Normal-oh-whatever 2


what the hell is up with that?

this question has haunted me most of my life. as a child,
and as an adult, i never quite "got it" and since i was diagnosed
as bipolar some years back, my "issues" with "normal"
seem to be growing.

to me, "normal" is a word people use way too freely.

am i the only one who finds this word loaded?
loaded like a gun?

some aspects of "normal" i get.

i understand that it is good, for example, to have "a normal
white blood cell count". i appreciate that one wants to look
at ones' feces and urine and feel like "hey, that's normal".

when it comes to things are objective, in the sense of
the physical world, "normal" can often be a good thing,
making ones' life and the world at large more understandable
and perhaps a safer place.

but when it comes to attitudes, to perceptions,
to behaviours... "normal" gets "weird".

normal stools

normal  (adjective)
Definition: common, usual

Synonyms: accustomed, acknowledged, average, commonplace, conventional, customary, general, habitual, mean, median, methodical, natural, orderly, ordinary, popular, prevalent,
regular, routine, run-of-the-mill, standard, traditional, typic, typical, unexceptional

Antonyms: abnormal, irregular, odd, strange, uncommon, unconventional, unusual

normal appendix

What is the Definition of Normal?

Normal is the state of being mentally and physically healthy
or conforming to a standard that is regarded as customary,
typical or expected.
It may also refer to a line that intersects a surface
at a right angle.

normal normal

What is a Normal Person

The word normal typically is defined as a behavior
conforming with or constituting a norm or standard
or level or type or social norm.

So by this definition a normal person would be considered
an individual who conforms to societal norms and standards.

So typically a society will decide if a person is normal
by whether or not they follow the rules that that given
society uses to determine what is appropriate and
inappropriate values, beliefs, attitudes and behaviors.

For example when a person decides to enter a sport
that is not traditionally competed in by his or her sex,
they are viewed as abnormal. Each society will set
their own definition for what is a normal person.

the normal model

2a : according with, constituting, or not deviating
from a norm, rule, or principle
2b : conforming to a type, standard, or regular pattern
3 : occurring naturally
4a : of, relating to, or characterized by average intelligence
or development
4b : free from mental disorder : sane

Examples of NORMAL
    He had a normal childhood.
    These little setbacks are a normal part of life.
    a potato twice as big as normal size
    Despite her illness, she was able to lead a normal life.
    They had a normal, healthy baby.
    Normal people don't react that way.

Related to NORMAL
Synonyms: average, common, commonplace, cut-and-dried,
veryday, garden-variety, ordinary, prosaic, routine, run-of-the-mill, standard, standard-issue, unexceptional, unremarkable, usual, workaday

Antonyms: abnormal, exceptional, extraordinary, odd,
out-of-the-way, strange, unusual

normal urine

so to be "normal" then is to be....

not deviating

is that how YOU see yourself?
is that how you WANT to see yourself?

is that who YOU want to be?

the normal curve

not me. not when i was a kid. not now.

not ever.

normal tongues

but above and beyond my visceral personal reaction
to these (also loaded) words, with their dreary,
suffocating and - to me at least - political implications...

ordinary, conventional thinking what our society needs
to deal with the challenges that face us all- locally?

don't the challenges we face, from climate change to poverty
to disease to racism, need to be looked at in new ways?
isn't it possible that any steps towards dealing with them might require require unconventional or even exceptional thinking?

haven't a lot of these challenges arisen from,
or been made much, much worse
by conventional thinking?

just sayin'...

to be continued...


Funny weird meets funny ha ha

is shopping a mental illness?

next, a simple test for "bipolar"

some questions are eternal...

ever wonder what the birds
are on about? i do...

sticks and stones may break my bones....


my attitude problem...

i'm not sure why these tumbler/xanga/whatever
images with the sad slogans on them bug me
so much, but they truly do...

is it the profound sense of victimology?

 the self-indulgence? the lameness?

is it all of the above, combined with the sense
that the people who make them and who repost
them so endlessly are wallowing in a vat
of their own fecal matter?



what i DO know is that defacing them makes ME
feel better! it makes me laugh, and then i forget them...

time to take the puppy for a walk in the snow...


What's it like to be bipolar?

now there's a loaded question.

dark novella      dugg simpson    Aug2012

the first answer that comes to my mind
    is "you know, it's pretty interesting".


i love to read. i love to write.

and it long ago became clear to me that much
of what i was writing was just me trying to explain
myself to myself...

... a kind of sit-down with the seemingly random bits of information
i'm immersed in every day with what i've already learned, the truths i hold to be self-evident and the emotions it all stirs up in my heart and see what - if any - connections there might be.

someone's go to do the math      dugg simpson    Oct2012

on a good day, it makes me laugh.

on a good day it's like surfing, down a beautiful river
on a summer afternoon, the water glittering with music
and a breeze in the leaves humming harmonies
in every shade of green.

on a good day, no one is more surprised
than i am by what comes out.

on a good day, i learn something.

i want candy      dugg simpson    Oct2012

but, as anyone living on a bipolar planet knows,
not all days are good days.

talk to the pig      dugg simpson    Sept2012

some days, words just make me weary.
some days, there's so many in my head that my life feels
like a bad cocktail party, where too many desperate Rigbys and nerd-boy Prufrocks are talking too loud in a room already buzzing beneath flourescent lights and muzak so toxic i wish i was deaf.

some days, the thought of even one more word
just makes me sick...

from here to modernity      dugg simpson    Oct2012

that's when i want be around pictures.

to immerse myself in a big cool pool of shapes and textures and colours. don't think, just do. let my intuition off the great leash of 'meaning' for a run in the woods.
it's like my own personal mute button i guess.

buy the ticket, take the ride      dugg simpson    Nov2012

and on a good day, no one is more surprised
than i am by what comes out.

on a good day, i learn something too.

electric violin      dugg simpson    Dec2012


Urban stress & mood disorders

i live out in the sticks, about two hours north of "the city"
in a place most people wouldn't even call a hick town.
The main street runs about four blocks, and there's a few
chain stores huddled together out by the highway and

as far as the urban experience goes,
that's about it.

There was a time not so long ago when I lived in a warehouse downtown on the main drag of a big city, but these days
the boonies is a much better fit.

The quiet suits me and i like having a lake at the end
of the street almost as much as my dog. On the right night,
there's a big-ass moon in a sky full of stars, deer, bears
and coyotes, if you're up for a walk.

When i get down to the city now, there's a manic feeling
that sets in as i hit the sprawl and the longer i stay there,
the itchier it gets til i simply have to leave.

it's not all bad while i can surf it, but it gets exhausting.
it gets ennervating because it's so relentless.

"it" being what feels to me like a full court press on my
nervous system. senses working overtime. it doesn't fit.
i don't fit.

up here, i fit.  fit because there's a lot of space.
physical space. acoustic space. outer space.

i'm still bipolar. there's bad days and nights where ever
i am, no matter what but here there are also loons,
sugar maples and woodpeckers.

there are people here too, who aren't always so busy
and/or so late for whatever that a line-up at the grocery
check-out makes them break out in a cold sweat.

Bipolar or not, you know when something - or someplace -
fits and here does, for now, for me. i notice things as
much as ever, but more of it makes sense.
i don't get as itchy.

it's not just me. it's not just my imagination
or my intuition. there's some science to it too.

A walk in the park gives mental boost
to people with depression

"Our study showed that participants with clinical depression demonstrated improved memory performance after a walk
in nature, compared to a walk in a busy urban environment,"
said Dr. Berman.

Dr. Berman's research is part of a cognitive science field
known as Attention Restoration Theory (ART) which proposes
that people concentrate better after spending time in nature
or looking at scenes of nature.

The reason, according to ART, is that people interacting
with peaceful nature settings aren't bombarded with
external distractions that relentlessly tax their working
memory and attention systems. In nature settings, the
brain can relax and enter a state of contemplativeness
that helps to restore or refresh those cognitive capacities.

A walk in the park a day keeps mental fatigue away

If you spend the majority of your time among stores,
restaurants and skyscrapers, it may be time to trade
in your stilettos for some hiking boots.

A new study in Psychological Science, a journal of
the Association for Psychological Science, reveals
that spending time in nature may be more beneficial
for mental processes than being in urban environments.

Research shows a walk in the park improves attention
in children with ADHD

For children with Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder
tasks that require concentration such as doing homework
or taking a test can be very difficult. A simple, inexpensive
remedy may be a "dose of nature."

A study conducted at the University of Illinois shows
that children with ADHD demonstrate greater attention
after a 20-minute walk in a park than after a similar
walk in a downtown area or a residential neighborhood.

Stress in the city: Brain activity and biology
behind mood disorders of urban residents

Being born and raised in a major urban area is associated
with greater lifetime risk for anxiety and mood disorders.

"Previous findings have shown that the risk for anxiety
disorders is 21 percent higher for people from the city,
who also have a 39 percent increase for mood disorders,"
says co-author Jens Pruessner, a Douglas researcher.

"In addition, the incidence for schizophrenia is almost
doubled for individuals who are born and brought up
in cities.

Air pollution linked to learning and memory
problems, depression

Long-term exposure to air pollution can lead to physical
changes in the brain, as well as learning and memory problems
and even depression, new research in mice suggests.

While other studies have shown the damaging effects
of polluted air on the heart and lungs, this is one of the
first long-term studies to show the negative impact on
the brain, said Laura Fonken, lead author of the study
and a doctoral student in neuroscience at Ohio State University.

Freeway air bad for mouse brain

A new study reveals that after short-term exposure to
vehicle pollution, mice showed significant brain damage —
including signs associated with memory loss and Alzheimer's

The mind-numbing toxin is not an exhaust gas, but a mix
of tiny particles from burning of fossil fuel and weathering
of car parts and pavement, according to the study to be
published Thursday, April 7 in the leading journal
Environmental Health Perspectives.


Be the drug!

...just say yes!


Who's crazy?

Stockbrokers. In a bad way.

i knew it!
...which i guess means i'm not actually paranoid.


Bipolar Alienation?

the Electric Violin    dugg simpson 11/12

i used to be Somebody.

in a small but vital corner of the music business, i was someone
who could Make A Difference in the careers of Artists. every day, all kinds of people would send me emails and call me on the phone. they would seek me out in bars, stalk me in hotel lobbies at conferences and hang on my every word whenever i spoke.

they weren't just sucking up. they weren't hustling me
or god forbid, blowing smoke up my ass. no.

we were a Community, and in that Community, i had a lot
of friends. if i'd been on Facebook then, Friend-wise i coulda
been well into four figures.

now, i'm Nobody.

i'm of No Possible Use to anyone's career. i can't pay for anyone's plane tickets to Vancouver, or pay them money to do what they do, or present them to an audience that will buy their CDs or their key-chains or t-shirts or whatever else they might be selling.

the phone hardly ever rings anymore, and if it does, it's not for me. i get maybe one email a month. nobody notices when i walk into a room... or if i don't. and while i am a devoted blogger on a variety to themes including music, only a precious few people seem to notice if i do... or if i don't, let alone hang on my every word.

one day, i was an Important Member of a Community
and the next day i was Nobody.

c'est la vie.

que sera, sera. 

so it goes.


Hunter S. Thompson - bipolar, maybe?

Was Hunter S. Thompson bipolar?


It could be i'm just projecting. Ever since Fear and Loathing
in Las Vegas blew the top of my head off as an impressionable adolescent, i've admired his spirit, curiousity, courage and ability to articulate the distemper of the times we were living in,
or trying to live thru...

Long before i was diagnosed, his manic spells and the darkness
of depression as well as his abiding interest in self-medicating
were more than clear- they were splattered across the pages
of everything he wrote, as though it was all written in blood,
cut with tears of rage and sorrow.

Whenever i'd find myself among people trashing America,
he would be something i'd throw back at them, as in
   "What? You don't like barbeque? You don't like jazz?
    You don't like Hunter S.?"

As time went on, there was more and more darkness in
what he saw, and his decision to end his life could also
be one more sign that there were more bad chemicals
than good ones in his synapses, in that bipolar way.

In the end, a diagnosis one way or the other of the good
doctor doesn't much matter nearly as much as the passion
and insight he brought to his life and his work.

Forty years later, he still inspires me to keep going
and as Bruce Cockburn sang,
       "to kick at the darkness til it bleeds daylight".

in his own words...

"We are turning into a nation of whimpering slaves to Fear—
fear of war, fear of poverty, fear of random terrorism, fear of getting down-sized or fired because of the plunging economy,
fear of getting evicted for bad debts or suddenly getting
locked up in a military detention camp on vague charges
of being a Terrorist sympathizer."

       —"Extreme Behavior in Aspen," February 3, 2003

       "What is the desired effect?"


"We are all wired into a survival trip now. No more of the speed that fueled the 60's. That was the fatal flaw in Tim Leary's trip.
He crashed around America selling "consciousness expansion"
without ever giving a thought to the grim meat-hook
realities that were lying in wait for all the people
who took him seriously...

“I’ve always considered writing the most hateful kind of work.
I suspect it’s a bit like fucking, which is only fun for amateurs.
Old whores don’t do much giggling.”


"There are times, however, and this is one of them, when even being right feels wrong. What do you say, for instance, about
a generation that has been taught that rain is poison
and sex is death?

If making love might be fatal and if a cool spring breeze
on any summer afternoon can turn a crystal blue lake into
a puddle of black poison right in front of your eyes, there
is not much left except TV and relentless masturbation.

It's a strange world. Some people get rich and others
eat shit and die."

       —Gonzo Papers, Vol. 2: Generation of Swine: Tales of Shame
          and Degradation in the '80s

     "Just sick enough to be totally confident"


"In a closed society where everybody's guilty,
the only crime is getting caught. In a world of thieves,
the only final sin is stupidity."

“I have in recent months come to have a certain feeling
for Joe Hill and the Wobbly* crowd who, if nothing else,
had the right idea. But not the rights mechanics.
I believe the IWW was probably the last human concept
in American politics”.

* the International Workers of the World

 "It would be easy to say that we owe it all to the Bush family
from Texas, but that would be too simplistic. They are only
errand boys for the vengeful, bloodthirsty cartel of raving
Jesus-freaks and super-rich money mongers who have ruled
for at least the last 20 years, and arguably the last 200 years.
They take orders well, and they don't ask too many questions.

The real power in America is held by a fast-emerging new Oligarchy
of pimps and preachers who see no need for Democracy or fairness
or even trees, except maybe the ones in their own yards,
and they don't mind admitting it.

They worship money and power and death. Their ideal solution
to all the nation's problems would be another 100 Year War.

Coming of age in a fascist police state will not be a barrel
of fun for anybody, much less for people like me, who are
not inclined to suffer Nazis gladly and feel only contempt
for the cowardly flag-suckers who would gladly give up
their outdated freedom to live for the mess of pottage
they have been conned into believing will be freedom
from fear. Ho ho ho.

Let's not get carried away here. Freedom was yesterday
in this country. Its value has been discontinued. The only
freedom we truly crave today is freedom from Dumbness.
Nothing else matters."

         "buy the ticket...take the ride"

and his final words...

 "No More Games. No More Bombs. No More Walking.
No More Fun. No More Swimming. 67. That is 17 years past 50.
17 more than I needed or wanted. Boring.
I am always bitchy. No Fun -- for anybody. 67.
You are getting Greedy. Act your old age.
Relax -- This won't hurt."

   Hunter Stockton Thompson
            July 18, 1937 – February 20, 2005
             American journalist and author

learn more about his life at this exceptional site:
Hunter S. Thompson

what did this champion have for breakfast?
Hunter S. Thompson's Very Gonzo Breakfast Habits