Tag Archives: life

Things To Do

Although it’s now the third fourth of January and I am now quite extremely late to the party, I’d like to talk about New Year’s resolutions, or lack thereof. I’ve said before what I think of resolutions.

Some people have since suggested setting New Year’s goals rather than making resolutions. I think this is a step in the right direction, but the word “goal” just seems too loaded. I think of sports and salespeople, and high pressure to achieve.

On the other hand, a list of “Positive Visualizations for the New Year,” would go too far in the opposite direction. I don’t mean to sit around wishing for things all year, without also helping those things to happen.

Therefore, I have resolved to make a New Year’s To-Do list:

Finish the Wall
One of the walls in the living room once hosted a shelf which nearly collapsed. After the shelf was removed, I tried to find some other way to decorate the wall. It’s almost done, but it’s been “almost done” for quite a while, now. I need only print some pictures to put in the frames already on the wall, then hang a mirror and some other bits of décor. Then it will be “mostly done.”
Clear the Room of Doom
The floorplan lists the Room of Doom as a bedroom. I used to call it “the office.” It has since turned into something more akin to a giant closet, thanks to a collecting hobby or two. It’s time to get this stuff better organized. Heaven forbid I suggest getting rid of any of it, but maybe renting a storage unit would be a good idea.
Return to Diet
Most people put on weight during the holidays, what with the abundance of pies, egg nog, and liquor. The shorter days and the colder weather surely discourage exercise. Regardless, the fact that I have more pants that don’t fit than do is a sign that enough is enough. I had a diet that did work (if slowly but steadily) so it’s just a matter of getting back into the habit.

Notice that these all have clearly defined objectives. I suspect that the reason that many people flub their resolutions is that they make them too vague or lofty.

Saturday Dance Party

Memory is a strange thing. A scent, a flavor, or a sound can bring forth a rush of vivid memories. For example, the scent of lemons and oranges recalls the memory of my grandmother’s kitchen. The scent of a pine tree made cloying by central heating recalls the memory of my fifth grade classroom. And the sound of Michael Jackson’s Thriller recalls the memory of the Christmas when I was in fourth grade.

My parents bought Thriller for my little brother, who’d been obsessed with Michael Jackson. Naturally, from the moment it was unwrapped, that album was played incessantly in our home. One might have thought our parents would have learned their lesson after they’d bought me Styx’s Kilroy Was Here a year or two before. (We still know the words to “Mr. Roboto” by heart.)

Listening to this track, I vividly recall the overcast day and the light in the apartment. I got a silvery green hologram sticker. A Transformers comic book. And I most distinctly remember the glow in the dark Construx set and the gummy-candy texture of its transparent tires.

I think it was this one:
Glow in the Dark Construx Set

But, can the song get me to recall anything we said to each other that day? Anything we did other than unwrap gifts? Sadly, it can not.

Correlations and Cause

I’ve been using an Android app called SleepBot to track my sleep patterns for a while now. It shows me that sometime around the end of July, my sleep pattern changed. Whereas I’d previously been going to bed between 11:00 PM and 12:00 AM, I was now up until almost 2:00 AM on some days. Whereas I’d previously arisen sometime around 6:00 and 7:00 AM, I was now rising after 7:00 and closer to 8:00 AM.

While this is an interesting fact on its own, it also correlates interestingly with a calendar I have. It’s got one cell per day of the year, and one is apparently meant to color in each cell to match the color of the sky, leaves, or ground. It was at approximately the same time, late July, that I simply stopped doing so.

I’m still not entirely sure what happened in July, but I have a pretty good guess. That was about when I was roped into a Big Project. A project like the mythological hydra: cut off one head and two more take its place. Only it has problems instead of heads. And it seems to be recursively calling the Ninety-Ninety rule. That is, the first ninety percent of code accounts for ninety percent of the development time, and the last ten percent of the code accounts for the other ninety percent of the development time.

But, experience has taught me that Big Projects are pretty much all like that. And furthermore, chances are nearly 100% that at some point the fruits of one’s labor will, no matter how enthusiastic the initial reception, be declared obsolete and in dire need of replacement. And so another Big Project will be launched to do just that.

At least this one has, hopefully, gotten to the point where I can wash my hands of the worst of it. Hopefully.

Blogaversary

Happy Blogaversary. It was on this day in 2006 that I made the fateful step of launching this here blog. Why? Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time. If you read those early posts (and why would you?) you’d find that I fancied myself something of a mad scientist. And although the science stuff was soon proven to be rather shaky, one must admit that I’d quite easily nailed the “mad” bit.

How the world has changed since then! If you don’t recall, George Bush was still in office, the Global Financial Crisis hadn’t yet materialized, and Christopher Eccleston was The Doctor. At the time, I had just finished Computer Genius School and was looking for the legendary and oh-so-elusive Real Job. (That wouldn’t materialize for several more months.)

Blogging was a quirky hobby that was soon to approach its zenith of popularity. This was before Twitter caught on and when Facebook was just for college students. Heck, MySpace was still popular and thought by some to be a viable alternate route to a “real” Web Presence.

Back then, The Cloud was still a dream, and people still hosted websites in their offices, if not in their very living rooms. This was not even considered unusual, but was simply the way things were done. Back then, nobody cared about mobile accessibility. Most people still had flip phones that could barely display a full sentence on screen, let alone a properly-formatted page of HTML. Some people didn’t even have that. Some people not only had only a landline, but bragged about it.

I still read a lot back then. It seemed as though every day, I’d sit down for lunch with a good book (or at least, a book that I hoped would be good) and then again just before bed. Now? Not so much. It seems my phone is a lot more convenient to carry around, and Twitter makes just as fine of a distraction while I chew.

But while I may check on Twitter, I don’t particularly use Twitter. Yes, I may retweet the occasional thing that strikes me as witty, but original tweets? Very few. I’ve even neglected Instagram lately, and that’s pretty much a no-brainer: take a picture of something and press the share icon. I don’t think it’s social media fatigue, exactly, but rather a case of not finding anything interesting or original to say.

But… Inspiration seems to come in waves, so maybe that will change soon.

Something Missing

This past weekend was San Diego Pride, which I was pleased to attend with the folks from last year and some new additions. And while the floats and marchers are nice, what I like most of all is just the sense of just being among my people.

For a while now, I’ve had a vague sense of dissatisfaction, a sense of something being missing. And I think that missing ingredient might well have been that sense of community (for lack of a better, less-loaded word.)

What to do about it, that’s the question…

Rulings

So, the Supreme Court finally decided the DOMA and Prop 8 cases. Well, they declared DOMA unconstitutional. They found the backers of Prop 8 didn’t have standing to appeal the lower courts’ decisions. This is about what I expected from the court. Any ruling on that matter would certainly have led to state-by-state repercussions, no doubt accompanied by accusations of judicial activism and cries for secession.
It is expected that California will soon resume issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Many will rush out and tie the knot. I even received an email from a friend which said, “DOMA’s dead! You need to get married, bro.”
And now, maybe someday I will.

May 22

After an attack like yesterday’s, if I rest for a few hours, I usually feel fine (if not better than average.) I’ve never been able to pinpoint the migranes’ exact cause. At first I wondered whether I had a food allergy, but I never found any correlations. I wondered whether I could accidentally put myself into caffiene withdrawals. And so I became more mindful of caffiene, and realized that probably wasn’t the cause, either. The only remaining pattern seems to be that if I stay up too late for too many nights in a row, sometimes a migrane follows. To try and prove it, I’ve started using an app called SleepBot to record my sleeping habits. Time will tell.

And now for the Pic of the Day.

image

This Lava Lamp sits in an odd corner of the house, on a bit of the kitchen bar that can’t really be used for anything useful. So the lamp sits there, churning away, lighting the way for those who’d otherwise be stumbling around in the dark.

May 21

I see robots…

image

I was going to tell a different story today. Unfortunately, Fate has decreed that I shall have a  migrane tonight. A dull ache at the base of the skull, a sharp ache behind the eye, and wonderful, wonderful nausea. Nothing to do now but lie down and wait it out.

As they say, this too shall pass.

On Grocery Shopping

I have never been one to let sheets of mass-mailed newsprint dictate my menu for the week. I know that there are those who take a gleeful thrill in collecting coupons and watching prices, but I don’t. As the incredibly busy (and lazy, don’t forget lazy) person that I am, I value convenience over a bargain. That’s why I was thrilled when a tiny little grocery store opened around the corner. I could stop there on the way home, grab a few items for dinner, and be done with it. I could now avoid the perpetually crowded supermarket, unless I wanted something in particular.

That new grocery store was a Fresh and Easy. So, I was dismayed to hear that Tesco, its parent company, recently announced plans to sell off the chain. Depending on the buyer, the chain will probably undergo some sort of reimagining, and some locations will doubtlessly close. One of those locations to close will almost certainly be the one that I visit. Why? Because it seems that any time a product is introduced that I really like, it’s done away with.

Some people blame the chain’s failure on a culture clash. Tesco is a British company, after all. From what I understand, it is common in Europe to buy small quantities of groceries more often. Conversely, Americans apparently prefer to buy catsup and mustard by the gallon, and frozen corndogs by the gross.

And then there is the identity of the Fresh and Easy store. Is it a grocery store or a convenience store? Is it a discount store or an upmarket store? Even I had to think about this. Eventually, I concluded that the Fresh and Easy shopper probably also bought their furniture at Ikea. A single person who lives in a small apartment in a dense residential neighborhood. Maybe a college student. A hipster, even. This shopper is probably not a retiree. A retiree might be intimidated by having only self checkout lanes available. This shopper is probably not the proverbial soccer mom. She’s looking to buy a gross of corndogs, or maybe a particular brand of something or other for her pickiest eater.

Even I have had my own complaints with the chain. For example, they don’t have my favorite brands of rice cakes, Caesar salad dressing, hamburger buns, and hot dog buns. There is a particular canned vegetable that I can’t find there, and I’ve never seen a doughnut there. But, most of their other stuff is actually pretty good.

So, when my neighborhood store eventually closes or turns into a clone of Seven-Eleven, I’ll certainly miss it. And I’ll especially miss not having to deal with the crowds at the supermarket.

Perspective



While this isn’t the Total Perspective Vortex, it does give one a sense of perspective. Those tiny flashes of light flitting by are entire cities, and any individual’s contribution to any of them is indistinguishable. That soap-bubble gleam is the extent of the atmosphere, all that stands between us and the cold inhospitality of an indifferent universe. Awful neighbors, difficulties at work, even bad traffic– all a happenstance of chemistry made possible by that thin bubble, and less than a flicker of a flash in the lights below it.
Yes, this sort of perspective may lead one to ask, “why bother?” But… it may also lead one to imagine great things.