Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Learning to fly

Ah spring. The snow doesn't stick around nearly as long, the chives are taking over the back lawn, and the maple is bursting forth with seeds soon to be twirling all over the neighborhood, until they fin the perfect place to grow - the gutters.

Birds are nesting (and crapping all over my barbecue grill - WTF?!? ) and soon little peeps (and not the stale marshmallow ones growing hard on the counter) will be chirping with the sunrise. Not long after that, and it is time for then to get shoved from the nest out into the wiode world, to make their own way (and find new grills to crap on).

But at what time is it right to cut the strings, to push then out, to let the little ones fly free? How much can you do to prepare them to go out on their own? How many lessons can you give them, how much can you teach them before they simply have to face things on their own?

We don't abandon them. We try to help out as we can, gently guiding them to find their own way as they take their first steps towards independence. We point them in the right direction, but at some point we can no longer guide them. Eventually they leave the "nest" and must fly, or fall, on their own.

What so surprises me is that it isn't my children I'm talking about, as relevant as this may be for them. No, it is about co-workers at previous jobs. How long do you help and give them support (for free on top of it)? At what point do they need to simply go on their own? It has been five weeks (tomorrow will be one month at my new job, and six months since I was let go from where I had been for almost 20 years). And I'm still getting questions - and it still feels like they are lost.

I'm afraid I'm no better at letting (or forcing them to) fly free than I am with my kids.
Sent from my Verizon Wireless BlackBerry

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

It can't always be so serious - 75 questions

75 things you probably have never been asked... (I call shenanigans because there are 76 questions.)

1. First thing you wash in the shower?
My hair / balding head

2. What color is your favorite hoodie?

3. Would you kiss the last person you kissed again?
Of course

4. Do you plan outfits?
since I'm a guy - of course not

5. How do you feel right now?

6. Whats the closest thing to you that's red?
Clive Cussler's latest book - Corsair

7. Do you say aim or a-i-m?

8. Tell me about the last dream you had?
I rarely remember my dreams

9. Have you met anyone new today?

10. What are you craving right now?
a decent nights sleep

11. Do you floss?

12. What comes to mind when I say cabbage?
Cole's Law - slimly sliced cabbage

13. When was the last time you talked on aim?
I can't remember

14. Are you emotional?

15. Would you dance to the taco song?
what is the taco song?

16. Have you ever counted to 1,000?

17. Do you bite into your ice cream or just lick it?
bite, nibble, and suck it into my mouth

18. Do you like your hair?
I try to not saying anything bad about it, because I don't want what little I have left to leave as well.

19. Do you like yourself?

20. Have you ever met a celebrity?
how do you define celebrity?

21. Do you like cottage cheese?

22. What are you listening to right now?
the news

23. How many countries have you visited?
4 outside the US

24. Are your parents strict?
I didn't think so

25. Would you go sky diving?
probably not

26. Would you go out to eat with George W. Bush?
why would I want to?

27. Would you throw potatoes at him?
why would I want to?

28. Is there anything sparkly in the room you’re in?
My water thermometer

29. Have you ever been in a castle?
Does Sleeping Beauty's castle in Disneyworld count?

Do you rent movies often?

32. Have you made a prank phone call?

33. Do you own a gun?

34. Can you count backwards from 74?
why would I want to?

35. Who are you going to be with tonight?

36. Brown or white eggs?

37. Do you own something from Hot Topic?

38. Ever been on a train?

39. Ever been in love?

39. Are you in love?

40. Do you have a cell phone?

41. Are you too forgiving?

42. Do you use chapstick?
when I need it

43. What is your best friend doing tomorrow?
Probably playing computer games

44. Can you use chop sticks?
yes, though my hands get sore really quickly

45. Ever have cream puffs?

46. Have you ever seen The Butterfly Effect?

47. What was the last question you asked?
I don't remember

48. What was the last CD you bought?
some comedy thing on the cruise

49. Boys or girls?

50. What is your bus number for school?
never rode the bus to school

51. Is your hair curly?
what hair?

52. Last time you cried?
Saturday during the concert

53. Ever walked into a wall?

54. Do looks matter?
unfortunately yes

55. Have you ever bought anything from Pac Sun?

56. Have you ever slapped someone?

57. Favorite time of the year?

58. Favorite color?

59. Are you sarcastic?

60. The last person you held hands with?

61. Do you sleep with the TV on?

62. Where was your default picture taken at?
my basement

63. Do you hate or dislike more than 3 people?

65. Do you like your life right now?

66. How often do you talk on the phone?
every day

67. What was the most recent thing you bought?

68. Do you have good vision?
did, but it is getting worse the older I get

69. Can you hula hoop?
not really

70. Could you ever forgive a cheater?.

71. Do you have a job?

72. Can you handle the truth?

73. What are you wearing?
Jeans, off-white shirt

74. Have you ever crawled through a window?

75: What does the last text message you received say?
OK cool.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Lies, Damn Lies, and Statistics

I continue to find the wit and wisdom of the past to be comforting. Mark Twain truly was a genius, and knew the human soul. (The title of this is a quote from him).

There are days that I wonder, what is the truth? So often we become mushrooms in our lives - living in the dark, being fed nothing but bullshit, and getting our heads cut off whenever we stick them up - that we start to wonder.

Don't get me wrong - while I may not have the most perfect memory in the world (and it takes me way too long to learn people's names), I do know the difference between reality and fantasy (if for no other reason than fantasy is so much more pleasant most of the time). Even so, one's perception of events, which is the truth for them, can be different from others.

The movie Vantage Point does an excellent job of showing this - I really enjoyed this (both seeing it in the theatre, renting it once, and watching it a few more times on cable) movie, especially then end where the final public story has no bearing at all on what really happened.

However it isn't the idea of truth itself that I've been thinking on lately, it is more of the difference between honesty and lies. Like fantasy, lies are often so much easier and simpler to believe (at least at first) than what is often called the cold, hard truth. I've had a lot of personal experience with this - because my ex-wife is a compulsive liar. I was sucked into many, many of these in the ten years I was married to her. In fact, the only thing I miss about her is the entertainment value in re-telling the soap-opera stories that were her life, because she made it that way.

I don't understand the persona of a person who habitually lies. Me, I'm not smart enough to do this. You have to be amazingly brilliant to remember what lies you have told what people, so that you can effectively keep juggling more and more balls in the air. Me, I'd forget what I told the first person and blow it right away, which is why I prefer honesty. It is just easier. My ex would keep juggling things more and more until they all blew up and like a juggler attempting one ball too many, everything collapsed. Then she would figuratively dust herself off, find a new group of 'friends' and start the juggling act all over again.

I guess the fantasy world that many people create is simply nicer to live in than the real world - and at least the people know you there.

Saturday, April 04, 2009


Well, two weeks into the new job, things are going ok. The first week was really good - this week was ok. Somebody wrote a quote from Einstein on one of the white boards -"If we knew what we were doing they wouldn't call it research." I am never very comfortable in the ignorant mode - even when I'm working at eliminating it. It will be a while yet, but I'll eventually figure out what it is I'm doing and be comfortable with the work.

P, my ex boss, is working there - and he said to expect it to take a couple of months before the whole thing really sinks in - and you quit expecting all the bad stuff that I've lived with for the past twenty years.

To me, I just keep drawing parallels to my divorce. The whole shock of it happening, the grief over the loss, even of something bad. The struggle to get on with life. Now having a good, permanent job is like getting married again - still trying to feel it all out.

What I am really wondering is when I'lll finally, truly be able to let go. It has been over five months now - when can I stop feeling hurt about it, and get to the point where it doesn't matter any more.

I did it with my ex-wife. In fact, I sometimes find it humorous that Diane currently has more (negative, but more) feelings about my ex-wife than I do. I have truly put it aside - what she does and what she did no longer matter - I refuse to give her even the little bit of caring enough to dislike or even hate her. Hate takes way too much energy - and she isn't worth that to me.

Unfortunately I'm not there with Reynolds. I'm not where I don't care, even though I want to be.