Author Archives: thematizer

Inspiring Thought for the Morning

“God is the only creature capable of loving everything.”

That is my definition, anyway. Even if it is only a personal theory, I find it comforting. It is so hard to love other people (friends, neighbors, family) sometimes. We often fall short.

If you are new to this blog, I will share a little bit about myself:

I am 45 years old, divorced and a contract employee at a large and well-known corporation. I was an English major in college and a journalist in my 20s. I wish I could write full-time, but content myself with amateur blogging and the occasional self-published work. Got to make a living, ya know?

Actually I love what I do (coding and design) nearly as much as writing. I am lucky that way, although perhaps not in every way. I recently survived a multi-year ordeal of severe fibroids with anemia. You can read more about that experience here. I am blessed that surgery was able to resolve the problem. It has been amazing to have enough energy to hike and exercise again. The unfortunate consequence of the surgery is that I am now unable to have children. It’s ok, in the long run. I could have had kids in my twenties, but instead I prioritized writing this book. My husband later left me for another woman. I blamed his betrayal, in part, upon my long absences and travel while researching the subject matter.

<HINT>The book is about Christianity.</HINT> So I guess you could say I have some issues with God as a result.

God and I are working through those, I hope. Kind of hard to love God when you know that God is only a construct in your head — a limited way to express a living force beyond our knowledge or comprehension.

That’s all for today, folks. Thanks for reading.

Oldies but Goodies

Full disclosure — I have a lot of blogs. Medium, Substack, WordPress.com… this site, my startup site. That’s probably not the complete list but it’s what I can think of offhand. These sites are separate for a number of different reasons, the two most important being:

(1) Branding/messaging
(2) Privacy

Why do I lump brand and message together? Because once you have established a brand (be it “the brand of you” or be it a new venture you hope to sell for somewhere at the fashionable end of the neighborhood of seven figures) you have to stay on-message.

For instance, I recently took down one of my earliest posts on lotusrose.substack.com. The reason was that it was an opinion piece masquerading as fact. It made a very broad (and in my view, plausible) assertion but provided no hard evidence to back it up. This doesn’t measure up to my own standards for objective, fact-based journalism.

Lotus Rose is a journalism site, focused on sustainable and socially responsible investing strategies for retail and day traders. The articles are based on my own experience and online research. I provide citations and believe that the work stands on its own merits. While future predictions (such as the value of the Dow at the end of 2023) cannot be evaluated as true or false, any other information cited should have a source, whether or not it is made public. My memory is crap so I make a lot of notes and copy-and-paste a lot of links. This served me well as a journalist for American City Business Journals in the early 2000s, when I published several hundred print and online articles for ACBJ and other publications (including numerous features and covers). I have clips on everything from banking to restaurant reviews. I don’t recall ever receiving a single complaint about the facts, much less any situation that required a retraction.

Writing will always be my first love. (Sorry BWT, you came along 13 years too late.) Too bad the work didn’t pay a little better, or that is what I would still be doing.

Objectivity may be hard to come by — a mythical island of truth, an invisible city shimmering on the horizon of an ocean of uninformed groupthink — but facts are as real as any other construct we can assemble from the abstract building blocks of language.

What is my definition of a fact? Something you can evaluate as a Boolean statement.

i.e. Imagine a hypothetical function, truth(x) that evaluates the truth or falsehood of a variable. The variable may be a string, an integer, a real number, or the product of another function. Because the output type is defined as Boolean, it will always return a value of either true or false.

Now imagine that you have a sophisticated AI text reader that can parse the value of short statements (we will say up to 1000 characters in length). The task of this AI is to evaluate the statement described in the fact as either true or false. Empty, null, and undefined values will also be counted as false. Keep in mind; the function can be wrong or right in its assessments, just as newspapers and police eyewitnesses may be right or wrong about their facts. The important thing is that this function will always return a value of either yes or no (true or false).

This is my definition of a fact. It can itself be expressed as a fact:

The paragraphs below provide a rigorous definition and test for the term “fact”:

What is my definition of a fact? Something you can evaluate as a Boolean statement.

i.e. Imagine a hypothetical function, is_factual(var) that evaluates the truth or falsehood of a variable. The variable type is defined as a string. Because the output type is defined as Boolean, it will always return a value of either true or false.

Now imagine that you have a sophisticated AI text reader that can parse the value of short statements (we will say up to 1000 characters in length). The task of this AI is to evaluate the statement described in the fact as either true or false. Empty, null, and undefined values will be counted as false. Keep in mind; the function can be wrong or right in its assessments, just as newspapers and police eyewitnesses may be right or wrong about their facts. The important thing is that this function will always return a value of either yes or no (true or false).

(weighing in at 982 characters)

Anyway, it’s possible I will re-post that earlier article on this, or another, site. I haven’t really decided yet.

I have this week off from my day job, because I am recovering from surgery. It went well.

I will be posting more about the outcome, but I want to wait until everything has healed and I am completely out of the woods. I do claim to be superstitious (and that is a fact). Looking back on the previous two decades, tempting fate seems to be something I excel at. In the meantime, I will be reposting a few other older blog posts that seem to fit better here than anywhere else.

Trigger Warning: One or two of these may address the topic of religion…

Hardly Knew You

It’s early.

I’m awake because my day job is on Eastern time, and my boss is on UTC. Had to get up for a 5:30 AM meeting with her yesterday. I get two weeks off (unpaid) to recover from my surgery on Monday, and the prospect of sleeping in each morning seems like a glamorous luxury. It’s the only part of this experience that does.

In a few hours I’ll actually get up, put in hour or two more of contract work, clean the apartment, shop for food, and drive to the hospital and back for my COVID test, all before my aunt gets here. I also need to take down the link to this blog from my Twitter and Facebook (the only places it can be found) and remove some of the more personal content, but I’ll wait to do that until after the surgery has a successful outcome.

I think a lot about you, and about us. I think about how I took you for granted at times, and about how shell-shocked and broken I was when we first got together. I wish I could have been more present. There is something about having to rent out your home for an academic year because you are completely out of money that changes your outlook on life. Mind you we were still going to festivals on my company’s dime. I was driving into NYC to see shows with another old flame from time to time. Traveling and pitching whenever I could.

It’s easy to keep up appearances when you have grown up a scholarship kid from an upper-class family. You know the cheapest thing to order on the menu. You know how to buy groceries each month off the float from your maxed-out credit cards.

I have paid off all that debt several times. Using credit as income was a neat trick while interest rates were low. You see, you didn’t have to pay taxes on what you borrowed. Same with the proceeds from eventually selling my home (primary residence). I do well when the rules of a system are actually consistent and rational. Precious few of those systems around.

It’s still easier to talk about me than you. You were self-effacing. I mispronounced your last name for years, because you never told me the right way to pronounce it. (Should have known to ask, I guess.)

The one thing I feel genuinely bad about is losing the cd you gave me with your album on it. I still have the case. It wasn’t intentional. I try to be careful about things. But a lot of stuff got lost or jumbled together in that move. And of course all of the songs are still on the streaming music site that we launched together.

I am trying to figure out if me taking you for granted and being careless with your heart makes up for you lying to me about something really big and important for the last three and a half years we were together. I don’t think that it does.

Yeah, we were both checked out but some of that was cause and effect. We got engaged. You broke it off. You wouldn’t tell me why. Well, now I know. But at the time the effect was just to make me retreat further.

I never did a lot of dating while I was living on the other side of the country from you. Why would anyone in their right mind in Portland? I had my friend with benefits (who was mostly just a friend) and every so often I would try a lesbian dating app, or go to a queer party at a club by myself.

Would I have stuck through our open long distance relationship if not for the Pandemic and the fact that we were coworkers and cofounders?

Yeah, actually I think I would have. I had a few more years of perspective by then. The yearning for children had passed. I knew how hard it was to find and keep a good friend. If things had gone a different way, my current wages would be going toward private school and eventually college tuition, instead of to pay off debt. 

I tried really hard to be there for you, but you didn’t need that much from me. I don’t think anything makes up for your Big Lie—the way that trusting you constrained my actions, my words, and my choices, up to and including the night that I got raped—but there are two factors that I think explain it.

One is the fact that you were an in an emotionally abusive relationship for your entire adult life with a woman who still had financial power over you and with whom you still shared childcare arrangements. I get that. That’s heavy.

The other is your alcoholism. You are a functioning alcoholic, like my grandpa on my dad’s side. It never got in the way of your work and I wasn’t sure our relationship could survive without it—you only came out of your shell when we were both drinking. But I noticed the broken capillaries around your nose. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one. Also the crates full of empties in your laundry room. How you raced to get your prescription for medical marijuana a year before it became legal to buy in stores.

I am not an alcoholic. Or at least I don’t think I would have been able to stop drinking for three months for health reasons if I was. But now that the lab tests for anemia are finally coming back negative, over these last two weeks before surgery I have dipped back in and it gives me pause.

Two beers in a single night? A glass of whiskey on the rocks with ginger ale? It’s not the road to ruin. It’s a social habit. I’ve always gotten along better with drinkers than nondrinkers. But what surprises me now is how easy and effective it is to numb the pain. So much easier and more predictable to just keep drinking than to change your life.

Arguably alcohol is less toxic and habit-forming than antidepressants. But regardless, I am sorry that we never talked about this while we were together. I wish I’d had more courage to bring it up.

For what it’s worth, I’m willing to do whatever I can to support you now. That includes giving up drinking myself, should we ever end up living in the same place.

Do you even like Led Zeppelin? Impossible for me to know. You like plenty of early metal and 70s rock, but I’ve never seen you “Get the Led out” from your album collection. I could tell you about where and when I first heard “Stairway to Heaven” another time, if you ever want to hear the story. It’s safe to say I know the band better from the reference in Almost Famous than from their discography. Nevertheless this song is what comes to mind, first thing this morning.

The fact that I don’t know whether you will love or hate this dedication is a testimony to the ambiguity of our relationship.

There’s still time to change the road you’re on.”