Cratering

A half-stack doesn't fit in the trunk.

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Cratering

a half-stack doesn't fit in the trunk

It’s elemental

H: The last dozen years of my life have been in some part defined by a decent chunk of friends in my demographic cohort suffering sudden, complete failures of their meat suits. Too soon.

He: Hiding behind process is the lowest form of cowardice. Get shit done or get the fuck out the way. And shut up while you’re at it.

Li: I remember being 25 and knowing everything. No idea why I wasn’t bludgeoned. Maybe the 40-somethings in charge remembered their own stupid youth and took some pity? Maybe I should emulate those guys now?

Be: I’m not as angry as that all seems. I’m on my way home in 66° weather. Tonight there will be wine, good company, and music to soothe. And it’s an old person place with seats.

B: The next two weeks are big, busy, and bold. I embrace change; always have. I thrive on volatility. But even by my standards, these are big waves building. Surf’s up.

Five. Neither more nor less.

  1. I’m out the door by around 6:00 most mornings. Even though or maybe especially because the winter was so terrible and my daily mission so futile, I pause before getting in the car and take in the sky for a bit. Venus, Jupiter, and Mars were there to calm and align me. Not in any astrological sense; you know I don’t roll like that. I just get a little blissy when I contemplate the stars, planets, and our place among them, and specifically the idea that in our unlikely yet perfect little corner of the universe, some pieces of it came together in just the right way to become aware of itself. It won’t last. It’s worth enjoying occasionally.
  2. That said, the last few days, my stargazing has been fruitless. Too much sunlight and/or the cloud cover of spring rain. This is, as we say in the business, a good trade.
  3. I am a member of no minority class. All the privilege? That’s me. I have it. I know; that makes me terrible and beyond redemption. Please reblog something about the horror I personally inflict by breathing—that helps. But if there is any day where I feel like maybe I can begin to get what it’s like to be among the oppressed, it’s being a Sox fan in this city on the day of the Cubs home opener. May it rain sideways today. May another century of losing commence. May lightning strike WXRT’s tower.
  4. I have been lifting weights more diligently than at any point in my life. I have a program. I am regularly increasing my maxes. I’m doing everything I’m supposed to, I think. The good news is that my back has been healthier (knock wood) than at any point in the last five years. That’s reason enough to keep doing it, and I will. But on the other side of it, there is no discernible difference in the size or shape of any part of my body. I haven’t taken out the tape measure but there’s no need. I can see the same scrawny stuff. This is super unfair.
  5. Chsh is in three weeks! I’m not sure I can make it to Mullen’s, but I expect to cavort with each and every (but especially you) on Friday at the hotel bar and points beyond. Start hydrating.

  1. I dreamed we saw Sir Ian McKellen in full Gandalf costume outside a storefront. I asked for a picture of him with my daughter. He obliged. But then I couldn’t find it on the camera and no one believed us. #NoOneCaresAboutYourDreams #CoolStoryBro
  2. At some point after that, I woke up to find a hand above me, menacingly suspended just over my face. I almost screamed. Turns out it was my own hand…I was asleep with my arm straight up in the air.
  3. I’m working from home today. My job is mostly about meetings, but for whatever reason there are none scheduled. Those of you who saw that pic of my office will understand just how blissful it is to be out of there for any length of time. Other benefits: an additional 45 minutes of sleep, fuzzy pants, using my beloved Mac (h8 u so bad, windoze), the sound of my kids, getting some coding done, decent coffee, music, and unfettered, unmonitored access to the Internet. Hi. <3
  4. Speaking of work, several lights are now shining brightly at the end of the tunnel. At least one of them will not be an oncoming train, right? I just have to pick correctly.
  5. This was the 3rd coldest March in the 130+ years they’ve been keeping records here, the 3rd snowiest winter, the 2nd coldest, etc. Looks like we might end March without a single day breaking 60. It even snowed a little this morning, but it can’t stick. This weekend will be in the 50s. I feel like maybe the worst is over. April will be gray and wet and colder than I want, but it won’t bite. I think we survived.

  1. We are doing a family getaway this weekend at a hotel downtown. It has a beautiful pool and is near a million amazing restaurants which the world’s fussiest kids will hate. We’ll figure that part out as we go.
  2. $20/day for wifi and $8 minibar beer, however? Nopity nope nope.
  3. So I bought some Cabernet at 7-11 which is as good as you’d think. Cheez-it snack mix, though? Nature’s perfect food.
  4. This part of the city is packed with people right now, positively crackling with pre-spring energy. I’d like to just stand out there and watch for a while.
  5. Had a week at work that did not feel exclusively like soul murder. Not sure how to process that. Let me get deeper into this Cab and get back to you.

Financial Five

  1. While politically I am something close to a socialist, I don’t have any problem with the presence of (well regulated) capital markets. There is nothing intrinsically wrong or immoral about public ownership of companies. If you think there is, then live it and eschew products from corporations. Start by powering off the device in your hands. For that matter, turn off your power and grow your own food.
  2. Gold is considered a safe haven investment in times of strife. But why? How does that work? Do people see a Mad Max future where they are bartering bullion for bread and milk? At $1300/oz, or probably a helluva lot more in that fantasy dystopia, how will they measure that out? Shavings? Pounding it into leaf? Vapor?
  3. Worse, the so-called “gold bugs” are much more likely buying futures or ETFs that track gold prices. They aren’t buying actual metal. Lots of luck exchanging those contracts for a meal from the village warlord wearing an ear necklace. Those cynical opportunists would be the first up against the wall when it all goes down, so maybe it’s moot.
  4. The agricultural pits in the CBOT are a sad vestige of their former selves—three-quarters empty, listless, and dim. Like the traders themselves, come to think of it. All the volume is electronic now, but momentum and political connections keep these old farts coming downtown every day. They close early nowadays. I saw one of them staggering across the street, blind drunk at 3:00pm. Most of them know the meteor has already hit and the extinction winter is soon come.
  5. The one aspect of this industry I cannot abide is the financial media. If Putin’s first ICBM took out CNBC’s studios, my only hope would be to watch their fiery agony for a millisecond or two before the second one flattened my own office. Assuming their smug senses of entitlement didn’t present a shield that not even a tactical nuke could penetrate.

  1. I learned about a new thing today: eosinophilic esophagitis. Turns out it’s possible to be allergic to something you eat and the only place the symptoms manifest is in the esophagus. Wanna see the pictures?
  2. Next stop: allergist. It would be hard to overstate my fear that the allergen is something in beer, wine, or whiskey, or, heaven forfend, the critical common ingredient to all three. Do you think that’d qualify me for a medical marijuana scrip? 
  3. I talked with the guy who will be Danny’s baseball coach this “spring.” He’s coached Danny before, and I know him a little. Super nice guy, great with the boys, and he played Div I ball so he really knows the game and the mechanics of the swing. He asked if I’d be able to help coach. I hesitated, knowing that leaving my office before 5:30 is something like that scene in Shawshank where they all taunt the new fish on their way in to the cell block. I told him “sure.” I’m gonna march right the fuck out of there at whatever time I need to to get to practices and games. I truly, truly cannot think of a better reason to get fired, should it come to that.
  4. Ain’t no nap like a fentanyl hangover nap. Sweet, sweet slumber of the angels, even while the World’s Most Expensive Roofers were working with power tools right above my head. I totally see where Michael Jackson was coming from. (On insomnia. Less so on the batshit insanity and depraved, possibly criminal creepiness.)
  5. Did you hear it melting? I did. It was like music, the drip-drip-drip of that horrendous, soul wrecking sky-ice as the sun mass murdered it and gravity bore its gray, wet carcass into the filthy sewers for the burial it deserves. I will survive this winter and dance on its grave.

Friday Five, Sheridan Road Reverie, 198?-199?, North to South

From the five train

  1. One of the worst weeks in recent memory—that’s saying something—draws to a close. As I walked out into the -20°F windchill at 6:00, I saw some light in the eastern sky. A sign, maybe?
  2. But I get in the car and find the inside of the windshield frosted over, and start scraping it with my well-worn Binny’s frequent shopper card. All your metaphor are belong to me.
  3. Listening to Damn The Torpedoes again. Brilliant from top down. Among the many gems is Benmont Tench’s master class in textural B3 playing. It fills the space without crowding, there but not too much, and it stars only when its time comes.
  4. I read a thing about “Life at 45” the other day that touched all my rage nerves. I may have a counter-essay brewing if I can get through that pap again without barfing out my pancreas.
  5. Some interesting musical things are developing for this year. Not sure how it’ll fit into my 60-hour work weeks. Or maybe it’s the impetus I need.

пять

  1. I think about bullets dodged, bullets I should have jumped in front of, and those that hit me square. I look for new shooters around every corner. I construct and discard alternate realities at an incredible rate. Hundreds of variables are in play, though a handful factor most heavily. I wish I could apply that to chess. Bottom line: I live in every possible moment but this one.
  2. Words come harder now. I can literally feel my brain calcifying in my skull. The good news is I can look things up on this little miracle I carry with me everywhere. The better news, for sure, is that empathy and tolerance come so much easier now. Can’t google those.
  3. George Will said something like, the best part of being a pessimist is that you’re either right or pleasantly surprised. He’s a douchebag with a bow tie, but he’s right in this case. The real hell of it is that somewhere deep, I think of myself as an optimist. I have to be, or I’d Quit.
  4. Breaking points bring relief. Cool water or warm sunshine, depending.
  5. This got deep, deeper than I expected. Be advised I also spent a lot of time today thinking about bra architecture and contents.

  1. My baby girl turns 7 today. She is the best (slightly early) birthday present I ever got or ever will.
  2. One week from right now, I will be sitting in Pelican Larry’s with my guys, recapping the day’s golf, reeking of sunscreen, cigar smoke, and hops.
  3. That awkward moment when the CEO of the company that didn’t hire you last summer, didn’t even call to say “no thanks,” sits down next to you for a hair cut. Hi. How’re the markets treating you, JERK?
  4. Coworkers are coming to my gig tomorrow. I love when people from that world see me doing my other thing for the first time and they realize. The looks on their faces are priceless.
  5. I’m trying to be less negative here and in real life. But if my flight gets canceled next week, buckle in. Think Willow when Tara got shot.

Somebody at my office building (not necessarily a coworker; it’s a shared bathroom) puts strips of TP up to cover the 7/8” gap between stall door and wall. What are they up to in here that requires that much additional privacy, I wonder?
Don’t worry, I took this earlier. I’m not one of those barbarians who posts from the crapper.
Thought I don’t have time to develop into a full rant: car manufacturers who design windshield wiper fluid reservoirs that hold less than a full gallon are a pure distillation of what’s wrong with society in the large.
Every melting snowflake is winter shedding a tear of sadness and a reason for me to celebrate.
Today marks the official beginning of the Dark Times at work. (Like the last two months have been filled with light and clarity.) It will be a 6-9 month nightmare unless I quit or get fired first. Keep a good thought for me and my first world problem.

  1. Somebody at my office building (not necessarily a coworker; it’s a shared bathroom) puts strips of TP up to cover the 7/8” gap between stall door and wall. What are they up to in here that requires that much additional privacy, I wonder?
  2. Don’t worry, I took this earlier. I’m not one of those barbarians who posts from the crapper.
  3. Thought I don’t have time to develop into a full rant: car manufacturers who design windshield wiper fluid reservoirs that hold less than a full gallon are a pure distillation of what’s wrong with society in the large.
  4. Every melting snowflake is winter shedding a tear of sadness and a reason for me to celebrate.
  5. Today marks the official beginning of the Dark Times at work. (Like the last two months have been filled with light and clarity.) It will be a 6-9 month nightmare unless I quit or get fired first. Keep a good thought for me and my first world problem.

F5 goes to school

  1. Physics: industrial toilet paper has a tensile strength of 0.001 grams, and industrial TP dispenser roller has frictional force of about 93 kilograms. Can you see the problem?
  2. Chemistry: it will be too cold Sunday/Monday for my ice melting compound to work. The ethanol’s gonna work fine, though.
  3. Education: Kaplan : test prep :: Michael Bolton : Honda sales
  4. Biology: stopping exercising while continuing to eat like a grizzly bear will change the shape of your body, it turns out.
  5. English: motherfucker, do you speak it.

Fünf für Freitag

  1. It took almost everything I have not to umlaut that e.
  2. I had a conversation with a friend who suggested something that could ultimately solve my Problem. It’s amazing how a relatively simple question can generate so many new possibilities. I have the smartest friends.
  3. I’m going home while the sun is out for the first time since October. That it’s to deal with a house full of sick people doesn’t even faze.
  4. Four weeks from today at about this time, I’ll be midway through my first round of golf of the year. Four weeks from Sunday, I will be sobbing in a Florida airport as they drag me onto the plane.
  5. I often say the universe is cold and uncaring. But we are part of the universe, and while there are some who seem bent to prove me right, I have seen enough kindness recently to know that I have to rephrase myself.

5

  1. Today, Friday the 13th, I meet the software that will claim the rest of my hair, probably my stomach lining, and surely my liver.

  2. I vowed to quit complaining at work. That’s probably bad news for you guys.
  3. Until they find this. Then that’s bad news for me. Or maybe good news.

  4. I have the best, smartest friends ever. I’ll be ok.
  5. Ich bin hier und du bist mein Sofa.