goodbye to my 30s

so long, youth. it's been fun.

now what?

wait for the grey (actually white) to completely take over my beard? maybe i should buy a rediculously expensive sports car. get some Rogaine? it might work....

ok, that's as inspired as i'm feeling right now. time for chores.

oh, btw, it snowed a little bit last night. going out to dinner with my family tonight. going to see Van Halen on Monday with Loren. then i'm going back to work.

after all, 40 isn't life-changing...it's just one day older than yesterday...just like every day.



on Christmas, copied from email:

as for me, Christmas means time with family, giving gifts to the people i love, the coming end of another year, and the illusion- if only for a short time- of shared hope, of a little joy for the sake of it, of people walking around with less hostility toward their fellow man. the peace on earth / good will toward men thing is paramount in my book. i can work up a pretty good deal of that good will in myself, and i like that change when it happens.

i'm one of the very least religious people i know, and the fact that Christmas was originally (and is arguably primarily) a Christian holiday doesn't bother me a bit. it's certainly moved beyond it's original intent. i wish people a merry Christmas and it means what i intend it to, and they can take that however they want....and vice versa. seems stupid to me to not say "merry Christmas" to the other 90% of people who celebrate it to avoid offending the rest. i'm an atheist, but i don't take offense when people ask God to bless me when i sneeze, and that happens year 'round! they've done me no harm; rather, they've wished me well, and i take it like they meant it and that's that.

some people are just miserable unless they're offended by something, and i think we should all go out of our way to oblige as many of them as possible as often as possible. crabby people deserve their unhappiness!

i've worked retail during enough holiday seasons to get a good idea of exactly what commercialism has done to Christmas, and felt the stress associated with trying to finish doing everything i want to do, and watched countless people behave terribly, dealing with their own stress. i've experienced what it's like to run round-the-clock crews decorating businesses and city streets and parks all over the area for weeks on end (for sizable fees), hung Christmas lights 60 feet up in trees in freezing and/or wet weather in a lift and rain gear from 10pm to 6am for weeks on end, fought many times over who Loren's going to spend the time with, and endured a whole litany of other things conspiring to rob me of my Christmas spirit....but it never totally works.

sometimes i don't feel very Christmasy until the last minute, but something always gives. some great piece of Christmas music that hasn't been beating up my ears comes around, or one particularly clever television commercial strikes just the right note, or someone's card will be perfect. or i'll catch a bit of a Christmas special that i loved when i was a kid. sometimes it's my first trip to the mall. maybe even just watching someone (especially a kid) having their "wow, it's really Christmas" moment. sometimes it's just someone genuinely wishing me a merry Christmas....sincere well-wishes are gifts in and of themselves. sometimes it's the week before Christmas when we get a little early snow.

something always gives. i'm happy i'm not yet so completely jaded and cynical that it still does- because i like what Christmas does to me. for me thats the whole point, and what makes it worthwhile.

but whatever Christmas (or other holiday one celebrates) means to each, i hope they get in spades.


is it just me

that cannot seem to summon the motivation to cover anything but the basics (and those only barely)?

seems like i've been exhausted for as long as i can remember.

everyone else seems to do OK, going about their business, taking care of what needs taking care of, eeking out a little fun with some regularity. i can't even put a meal on the table, unless Loren's around. funny (but not so surprising, really) how everything seems less pointless when he's here...not that i'm exactly bursting with enthusiasm then, either.

is everyone else less than impressed with their own company?

maybe i'm like a leech, and lacking any of my own i just feed off other people's energy. maybe it's just too damn quiet here. maybe i'm just here too much. watch TV? mostly it's uninteresting crap, and the droning blather of this or that idiot about who-effing-cares-what is like trying to drown out the stink of moldy bread by layering more and more peanut butter on it. listening to music is better, but only to a point. even that begins to feel a bit like forced distraction. talk on the phone? to whom, and about WHAT?! "i went to work today." "i came home." i have nothing to offer the conversation that's worth talking about. (hence the large gaps in posting here as well.) i don't have anything worth writing about either, but since no one's reading this that's at least semi-poetic.

i just don't seem to enjoy ANYTHING, have any drive to do ANYTHING.

that's really not like me. i've always been the amped one, the guy who brings something to the table. i don't think i'm depressed, at least i don't feel like...sad or anything. just tired, constantly. like everything's just a pain in the ass; like it's all just going through the motions.

but then, all this smacks a little of "i'm a spoiled little brat, pouting because he just found out there's no prize in the cereal box." well, no one said there was. shut up and eat your damn breakfast.

by the way, all the questions were rhetorical- i'll thank either of my readers in advance for kindly ignoring this post, and ask that they forego well-intentioned pity mail, please.

that's all i got. pathetic.


even just having enough money

to hop a plane to anywhere you wanted to go at any time without looking at the bill....the ability to drive whatever vehicle you wanted.

Billy Joel said it pretty good: money can't buy you happiness, but it can buy you a car so you can drive around and look for it.

gotta bail.

this...i never do this

i like totally never do that

it's wierd to just post post titles

they say money can't solve all your problems

but it would solve all of mine. if i had a million dollars i would quit my job and spend the next year or two doing something totally amazing. after i just totally screwed around and slept for like a couple weeks.

y'know....it all just boils down to not having any goddamn time.

that sucks.


so, once again, it's been awhile

regretfully, i cannot regale you with tales of intrigue or adventure, as i've been experiencing neither. similarly, the minute details of the time passed since the last blog entry are so pathetically bland as to approach invisibility; or at least translucency.

such is the sad summary of the unremarkable life of an unremarkable man doing unremarkable things unremarkably.

assuming my readers (both of you), are (with sullen determination, vague resentment notwithstanding) still flagellating themselves with the unfulfilling and ultimately dissatisfying consumption of this unimportant diatribe, this excercise in futility that is my niggardly monument to mediocrity, i shall likewise endeavor to persevere, wringing though the cloth be dry.

i know there must be a horse in here somewhere. where's that shovel...

today i drove to Yakima, by way of the Sodo district and back again. looking at a map for the (plausibly) accurate mileage is a task requiring more motivation than i can presently muster. and running the route through one of the online map programs is an unimpressive task, easily completed, and therefore a trivial pursuit. suffice it to say it's a long damn drive.

i spent part of the afternoon coiling up cable in Yakima's SunDome. i'm not sure if one is actually obliged to capitalize the 'D' in 'dome' or not, another inquiry that could be easily answered which presently seems meaningless. the sUndOme is like a mini Kingdome, only not blown up and hauled off in pieces.

i like driving through the mountains and the desert, though. i think it's good for your soul to see wide open stretches where the land takes dramatic shapes.

[editor's note: the previous section was actually written yesterday, Monday, October 9, 2007; the portion below was written today.]

i use the word 'soul' as a generic term for one's 'being' or 'self'; i don't intend to imply any connotation of spirituality, insofar as such connotation would pertain to any religious dogma. actually, having tried a few unsuccessful sentences on for size, it appears that delineating which things don't fit my definition of the term 'soul' is much simpler than supplying an accurate definition....

but since i started this post yesterday and never posted it, and the news i began talking about yesterday is old news, and nothing i have to say today is any more interesting than the things i failed to finish writing about yesterday, and since there's more than a fair chance i'm not going to finish this anytime soon, i'm just gonna shut up and go back to what i was talking about before. please forgive the interruption.

[editor's note: the following portion was written yesterday.]

many of us stare hour upon hour at an endless sea of constantly changing but absolutely identical brake lights, and street lights, and traffic signals, sleepdriving the same stretch of road to the very lane, at the same time of day, mile after mile, day after day, week after week, month after month after month.

[editors note: i'm sure that was a reasonable segue at some point, but it's certainly less than stellar now.]

"Hey, dude in the Rob's Electric van. I see you're 2 minutes late this morning as well." "Good morning, hoodie-up-over-your-baseball-cap/bad-muffler-Toyota-driver-smoking-a-cigarette." "Excuse me, piggyback trailer log/gravel truck." "Hey, slow down there, '92-Prelude-with-huge-whale-tail-and-bad-custom-body-work-overkill-still-all-just-primered/lawnmower-soundin'-P.O.S."

it's not just driving- all the mundane events, running on into blurred years, continuously surrounded by the same walls, dealing with the same people, talking about the same things, eating the same food, thinking the same thoughts, feeling the same, dreaming the same....

what's the point, if nothing very interesting ever happens? the sum total of experiences over the course of years could be accomplished in a busy week or two.

some people think information overload causes stress, but i think it's only a symptom, a side-effect of subconsciously self-prescribed distraction therapy. monotony weighs a lot more than stimulus. it's like getting a blowjob while you're trapped in a burning building: why not?

and we search for meaning in all the smallest things; we try to convince ourselves that the unremarkableness itself is noble, our obscurity heroic; we are the romantic Everyman of oft-sung praise. or we're all superstars, unique, each of us special!

[editor's note: the remaining final portion was written today.]

i want the Hallmark version of my life: an endless string of perfectly lit poignant moments and easy laughter, basking in a warm glow of goodwill that permeates all; when every day is Christmas, and every night you fall in love for the very first time.

there is this facet of our existence, for most of us. it's just the good parts are so rare, and the trudgery is endless, grinding us down into ever-more-shrunken, lesser copies of ourselves.

i don't think i've actually been happy all day since i was in my early 20s, and that was a long time ago. nowadays, a good day is when nothing disastrous happens. but that's wrong! life used to be all about making today amazing. but then you get married, and you have kids, and you buy a house, and you get a dog, and slowly all the likewise-fun-minded people you used to hang around all go their own ways doing the same things, and you have to get up and go to work every damn day, and come home and scrub toilets.

it all just seems really pointless sometimes. like this post. which is so long i should just post it. so i will.


ok, it works.

not sure if i'm sold on the method, though. overall it's less click-intensive than meandering through the blogger.com logon & interface labyrinth...i'll try it again next time. but since i'm already here....

one of these years i'll get around to updating the other pages of this blog, but not tonight.

another weekend in the books. no shortage of chores for me yesterday, followed by a great salmon dinner at Nichole's, to which everyone but Loren made it out. nice to see everyone; i haven't seen any of the Sargent clan for nearly two months. my nephews are getting big!

i suppose it's only fitting i mention Harley's condition deteriorated last week and Jason & Melissa relucantly put him down. i suppose the only good thing to say about that is he's not suffering, and as hard as it is to have your dog put to sleep, it's surely much harder to watch him struggle and decline. i'm gonna miss Harley, he seemed to like me almost as much as i liked him, and he was a great dog.

Dozer was a hit for the Sargent boys last night- they sure love dogs. they asked me where Chowder was, but i was pretty sure Dozer would make an appearance, so i let him ride out the evening at home.

my neighbor Bruce had an extra (season) ticket for the Seahawks regular season opener today, and invited me along. he likes to take the train, so we did, a first for me. the train's clean, but probably not as fast as driving- especially if you get downtown somewhat early, know where to find parking, and know the right way to get to the freeway afterward. most people make the mistake of trying to get on the freeway as quickly as possible, creating a bit of a backup along the two southernmost on-ramps north of the stadium; pass those two up and head a few blocks north and you're in front of all those brake lights.

i checked the fares and timetables while i was on the train to get an idea of what it would be like to commute to work on it- not going to happen. even if it were cheaper or quicker, i just like having my truck with me. it's pretty easy to get used to having wheels at your disposal.

anyway, the Seahawks win at home; they looked pretty rusty in the 1st quarter, but started to get it together late in the 2nd, and looked pretty good in the 3rd. i think the final was 20-6; the Bucs never made a touchdown and never scored after the 1st quarter...at least as of the time i left, with about a minute and half left in regulation. ran into Jeff & Dean's little brother on the way out of the stadium; he tells me Jeff recently moved back from Montana, to Mountlake Terrace, and that Dean's flying solo again, this time living off of Olympic View Drive in the Perrinville neighborhood, over by Meadowdale Beach. for the life of me i simply cannot remember their little bro's name, which is bugging the crap outta me. real nice guy; totally didn't recognize him at first since he's got a thick goatee now. he saw me, actually, and called my name a couple times- i looked right at him and didn't recognize him before realizing who he was. always khoul to run into khoul people you haven't seen for a long time.

came home and caught the night game, the first Sunday Night game of the regular season. for me (as of last year) Sunday is the new Monday, since Al Michaels (my favorite) and John Madden (my other favorite) host that show. the Giants put up a good fight, but 3 starters and 1 backup guy got injured, and the Cowboys played pretty well (with Wade Phillips at the helm for his first regular season game) and chalked up their first W. Eli Manning went out in the 4th quarter with a "bruised" right shoulder, and they lost their starting running back, so welcome to the War of Attrition. not that i'm particularly a Giants fan...

so, two trips to Qwest Field under my belt this year, both Ws. gotta like that.

back to work tomorrow, with boats moving in for the Boats Afloat show, and a truck heading east to retrieve gear from the Gorge. i forgot to grab Jason's CDs to burn over the weekend, maybe that'll take up some of my evening time over the week this week...assuming i actually have any free time this week. i know now, that until the end of August, working where i work, i'm going to spend the majority of my time working and commuting. the sad part of that is, i think with just a little more organization and planning (admittedly not always possible due to lack of necessary information in advance) things would move a lot more smoothly there. i have a much better idea of what to expect in the course of a summer next time around.

Loren's started 9th grade...hardly seems possible. i'm going to turn around and he's gonna be all grown up, and i'm gonna wonder what the hell happened to the last twenty years. he seems to like his teachers alright, so far, which isn't altogether too surprising considering they haven't had the kids do any real work yet, and i think he's enjoying the difference in the atmosphere. he mentioned that he was considering playing basketball and baseball, and i told him for the 1,00th time that i totally encourage him to play any sports...he mentioned tennis, which would be interesting. i love racquet sports. told him again i think he's a natural for football, but the question is whether or not he's aggressive enough. personally, i think that's a long shot for him (he's just WAY easygoing) but you never know....when he gets a little hair on his chin he might surprise the hell out of everyone and become Captain Testosterone.

alright that's it for me, i'm not particularly inspired tonight.

this is the test

of the email-to-post settings on blogger (through which this content is posted to my website).


soundclick stat update

10,334 page hits, 2,626 streams, 651 downloads. total. since like mid-2004, ~3 yrs. averaging 9.437 hits per day, 2.398 streams per day, a download every 1.682 days. with absolutely no promotion. that's it.

since you were dying to know.


another weekend almost gone

Loren's down for the night. we dug into Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows a bit more this evening, played some darts and chess this afternoon, and went to pick up a C. S. Lewis book (Out of the Silent Planet) which he was assigned to read over the summer, for a 200 question multiple-choice test in store for all the incoming 9th grade advanced-placement English students. we got some laundry done, and the dishes, and ignored some other chores that failed to demand loudly enough for our attention. yesterday we played racquetball in the morning, and followed it up with a short visit to my folks' house, where i took one of their old teak & leather wooden chairs (with its matching footstool) off their hands. it's a nice chair, and quite comfortable, but i don't exactly have a place for it...maybe i'll get to figuring that out this week. we also watched our requisite Star Trek DVDs (8 episodes of Voyager over the course of the week) and squeezed in the newly-released animated Dr. Strange video yesterday, as well as playing some of Loren's newly-exchanged and now-functional Tony Hawk: Project 8 video game. still fun stuff. we got in a few episodes of DBZ (the end of the Frieza or Namek saga...not sure which, but we left off with the episode where Frieza gets diced by his own power disc attack) over broiled chicken with rice and peas for dinner, and this is all- i'm quite certain- terribly fascinating.

so. nothing too out of the ordinary, but you won't find me complaining over having the opportunity to spend two uninterrupted days with m'boy. tomorrow he's back to his mom's and i hunker down for another week of work. the boss suggested i take a day off this week, possibly Friday, which would make for a 3-day weekend upcoming....might be nice. been working a lot of hours lately, and there's no shortage of household business to take care of.

s'pose that's all i got for the moment. PEACE


i was wrong

Chowder was sleeping on the floor, in what sunlight was afforded Loren's bedroom through mostly grey sky.

sunday morning, midsummer

a little coffee. a little nicotine. a shower is in order, as well as some food. on tap for the day: a good half day's work. in seattle. which requires driving.

got to bed pretty damn late last night, and woke up fairly early, but i'm not really tired. not bursting with energy, mind, but not tired.

some minor chores are in order, and the same major ones which i've managed to put off far too long. at some point in the immediate future i'm going to have to decide which of today's objectives takes precedence and begin accomplishing them, but for the moment i'll sip my coffee (somewhat thicker and mildly sweeter than normal, with a bit of Carolan's Irish Cream) and type this post.

the dull ache lodged in my head last night persisted throughout the frozen pizza, and the naproxen sodium, but succumbed (as i suspected it might) to a decent, if somewhat abbreviated night's sleep. all in all, any complaints i'd make this morning seem trivial, so i'll forego them and stand pat.

Chowder sleeps still, most likely sprawled on my bed. he invariably lays in his own when we retire for the night, but often, once i'm settled, he'll hop up and avail himself of the majority of the free space. i generally indulge him with some calm scratches when he does, and i'm usually rewarded with the amusing feedback of his satisfied groans in direct proportion to his appreciation of this or that technique. he has a surprisingly large vocabulary of sub-vocal communication, another facet of his remarkably deep personality. he's a smart one, as dogs go, and he's been a good friend. i think we're in about the same head-space, insofar as a middle-aged man and dog can be.

"he sleeps, and i compose a post," types the author, having just drained the remainder of his coffee, which would have been enjoyed more before it completed its descent to room temperature.


so it's 8 o'clock on a Saturday night

and it's obvious to me that i have nothing better to do than post something...anything, really, just something.

i have a mild headache, most likely brought on by inactivity, or lack of caffeine until a relatively late hour, or the lack of actual nutritional value offered by the scant remains of most of the easily prepared substitutes for real food, through which i've half-heartedly ruminated periodically over the course of the day, or by some other reason which i'm either failing to notice or opting to omit, or some combination thereof.

i could turn to the medicine cabinet, which would require my leaving this chair, negotiating the doubled-back flight of stairs to the 2nd floor hallway, which shortly leads to the upstairs bathroom. there, a few tablets of generic naproxen sodium would likely take the edge off the dull pain in my head within 20-30 minutes, at which point i might feel entirely more motivated than i do presently. whether i ultimately summon the motivation to do so remains beyond the scope of this narrative to this point.

it's likely no coincidence that the pain in my head seems to a fair degree to be exacerbated by smoking cigarettes; after all, nicotine is a well known vasoconstrictor. i suppose it's entirely possible that my cranial discomfort is due to a restriction of blood flow, and further restricting my brain's access to gas exchange might very well increase my discomfort. or maybe it's all in my head.

i have the impression that being more physically active increases blood pressure and circulation and raises the body's metabolic rate. i'm generally quite active, typically, especially on working days, but this morning i made a vague resolution to attempt to "rest" today, as it's necessary for me to work at least a partial day tomorrow, in order to meet the demands of the following day.

despite the fact that smoking cigarettes makes my head hurt worse, i've chosen to light one as i remain seated here, typing, rather than make that journey to the medicine cabinet upstairs.

after all, i made, earlier this afternoon, a special trip to spend around $25 of hard-earned money i've not yet been paid on 100 of these little paper-wrapped tobacco-and-chemical nicotine delivery devices, for the express purpose of ensuring i need not today confront an interruption in their supply- a familiar occurence which periodically occurs to all those who've succumbed, willingly or torturedly, to their addiction. clinging pitifully to their (our, my) short end of the stick, they (we, i) reach that familiar point in their (our, my) often decades-long love/hate relationship with the seductively evil product of American Tobacco and dutifully, resignedly march, head bowed, to renew their (our, my) financial/physical/emotional bludgeoning at the hands of gleeful corporations and perennially thirsty government revenue collectors.

the cigarette i lit when i began that above paragraph has done its damage. its contribution to my (presumably worsening) Pulmonary Obstructive Disease is complete, and having fulfilled its mission it died, predictably, its quiet death with neither comment nor protest. its crushed, lifeless body lies motionless amid the foul-smelling corpses of its brothers, a pile of tar-stained cotton filters in random disarray, sporting charred shocks of tobbaco filaments like haircuts of punk rockers burned in their beds.

and there is still the question, the unresolved issue of whether i'll traverse the staircase to the medicine cabinet.

it's certainly not the only possible course of action. i could light another cigarette, for instance, or put my fist through the monitor before me. i could take off my pants and run screaming around the circular cul-de-sac outside the front door. i could put the 2nd DVD of the evening into the player in the other room, and once more vegetate before a cathode-ray tube, this time in the more-fitting darkness which has accrued in the hour i've taken describing these things. i could opt to tell you which DVD i've already watched today.....which might or might not be entertaining to any with eyes following this narrative. perhaps i'll do exactly that, later. perhaps not.

looking inside the finely engineered, foil-paper-lined, precision-folded, mass-produced utilitarian marvel which is the "pack" box, an apt term for the tightly-packed delivery vehicle in which 20 of the aforementioned cylindrical, smoldering kamikaze soldiers infiltrate our lives, i chose to select the left-most of the two remaining candidates. exhaling the last of the particle-laden exhaust, for which it was conceived and created, and to which it owed both its existence and ultimate destruction, i began this sentence.

the longer i remain in this chair, slouching slightly toward the monitor, the more discomfort i feel in my neck and upper back. this is an ergonomically challenging chair which came to me approximately 15 years ago in what i believe was a random series of events involving a former friend and the redecoration of a bank lobby. it's certainly no chair i'd choose to purchase. in fact, i've never purchased a chair, nor a table for that matter. nor a bed or bed linens of any sort. nor a nightstand, bookcase, entertainment center, or desk, nor any dishes or plants. i could make a very long list indeed of the things i've never purchased. suffice it to say that nearly everything furnishing my residence requiring the expenditure of any significant amount of money had that expenditure provided by others. the furniture manufacturers are simply not winning the competition with the tobacco companies for my business.

my stomach is increasingly attempting to persuade me to follow the "put-the-frozen-pizza-in-the-oven" scenario, while my head concurs, and suggests i make the journey to the medicine cabinet.


but enough of all that

in the elapsed time between March 2, '07 (when i dropped the blog ball) and the present, i've both been on vacation and worked a lot. vacation was fun. work...not so much.

summer is here and business is booming. everyone's working a ton, and my boss seems to be balking at the OT i'm putting in. most of the people there have a lot more OT than i do; i imagine my wages are somewhat comparable to most of the other guys', but i'm starting to get the impression my boss has the impression i'm spending too much time on things he didn't intend me to spend this much time on....which is another way of wondering if he thinks i'm not getting enough done...? i feel like i'm working pretty hard, and staying plenty busy. i move pretty quickly most of the time. i feel like i'm doing a pretty good job, overall, though i have been late a couple times. it's not unusual for me to feel some anxiety over things that are naturally stressful (like working a lot of hours, always flying by the seat of my pants putting out fires, commuting a lot, trying not to make mistakes when i'm thinking about a lot of things...or forgetting something). overall my job's pretty stressful, and i think i have less authority with the long-timers there than my boss thinks i do (or should? or will exert?), so i'm also trying to work hard enough, to be organized enough, to get on top of everything enough, to get credibility with them.

work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work work

i have work on the brain. that's not too surprising since i got home just a little while ago. i guess it's just buggin' me that my boss has actually told me to go home the last couple days in a row- even though everyone's working more hours than me. i bet he didn't expect this position would run into OT, or as much OT during the summer, as it has so far. but he seems to be happy with me, overall, so...i'll just keep working hard and keep my fingers crossed. the last job i had which lasted for a long time (working in Newcastle at Precis Architectural) didn't pay very well, but it was a pretty good place to work. this is a decent job, working with pretty good people; the worst thing about it is the commute (long and expensive). if i'm not at the top of my potential wage scale, i could stick around a while. some paid vacation would be nice- and good benefits are a plus. i guess you can only show up, play your best game, and hope that you make the cut. i suppose that's the extent of my confidence in my ability to hold a job long term.

i suppose that's enough for now. there's actually a lot more to talk about, but maybe i'll be able to catch up on some of that in future posts...considering i've done all the writing about work that i can stomach. PEACE

ok, ok- i give, already

i cannot use my normal tools to post posts anymore, ever since blogger got swallowed by google. that truly sucks. i hate having to run my post through their form in internet explorer. i used to click very few buttons to post. surely there must be a better way. i may have to switch blog hosting services. i've always wanted to check out Movable Type. i wonder if Macromedia makes a 3rd party blog-posting app that interfaces with any (free) major site? UltraDev pretty much rocks....posting blog posts thru internet explorer via web-based posting tool via external site logon is unnecessarily unwieldy.

so, plenty of stuff has happened since i posted last time, including the composition of the backdated, belatedly-posted previous post (May 10, 2007) which i will now re-create from a saved file, from a time when i was still too stubborn to log on to blogger to post....which, incidentally, is even more hassle than logging on, etc.


absolute total utter neglect

argh. i bet if you looked back through the archives, you'd find this isn't the only time i've neglected the site.

no, i've not abandoned it. i hereby proclaim to all members of The Readership, those of all sets, subsets, classifications and unique instances, that you may, at will, sleep soundly and easily once more. i remain a light, howsoever exceedingly, infinitessimally, imperceptibly small, in the great dark void.

with pulsating waves of warmth radiating from the geometric center of my being, i once more push back the inky cold. this experience, simultaneously affirming, exhilirating and futile, will, as all experiences do, tint the colors on my palette of future courses of action.

"Ah, but ultimately," you say, with proper humility before futility, "the darkness will win." to which i answer: a correct, if bleak, assessment; but therein lies the beauty of the thing.

my brush is steady, my eye is sharp, my stroke is true. my palette is not yet bare. the darkness is patient, it will wait.


i'm absolutely certain i did some stupid things, but

(i just thought that was a khoul sentence. that's all.)

it snowed nearly a foot at my house yesterday. freak weather. i've never seen it snow in western Washington this many times in one winter, and every time it snowed there was more snow than usual, and it came down harder, and piled up quicker. temperature fluctuations for any given 4-7 day period are wider than i remember seeing, and it's been much colder overall than normal. we got our quasi-annual windstorm later in the winter (accompanied by the largest power outage i've ever seen here), and yesterday's snowfall, coming at the end of February, occurred unusually late in the season.

quite strange driving to work this morning- traffic was light, and the roads within a few miles of here were very slippery still, but once on the freeway it was basically bare and dry all the way to Seattle, where i spent a fairly chilly but mostly sunny day. sure enough, driving back within a few miles of my house put me right back in the thick of it.

however, it's plenty warm in here (it should be with the fairly higher-than-normal electric bill i just paid), and i'm fairly comfortable, all things considered. i have a little strong, black coffee; i have Chowder sleeping under my chair. it's quiet. i can hear the power supply fan from Loren's computer over my right shoulder, and from my own computer below my desk i hear the power supply fan and a slight high-pitched whine from the hard drive.

another work week nearly finished. Loren won't come until Saturday, since he's attending a friend's birthday party Saturday afternoon. i'm determined my time not be cut short over another birthday party. not that i begrudge Loren the opportunity, far from it, just that i see no reason not to arrange things so that Loren gets his party and i still get to spend a little time with him this week. we spend altogether too little time together as it is. some might disagree, but be that as it may, i doubt many- if any- dispassionate, objective bystanders would.

i've been a little tired, so i kinda scaled back my work hours a little this week. i should only barely get into OT tomorrow. i've accomplished a lot so far, with a little help from the people around me, but there's still a long way to go to get the shop up to speed. i'm trying to accomplish what i can in the time i have.

the way i interpret my work priorities, my primary responsibility is keeping track of the gear sent out to shows or lent to the production lighting dept. (in which category i would include keeping the shop organized in general), followed by (in order) making sure it's either staged (time permitting) or ready to be staged by the time a show sets, offloading trucks as quickly as possible, transferring gear to Tacoma or Portland from Seattle and vice-versa, maintaining the vehicles, washing gear as necessary, and running people around to job sites when necessary.

on my lunch break today i ran into my old boss Todd, the former production manager who, before being fired himself, hired me to fabricate at Trade-Marx sign, back in the day. he valued my contribution(s) there, and quickly promoted me to lead the light fabrication dept. after his termination things went rapidly downhill there. i liked the type of assignments i was given (for the most part) and i certainly improved the quality, consistency, and timeliness of both the work i did myself and the projects other guys were working on, but i never actually liked working for that company.

the owner, Don, is one of those guys who one moment wants to act like an obliviously (annoyingly!) condescending buddy, and the next becomes a fully red-faced, screaming twit. he's the kind of guy you'd like to like if he didn't spend so much time being a jerk and a bully. i honestly think he had no trust in the good intentions of those who worked for him, nor an appreciation of their skills (which, in my mind, requires a comparable level of competency in those skills). however, he wasn't responsible for my departure- that would be one Mr. Bart Haynes, a prick on an entirely deeper level. Haynes is a man with a profoundly ugly personality, almost pitifully arrogant, and often completely incapable of basic civility. as you might imagine, i have no respect for someone embodying those qualities. in one such circumstance i was forced to leave the room to avoid losing my temper with the man, and- rather than allowing some time to pass, allowing the situation calm, or attempting to resolve the disagreement in a more positive manner, he chose to chase me down, grab me by the coat, spin me bodily around, and start shaking me like an abusive parent might a child. i believe my exact words at that point were, "take your fucking hands off me or you're a dead man," at which point he laughed and gave me one more little shake before releasing my coat. it was like middle school all over again. i was actually extremely happy with the degree of restraint i showed, since i refrained from acting on the nearly overwhelming urge to punch him right in his smug face- and he (with authority i'm sure was more assumed than specified) fired me. i told him, "you can't fire me, i fucking quit." as fate would have it, there were no witnesses. so be it. then, since i seem to be (re?)telling this story in detail, i told him he was lucky i'm able to control my temper. i don't remember the next words out of his mouth, but they were derogatory, and i told him, "that's right, Bart, just keep digging your hole." i think he realized the precarious position he'd put himself in by physically assaulting me, and he followed me around the shop making more insulting comments for the next 20 minutes while i tried to gather my tools and things. i think he was trying to make me angry enough i'd actually lose my temper and take a swing at him, hopefully in front of some witnesses. well, he got no satisfaction there. i shook some hands with my co-workers, and generally took my time leaving. he tried to get my supervisor to have me sign a termination paper stating i'd verbally abused and physically threatened him. you can guess my reaction: no chance.

in any case, i was the 29th (by all counts) employee to be fired or quit as of the time i was terminated, followed soon after by my supervisor Donna, who was 'promoted' into her role after my old boss Todd was fired. i've never seen turnover like that in any company i've worked for. madness reigned (reigns?) at Trade-Marx Sign & Display Co., and i think this is directly reflected in the quality of the work the company turned out. i saw, and all too often was forced to fix, project after project that had what could easily have been the killing stroke laid down on it by a varying combination of sloppy fabrication and lack of adequate or accurate planning. sometimes those projects were truly beyond help, and in some of those cases, rather than admit their error to the client and fix the problems, they almost inevitably chose to wordlessly deliver substandard product on time. over and over projects were wrong, installed, then uninstalled and brought back for additional work, and sometimes that became a repeating cycle of failure. certainly, in some cases there may have been no alternative but to deliver on time, but i believe the choice, between doing that and delivering what the customer is paying for in as timely a manner as humanly possible, is best left to an informed client.

in the interest of fairness, i'm attempting to restrict my comments to my personal experiences there, which occured over a period of about half a year, ending about 2 years ago. i would have to say that a majority of the product they put out the door during my term of employment was flawed to some degree. it's rather ironic that the owner's projection of his company's commitment to quality could be so diametrically opposed to the manner in which it operated. dysfunctional is the word that most comes to mind, a company with a systemic problem that flowed from the top down, exhibited frequently by cascades of mistakes brought about in large part by a remarkable lack of effective communication, occuring in an often manic environment pervaded with personal tension. most of the product delivered by the 2 other sign companies i've worked for was consistently higher quality. Trade-Marx was one of the most inneffectively managed companies i've ever had the displeasure to work for- and that's a shame, considering i had high hopes for my prospects there when i started.

having said all that, i did form some friendly relationships with my co-workers there, so the experience wasn't a complete loss.

i think i've written most of what i wrote in the preceding paragraphs as catharsis, but also in the hope that someone casually interested in either working for or purchasing work from Trade-Marx sign, and happens to bump into this information online (which i grant is quite unlikely) might have a little better insight into the history of the place. i encourage such a person to take my (true!) comments to heart in their decision-making.

enough about old jobs. and new ones, for that matter. and enough for one post, already...since i've managed to spend considerably more time on the latter subject than i wanted to anyway. PEACE


always too busy

to post here, or to get X amount of other things accomplished that i've still yet to accomplish. my dad likes to say, "life's what happens while you make other plans." ...i think i've got that right, and even if the wording's not exactly right...i think it is....hate to misquote m'dad....the meaning's on the money.

today i was 15 minutes late for work, my 10th tardiness of the 38 days i've worked so far this year. the luster on my attendance record is definitely lacking. incidentally, i've started early 10 times as well. each of those account for about 26.315789473684210526315789473684% of the time. which means i'm on time or early 73.684210526315789473684210526316% of the time. i've been early a total of 450 minutes, late a total of 277, for a net early start of 173 minutes, which, by mathematical average, works out to being approximately four and half minutes early each day.

the prior paragraph clearly delineates a convoluted reasoning necessary to float the data onto the ether with a subtle positive spin. while there may, in fact, be others, they exist in an area of the universe beyond the scope of this post, somewhere vaguely outside the boundaries of the author's motivation.

i hit a hat trick playing darts on my board the other night. missed the bull with two of the next three darts. actually, i left the hat trick in the bull, and threw the other three steel tip darts, followed by the remaining 6 soft tips. looking at all 12 stuck in the board, it was obvious that the proximity of my throws to the bull varied in direct proportion with the amount of time elapsed following the third hat-trick dart's impact.

make a big dent every day it's possible. that's just a little advice i threw in there for ya. no charge.

AC power is better than DC power for transmission over long distances. alternating current requires smaller wires at high voltages and can be stepped down with transformers. lack of transformers in DC distribution systems would require, for smaller voltages of electricity used in common residential appliances, widespread local establishment of small generation substations.

Nikola Tesla ripped up his contract for royalties due from Westinghouse, in order to release the company from financial liability threatening its solvency, and to ensure his dream of a ubiquitous three phase alternating current distribution system came to be. the man died penniless so that the world might benefit.

and he supposedly created a charged particle weapon in the period of the 1930s and '40s. an interesting device, that could theoretically render electric (and presumably electronic) equipment inoperable and kill men (or any living creatures) in wide swaths, by the thousands.

if this weapon doesn't exist, it should. the ultimate defensive weapon against an invasion force. too bad the tendency of early 21st century combatants is toward covert / guerilla tactics and random acts of suicidal violence. maybe they can make a portable one.

flittering across the surface of randomity, chaostically.

french fries aren't as good as hash browns, which proves that the post-cut shape of the potatoes matters in the interaction with the hot oil.

mcdonald's cheeseburgers are really not very good. the spongy buns are part of the problem. bratwurst is good partially because the bun is tougher. a killer hamburger needs a bun with some gravitas.

listened to SRV & Double Trouble's Live at El Macambo a few times this weekend. Stevie Ray was the best. also listened to one of Tori Amos's records.....the name escapes me at the moment. that's interesting stuff, too....she's got a great voice, and i like her piano lines, and she writes interesting lyrics. but Stevie....Stevie could throw down.

i have a taillight out on my truck. think it's just a bulb. maybe i'll get to looking at it tomorrow...but prob'ly not. more likely to get to it this weekend. reasonably likely it'll take me longer than that, if my track record of proper maintenance effort remains undisturbed. i'm really very good at doing the bare minimum necessary to keep a vehicle on the road.

however, it's a sad fact that even the most meticulously maintained vehicles won't last forever, and this truck is no exception. at some point it's going to finally give up the ghost, and then i'll either find myself in the position of being able to acquire a nicer, newer vehicle, or forced to purchase some similarly dilapidated hulk of rust and mildew with which to negotiate the asphalt gauntlet.

it's occured to me that i could literally drive to Bellingham every day, and work straight 8 hour days, and still be gone less time in a typical work day. right now the minimum amount of time i'm out of my house in a typical 8 hr workday is about 12 hrs. an average of three hours per day driving 74 miles round trip, for an average speed of exactly 24 2/3 mph. on the freeway.

but what the hell is there to do in Bellingham? i could get to Arlington or Marysville a lot easier, though. Hwy 9 northbound in the morning would be an interesting commute. or Monroe, with a Hwy 2 eastbound. just trying to go south from here at all, let alone all the way into the SoDo district in Seattle, is a fairly monumental pain in the ass.

i watched the movie Resident Evil the other night. not bad, for what it was. Milla Jovovich is easy on the eyes. not a particularly impressive movie. i liked her better in Ultraviolet. i liked Resident Evil enough to watch the sequel though, prob'ly. i was curious about those movies in the same sort of way i'm interested in seeing Pitch Black and The Chronicles of Riddick. i watched Brad Pitt's Troy the other day, too- then again a few days later with Loren, since i knew he'd appreciate it. easily the better of the two movies, by the way- though certainly not LOTR-grade....that seems a fitting bar to set for the future. i hear Ghost Rider is tearing up the box office; been planning on seeing that one for a long time. looks like time to take Loren to the movies this weekend.

saw Jim Carrey on David Letterman last night, caught a clip of his new movie 23. didn't look the same as the impression i got from the preview i saw a few moments later when i flipped the channel. that can't be a coincidence- that Carrey's Letterman segment would end, and at that exact moment there'd be a preview for the very movie he was promoting on an adjacent (or very near) channel. some advertising person earned their money there....why buy the 'blatant' ad on the same station when the segment ends- you just reached that audience anyway....and anyone who was interested enough in Carrey or the movie to sit through the segment before changing channels might get sucked in at just the right moment. surely that's not coincidental.

ok that's got to be enough jangsplankin' tribibulation.

this has been a test of the post system. in the event this was a real post, you may have gleaned something from it. i now return you to a location somewhere in the vicinity of your original point of departure, with sincerely delivered, cloyingly heartfelt, practically genuine apologies.


decent weekend

nice to spend some time with Loren, for a change. he didn't make it last weekend at all, and a couple weekends before that he didn't make it either. that makes for a pattern of "a couple weeks off, a couple days on", which is a particularly irritating combination of frustrating and annoying. so i took advantage of a slight lull in the work schedule at the end of last week and enabled a 3-day weekend with m'boy.

Thursday night we made our way through another of Hiyao Miyazaki's films, My Neighbor Totoro, which was aimed toward a little younger audience than i anticipated, but was still funny and enjoyable. i was tired enough that i missed the last 10 or 15 minutes of it due to falling asleep on the couch. Friday we took care of chores and got the house in order, and i watched him chew through a couple levels on a PS2 video game Sly Cooper 3: Honor Among Thieves, and we had steaks for dinner and watched a bunch of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine in the evening. Saturday we got to play some chess, and a round of his D&D Three Dragon Ante card game (despite neither of us seeming to muster quite a firm enough grasp on the rules of...), and we ate a great spaghetti dinner while we plowed through another DVD of Star Trek: The Next Generation- which incidentally had a couple of excellent episodes on it: one which i'd never seen featuring a temporal anomaly allowing an appearance by (the previously deceased character) Tasha Yar ("Yesterday's Enterprise"), and another which i've seen often in which Data creates himself a child ("The Offspring"). fun stuff, there. Sunday we did put the final nail in the chore coffin, got in a couple games of darts, played a little Dragonball Z Budokai Tenkaichi (2, i think) on his PS2; just enough to know that it would take more than a couple hours for me to master that head-to-head game sufficiently enough to be any kind of competition for him, and headed downtown for the Sonics / Clippers game at Key Arena, courtesy of my folks' Christmas present to us. the Sonics got beat down handily, shooting slightly less than 33% from the field, and around 60% from the charity stripe, losing to the (lackluster!) Clippers 98-76. it was the Sonics' mascot Squatch's birthday, and at one point i had my eyes on the game and he ran up a row of seats literally right over my head. Loren and i had a great time at the game, with excellent seats, despite the loss.

only things of note (not that they're particularly important in the scheme of things) that i left out of this weekend were finishing T.H. White's The Once and Future King (great book, 2nd time i've read it), and beginning Harry Thompson's To the Edge of the World (only just begun it, but so far so good).

so much for the weekend. Loren's back to his mom's in the morning, and i'm back to work. PEACE


night crew

once again, Benny and i spent the evening in lifts out in front of Nordstrom's in downtown Seattle. somewhat pleased to find those LED christmas lights coming out more quickly than i anticipated. i finished clearing the lights out of two trees Benny strung, one rather small (but again particularly annoying) tree i strung, and about 1/3-1/2 of another one i strung. we got the whole west side of the building done, not too bad for the first night, and just barely beat the rain. i felt the first drops on my face as i was carrying the last of the road closure signs back to the truck. it was cold but my new Carhartt coat (courtesy Jason and Melissa via Christmas- thanks guys!) was up to the task. the corduroy collar on that coat kinda rubbed my neck raw the first tew times i wore it, but it seemed to have mellowed out, until tonight when my safety harness was pulling it out of place constantly, and rubbed me raw again in a different way...don't know if the collar gets less abrasive or more flexible over time or what, but that's a minor thing compared to freezing your ass off all night. it's really an amazing coat, much lighter than most of my other "warm" coats, and hands down the warmest one i have.

so, here i sit at 6:07am, drinking my coffee, in my old black sweat pants and my favorite oversized sweatshirt, both nice and warm from 5 minutes in the dryer. feeling a little tired, but i made it through the shift OK, since i stayed up as late as i could stay awake last night (well, the night before last i guess), and slept in until 12:39pm.

Loren's mom still hasn't gotten him to school, and i think they started again Wednesday. pretty typical, and i'm not happy about it. the boy has some very low marks in some of his classes, and sitting around playing video games at the Ronald McDonald House in Seattle might be plenty fun, and it's certainly more convenient for his mom (with all the twists and turns in the saga of her niece's youngest boy, who's pretty seriously sick), but it's just not right. regardless of what's going on around Loren, the bottom line is: school and sports practices are not a high enough priority for Loren's mom, and, not unexpectedly, this attitude rubs off on him. he's got his work cut out for him, and i'm in his corner, but fully expecting him to drop off the honor roll and tank this quarter. i'll give you three guesses who'll get to be the bad guy when that happens....

OK enough about Loren's school. in fact, enough about everything. this is inf, signing off. have a nice day, i'll be sleeping through most of it.

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