Winter Interlude III: M Strikes Back

Have you noticed the Star Wars theme? And I'm back with more...

26 Things About Me

K — Killed someone? Do you really think I’d say if I had? That having been said, no, I’ve never killed anyone. I hope you believe me.

L — Last time I cried. I think it's important to cry. It reduces anxiety, activates the parasympathetic nervous system, and improves the immune system. When I was really young, I had plenty of family members tell me that “boys don't cry," which is quite possibly the most harmful thing one can say to a boy. If you do that, don't. Don't ever.

As for me, the last time I cried was about a month ago. It was amazing and cathartic. I also happily admit that I cried at the beginning of Up. I'm not a monster.

M — Middle name. Francis. I would include it in my pseudonym, but it didn't test well with audiences. Or it didn't test well with Adrean, and I trust her judgment. When I started writing as an amateur, my pseudonym was Jonathan Francis. I missed my last name, and was already taken by someone who hasn't done anything with the website. I think it turned out well; if you Google my name, the first two pages are jam-packed full of entries all referencing me.

Pseudonyms are all about marketing in the end.

N — Number of states visited. I had to pull out a map of the U.S. to work this one out. Let's see: Florida, Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Missouri, Tennessee, Kentucky, South Carolina, North Carolina, Virginia, West Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, New Jersey, New York...maybe Ohio? I'm not gonna count it. Twenty states in total. That's two-fifths of the country, or 40% of the states. I'm impressed.

Why didn't we do countries, though? The world is so much wider than the United States! My mom's told me that I visited Canada when I was very little. I can't be sure, so I won't count it. I have visited Colombia, Venezuela, Mexico, the Bahamas, Costa Rica, France, Switzerland, Germany, Liechtenstein, Austria, Spain, and Morocco. I was within a mountain crossing of Italy, but I never crossed the border. That's thirteen countries, including the U.S.

O — One wish. To continue to develop a healthy lifestyle that'll make my transition into middle age as delightful as possible. I know, I'm only 32, but it's important to be healthy now so that things aren't awful in my 50s and 60s. I'm consistently happy about being told I look about ten years younger than I am. I wanna keep the compliments coming as much as I can.

Oh, yeah. And there's physical health. A pretty face isn't everything.

I love everything about your work, Chuck Palahniuk! </fanboy>

I love everything about your work, Chuck Palahniuk! </fanboy>

P — Pen name. Of course. It's Jack Burgos. Granted, Burgos is also my last name and Jack is my nickname, so there's not much I'm hiding. I picked my pseudonym so that it was short and easy to pronounce. Some people aren't sure how to pronounce Burgos, though, so it's “burr"—like those annoying little fruits that stick to your socks or shoes with sharp bristles that hurt when they prick you—and “gōs," which sounds a lot like “ghost" without the “t." The “s" is hard.

Now if only Chuck Palahniuk would take some time to help us figure out how to pronounce his last name, that would be great.

Winter Interlude II: The G War

It's time to continue...

26 Things About Me


F — Favorite Color. I don't think you have to do much looking to see that it's blue. I adore the color blue. So much so that I literally put it on everything that I can. My car, which I call Ash, is blue; many of my clothes are blue; my accessories tend towards blue; and my online name in many spaces is “bluejack404.”

Why the 404? That's a story for another time.

I like earth tones and dark colors, but I tend to stick with blue as my primary color for just about everything. So, for example, my car is blue with black upholstery and gray/silver accessories. I like how the darker colors make the blue pop.

I like purple too, but mostly as a complement to blue (as evidenced by this website).

G — Girlie girl? This is where I first realized that Erin didn't publish her list verbatim. Erin attributed her list to “a grumpy old dude” who calls himself Archon. In his, he asked himself whether ghosts were real. So I'll ask myself that same question as soon as I answer whether I'm a “girlie girl.”

No. I'm not a girlie girl. But I do occasionally squeal when things happen that I'm excited about. Is that what girlie girls do? I don't even know. I kind of hate the entire idea of calling girlie girls that. I feel like it implies that girls who aren't “girlie” are less girls. No. All girls are girls, all women are women. Femininity isn't a damn black-and-white concept.

There's been a lot of ado done about the differences between men and women, culminating in the publication of that atrocity called Men Are from Mars, Women Are from Venus, which I refuse to link to. Research has indicated that there are differences between areas of male and female brains that has caused people to conclude that looking at an individual's brain could allow one to discern whether that individual is a man or a women. Worse, a lot of people seem to believe very strongly that there are such things as male and female brains.

This is patently false. An analysis of the MRI scans of over 1,400 human brains, published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences on November 30, 2015, reveals that there is no dimorphism in the human brain. To put it another way, there are no distinct male/female differences in the human brain. Only about 0-8% of people had traits belonging predominantly to one sex or the other. Meanwhile 23-53% of people had brains with traits that were “mixed,” that is, having traits that were more commonly found in one sex over the other. To borrow a quote from Dr. Steven Novella, “This does not mean that males and females are the same, or that there are no differences. It does mean that individuals are individuals. People are not mentally defined by their sex.”

So screw the term “girlie girl.” Unless you're a minor, a female, and part of the fraction of that 0-8% of people with brains that match their sex exclusively, you probably aren't a “girlie girl” either. That's actually pretty awesome. As the lead author of the study, Dr. Daphne Joel, puts it...

We show there are differences, but brains do not come in male and female forms. The differences you see are differences between averages. Each one of us is a unique mosaic.
— Daphna Joel, PhD
Sagol School of Neuroscience, Tel-Aviv University
"Men are from Mars, women are from Venus? New brain study says not", The Guardian
published November 30, 2015

 G — Ghosts, are they real? No. Next question.

Seriously, though. Occam's razor comes into play here. We understand a whole heck of a lot about the physical world. To believe that ghosts are real is to accept that our entire concept of physics at the macro-level is flawed. That's an absurd position for any scientific layman to hold.

Consider a fictional piece about ghosts. Now imagine you're writing science-fiction and not horror. I'm literally asking you to explain ghosts to me, scientifically. Try to do it without creating more problems than you solve. That's precisely the problem that scientists have when some of them try to develop hypotheses to prove the existence of ghosts.

I could go deeper, but I think this interlude is quickly becoming a research paper. Let's see what awesome things H holds for us.

H — Hometown. Hialeah, Florida! I was born at Jackson Memorial Hospital in Miami, Florida, on July 11, 1983, at about 7:47 pm. I was premature, so I spent a few extra days at the hospital before my mom brought me to live in a pink apartment building, apartment 304, right next to the Palmetto Expressway. I have so many memories of that place. The last time I visited that building was well over five years ago, and that was me sneaking in with an ex-girlfriend to go be nostalgic. I took some pictures, but I can't find them.

I — In Love with... Life, my friends and family, my career (both writing and counseling), and pretty much everything. I have a lot of love to give, I think. Every once in a while, I wish that I felt less intensely about things. Then I remember that the passion that I have is what a lot of people seem to think is one of my greatest qualities. So I've opted to keep the feelings, painful though they might be at times.

J — Jealous of... Not really anyone.

Okay, that's a lie. I have envy, but I find that envy is only useful insofar as it's a catalyst to make one improve oneself. Jealousy feels like more of an inert word. A static self-loathing directed outwards, often against loved ones. I try not to indulge it.

That's F through J. Next time, K-O!

Winter Interlude

I feel a little overwhelmed. I've been working on several short stories, all with publication dates in February; I've been building a massive new website for my friends; I'm practicing for the National Counselor Examination for my license; and I've been preparing for the OWFI writing contest and conference. I keep thinking that my tendency to procrastinate had something to do with this.

But there's no time for blame. I'm taking a short break from my daily routine to write a post that Erin recommended. It's an alphabetical list's kinda self-explanatory. Without further ado, behold!

26 Things About Me


A — Age. I'm 32 years old. Some people might be hesitant to say their own age, but I think I've earned these years. I'm proud of them. And I think the fact that men tend to be prouder of their age than women is a sad sociocultural construction that needs to be shattered. Speak your age proudly, and fuck anyone who says anything. Be proud of the age you've earned.

Yeah, this isn't gonna be just letters and me talking about me. That'd be boring for me. What? Did you think I blogged for you? Selfish.

B — Biggest Fear. I have a small phobia of decapitation. You may say, It's not a phobia if it's a reasonable fear," but I'm telling you it's totally unreasonable. Like, I get the jitters if I'm up on a step ladder and a ceiling fan is too close to my head. Where the ceiling fan in question is on the lowest setting, and too close to my head" means it's within two feet of my hair. Terrifying.

Adrean loves to joke about how terrified I was on Space Mountain at Disney World because there was so much stuff passing over our heads. I wouldn't raise my arms at all. I should also mention that the guy in front of me did raise his arms, and he was over six feet tall.

Why hasn't a counselor, who knows that specific phobia is one of the easiest-to-treat anxiety disorders in existence (except for blood, injection, and injury phobias), sought treatment for this? Well, I think it's funny. I'd hate to lose that. Also, it's not terribly distressing. I get anxious on roller coasters and around fans, but the fear doesn't actually stop me from doing the fun thing (or the necessary thing, if I happen to be cleaning the bladeswhy are they called blades?!). So it's not a high priority for me.


C — Cats. I love cats, but I have none of my own. I do essentially have one at Adrean's house. A cute little thing called Harley Quinn after the Batman villain of the same name. They're very similar, too, in that the cat is probably a psychotic murderer of small reptiles and insects.

I used to hate cats. When I was little, I had a little dissimulation of canaries. My mom used to keep them outside for me, on my second-floor balcony (the balcony was connected to the back porch by a back set of stairs and a sliding door that went right into my bedroom). One day, a cat got in, opened the cage (it was one of those doors that simply slide up), and ate them all. I hated cats after that.

It took me a while to forgive cats for being predators, but I did eventually. And now, Harley, a quintessential predator, is probably my favorite feline on the planet. She's loud, obnoxious, and needy, but she's so beautiful. If my allergies to those furry beasts were less severe, she'd be in my lap right now, cuddling.

D — Daughters. I have one adopted daughter, aged 23 years, going on 24. She's in grad school right now, and she's a talented artist. I won't say much about her because, unlike Harley, she has a right to privacy. Many people do want to know how a 32-year-old has a 23-year-old daughter. I point you to the keyword adopted." Too many people miss that you don't have to get them as babies.

Can you imagine? At nine I could barely care for a turtle, let alone a baby girl!

E — Everyday Starts With... Waking up. Honestly, that's the only thing that everyday has in common for me. Sure, I shower and stuff, but it's not always the first thing I do! And I've clearly been taking every single one of these questions seriously. They demand attention!

Also, it's the hardest thing I have to do in the mornings. Once I'm up, I want to shower. I feel gross in the mornings, and my morning breath is so bad I can feel it in my mouth like a thick film of oozy, old saliva. I'm also hungry, so breakfast isn't an issue. I'm tired, so coffee will come into play at some point. But waking up? That's the one thing I don't want to do.

Especially now. It's winter, it's cold, it's snowy; and my bed is warm and comfy and I want to stay there forever and ever. Ripping off the sheets is like ripping off a band-aid. I don't wanna do it. So, yes, everyday starts with a struggle to get out of bed and figure out what I'm gonna do with the rest of my day.

I think I'm gonna stop there for now. I'll work on doing these five at a time, but I promise detailed and exciting answers to each of the alphabetically organized question-fragments. Good day to all of you!

Eureka! On Poetry

I was about to try to write a blog post, and then I get this bang. Right in the face! And then I wrote the first poem I’ve written in years. I need to write more poetry, if for no other reason than to practice my prose.

I honestly do feel that there’s a lot that poetry can teach prose writer. Of course, prose doesn’t need meter or stanzas, but even practicing these can help you write better prose. Far more than flash fiction, poetry values conciseness. Every word has to punch imagery and visceral experience into your gut. Every word has to make the text come alive for you. But when you write prose, it becomes easy to forget that imagery and metaphor that paints a scene into something vivid. Without it, prose is airy and bland.

Mastering meter means adding a rare element to your prose: musicality. Musicality modifies the tone of any prose piece, much like a musical score modifies the tone of a movie. Becoming aware of it can help you to add a next layer of meaning to your story. There’s a reason that Alan Moore’s V for Vendetta respects the letter V, and it’s not just because it’s in the title. It’s the character’s soubriquet, it’s the Roman numeral representing the number five (for fifth of November and the room that V was kept in), and it means virtuous vengeful victory. It also looks like the outline of an arrow, the point directed down towards the people. The people are both the target of totalitarianism’s arrow and the direction where the true power in the state lies.

Just imagine—your piece of literature could be the subject of this level of academic scrutiny! All you have to do is acquire the invaluable ability to alliterate adeptly.

Practicing poetry-writing can help you develop good habits. For example, you’ll step into a new scene immediately concerning yourself with setting and how it affects the emotional mood of the scene. You’ll focus on using words that add to the mood that you’re trying to create (e.g., “The prince rode a stallion”—not mustang—“into the ballroom," but "the prince rode his mustang over the cliff."). You’ll learn to use consonance to modify the mood when something different happens (e.g., from “the princess lowered her head in greeting” to “the knight’s dagger clinked against his belt buckle when he ripped it from its sheath.”). You’ll do this all the time, and not for only a few sentences while you’re specifically trying to make a point!

Clearly, I want to follow my own advice—and I have in the past! But I want you to do it too! I’ve seen it do wonders for others’ writing. And if nothing else, you learn more about the most ancient form of writing known to man (aside from tax records and vulgar graffiti).

Take a course online, like one from The Great Courses. This one, “Lives and Works of the English Romantic Poets” with Dr. Willard Spiegelman, is a good start and a study of one of the most influential periods in history of English literature. Then take a college course and go further! Or, just look stuff up on YouTube or Wikipedia. Educate yourself.

Until you get there, I’ll start you off with “Introduction to Poetry” by Billy Collins.

I ask them to take a poem
and hold it up to the light
like a color slide

or press an ear against its hive.

I say drop a mouse into a poem
and watch him probe his way out,
or walk inside the poem’s room
and feel the walls for a light switch.

I want them to waterski
across the surface of a poem
waving at the author’s name on the shore.

But all they want to do
is tie the poem to a chair with rope
and torture a confession out of it.

They begin beating it with a hose
to find out what it really means.

It's December?!

The sound of an alarm is shrill and sharp, and most people can't sleep through one. I don't have  that problem—never have. Needless to say, I seem to have missed the switch from November to December. Even work was able to surprise me with things I hadn't yet done. (And work is one of the things I generally do impeccably.)

I've gone ahead and removed the NaNoWriMo update thing from the site since November is over. I didn't win, but I'm okay with it. The month of November was less productive than I wanted it to be, but it got me back on track. I'm more productive now than I've been in months. I've completed two short stories, started a novel that I'm flooded with inspiration for, and I've written a lot of non-fiction stuff.

Moreover, as January approaches, I'm going to be submitting a bunch of stuff to the OWFI Writing Contest. It's gonna make the convention this spring more fun. Honestly, if you're a writer in Oklahoma, and you don't go to the OWFI Conference, you're missing out.

A Murder of Storytellers is coming out with one anthology in January that I'm helping to edit! It's called Theater B. I want to get you excited about it, so I'll repost the blurb from the back of the book, which I wrote. Enjoy...and anticipate!

Evil Dead. Grindhouse. Brain Damage. Motel Hell. Night of the Comet. There are no conventions that the vanguard writers of these films wouldn't eschew. There are no rules that they wouldn't break. These maestros of the macabre took everything we know about horror and set it on its head, all for fancy's thrill. For them, there is no caprice too bizarre to indulge. No limits. No precautions. Just you, a story, and the wind rushing past you with the ground fast approaching. Oh, and your bungie cord isn't attached to your harness. Your evil hand must have loosened it.

Maybe the voice living in the zit on the left side of your nose can help. Why don't you ask her? Oh, yes—your zit is a chick. The incarnate ghost of your dead great-aunt.

Theater B is a collection of short stories written in the same vein as the classic B movies that we fell in love with for their utter lack of shame. They are orgasms of creativity, sluicing imagination from every orifice. They are monuments to the raw idea, bereft of filter, spawned to electrify, to terrify, and to nauseate.

Last thing. Look up! It's a new logo! It doesn't look very different, but you get special bonus points if you notice the sleek differences. 😉

Three Modern-day Uses for a Phone Book

I keep getting them delivered to my door—giant mounds of thin, bound paper with numbers and advertisements and more. And I'm sure they have their uses. After all, there's no place on the Internet where you can find information like this:


At the bottom of that page, there's a small section that explains what 911 is and does, while also informing you that 911 is a number, is pronounced “nine-one-one,” and is also how you dial the number. I suppose some people may need that information, but most of us probably figured it all out by the time we hit elementary school.

Granted, there are some useful bits of info in the phone book, like this page full of useful numbers for my local area:

If you don't have some of those numbers, you may want to take some time to stretch that lightbox and write them down. Some of them are national, and some aren't, so all the numbers may not apply to you. Still, we can all benefit from remembering the number to the Poison Control Center or the National Suicide Prevention Hotline.

But the waste represented by these things far outweighs the benefit of having immediate access to every important number you could possibly need (assuming none of those numbers change this year). About 650,000 tons of these paper weights are delivered to households across America every year. My own office just got a pallet of the books (and an email pleading with us to pick them up and use them). About 117,000 tons of phone books are recycled each year, most of them on the day that they're received. The rest of them wind up in landfills.

An estimated 1,474,000 metric tons of CO2-equivalents are released annually into the atmosphere by the production of phone books. Not to mention the 44.2 billion liters of water needed in that same production. And this is the environmental cost of making the things. Disposal (whether via landfill or recycling) is another matter and incurs significant additional cost.

There's a better way. If you type a business name, along with your city name or the words “near me,” into the Google search bar, then you'll see an appropriate listing of businesses. If you type a business name and the words “phone,” “customer service,” or “customer service number” into the search bar, you'll get that business's information, whether or not they've made an effort to keep it hidden. (Yes, Amazon. I know your number.) Google Maps now does a pretty good job of telling you what a business name is, where it's located, what its number is, and what its hours of operation are. Not to mention that customer reviews don't appear in the phone book. And you can't keep a phone book updated in real-time.

Really, there's no reason to be relying on paper for any information that is likely to change day-by-day. That's why phone books are horrible. Fortunately, we can be part of the solution. There's now a national website dedicated to help Americans opt-out of receiving new phone books each year. Catalog Choice can also help by blocking unwanted junk mail from clogging up your mailbox—and later your trash bin.

In the meantime, one of my coworkers and I thought up some great uses for those relatively purposeless phone books you keep getting:

Happy Holidays, Bitch

Have you ever wanted to say “Happy Holidays” to someone, but you actually did want it to come across as an insult?

I was at the allergy clinic earlier this week, and a woman who is sitting nearby is watching the news. I am not watching the news—one, it's Fox News, so I'm aware that pulling out my phone and watching My Little Pony on Netflix is likely to be more edifying; second, they're talking about the War on Christmas. So I'm extremely disinterested in the TV. This woman, on the other hand, she is enthralled by it.

On the War on Christmas: if there were one, it'd be like the war on zombies. You're part of your own little, barbed-wire-enclosed compound. You watch as the other compounds—first Thanksgiving, now Halloween—are consumed by the Christmas horde. You can fight back against Christmas, but its onslaught is unstoppable, backed by billions upon billions of dollars in holiday sales and end-of-the-year dividends. Christmas has been taking over every winter holiday since it killed all the non-Christian winter rebirth celebrations and wove them its growing, mutated, Frankenstein's monster body.

I'm pretty sure that Christmas starts in September now. And if the neighborhoods I frequent are any indication, it ends sometime in March. There is no War on Christmas. If there is, Christmas is the undisputed winner. Christmas is fighting with Hellfire-missile-raining drones, and we've got a few sticks and a potato gun.

So this woman turns back to me and says, “Isn't that horrible? They keep taking Christ out of Christmas, there's gonna be nothing left.”

“What?” I say. I'm distracted by my phone, but I'm also dumbfounded by her comment.

She looks back at the TV and says, dramatically, “It's Christmas. Not just any holiday.

I can't respond. I'm wondering if I've stepped into an Onion editorial column.

She gets up to leave. “Merry Christmas,” she says.

I frown internally, but I tell her, “Happy Holidays.” I could've said “Merry Christmas,” but I didn't want to. She doesn't deserve Christmas. In her own worldview, Christmas means something. At its most secular, it's a celebration of giving. Sticking to “Merry Christmas” like it's a cudgel with which to beat back non-Christians is an intensely selfish behavior. It says, “This area of the calendar is mine. MINE!” That's neither Christian, nor is it Christmas-y.

Really, if you have a problem with people wishing you happiness of any kind, then you're the problem. A flowchart posted online by my former community counseling professor at Oklahoma State University does a great job of tapering down the point to a sharp end. Enjoy and share this holiday season:

Drink! Drink!

I went to Starbucks this morning for my regular cup of coffee. Iced, because although it's cold out, I've never been a big fan of hot drinks, and people make fun of me when I order coffee at “kid's temp.” I usually use the drive-thru, but the line was out into the street, so I decided I'd go ahead and park.

Time for coffee!

A photo posted by Jack Burgos (@jack_burgos) on

Inside, I say to myself, This is a perfect time for an Instagram photo! So I took one, titled it “Time for coffee!” then I realize the barista is ready to take my order. As I wait, I'm hanging out by the bar playing with Instagram—realizing that my account is still linked to my old Twitter account—and I keep hearing the barista next to me yell, “Drink!” about once every 20 seconds. The guy is fast, no doubt trying to burn through the ever-growing drive-thru line.

I thought it was funny, so I told him, “I don't have my drink yet! I can't!”

He laughed.

Then I did that thing that I do where I explain the joke. Not because I think he needs it explained to him, but because I love explaining things. I do miss teaching. Not teaching at the middle school level, but teaching in general. That's why I applied to work as a part-time faculty member at Tulsa Community College. I miss pedagogy, and psychoeducation during therapy sessions just doesn't fill my need. If I get to teach a class in the Spring semester, I think I might explode for joy. I'm not quite expecting it, but I'm really hoping.

I'm coming to love mornings. I don't feel at my best so early in the day, but I do feel more positive when I'm up and the sun still faces east. The day seems full of possibilities. And, when night comes, I feel tired and sleep well.

I've been combing YouTube for sleep relaxation videos, specifically guided meditations that I can do while lying in bed. They hearken back to when I was young and joined my mom in her metaphysics groups. I used to fall asleep during meditations. The leaders of an angel-worship group my mom once belonged to would say that falling asleep would prevent me from fully experiencing the visions that the angels were giving me. Now, that group is defunct. Its leader either ascended to another plane of existence or had a nervous breakdown. Who can know?

Either way, telling an overworked teenager not to sleep when you sedate him with music and calming imagery is a little like telling a dog not to lick himself. My dog'll stop, but he'll start again after a few minutes. More importantly, I felt really nice during those meditations.

Last night I found one that had me observe the space in front of my eyes. Then the soft-spoken narrator told me to clear the area and write two long sentences on a blank space with a brush. He asked me to do it again before I was done writing the first set of sentences. The rest of the meditation was more relaxing, but I wasn't a fan of how quickly the man moved from one set of instructions to the next. Ten minutes later, I was out. I don't remember a thing after least until my Fitbit managed to nudge me awake at 8:05am. So the meditation did its job, but I'll keep searching for one that doesn't softly inform me that my imagery time is up before moving onto the next task.

By noon, every person at Starbucks will have been forced to drink (something/anything) some 585 times. No breaks. None of them will have had time to go to the bathroom. One of them will say, “I've had to pee for the last four hours!”

The barista who had been shouting “Drink” at the drive-thru staff followed my joke by saying, in a booming, deep voice, “I don't care! Keep drinking!”

I laughed.

This is a good morning.

What's in a Fraction?

Today, I was having brunch with my family when I came to the realization that three of us had berry lemonade drinks standing next to each other. One of them had been further away, but my niece's wild gesticulations risked the cup being hurled onto someone's lap. When all three were in a row, I decided they were an ensemble. The one that was about two-thirds full, I decided, called itself One-Third because “that's how empty it is.”


You may have to have been there. Still, it's not uncommon for people to perceive as empty-to-some-extent anything that isn't 100% full. It's a key element in clinical depression—negative apperception, we call it. It can be very sad to watch someone you love engaging in it.

Anyway, I've taken a bit of a break from NaNoWriMo. Not really a break so much as a pause. I have a lot of inspiration, but my self-critic is strong. When I stopped writing things that absolutely had to be written, I had difficulty continuing to write this new novel: a satire about contemporary American culture. I keep watching my word count slip away from me as the days in November pass me by unencumbered.

Today, I hit 10,000 words. That's one-fifth of the way to the NaNoWriMo 50k word goal. Four-fifths empty, if I let myself think that way. One-Third doesn't care that he's practically full. Shouldn't I be more concerned that I'm mostly empty.

Apperception goes both ways, and it requires that raw data be parsed by a conscious self. I can't choose my perceptions, but I can absolutely impact my apperceptions (with practice and effort). So, to keep myself from giving up, I'm telling myself tonight that I am one-fifth full. The proportion by which I have not reached my goal is only important insofar as I focus on it more than I do the proportion by which I have reached my goal.

I'm trying to be positive these days. It's hard, but it's practice I need.