Why not February?

Screenshot anime Hyouka (OP 2)

Am I pretending nothing happened in February for five years? The screenshot is from the second opening scene to the anime Hyouka, which I wrote about back in November 2012, about living on the other side of the glass from the world where everyone else lives.

As I uploaded my previous entry, the upload tool presented me with an alphabetical list of folders. I noticed to my surprise that there was a gap from “feb13” to “feb18”. Yes, that means I had not uploaded any pictures (and therefore probably not any main journal entries) in February since five years ago. That’s quite a bit of time! I know I have uploaded other entries from time to time, so why not February?

Perhaps it is something about the season: Winter in Norway is cold and dark, and in most years February is the coldest month of the year. So far it seems that I am pretty much immune to classical depression, seasonal or otherwise. There is an increasingly widespread theory that in men, depression can take the form of a feeling of disconnect, so there is that. But truth to tell, I suspect I feel a lot less disconnected than I am in the eyes of other people, in so far as they give me any thought at all. Being single and childless and 59 years old, I certainly should qualify. But it is my brother who has struggled with depression, even though he is a great guy and has a great wife and kids. Life is not always fair, and depression, in particular, strikes me as cruel and capricious. The people who could need it are not the ones who have it.

Be that as it may, looking at an entry I wrote in February last year and never uploaded, it details my discovery that I was actually strikingly and obviously evil inside. For some reason, I had failed to notice this particular detail. I can’t attribute that to depression either, as it was more like pulling off the mask I had worn in the mirror for many long years. Ever since then, I removed the “good” trait on my self-sim in The Sims 3, although I did not go so far as to replace it with “evil”. Rather, I replaced it with “gatherer” (more like collector in the Norwegian version), which I for some reason had not found room for in the past even though it is a constant struggle to not fill my apartment to the rafters. Well, the current apartment is for sale so that may help a bit right now.

There is really a lot of things I could write about, both about my life and my interests, if I had continued in the way I started for the first ten years or so. But I think the time for that is long past. We have social media now, where crowds of people are eagerly photographing their food and throwing out bombastic opinions based on their emotions, and there are even people who play computer games on YouTube for everyone to see. They are topping me like the Himalayas top a small hill, in the kind of things I used to do when the Internet was new, back when it was rare to get a chance to look in through the window to a stranger’s life and heart.

Writing Grammarly

Screenshot anime Amanchu

If you struggle to express yourself and put your thoughts into words, Grammarly might be a prized companion. For me who have at times struggled to stop putting my thoughts into words, it is just a curiosity.

I love living in the future, and I particularly enjoy all the new tools and toys and combinations thereof. In the latter category is Grammarly, an app/service that promises to watch over all your online writing and then some. (There is also a Windows app that can be used to write or proofread texts that are not meant to be shared online.)

One potential problem comes to mind immediately: What if your writing falls into the wrong hands?  We are not just talking about your love letters getting the wrong audience or the manuscript for your new book suddenly appearing written by a competitor. Any app that reads your writing could, in theory, also harvest passwords, credit card numbers and such. It was, therefore, an easy decision for me to not be among the early adopters of this software. But years have gone by and there has only been one scandal, which turned out to be overblown, and it had nothing to do with passwords and such. So as of today, I have Grammarly on my writing machine.

Grammarly promises to discover both spelling and grammar errors. The built-in text editor in Vivaldi (and Chrome) also catches spelling mistakes, but not grammar mistakes. (In the previous sentence, Grammarly wants to change “catches” to “catch”, presumably because the browsers Vivaldi and Chrome are two. Unlike me and you, it cannot see past the “and” to realize that the subject of the sentence is the text editor. Artificial intelligence is still no match for natural stupidity, as the saying goes.) Luckily you can tell Grammarly to ignore such a find, much like in Microsoft Office. Actually, in my experience, Microsoft Office is even worse at parsing grammar. But if you do all your writing in Office, you may not feel motivated to convince¬†two grammar checkers that they are wrong and you are right.

Back in the good old days when I lovingly crafted my journal by hand in Notepad or some other pure text editor, it was common for me to find spelling errors when I read through my entry one year later. (Back then I linked to the year-ago entry because I wrote virtually every day.) When I read through them two or even three years later, it was not uncommon for me to find more errors. This is a human tendency: We read what we meant to write, not what we typed.

At this point in my entry, Grammarly has found one spelling error (I misplaced an “i” in Artificial) and two grammar errors that were not. It also disagreed on my comma usage in three cases, which I gracefully conceded, albeit under doubt. So I am probably not in the target group for paying customers. If you want to try for yourself, you can go to grammarly.com or just wait for one of their innumerable ads with which they flood the Internet.