actually said, "There's a sucker born every minute," certainly believed it. Barnum denied ever using the term sucker but admitted that he may have asserted, "The people like to be humbugged." He began his show business career in 1842 by opening the American Museum in New York City. It showcased freaks of nature and frauds, such as the "Feejee mermaid" -- a monkey's upper skeleton joined to a fish tail -- and Joice Heth, purported to be George Washington's 160-year-old nurse. Barnum was attracted to politics, serving two terms in the Connecticut state legislature and two years as mayor of Bridgeport, Connecticut. In 1871 he created the circus that would become known as "The Greatest Show on Earth," merging with his main rival, J.A. Bailey, ten years later. Known for keeping one eye fixed on the bottom line, Barnum reportedly inquired, "How were the receipts today in Madison Square Garden?" just before he died.

-The Gneech

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