31 July 2015

blind pants

this morning while walking to the 8am meeting, i fall in step with a female colleague.

"i have some jeans like yours," i tell her. "with rhinestones on the back pockets. whenever i wear them, i'm worried i'll damage the seats in my car, so i sit on a towel. haha... mine are shorter, cropped just below the knee, so i don't wear them to work."

"wait. you have jeans like these?" she asks with incredulity and vanna-white style gestures in the vicinity of her butt.

"yep! i call them my bling jeans."

"you have bling jeans??"

at this point, i am wondering if there's something askew with my vocalization.

"yes, i do," i say as we enter the meeting room.

"you do what?" wonder the colleagues already there.

"i have jean's like laura's - with rhinestones on the back pockets."

"whaaat?" asks one of them. "you have what?"

"bling jeans. i have a pair of bling jeans."

laura's at it again, waving at her butt as a rhinestone exemplar.

"haha - no way. you??" "can't believe it!" "never!"

basically, i am left wondering what it is about me that says i would not own and furthermore wear rhinestone-pocketed jeans.

"what is it about me that says i would not own and furthermore wear rhinestone-pocketed jeans?"

"oh..." "well, you know..." "um..."

oh, COME ON. it's not like they are made of rhinestone. they have a few rhinestones on the back pockets pockets. it's really not a big deal.

these are not my jeans but they have the same pockets.
see? not a big deal.

it is, however, a very big deal indeed that anyone would find it unexpected that i would wear bling pants. it's a very big deal because i find it to be totally expected that i would wear bling pants. i find it normal. they find it mind-blowingly bizarre. how did we end up with this gaping gap?

(typed part of this on my phone, and it autocorrected bling to blind. haha.)

29 July 2015

this is the part where a smart person has a drink.

so you remember how yesterday i was talking about being almost done with a huge project, when things start to fall apart? yeah, well, joking aside - it's not getting better. however, i have discovered that, apparently, i am a very hopeful person. i seem to believe things are going to work out in a way that i wouldn't expect of myself. maybe because i have invested so much time and effort in this project, i just can't believe it won't miraculously come together.

who am i kidding... i am just a hopeless optimist. well, about work, anyway. looking back, i can see other times where i thought some work thing would come together. as long as the due date is in the future, i believe it can be met. i'd have to say that i am usually rewarded with success, as the projects come together or products get out the door, but i'd also be forced to admit that generally i have a bit more control of all the aspects than i do in this case. it's possible that my optimism is therefore unwarranted here. so i am as a result torn between pure optimism and gut wrenching doubt.

the functionality is critical. we can't move forward without it. and, yet i believe they'll come through. maybe it's not hope. maybe it's denial. huh.

28 July 2015

it ends up like a selfie, only not so much.

imagine you've arrived to a point three weeks from the end of a year-long project, and the next final three weeks before go-live are dedicated to end-user training, and right about now, the members of the team delivering the software portion tell you they need 25+ more hours at $175 per. i, personally, would be mad as hell if that happened. mad as fucking hell.

but enough of that. the other day, someone on tv used the phrase "take umbrage" and umbrage is one of those words i always have to look up because i can't remember if it means to take honor or to take offense. it means the latter, as in, she took umbrage at his surly posture. however, in looking it up, i learned that an archaic definition is shade, as in from a tree. have you heard the expression "throwing shade"? urban dictionary says it means "to talk trash about a friend or acquaintance, to publicly denounce or disrespect". i want you to think about this connection between umbrage and throwing shade, and report back to me with your findings.

you know what's funny? your face. AAAAHAHAHA. no, seriously. you know what's funny? the guy who played clark kent (a.k.a., kal-el) in the movie "man of steel" is british, which is funny when you think about superman being all-american and whatnot, but then joke's on you because superman is from outer space.

so, back to what i was saying at the top. if you were the project leader, how responsible would you feel for the last-minute idiocy of the software developers, and on what criteria would you base your self-imposed level of accountability?

27 July 2015

why i don't have a rain barrel

one of the points that i meant to make the other day, with all that talk about believing in chairs and whatnot, is that most likely the sunrise deserves more faith than my making it through the commute unscathed. i mean, how many times have you heard about a car crash during the commute? and, comparatively, how many times have you heard about the sun not rising. i think you can see my point.

human nature being what it is, though, we just tend to go on and count on something behaving in a predictable way because it's easier to count on something being the way it usually is, rather than try to figure out how something is going to be, from scratch, every time.

what if you had to wonder every single time if there would be electricity when you flipped the switch or water when you turned the tap. if every time were an adventure of the unknown, you'd have to have a backup plan. like, if you couldn't count on the electricity, you'd have to keep candles handy. if you couldn't count on the water, you'd have to have a rain barrel. like, not a hipster hobbyist rain barrel, but an actual working rain barrel.

after a while, though, you'd probably be like... hey, this electricity is coming on every bloody time i flip the switch, why am i keeping these candles? after all of that demonstrated good behaviour, you'd start to feel that you could count on the electricity. it's just human nature, that's all. firstly, the demonstrated dependability can make the backup plan seem redundant, unneeded, and secondly, a redundant backup plan is wasted energy. you just feel like, why am i doing this?

of course we don't experience lack of faith in electricity or water. we don't experience lack of faith in the sunrise. but -- remember learning to drive? hell, i remember when i was beginning to master the wheel, i asked my father: who would ever want to drive 55 miles per hour?? it was unfathomable to me that anyone would want to go that fast -- because i had no faith in my car or my ability to control it. i had no faith in the road, that it wouldn't move out from under me or throw a pothole in my path. if i had any space in my brain to even consider my fellow drivers, i'd realize i had no faith in them either.

now, here i am, with a few years of experience on the road, trusting the commute as much as i trust the sunrise itself.

24 July 2015

wobbly leg garners the second look.

during the morning commute, i was struck by the thought that i have the same amount of faith that the car in front of me will continue along at the same rate of speed - or give me fair warning - as i have that the sun will rise each morning. i mean, the same. i have made no provision for anything to happen with the sun other than its rising. i have likewise made no provision with traffic.

i remember learning about faith and belief in some long-ago philosophy class. the teacher told us that true belief is what we have when we sit in a chair. we give it our all, no plan B. "imma sit," zings by, somewhere deep in the subconscious. the muscle memory is so ingrained it doesn't even require a conscious trigger. nobody declares they are sitting before sitting, because it's not a "say", it's a "do".

equal to the power of the muscle memory is the power of belief in the chair. sure, we'll question a sketchy chair. wobbly leg garners the second look. but we don't question every chair. questioning every chair would add time and hassle and sheer looking the fool, to every interaction with a chair. but then, that being said, time and hassle and sheer looking the fool wouldn't prevent us questioning chairs - if we didn't have a basic belief in chairs.

it's seems a bit of circular logic, but i can see that you can see how much sense it makes. bottom line: we believe in chairs. we assume they will work. and generally, they totally live up to expectations. like the sun. and like the commute.

i believe the sun will rise.
i believe in chairs.
i believe i will not perish on the morning commute.

23 July 2015


another thing about not running on my lunch hour is that i am instead lunching on my lunch hour. this has significantly altered the dynamic of my day. i have discovered that lunching at 11am is much preferable to lunching at noon. firstly, i am famished by 11am so waiting to noon destroys my productivity for the intervening hour. 'bout as well be eating, am i right. secondly, fewer people lunch at 11am, so there's a greater chance i'll be able to lunch alone.

at the old building, in addition to the fitness center with its loverly shower facilities, i had a small fridger right there in my office. at the new building, NO SMALL FRIDGERS ALLOWED. we all share a big fridger and it's cleaned out every friday. so what, you ask. well, i'll tell you what. i'd been in the habit of stocking the small fridger once per week but there's not room in the big fridger for me to stock up, pluswise if i don't consume all the goods by friday, they'll be tossed. unless i remember to remove them. which is not likely.

so, i've taken to taking my lunch.

i'll rustle up a little something at home and package it up and take it along with me, put it in the fridger for a few hours, retrieve it around 11am, and go find a place to eat it. we have some good location choices, some outdoor tables and some screened porches, all very nice and whatnot, but the trick is to find someplace where i can mostly be left alone. i just want to eat and read my book.

running at midday was a way to retrieve some of my alone time. it was pretty simple - strap on the ol' trainers and go. when i first came to this place to work, there were more midday runners. used to be a small group of us - 4, maybe 5. dwindled to 3, then down to 1, maybe 2, then straight to always 1. even when it was a group, though, it was as good as being alone -- i mean, as good a way to restore a piece of myself. i can't explain why running with a group is as good a restoration as running alone, but if you are a runner, you will understand.

but here i am now with lunching instead of running. lunching alone is as good as running alone, in terms of restoration, but lunching not-alone sucks giant donkey dongs.

i think we're done here.

22 July 2015

the one where i whine then use "herculean" in a sentence

another reason i haven't been running as much (besides the heat) is that in moving to a new building, my company put getting folks into cubicles ahead of building a new fitness center. can you believe how completely they mangled these priorities? i mean, c'mon. HR and merchandising can just stay in those common areas while you build my fitness center, am i right? yes, i am right. they just don't get it. #sigh

back when we had a fitness center, i used to run on my lunch hour pretty much every day. after my run, i'd use the locker room and showers in the fitness center to get all cleaned up to go back to work. it could be 30° outside and i'd still end up soaked in sweat, so a lunchtime run without a lunchtime shower is just not feasible for me.

the new fitness center? it's nowhere in sight. they came up with a plan and put it out for bid, and the bids were so high, they went back to the drawing board. now they are suspiciously close-mouthed on the whole issue. i wouldn't put it past them to say they just can't afford a fitness center.

there is a fitness center - with lockers and nice shower facilities - available about a mile down the road, but it's amazingly difficult to get to another building and back during lunchtime. grab my gym bag, head to the car, navigate the parking lot out, get to the other facility, navigate that parking lot, park and get out and into the building and down the hall to the fitness center. there is no way that it's less than 10 minutes to do all that, and i haven't even changed clothes yet. that's another 10 minutes. so. at least 20 minutes into this thing, and i am ready, but i haven't yet run a single step. after all that trouble, i am going to want to make the run worth it, so i'll do 5 miles. that's an hour blown right there. shower and redress... okay, i am lucky to do this in less than 20 minutes. another 10 back through parking lots, etc., all the way back to my desk. altogether it's pushing two hours and i just don't have that kind of time at mid-day.

so i don't use that option. most of the time, i will go for a run after i'm home for the day, or i'll do yoga or play soccer. some days - like today - i will have a really difficult workout: we went to the pub for ales and an order of fish & chips. it was really quite herculean.

21 July 2015

universal-tidbit blossoms

i don't want to simply report the news. you can read news anywhere. and i don't want to use a random writing prompt and end up with paragraphs out of context. i don't want to write book reports. i don't want to spew loose blather.

what i want to do is observe little tidbits during my day, pull them into my mind, plant them there, pour on the fertilizer so that they grow, and watch them to blossom with a connection to the universal. then, i harvest the universal-tidbit blossoms and share them with you in a fascinating way.

problem is, i don't seem to have a lot of tidbits these days. sure, i've been busy at work and, sure, i've been reading more books and,sure, i've been playing quite a bit of this brain deadening app game called two dots. but above all, the reason i don't have tidbits is that i haven't been running as much.

running just loosens up my mind so the tidbits take hold and grow so that i can harvest the universal-tidbit blossoms and share them with you. what i have been doing instead of running is yoga, which doesn't promote tidbit nurture at all. yoga promotes single-mindedly straining to hold tortuous poses, alternating with falling the fuck asleep while imitating a king pigeon.

20 July 2015

what i did this summer

haven't been running because it's too hot outside, so i am doing a lot of yoga instead. am wrapping up a big project work, been at it going-on 14 months, and we're in testing now with go-live planned for the first of september. yesterday i had a food hangover from saturday supper at olive garden followed by popcorn at the movies followed by coffee with a bakery treat topped off with a glass of wine. spent a couple weeks making kool-ade and swimming in the lake at summercamp... that was cool. read a few of the books listed here, in another post. the place i work moved to new offices (mine is pretty sweet). participated with my soccer teammates to win the indoor league and miserably lose the outdoor. successfully introduced sweet potato fries and black beans with salsa into the regular rotation. went to the movies and saw spy and trainwreck, and watched ex machina on pay per view. completed 360 levels of two-dots. finally found a comforter for the master bedroom and a pair of jeans i really like. touched a horse on the nose. saw a blood red moon, in the sky, between the branches of a tree, over a rusted tin roof.

among other things.

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]
the name of the wind [patrick rothfuss]
the wise man's fear [patrick rothfuss]
the slow regard of silent things [patrick rothfuss]
the iron daughter [julie kagawa]
unenchanted [chanda hahn]