30 March 2015

synergy of narcissism

twisting turtles run in circles.
daisy chains are coloured purple.
friendly hummingbirds go by,
humming fills the amber sky.
golden ladies, silver men,
climb the stairs and climb again.

apples fall from bending branches,
land in pies on cattle ranches.
wethers sporting crystal bells
fill the hills with sheepish smells.
golden ladies, silver men,
climb the stairs and climb again.

noisy dolphins wander through.
champagne flutes blow bubble tunes.
brittle bright-cold sunshine skies
spark the diamonds in your eyes.
golden ladies, silver men,
climb the stairs and climb again.

27 March 2015

march madness

i'm tied for 8th in the bracket pool. pretty good considering i don't know what the hell i am doing. my general modus operandi is to pick about 85% or so straight down the top seeds, and then go with my gut on a few upsets. the whole thing is a total crap shoot, so what's the point of studying it? might as well throw darts at the thing.

with basketball in general (not bracketology per se), i lean towards the knowledgeable side. i know the basic concepts - dribbling, passing, shooting. i know where the 3-point line is. i know what "in the paint" is, and what "bonus" and "double bonus" mean. i can recognize goal tending and double dribble, and i know a block from a charge, but in the heat of the game i am likely to miss fouls that are off the ball.

i've never played the game, other than shooting HORSE in the driveway. at my high school, the girls were still playing 6 v 6 half-court, which means i actually missed my best chance to play because i am certain i could have played defense. it's the fine ball handling skills that i lack.

people think i am athletic -- i mean, i have actually had people describe me that way to my face. i'd say that i am "fit" but not "athletic". i really enjoy moving around outside - on land or sea: run, swim, hike, row, dance, cycle, skip, et cetera and so on and so forth. i am happy to throw a frisbee or play a game of HORSE, but i'm not naturally good at it. the only reason i am a passable soccer player is the years i have put into it.

one of my soccer friends asked me to help out with her church league softball one time, because they were short on girls and "you are athletic". i was like, haha, i am not, but sure, i'll come help. it was a disaster. if it had been anything but church league, they would have sent me back to the car. they put me at catcher because in church league that is pretty much the least skilled position, and damn if i could not even throw it back to the pitcher. interestingly, she never asked me again.

we didn't play a lot of sports when i was a kid. i did outdoor stuff at summercamp, but participating in organized sports was not a big part of what my family did. now - WATCHING organized sports, that WAS something we did quite a bit of. i remember when we were young adults, my older brother complained about trying to watch sports with his girlfriend. "other girls don't ask smart questions like ace does," he told our dad. sort of an awkward compliment, but i'll take it.

so, anyway, here i sit at 8th place in the bracket pool. not that i expect to end in this lofty position, but - like an awkward compliment from your brother, a temporary stay in 8th place in the crap shoot that is march madness feels pretty good.

25 March 2015

it was just another day.

this morning we were watching the morning news and there was a report of a wreck involving a commuter van. stopped the interstate and whatnot.

i found out later what happened.

somewhere in the middle of last night, this guy was driving his car and got tired so he pulled over to sleep, but he pretty much completely misjudged so instead of pulling into the shoulder, he was actually parked in the left lane. how the hell he decided to pulling into the interior shoulder would be workable is a clear symptom of his either being drunk or fucking retarded. anyway, he parked in the HOV lane and went to sleep.

around 6am in the predawn gloom, this commuter van full of commuters is barreling down the interstate, probably going 80 if i know anything about fucking commuter vans, and visibility is low, and they come around a bend, and whaat? there is a quarter-ton obstacle fully stopped in their path. obviously, they can't stop.

based on my time in commuter vans, few of these occupants would have been belted in and all of these occupants would have had with them numerous gym bags and lunch pails and whatnot. so they hit a stationary object going at a high rate of speed and simple physics will tell you that when the van stops, none of these unbelted people and unsecured luggage will stop. all of it and all of them continue on at 80mph until they strike various unmoving objects... well, you get the picture.

two of these commuters died. some fucking drunk retard fucking PARKS in the HOV lane, and two people die.

on their way to work.

it was just another day.

24 March 2015

swatting flies on the irony train

i am currently in close mental proximity to a high school senior and in case you yourself have never been one of those, never been near one of those, or perhaps have done either and forgotten...

the item known as "high school senior" (HSS) is a bursting sack of gangly grudge -- nay, a veritable burgeoning bottle rocket of resentment! -- at having been born into a family that is so ridiculously unworthy of a mere modicum of respect.

who are these people, asks the HSS. who are these people with whom i am forced to spend my days, these people who buzz around me like flies, buzz, buzzing with their silly meaningless words. i am so far above these people, these flies.

when someone considers you to be a fly, he demonstrates an attitude of superiority, swatting at you and whatnot, which nobody likes to be the brunt of. moreover, the irony of the HSS considering himself to be above the very people above whom he can technically never be is powerful, and this powerful irony push-push-pushes on the heads of the authorities over the HSS.

so. the authorities have this powerful irony pressing on their heads, and they pass this irony-born press on through to the HSS, which results in a double-dip irony -- or, as your spreadsheet would report, a circular reference -- on account of this irony having originated with the HSS's inappropriately swatting at the authority in the first place.

and so, the HSS experiences this powerful irony pressing on his head, but because he is a bursting sack of gangly grudge, the pressing squeezes out some grudge like toothpaste from a constricted tube, and this squozed grudge gets in the HSS's eyes and results in his perceiving the press as merely another demonstration of his superiority.

and so, the irony train comes full circle, and goes through the tunnel and starts around the circle again, and again, and again, and so on.

(those of you familiar with hans christian andersen's "the snow queen" will detect a similarity between gangly grudge and hans's troll-mirror splinters. this just goes to show that fairy tales are firmly rooted in truth.)

23 March 2015

badgering the stenographer

the wisconsin badgers basketball team won their game against coastal carolina the other night, and on their way to the post-game presser, they stumbled across the stenographer who transcribes their quotes.

well. i don't guess they like LITERALLY STUMBLED. but still, there she was with her funny little stenography machine. they were (literally) fascinated, stopped to talk to her, learned about her job and that funny little machine.

they finally headed on up to the presser, and right off the bat, the first player to give an answer threw out cattywampus, onomatopoeia, antidisestablishmentarianism, and then he moved on to soliloquy, quandry, zypher, and xylophone.

obviously those words were forced into an interview about basketball. he was purposefully trying to challenge the stenographer, see, which is about the nerdiest thing ever.

she got all the words correct, and that's impressive.

but what's even more impressive is this kid, this basketball playing kid, getting instantly fascinated with a machine and a job that he didn't know existed. how do quotes get from verbal to print? he probably never gave it a second thought. or, for that matter, a first thought.

but what's even MORE impressive is this kid, this basketball playing kid, pulling random challenging vocab out of his hat, and doing it on purpose to add some random fun to the day of a working married mom of two, with what has the potential to be truly a boring as hell job.

20 March 2015

both could be true.

this is not my first blog.

my first one, i've now removed from online altogether. i downloaded it and think i still have the files around here somewheres. then i started what's now known as bareyellowbulb vol. 1 -- http://bareyellowbulb1.blogspot.com/ -- and then i started what's now known as bareyellowbulb vol. 2 -- http://bareyellowbulb2.blogspot.com/ -- and then i started this one, bareyellowbulb.

i will go back and read them sometimes, but it seems like i get caught up in reading the same damn posts over and over, like there is only this one set of posts and i am trapped only ever landing on them. i'd like to sort through all the posts and find the poetry, maybe publish that all in one place or something, or make a book and sell it on etsy. that being said, i must not really want to, or i would do it.

not that anyone would purchase a volume of my poetry, but i could have it printed and bound and give it as gifts to watch people be embarrassed, not knowing what to say about such a personal gift and also wondering what to say about my terrible amateur poetry, while all along i only gave it to watch them be embarrassed by imagining it's a personal gift and wondering what to say.

is that mean? to set people up like that? i don't know... you could say it's mean to not be able to honestly say nice things about peoples' poetry, which might not be to your tastes, but which they probably put some time into, and would it kill you to just say, this is nice, in appreciation of their time & effort.

in college, i took a poetry writing class and got a C so i obviously thought the instructor was a self-involved little prick, but looking back at that poetry now, most of it was pretty tortured, so i am not sure my characterization of him is quite fair. i haven't changed my mind about him, though. just because my poetry wasn't top-notch, that doesn't make him not a prick. both could be true.

18 March 2015

no means no.

today is my birthday, and this year, it's a bit of a milestone.

i went to work, like normal. daddy and his wife took me and my old man to lunch. we had carrot cake for dessert. it was nice. the day went well, overall. traffic wasn't too bad, meetings went smoothly. the worst part was my allergies fired up so my nose has been pouring thin snot all day. snotty nose isn't "fun" but isn't terrible. after work, i made bacon & eggs and we ate that, and then i went online to order some contact lenses and fill out my march-madness bracket.

so, it was like a normal day. i even made the bed. but i am drawing the line at laundry. i am just not going to do any laundry. i mean, c'mon. it's my birthday. it's my milestone birthday. i'm not doing laundry. no. just... no.

17 March 2015

you just never know.

junior and mrs junior took baby girl and went out of town, so we went to pick up the dog from doggie day care and return her to the sad & lonely crate. (just kidding... i mean, it's a crate and all, but she's just going to sleep... not with the lonely.)

anyway, "we" took off to do this chore, but i was just going along for the ride. he could have accomplished the task without my help, and in fact, he did accomplish the task without my help because i basically sat around, played two-dots, and took a spontaneous nap. aaaand, fast forward to dog in crate headed to sleep, people in car headed to home.

until we get to the stoplight.

and at the stoplight.

we don't turn right.

we go straight.

what? whaaat?

this is why i came along!


we end up at a live music venue on writer's night. i have never been to a writer's night so i don't really know what to expect. we get a couple beers, chips & salsa, settle in beside some guy's guitar. "here, i'll move it." "no, you can leave it."

first up is a simple country boy. he sings about liquor and women. okay, if i expected anything, i have to admit that a trucker-hatted country singer is it. he's not great, but he's all right. not much style or attitude, but damn, he got up there and sang his stuff out loud in front of people. kudos.

next up is this older guy with a bluesy-rock style. he sings about women and cars, and claims this one song - yellow chevy - was used on NPR's car talk. (i looked it up and in fact, it was!) he's not great, but he's all right, and he's unexpected. he's got this way of working the audience - you can tell he's an experienced performer. he's fun to watch.

next up is a girl wearing black from her kohl smoky eyes down to her doc martens. hmm. what's this? everyone's got a guitar in their hands, and she's no different, but what she does with it is different. there's no country here, no showmanship. this girl starts singing about grey days and pain and angst. she's very good - only drawback is that all three songs actually sound the same. so. something to work on there.

next up is our guitar buddy - the guy who's guitar is beside us. he collects it and gets up there and starts off with a funny song about having a voice only a mother could love. it's funny and cute in a roger-miller sort of way. his voice is okay - true, it's not great, but it's fine. and he's funny. he's got another song about "don't quit your day job". haha. his final song... unfortunately, he doesn't really have it down, stumbles a couple times. ugh. you can tell he's embarrassed. he leaves. too bad, really, because he's bringing something to the table and whatnot.

next up is this sort of soft-grunge kid. he's down here from maryland, getting away from the snow, in his flannel shirt and old jeans and artfully poised boggin hat. he's a pretty good guitar player and a pretty good singer, in a john mayer sort of way, but he's either overly shy or overly disinterested. he's got something to offer, but he's not offering it. he mentions his girl and sings a song to her and everyone claps and he sits down.

next up is... his girl! hey, they both sing! and she is holding nothing back. nothing. she is by far the best of the night. great voice, real melodies with unfamiliar licks, original lyrics without forced rhymes. nice! and, nice to look at - she's tall, fit, comfortable in her clothes. she's got these gold earrings dandling and this half-buzzed sort of throwback haircut that she just... she just carries it off. it's impressive is what it is.

so, of course, when her 15 minutes are up, we leave.

the list went on. there were more to come. next up was slated a pair of young sisters, and you can imagine they were going to be great. well, maybe. i mean, youngsters are a toss up, really. could be brilliant, could be tortured rhymes on tired melodies.

we chose our moment and we left. maybe we'll go again, maybe not. maybe it will become a regular thing we do, maybe it will forever be a one-timer, never to be repeated. you never know, see? that's life around here. you just never know.

16 March 2015

public, personal, private

most everyone these days has more than one email. you've got the work account, the home account, maybe an account you funnel spam into, the one you use for gaming, the one you use for pinterest and facebook.

and, that's just for starters. on top of the accounts themselves, you have the aliases. say you're a salesman for several brands, so you've got an email address at each brand - helps the customers for each brand find you. your IT guys set it up so that all these emails are just aliases off the same email box, so they shuffle into one inbox for you. don't you worry your pretty little head about that.

you can have aliases on your home account, too. you might not even know this, seeing as how you don't have IT guys at home to set up your shit for you, but all the big email providers let you have multiple emails coming into one inbox. not just gmail, either. gmail does a really goofy "replying on behalf of" thing... do the others do that? not sure. i have an alias on my bellsouth account, but for some reason, i quit using it... maybe it did that "replying on behalf of" thing.

so, you have multiple emails. i have multiple emails. we all have multiple emails. what about all the abandoned emails? in compuserve, i was 70114,316@compuserve.com. wicked awesome, eh? along the way i've had a profs account, an aol account, a mail.com account, a hotmail, a yahoo, a bellsouth, a gmail. some i still have, some i don't have. what happened to the ones i used to have that i don't use anymore? is there abandoned email sitting out on the interwebs?

here's the thing, though. of all the emails i've had, none of them have been private. many of them have been "personal", but that's not the same as "private".

private email requires a good bit of setup and planning, care and feeding. lots of big institutions don't even go to the trouble - they'll farm it all out to google or someone. it is, as a matter of fact, highly unusual to have a private email server at all, much less in one's home, much less protected by live security people.

it is much, much more trouble to have a private server than to possibly carry two devices for emails.

we can talk another day about how two devices aren't even necessary.

and, if you want, we can even talk about how, if you head up the state department, and you effectively use email to accomplish your job, you cannot possibly not send classified information via email. there is no way, see? not. possible. this is because the head of the state department just simply wallows in classified information - all day, every day. you can choose not to use email for work, that's true, but if you use email for work and your work is heading up the dept of state - you will email something classified... probably multiple somethings.

but, i digress.

my point is that private email isn't the same as personal email. personal email is common. private is not - not at all.

13 March 2015

have it your way.

i wanted just one autocorrect. just one.

it's become fairly common in outlook to type the smiley face instead of the emoticon. you know, the actual little smiley that is a wingdings-J instead of the :). me, i am a fan of :) - oldschool. but firstly, it's difficult to put :) inside parens (if you see what i mean :)) and secondly, there's a point where oldschool becomes merely old, and i feel that approaching.

it's kind of a pain to insert a smiley using the insert menu. outlook autocorrect will replace :) with a smiley, but to get that, you have to put up with all the other autocorrects, and i'm really not a fan of autocorrect. i know i'm not alone because i've read other blogs - there are some of us who choose to correct our own spelling and don't want any automated assistance.

so, i want just the one autocorrect. outlook has a metric shit-ton. how to get rid of all the others? the interface offers you the opportunity to delete each of the other autocorrects individually, by hand. that's too tedious for me.

put up with autocorrects. delete the unwanted ones one-by-one. leave autocorrect off and keep going to the insert menu for the smiley. no good options!

or... are there?

today i had an amount of time on my hands. i could have used this time to actually clean out my email box, but i had gotten through a week of constant meetings, some of which were quite stressful, and i just didn't feel like doing actual work-work. seemed like a great opportunity to futz with the old computer for a while.

so i googled and searched and searched and googled and finally located partial instructions which i put together with a little trial & error of my own and wah-lah -- the perfect solution!

it goes like this:

open outlook.

open c:\users\%username%\appdata\roaming\microsoft\office.

find *.acl.

move (i.e., cut&paste) all .acl files to a new folder on the desktop.

in outlook, choose: tools -- options -- mailformat -- editoroptions -- proofing -- autocorrectoptions.

on the autocorrect options page, "replace text as you type" should be empty.

add one simple rule (e.g., replace "smile" with "smile"). save, accept, okay - whatever it takes to set this one simple rule in place.

this establishes a presence in the .acl file -- even though it is small, it exists. outlook loads the list when you open outlook, and so, because you've done this with outlook open, outlook doesn't even know the .acl is missing. if you delete the .acl when outlook is closed (or, delete it with outlook open then close outlook without replacing the .acl), microsoft will create a new, full, default .acl the next time you open outlook. get it? you must do all this with outlook remaining open!

open a new message.

don't worry about to, cc, any of that. put the cursor in the message body.

choose insert---symbol then choose the smiley.

select the smiley in the body of note. like, as if you were going to copy it. select.

click "office button" on note's upper left corner and choose editoroptions -- proofing --- autocorrectoptions.

the smile should be in the "with" section.

type ":)" in the replace box.

close outlook.

reopen outlook.

choose: tools -- options -- mailformat -- editoroptions -- proofing -- autocorrectoptions.

on the autocorrect options page, "replace text as you type" should contain only your entries.


12 March 2015

the adventure continues

today, twodots wanted to update.

twodots is a simple little game app i got turned on to from a starbucks free-app code. if you're not familiar, each week starbucks offers a free song or app from the itunes store. the method is a card with a code printed on the back that you can pick up in-store, or if you have the starbucks app, you can get the codes there. you go to itunes and redeem the code. one week, the free-app was twodots.

so i downloaded it and started playing, and it's cute enough. connect two or more dots in a line or square to score colours or sink anchors or put out fires or break ice. each level has a different layout, and the elements are added as you go along. when you pass major levels, you get access to postcards you can tweet out or whatever. like i said, it's cute enough.

after i'd played awhile, i ran out of levels. huh. that doesn't happen to me... i'm not generally what you'd call an early adopter. but this time i must have been because i played out of levels and had to wait for more.

they eventually updated and sent me more, and i played through them again, and then waited and played through. and, so on.

so this time i've been waiting a few days now, and today the update shows up. yay!

so i'm reading the "what's new" section in the app store updater, and it says that some levels have been "rebalanced". huh. what's that? so i tweet the app creators and i'm like, what's rebalanced, and the guy is like, we made certain levels less frustrating.

wait. what? you can DO that?

so these are levels that i've already completed, and now they've changed them, and not only changed them, made them less frustrating. well. maybe i would have liked to have been less frustrated. eh? ever think of that?

what happens now. i've already played those levels. so, i could play them again, maybe get a different score... but it's a different level now. it's changed. it's less frustrating. if i get a better score, do i get an asterisk to go with it?

how do i measure my performance if the ground rules are allowed to change?

well, it's just a game, so it's less about measuring performance and more about just having fun. presumably less frustrating is more fun. i get that.

lots of people haven't played through those levels, so this will be what they think those levels are. they will never know the levels that i played. who cares. it's not like we're competing against each other.

but still. my first reaction when learning they'd rebalanced some levels was a sort of confusion. or, maybe disorientation is a better word. i mean, those levels were already there. how can they change them now?

i mean, i get they aren't set in stone, but weren't they set at all? are you telling me, you can just go out there and change them??

it's not like when the monopoly board game changes, and you're all like - haha, this isn't the game we had when we were kids, haha. it's not the next generation of a board game. it's like, last week these levels were one thing and this week they are something different. that's not a generation - that's a coffee break!

now, three hours later, i've got it under my belt. i am more than fine with it, totally get it, and am psyched to replay the rebalanced levels. it's like having additional new levels. it's all good and understood.

but at first, it was an earth-shattering rug yanking. some people would say that makes me old, set in my ways, inflexible, unable to change. whatever. it's not about not being willing to change - it's simply about being aware of how things are and sensitive to the change.

11 March 2015

it was definitely one of those days.

this morning, i can't get myself going, so i leave the house late which snowballs into a morass of traffic and anxiety. finally get to work, tuck my computer into the dock, prepare to begin a mighty round of spreadsheeting before my first appointment, aaaaand....

it balks, then chokes, then gets stubborn and starts outright fighting me. apps won't load, documents won't print, email won't send, spreadsheets won't open. is it full of molasses? DAMN.

reboot. no change. rereboot. no change. shut down, remove battery, count to five, reinstate battery, redock, boot up, and it tries to start a chkdsk. OH NO YOU DON'T YOU MOTHERFATHER! "to skip disk checking, press any key within 10 second(s)." 9... 8... 7... 6... ACK! STOP! STOP!

i am banging on the keyboard when i realize the computer doesn't even know it's docked, so i spring the lid and bang on the keys, not even worrying if i break the damn dock. chkdsk stops, crisis averted.

i try to get back in there and finish the spreadsheet and it's no where to be found. no where! NO. WHERE. the computer ate my spreadsheet! ACK!



at some point yesterday, i had created a PDF, so i open THAT and start retyping the spreadsheet. type-type-type-alt+tab-read-read-alt+tab-type-type-alt+tab-read-alt+tab-type-type-type....

meanwhile, the clock is just ticking ticking ticking. who cares about the clock? oh, only the person who has a meeting at 8:30, 9:30, 10:30! ACK!

running out of time, i once again yank the computer off the dock and, hoping it can keep its act together, run to staff meeting and set up the computer to rudely as hell keep working on the spreadsheet while my colleagues blather on about their projects.

that's 8:30. 9:30 is reviewing new product plans in a room with no internet (damn stupid ancient basement meeting rooms!). 10:30 is a one-on-one to explain to a technologist some technology i need built, so i can't very well not fully participate there....

finally back in my office somewhere around 11, i plan to knock out the spreadsheet and a few emails then get in a run and eat lunch before my 1pm.

HAHAHAHA. WHO THE HELL AM I KIDDING. there's not enough time for all that, so as per usual, it's the workout i forgo, because nothing spells stress-relief quite like forgoing a workout. #not.

emails, spreadsheet, and off to the 1pm meeting all nice and prepared and maybe finally i can breathe...

nope. 1pm morphs from project updates to: let's spend 30 minutes asking ol' ace what's up with stuff that ain't even on the spreadsheet.

ahh-ha-ha-HA! the devil is laughing at me - dance! dance little human puppet! DANCE!

fortunately for my by-this-time tender psyche, i don't have time now to spend analyzing time i wasted earlier. nope. i have a 2:30!

the final meeting of the day is a slow slog through a dataset. this work is so tedious that half the group are chattering amongst themselves, half are glazedly unable to participate, half are arguing over minutia, and one guy is sitting there with his head in his hands. GREAT. we're finally finished at 4pm. i pack up my obstinate computer and unused workout gear and slouch pitifully to the car.

on the way home, i stop at target, where i purchase 19 pairs of socks to send my niece for her fifth birthday. because nothing says "cheer up, charley" quite like purchasing 19 pair of small, colourful socks. #truly.

09 March 2015

pop to the pop to the pop pop pop

i like popcorn, but i don't like it every day. i like it with butter and salt, or with caramel. i don't really like the cheese kind. i'll eat microwave popcorn, but movie popcorn is better, unless it's old movie popcorn, all broken little pieces and shit. i mean, i like fresh popcorn. who doesn't? every friday, the cafe at work pops fresh popcorn and you can have some, free. i'll usually get some. it's good, but not great, which is weird because it's fresh. hmm. well, it's fresh popped... maybe it's not fresh kernels. the best popcorn is fresh-fresh. first, it's made from fresh kernels and second, you need to get it right out of the popper. fresh-fresh with butter and salt. or, alternately, caramel corn. fresh caramel corn is good, of course, but caramel is like shellac and when you pour it over the popcorn, the combination isn't exactly popcorn anymore. it's more like candy, and the shellac keeps the underlying corn in a freshesque state. like petrified food, caramel corn is forever preserved in delicious edibility.

08 March 2015

under a bushel

we're watching this show about dick butkus and gayle sayers. they both were hall-of-fame football players. after football, dick went on to success in hollywood and gayle went on to success in business. they were highly successful followed by highly successful.

now, it's true that success builds on success. if these men hadn't been as successful in football, i doubt they'd have been as successful in their second careers. but what about their first success - how does that happen? why do some people rise above like that?

talent. hard work. obviously, it's got to be both. but above all, there has to be an exact match between talent and activity. you're talented and you choose the activity that you're talented in. sounds easy enough.

problem is, we end up choosing our path before discovering our talent.

sometimes we're tempted: glitz and glamor, money, power. sometimes it's just that we don't know what to do, so we do what our parents did or what our friends are doing. sometimes we don't have opportunity to choose. we're choosing ends over means, or not choosing at all - just following a default.

how do we get a better match for peoples' talents and their life-paths?

it's complicated. some people would rather make money than use their talents well. some people don't know what their talents are. some people have talents that they don't have the opportunity to use.

i don't know how to fix it for everyone, but i can work on fixing it for myself, and i suggest you do the same.

07 March 2015

why falling back is better than springing forward

1. getting an hour back is better than giving one up. that's just simple logic. wouldn't we all rather get time back? it just feels better.

2. autumn is innately better than spring.

3. springing forward is depressing because when you spring forward, it's constantly later than you are used to. when you fall back, you sort of feel like it's 9am, and it's 8am. bonus! in the spring, you're kind of feeling like it's 9am, but it's 10am. awwww.

4. related to #3 - springing forward makes it more difficult to get my mental bearings. not only am i wrong about what time it is in sort of smallish ways like in #3, i have a greater tendency to completely lose track of time altogether.

5. morning light makes it easier to get up and get going. springing back happens just when the mornings are starting to really get light. yes, they eventually get light again, but i don't like my morning light stolen and tacked on at the end of the day. in the fall, the mornings are brightened with the time change.

6. evening light makes supper later and makes you have to work in the yard after work.

7. falling back doesn't take energy. you just fall... back... and land in a soft bed of feather pillows. springing forward is tiring.

8. so many people like spring and springing forward that it's just trite and boring.

9. more a commentary on the whole time changing thing that spring in particular... the sun is blinding when it is at a certain angle during my commute. this only happens four times per year... before & after springing forward, and before & after falling back. if the time wasn't changed, this whole sun-angle thing would only happen twice.

10. seriously. who wants to lose a whole hour??

06 March 2015

books 2015

miss peregrine's home for peculiar children [ransom riggs]
bones of the lost [kathy reichs]
digital disruption [james mcquivey]
fyre [angie sage]
darke [angie sage]
bones are forever [kathy reichs]
bones never lie [kathy reichs]
learning to see: value stream mapping workbook
swamp bones [kathy reichs]
bones in her pocket [kathy reichs]

05 March 2015

in praise of text

"Text is the most socially useful communication technology. It works well in 1:1, 1:N, and M:N modes. It can be indexed and searched efficiently, even by hand. It can be translated. It can be produced and consumed at variable speeds. It is asynchronous. It can be compared, diffed, clustered, corrected, summarized and filtered algorithmically. It permits multiparty editing. It permits branching conversations, lurking, annotation, quoting, reviewing, summarizing, structured responses, exegesis, even fan fic. The breadth, scale and depth of ways people use text is unmatched by anything."
~~jonathan libov

each weekday, i receive an email called "real future" by alexis madrigal. it used to be called "5 intriguing things", which is a more descriptive title and although i'd only received a couple week's worth of the daily emails when alexis took a new job and changed the name of the newsletter, i still suffer from wistful nostalgia every single day.

see, the newsletter contains... wait for it... 5 intriguing things! alexis scours the raw internet plus tips he receives by email, pulls out 5 intriguing stories, compiles them into a blog post which goes through one of those auto-feed things and becomes an email which zooms through the ether and lands in my email box.

so every day, five somethings different, interesting, short + sweet, each with a blurb and a link to the full article. it only takes a few moments to read the whole thing. the problem is when you see something you want to read more of. well, not problem exactly, but like, if you budgeted a minute to read the email, if you get tempted and follow a link, now you have blown your budget all to hell.

that's what happened to me on 2 march. the first link carried the blurb i copied in above. i read it and was immediately hooked because the concept of text has been rumbling around in my brain lately.

it's like this:

right up until 564 years ago, when ol' johannes gutenberg got his printing press all put together and operational, widespread literacy was not a thing. i'd venture to say, even narrowspread literacy was not a thing. without the written word, how did people communicate, you are wondering? well, they told stories, drew pictures, sang songs, lots of mime and hand signals, semaphores.

before literacy, words were sounds that conjured mental images, feelings, impressions, smells, sights. now we are literate with all our high-falutin letters symbolizing those sounds, forming plain words in our brain, words disconnected from images, words we never taste with our mouths.

the very act of becoming literate distances us from the words we are so hungry to consume.

but that's where we are. that's what we have. text. it's kind of depressing.

but then someone comes along and EXTOLS it. freaking sings the praises of meager, simple little text, little etched lines and dots, little slants and squiggles. it's socially useful! multi-modal! asynchronous! can be searched and indexed - even by hand! text can be corrected, branched, annotated, quoted, reviewed, summarized.

underlying all text is a power, and that power is in the structure, and that structure facilitates the universal acceptance of text.


so, basically, i am thrilled. i click the link to read more.


go ahead.

click it.

read more.

and then come back here and tell me what you think.

04 March 2015

run. say. dance.

run like you stole something.
say it like you mean it.
dance like no one is watching.

run like you bought something.
say it like you're lying.
dance like a crowd is closely observing.

run like you borrowed something.
say it like you're ambivalent.
dance like some guy is there.

run like you put something back.
say it with mime.
dance like you're a wolf.

03 March 2015

dirty little snow lump

i was gonna take you a picture, but i didn't want to get out of the car. picture of what? snowpiles! there are still piles of snow around! dirty, sure, i'll give you that. small, mangled, pushed into the corner. but still - it's snow and it's there. rural legend is that if snow sticks around more than 3 days, it's waiting on more snow. i suppose that we shall see... it's supposed to snow tomorrow night. maybe it will and maybe there will be more piles of snow. clean snow!

it's snowed around here quite a bit this year. snow and ice. lots of snow and ice, freezing rain, freezing fog, refreezing ice and snow. it's been so bad, my office closed two full days and a few partial days due to weather. you don't know my office, but that's highly unusual. highly. unusual.

i like winter. i like snow. i like clouds and grey and cold and drizzle. firstly, on pretty days there is all this pressure to go outside. in winder, you are SUPPOSED to stay inside. i like that.

but i also like getting outside on the cold drizzly days. i like being that crazy person who goes outside when the weather is terrible. that's one thing. another is that running in the heat can be so oppressive. the cold air weighs less.

all summer, when the sun is pressing the humidity down and the heat is weighing on me like a blazing million pounds, i am just hanging in there, just holding on like a malformed, dirty little lump of snow, waiting on the winter.

02 March 2015

acing the test

on the way home, i heard this story on NPR about the "ace" test, and of course i was like, whaaat?

turns out, this ACE stands for Adverse Childhood Experience. well, that sounds like fun. who doesn't like a little adverse childhood experience to liven up the commute home? so i stayed tuned.

from 1995 through 1997, more than 17,000 adults had a standard physical exam and took the quiz. i'm sure they've had some dropout, die, etc., but the majority are being tracked right on through life. what the researchers have found is that there is a high correlation between adverse childhood experience and poor adult health.

they found that higher ACE scores correlated to higher alcoholism, depression, suicide attempts, smoking, sexual promiscuity, physical inactivity, and obesity.

i assume the value here is, now that the study is done, funding for prevention of ACEs can be sought. prevent the ACE, prevent the unhealthy adult. methods can be developed, tested, implemented. plus, unhealthy adults can perhaps be better served.

what i don't get about these sorts of studies is that they aren't telling us anything we didn't know. dysfunction breeds dysfunction. no shit.

what they need to do is a study on how many of us lived through ACEs and came through healthier. hell - i took the quiz, and without even digging, i racked up quite a few points. so what? who cares about ACE points? i am perfectly normal. i mean, what could be more normal than craving to run for miles and miles, all by myself?

there's some good info on the ACE here: http://acestoohigh.com/got-your-ace-score/. at the end of that page, there's something called the resilience questionnaire. i couldn't really tell exactly what is the purpose of that second questionnaire, but i could tell that it did nothing to increase my sense of confidence in my upbringing.

01 March 2015


this evening, we were watching a movie set in 1913, and on a rainy say in the movie, all the folks were hoisting bumbershoots. lots of bumbershoots. lots and lots and lots of identical ebony black bumbershoots.

did you hear said i did there? same. exactly the same.

when we look back at these bygone eras and say -- damn, life was simpler then -- what we are talking about is shit like identical ebony umbrellas.

because we sure as hell are not talking about anything to do with gaining the funds or keeping up your strength enough to acquire an identical ebony umbrella.

case in point: preparing the nightly repast. no take out. no microwave. no frozen burritos. in fact, no "frozen" at all. starting from freaking scratch every freaking time. what WAS simple was choosing what to eat because there were so few freaking options. pork bellies and lard cakes. maybe a stale apple for dessert.

everything was complicated. getting dressed? complicated. preparing meals? complicated. making purchases necessary to run a household? complicated. taking a freaking crap? complicated as hell.

nothing was automatic. nothing was automated. accomplishing any one thing was not simple. there was a lot of dirt, a lot of fixing things yourself, a hell of a lot of walking just to get somewhere, and a freaking lot of sameness.


there was nothing simple about the doing. the simplicity came in what you did.

case in point: acquiring an identical ebony umbrella. first, it took forever to save the money. then, the shopping trip had to be arranged to accommodate harvest time. finally, you had to walk three miles through the muck to the general store. BUT, when you arrived -- no prolonged decision-making necessary! there were only identical ebony black umbrellas. rows and rows of identical ebony black umbrellas.

what could be easier?