I often wonder how many writers will never take the effort to write long form prose because their desire to tell a story is satisfied by microblogging and social media. I noticed my blog and paper journal output have dropped off significantly since I got my Facebook and Twitter accounts. And I haven’t written a short story in years.

Every desire I have to say something is spent on these quick and dirty missives. Thoughts appear, my creativity builds them up into something hopefully clever, and then it’s all expressed like a warm fart into the ephemeral winds.

I wonder if there’s a way through this that doesn’t involve abolition.

Grinding Teeth

Doing that thing again where I have hunger but no stimulus. Needs, but no motivation. Getting bored easily, chewing at the straps, shaking the leg.

Doesn’t take long after an amazing trip to fall right back into gravity.

I’m kinda like Kerouac, never able to settle long before the itch for novelty overrides any need for stability. If only I could chunk through it and get my kicks without kicking down the walls.

Flow Go

Europe has different things by custom and design. Let’s take the most basic of essentials — toilet paper.

In Europe, the sheets are rectangular. Ours are square. It’s an odd thing to notice. Two of their sheets is three of ours. So for smaller tasks with a single sheet, you can actually do more with less. And there are fewer grades of softness. It’s just toilet paper. End of story.

Speaking of toilets, Germany has a different design on theirs. The bowls have a dry shelf that you poop on. So it plops there and sits until you’re done. When you flush, you press the #2 button on the tank and a massive rush of water gushes out to wash off the shelf into the water below.

And, of course, some of it is left on the shelf. So proper households have a brush next to the toilet so you can scrub away your evidence.

Why the shelf? To check on your poo? Health thing? Reducing the standing water in the bowl? Don’t know. The cause is probably as mundane as historical design not being challenged. Design inertia.

But yeah, Europe has two buttons on their tanks to control flush flow and duration. Less for pee, more for poo. You only see that in corporate offices here. And Germany even has a rocker valve so you can manually stop the flush early to save water. If only we had that in America!

All nations have shit. The difference is in how we deal with our own.


If you haven’t been paying attention on some of my other platforms, you wouldn’t have known that I got back from a two-week trip around northern Europe. But that’s OK if you haven’t, because I’ve been remiss in posting about it here, since Phaysis is my first love, my primary voice, my public face to you, my adoring (semi-robotic) followers.

London → Paris→ Buc/Versailles→ Zürich→ Berlin→ Köln→ Aachen→ Bruges→ Calais→ Dover→ London

What a mindfuck of a trip. Europe, I love you, don’t turn vanilla. Your food is amazing, the quality of life is high, and your public transit functions like a wet dream. Anywhere, anytime, anyhow. You’re expensive, but you make it so anybody can live their life.

I want to tell you all more, so much more, but I’m still processing. This was my first trip to Europe ever, in my 47 years of life, and I’m angry at myself for not doing it sooner, when I had the health, strength, and fuck-it-all will to party late at night and then eat it for breakfast. When I first watched “Before Sunrise” (1995), I fell in love with the idea of European travel, but the yoke of college debt kept me from dreaming of it. So much wasted lifetime. So pissed at myself.

But now, I wish I had more time there. Two weeks, 11 cities; that’s clearly not enough time for anything. Best I could do was take a picture of the roses so I could smell them later. And that’s a sub-optimal condition. But now I have a high-level overview of the How to travel, and the What to expect, and the Where to go, and the Way to get there, that the next time I go, I can do it expertly and with style.

Europe is full of style.

And tourists.

I dream of my next trip.

Seriously. Go. Travel over an oceanic distance and fucking see some other place, meet the people, learn their history, share some perspective, learn an old way to do new things. Humans are a mess, and anything that takes you outside of your own grind is a good thing. Trust me.

It’s a small planet. But oh, so, so big.


Ours is a time when we go around screaming, “Kill your gods”, but get squeamish the moment we have to kill our gods.

From one direction: just how dedicated are you to your cause?

From the other direction: is your cause actually worth the dedication?

The structuralist would say the answer is somewhere in the middle, but that’s just poetic thinking. There might not be an answer at all.