Tuesday, May 25, 2010

It's 3am I must be nervous

I'm having trouble sleeping. Last night, too. It's not even midnight, by the usual standards of the past twenty-nine years it's still early. By the current standards of me trying to be reliable and responsible, however, it's god-awfully late. I should have been asleep hours ago, and after a long day, two episodes of Firefly and a stiff whiskey I'm concerned that the job isn't getting done.

My job's various frustrations are taking on a level of extremism that is frustrating at the same time that it's patently ridiculous. It seems like everybody is complaining about how they're not getting any help, but they won't lift a finger to help anyone else. I try not to let it bug me (changing jobs in this economy is kind of a non-option, and besides I really like what I do), but today just knocked me flat.

I realized recently that I am about four years out from the Big Relationship, and that it's been nearly a decade since this person first entered my life. It's been long enough that I have trouble remembering what life was like without that particular pattern set, even with it removed from daily life.

My worry is that I will do the same with the various circumstances of my work life; simply internalize the reality of the present until the workarounds become the standard and I forget that I was ever working around anything in the first place; until I forget that there is perhaps a better way to communicate when you want to get things done.

My bigger worry is that I have already done this. Despite a lot of outward talk about improving my life (losing weight, getting in swimsuit-body-shape, paying down the debt, figuring out how to manage my health and finances in a long-term way), I am making the same self-destructive choices. I know I should stop smoking, but I can't honestly say if I want to. It bugs me to have been single this long, but I only seem to be attracted to the wrong girls.

I've been staring at the piles of stuff and bad furniture arrangements in my space for weeks without coming up with any new ideas for how to clean up the clutter and create a more usable space. I sat down with Leilani for ten minutes last weekend and tossed around a few ideas; between giving the ideas a voice and her suggestions, I have a radically new plan of attack and am excited about the better use of space it will present.

I miss having a partner in life. I have roommates, and I live with family, and I've got no shortage of people who I can talk to; what I don't have anymore is a person who wants to talk about it. Who might bring it up. Whose interests--however divergent in the details--are ultimately aligned with mine. Someone who will share this life I'm trying to re-build for myself.

It's only recently that I've been able to give this feeling a voice; to put it into words that I miss partnership.

And now that I can crystallize the feeling, I can tell you with clarity how much it sucks.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

tiny irritations

I love Google Reader, because it encourages me to absorb content. Instead of having an overwhelming list of blogs that I frequently or infrequently check, many of which are ignored for months b/c I found them late at night and can't remember what they are, I can quickly browse through the list of new stuff and see what's worth looking at today. I like that it helps me prioritize, and it keeps from forgetting about bloggers like elzr, who post infrequently but say fascinating things.

I don't like that it strips out a blog's design, as many of the blogs I read have fantastic design work behind them and google's interface is a bit spartan. I don't like that certain blogs, like this modern world, don't have any kind of syndicated feed, forcing me to maintain a "no rss" folder in my browser (although this solves the problem of what to read on my lunch at work).

Mostly, though, I don't like how rapidly google reader becomes overwhelming. For most of the last nine months, as I've struggled through my first two terms back at school after nine years, the "unread item" counter has simply read 1000+. I just spent three hours combing through my subscriptions, cutting feeds that I'm no longer interested in, catching up on some old favorites, essentially trimming the fat; the counter is still at about 450 items. This is simply too much for me to process when, really, the point of google reader is to aggregate stuff for when I feel like sitting down to read. It makes reading (something I love) into a chore.

What's really frustrating, though, is that it seems to weight quantity over quality. Warren Ellis, for example, posts a LOT stuff, and if I'm just pointing my browser to his blog now and then, I don't particularly mind if I miss something; in the same way that I will miss episodes of a favorite tv show over the course of a season but not be too bothered by it.

A paradigm shift seems in order, but I'm honestly not sure where to look. My issue with bookmarks is that it ties me down to a specific folder in a specific browser on a specific computer. Delicious could make for an alternative, but it's a bit limited with items-per-page. I could go for the old blogroll on the side of the tumblr, but I don't want to have to update my custom skin every time I find a new cool blog.

It is a frustration.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

es endet für dich

We are approaching the end of the year. As I like to say, we are on the downhill slope now. It is time for folks to start making with the best of 2009 posts.

2009 is almost over! It’s the first year of my life that really flew by in an instant. My memory hasn’t been what it ought to be since my chemically extravagant teenage years, so I especially enjoy end-of-the-year summary posts. Also, putting everything in perspective is an excellent way to plot for the future. This year we’re going to start slow, since I’m just now getting on the mend after what turned into a nearly month-long sickness.

- Zoetica Ebb

I think Zo is the first, but she'll hardly be the last. My feelings on an end-of-year retrospective remain conflicted from last year, when I believe I railed against them. But perhaps Zo has a point.

As it is, I'm in the midst of the annual purge of my bookmarks; I hate clutter, and un-clicked bookmarks drive me crazy as they fill up drop menus and make it harder to find the link I'm looking for RIGHT NOW. I'm starting to flip through things and transport the ones worth saving over to delicious, where they can actually be found when needed. So while nobody will see anything from me labelled "best of 2009", the assortment of links and pictures I usually tumble will, for the next few weeks, be comprised largely of stuff I liked in 2009.

It will be a kind of secret best-of list, which is an idea I like. Perhaps in 2010 I will plan better.

Sunday, February 15, 2009

the follow-up

So I never did write that post. I was out looking at laptops (I can't afford to buy) with Sean, and was trying to articulate the shape of the post to him. I got partway through the set-up, which is that it was being fashioned in part as a response to some writing by Ross Douthat that struck me as "wrong" while reading, and how I--as an admittedly-privileged young white liberal male--was sick and tired of hearing folks from "the Right" telling me and everyone else how we "should" behave.

Which is the crux of it all. I'm tired of being told how I should behave. I'm tired of watching other folks be told how they should behave. There's a lot of contentious issues in modern politics, and a healthy debate on them would be a positive thing. We can probably reach some kind of acceptable compromise on abortion, on the death penalty, on affirmative action, on the military-industrial-complex, or any of a host of other issues I read about in grade school, and am still flabbergasted to discover haven't been fucking solved yet.

But "the Right" loves to tell people how they should live, who they can love, and that we all need to trust the Invisible Hand of the Market to somehow set the world's economy straight (wholesale ignoring the astonishing number of people who will willingly lie to get your money away from you, thereby poking a fatal hole in free-market ideas).

Meanwhile, "the Left" loves to tell people how they should feel about abortion, what we must do to save the environment, and that we should trust the Government to take care of us properly (wholesale ignoring the astonishing number of people who will lie their way to keep power when they have zero interest in helping anyone but themselves).

And from both sides, there's a constant battle to accept this religion or that religion and that we should trust religious leaders for their moral authority (wholesale ignoring the astonishing number of priests who rape little boys).

Do I have opinions on all of the above? Yes.
Do I tend to agree with "the Left" most often? Yes.
Do I presume that I have the absolute correct answer to any of these questions? No.

So the only thing I'm going to tell anyone they should do is to not assume themselves to know better. Perhaps you've studied more (I never finished college). Perhaps you have more experience (I've never spent more than four years doing any one thing except being a Dad, and I'm far from the best Dad around). Perhaps you're older and have a better base of history to remember first-hand (I'm twenty-seven, so probably).

But seriously. When everything is a binary issue, we don't solve anything. The losing side will simply wait until they can get in power again, and push their agenda as hard as they can while they can, until the pendulum swings back again.

So Ross? If you're reading? I don't want to hear what I should do as an atheist. I don't want to hear what I should do as a Democrat. I don't want to hear what I should do as a supporter of open access to abortion. I don't want to hear what I should do as a man who's never made more than $30,000 a year (and usually makes far less).

I find it fascinating that you're assuming Obama will fail. I find your views on the potential renaissance of the Republican party fascinating (I'm even reading your book).

But if you keep writing like you're inherently more correct than anyone who disagrees with you, I'm going to stop listening to you at all.

Monday, February 9, 2009


I'm working on a piece right now. It's a response to this article by Ross Douthat that I had a strong, but inarticulate reaction to. The reaction, and the argument I wanted to make, has been slowly taking shape, and was reinforced by this article a few days ago. Today, while trolling through my rss reader, I hit upon a couple quotes that crystallized what I'm trying to say, perhaps better than I can hope to say it.

Nonetheless, I'm doing what I always do, which is that there's something nagging at my brain, and I'm processing it as a piece of writing, because the writing process allows me to come to terms with it fully, and make a far more coherent point than simply linking to a few things and then a few other things and letting you draw your own conclusions. But then ... that's kind of what I'm dancing around in my head.

The real point right now is that as I try to make sense of what I want to be doing, and how I want to use this medium, and how my brain works as a writer, I'm considering a regular piece, on a regular schedule, on loosely related topics. A column of sorts.

Some would argue that, as a nonprofessional writer, writing a regular column and expecting to garner a readership is cocky. I say to them, fuck off, it's the internet and I can do whatever the hell I want. I was hoping to finish the (first) piece tonight and start a schedule for a sunday-evening thing, since Sunday evenings are the time in my week most conducive to reflection and coherent writing. But it's just not quite there yet, and I'd rather give it an extra day to percolate.

The benefits of self-imposed deadlines. I can break them and only have myself to answer to.

Sunday, February 1, 2009

movie sign - the darjeeling limited

From an e-mail I wrote on 10/30/07:
I did like it. I liked the brothers a great deal, and Wes Anderson's sense of humor is fantastic. The thing I'm having trouble with is deciding if the film had any point. As an exercise in character, cinematography, music, and tone, it was phenomenally successful. But as an actual story, it fell a little flat. I might even go so far as to say that it was indulgent. Partially because it quickly becomes very hard for me to sympathize with a character who casually drops that he's spent $6000 on a belt--when the story isn't about them having trouble in the real world because they're rich. Part of it is because it's hard for me to care about their relationship troubles when the three of them were such dicks for most of the movie. I guess if I had to sum it up, I'd say that the movie looked, acted and was directed--and consequently felt like--it was an extended sidebar from a more focused and relevant film. But at so many moments in the story, it seemed like the writers were trying to force this pleasant little diversion into the shoes of that relevant film. And it just didn't gel for me.