Got a song I am working on, don’t know the chords or melody yet, not sure about the title, or where the hook is, or if it’s got one, or any of that stuff, in fact maybe it’s one of those talk-singing songs, where there’s like a story being told, then there’s a chorus, doesn’t have to be 20 minutes long, no 5-part harmonies, no audience sing-alongs with feelin, nothing like that, just a quick little anecdote about this one fella sitting there minding his own business, when this other fella walks up rubbing the side of his head. Now being a congenial sort, first fella asks him, “what are you rubbing your head for?” and the other fella replies “nother fella hit me in the head with his shovel” and the first fella asks him, “well what did he do a thing like that for?” and the other fella said “he didn’t like what I said to him” and so the first fella, being a curious sort, he asks the other fella “well what did you say to him?” and the other fella said “told him he was digging his own grave.”

[dun-dun-dun dunnnn, dun, dun-dun, doonty-dun dun dun…]

and there ain’t no moral or anything to the song, except that maybe what looks like a good thing to one person might not look the same way to somebody else, and maybe every great once in a while you might find yourself looking at something that you think is good and fine, and maybe somebody else comes along and tells you they don’t like it.

And maybe they’ve got a pretty dang good reason to not like it.

Maybe people have been not liking that thing for a while now. For decades now.

And every time they said why they felt that way about it, you just tuned em out.

And maybe you didn’t even realize you were tuning em out

But tuned out they got, and mad was something else they got

And you-uuuu, didn’t ha-aaaa-ve, to hit me with your god-danged shovel

When I peeked down into the hole you were diggin


This is a good album for working on the computer, or house cleaning, or what have you.

It’s actually 4 albums put together. (Go here for more info.)

I have read reviews of Gas albums that say it sounds like there’s a party happening next door, and you can hear dance music thumping through the wall. You weren’t invited to the party (this one review read) but you don’t really mind, because the music sounds soothing in some bizarre way.

The review I read (possibly from the Wikipedia page linked to above) made a similar comparison to that one, at least. 🙂

My short review of Gas in general is that it comes at your ears like a cloud of pulsating noise, but if you listen long enough — and in the right way, sort of like an aural magic eye (magic ear?), in like a half-paying attention, half-ignoring sort of way; talking like a few minutes here — details start to emerge from the cloud, rhythmic bits of fuzz that may or may not have once been a recording of a violin or something start to creep out, and anyways if you’re looking for something semi-relaxing to help you tune out the world while you work on a computer (or whatever), Gas is something you should check out.


WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: “Hey everybody there is a virus. It is very contagious. People catch it by inhaling droplets that come out of infected people’s mouths when they cough, speak, or even breathe. Which means, if everybody wears a mask, fewer people will catch the virus. We may have forgotten to mention that this virus can kill you. Did we mention it can kill you? It can kill you. Like, fast. So wear a mask, please!”

AMERICA: “[blares country music at top volume from open window of pickup truck]”

REST OF THE WORLD: “Oh wow, this is bad. And I bet older people and people with pre-existing conditions are at an even higher risk.”


REST OF THE WORLD: “Wow. So I guess it’s, like, inconvenient? But I mean we should wear masks anyway, because people could die?”

AMERICA: “[runs stop light at intersection, flings half-empty longneck Busch Light bottle out of the window, which hits a post and shatters]”

WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: “[covers face to protect eyes from shattered glass] What the fuck?”

AMERICA: “[slams on brakes, slides to a stop]”

WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: “Oh for the love of fuck what now?”

REST OF THE WORLD: “Shh just act like the glass didn’t hit you.”

WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: “What are you– no! Hell no! America can’t just fling their fuckin’ Busch Light bottles all over the goddamn place–”

AMERICA: “[steps out of the pickup truck]”

REST OF THE WORLD: “oh shit oh fuck oh man oh fuck…”

WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: “Well at least he doesn’t have a gun this time.”

AMERICA: “[Reaches behind seat, retrieves shotgun]”

REST OF THE WORLD: “oh FUCK oh SHIT why does he have that shotgun? Jesus Christ…”

WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: “Don’t worry about what that lunatic does. [Puts on mask] Just put on a mask before he gets over here and starts spraying droplets of saliva everywhere.”

REST OF THE WORLD: “[Puts on mask] But don’t the masks protect others from us more than they protect us from others?”

AMERICA: “[kills engine, turns off radio]”

WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: “Yes, but some protection is better than no protection.”

AMERICA: “You say something to me? Mr. High-and-mighty World Health Organization, with your fancy doctor book learning and your leftist socialismist ideology. Can’t be trusted.”


AMERICA: “Oh I bet you’d like that, wouldn’t you? You socialists are all the same. [spits tobacco juice on the pavement] Buncha communists and perverts.”

REST OF THE WORLD: “That doesn’t even make any sense.”

AMERICA: “What did you say to me? I heard you over there saying something, but I couldn’t make out what it was, because you got that fuckin’ mask on, like a little fuckin’ kid at fuckin’ Halloween. [shucks shotgun]”

REST OF THE WORLD: “[glares at America]”

AMERICA: “That’s what I thought. You little piece of shit, over there talking shit, and you can’t even back up your shit.”

WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: “Now hold on just a minute–”

AMERICA: “Oh here we go! You gone tell me I gotta wear a mask, Mr. Doctor man?”

WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: “That would certainly help the situation, America.”

AMERICA: “Well guess what, Mr. Doctor Man, where I come from, is a place called America. And we got, we got something in that country ain’t no other country got, and that’s freedom.”

REST OF THE WORLD: “(muttering) yeah ok but you also have the highest incarceration rate in the world.”

AMERICA: “[points shotgun at Rest Of The World] WHUT DID YOU SAY TO ME?”

REST OF THE WORLD: “I said, I like America, America is #1!”

AMERICA: “[lowers shotgun] Well, I guess a broken clock is right once a day. Twice a day. At midnight? But then if it was noon…”

WORLD HEALTH ORGANIZATION: “(whispering) look let’s just get the fuck out of here before he remembers he was pissed off.”


AMERICA: “…and we got a bunch of amendments to that constitution, and one of em says I can shoot this here gun at whoever I don’t like, and if you got a problem with that then you got a problem with freedom. And I ain’t talking bout what these self-proclaimed [coughs], these self-proclaimed Feminazis and Socialists is [coughs] tryin to ram down my [coughs] ram down my [coughs, hacks] throat, and they ain’t no more American than they is [coughs, sputters], than they is [hacks, coughs, hacks, sputters, drops shotgun, keels over]”


After reading all the complaints on social media about not being able to go to bars and having to wear masks at the grocery store, SARS-CoV-2, the virus responsible for COVID-19, has finally decided to break its silence and respond to all inquiries and complaints.

Full text is as follows:

“Dear humans of the world,

I am a virus, not Ann Landers or Dear Abby. Stop sending me complaints about masks. You might as well go complain to the sun that you need to wear sunscreen to avoid sunburn.



P.S. I didn’t actually write this, as I am a virus. But if you feel like pointing out that the government isn’t making anyone use sunscreen, let me remind you that sunburn is not contagious.”


Well there you have it, folks, SARS-CoV-2 has spoken, and from what it sounds like, all the complaining about masks hasn’t convinced SARS-CoV-2 to stop infecting people.

Hopefully this virus – which lacks all capacity for any sort of rational thought or decision-making, unlike the humans it infects – will make the fair, rational choice and stop infecting people.

But until this self-replicating bit of RNA that is incapable of conscious thought decides to be fair about this whole thing, I suppose we’re just going to have to make the best of it, folks.


Nobody Learned Shit In 2016

Tell me if this ever happened to any of you as a kid:

You’re in a car with a bunch of other kids, and like somebody’s mom or a coach or scout leader or some adult authority figure is driving.

And the adult driving says:

“Ok guys, where do you want to eat lunch?”

And say this is like a van or a big SUV, and there’s 5 or 6 kids in the car, and everybody discusses where they want to eat, and 5 out of the 6 kids (including you) decide that you want to go to McDonalds, but the other kid wants to go to Burger King.

And when the adult says “well [kid who wants to go to Burger King], everybody else wants to go to McDonalds, I bet we can find something you like there!” that one kid just throws a fit, and starts screaming and crying, and calling the kids who want to go to McDonalds names, and saying the team or scout group or what have you is dumb and they hate it and why do they have to go to McDonalds when Burger King is clearly the objectively better choice, and so on and so on…

Until the adult driving gets so stressed out that they end up yelling at the kid to shut up, and then they just drive everybody home and nobody goes to McDonalds OR Burger King that day?

Did that ever happen to anyone as a kid? 🙂


I’ve shied away from writing about music on this blog, for the most part… I mean I’ve (mostly) outgrown the “fanboy” aspect of being a music fan. I mean, sure, I like to peruse Wikipedia articles and whatnot about musicians I find on YouTube and get recommended by friends, and occasionally even read an interview or two…

But I don’t really want to meet any of them, if that makes sense. I would rather not meet them, to be perfectly honest.

Because it isn’t them that I even like most of the time. What I like is the music they create.

Although there are exceptions. Richard D. James aka Aphex Twin (aka AFX, aka the Tuss, aka Polygon Window, aka a bunch of other stuff) has done some pretty interesting interviews. For example, once when asked about what he thought of his fans, he only gave “I hate them” as his reply.

Which, as a fan, and as an amateur/occasional semi-pro musician myself – I have actually made money by playing music, is what I am saying here; not much, but money all the same – I can’t help but find endearing.

Doesn’t especially make me want to hang out with the fellow, but I can appreciate where he’s coming from, I think. What I interpret that as (I mean besides him “taking the piss” to a degree, as well as creating a mystique around himself and whatnot) is that at the end of the day, no matter how many critics praise his work, no matter how many other musicians adore his stuff and want to work with him (his comments about Radiohead are also hilarious; fyi I am also a pretty big Radiohead fan), no matter how many angsty teens wear his t-shirts and hoodies (people still do that, I assume; I am trying to make a point, sorry for being florid), he is not creating music because he thinks that’s what all those people are going to like. He is creating the music that he himself wants to create, using the instruments (and computers, sequencers, drum machines, etc.) he has on hand.

THAT is something I can appreciate, even if I don’t particularly care for an artist’s music. (I am a pretty huge fan of James’ music, fyi.)

But see? I’ve just been jabbering about nonsense. I haven’t even been writing about music.

That’s why I shy away from this sort of thing.

At any rate, here’s “Wet Land” by Hiroshi Yoshimura. It’s what I was listening to while I typed this:

Here’s an AFX album/2 eps put together that’s pretty sweet, also:

My Dad-Gum Apple Pencil

Hi. My name is Michael Walker. I am in here quite a bit.

I have bought a total of 3 new Windows laptops here over the past 5 years or so.

As a general rule, I prefer being able to walk into a store and buy something over having to order it online.

But that’s superfluous information, I guess.

I want to say before I say anything else that I am not trying to get anybody in trouble with this little stunt, I am just filing my complaint in a place where somebody might actually read it, as opposed to filling in a box on Walmart’s website and having my complaint ignored.

Which, again, is not something I am blaming anyone at this store for. Everyone working here is awesome, it’s the impersonal structure of Walmart as a corporation that I am complaining about.

A few weeks ago, after looking at this very display model, I decided I wanted to buy an iPad Pro. I am an amateur musician and songwriter, as well as a “creative” in other media, and this device looked like something that would be fun and useful for me.

I have an iPad Pro now, 10.5 inch, 64 GB storage, just like this one, except mine’s rose gold.

I found it on Walmart.com, and before sales tax it was $478, significantly cheaper than the $649 this nearly identical one is going for.

Which by the way, did you guys get more of these in? Wasn’t this “non-working display model” supposed to be removed from display a few weeks ago, when I asked if any more of these were coming in and was told “no”?

Anyways, I can’t really complain much because I ended up saving a decent amount of cash by ordering from Walmart.com.

And I wouldn’t be complaining at all, if not for this next thing, which isn’t the fault of anyone here, or really the fault of anyone working for Walmart below the corporate/executive level.

I decided to get an Apple Pencil to use with my iPad Pro. I came here last week looking for one, but you guys don’t carry them.

So, I decided to order one from Walmart.com.

There are 2 delivery options available: have it delivered to my house, or have it delivered here for pickup.

The website told me that pickup dates were estimated, and that they may change. So if somebody working here reads this, I knew that going in.

Anyways, I decided to order my Apple Pencil on Thursday, August 8. The website said they were available for pickup at this store before I put the item in my virtual shopping cart.

When I put it in the cart on the website, the pickup day changed to Friday, August 9.

Estimated delivery to my house was Monday, August 12.

Wanting to play/work with my new Apple Pencil as soon as possible, I chose the pickup option.

I knew I would be coming here over the weekend anyway (hi, I am in here now, pulling this up on this “non-working display model” which seems to work exactly like my iPad Pro at home), so I wouldn’t have to make a special trip to come up here and pick up my Apple Pencil.

Anyways, I placed my order.

A while later, I got a message saying that pickup of my item was delayed.

You wanna know when the website told me I could pick it up?

Monday, August 12. After 6 pm.

Which was the estimated delivery date, if I’d had the Apple Pencil sent to my house. Plus a few hours, probably, plus a drive to the store to pick it up.

I looked online, and I could *attempt to* cancel the order and make a new order…

But according to the website, it might not be possible to cancel my order.

So I called the customer service line. The friendly person I talked to told me the same thing, that I could *try* to cancel the order, but it may not be possible.

I don’t want two hundred-dollar Apple Pencils.

I want one of them.

And I was misled by Walmart’s website into thinking I could have one delivered here over the weekend.

And now I have to make a special trip up here to get my Apple Pencil, on the same date it could have been delivered to my house.

I can’t help but be annoyed by that.

But here’s the really annoying part:

Nobody I can complain to – in person or online – can actually do anything about this issue.

This issue comes from Walmart’s corporate and executive structure, where policies are made and enacted for the website and for Walmart stores around the world.

This complaint will never be heard, essentially.

And to repeat, if any manager reads this, I am not complaining about you, and I am not complaining about anyone who works for this store.

I am not even complaining about the customer service rep I talked to on the phone.

I am complaining because Walmart’s pickup system is, to be frank, misleading.

I was misled into thinking I could get an Apple Pencil delivered to this store over the weekend.

And after the order was made, after Walmart changed the pickup date to something very inconvenient for me, I was not able to change my delivery options.

This is something Walmart needs to improve on. At the very least, Walmart needs to stop misleading people about when items ordered online can be picked up.

My item went from “in stock” to “sorry for the delay, we could have sent it to your house faster” in the space of an hour or two.

And there was no guaranteed way for me to change my delivery options after my order was placed.

I am not a happy camper right now.

But what can I do about it?


What can anyone in this store do about it?


What can customer service people do about it?


This problem comes from the corporate and executive level.

I will put this same webpage on this same iPad Pro when I make a special trip up here to get my Apple Pencil next week.

Because Walmart’s pickup system needs to be improved, and I want somebody to know that, even if it makes no difference.

I am pretty sure it won’t make any difference, for the record.

For any customers reading this, if you order something from Walmart.com, just have it sent to your house. Because the actual pickup dates are not going to be what the website claims before you order, and once you place your order you are pretty much stuck with it.

Thank you (whoever you are) for reading.

Leave a comment if you want; I will have to approve it, but as long as it’s a real person commenting, I will approve it.

Have an awesome day.

P.S. Adding insult to injury, I tell you what. 🙂


They don’t actually have any of these in the store, FYI.


For today’s post, the first one in a while, I am going to write a little about one of my favorite things ever written. This bit of writing was originally in Japanese, so there are a couple different translations for the title. The book where I first read it has “Mountains and Waters Sutra” as the title, but I have also found it online as “Mountains and Waters Discourse“.

At any rate, the original title is 山水經, pronounced in English “Sansui kyō,” which literally translates to something along the lines of “Mountain Water Sutra” or “Mountain Water Scripture” or “Mountain Water Classic Work,” so anyways it’s about mountains and waters. It was written by a Zen monk named Dogen some time in the 13th century. According to the source I got this from, this text is part of Dogen’s principal work, “Treasury of the Eye of the True Dharma,” or as it was originally titled, “正法眼蔵(Shōbōgenzō)”.

At any rate, I like this text quite a lot. And I intend to at least attempt to describe why I like it so much, but I am not sure if I will be able to actually do so. A lot of it does not make literal sense, I mean, and furthermore, part of what I like about it is that it doesn’t make literal sense. Ergo any attempt to explain it may result in ruining the experience for another reader.

How can mountains walk? As I am not myself a mountain, I can’t really say.

Subjectivity is the text’s main theme, I would venture, though I am not sure Dogen would agree. At any rate, this is a picture of one of my all-time favorite kitties, Waymus Jaymus.

View this post on Instagram

Good kitty.

A post shared by Michael Walker (@mnwalke) on

I began writing this article over a month ago. I first got the idea to write it before that.

My original intent was to simply type out the text and add footnotes wherever I felt like it, explaining my interpretation of each paragraph. I had some difficulty with the HTML code necessary for this to work, so I ended up abandoning the project for a while.

When I finally came back to it a little over a month ago, I ended up only having a short amount of time to work on it because of other engagements. But I decided to work in something about how Waymus Jaymus likes to get up on my shoulders with the line about how soaring is always done freely in the mountains…

And anyways she does like to do that a lot, but unfortunately for her (and for me), she can only do that when it’s cold outside, and I’ve got on at least a couple layers of clothing. When I’m just in a t-shirt (as I generally am during warm weather, unless I go shirtless, of course), her claws dig in too much to my shoulders, and I have to make her get down.

I was discussing this with her this past Friday. I mean I know she didn’t really know what I was talking about, but I had her in my lap Friday evening, and I said to her something like “It won’t be long til I’m wearing more clothes, kitty, and you can get up on my shoulders again.” And to repeat, I know she didn’t actually understand what I was saying, but she purred and stuff, and after a few minutes, she hopped out of my lap, and I went inside.

I woke up around 4 am Saturday morning. That’s not all that unusual: I usually get up around 4 am during the week, but I do tend to sleep in until around 7 or 8 on Saturdays.

Anyways, like usual, after I got up, I went outside to feed the kitties… and I immediately noticed that Waymus didn’t come to eat with the other kitties. Which again, not unusual… sometimes she hangs out on her own for a while before she comes in.

But anyways, something told me to go look for her.

It was dark, so I couldn’t see outside of the old horse stall where I feed the cats. I turned on my phone’s flashlight and stepped out into the darkness, and about 8 feet from the entrance/exit to the horse stall, there was Waymus Jaymus, lying on the ground. She was meowing like she was in pain.

I reached down to pet her and discovered that she was mostly paralyzed. She could move around a little, but she couldn’t stand up or walk. And her eyes were wide open, and they appeared to be dilated.

It took me about 2 seconds to deduce that she had most likely been bitten by a snake. As this realization was a bit shocking to me, I had to go sit down and think for a minute.

I did some research with my phone and discovered that antivenin is pretty damn expensive, something like $500 a vial, and that a vet visit for a venomous snake bite could run upwards of $2000.

I also discovered that it takes a while for venom to get into a cat’s (or a dog’s, or a human’s) system, and that a cat might not exhibit any symptoms immediately following a snakebite, but some time later would start to experience paralysis, pain, and so on.

Which meant that Way Jaymus had most likely been bitten at least an hour or so before I ever found her.

Anyways, the optimal treatment in this case would have been immediately rushing her to the vet, paying however much it cost to get her some antivenin… and hoping for the best. Antivenin is not a guaranteed cure in all cases, especially when the venom has had time to get into the animal’s system.

But that would have been the best course of action. There were only two problems: the first problem was that I didn’t have $2000. And the second problem was that it was a little after 4 am on a Saturday morning, and the earliest any vet clinic around here opens on Saturday is 7:30.

So all things considered, I prepared myself for the worst possible outcome: that little Way Jaymus, one of my favorite kitties of all time, was going to die.

For the record, the feeling of impotence right then, that came with knowing that I didn’t have the money to get her optimal treatment, combined with knowing that optimal treatment wouldn’t have been available even if I had the money… well, it wasn’t a pleasant feeling.

I resolved to make her as comfortable as I could. I got a cardboard box out of the recycling pile, put some towels in the bottom of it and draped up the sides, and carefully put the mostly paralyzed kitty in the box. For the time being I left it on the ground next to where I found her.

As a sidenote, the articles I was finding online about cats getting bitten by snakes mentioned seeing blood on or near the cat from the bite wound. I didn’t see any blood on the ground, and feeling around on little Waymus’ fur, I didn’t find any matted blood.

So I felt a little hope, because if she had been bitten by a snake (and I am still about 99% sure that’s what happened), it was either a shallow bite or a bite from a small snake. Make no mistake, small venomous snakes can be deadly, it’s just that I was looking for every ray of hope I could find, and the fact that I didn’t see a big bite wound anywhere on her was a ray of hope, however dim.

So anyways, by about 4:30 or a little after, Waymus Jaymus was in a box stuffed with towels. I mention the time again because to repeat, even if I had had the money for antivenin, it would have been 7:30 before I could get her to a vet. And by then, if the bite was going to be fatal, the antivenin might not work anyway.

At any rate, every article I read said that other than taking her to a vet for antivenin, there was really nothing I could do to help her, other than to put her somewhere comfortable and preferably dark. And it was still dark outside, so I decided to do more research on my phone.

She was meowing a lot, and she was obviously in a lot of pain. For the next couple of hours, all I could do was sit there and hope she didn’t die. She didn’t, but things weren’t looking promising. Around 7 or so, after she had been through the worst part of the pain, from what I could tell, I picked up her box and put it in the hay barn, up off the ground and behind a gate, so no dogs could come along and bother her.

I hung around for a while, but seeing as how there was nothing I could do, and seeing as how I was tired from being stressed, I went back to bed for a couple hours.

When I got back up, probably around noon, I went to check on her. I was a bit upset to see her out of her box, back on the ground in the horse stall. She had mustered up enough energy to get out of the box, but not enough to get completely out of the horse stall.

I carefully put her back in her box (“carefully” because she acted like she might bite or claw me), and thankfully she stayed put that time.

The next morning, Sunday, she was in her box when I got up, and she was acting like she felt a little better, which I was glad about. There was one slight problem: I had her box in the same place I feed the cats, so I had to move it…

And after I moved her box, she sat still and let me pet her a little…

But then she got restless. She got up, got out of the box, and since I was just glad she was walking again (however wobbly), I let her walk around, and after a couple attempts of walking off into the woods (I don’t think she could see where she was going; I hope that isn’t permanent), she walked probably around 20 feet from where her box was sitting and crawled under some t posts that have been laid across a block of wood long enough for grass to grow around them and make them difficult to pick up. Waymus Jaymus crawled under there like she was crawling into a little cave.

And yes, I am aware that snakes like to curl up in little cubbyhole type places like that. At any rate, there weren’t any snakes in this little cubbyhole Waymus found, so I left her alone for the most part. She stayed there most of the day Sunday… it rained a little, but she didn’t get wet. I was hoping that if any water did drip through, she’d drink it… she hadn’t had any food or water in over a day at this point. I left her a little dish of water, and I think she drank some of it, but if she did she didn’t drink much.

She finally came out from under there when I whistled to indicate it was feeding time yesterday evening… but she didn’t eat more than a bite or two.

Same deal this morning, although she seems to be feeling a lot better. She wasn’t in her box when I first went to check on her, she was elsewhere in the shed, I guess roaming around. She was still a little wobbly this morning… here’s hoping she’ll eat more for supper tonight.

I really hope she pulls through. I think she will, but I don’t know for sure.

Here’s hoping, I guess. I will update this later, and maybe even write about what the post is supposed to be about, instead of about the kitty I added a pic of…

She’s a good kitty.

(And she’s fine now. Sorry it took me a while to add that.)

At any rate, since deciding to write this post, I have thought about the Mountains and Waters Sutra/Discourse quite a lot, and my interpretation of it has changed some.

For the record, I think this is inevitable: the text itself defies easy explanation, or at least explanation that narrows the meaning of it down to any one thing. As I mentioned above somewhere, my interpretation is not the only one.

But the past few times I have sat down to do this, one phrase from the text keeps popping into my head:

“The Buddha ancestors’ words point to walking.”

And I go for a walk instead of typing.

Gonna do that now, I think.

Be back later.