Saturday, June 21, 2008

No replacement

Sad to hear about Carlin getting really wild on the other side of the veil. Would LOVE to know how G-d likes his sense of humour. Rest in peace.

Here is a great article on Carlin's life work. I saw him live twice, once in college, dressed like Grouch Marx with Whitworth, a best friend, and again years later in Vegas. Fantastic.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

Working Out

There is something wicked about humidity and working out. Just an evil combination.

Good design for keeping people walking down the aisle at revivals tho, while all the fans are going and the preacher is working up a frenzy! I mean, if you've been working all day in the sun, or before A/C, then find a cool tent on a summer night. Your choices are cool Heaven or hot as Hell. You'd be crazy as a bedbug to mess that up.

Tonight I've decided to form my own personal boot camp: walk, bike, swim and dance. And I'm going to learn to skull (row) this summer. And find a workout partner!

Found out a little about the Atlanta Rowing Club last weekend, been itching to try it. Especially when I heard you don't have to go out alone or on a team of 16 athletic college students :D There are 2 seaters, 8 seaters, etc. Who knows what will happen when I start gliding along the Chattahoochee? Can't pick a more beautiful place to row.

The other decision is to join a team for the Atlanta MS-150. This is a benefit ride for Multiple Sclerosis. Did it a few years ago in Missouri, and it was one of the most rewarding things I've ever done.

I'll need some "mature" women who know when to slow down, and won't laugh too hard when I take a fall or nearly wobble off my seat.

Ok, and there's dance. Now this is a hard one. What is better, good old fashioned Swing, or a Hip Hop Cardio? Or there is Salsa Cardio.... so many choices. It's great to have an active Recreation Center right around the corner, and low fees, great facilities, etc. here in Roswell.

For the record, if you Google "Atlanta Swing Club" it isn't all about dancing... jeez. I feel old (and very very grateful to be old enough to be creeped out).

Here is the actual DANCE group - right down the road in Norcross. This is the best fun that is legal, btw. If you haven't tried it, well, you haven't lived. Shag is perfect for the beach, and contra dancing for the mountains, but Swing just fits the west coast and especially the Midwest.

Did you know St. Louis has the most Swing Dance clubs in the country?! Great people. Friendly, patient, hard toed shoes. No smoking - at least inside.

Now that I think of it, Contra dancing (kind of like square dancing, but without all the hokey-ness) may suit us better to begin with. Kind of like Jazz is to Symphony. We need a bit more improvisation I think. "Calling" should help. (Calling directions that is. Nevermind that I'm having big flashbacks to trying to figure out the hustle many years ago. It wasn't pretty.)

Good news is I've got a dance partner, when I'm not in my own class.

But finding a woman friend to push me when I'm busy/tired/full of excuses. Not so easy... hmmm... of course I'll try Craigslist. (report back - nope, that didn't work!) And there is Temple. I'll let you know how it, er, works out.

(I crack myself up)

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

State of the Union

This thread in response to a "Michele Obama is a black activist" chain email (and by implication, dangerous to have in the White House).

-------------- message from "v j" -----------------

this is worth reading :

and please dear beloved, remove me from your list of political emails.

I find myself longing for the days when all we had to mentally masturbate over (collectively, ad nauseum) was whether an intern had sex with the pres. In hindsight it seems so run-of-the-mill boring. No one died, and except for millions (of my money) spent on riDICKulous investigations, the federal budget wasn't trashed.

Now we are in a war with hundreds of thousands dead, injured, or devastated by the loss of a loved one AND we are spending millions EVERY day for the two wars in the middle east. Worse of all, we now have to finish what we started (we have no business leaving a power vacuum now) and have almost nothing to show for the billions (trillions?) we've already spent.

I would have voted for McCain had he made it on the ticket in 2000. But Bush annihilated him with lies (this would not be the last time he cavalierly ignored facts when convenient - would he had just stuck to his drug habit! Think how peaceful a stoned pres would have been!). Unfortunately McCain has been a bit too kiss-up to Bush these last 6 - 9 months for my tastes.

I would vote for a yellow dog before I'd vote for a Republican. I would vote for a evil fictional character before I'd vote for anyone who condones Bush's irresponsible wrecking of our economy and our international standing. Our grandchildren and great grandchildren will be paying for our mistakes for hundreds, if not thousands of y ears. Remember, Rome collapsed from within.

-------------On Wed, Jun 11, 2008 at 9:12 AM, Matt wrote: -------------------

I would just observe that while that President was paying attention to his intern and the problems that arose from it, he was not payiong attention to some very serious issues evoling around him. Not the least of which was the 9-11 plot which started to be planned in 1996. You complain about 2 wars in the Middle East. One can question the necessity and execution of Iraq. On the other hand what exactly were we supposed to do with Afganistan? The Afgan Government offered safe harbor to Al Queda and Osmam Bin Laden. They refused to surrender him to face Justice.
As far as the economy is concerned, it is worrisome. I would note that current unemployment is at 5.5 perecent, below the historical average. There will probably be some rough times ahead on the other hand the economy had done very welluntil fall, 2007 and been expending rapidly 4 four years prior to that.

-------------- message from "v j" -----------------

Good points. Thanks for bringing them up.

However I would say that in 1995 there was clear evidence of a plot to utilize planes as bombs and our intelligence agencies were unable to formulate, much less implement a response. Have we actually solved the structural problems in assimilating information in the US intelligence community? Do we have ports and water systems completely protected? Why aren't airline passengers given random interviews, like Israeli airline protocols - el Al has never had a terrorist incident.

The ruse to investigate and impeach Clinton certainly took up more of his time and attention than the actual intern. Had the Supreme Court not gotten political and allowed the Jennifer Flowers case to move forward (never before had a civil suit been permitted against a sitting president), he could have dealt with all of it once out of office.

I agree we had to respond to the 9-11 bombings, but had we really wanted to be clear, we would have rocked on Saudia Arabia, where the serious funding and more sophisticated incubation of terrorists and terrorism existed. It's laughable that some insisted we "bomb them back into the stone age" when the Afgahnis had never really left it. They were just a red herring.

I'm not sure of the efficiencies of launching a full scale "war" in Afghanistan to capture Bin Laden, who is still at large. Most disturbing, perhaps, is this adminstration's willingness to ignore their own top military advisors' warnings about both wars.

As for the economy I'm more concerned about the fast disappearing middle class, the suffering poor (who have no health insurance, struggle to just pay for gas and often can't feed their kids) and the exodus of deficit funding from our overseas investors. I'm not an economist, but since we have "enjoyed" deficit spending since Bush took office, and no longer have a balanced budget, foreign capital that has sustained us is now moving to other markets in the face of our weak economy. That was always the concern. Not "is it ok to spend more than we have", but what happens if no one (investors) wants to stay at our party?

Worse, what happens if China becomes the world's economic leader? We've already seen their appalling political, human rights and environmental record.

Here is a quick article on the unemployment rate jump last Friday.

respectfully submitted,

Structure and Identity

I'm back after a couple of weeks with the kids. This entailed working a bit, doing things with them, working on more of my stuff (literal and figurative), cleaning up after them, feeding them, (not in that order) and eventually making plans for dinner, the next day and the rest of their lives.

I miss them deeply when they aren't here (now live with their Dad outside of Nashville) but when they are here the work isn't just in everyday upkeep. In fact they need very little of that. Mostly they need feedback, small interactions, a bit of pushing ("If you want to have some money you have to earn it.") and then backing off.

Another large part of the work is keeping myself in the right place. If things break in the house, it doesn't mean I have to make it all better for them. Who could have predicted the pool filter, ice machine and the air conditioning - during the first heat wave of the year - would have all gone FUBAR at once? And we still have to find time to install the new dishwasher and microwave. (These were appliances I didn't care much about anyway, especially with a spare micro for heating up my coffee and popcorn:)

Anyway, the teenagers have gotten used to being very sedentary after school, without sports or school activities this year, and without the whirling social life of Kirkwood (where we moved from last year).

I can relate because my days have been very open since I left my job last year. It's become a sabbatical, tho I didn't plan it that way.

Not a lot of what I plan actually comes off the way I think it will. That isn't a negative statement, but acknowledging the essential nature of our lives: chaos.

I read a few months ago, in some Project Management literature, that no matter how well we estimate the length of time an action takes, it always actually takes longer to complete.

This has been proven and became a named principle (will have to see if it is back in this blog) and that gives it validity.

So I didn't consider this a sabbatical until it went past 6 months (a few weeks ago). Now it is more than a lull between jobs, and I've made it that way on accident/purpose.

There is a deep sense of not needing to rush this, to both keep my financial feet on the ground, and yet to make sure that I don't just jump back into the workforce as I usually do. I'm lucky to have had a career in a fairly high demand arena, but the thrill is gone.

Could I do it again? Sure. I'm one of those people who can find meaning in anything, or at least humour :) And I'm still deep down a computer geek.

But my intuition tells me that there is something else going on right now. A shift not only in our country politically, economically, etc, but also in many individuals. Now I have no way to know if more people than usual are changing their lives (who would measure that??), or if they are changing, is it simply in response to the external events - housing crisis, fuel costs, global warming, etc. And does it matter why they are changing, if they are?

At any rate I can say that there is no doubt I'm heading for a career change.

The process feels something like a slow burn that is heating up. It's very similar to my decisions about divorces years ago. It didn't happen overnight, there were months of long walks, long talks, lots of writing, years of counseling, but eventually a decision emerged, completely intact.

With the birth of my decisions, I had complete certainty about the choice. To say it was a gut feeling is shortchanging it.

In some ways those points in my life were transcendent because I allowed the process to unfold as it needed to. (In other ways they were transcendent because they were so damn hard.)

There's just no reason to rush something as major as a life decision about your partner. And for the same reason I didn't rush into Judaism - there were years of hanging around it, years of then enjoying it personally, and then months of considering if it worked for me. Finally a year of study sealed the deal.

Of course the cross over points of getting divorced, choosing my faith and changing careers doesn't mean I'm done. These are just gateways into new chapters. But the process, the journey matters.

I'm not always good at thinking through all the details of what happens next. This is a blessing and a curse. Sometimes I forge in where angels fear to tread and other times I get surprised (good thing I love surprises, um, mostly). Sometimes happily, other times miserably.

The move here to Atlanta took months to orchestrate, and I had no inkling it would lead to a complete change of my identity.

There is nothing like centering your life around raising three strong children to set you up for an earthquake when they move out. Lots of parents could have told you that, Jones.

I just didn't have much time to prepare, unlike when they enter college.

When you add my move, a layoff and an engagement to the mix, well, it's a perfect storm.

I keep coming back to the notion that the "end point" or result of all this is
  1. Undefinable - the benefit and losses will be a chaotic mix at best and
  2. Reasoned. There is a reason for this particular combination of events, even if I never fully comprehend them. This implies some sort of orchestration, perhaps divine, but it's only an implication.
  3. Structure matters - as in how I structure my days, my time, my responses
  4. Null. There is no end point.
But there is for this post.