Day 20

Day 20 — two-thirds of the way through.

Yesterday’s entry is slamming hard. People do understand that I do know what I’m supposed to be doing, even without tons of artificial fanfare.

I do find it interesting, though, how much people do the same things and expect a different result.

As I asked my wife when she dropped me off this morning, isn’t that the definition of insanity?

You have a group of people who’ve failed on their previous efforts, now you’re using their expertise as the basis for your efforts on another task?


Maybe I just don’t get it. I’m okay with that. But I’ll remember it in the future. Rest assured.

What is the most heroic thing you have done in your life?

Heroism isn’t something to dwell upon. I’m sure I’ve done things that people might view that way, but nothing is coming to mind.


Because I can’t think of anything I really regret doing or not doing. Maybe that’s a function of acting with proper foresight. Maybe it’s something else.

Day 19

Angry tweet this afternoon, which I have since deleted because I had a wording error. Damn you, autocorrect.

But the sentiment remains — how do you look at yourself in the mirror every day? How can you be okay with delivering bad work just to do the bare minimum?

Moreover, why do people reward you for your continuous string of failures?

Maybe there’s some letters after my name I can buy that’d teach me. But you, sir, are the reason people are skeptical of the work we do. It’s attitudes like yours that lead to disasters like

What things in your life make it worth living?

That’s a tough question. So many things I once enjoyed I can’t anymore. In light of above, it certainly isn’t my work situation.

Day 18

Another fun day at work. I really hate digging up my past work to show people what the fuck they’re supposed to be doing, but sometimes I have to.

There’s no other way.

I also don’t like studying for the letters I’m going to buy after my name while I’m at work. If I’m expected to do that there, why can’t I work from home? Why does my ass need to be in a cubicle?

My wife is off at work, which means I’m left to my own devices for a few hours.

I will probably spend a good portion of it napping. It’s one of the few things I do well these days.

Write a letter to your 13 year old {sic} self.

Dear Me,

You’re a jerk. You really aren’t as smart as you’ve been told throughout your childhood. Are you stupid? No. Are you above-average? Yes, but within two standard deviations. (You’ll understand why that’s relevant after you finally take statistics in college.)

You will have an opportunity to do what you dreamed of. It’ll be short-lived. Enjoy it while it lasts. You won’t be as good at it as you think you’ll be, but you won’t totally suck, either.

You will marry. It will happen later than you think right now. She will be someone you’d have never considered while dating around. She will be closer to you than anyone has ever been, including your parents. Don’t worry about the fact that she’s in First Grade right now; she’ll grow up.

Your body is failing you. In fact, those nights of burning feet you’ve already hed? Yeah, those aren’t athlete’s foot. It will get worse. Much worse. There’s really nothing you can do about it. It’s not because of something you’ve done, or will do, most likely. I’m not going to tell you what it is, but you will find out when you’re in your thirties, and it will have a major effect on your life.

Your relatives will start dying off real soon now. Some of them you’ll be prepared for. Some, it will be much too soon. Unfortunately, death is a certainty. Sure, you know that there’s a chance you could die in an accident, but that’s not the way that most people end up going.

Baseball will be completely screwed up next year. It will never get better for the Royals. Stick with the Saints, though. Your loyalty, there, will eventually be rewarded.

Day 17

Still working this, and that I haven’t missed one sort of implies that I’ll finish.

How do I do that?

What characteristics define you and make you unique?

I think I am good at improvising — finding an effective solution to get past whatever roadblocks I’m facing.

Professionally, right now, I’m precluded from doing that. It’s not just my pedestrian job title (and the abysmal salary that goes along with it). No, I’ve been given practically nothing to work with, and even less time to work.

In many of my previous jobs, I found simple ways to solve complicated problems without spending a shitton of money. Here, I’m not allowed to do that. I’m not allowed to be a hacker, much less apply proper engineering technique to that.

No, I’d be better if I had a laundry list of store-bought letters after my name, and zero proven successes.

Day 16

It’s Saturday. It’s raining off and on. Thanksgiving is coming soon. I’m okay with this; I need a break. I will be taking one, regardless whether or not this thing heats up.

My wife bought me an iTunes gift card. I wanted one song, but spent nearly the entire card balance buying an entire album. Bad, irresponsible me.

(And, yes, the transition into the Springsteen cover in the link above totally works.)

Write about an experience that changed a long held belief you had.

“Don’t ever change.” Such an inscription is probably scribbled inside your school yearbooks. But letting a single event change you, your beliefs, doesn’t make any sense to me. Isn’t one of the signs of terminal adulthood that you lose your snap judgement?

I’ve changed my mind on several different “major” issues as I’ve aged. 22 year-old me probably would think mid-30s me is pretty lame. Maybe I’m just an old conformist.

(No, I was never a goth kid. Wouldn’t have been able to pull that one off, either.)

That said, I understand there’s situations where acting against my original intention is the correct thing to do. “Steer into the skid.” Another thing many young people won’t understand with the ubiquity of front-wheel drive. (Though I suppose it’s true on a bicycle, too. I could ask, but it’d require more than conversation in passing. And how do I avoid the evangelistic sermon? Riding a bike is probably more perilous for me than driving a car. With my vision the way it is, I do neither.)

Day 15

And we’re halfway through.

And I was planning to snark there, but I guess there’s no buzzword replacement for “through.” Maybe there’s some letters after my name that I can buy that’ll teach me.

Knowing me, though, I’d fuck up the choose-three-of-the-eight, and miss the entire question.

Or maybe that statement is offensive to some people; I should re-write it, no?

Very disappointed this evening by what I’m dealing work right now. I could help fix it, but….

1. I’m not allowed, and;
2. I’m not going to do it essentially free of charge.

Maybe that makes me an asshole, but I don’t really care.

To paraphrase a characterization of Big Ben, “No taco is choco enough to make good this.”

The message — you had your opportunity, and you blew it. Now it’s too late to do the right thing, and you want me to help you make up for your mistakes.

I may look like a sucker, but looks can be deceiving. (I don’t look sick, either…)

Write about someone you feel is a true hero. What makes them heroic in your eyes?

I’m sort of drawing a blank on this one. It’s hard to compete with the MoH winners’ citations and personal stories.

Day 14

Today was a somewhat interesting day. I won’t say anything positive happened, but I did see more people revealing things they think they’re hiding.

I cease to be amazed at how much effort people put into crafting disingenuous communications to avoid offending people. The same people also seem to be the ones most suspicious of others’ motivations.

Wonder why.

Ain’t Nobody Got Time For That.

The message? Say what you need to say, not what you think the other person wants to hear.

And be able to look at yourself in the mirror.

Write about someone who is no longer a part of your life. Could be a love, a friend, a relative. Why aren’t they a part of your life anymore?

There’s many ways I could go with this prompt; life-long relationships aren’t something I’m terribly used to. Part of the nature of growing up as an Army brat.

Since adulthood, there aren’t many people I’ve parted ways with. I have fallen out with a few crowds, but much of that can be attributed to changes in my situation.

But I don’t spend a lot of time with whom interaction is mentally or physically taxing. Just no spoons.

Day 13

The more things continue on, the more frustrated I get about being proved correct. I really didn’t want to be, but…

Not a ton of movement on what I’ve been hinting about the past few days. Fingers crossed.

Reality exists. Despite some people’s willingness to try and distort people’s perception of it, ultimately, the facts do come out.

Professionally, and personally, I’ve given up trying to hide who I am, or what I am. It’s just exhausting.

I also find the people who most try to live lives of deception are the most skeptical of others’ motives. Projection? Perhaps.

What has been the biggest disappointment in your life that turned out to be a blessing in disguise?

Not getting a call-back on a job I really wanted. I ended up with the last job I had. I have nothing bad to say about that company, or my experience there. Not a thing. Yes, I bitched a lot while I was there. But, then, that’s part of what I do; I never thought they weren’t being straight with me, and I appreciate that.

Maybe I’m a sucker for being “so trusting.”

Or maybe I just think that people aren’t inherently evil?

If that’s a character flaw, so be it.

Day 12

Burning sick leave this afternoon to go see the doc. Why? Um, because better safe than sorry.

“Are you having problems with xxxx, and yyyy?”
“Well, which one?”
“Both. Depends on the hour, really.”
*quizzical look*
“I have MS.”

For the other things, can I do a LeBron James-style decision presser soon?


(And it’d be awesome in its own, special, way. We’ll set aside LeBron’s overbearing douchiness for the moment……)

As I said a few days ago, it’s a good thing to have me on your team. I do screw up. A lot, sometimes. But I’m trying to help you do whatever it is you’re doing the best way it can possibly be done. When I disagree with you about something, I want you to convince me that your way is the right way. I’m not going to harp on it forever after I’m convinced.

I haven’t mastered the expert systems engineer trait of being able to lose an argument with myself. Most days. Or maybe it’s the other way around….

Regardless, I want to churn out something quality. It may not be exactly what I’d originally envisioned in my scarred-up brain. So be it. If it makes sense, I’ll defend it until someone shows me why it isn’t the right thing.

The big question I have, unlike LeBron, is, “where can I be fulfilled?” I have far too little energy to spend on things that won’t be ultimately satisfying.

What job would you most like to have? What keeps you from getting it?

It’d be a real shame for me to blow such a meaty question.

(Real answer: see above. I want to do whatever I can creatively to make something that’s ubiquitously-simple. Too bad Tom already came up with the Jump-to-conclusions mat…..)

Day 11

Interesting conversation on Twitter this morning with a fellow MSer from the UK. She was wondering who else in her office would pause at 11. It’s somewhat incredible to me how little people today know about why Veterans’ Day is 11 November. (And, for the locals, what the significance of the Victory Arch is…or that it even exists.)

Obviously, World War II gets the attention simply due to the number of Americans who served. Pretty much everyone has someone in his/her family who served. Unless you’re very young, you’ve probably spoken to that family member.

Vietnam gets a lot of attention, simply because of the combatants’ generation (it’s all about the Boomers!). It was a big deal, and lasted across four presidents’ administrations.

So many younger people seem to know next to nothing about World War I. My great-grandmother would tell stories about how my great-grandfather came home after basic training, and married her. This was despite his drill sergeant’s explicit instructions not to go and get married during the week they had off before they shipped out to Europe.

Seems pretty much everybody else in his class did exactly the same thing he did. I was very young when he died; I don’t remember him at all. Googling reveals little; I don’t even know his middle initial, much less his name (or even if he had one, as lots of folks from that generation didn’t….).

He came back, reunited with his young wife, formed lots of babbys, and lived to see several great-grandchildren.

People also don’t know much about Korea. Both of my grandfathers were naval reservists after World War II. By the time they’d have been recalled for service in Korea, they were both married with expectant wives (my parents were both born in 1951) — not exactly draft/deploy material. I did have a couple of great uncles who fought in Korea — one Navy, one Army. (They also both were in Vietnam.)

A few months ago, when Kim Jong number Un was flexing his minuscule muscles, along with something else where I started reading up on LTC Page, I realized how little people, myself included, actually understand about the ongoing situation in Korea. That war never ended. An astounding number of people were killed in a very short time (over 30K Americans KIA in just over three years of fighting).

The media, trying to please the audience they’re trying to serve (you know, the ones who are really interested in the ED and Low-T meds advertised during the nightly news), are worried about the Norks’ nukes.  (Duck-and-cover drills throughout your childhood will do that to you.)

I’m worried about the hundreds of thousands of people who’d die in a very short time if they opened up with their conventional weapons.  Yes, we are able to effectively stomp them, but a lot of people would die while we’re getting things into place.

Who is the most influential person in your life and why?

My wife. She is everything to me, and the reason I haven’t quit on a lot of things.