"You gonna get another job?"...

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
Fucker. I literally spent the entire day, sitting here, watching a file download. 8.75 hours. But that was just the first step. Once I had the files I needed to run the program again. Well when I went to run it again it glitched and 2 of the 3 files didn't save right. So here I sit. I was like "fuck it, I'm done," but then I realized there really isn't anything else for me to do right now. Too late to call anyone about real estate. Too early to start dinner. I guess I could take a nap. Yeah. A nap would be good. Had about 3 hours of insomnia last night and didn't get my lunchtime siesta either. But first I think I'll see if I can get in the Control Panel and keep the computer from "sleeping". Then I can sleep on the clock while the computer does its work.

Fucking again.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
I really hadn't planned on a "dry January." I'm always suspicious of these media-created "events." But I got sick last week and abstained to speed recovery. Had a beer with dinner but didn't feel like having my usual evening cocktail. And being down to 1 cocktail the past few days has been unusual too. I was probably drinking too much before The Dog died, but after she died it got a bit excessive. I'd have 1 and finish it before I was ready for bed and after making a second the floodgates were open. But my body apparently has decided it wants a bit of a break.

Weight finally seems to be coming off too. Slowly, but it's consistent now. And today I felt over my bug enough to exercise too. So fingers crossed.

On the other front, life still sucks. Stuck in this contracting job I hate and a factory job I planned to be done with months ago. Add in the shortened daylight of winter and not being able to do much active and/or outdoors last week because I was sick. Then there's...I set aside Thursdays for my business. Had a meeting with my attorney scheduled for 2 weeks ago. Blizzard. I can drive in snow. But that doesn't matter if no one else on the road can. Had to cancel because of traffic. Rescheduled for last Thursday. He had to push it back to this Thursday because he was going to be out of town. Which is lucky because otherwise I'd have had to cancel again because I was sick. Which brings us to this Thursday...when the weather report calls for...ice and snow. :confused: I'm really getting tired of my plans constantly getting fucked in the most improbable ways. I think it's a big part of my insomnia (although I think drinking and being out of shape were also playing a part)--I wake up to worry about things I can't change. And one of the things I worry about is not having enough time to TCB. But part of the reason I don't have enough time during business hours is because I spend 2-3 hours every night, laying awake at 4am, thinking about how I don't have enough time in the days. Self fulfilling prophesy.

[edit: at least on the second time the files loaded in under an hour. And I got paid to sit around while they took forever to fail to load properly. So it is what it is.]
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
Weight is definitely coming off. At first, not drinking last night seemed like it made things worse instead of better--instead of sleeping for 3-4 hours and then waking up and laying there for 2-3 hours, I just started right out with the laying awake in the dark, staring at the ceiling. Decided to fire the computer back up and have a cocktail, but in the mean time I also decided to write in my journal.

I've kept some kind of journal since...oh, at least the early 1990s, I'd have to go look to see. It is certainly sporadic--and got even more so when I started a Blue Room thread over at WF and later moved it here--but I still write in it sometimes. One of the things it has been useful for in the past was insomnia. I'd get a thought in my head and worry about it (or worry about forgetting it in the morning) so I'd get out the book and write it down. The act of writing both got it on paper so my brain didn't worry about forgetting it, and helped me work through why it was in my brain. I started using it more often with this recent bout of insomnia. Last night I made a few important breakthroughs. In no particular order:

I've worked for my friend longer than I took care of my Mom when she had cancer. There are some real similarities--and differences. I'm older now. And with more resources. And less responsibilities--well, different responsibilities--so it is less difficult to commit to an extended unpleasant task. The task is also more palatable. Part time work from home for pretty good money--basically whatever hours I want to do--is a lot easier than foisting my brand new, high maintenance dog off on friends, locking up my house, and moving halfway across country to sit in your childhood farmhouse 10 miles from the nearest town (of under 2,000 people) with only a sporadic 3G cell phone signal for Internet during the dead of a Wisconsin winter. I came, thinking I might not even make it home before she died and left 3 months later (she didn't die for another 4 months). It's cold to say, but my Mom wasn't a terribly warm or likable person. She also had some serious control issues. When I'd about used up my family leave from work, I put out feelers about staying. Mom wasn't a person who believed in dogs in the house. And at some point I had to take my dog off my friends' hands. So I suggested that I would have to bring my dog out if I was going to stay. Her reply to this was not "OK" or "No." It was "And you'll have to sell your house."

Hello. Sell my house? Give up my entire life to take care of you while you die? The house I asked for a loan to buy and you refused--after loaning me money to start a business and me repaying that fully and on time--so I had to empty out my IRA and take a big capital gains hit? That was the moment when I was done. And maybe I'm horrible for not being more compassionate to someone who is dying, but I'm only human. And when I've made every possible concession and can't even open a dialog on getting one minor but important one in return, well, if you want to be in charge of the rest of your life, go ahead. To be fair, before I left, I did find her a nice assisted living facility that took good care of her for her final months, and I made the only decision that worked at the time, but there's always a part of you that second-guesses decisions. Hindsight is 20-20. And she didn't leave a will. Settling her estate from half a country away after using up all my time off is a whole other saga.

Anyway, if I can put an end date on taking care of my dying mother, I can certainly put an end date on helping my friend out with his department. They've got their intern hired and they're in the process of automating one of the big tasks I have. In March spring will be coming. Days will be getting longer and warmer. I'll be able to get more stuff done. My Dog will have been dead for a year. It's time to get back to living my life.

I also realized I could quit the factory job. It pays less than contracting and would free up commensurate time for real estate work. I should be able to leave on good terms so I can come back if I ever need to. That said, even back in June, before I took the job for my friend, I was looking at whether I could afford to quit. Worst case, my friend completes his last hire and I don't have any paychecks coming in. That might cause the bank to call in my HELOC, but since I don't have any money drawn from it--and haven't seen any houses that I'd like to use the money to buy--that wouldn't be a major setback. I've also got a fat cushion of cash set aside right now. That was also to go toward another rental, but if I had to live off it, I could do that.

As I was thinking about all these things, I realized the reason for my insomnia: I think I've mentioned before, how important the Boyd Cycle, or OODA Loop is to my decision making process. You go through this Observe, Orient, Decide, Act cycle to make decisions. If you're never acting, the whole thing shuts down. Yes, inaction is a form of action "if you choose not to dedide, you still have made a choice," but it isn't a very rewarding--or helpful action. It doesn't generate any feedback. If I quit my job and then I have unexpected expenses, I realize that was a mistake and can get another job (and getting another job isn't that big a deal in this economy). Just going on going on is a kind of grey limbo area where you hang there and wait for things to act on you.

Speaking of which, I think I will extend my Problem Child renter on month-to-month for a bit, but am planning to move him out sooner rather than later. I'd move him out at the end of February if it was feasible. But I don't think it is. Well, should be going. The problem with acting is, you have to act. Talking about it is good to get everything laid out, but at some point--sooner rather than later--you have to stop talking and get back to doing.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
And now I'm back. Working on my second cocktail for the evening (although I don't think I'll be getting completely lit tonight. Stuff to do tomorrow--in spite of icy roads).
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
Random thoughts round-up: I seem to have my clockwork 4am insomnia resolved. I think physical exercise combined with weight-loss/diet was the key, although setting a deadline on when I'm going to act on some things probably helped too. Of course all the wonderfully decisive things I just said largely went out the window now. My friend thinks they've got someone in India now. There's also a company-wide initiative to automate the big checklist I maintain, so there should be an end in sight--and it should line up pretty nicely with the March deadline I was all set to impose. This does make me put aside leaving the factory job--at the least until I get my first property rented again. I really should get moving on that. I'm considering managing it myself instead of hiring a property manager. I'll keep looking for a property manager, but I really shouldn't be dragging my heels on listing the place anymore. I should have learned a few things on the first 2 renters. And I think I'll keep the 2nd one on a month-to-month lease for at least a little bit. The headache should be worth the cash flow--as long as the cash continues to flow--until I'm ready to get that property turned and relisted. When all that gets done I'll either have to find my 3rd property or, if there continue to be no good deals out there, work on getting my storage spaces fully renovated so I can get them rented out. When that's done I can look at my income and decide if I still need the factory job or not.

Mourning. Grieving. I'm mostly over losing my pets. I said I'd give myself a year--unless a new pet just fell into my lap. That would put things at mid-March. I was thinking dog first and then cat, but maybe I'll get a cat first. Cats are lower maintenance and it will also give the cat time to establish the house as its "space" before adding a dog. I'm not actively pursuing a girlfriend at this point. If one happens, great, but that seems less and less likely. And it feels more and more like that window was missed in my life. There were a lot of singles in my family--on both sides; people I loved too, like my Aunt. So maybe that's my thing. (I'm not completely ruling out the priesthood either. It would likely be a good fit for me in many ways, but I'm also not actively pursuing that now.)

A few years back the "what [XYZ] character are you?" quizzes were a big fad so the other day I decided to see if I could find a "What BSG character are you?" one. I've got a pretty good idea what character I am, but I was curious what some random test maker might come up with. I got Admiral Adama. I'd love that, but I don't particularly see it. I guess maybe. But not really. I suspect I'm more Apollo. Stubborn, idealistic, compassionate and determined to do the right thing to a fault, single. My Dog was my Starbuck, in the sense that I believe she was an angel sent to guide me to where I am right now. And when I got here, it was time for her to leave. But I still hold hope that she'll come back to me (in the form of a new dog). I've been posting pictures of her to Facebook every week since her death and as I look for the next one (and it looks like I'll have just about enough good ones to get through my decided year of mourning) I'm reminded of Apollo's big scene with Lamkin, where he asks what kleptomaniac Romo took from him and Lamkin says he thought about stealing the picture of Starbuck that Apollo carried around but that he'd already had enough taken from him. Boy, that's how I feel sometimes these days. Although relative to some people, I really can't complain.

Last thought, and I feel rotten that it is just tacked on instead of worked into everything else, because that's really the story of it, is The Cat's memorial. See after The Dog died, I decided I was going to do a memorial with pictures of her every week for a year. Then The Cat died 3 months later and I had to figure out what to do with that. I did a few of The Cat when she died. And some of The Cat with The Dog, but mostly decided to do The Dog's year and then a year for The Cat. Although now I don't know if that starts in March, as soon as I'm done with The Dog's memorial or if I should wait until June so it lines up with the anniversary of her death. It really highlights that unknowingly cruel question siblings ask their mothers: "Which of us do you like best?" Because Mom is going to say "I like you both equally," but this year I learned that wasn't true. I loved The Dog more than The Cat. Emotionally, I feel a little bad about that, but intellectually, not so much. Dogs and humans have evolved--literally evolved--a much closer bond than cats and humans. The love, the need, and the means of communicating it is so much stronger. The Dog needs--or at least communicates her need--you so much more than The Cat. I loved The Cat and I'm sure The Cat loved me. But I was able to have a life that didn't totally revolve around The Cat. And The Cat had her things that she did that didn't totally revolve around me; she had her own life and interests. Even when The Dog was out doing something herself, it was related to me--guarding the property for example.

Well, I should get going and try to get some productive things done.

Oh, that's the other thing: It's around freezing right now. I worked last night--and we had a mandatory 30 minutes of overtime. Getting back in the flow of things after being sick, and I've been exercising long enough now that it's getting easier--but also starting to become a grind. I should go out for a run today--especially since I seem to have hit another plateau on weight loss/fitness--but I really don't fucking want to. I guess I should at least go for a brisk walk and do my basic calisthenics, though.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
You ever notice how those blood pressure machines have just *disappeared*? They used to be ubiquitous. And I found them useful. I could hop on one and make sure my blood pressure was about where it should be. Then one day they all just seem to have went away. Today was cold and miserable. And by the time I finished my hike (should have been a run, but I was weak and lazy) it was late. But I realized my shopping list was pretty short and could likely be fulfilled at the Wal*Mart 3 blocks away. First item was razors. And lo, tucked in a forgotten corner of the Wal*Mart, was a blood pressure machine. BP is still right about where I'd expect it--a tad on the high side, but still "normal."

This was one of the later models with all the bells and whistles. One of the bells and/or whistles was weight/BMI. Now grading on a curve, for being over 50 and living in the USA (in Kentucky in particular) I'm a svelte, sexy bitch. But by strictly clinical standards, I'm on the edge of being overweight. And not on the good side of that edge. By the boring table of my reported height and age and the weight the machine calculated, I'm slightly overweight. Which is accurate. But I'm not happy about it. I'm working on it though.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
So. For years I had a Vendetta War against FaceBook. They kept shitting up my feed with shit I didn't want--in spite of me telling them I didn't want it. I'd report the shit. I'd delete it. But they ignored me. Since FaceBook makes its money by selling my personal information, I fought back by deleting all my personal information. Then, when they still didn't stop, I deleted most of my friends. At this point we seem to be in a detente. They've stopped shitting up my feed (for the most part) so I've started adding some content back. Today a girl I had a crush on asked to be added back as a friend.

Dang.

When I was 35 or so, I had to leave Portland. There were no fucking jobs, in spite of me having an MBA and being eminently qualified for all kinds of stuff. So I went to live in Hawaii for 6 months and do cool stuff for the Marines. After they decided I wasn't an idiot, they asked me to stay for 2 years and paid me a shit-ton of money. Like writing a personal check for a brand new car when I got back to Oregon kind of money.

At the time, The Plan was to find a place to live until I found a Job. Then I'd buy a house near my Job. Found a woman my age that had a spare room. And she was cute and had a dog. So maybe this was my Happy Ever After.

But no. Because she was Holly Golightly from "Breakfast at Tiffany's." And as much as I like that movie, it should not end with Happy Ever After, it should end with Holly taking the cab to the airport while George Peppard stands there in the rain with a cat. I tried everything within my abilities to win her but couldn't figure it out so eventually I had to walk away. These days she's a dog groomer, which is good. Fits her. I'm happy about that. But she lost her house. And now she's in some shitty apartment. Stupid bitch. If she'd just let me take care of her and love her and not have all the stupid tests...truth be told, I'd probably be much less happy. Because when it gets down to it, it took a few years, but after I moved back to Oregon from Hawaii I eventually realized Oregon did not love me. I had loved it, but it no longer loved me back--if it ever did--and I had to get out of there.

I don't regret all the time I wasted, trying to make Oregon work. But I can't help wondering where I'd be today if I'd listened to the recruiter back in 2002, when I told him my plans to move there. (Those plans made sense on paper, but ultimately, he was absolutely right.)
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
9pm and I've pretty much done everything. Well not really. I could review my lease for the renter that is expiring at the end of February. I could e-mail a friend, asking for a non-renewal of lease letter. I could've went and saw "West Side Story." The car needs to be washed and detailed. The one garage needs to be cleaned out. I've got a huge pile of brush to be burned. I could organize stuff in the basement. I could write a letter to the police department that recovered my stolen gun. I've got a couple checks that need to be deposited. I could try to get a girlfriend. But none of those things sound like fun to do after showering and changing to jammies and having a nice cocktail. So I dunno. I guess go to bed? At 9pm?

Feeling a sense of ennui tonight. Like a rat on a treadmill. Eat and sleep so I can go to work to make money so I have things to eat and a place to sleep. And I could buy more things to eat and clean the place I sleep and the clothes that get dirty when I wear them. The Plan was to get a million dollars so I could live off the capital gains. Or just get enough passive income that I have positive cash flow. But then what? Once you've "won" the "game," what's the point of continuing to play? Oh, there are plenty of little things that still need doing. Plenty. And volunteer opportunities. I could paint. Or do theater. Or garden and farm. I could get another dog. Heh. Typing it, Life doesn't seem so pointless. Just the part where I'm getting enough money to get to that point.

On a completely unrelated note, I've been adjusting my diet to the realities of the calories I need. I'm actually making better progress than maybe I want. A lot of the things I used to eat, really weren't in portions for a single guy. I used to give The Dog a slice of my pizza. Since I don't have a dog now, I've started cutting the pizza in half and cooking half a pizza. Switched to eating half a box of mac & cheez and saving the rest in a tub to nuke the next day. My other standby convenience meal is Pasta-Roni with a can of tuna in it. I didn't feel like there was enough of that to break into 2 meals, so I ate a whole pot tonight. And now I feel like a bloated tick. I guess I can break that down into 2 meals as well.

This may be why I'm in a funk too. No dog or cat. Living alone by myself, eating 1/2 pizzas and collecting Tupperware full of leftovers. Playing solitaire. I feel like my Mom, after Dad died. Or my Aunt. Just marking time, waiting to die. Got to get my purpose back.
 

FBI parte due

Folces Weard
You ever watch Kurosawa's Ikiru?
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
I have not.

Spoke too soon. Woke up around 2:40 last night. Strong evidence towards too much food for dinner being the culprit, but not conclusive yet.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
Yeah, I read the Wiki blurb. Sounds like a nice little movie. Never heard of it before.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
Working for my friend. Feeling depressed about it. I'm doing valuable work--or at least work that I'm told needs to be done and no one else has time to do. But it's strictly a stopgap. Because we reinvented the wheel each time they added a new task for me. Well, not entirely, but nothing was done in a standardized way. Or documented. Case in point: Right now I'm downloading a bunch of files to save to SharePoint. When it was decided that I'd do this, it was "Lisa will show you how to do it." So first it was "do you have permissions to access files at the URL?" "No." "OK. We'll put in a ticket to get you access." Once I had access, I was showed the location of the archived files and it was basically "if 1234 has a report, pull that report and save it to the SharePoint." So, fairly routine, once everything was up and working. But I'm hoping to leave this job--last September if that were possible, but ASAP will do. At this point I don't remember what ticket I had to fill out to get permissions.

Or the SharePoint checklist. Tasks are categorized: Monthly, Quarterly, Annually, etc. Well in addition to Annually, there are more specific descriptions: Yearly-January, Yearly-February, ...Yearly-December. Should those be converted to "Annually"? Or should all the "Annually" tasks be converted to "Yearly-X"? A good question. But truth be told, I just don't care enough to ask it. My goal is to keep things afloat until they've hired everyone they're supposed to hire and then get the flock out.
 

Volpone

Zombie Hunter
A couple thoughts. One because it percolated into clarity just now, as I was playing Sudoku: One of my Great Truths is "You can't solve some people's problems; all you can do is take the consequences off them so they're free to find more problems." This is in regards to my renter. I don't like him. I don't want him. He's dishonest and manipulative. His lease is up at the end of February. I'll be getting rid of him. I've been dragging my heels--partly because my other property is still vacant and partly because I'm concerned that he won't be able to find another place. And because I told him, back in November, that I'd put him on month to month after the lease was up and we'd play it by ear (or words to that effect). The "not being able to find another place" is mainly selfish--if he's got no other options, he's more likely to not move out and need to be evicted. I've also got a lease wording thing that means I'm going to have to read the whole fucking lease to see if I have to give him the legally required 30 days notice or if I'm obligated to give him 60 days notice.

The other thing is an interesting study in perception versus reality--that actually got reinforced by my time in the Marines. I'm a 50something white male. I'm average height, in shape, and not ugly. I know how to dress and carry myself so that the average human will respect and listen to me. And I have no guilt about using that to my advantage. Other day we had a Teams meeting to meet the new intern, so we all had to fire up our little Webcams and smile at each other. Had on a collared shirt and a blazer. Made sure I was shaved and my hair was good, the lighting in the room worked, and my various diploma were on the wall behind me. My friend/boss was in a sweatshirt, a knit cap, and a bushy white beard. One of the team mentioned that I looked like the boss and my friend looked like the intern. I, of course said my friend actually looked like a hobo who'd stolen a company computer. Good times. I should mention, in the Marines if you want to increase your chance of being promoted, you make sure Headquarters has a "package" from you. The Package will have a photo of you in uniform. You should look sharp and fit and competent in your uniform and your appearance is actually a factor in getting promoted. Because as a leader your appearance is a factor in people following you.

Well here's the funny thing: While I understand the importance of perception in real life to influence people, I increasingly fail at it with technology. And the Marine Corps played a role in that too. I still get the idea of telling a good story and one of the important things I did on my last contracting job with this company was explain what we were going to do to split the company into industrial and HVAC products in a way that was clear and simple and made the bigwigs feel comfortable that we had things Under Control. But right now, the ostensible reason I was hired was to use this software to take raw data and turn it into slick charts and graphs that people can use to understand the data. And I hate it. It's geeky. I want to give the people who spend all their time on it noogies. One of the things you do as a Marine officer is give "confirmation briefs." These days, that means PowerPoint. You show the commander how you're going to fulfill your part of their mission. So at school we had to give these briefs. And one guy gave one that was absolutely BRILLIANT. You know the really slick TV weathermen with the backgrounds and transitions and animations? It was like that. Beautiful. When it was done there was silence. Then one of the instructors pointed out that the risk of this is that you could upstage one of the older, more senior officers that was briefing from a flip chart of maps and a whiteboard with dry erase markers.

So it's kind of an odd dichotomy. I have no problem using my Old White Guy image to get people to believe me, but when the idea comes of making computer graphics that are slick and impressive, my response is: "NERDS!!!!!!"
 

Lanzman

No-one of consequence
Once I had access, I was showed the location of the archived files and it was basically "if 1234 has a report, pull that report and save it to the SharePoint."
Why . . . why don't they just save things to Sharepoint to start with?
 
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