Everywhere at the End of Time…Part 2 (my reactions)

eateotimages

(Continued from Part 1)

All artwork illustrating the stages of dementia are by Ivan Seal.

Yesterday I gave you a bit of background about Everywhere at the End of Time, a  musical and artistic masterpiece by “The Caretaker” (James Leyland Kirby), a British composer and musician who became deeply interested in Alzheimers Disease and the process of dementia, and composed a six album work of musical art depicting what the descent from near normality to the empty void of total memory loss would feel like.

I suggest you read both these articles first (and watch some video reviews about it first), before diving into this thing.  I will warn you right now:  it’s dark and at times both tragically sad and existentially terrifying.  You may feel overwhelmed or have strange physical sensations such as cold chills. You might feel scared or paranoid. You likely will cry.  In my opinion, listening to this is not a lot different from taking a mind altering drug like ayahuasca or another psychedelic.  You should set aside an entire day because you might need to focus on your feelings and thoughts and have time to process everything and think about what you just heard.  Some people prefer to listen to it over several days because it’s hard to take it all in in just one sitting.

I’ll post the link again for the entire six and a half hour long album.

https://thecaretaker.bandcamp.com/album/everywhere-at-the-end-of-time

It’s also on Youtube (you can also find it divided up for each stage if you prefer that).

All that said, let’s dive in.  I’m going to describe each Stage as best as I’m able, and talk about how each stage made me feel.

Stage One

Stage 1 and 2 correspond to the earlier stages of Alzheimers/dementia.  This is when a person begins to forget things, such as car keys or has momentary embarrassing memory lapses.

They may forget names, but usually this forgetfulness doesn’t extend to close friends or family members, and it’s fleeting.  The person is still functional, may still be able to work or drive a car, but may begin to realize something is wrong.

Stage 1 is composed of mostly upbeat ballroom pop songs, very similar to the haunting 1920s/1930s music from the movie The Shining.  In fact, Kirby was so inspired and haunted by the ballroom music in that movie that he decided the same kind of music would work for this album (in fact, he adopted the handle “The Caretaker” after the Jack Nicholson character in that film).  He liked the sense of nostalgia the ballroom music evoked, the echoey sound of it that made it seem like it was coming from empty, cavernous rooms, and also the feeling of it being “a long time ago,” since Alzheimers usually affects the elderly.  The music was just haunting enough, without actually sounding “off,” that while a pleasant listening experience, it could also be thought of as depicting the very earliest stages of Alzheimers, with the person displaying no symptoms yet but tending to focus on the past and losing themselves in nostalgic reverie about romantic interludes when they were still in their prime.

The album notes make the same observation in different words:

Here we experience the first signs of memory loss.
This stage is most like a beautiful daydream.
The glory of old age and recollection.
The last of the great days.

Stage 1 is definitely the most listenable stage, not at all offensive, but as the pretty music does sound like it’s coming from empty, cavernous ballrooms and I associate it with The Shining, one of the scariest movies I ever saw, it’s still a slightly unsettling listening experience. You also know what’s coming.  The very first song, here called “It’s Just a Burning Memory,” appears again and again in every subsequent stage, each time sounding less and less like the original.  Sometimes you can only hear a few of the chords behind waves of static, or the chords are so drawn and stretched out they sound like whale calls, or it just sounds really “off.”  I’ll explain more about this as we move on.  I think this particular song represents the patient’s most cherished memory, the one they never want to lose.  The struggle to hold onto this memory throughout the course of this disease is one of the central themes that makes the dementia experience so emotionally harrowing. 

Stage Two

From the album notes:

The second stage is the self realisation and awareness that something is wrong with a refusal to accept that. More effort is made to remember so memories can be more long form with a little more deterioration in quality. The overall personal mood is generally lower than the first stage and at a point before confusion starts setting in.

This is the last album in the series that one might call pleasant listening, though I found it HIGHLY unsettling and could not listen to it for more than a few minutes at a time because of how edgy and uncomfortable it made me feel.  While this stage still depicts early Alzheimer’s and the person is still more or less functional, we are at the point now where the patient is aware something is very wrong, may have received a diagnosis, and is terrified, knowing there is no cure and it will only continue to get worse. This existential dread and terror is evident in the music, which comes across as an unpleasant dissonance, rising waves of static (brain noise?), songs that appear to stop and start, and then stop again, as if something has been “forgotten” and the person is trying to remember.  The ballroom music here, while still pretty, sometimes sounds sour, off key, or as if it’s coming from inside the person’s head.  The song “What Does It Matter How My Heart Breaks” is a reprise of Stage 1’s “Just a Burning Memory” and while clearly recognizable as the same song, is chillingly distorted and diminished somehow.

The artwork used on the album cover perfectly captures the feeling of Stage 2.  It’s pretty, just flowers in a vase, but the flowers look sad and wilted, and the vase itself is just…wrong.  Like something in a state of decay.

I can’t listen to any of Stage 2 without feeling a sense of impending doom, though it’s hard to pinpoint exactly why.  I don’t like it.  But this is nothing.  Things only get worse from here.

Stage 3

Stage 3, in some ways, is the most terrifying to me.  At this stage, the dementia patient is beginning to have more severe memory lapses and may now need help with everyday activities.  They may fade in and out of being aware and outside awareness.

The album notes state that

Here we are presented with some of the last coherent memories before confusion fully rolls in and the grey mists form and fade away. Finest moments have been remembered, the musical flow in places is more confused and tangled. As we progress some singular memories become more disturbed, isolated, broken and distant. These are the last embers of awareness before we enter the post awareness stages.

This is the last stage in which the patient is still aware they have a problem.  They are standing at the edge of a bottomless abyss.

Stage 3 is nearly unlistenable to me.  Though it still can be classified as “music” rather than the “noise” that is to come, it’s increasingly disjointed, dissonant, chaotic, and garbled, at times edging into walls of static, which keep getting louder.  By the end of this stage, the wall of static and noise seems to be becoming dominant over the music, which fades in and out, stops and starts in fits, sometimes to be taken over by another snatch of a different song (melody), in a mighty struggle against this disease which wants to consume all memory.  “And Heart Breaks” is the Stage 3 reprise of the song that was in Stages 1 and 2, and like its shortened title (as if some words have been forgotten), it seems like a truncated version of its original.

To me, Stage 3 this depicts the person, still aware they are ill and will continue to get worse, desperately clutching onto memories, any memories, as they come up, but they are quickly swept away in the ocean of static, competing memories, and confusing, dronelike noise, leaving the person adrift in a sea of helplessness, despair and terror.

Stage 3 was very frightening to me.  It made the goosebumps stand up on my arms and I felt ice cold and shaken for a good hour or two after listening. I did not want to be alone, and felt so spooked I had to turn on all the lights and check to make sure the doors were locked. I was unable to continue listening that day, and had to save Stage 4 for the next.  I have no idea how I got any sleep that night.  Maybe I was just exhausted, as this music can do that to you too.

The artwork, once again, is very fitting and accurately evokes feelings of chaos, confusion, dread and terror.  While I think this is supposed to be a broken vase or a bunch of tangled weeds (or a vase exploded by the tangled weeds?), its spidery, sinister outlines and bizarre shapes remind me of dancing demons.  There’s a strong feeling of suffocating evil in this image.

After this Stage, the person enters the more advanced stages of dementia, and is no longer self aware.  They may be easily confused by things they used to understand and no longer recognize loved ones.

Stage 4

If you thought Stage 3 was chaotic, confusing, and scary, it’s nothing compared to Stage 4, which can no longer properly even be called music.  From this point on, the “songs” become long 20 to 30 minute pieces, exploring deepening phases of dementia and brain decay.   Three of the four pieces in this stage are called “Post Awareness Confusions,” which is exactly what they are.   While they are subtly different from each other, at times they remind me of nothing so much as a radio dial frantically trying to tune into any station at all, failing to pick up more than a few seconds of garbled memory (music) snippets, and disappearing into the maddening static.  The third piece, called, “Temporary Bliss State,” is really anythig but.   It seems to take a pretty, but repetitive and maddeningly pointless melody that goes nowhere and keeps repeating, and overlays it on top of the static and background noise.  It’s as if the person’s decaying mind is desperately trying to think happy thoughts to drown out the horror that is actually playing out, but failing miserably.   To call this a “bliss state” seems almost ironic, though it may still be a respite from the constant horror of a breaking brain that only keeps getting more broken.

According to the album description,

Post-Awareness Stage 4 is where serenity and the ability to recall singular memories gives way to confusions and horror. It’s the beginning of an eventual process where all memories begin to become more fluid through entanglements, repetition and rupture.

The artwork, depicting what appears to be a woman turned partly away from us, in close up, shows a masklike face without features.  I feel like this represents the fact that it’s during Stage 4 that a person may no longer know who they are or who they were, and may no longer recognize close friends and family members.

WARNING:  There is a “jump scare” in the transition from Stage 4 to Stage 5. As if you’re not scared enough already.

Stage 5

We’ve crossed the line into advanced Alzheimers/dementia and at this point the patient is no longer able to perform even the most basic self care, and is probably in full time nursing care by now.  They probably don’t understand or comprehend anything that’s going on in their environment.  If they still speak, they may have no idea what they are talking about.

Post-Awareness Stage 5 confusions and horror.
More extreme entanglements, repetition and rupture can give way to
calmer moments. The unfamiliar may sound and feel familiar.
Time is often spent only in the moment leading to isolation.

This is an absolutely terrifying stage, and the disease, which has reduced a feeling, thinking human being with a lifetime of cherished memories into an undead shell of what they once were, now sets about ravaging what’s left of the person’s brain in earnest.  Each of the 4 “songs” (again, about 20 to 30 minutes in length for each one) convey 4 horrifying stages of brain decay: two of “Advanced Plaque Entanglements,” followed by “Synapse Retrogenesis” (the synapses between neurons, which formed early in life, are now breaking apart) and finally “Sudden Time Regression into Isolation.”

This last is the most profoundly depressing and scary thing on this album so far.  The “isolation” in the title is significant, for after a harrowing 20 minutes of deafening static and ambient drone obscuring distorted and sometimes bizarrely stretched out snatches of ballroom melody that appear and disappear like ghosts in a black hole (I interpret the static here as the “zapping” and destruction of any remaining memories), only silence (isolation) remains.  The silence isn’t total silence though; there is still faint static, that infernal droning, and snatches of remaining memory that sound like they’re light years away. But there’s also a kind of peace that finally seems to descend into this howling wilderness: the blissful peace of oblivion. The peace of an empty, unthinking mind that exists now only in the present because there’s no longer any mechanism to retreat into the past.

The painting for this album is incredibly upsetting to me.  I’m not sure what it is, though it kind of looks like a woman standing on a staircase holding an umbrella or walking stick.  There’s also an object that might be a fan. But it also looks like something disgusting and organic, like a cancer or an infection, or a mysterious and dangerous sea creature from the hadal depths of the ocean.  I really can’t look at this image without the little hairs standing up on the back of my neck.

Stage 6

Post-Awareness Stage 6 Is without description.

At this stage, the last stage before death (most Alzheimers patients die of something else first), the person is bedridden, and cannot move. Everything has been forgotten, not just all memories and awareness, but also the primitive brain functions that tell the person how to breathe or swallow. The brain is so destroyed that the person may no longer be able to eat or breathe without medical intervention.

To give you an idea of the severity of the physical destruction that’s taken place, here’s a comparison of a normal brain with a brain destroyed by Alzheimers:

And yet, there’s still activity there.  The first “song,” A Confusion So Thick You Forget Forgetting” is mostly just…silence and emptiness.  But not quite.  Listen carefully; there is a distant dull droning and occasional bursts of static and heavily distorted musical chords recorded at such impossibly low frequency they sound like whale calls…but are actually, unbelievably, the corrupted remains of what were once ballroom pop ditties (memories).  The moment I realized what these low, droning, chordlike sounds actually were…it’s hard to explain the sense of horrified shock but simultaneous satisfaction I felt.  It was almost the exact same feeling I got during the movie The Shining, when Wendy looks into the model hotel maze in the lobby and it suddenly becomes impossibly vast…or the scene in the 1979 horror movie When A Stranger Calls, when Carol Kane answers the phone, only to be told by police that the phone calls she has been getting are coming from inside the house.  You know that feeling.  You’ve had it in your nightmares.  It’s the emotional equivalent of a jump scare.

There’s a kind of peacefulness in Stage 6 that is almost a relief after the relentless confusion and terror of Stages 4 and 5.  In a way, it’s almost relaxing, though it is also unspeakably sad.   You may feel sleepy, or just feel empty and exhausted.  You may even cry.  But if you thought this was sad, it’s nothing compared to the last piece, “Place in the World Fades Away.”   I don’t want to spoil anything, but holy fuckballs, Batman.   I have never been this emotionally moved by any piece of music, anywhere, ever.  It’s a sadness of such depth and intensity it transforms into a kind of joy.

I know I said I didn’t want to spoil anything, but I do need to point out that I don’t think the sudden return of coherent music at the very end was “music heard at the old folk’s home but not comprehended as music” as the young guy in second reaction video (in Part 1) explained it.   No, in fact I think the music represented a sudden return of full awareness and even temporarily recovered memories. Yes, even in their mentally and physically degraded state.  There is a fairly well known phenomenon familiar to people who work in hospice and with advanced dementia patients called Terminal Lucidity.  Shortly before death, sometimes days or hours before, there is a surge of DMT from the pineal gland, buried deep in a part of the brain Alzheimers does not affect.  The brain is suddenly bathed in DMT, the strongest known hallucinogenic drug, which is made naturally in the human brain and helps a person transition while dying.  Before death, the chemical may temporarily bring back their mental faculties.  There have been cases of advanced dementia patients, patients in comas for years, who were believed to be brain dead, who suddenly, just before they died, “woke up” and became fully aware of their surroundings and able to talk to their loved ones.  This may be nature’s way of allowing the person one last hurrah before death, as well as helping them make the final transition.  Terminal lucidity is what I believe was actually happening when the music suddenly reappeared after hours of nothing but static, noise, and corrupted, fractured pieces of what had once been music.  The choir voices that supplant the piano music seem to indicate the person has finally freed themselves of their broken mind and body, finally able to find peace.

The artwork for Stage 6 is an empty canvas with some pieces of tape stuck on it, forming a box or a window.   Or, maybe it’s the back of a canvas with the real painting turned away from us, hidden so it might as well not even exist.  I’m not sure, but whatever it is, this image depicts Emptiness.

Concluding Thoughts

Since I had this experience, I have felt a great sense of regret and sadness over my MIL, who had Alzheimers and passed away in 2003.  Because she was no longer able to live on her own (she had become a danger to herself), we took her into our home.  My husband had never had a good relationship with his mother, and under the ravages of dementia, her aggressiveness, hostility toward him, and mood swings became worse.  My husband at the time, not a patient man, frequently lost his temper, belittled and yelled at her for her forgetfulness and things such as wetting the bed or leaving the stove on.  I am ashamed to say I enabled him in this behavior and sometimes participated in it myself.  At the time I was dealing with a lot of personal demons and wasn’t very empathetic to her.  Our attitude toward this helpless woman also set a bad example in front of our kids.   Eventually, her condition became so severe we could no longer take care of her needs, which by now included other medical conditions.  We were forced to put her into a nursing home, where she got excellent care until she died.  I’ve been thinking a lot about her, about older people and dementia in general, and struggling with regret and sadness for not having treated her with more kindness and empathy.  It must have been absolute hell to be inside her mind, succumbing to dementia.  I had no idea.  I hope God will forgive me for that.  I hope she has too, wherever she is.  I think people working with dementia patients should be required to listen to this album.  It teaches and I think, enhances empathy.

I do feel like my empathy has increased overall.  I feel more generally loving toward humanity as a species and have a newfound reverence for the fleeting beauty and fragility of life.  We all dance in the sun, and fade away. 

I’ll stop here.  Everywhere at the End of Time is an artistic masterpiece you should experience for yourself.   Each person’s experience is unique, even though there are universal feelings we all can share.   Great art should make you uncomfortable.  It should make you squirm, get angry, cry, and quake in terror.  But in the end, it should make you a better person.  I am a better person than I was before I listened to this.

I feel like I should warn you though.  if you are currently depressed, suicidal, or prone to anxiety or panic attacks, I would avoid this experience and save it for a later time, maybe.  Like I mentioned before, this kind of artistic immersion is not unlike a psychedelic drug and can intensify emotions you’re already struggling with.

Everywhere at the End of Time (by “The Caretaker”): this album broke me.

Cover art for each of the 6 albums (each representing a different stage in the progression of Alzheimers/dementia) by artist Ivan Seal.

This is the first post of two.

I didn’t think the first post I’d write in more than two months would be about a six and a half hour long ambient album I stumbled across on Youtube because some Gen Z kids decided to challenge themselves to cry on Youtube after listening to it and thus made the original video (not their reactions, as interesting as they were) go nearly viral.   But here I am and that’s what I’m going to write about (the album, not the bored Gen Zers).  Life is weird, what can I say?

Actually, I have a lot to say.  I’m not exaggerating when I tell you this was the most profoundly emotional musical experience I’ve ever had.  It broke me, and then it changed me.  For now I’m just going to focus on the music (if it can be called that) and its immediate effects on me.

But first a little background.

Everywhere At the End of Time is an experimental/ambient musical art project (technically, “dark ambient”) by British musician and composer James Leyland Kirby (he bills himself as “The Caretaker,” after the Jack Nicholson character in the horror movie The Shining, which  was also the inspiration for the haunting 1930s ballroom music that opens this album and reappears in more distorted versions at intervals throughout).  The Caretaker wanted to convey, using music and later, degenerated music that can only be called noise, what it’s like to experience dementia from inside the deteriorating mind of a sufferer.

Everywhere at the End of Time is divided into six entire albums, each one roughly corresponding to the 7 medically recognized stages of Alzheimers Disease (or dementia due to other neurodegenerative diseases such as Lewy Body Dementia, a form of Parkinson’s that affects the brain rather than the body).  The six albums were released during a three year period, from 2016 to 2019.  Kirby felt that by releasing the albums over a long period of time, listeners would get more of the feel of the long slow decline of dementia, and also experience the sense of waiting the patients’ loved ones go through. Kirby said he became so fascinated with dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s dementia, that after studying its effects on the human mind and body, he was inspired to depict its ravages in musical form.

Kirby was kind enough to make his masterpiece available to everyone.  All six and a half hours of it can be found here:

https://thecaretaker.bandcamp.com/album/everywhere-at-the-end-of-time

If you prefer, the album in its entirety can also be found on Youtube:

Before I set out to describe each Stage and my reactions to them, I want to mention  some other reaction/review videos on Youtube.  Here is one of the best ones (this is in fact the one that sent me down the rabbit hole):

And another, which I really liked a lot:

Before I go into my reviews and reactions, let me explain why there are so many reaction videos, which seem to be mostly from geeky young men and gamer types.  Shortly after its release, it became a kind of meme to “challenge yourself” to listen to the entirety of Everywhere at the End of Time (because it’s not an easy listen and at times can be profoundly depressing or existentially terrifying) and then post your reaction to it.  The challenge started on Tik Tok and eventually moved to Youtube. 

Some critics of the reaction videos felt that these millennials and Gen Z’ers were making light of a serious album about a dark subject and turning it into a kind of game. They believed that cheapened what Kirby’s project was trying to convey.  But Kirby actually wasn’t bothered.  When he found out about the Everywhere at the End of Time “challenge,” he said that if his music was causing younger people to develop empathy toward (mostly older) people with dementia and Alzheimers (and since almost all of them cried, empathy could be assumed) and making a “challenge” out of it was the the avenue that inspired them to actually listen to the entirety of something so dark and serious, then it was a good thing.  This genre of music (dark ambient/drone) isn’t exactly catchy pop and would never get radio airplay, but because the Tik Tok/Youtube challenges made Kirby’s project go near viral, it’s getting a lot of attention it otherwise would never have achieved.  And that’s educating a lot of people about dementia and voluntarily experience, through the music, what it FEELS like to have this illness. It teaches empathy for people with this devastating disease. One woman I know who works with Alzheimers nursing home patients, says she has developed a level of empathy for these patients she never had before listening to Everywhere at the End of Time.    Even I, who was never very patient with my ex husband’s mother, who lived with us while suffering from early to mid stage Alzheimer’s, now feel sadness and regret that I wasn’t kinder to her while she was with us.  This disease must have been pure hell for her but she was unable to express her terror and grief coherently.  She passed away years ago; I wish there was a way I could tell her I’m sorry.

Like many others, I was scared to listen to Everywhere at the End of Time at first.  It was the video I posted above called “This Album Will Break You” that first caught my interest.  The clips I heard in that were pretty damn unsettling.   I wanted to listen to all six and a half hours, but I was afraid to in that same way some people are afraid to take LSD or another psychedelic drug if they’ve never done so before.  They’re afraid they might lose their minds.  I sensed this album was going to take me mental and emotional places I wasn’t sure I wanted to confront, but at the same time, I knew that doing so could be potentially life changing.   In the comments under the videos, I saw I wasn’t alone in my trepidation.  Many people are literally afraid to listen to this album because they know how unsettling, upsetting, and even terrifying it can be.  One way around this is to make your first listen “with” someone else who is narrating it for you.   So my first listen was with PizzaManSteve, who plays the entire album and reacts and comments throughout.  His loud reactions and crying at the end are a bit distracting and makes it hard to hear the music, but it’s a genuine reaction that many people seem to share.  The first time you listen, you may want to listen to his video first, as you’ll feel less “alone” than listening to the full album posted above without any commentary at all.  I was afraid that would freak me out. Yes, it’s that intense.

Before I move on to my reactions, I want to mention the artwork by Ivan Seal.  The six paintings used to illustrate each stage of dementia are absolutely perfect in conveying exactly what the stages FEEL like.  The objects they depict are difficult or impossible to identify, but they still look and feel familiar, the way an Alzheimers patient might look at a person or an object, and not quite be able to place who or what it is, and yet know they have seen it before.  The feel of these paintings is similar to the “name one thing in this photo” viral AI photograph that shows a bunch of familiar looking objects that you just cannot identify.  This was supposed to depict what things look like to stroke victims.

The paintings look organic, disorganized, or decayed. Even the flower vase in Stage 2 is unsettling.   The woman’s masklike face in Stage 4 depicts loss of self awareness a patient with dementia experiences at that point in her illness.  It also may be how others start to appear to her, as she loses her ability to remember the names and faces of even her closest family members.

All the images are incredibly unsettling in ways that are hard to describe (much like the music itself), but for some unknown reason, the artwork for Stage 5 frightened me the most.  Stage 5 is advanced Alzheimer’s, nearing the end.  During this stage, the brain literally self destructs, destroying whatever memories still remain.  Its “songs” have  titles like “Advanced Plaque Entanglements,” “Synapse Retrogenesis,” and “Sudden Time Regression into Isolation.”

Holy hell, that sounds absolutely horrifying.

Back in the 1990s, an artist named William Untermohlen, who had been diagnosed with Alzheimers in 1995 at the age of 61, decided to paint himself at intervals throughout his illness. Each portrait here (except the first) roughly corresponds to the stages depicted in Everywhere at the End of Time.   As Untermohlen’s memory and sense of self declined, you can see these changes in this series of self portraits (the first was a self portrait from 1967, years before the onset of his illness).

 

End of Part 1.  

Go on to Part 2.

WordPress appears to have fallen off its best horse

This unwanted conversion to the Block Editor is causing a ridiculous amount of chaos and frustration. I don’t know one person who is happy with this change. Why did anyone think this was a good idea? I guess the Powers That Be are more interested in page designers now than in writers. Here’s a good article.

Marcus Ampe's Space

 

 

This weekend I came back home from a road trip in France, where I, at moments could have some very bad internet. That made it impossible to continue my urgent work to get my Google-Sites converted or those which could not convert to transfer them manually. So that is some big task waiting for me these days. But to my surprise not only Google pushes us to renewal or renovation. Also, WordPress pushes us something terrible down our throat.

Why do so many think they always have to renew something?
If they could make it better, no problem. But WordPress has chosen for one of the worst editor systems. I have several blogs made in different systems and until recently Word Press scored best on all matters. But now I have to rate it down (from a 9/10 down to a 3/10, and if I have more trials…

View original post 2,113 more words

I’m fed up with WordPress.

I finally had an idea for a blog post, and tried to follow my own instructions in this post, and get nothing but the block editor. I looked everywhere, I even clicked on those three little dots at the top of the screen, and there is NO option for the classic editor. Can anyone help, because there is something I am just aching to write about? Looks like I’ll be moving to Medium, which seems to be a platform friendlier to writers. I feel like WordPress betrayed us.
But dammit! I didn’t want to have to start writing on a brand new platform tonight.

Lucky Otters Haven

I’m writing this partly to test this trick, which didn’t come from the WordPress staff.   It actually came from some of you, so thank you!

All the WP staff tells us to do to access the Classic Editor is to “go to WP Admin.”  Do they assume we’re all techies?  I’m sorry, but I’m old and need things like this explained to me like I’m old.

Here are the actual instructions.

Go to your WP Admin page (I’m sure everyone knows where that is)

Look down the column on the left until you find “Posts” and click that on.

On the Posts page, click on the “Add New” button at the top of the list of posts.

It should take you to the Classic Editor.  It worked for me.

Now, why can’t the WP staff tell us this?  It’s as if they want to force us all to use the…

View original post 36 more words

How to override the block editor.

I’m writing this partly to test this trick, which didn’t come from the WordPress staff.   It actually came from some of you, so thank you!

All the WP staff tells us to do to access the Classic Editor is to “go to WP Admin.”  Do they assume we’re all techies?  I’m sorry, but I’m old and need things like this explained to me like I’m old.

Here are the actual instructions.

Go to your WP Admin page (I’m sure everyone knows where that is)

Look down the column on the left until you find “Posts” and click that on.

On the Posts page, click on the “Add New” button at the top of the list of posts.

It should take you to the Classic Editor.  It worked for me.

Now, why can’t the WP staff tell us this?  It’s as if they want to force us all to use the Block editor whether we want to or not.

The only problem is you can’t set Classic as the default anymore.   You have to do this for every post.  Oh, well.  You can’t have everything, I guess.

Bad News From WordPress

Everything this guy said.

beetleypete

In case you haven’t seen the notifications, WordPress will shortly be doing away with the ‘Old Editor’, and forcing us to use the ‘New’ Block Editor. This supposedly improved Gutenberg editor will replace even the original block editor, so everyone on this platform will have to bite the bullet and try to cope with it.

I have written before about how I consider it TOTALLY UNNECESSARY for WordPress to do this. People who are not good with technology -like me- are dreading this all over the bloging community. As with so many things in the modern world, WordPress is choosing to ignore the ‘If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’ commonsense maxim, and I have yet to read any reasonable excuse as to why they consider the change is worthwhile.

If ‘business users’ find the new system better, then let it just be an option for them. That should be…

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I want the Classic Editor, not this block garbage.

WordPress really doesn’t care about the people who use it. Gutenberg has been forced on us, and I hate it. I don’t think in blocks. I don’t think most writers do. I know numerous bloggers have complained about this forced change, but all we get from the WP staff is some passive aggressive comment about “being unwilling to learn something new” and a condescending attitude. They don’t care about writers anymore. As soon as Gutenberg becomes the only choice in 2022, I’m gone. Probably to Medium, which seems to be a better platform for people who want to write.

In the meantime though, if I want to write, supposedly there is a way to access the Classic Editor, but I have no idea how. I looked it up in the forums and all I saw was that it can be accessed from the Admin page. That’s it. Well, I did that, and looked everywhere on the Admin page, and see absolutely NOTHING giving me the option to switch back to Classic. I even went to the Edit page (as if writing a new post) and clicked on the three small dots at the top (because that has worked in the past), and there is no option for Classic.

I really HATE this new editor and WordPress is going to lose my business (I paid for this domain and also for an upgrade) if they don’t start being more accomodating.

Here’s a good rant written by someone as irked by WP’s need to “fix something that doesn’t need fixing” as I am.

Despondency

eisenhower

I’m beyond despondent and that’s why I haven’t been writing.   Watching the only country I ever knew collapse into fascism before my eyes is like watching a beloved friend or family member die a horrible, painful, death and being helpless to do anything about it.  It’s horrible.

Did anyone watch any of the Republican National Convention?  I saw clips from it and was disgusted and chilled.  It wasn’t like anything I associate with America or American values.   It was basically a glittery, drawn out version of those awful events where they go around a conference table and all Trump’s sycophants and enablers blather on about how perfect and wonderful Dear Leader is while he sits there gloating and soaking it all in.  And when Trump wasn’t being venerated, Democrats and liberals (most who want only to return to democracy and make it better) were being hatefully excoriated as villains and monsters who want to force socialism or even communism on everyone.  It was nauseating.

I don’t have the energy or motivation to write much else, but the article below I’ve posted a link to says everything I’m thinking and feeling, and is written from the perspective of someone who lived through the horrors of authoritarianism.  This may be one of the last times I can freely express how much I despise this sociopathic regime, because our First Amendment rights are being eroded in plain sight.  It’s every bit as bad (or will soon become as bad) as Nazi Germany, Assad’s Syria, Saddam’s Iraq, Pinochet’s Chile, Erdogan’s Turkey, Kim Jong Un’s North Korea, or the Taliban in Afghanistan.  At best, at BEST(!) we will become like Putin’s Russia.  I wish that were hyperbole.  I don’t think it is.

I no longer see any way civil war can be avoided.   Trump’s brownshirts and paramilitaries and ignorant cult members are itching for war.  They HATE us.  They gaslight us, dismiss our very real fears as Trump Derangement Syndrome, and constantly project their own wrongdoings onto us. We have been dehumanized, other‘d.  Peaceful protesters are now called terrorists and anarchists, but a 17 year old punk kid inspired by Trump’s “rough them up” rhetoric mowed down two protesters with a weapon of war and is being defended and protected by the Right because they think he’s a patriot.   These people aren’t going to compromise or give up their delusion that Trump is some kind of holy warrior or savior who is going to “make America great again.”   They aren’t going to suddenly grow empathy and start to care about the rights of people who aren’t just like themselves.

We have moved, as a nation, so far to the far right, that now American values such as democracy, freedom, and justice for all are now dismissed by Trump and his minions as socialism, or even communism. Communism!   We are a police state now, and it’s fast becoming normalized.

Living in America feels exactly like being trapped in an abusive marriage or inescapable family situation.   This is narcissistic abuse writ large.   But you can’t go No Contact, unless you are one of the fortunate ones who have the means to leave the country.

Yes, America has become one of those countries people want to leave.    But because of the out of control pandemic this regime refuses to do anything about because they hate scientists and experts, other countries have closed off their borders to us.   Trump got his wall, only the wall is being paid for by the rest of the world.

We must stop sugarcoating what is actually happening here.  None of this is normal.  Early in Trump’s first term, the German magazine Der Spiegel published an article warning us that Trump was a new Hitlerlike figure, an authoritarian fascist, and would establish an “illiberal democracy” (a euphemism for an authoritarian state or dictatorship).  They knew because they’ve been there.   We didn’t listen.  Now it may be too late to avoid such a fate.   I think there’s a chance we can still wriggle out of this mess, but it’s up to us now.   No one is coming to save us.

Facing the ugly and horrifying truth that America is now being ruled by fascists is our only hope.

Fascism.  SAY IT.

And VOTE FOR BIDEN.

PLEASE!

We Don’t Know How to Warn You Any Harder America Is Dying 

 

If things seem pretty hopeless right now…

thomas-paine-quote-these-are-the-times-that-try-mens-souls

People are having a hard time right now. America is no longer a very nice place to live. And due to Covid 19, which we have not been able to keep under control because we have a president who scoffs at science and experts, other countries have closed their borders to us, so we can’t escape even if we have the means to do so. We have become a pariah state.  A shithole country.

The bullies seem to be winning, while those of us who want American democracy back are demonized and called terrorists and traitors and anarchists by the wannabe dictator in the White House and his fascist minions.  Of course, they are projecting.   They are the real traitors and terrorists, leaving nothing but chaos, death, and destruction in their wake.    But they seem to have all the power right now, don’t they?

We are a failing state, some say a failed one. We are facing adversity like we can’t even imagine:  there’s the constant gaslighting, projection, and endless lies coming from this sociopathic president and his lawless regime that makes those of us with a conscience and regard for the truth feel like we’re going insane; an out of control pandemic (that could easily have been avoided); the wanton destruction of our institutions, the dismantling of all our checks and balances, the rule of law, and the Constitution itself;  Trump’s attempts to dismantle the US Post Office(!!!) to benefit his reelection; a regime that refuses to listen to scientists whose idiotic orange leader tells us to drink bleach to cure Coronavirus; peaceful protesters treated like terrorists by Trump’s armed to the teeth brownshirts and far right militias (who are the real terrorists); the end of unemployment insurance for millions of people laid off due to Covid which is resulting in evictions and loss of health insurance; Depression level unemployment; a dying society that may well become a fascist dictatorship if Trump wins or steals the election (which he looks likely to attempt, with the blessings of his equally corrupt attorney general Bill Barr); and finally and most horrifyingly, the possible loss of all our rights and freedoms and everything about America that made it great if he succeeds in getting his dictatorship.  Now Trump is threatening to defund (end) social security and Medicare, which if successful, would leave millions of elderly and disabled destitute and without healthcare, leading to even more deaths.

It’s enough to drive the most rational person mad.

These are trying times.
They’re the kind of times that try our souls.
It’s overwhelming.
It’s exhausting and frustrating and maddening and terrifying.
It’s easy to feel like everything’s hopeless and fall into despair and apathy.

But remember: you are not alone. There are people who care.  People who share your feelings about everything taking place in the world, millions of them!  These difficult times won’t last forever, and we still have a chance of righting what went wrong, although it may take a long time and a lot of hard work. There are a lot more of us than there are of them!  There are millions of us and we are in the majority.  We are not as powerless as you may think.

What Trump and his minions fail to appreciate is that when a population feels like there’s nothing left to lose, and everything and everyone they love is under threat, that’s when they are at their most dangerous, and are most likely to rise up and demand change. People fight back when they no longer care if they lose their lives or their freedom doing so.
That’s how revolutions are born. That’s how heroes are made.

Right now, history is being made. We are a part of it.  We are in the midst of it.
We are not the first or the last population who have fallen on terrible times. Good almost always prevails.
Changing the world is our imperative.  Be on the right side of history.

But, first things first.
You have to take care of yourself before you can change the world.
So if you or someone you love are thinking of suicide or are just feeling depressed and alone and helpless, please reach out for help.

You can start here:
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1-800-273-8255.
Text Home to 741741 to reach the Crisis Text Line.

Please share with others.

God bless!

Choose wisely.

I saw this meme on Facebook.  It sums up everything I’ve been feeling about American politics lately as well as the Covid 19 situation here in America.

As a society, we Americans have made some pretty terrible choices.  We’re a supremely selfish society, bar none.   And everyone but us seems to know it.

Thinking only of one’s own comfort at the expense of our fellow human beings only winds up hurting us in the end, too.   No one wins.

moralitypolitics