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.
Friday Five, Sheridan Road Reverie, 198?-199?, North to South
- Howard: a six-pack of Corona, a short story contest, and my prize for winning.
- Estes: the terror of being chased across the park, and a moment even worse—though reclaimed—when I saw what I might be.
- Pratt: jumping out of a moving car to avoid something worse in a parked one.
- Farwell: humiliation hot enough to raise blisters.
- xxxxxx2: that one goes to the grave.
From the five train
- 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?
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- 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.
- Breaking points bring relief. Cool water or warm sunshine, depending.
- This got deep, deeper than I expected. Be advised I also spent a lot of time today thinking about bra architecture and contents.