Day 30

Last one of these. It’s sometimes nice when things come to an end. Not so nice? That my friends at the market across the street are probably calling it quits.

I’ve made more than my fair share of mistakes. I’ve also had a fair share of successes. I try not to dwell on either too much. But I am cognizant of them whenever I’m doing something new.

Too many people I see focus only on successes, minimize failures, and learn from neither. If there’s something you did, professionally, that was a colossal failure, don’t do the same things again. Even the ones that “worked,” just because they “worked.” No, you failed.

Even worse than that is not wanting to know.

Maybe there’s a Minesweeper-style quiz I can buy that’ll tell me how to avoid knowing, and some snazzy extra letters I can put after my name.

I’d rather spend my money on things for me or those I care about.

If that makes me a problem, so be it.

Name 5 moments in your life so far that you think you will remember into your old age.
1. My early times with the woman I’d end up marrying. Our initial meeting. Our first date. First kiss.
2. Seeing the Redskins pull defeat from the jaws of victory against the eventual Super Bowl champion Saints. Walking back to the Metro stop in our Saints’ gear, having a Redskins’ fan tell us we were nice, and not at all like Eagles’ fans.
3. There’s a concert, but I’m not going to write too much about it. November 22, 2002. Black Cat in Washington, DC.
4. Driving through the snow on I-94 in June. I think that trip helped stop what was a flare (though I didn’t know it at the time). Way too much caffeine and nicotine. And making it from Spokane to Newport News solo in something like 55 hours. I was young, stupid, etc.. Nobody likes you when you’re 23.
5. My dad’s death. Next Sunday is three years. Pfft.
6. Taking the Crescent in to New Orleans for our honeymoon. We had to rent a car, drive to National Airport, then take the Metro to Union Station. The lady who was our car attendant was great. WE had to drive to DC to board because the train from Newport News was cancelled.

And I’m spent. Another year done. Another NoJoMo complete. Have I gotten anything from this? I don’t know. But I did it again.

Day 29

Thanksgiving came and went. I misunderstood my mom; I thought she was planning on doing dinner at her house Saturday, so we went to my wife’s parents’ place.


Listening to the shock on TV news about the incredibly slow “Black Friday” sales. It’s almost as if the economy in Tidewater really is in the toilet.

One for three on the picks in yesterday’s games. *sigh*

What is the most expensive thing you have ever bought for yourself?

That would be my car, which is still for sale…..

Day 28

I was kind of dreading this entry, and there the prompt is, staring at me…..

I took yesterday off, too, kind of unplanned. I think I’d been all that I can be, so what was the point? I have the time off, why not burn it?

Walked across the street, talked to Em a bit.

Emailed a few folks. (And I’m still not entirely comfortable with the fact that the style guides have taken the hyphen out of that…..)

Went through a box of old computer stuff. If anyone wants some 25-pin RS-232 cables, or ST fiber jumpers, hit me up before they go on eBay….

Talked to my brother, etc.

Sarah and I are doing okay, overall. Our marriage is great. I’m happy I married my best friend.

I’m thankful for a lot, but things are certainly not bright right now. Had I known this time last year what I know people knew, I might have behaved a bit differently. But, at the time, they were leeching me every few days to see what the new drugs were doing to me. (Despite numerous hits over the past four years, I still don’t take well to venous puncture. I’m fine with a shot, but hit a vein, all bets are off.)

Write about 5 things you are thankful for and why you are thankful for them.
1. Tecfidera. Because it means I’m not sticking myself thrice-weekly, anymore, dealing with the monster that is Rebif. We will see if it’s working next time the docs send me on a tube cruise.
2. Professional Football. The NCAA is a disaster, and I didn’t got to a D1 school, so, there’s not a fuck I could give about the SEC, BSCS, etc. The Failcons are out of the playoffs, and the Saints could very well win their division. For today’s games, I’m rooting for: a tie between the Peckers and Schwartzes (Dear Mr. Ford, I really don’t hate your city, company, or team. Your coach, and much of your current roster, on the other hand…), the Raiders, and the Ravens.
3. The Norfolk Amtrak stop. If I can somehow score a Shmoocon ticket on Monday… How the writers/producers modernized Atlas Shrugged for the movie trilogy is quite interesting, indeed. Getting around the US by train is tough if you want to go somewhere outside the Northeast, but it’s become my preferred mode of travel. Once I get where I want to go, public transportation or a taxi are fine.
4. I could go with the Franklin misquote about beer, but I’ll pass. I will say that I do enjoy partaking of fermented, sometimes distilled, drinks. Lately, especially the Belgian varieties. Stupid Flanders.
5. Quiet confidence that I still do have skills, and that my work situation will change for the better sooner rather than later. People do know who I am, what I’ve done. They’re seeing what I can still do. Maybe there’s not a ton of store-bought letters after my name proving how adept I am at taking multiple-choice tests, but….

With that knocked out, time to go nap a little more, trim November facial hair growth, shower, then off to the in-laws’ for round one of excessive eating.

Day 27

Tomorrow is Thanksgiving. People I care about are struggling. We’re certainly not living as comfortably as we were last year. It’s not a happy situation.

One of the things I’ve thought about a lot over the past few years is that doing the wrong thing slightly differently doesn’t suddenly turn it into the right thing.

People tend to focus on the shortcuts to allow them to do the same old broken things faster.

I’ll never understand that.

What was the best welcome you have ever received? What made it special?

I’m having trouble thinking of one. I’ve never really considered my arrival special, worthy of celebration.

I am just here to do good work. Let me prove that I can do whatever it is that I came to do.

Day 26

Writing early today because I’m not leaving for work until about an hour after I normally do. Chance to get today’s writing out of the way, so I don’t have to worry about it this afternoon.

It’ll also give me a chance to shut off my brain tonight. I have real work to do today. That work will be done properly. If it’s “on-time,” great. If I don’t finish, it can wait until next week.

What brings out the best in you?

When I’m given the opportunity to work through something. I am not so infirm that I can’t figure things out. I am so infirm that I’m a lousy Minesweeper player. And I don’t have the money to gamble on it all. (Or other people’s money, in many instances.)

Professionally, for over a decade now, I’ve found cost-efficient ways to actually meet users’ needs. I’m not being allowed to do that, nowadays.

Day 25

Today was incredibly trying.

Between ineffective communication, and omniscient sots whipping out the letters after their names, I’m spent.

I do know what I’m doing, and I can prove it to you.

But that’d require you actually spend a little time in recon. As I used to hear repeatedly from the USAF folks I worked with, “knowledge is power, but ignorance is bliss.” Stay blissfully ignorant, certs dude. Don’t ever let evidence dissuade you from your preconceived notions. It’s more awesome that way.

You’re awesome. Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise. You don’t learn from your mistakes, because you don’t even take a moment to consider them. Lessons learned are for losers. Everything you ever need to know you learned by finishing your Minesweeper certification.

What is your favorite birthday memory? What is your worst birthday memory?

I honestly have no idea on this one. Christmas was a much more memorable holiday, gift-wise. I already had my license when I turned sixteen. I really didn’t drink when I turned 21 (though I did go drink). Twenty was kinda weird, taking just-turning-21 Thanksgiving-made-babby friends out……

This year, my boss sprung for pizza. But the important thing was that my ass was in a cubicle a good part of the day — a cublice someone could bill for. Awesome.

Day 24

It’s Sunday. It’s early. I fell asleep way early last night, and missed Drunk Uncle on SNL (who favorited my tweet wondering whether he’d be on; it is Thanksgiving, after all).

My idea about how to fix a broken spring in the recliner didn’t work. I would have messed with it longer, but my legs just weren’t letting me hunch over and work.

Wonder what will be on TV football-wise this afternoon. The Saints kept the Failcons from doing what they od Thursday, and the Redskins play in SF tomorrow night. Going to guess we’ll get the Stilluhrs-Browns, Bucs-Lions, then Colts-Cards.

The NBC game is Manning v. Brady for the umpteenth time.

What are the 5 biggest fears you have? Have you overcome any of them?
1. My body embarrassing me in public
Even when I was young, I was always worried about being that kid, you know, the one who puked in the classroom, wet his pants, etc.. I haven’t necessarily gotten over it, but there’s little I can do anymore. My body does what it wants, despite my protests.

2. Death
See the letter to thirteen year-old me a few entries back. It happens. Live life like you’re gonna die. Because you are.

3. Girls
Given that I sleep with one nearly every night, I’d say that I’ve overcome this one. It’s still a little unsettling to find one giving me the once-over, though. That didn’t used to happen. I tend not to subscribe to the everything-is-driven-by-sex worldview, but I find communicating easier now that it’s not even a consideration for me. Yeah, she’s kinda cute. And? (That’s when my vision works well enough to let me notice, whihc is kind of a rarity these days.)

4. Public transportation.
Traceable back to number one, really. Airplanes still bother me. Trains I’m okay. Buses, all depends. I’m still uncomfortable riding in other people’s cars, though.

5. Writing.
Sometimes I’ll stumble across something I wrote long ago. “Wow. This is really bad.” Then I’ll read others’ new stuff, and I feel better.
It’s incredible how scared some people are of putting down a concise thought. I get that you don’t have to do it at to buy letters after your name that’ll be recognized by someone outside your industry. Just for the store-bought letters after your name, you’re more concerned with passing a multiple-choice test than actually understanding the material.
With letters properly perched in your seventeen-line email signature, you boldly embark into the wild world of business development where you fill space with meaningless blather just to hit the page limit.
Yes, I’ve dealt with folks who believe that if there’s a page limit on a proposal, that means you have to write exactly that many pages.
You look smart wearing a tie. You think that people like you. Then you’re asked to actually apply what you’ve learned, and it all falls apart. You’re so concerned with fit-and-finish that you don’t actually pay attention to the content.
Newsflash: The content is what really matters.
I’ve been trying to get back to basics with my writing. That entails concise, complete sentences in active voice. It also entails paragraphs with only one topic sentence. (This is something that really tends to get lots in Proposalville.) Finally, it means never writing, “as per.”
I admit I also get hung up on things that rubbed certain professors the wrong way. “Impact,” instead of “affect,” and “effect.” A “negative impact” is a vacuum; it sucks. “In-depth,” instead of “thorough.” Numerals instead of writing out the number for values less than twenty, etc.

Day 23

Awake early on a Saturday again. It’s supposed to get really cold this weekend, really for the first time this year. What to do today (aside from scouring classifieds)?

Tempted to try and make Dana’s gingerbread recipe. (The cocoa powder sounds like a really interesting twist; I was wondering why the color was so dark….) I don’t have all the ingredients, unfortunately, and don’t know that there’s any stores within stumbling distance of a bus stop that might.

It’s incredible just how difficult it is to get around without a car here. Things that most people would be able to do without really considering, I have to do with a fair amount of planning.

That said, that’ll probably be true for the rest of my life, regardless of where I live. It doesn’t even take into account my extremely limited energy level.

What small victory has given you the most joy recently?

I don’t spend much time dwelling on accomplishments. Whether the effort is a success or failure, I spend more time paying attention to what I could have done better. Maybe that’s the wrong way to look at it. Maybe I should be think highly of youth sports leagues where they don’t keep score….

(Again, this is a question where I could snark about people making the same mistakes over and over, and getting accolades, despite the overall failure, and not having bought enough letters after my name to understand that.)

If you aren’t honest with yourself, you’ll never improve.

So, I’ll go with the Failcons’ latest failure against the Saints Thursday night. That did brighten my mood for a bit.

Day 22

Things progressed a bit more today. I’m still unhappy with the general direction, but I do hope people are seeing where my experience is valuable.

At the same time, I’m woefully under-compensated for the work I’m actually doing.

That so little effort’s been made to make me happy and keep me says it all.

Maybe I’m just a fool that I continue trying to give my best.

Next week is a short one, which is good. I need a break longer than two days.

Write about a funny childhood incident you experienced.

I’ve been mulling this one for awhile now, and am not coming up with anything. My mother has a few, I’m sure, but my memories consist mainly of the transition from the mischievous smart-ass fat kid to the awkward, sullen, acne-afflicted teenager.

Nothing really funny about that, is there?

I feel like I wouldn’t like me if I met me

Day 21

I’m still amazed by the lengths people will go to in order to do what they know is wrong.

I really don’t care about splitting hairs.

I don’t want to regret the work I’m doing. It’s incredibly frustrating that others do not share that desire.

So, people find whatever way they can to justify doing what they know is wrong.


(And here’s where I’d normally snark about buying some letters after my name that’d teach me to rationalize it….)

If you could do something without anyone knowing you did it, what would you do and why?

I have absolutely no idea on this one. It implies that I’d be doing something I know to be wrong. I can’t think of anything that I could possibly want to do that I’d want to hide.

Am I striving for sainthood? No. Of course not. But I do know what I’ve done, and I would always know what I did.