I am drawn to apocalyptic fiction and fantasy, as recently alluded. Particularly the human side of it.
It started with reading Nevil Shute’s On The Beach in high school. The premise is that a massively nuclear WWIII has wiped out the northern hemisphere, leaving Australia and New Zealand unscathed. Unfortunately, the radioactive fallout is working its way there and they know the end is coming soon. The story follows a few months in the lives of people there as they prepare for the inevitable end in their own ways. Heartbreaking. There’s no happy ending.
And then in college I discovered one of my desert island books, The Stand. I’m sure I read it the first time on a two-day bender, straight through, without sleeping, showering, or eating anything that didn’t come in shrink wrap. While I love the book as a whole, it’s really the first half where Captain Trips works its way through the population, killing everyone, and the way the survivors coped that gripped me. It was heartbreaking, and if you consider the first movement of the book by itself, there’s no happy ending.
Movies, too. The other night, when I should have been sleeping, I got sucked into Contagion. It was on TBS, so they stretched it into about 4.5 hours. I love Soderbergh, and they actually filmed some of it in my office. Look for a brief shot of an abandoned trading floor, and a fancy conference room with this weird, fake grass on the table. But that’s not what got me. It’s how people bonded together, or didn’t, as the world appeared to be ending. And even lesser movies have had the same effect on me, like Deep Impact. (We can forget about Armageddon, though, except for any scene involving Liv Tyler.) Same deal: even though the apocalypse wasn’t total and there were plenty of survivors, you’d have a hard time arguing those are happy endings.
I get sucked in every time, like a bug to a black light.
In each of those stories, there is a point where a few elites know the truth before the masses do. There’s usually an effort to conceal the information, but it’s futile. At some point, enough people are dropping dead and the truth is plain to see. That usually goes badly for those elites. Either there’s backlash from the mob, or they get sick, too. Not a happy ending.
Tuesday in my head
Oftentimes when I’m alone in a contained crowd—on this train, in a bar, at the store—I game out what would happen if the group of strangers I was with at that moment were somehow suddenly, permanently isolated together. Say, transported via a wormhole, or maybe the only survivors of an instant cataclysm. In a flash, we are the last people on the planet, and we have to decide how (or if) we are going to survive together. What kind of leadership structure would emerge? Who’d be in charge? Anyone here know how to raise food or hunt? Who’s going to be my friend? Who might kill me for sport? What about a possible mate? Anyone know medicine? Who looks like they know how to weld, or repair masonry? Am I a burden or an asset here?
That’s how I brain.
- Hi ho, ass-hole! / I’m off to kill my soul!
- The park district canceled all baseball practices before April 15 because the fields are frozen. Everything about winter is fucking terrible.
- Being in on secrets is a lot less fun when you are required to lie.
- I know the IT guys don’t know my plaintext password, because I’d have been escorted out if they did.
- Even though I do it regularly now, I still hate exercising. Loathe it. I had hoped I could become one of those people who love it. Never gonna happen.
- 37:10:05:51 until I leave for Malibu.
I’m currently in possession of two gigantic secrets. (Not about anyone here.) I’m money with secrets; I never tell. But damn if it isn’t killing me to not be able to talk about them. Both are the kind where something huge might happen and those are the kind you really want to chew on in detail with other stakeholders. Alas.
Last night we came up with what would be the literal worst job in the world (for me): reading and reviewing or summarizing business books. I’d rather clean a pig truck with my tongue.
Don’t say, “I’m not jamming you with this,” when you are, in fact, jamming it so far up my ass that it is impinging upon my optic nerve.
Even though it’s virtual Monday
- I don’t watch a lot of TV. But some nights I get lazy and flip channels, and if I see a former Lost cast member, no matter how idiotic the show, I stop and watch. I can’t quit them.
- Speaking of TV, I wanted to see Fallon last night, but he got pushed to 11 by the snow pageant and that’s too late for an old man who had his nineteenth nervous breakdown while digging out his house and car for the sixty-fifth time this year.
- Unpopular opinion: I think dibs are un-American and an affront to one’s own community. I was deeply proud that my old neighborhood in the city didn’t do it. We helped each other instead of illegally marking public property as our own. Felt good, man.
- Going to California in May. 72 days 9 hours and 7 minutes. Approximately. Assuming the flight doesn’t get canceled by snow.
- All kidding aside: if I’m not doing it for you, please feel free to unfollow. Stuff happens, tastes change. I promise you’ll get no butthurt, no confrontational ask boxery, no complaints, no awkward WTF moment at chsh. You’re gonna hurt your thumb if you keep scrolling that hard.
- Tonight was supposed to be a workout night but I opted to go have beers with my old boss, networking. More is scheduled. The iron will be there until the heat death of the universe, but my career won’t.
- My palm reading haunted me all day. I’d rather be lucky than good, goes the saying. Alas.
- Don’t let me send work emails tonight. Take my phone if you have to.
- I am no more than a 3rd degree FOAF to Avery but I find myself moved by her plight as though I know her well. She’s part of the tribe. Do not mess.
Is it possible to die from boredom? Literally?
True thing: you can remember the dates around dividend issuance by the acronym DERP:
I have to take a professional certification test tomorrow for work, the first test of any real meaning I’ve had to deal with since grad school. I’m not nervous, exactly, but I have a metric fuckton to learn. So much that I stayed home to study today. The TT part of this is that several of my coworkers have already passed, and while I can take it again in 30 days if I fail, the shame will be unbearable in the meantime.
- you never know when a quiet afternoon will turn into a three-hour firefight, with customers beating your brains in on social media, and three guys who want to be partner climbing over you to be the hero.
- yeah you do, actually.
- it’s hard to live in the moment when the moment fucking sucks.
- Java is hilarious. Even with training wheels, you can still ride into an oncoming semi.
- I love how winter isn’t Big News until it happens to the east coast.
- still basking a bit from Saturday’s gig afterglow. May it carry me through to my flight Friday and beyond, amen.
Truthful Tuesday: Cocoon
I’ve been using the Internet socially for a long, long time. BITNET Relay, yo. And over the course of those nearly 30 years, my usage habits have evolved, as anything would. Where I am now, and I have absolutely zero shame about admitting this, is a place where I simply do not access content that triggers me. Politics is the obvious thing, though I am careful now to avoid both the kind I agree with in addition to the kind I don’t. I also skip the news (other than sportsball). Life is too short, a concept I become more aware of every day. I don’t need it. I can be fulfilled in other ways.
This presents some challenges in various social media streams. Twitter’s easy; I just don’t follow stuff I don’t like. Facebook, too. If people choose to fill their streams with stuff that bothers me, then those posts are out of my News Feed or possibly all of that person’s posts. Sometimes that throws the pictures of cute babies out with the bathwater, but it’s how I stay mentally healthy. You wouldn’t like me the way I was before. I surely didn’t.
Tumblr presents a different challenge. Occasionally, waves of stuff fly through here that manage to touch all my dormant rage nerves. And the hell of it is, it’s by people that I really care about, and I have no mechanism (other than the inadequate and not-everywhere Tumblr Savior) to keep my warm Internet cocoon intact. The poison leaches in. Mostly it happens in waves that pass, and the only thing to do is to hit the sidelines for a while.
I’m almost 47 gotdamn years old and my skin still needs thickening. At least I’m aware of it now.
I tell the truth every day. Often to a fault.
- Some people are afraid of public speaking. Those of us who do it all the time learn the worse fear is of crickets at the end of the talk.
- I don’t care about Beyoncé’s album. Yes, she’s wonderful, and I’m honestly happy you’re happy. Really, I am! Just, nope.
- I’ve done the math, put my ducks in a row, turned over all the rocks, and shredded the documents, so now I know for sure that the only way out of my predicament is to win the MegaMillions tonight.
- I am patenting, trademarking, and copyrighting the word “Derpware” and I will sue.
- There was a raving, mentally ill man on my train this morning and I was relieved when he got off because that’s my only quiet time of the day and he was ruining it. I realize this makes me a bad person.
- My old boss used to say “it’s like picking flea shit out of pepper” and I hope we can all try to work that into daily conversation.
I’m really glad no one told me in January that being unable to walk for two weeks would barely crack the list of Worst Five Things About 2013.
"I feel bad" = I am sad or upset or otherwise unhappy.
"I feel badly" = I am not very good at touching things.
Please make a note of it.
I think it’s Tuesday
- I really want to believe that Holly Sonders chose her stage name based on the word “sonder,” intentionally adding the “s” to turn it into the intransitive verb form. I like the idea that she’s perpetually in a deep state of blissful awareness of the busy, meaningful lives of others. Give me this, Universe.
- They say cats have nine lives, but my dog is working on his twelfth, at least. Once again he was within hours of the needle. Hell, we had already started packing up his stuff to donate. His crafty vet suggested an alternative strategy. I was skeptical, but he said give it 24 hours and see how it goes. Today he’s up and around again, as good as he was about a week ago. A website I recently looked at spoke of the incredibly strong will to live which dogs possess. Yep. Tough old bastard. Kind of inspiring.
- I need a way to drive downtown in the mornings when traffic is non-existent, yet be able to take the train home when traffic is murder. Something other than an infinite supply of cars. Get on this, please.
- My next job—and no fooling this time—will involve me building things with my hands, not just moving around electrons and photons that mean money. I will make things I can explain to my dad and show to my kids.
- Lately this space has been comprised substantially of one-liners, bullet point lists, reblogs, etc. I’m not apologizing for that…it’s all I have time and energy for at the moment. But I know lots of people have problems with that in their dashes (because they say so, all the time). So, if ya gotta go, no hard feelings. Vaya con carne.
It’s Tuesday in Greenland and I won’t have time for this tomorrow
- I bought a bottle of Dimple Pinch [spoilers] because I miss Breaking Bad just that much. Turns out it’s really good.
- It’s not OK to make fun of people with SAD, or to tell them to suck it up. People who would never dream of doing so for any other disorder seem to not get this for some reason. (No one reading this.)
- The absurdity of my work situation reached Fellini stage today.
- Speaking of Greenland: about ten years ago I sketched out a short story set there but I spiked it because it involved vampires and Twilight happened. Has enough time passed? Or should I just go with it and make them sparkly and twee?
- Road trip this weekend. NEED. Obvs.
- I’ve come to the conclusion that I hate software. Using, writing, managing, supporting, buying, fixing, designing, and/or explaining it. I hate it all. You can see how this creates some challenges for me.