Sick and Tired

I felt it starting Wednesday night.  Thursday I woke up with a gravely voice and an overwhelming sense of…meh.  By the time I got off of work on Thursday I felt completely wasted and wrecked.  Friday I woke up feeling even worse.  I ended up calling out and spending the day watching Top Gear firmly planted on the couch, and Saturday was no better.  Sunday I finally began to feel human again.

I hate being sick.  The feeling of not being able to do anything is worse than choosing not to do anything.  The weather has been unbelievable the last two weeks and we have been wanting to go for a hike, but first my wife was sick, now I am.  We also have a vacation coming up in a couple of weeks, and I really don’t want to be sick while doing that.

It is a part of the human experience that we end up sick.  Viruses, bacteria, allergies, fungi; these are all part of how our world has ended up as it has.  These have changed human history in countless ways.  In the late 19th century germ theory began to spread through the scientific community, giving people the knowledge and abilities to begin fighting back against disease.

Which brings me to this: it has been almost 150 years since we discovered that washing your hands, covering your mouth, and staying away from people when you are sick keeps everyone healthy.  What the hell, humanity.  Do those things.  For all of our sake!


 

It’s been a pretty slow week for me.  I spent a surprising amount of it on the couch watching Top Gear and documentaries.  For that I would like to thank Netflix and iTunes.  I do have a couple of things I would recommend this week, though.

  • The NPR Politics Podcast is excellent.  They stay very middle of the road, great insight and good discussion.
  • Need a little joy in your life?  Have an Instagram?  Then follow Bunnymama.  It is all bunnies, all the time.
  • Check out last week’s post, Is 2016 over yet?
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Is 2016 over yet?

Did you know that 2016 is being forecast to be the longest year in recent history?  Scientists are now speculating that 2016 will last up to three years in length due to formerly unsuspecting forces such as vitriol, bloviating, and even some wailing and gnashing of teeth.

It’s an election year here in the United States.  More than that, it is a Presidential election year.  After a fairly contentious 8-year run, a new Chief Executive will gain the privilege to call 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue both home and work.  The contest started early with Senator Ted Cruz of Texas declaring his intention to run in March of 2015.  And it only got stranger from there.

We are now a little more than 7 months away from casting our votes in November, and the way forward is no more clear now than it was last March.  This post was not written to make that any more clear.  It certainly was not written to support one candidate over another.  It was written purely because I am tired.

I was given some advice recently to write for myself, to not be afraid to offend.  So, as I approach the one-year anniversary of this blog, I found myself wondering what to write now.  I have started political entries before, and they usually find themselves in the trash, if not relegated to drafts hell.  I don’t like to offend.  I don’t enjoy disagreements.  The simple fact is though, that I’m tired.

I’m tired of not saying anything.  Of endless memes (and not very good ones at that) on Facebook.  I’m tired of people looking down at others, simply because they believe there is a different way.  I’m tired of both sides of the arguments.  Get your shit together America.

Every two years, we get to have a revolution.  Sometimes it is in your favor, sometimes it’s not.  But we get to have one.  Our country has one of the lowest voter turnouts in the world.  Why?  Our country has huge problems, problems that revolve around the health of our kids and our adults and our elderly.  Our country has issues around privacy.  Around guns.  Art.  Education.  Equality.  These are important topics, and we should talk about them.  We should be voting on them.

I believe that America can solve these problems.  That we are smart enough.  That we can aim for the stars, and still be wrong.  That we can work hard, and help others, and be better than we are right now.  I believe we can be worse, too.  I believe in our abilities, and in our spirit, and in our dreams.

I might be naive about how the world works.  I might be a dreamer, and I am undoubtedly foolish.  But that doesn’t mean I’m wrong.

2016 is going to be a long year.  But I’m happy about that.

Life & Recap

It’s been quite a week. Pitchers and catchers reported for Spring Trainig, which is always exciting. The weather has been insane, with temperatures in either the 80’s or the 60’s and some rain to boot!  My little family has been pretty sick, and my work load is in for some new challenges.

It’s always nice to stop and take stock. Enjoy the moments as they pass. The host of a podcast I listen to, Chris Hardwick of The Nerdist Podcast, said, “Learn from the past, plan for the future, live in the present.”  I think that’s exactly right.

We can get so caught up in election years, taxes, work, and the myriad of disasters and “high priorities,” that we lose sight of life happening right in front of us.

So go hug a parent, watch some birds, take a breath. Challenge yourself to take a photo a day, write a journal, buy a new book. Take a moment to enjoy the day.


 

So let’s recap the week!
There is so much that has happened over the last few days around Apple and the FBI.  Please do some research. This is an important issue and one we should all be educated about.  Check out this LA Times article which describes some of the recent developments.

Also,check out last weeks post, Trip Planning.

Trip Planning

On Sunday I posted about our digital footprint and how we should protect our information (Do You Know Where Your Data Is?).  On Monday, a Federal magistrate handed down a verdict that Apple Inc. must create software that will allow the FBI access to a cell phone belonging to the San Bernardino shooter.  Apple’s CEO, Tim Cook, released this statement on Tuesday.  A backdoor is a backdoor for everyone, no matter their intentions.


I’m planning a trip.

When I say, “I’m planning,” what I really mean is I am part of a group planning a trip.  And there are always decisions that have to be made.

My family is great at a lot of things; laughing, cooking, watching movies.  But making decisions is conspicuously absent from that list.  Picking a movie involves a lot of false starts, arguments, and compromises.  I have a feeling planning this trip will be much the same.

When I was younger and thought about traveling, I always imagined it would be spur of the moment, “Let’s go!” type of event.  Services like Airbnb and Uber only seemed to make that imagined trip a little closer.  I could book airline tickets on my way to the airport, land, get a car, and a place to stay, all on my iPhone.  I wouldn’t need to bring a camera and a phone and music and a DVD player or my computer or…well, anything except my clothes and a charger.

I have a wife and child now, not to mention a better understanding of money.  That imagined trip is just that, imagined.  It was never real to begin with.  The trip I’m planning now?  All too real.  The adventure of going somewhere new.  Of driving 1,200 miles.  Of finding new food.  And most of all, coffee.  The excitement of an adventure.

We’ve rented a car.  We have a place to stay.  We have a rough understanding of the public transportation system.  We are starting to figure out what we will do while we are there.  There have been some false starts, a couple of arguments, and even some compromises.  But the excitement is still there.  And an awful lot of it was done right from my iPhone.

Nothing to do now but wait, and dream of adventure.

 

Where do you want to go?

 

Do you know where your data is?

Who owns the data you generate?  That is a basic question that anyone that uses the internet, or an electronic device in gneral for that matter, should be asking themselves.

When I snap a photo on my iPhone, use Instagram to edit the photo, then upload it to Twitter, who owns the photo?  Who can reprint it?  Who can look at it?

Here’s another example; if I take a picture, upload it to Facebook, and then someone extracts the metadata from that photo to find out where I like to hang out, is that illegal?

Data is what everyone wants: companies want data to better sell us more products, law enforcement wants data to know where individuals of interest are and what they are doing, theives want data to know who might not be home or what valuables you may have.  Data is everything.

In my work I see people everyday that are worried about the wrong things.  Worried that people are watching them from their cellphone cameras.  Worried that the NFC chip in their phones are leaking financial data.  Worried that the their fingerprint will fall into someone else’s hands.  Meanwhile, no concern is given to the fact that their password is easily guessable, that they use unsecured wifi, that they have no passcode on their phone.  The important inconveniences are ignored, while the vauge theoretical possibilities are focused upon.

Having control of our data should be at the forefront of any discussion on rights in the 21st century.  A free society also means a private society.  Saying you have nothing to hide is a fallacy; being private means not having to disclose which park your children play at, what you bought from Amazon, which cat videos you choose to watch, or what conversations you had with your significant other.

It isn’t about stopping terrorism.  It isn’t about catching kidnappers.  And it isn’t about bringing you services.

It is about your data.

We have given up so much already, why do we shrug our collective shoulders and walk away when it comes to the data that forms our very lives.


So, what happened this week?

  • On the above topic, for the United States, if I may encourage you to write your representitives!  Just check here.  Also, register to vote!  It is primary season, and it is an election year.
  • I finished my 4-Part story this week.  Read Part 1, Part 2, Part 3, and Part 4.
  • Continuing my coffee recommendations from last week, if you are ever in San Luis Obispo, CA, please check out Bello Mundo.  A surprising amount of this blog has been written there.

Good luck this week everyone.

 

 

That Woman: Part 4 of a Story

For Part 1, Part 2, and Part 3

The Woman and Mr. Williams

The moment was palpable.

I was riding the elevator down from the 32nd floor, my mind still on the meeting I had just left.  The music was irritating in a vauge way and the person behind me was standing too uncomfortably close.

I was just thinking about what i would have for dinner, and that maybe I would have a beer with it.  Maybe I would even take John and Marie up on their offer to go listen to a friend of theirs play a club downtow…the doors opened.

The moment was palpable.

Everything was right; blonde hair cascading around her face and shoulders like a retro-chic waterfall, the blue eyes that were cold as ice and as warm as a summer pool, the high cheekbones and button nose, the business suit that fit just so.

I noticed other things while we talked; her grandmother’s ring on her right index finger, the black patent leather heels that made her feel taller, the same slightly worn Coach briefcase.  But all of that took time to see.

All I could see were her eyes.


“How long did you talk to each other?”

The question brought me back.  I had gotten lost again.  I cleared my throat.  “Not long.  Maybe five minutes.”

“What did you talk about?”

I took a deep breath.  The bastard wasn’t going to like my answer.  “Nothing.”


“Linds.”  I always called her that.

“Oh my G…Jake.”

You know how sometimes movies do that effect where they’ve mounted a camera on the guy’s chest and then do a strange time state so that the image behind him moves all jerky and weird, but the character stays perfectly center in the frame?  That’s how I felt.  Like the world was crumbling around me, but I was the calm center of it.

“Hi Linds.”  The doors started to close.  We both reached to stop them, our hands almost touching.  I hadn’t even noticed everyone filing out around me.  I’m sure they shot me dirty looks.  It was hard to care at that moment.

“Umm…how are you?”

“I’m…,” how do you even begin to answer a question asked by your ex-fiancée while running into her three years later in the lobby of an office building.  I chuckled at the ridiculousness.  “I’m fine.”

“Good.”  She didn’t seem sure.  “What are you doing here?”

“A firm is wanting to do some remodeling.”

“Oh!  We are renting some space on 14 while we wait for the Newbourne Building to finish it’s facelift.  Wish they had given it to your group.  It’s taken forever.”

“Yeah.  Look Lindsey, we don’t ha…”

“I’m sorry Jake.”  I saw tears welling up in those blue pools.

“Stop.”

“No, really.  I’ve wanted to call and…”

“Stop.  Stop it.”


“And that’s how you left it?”

“Yeah.  I told her to stop.  I told her I was fine.  She was fine.  I told her that life moves on and things get better and…  I told her to stop.”

“Have you stopped Jake?  Have you taken your own advice?”

“Of course.  Only reason I called was because I missed the view out of your window.  Thought it might be nice to come poke a needle into an infected wound that’s five days fresh.”

“Have you moved on?”  He has started ignoring my smartassedness.  Not a good sign.

“Sure!  I got a new apartment.  Started a new architecture firm.  Even started going to a new bar.  I’ve totally moved on.”

“Are things better?  Are you better?”

I turned to look out the window again.  The ferry steam out into the harbor again.  I thought about my life and how it had changed.  I thought about how I would answer.  About how much I wished he would have just let me have that drink at the beginning.

“We did a lot of good work today Jake.  But that’s all the time we have.  Let’s meet again next week.”

Bastard.


I walked down the street.  The warm day was just developing an edge of coolness that spoke of evening arriving.  A breeze was coming off the bay, and I knew soon the fog would come with it.

I was lost in my thoughts; about my feelings for Linds, about the life I thought I was heading towards and in so many ways, still clinging to.  I thought about the changes I had made and why I had made them.  Why no relationship of mine had worked in the three years since Lindsey had left.

When I finally looked up I realized I was in my old neighborhood.  I had walked nearly 2 miles in the wrong direction.  I chuckled at myself, “Typical.”

I looked at the cross-streets.  There’s a pretty nice bar about a block down there, I thought to myself.  “Let’s toast to old memories.”

I pushed the door open, and sat at the bar.  It was empty and quiet inside.  The bartender sidled over.

“What’ll you have?”

“Double Jameson, on the rocks.”

“You got it.”  He busied himself with the drink.

A sign hung behind the bar, “Time flies like a arrow; fruit flies like a banana.”  I read it as he handed me my drink.  I raised my glass to it.  “I’ll drink to that.”

The liquid burned just a little before the ice cooled my tongue.  It was time to move on.

I took a deep breath, and lowered my glass.

Where did all our friends go?

I got a text message the other day from an old friend.  It was great to hear from them and we chatted back and forth for a bit before the conversation drifted off.

I began thinking about friends.  I have always had a lot of friends, people that I was close to, talked to, hung out with.  I am a friendly person, and that helped.  But I usually only had one or two people I was really close to at a time; a Best Friend.

To those of you that have filled that role for someone, thank you.  You have saved lives.  You have inspired and supported and changed people.  To those have been that for me, I love you for it.

If we have lost touch or moved apart or changed, I’m sorry.  I will always value the relationship we had, and the effect you had on my life.


 

I have some cool stuff I want to share from this week:

  • I have been writing a story.  Check out Part 3 here.
  • I travelled to Santa Barbara, CA for work a couple of weeks ago, and if you are ever there, please go check out Good Cup Downtown.  Seriously.  You owe it to yourself.
  • Some friends of mine are working on a web-series called Nicolife.  Go watch!

Hope all of you have a wonderful week!

That Woman: Part 3 of a Story

For Part 1 and Part 2.

The Sadness and Mr. Williams

I had lied.

Not about a lot, but a couple of little ones sprinkled through.  It made the story better if I left out a couple of parts.  Like not telling Barry I had already gone to Vegas for a lost weekend, and forgotton most of it.  Or like not telling the Doc that the last time I had seen her, technically, was when i had driven past her apartment accidentally on purpose one night.

Or telling the Doc that he was up to speed.  Here’s a tip, doctors don’t want to be up to speed; they want to investigate.  They want to discover.  They want to make it hurt.

They say that’s how the healing happens.

I say they’re sadistic.


“How did it feel when you saw her?”

I watched a yellow and blue sailboat pull into it’s mooring.  I repressed the urge to be a complete smart ass.  “Time stopped.  I wanted to throw up and scream and cry and all I could do was…nothing.”

“But how did you feel?”  He hadn’t looked up.

“I felt frozen.  I felt…what?”  He was shaking his head.  He finally looked up.

“Those aren’t feelings.  Those aren’t emotions.  Those are sensations and reactions.  What did you feel?”

Tricky bastard.  “Like I needed a drink?”  Smart ass had won the battle.

“And we’re back to avoidance.”

“Buildup,” I countered.

“You pay me by the hour.”

He had a point.  I breathed deeply.  “Fear.”  He wrote in his notepad.  “Anger.”  He looked up at me over the edge of his glasses without moving his head.  “And sadness.”

“How do you feel now?”

“Just the saddness.”


Once she walked away, I kept myself composed until I walked into the lobby restroom.  Then I had let go.  There were tears, vomiting, thinking I was done.  More tears.

More vomiting.

I remember making it to the bar down the street.  I remember ordering.  I vaugely remember pouring myself into a cab a couple of hours later.  I don’t remember getting home or falling into my bed.

I knew I was sleeping when I woke up, and I knew I had been dreaming about her because I was crying.  That was all I knew or cared about.  I had seen her.  I had been in front of her.


I had imagined that moment for so long.  I had thought about how it would go.  All the things I was going to say.  How I would tell her how she hurt me.  Apologize if I had hurt her.  That I was finally going to get answers.  I was going to find the truth to what had happened.

Instead, the truth I found was that of normal conversation followed by vomiting.  So pretty much every date I had been on for the last three years.


“So, what happened?”

“When?”

“How did you see her again? How did it happen?”

It was my turn.  I couldn’t keep building it up.  “Well, Doc…”

Continue to Part 4

 

 

Sometimes

Sometimes it happens without you realizing it.  All of a sudden you look up and see that you haven’t written in 2 weeks and that you have been fairly distant, and have tried to keep people at arm’s length.  That maybe, just maybe, you’re fighting some depression.

Having a bout of depression doesn’t always mean that you don’t want to get out of bed, or that you don’t have any energy, or that you start crying for no reason.  At least, not for me.  Sometimes it just means you feel raw.  Exposed.  It means tapping into feelings and emotions is not feasible that day.

Sometimes it means that I don’t have the energy to write.  Sometimes it means I can go to work.  I can survive that, help my clients, do the small talk that is expected.  I can crack jokes and laugh and do what I can to keep people just far enough away.  When it is like that, it means that I have to budget my energy.  I have to figure out what I can do, and be comfortable with that.

That doesn’t mean I stop striving for more, or to be the best i can be, but sometimes I have to accept what that means.  It also means I need to keep watching and learning what this disease looks like for me.

I travelled for work last week.  I spent a week living out of a hotel room, in a place I’m not very familiar with and with people I don’t know.  I missed my son and my wife.  I missed my dog.  I wasn’t eating how I normally do, and I wasn’t sleeping very well.  But it still took me until I got home to realize that I may have been experiencing an attack.  A minor bout, but one all the same.

I set a goal to write a four part story last month, and I didn’t.  But I am not going to let that stop me.  I am still finishing it; Part 3 will come out on Wednesday, Part 4 next Wednesday.  The rest of February will be a break from that format, but I’m going to try again in March.

Keep fighting friends.  We are all in this together.