Legate yourself here. (Thanks,E!)
Legate yourself here.
Damn, I wish I could get a day where no one else wanted anything, needed anything, had to have something fixed, looked at, cleaned up, or taken care of. You know, there’s a down side to being problem solving guy; namely, when do I get the bandwidth to work on some of my own? I […]
Damn, I wish I could get a day where no one else wanted anything, needed anything, had to have something fixed, looked at, cleaned up, or taken care of.
You know, there’s a down side to being problem solving guy; namely, when do I get the bandwidth to work on some of my own?
I have a gift – it’s the thing that turn up on my work reviews, even when I’ve otherwise completely screwed the pooch, work wise; a knoack for debugging things, for seeing the root cause. Well, THERE’s your problem, and Jaime Hyneman might say. I’m just good at knowing, through some combination of intuition and observation, what makes a system work and thus what’s making it not work.
So I find myself forever in that role; the better I get, the more constant the need.
I don’t mind, you know? It’s not just what I do, it’s who I am. It’s what I enjoy. That lightbulb moment, when seemingly un-connected points of data suddenly assemble into a picture, and I can see the point of failure. It’s the tiny highlights in generally drab work days. And more, at home, in real life, when I say, this is the failure point and can apply, or help apply, some solution, it makes me happy.
There are points, though, load exceeds structural resistance and I want to simple give in, let the crushing weight win.
There are the points when I need time away from every single ounce of need, want, issue. No one saying help me or this is broken or can you fix.
This is, of course, the kind of blog entry I usually don’t post. I’ve written it a couple times a year since I started blogging, and rarely does it see the light. Because as much as I don’t want to help, I don’t want any help.
I need a vacation from the universe. And it makes me understand why people find the spike to appealing; let me go away from myself for a bit. Only then there’s another need to manage, and the cycle gets smaller and tighter.
The list of things I need to do gets longer only – never, ever shorter, and the list of what I want to do is almost forgotten under load. I was trying to recall the other day the last time I felt free enough of pressure to cut loose and create, and I cannot recall; it’s lost on the blur if the last year and a half. Even on my last vacation, never did I have a day where I could say, this is my time, forget what other people are doing or want to do.
I feel the edges of a crazy sort of rage at the edges of things. Sadness and anger are lurking at the back of my skull all the time now, and I need someplace to put them.
A good friend asked me the other day if I was ok – really, really ok. And I had to think back a long time to the last moment I felt really ok; moments of time, too soon gone.
I need to be back there, in those fleeting, warm, soft, truly happy moments. And I don’t know how to get back there.
It’s a funny thing how a writer’s block shuts one down. A friend asked me the other day, ‘when will you write me something’. And I stared at the message and thought, when will I fucking write me something? Buck made mention in a recent comment of good stuff I’ve been writing and I wondered […]
It’s a funny thing how a writer’s block shuts one down.
A friend asked me the other day, ‘when will you write me something’. And I stared at the message and thought, when will I fucking write me something?
Buck made mention in a recent comment of good stuff I’ve been writing and I wondered who’s blog he’s mistaken for mine. Mine, you see, has become a series of place-holder posts, made just so I still have some change on this page, or because I’ve found some funny lolcat or a song that fit my mood particularly well.
I look back and can’t even find the last entry I’d call writing.
Where in the fuck did my creativity go? The worst thing is, most of the time, I don’t even care. I look at my blog editor, ecto, and have nothing. Nothing at all.
I was accused of starting a new, secret blog, but if that’s true, it’s so secret even I can’t find it. If you find it, let me know, ok? Because maybe I left what used to be a decent ability to write over there someplace.
Even writing this is a struggle. The effort seems ill-spent when I know I’m getting nothing.
My collection of writing ideas is growing, and yet, they’re notihng but a line, a concept, a description. I can’t convert to narrative. I can’t find the voice I need.
Last night I was watching Moonlight, the new angel rip-off series about a vampire detective. I wanted to like it, for all the heavy stylistic borrowings; vampire as hard-boiled detective. The show’s got some good actors, and a lot of appeal. Yet the writing was horrible; a grab-bag of hard-boiled cliches linked with clumsy dialog and self-conscious pop-culture references. And I couldn’t stop thinking, god, I could do this so much better. I can do hard-boiled. God knows I’ve read enough of it to know all the hammet/chandler/thomas/macdonald/parker cliches. I can write that stuff in my sleep.
And then I thought, no, I can’t. I can’t even write a blog entry anymore.
Where’d it go? And why don’t I care?
Here’s a good pic of the house I was staying in last week, on Hanalei bay, Kauai; view from the edge of the bay. I post this as a visual reference. Between the house and the vantage point from which this was taken lies the main road that runs through Hanalei and on up to […]
Here’s a good pic of the house I was staying in last week, on Hanalei bay, Kauai; view from the edge of the bay.
I post this as a visual reference. Between the house and the vantage point from which this was taken lies the main road that runs through Hanalei and on up to the very far northern drivable point.
Saturday, I want to a borthday bbq for a friend; a friend from a big gang I used to hang out with a lot, but have faded out of lately for various reasons. Old San Jose music scene people, bands with names like frontier wives, sugarbombs, exploding cadillacs, sioux nation, and a bunch of others only san jose scene people would remember.
One of these people was my pal lex.
I post this because I found out saturday, he and his lovely wife Kelly were – literally – less than a mile away from my on Hanalei Bay the entire time were were there. They drove by our house every day on that road (nearly pictured, above), ate in the same restaurants, grocery shopped in the same store. And neither of us ever knew it.
We spent satrday’s party alternately comparing recent tattoos, and lamenting the fact that fate got us that close in a place that stunning, and never crossed our paths.
Fuckin’ fate, man.
We also talked about getting our backs tattooed, something Lex and I have been talking about since we both turned fourty, *cough* years ago. Neither of us have yet started; it’s almost a race at this point though I’d ahead, since I actually have a design picked out.
In other news – there is no other news. I am hit hard with that post-vacation malaise, the lack of any interest in work or the details of real life. Back to work, back to bill-paying and errand-running and housework. Back to school for my kids (when the fuck did school switch to ending and starting in the middle of summer? When I was a kid, early june we got out, mid-september we went back. When did this stupid before-labor-day thing get started?)
I can’t really even work up energy to send email, and I’m only managing to read because I have this awesome
short story collection by Dennis LeHane; I can’t get unough focus for anything longer.
Plus there’s the Harry Potter hangover. We recently finished a marathon out-loud reading of Deathly Hallows, and how can one not feel spent after that book?
All in all, I just want to be sandy and salty and not have to come the fuck back.
The tattoos on my feet are (as expected with foot tattoos) healing slowly; these things are as irritating to heal as they are to get. I’ll post pic in a week or so when they start to look healed and are no longer flaking off like a sunburned comics page.
Monday. I think I’ll go back to bed.
You think the 911/pot brownies thing was all about *bad drugs? Think again. This fuckin’ thing is about bad drugs. [youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=U_3b_zp9a8Q] *when I say bad drugs, i of course mean good drugs. You know what i’m sayin.
You think the 911/pot brownies thing was all about *bad drugs?
This fuckin’ thing is about bad drugs.
*when I say bad drugs, i of course mean good drugs. You know what i’m sayin.
One can add only three words to this. “What The Fuck” (I had to move this after the cut because for some reason it totally fucks my formatting in safari)
One can add only three words to this.
“What The Fuck”
(I had to move this after the cut because for some reason it totally fucks my formatting in safari)
Read more “what’s the score of the red wings game – i think we’re dying…”
some weeks just seem made of days that conspire against you. I am now in one of those weeks. Grumble. More on this theme when bullets stop flying over my head.
some weeks just seem made of days that conspire against you. I am now in one of those weeks.
More on this theme when bullets stop flying over my head.
One of those things i think is just plain good for the psyche every now and then is to work with kids. Now, I’m not one of those people who’s just nuts for kids. I’m not above describing a child as an asshole, and my tolerance for any kid, even my own, isn’t that long. […]
One of those things i think is just plain good for the psyche every now and then is to work with kids.
Now, I’m not one of those people who’s just nuts for kids. I’m not above describing a child as an asshole, and my tolerance for any kid, even my own, isn’t that long. I was, for most of my life and including some moments after having them, firmly against the idea of having kids. And I could not get the big snip fast enough after I reached child capacity.
But sometimes proximity to childhood just makes one feel good.
I got shang-hai’d into being a chaperone today for my older daughter’s seventh grade class (i know, what are they thinking – me, the very picture of bad influence, as a chaperone) on a field trip, and this was my first with a public school class. My kids have both been in smallish private schools, so it’s always been a small crew, small trips, usually with parent drivers.
Today’s trip, the group of parent chaperones was larger than my kids whole grade at the old schools. Seven buses – big coaches, not yellow school buses), something on the order of three hundred kids. Again, bigger than the whole school in days of yore.
I had a crew of five thirteen year olds. And was warned abundantly by my daughter that I had a couple of the grade’s bitchiest girls (she didn’t say bitchy – if she said bitchy, she’d have then had to go wash her own mouth out, but I can’t recall the word she actually used), and a couple of the grade’s biggest trouble-maker boys.
I wasn’t in any mood for any of this. My week’s a fuckin’ mess. The same old story about work, ad infinitum, and personal business matters that are getting further and further behind. I agreed to do this a couple months back when I didn’t quite have the foresight to know I’d but buried. Plus, you know, morning. I’m not the world’s happiest morning guy – I’m an ogre before coffee (not the cuddly green shrek kind), and while after, I’m awake, I’m not particularly what you’d call gregarious. So having to get up an hour early for the task didn’t help.
But once I started talking to to kids it didn’t matter. The four or five I knew said cheerful hellos, and the teachers (whose job never gets quite the respect it deserves, if only for shepherding skill) gradually got the amorphous crowds of kinds formed into lines.
My daughter brought over my small group (what’s the collective noun for a group of teenagers anyway?), and introduced them. One of the girls shares my daughter’s name (Olivia); I greated her with I have your name tattooed on my chest, which was data she seemed utterly flabbergasted by. The two boys proceeded to try a flim-flam on me by quickly switching up names (“No, I’m nick! No, I am nick!”). I pointed at the tall one and said, “no, you’re Beavis”, and to the short one, “and you’re Butt-Head. Clear?” They looked at each other and started to giggle, but didn’t play the name game with me again.
Later, my daughter reported the over-heard conversation;
“Olivia’s dad is scary.”
“No, he’s not really”
“He is, kind of – imagine meeting him in a dark alley.”
In other words, we now had our understanding.
And so, into busses and off to San Francisco zoo, on what you might call a typical San Francisco late spring day; foggy, damp, bitterly cold.
I have mixed feelings about zoos. I love animals; while I don’t really like owning pets, I’m endlessly fascinated by the behaviors of wild animals. I grew up watching documentaries (and in fact, when I find time, still turn to cable channels that play nature stuff), I used to endlessly study books on all sorts of animals. I grew up learning about simian social behaviors as my father studied it (he was a communications teacher, and I grew up on evolutionary biology and communication physiology).
But zoos, particularly older ones, are very often filled with too-big creatures in too-small enclosures.
As with many older zoos, SF zoo is gradually replacing out-dated enclosures and building more natural exhibits. They’ve a long way to go, but they’re heading the right direction, and many of the older enclosures (like the elephant house) are closed down right now while entirely new exhibits are built.
So the trip didn’t leave me with the usual sense of sadness I tend to have when I leave an older zoo. Maybe that’s cause my main focus wasn’t on the wild animals that live there, but the wild animals that I had under my temporary care.
I haven’t spent a lot of time with packs of free-range teenagers (at least, since I was one). And I was pleased to see that, even though in some ways these suburban thirteen year olds are much older than the calendar shows (my god, a lot of them seem to be dating already, and a lot of the girls are wearing clothing that could have made me insane at that age), in many ways they were very much kids. They wanted begged to see the petting zoo, first thing after we finished visiting each child’s assigned animal (where each child in my group did a small public recitation of facts about black rhinos, chimpanzees, meerkats, kangaroos, and hippos – the recitations being their own idea, not part of the assignments). They were dragging me in five different directions at once at some points in sheer excitement over howler monkeys, tapirs, lemurs, prairie dogs, and capybara.
Despite the fact that the day was freezing and none of us was dressed for it, none of them bitched or whined. There was no show of i’m too grown up for this, no jaded eye-rolling. When it was time to go, not a one of them wanted to leave. Only the fact that the bus was warm and that the wind was getting colder got them out the gate.
I’ve spent a lot of time on field trips with classes from pre-school through fifth grade; I was afraid this was going to be a completely different experience, particularly when the kids I had today were described as so-and-so and so-and-so’s girlfriend, in both cases. I was wrong; they were just kids, and I remembered why, every now and then, I think working with kids would be a great thing to do for a living.
Of course, I got to leave them all at school and get in my truck and go home. Which is what lets me think that from time to time. People who do this every day have a calling, or a level of patience I can’t fathom. But doing this every once in a while – getting the hell out of work, watching kids be kids, and showing ’em that authority figures can be cool, weird people who get it, it just feels like a really good way to spend a morning.
After the medication wore away, I was left with a soup of words. It wasn’t a fetid thing, but it was un-refined, incoherent. The ingredients were there, but inexpertly mixed. It wasn’t incomprehensible; it was simply kaleidoscopic. This is something like what I was trying to say the other night. I’m not sure it makes […]
After the medication wore away, I was left with a soup of words. It wasn’t a fetid thing, but it was un-refined, incoherent. The ingredients were there, but inexpertly mixed.
It wasn’t incomprehensible; it was simply kaleidoscopic.
This is something like what I was trying to say the other night. I’m not sure it makes as much sense now as it did then, but what sense it makes is more readily parsed by those outside the writer’s own skull.
it just turned summer somewhere between friday and monday – i can’t quite tell when because I was well and truly out of it all day sunday. But it’s 75 already and headed the general direction of 90, and i can NOT get my head around the concept of work today. I keep thinking, don’t […]
it just turned summer somewhere between friday and monday – i can’t quite tell when because I was well and truly out of it all day sunday.
But it’s 75 already and headed the general direction of 90, and i can NOT get my head around the concept of work today. I keep thinking, don’t go don’t go don’t go. Only thing is, work laterly has nothing to do with progress, it has to do with run-as-fast-as-you-can-to-slow-the-backwards-motion. Which, in a word, sucks, and which drains me slowly of all will to work.
It’s goin’ to hell anyway, I think; instead of fighting it, let’s facilitate it.
There’ part of me that wants to step back from anything that looks like a sinking ship and add fire; if it’s going down, send it down in a spectacular fashion. Don’t just crash your car, roll it and send it off a goddamn cliff.
I don’t like to do things in small ways. Subtle, to me, means use a smaller sledge hammer.
Of course the sinking ship and crashing car analogies are hyperbole; nevermind though. That’s the feeling the struggle sometimes has, when the struggle is not toward good or great, but toward mediocrity, and when the cause of the struggle is corporate strategy meets corporate schedule. The result for me is an excercise in frustration, and of all things, I tolerate ongoing frustration least well.
But let’s get back to summer. Because it’s summer, when the sun shines and the clothing decreases, when skin darkens, that I most long for days by the sea, boats, the scent of sweat and coconut and rum. I walk out into the bone-dry northen california heat and wish, desperately, for that island-dark girl who’s supposed to be bringing me my drink.
Instead, I spend a monday morning, as the mercury creeps up, in a DMV waiting line to replace a lost driver’s license. No sea, no rum, no coconut. No beautiful dark-haired, nut-brown girl beside me on glittering black sand. No salt on my skin, no smell of ocean, fruit, tropical flowers. No afternoon trade winds. Just a queue, bored government workers, a large room filled with people who wish, like me, to be anywhere else.