ace, albatross, eagle, birdie, par
- Hey locals, I did a completely shitty job marketing this, but my band The Recliners is playing tomorrow from 3:00-5:00pm at Durty Nellie’s in Palatine. It’s an all-ages show, and proceeds go to the American Cancer Society. Special bonus: we are shooting a video. Yes, you will probably see clips of it here, eventually, but wouldn’t you rather be able to say you were there?
- I golfed today. Quite well, actually. But I won’t talk about it at all because I know the only thing people care less about than your dreams is your golf game.
- You may be aware that I think a lot. (Way too much, really.) I’ve realized that when I’m thinking while driving alone, and a thought enters my head that is especially negative, I reflexively change the radio station, even if a song I like is playing. It’s like some part my brain is crying out to change the path the other part is on.
- I stopped by Mom and Dad’s house on the way home from the golf course to “fix” their TV. I changed the input from “HDMI 2” to “CABLE.” Move it on over, Dumbledore: I am the baddest wizard of all time.
- We’ve had a fairly relaxed, stress-free few weeks around here. It’s been nice. But that’s ending; the kids go back to school Monday, including Danny starting at middle school, which is utterly, preposterously too soon for any 10-year-old, never mind those with anxiety issues. Please keep a good thought, if you would.
- The Ferguson thing—which is ongoing, by the way, as we now fully enter the victim-blaming phase—is among the most depressing things I can ever recall happening in this country. The worst part is that I expect this is the New Normal.
- It did have the effect of reminding me that all my problems are relatively stupid. There is no chance whatsoever that a bunch of microdicked cops in tactical gear and tanks (tanks!) are going to treat me like an enemy combatant, or my neighborhood like Hamburger Hill.
- Normally, we go to the other side of the lake for a week around this time every summer. It’s a good thing we didn’t this year—the lake is at near-record low temperatures. Not a lot to do there if the beach is unusable. If this weather pattern is another New Normal, I may have to accelerate my plan to get southwest. (Please don’t take this opportunity to tell me how much I suck for liking hot weather.)
- If every conversation you have is an argument, consider that the problem might not be that literally everyone else in the world is an asshole.
- My body’s bizarre response to exercise continues apace. By induction, the end result of this will be a perfectly spherical torso of 100% fat, four limbs the diameter of matchsticks, and the same big, thick head on top. Great look. I’ll post a whole set of #SST pics.
Presence Of The Lord // Blind Faith
- Never forget: before he got soggy in the mid-70s, Eric Patrick Clapton was a force to be reckoned with. Taut and purposeful.
- Cary’s question about my musical influences the other night—surely unintentionally—triggered a long string of thought about nothing less than my own mortality and what I intend to do with my remaining time, creatively speaking. Could be an hour or could be 50 years. But statistically I’m somewhere on the back nine heading toward the clubhouse, and it feels like it’s time to make something of my own. THANKS, CARY.
- To follow up on that post: if I were enough of a singer to claim influences, I’d want to sing like Steve Winwood or Neil Finn. Absolutely effortless, with the sense that they could sing as magically as they do for days on end. Timeless, too. Voices like that don’t get old and burn out. And, you know, gaining about an octave above my own pathetic range would be good, as long as we’re dreaming.
- Since coming back from my little tumblr break I’m losing followers faster than I am my own hair. I don’t give two shits about it, but I do wonder what it was they thought they were coming for that they didn’t actually get.
- A horrific thing happened this week that impacted my extended family deeply. I don’t mean to vagueblog, but it’s not really my story to tell. Everyone here is fine, as are my immediate relatives, but I have cousins who are suffering the most excruciating pain imaginable right now. If you have good juju to spare, they could use it.
five little snacks
Remember racist Greg? The guy from the other company I hear bloviating all day over my cube wall? This morning, he’s talking politics—domestic and middle eastern—just as eloquently and deeply informed as you’d expect. Get here, new office. Guys like me do poorly in jail.
We had to do a near literal 180° on our vacation plan. Well, probably closer to 135°, from Oklahoma towards Florida. And we had to do it with only 10 days to departure. But it was deftly executed and we’re all looking forward to a week in a place where they still have summers.
I’m getting more into the World Cup as it goes along. I could even see myself becoming a casual soccer fan over time. But one thing I will never, ever do is refer to teams with plural verbs. Germany is, Belgium has, Uruguay was. Not are/have/were. Never ever, nfw. This is America, goddammit. Speak American.
Related: I really want one of those “Through The Perilous Fight” scarves. No idea what I’d do with it. Just want.
Secret seemed like such a cool concept, but in practice it looks like another version of grindr. Not that there’s anything wrong with that, etc. Maybe if more of my friends were actually there and sharing secrets, I’d see those instead of what it thinks is “interesting” locally.
- Against all my better judgement, we’re giving Dad an iPad so he can participate in the internets. If he turns out to be a great follow, I’ll let you know.
- One month in, the new job is great. A minor hitch: we are in temporary, shared office space, and there is a guy from some other company on the other side of my cube wall who needs to be hit in the face with a brick. He’s a racist, bullying blowhole, on the phone all day, and sounds like the less funny Jerky Boy. I can’t wait to get away.
- Last night we went to an art show; tonight, a play. Look at all the culture and shit up in this piece.
- Inspired by Abby, I’m going to try changing my workout regimen to the Stronglifts 5x5. Unlike her, though, I won’t blog about how I’m doing since that triggers the same feelings that working out in public does, strong feelings of Nope.
- I’m enjoying watching the World Cup. I don’t know if I’m ready to say I’m a soccer fan, and I doubt I’ll watch much after the tournament ends, but this right here is top flight sportsball drama.
- The bad guys lost by 2. Not quite 1000, but I’ll take it. Karma. And pitching depth. Suck on that, alpha jerk.
- Remember when Yahoo! [sic] bought Tumblr [sic] and was going to improve the ability to search our blogs? Yeah. That was awesome.
- For the first time in five years, I’m wearing shorts to work.
- For the first time in five years, I’m writing code that will be in production. (See prev.) Feels good, man.
- I have a relatively unscheduled weekend before me and I don’t know how to process it. I feel like Red arriving at the halfway house after leaving Shawshank.
- I’m working from home today. I would be judged brutally on my musical choices right now. It’s a sunny day and I want sunny girlpop. Taylor and Kelly and Katy. Don’t care.
- That I even can work from home with this job feels like such a major departure from my previous. This is 2014 and working from home isn’t A Thing for technologists, or shouldn’t be. Look, if your company is so insecure that you don’t trust your own employees not to “steal” your IP from home, or that they might not be working as hard as you like when they’re not under your watchful gaze, your company has giant, probably insurmountable problems. Really glad that’s behind me.
- One other thing on that front. The kind of tired you get after a long day of solving hard technical problems is WAY DIFFERENT than the kind of tired you get after a long day of meetings, politics, and pulling knives out of your back. It’s the kind of tired that helps you sleep, as opposed to preventing it. Feels good, man.
- This afternoon begins the most overscheduled 36-hour period of the year to date. Gig in Savanna tonight; tomorrow, kid 1 baseball, kid 2 dance recital, entertaining people here, then out for bar night with the cool 4th grade parents. Sunday’s busy, too. Not complaining, but a nap along the way would be good, and preferably not while I’m driving.
- Holy crap, my TODO lists are as long as I can ever remember. But I’m energized and feeling good about attacking them. Amazing what a few weeks of consistent sunshine and warm air can do for me. I want to feel like this all the time. Love you, Chicago, but our time together is ticking toward its inevitable end.
- First real task at new job: merging a 3-year-old dev branch back into the trunk. Both lines were actively developed and have diverged widely. You feel me, nerds?
- I have a gig in freaking Maquoketa, IA tomorrow. For that, I’m missing Danny’s playoff game and I’m literally sick over it.
- Prediction: the team that scores first in tonight’s Kings/Hawks game will go on to win the game, the series, and then the Cup.
- When I’m on an el/subway platform, I move closer to the middle, away from the tracks, just before the train pulls in to make it harder on anyone who might be planning to push me down in front of the train.
- How do people install that really hardcore, badass razor wire without fucking themselves up? And then couldn’t bad guys just duplicate that technique to defeat it?
!) First half-week of the new job was good. Lots to learn, and I’m largely self-directed here, which is one of my favorite combinations. By this juncture at the previous gig, I’d already realized I had made a dreadful mistake. This place seems the polar opposite of that place so far.
@) Is there a word for that particular melancholy one experiences after sending someone a text or an email that goes unanswered, and then one sees that same recipient someone cavorting on social media, blithely having fun while ignoring said sending one’s message? If there is no word for that feeling, can we go ahead and call it scholvining?
#) I have a chance to buy a 4x12 cabinet covered in faux crocodile skin. Don’t need it, sound-wise. Can’t justify it, cost-wise. Gotta have it, testosterone-wise.
$) There’s a frost warning tonight. May 16th. I got nothing. I am empty. Dead inside.
%) Sorry, Todd and Michele, but let’s go Kings. We can’t have three Original Six teams plus a fourth named after an Emilio Estevez movie in the semis. Also: home ice for the Blackhawks when LA wins. After four overtimes and a lot of injuries, hopefully.
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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- $20/day for wifi and $8 minibar beer, however? Nopity nope nope.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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?
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.)
- 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.