Monday, November 28, 2016

Mountainside: Part Two

“Do you have my location?”
No answer.  After another long pause, “Location?”
“Yes.  We’ve got you sixty meters from the entry point.”
Arlo looked at his surroundings.  There wasn’t much room to maneuver the side of the cliff.  He took a good look at the mountainside and determined the location of the entry.  He had two options.  One was a straight ascent up the cliff and a difficult lateral path.  The other was a more jagged diagonal climb to the point. 
“Do you have a strategy, A-1?” said a voice from his communicator.
“Yeah Furmin, 63 up 12 over.”
This was not going to be his path.  Any time Arlo gave any information to the Pacifics he made damn sure to give some misdirection. He had little trust in them, even though they saved him and his crew.  Something didn’t seem right.  He did enjoy the equipment he was provided, though.  A nice Chamo suit kept him invisible on the ascent.  The body suit he was wearing blended him into the cliffside perfectly, and his communicator was cloaked with ancient radio frequencies that could easily be encrypted and hidden.
Arlo moved up the jagged mountain carefully and inched his way to his target.  Three hours into this careful mission, it was a game of patience and a journey of tiny moves.  He knew he was off his planned course, and within seconds…
“You’re off course, A-1. “
“This takes time and care, Furmin.”
Furmin was the communications and tech officer back at camp.  Her real name was Minnie Furlong, and she made it her personal mission to be Arlo’s pain in the ass.  Her bob-and-shave haircut immediately made him groan the first time they met at the rescue of his ship, the Fenix. 
“Be careful, A-1.  Watch out for kickers.  Furmin out.”
Arlo was relieved at this.  Micromanagement had been a part of his life for so many years, and it was nice to hear the queen of nitpicking had let him do his work.  Arlo estimated there were about forty five meters left until he reached his goal. 
Minnie was right, there were probably kickers in the mountain he needed to watch out for.  He had never seen a kicker in real life, but had heard some stories from the Pacifics and some of his fellow officers.  One soldier had stepped on one during a mission to Tokyo and blew his leg off.  Another climbed a mountain in South America and accidentally tapped on one when he was nearly at the top of a waterfall, only there to get intel on the area from an elevated perspective. 
Arlo noticed a spot on his current path that looked tampered with, and not exactly natural.  He activated his glance goggles.  They indicated to him a kicker charge, but could not detect the strength of it. It was five meters to his left and one meter up.  Go under it, he thought.  Give yourself a couple meters leeway.  He analyzed it, and if this was the only kicker within ten meters, he could scoot under it and then ascend directly.
“90 minutes, A-1. We have to plant and roll.”
This irritated Arlo.  He was not one to be reminded of the situation constantly, nor did he need play-by-play.  As careful a mission as this was, he just needed some silence to get the job done. He proceeded to do a lateral climb and give himself two meters of free space so as not to trigger the kicker, or any other item.  He was aware security measures such as cameras and radar were all around, and the only equipment keeping him hidden were the radio, Chamo, and his own careful movements. 
There was radio silence for another forty minutes, and this is all the time Arlo needed to get to the designated entry point.  From here, it was no longer a matter of careful steps on a cliff, it was about planting the bomb and timing an escape that didn’t result in death or disaster.  Arlo took a deep breath and prepared.  The Chamo went down the side of the mountain, the communicator was set on fire, and the glance goggles were turned off and buried in a pile of debris at the entry.  Arlo was only left with a dressy outfit, and the destruction of the communicator was a signal to the Pacifics that he had reached his destination safely.
The last radio transmission came from A-1. “I’m in. Let it go.”

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Late 2016

It's been an interesting year, folks.

We've all experienced this year in different ways but in large part have seen what's happening around the world.  So here's how the last bit of it's shaped up in the land of Paperclip.

As you know it's been a busy year in my life.  Getting my old job back was an absolute blessing.  As soon as I had the busy times down it got much much more difficult.  That was six months ago.  It is just now beginning to get manageable.  As it stands now though, I am closing out an old platform, so it isn't going to be heavily busy with that until it's time to switch to the new system.  Then it's a learning curve complemented by almost the same chaos.

I started this year with a few different ventures.  Getting my old job back was the beginning.  Also I became a minister and performed two weddings.  That was awesome.  Spending time doing the logistics and getting the feeling and performance aspects correct were both challenging and very awesome.  Helping join people together in marriage is one of the coolest things I can ever say I experienced.

For now, in the somewhat less crazy period of my current career, I've been able to do a few other things that help my creative side as well.  A few months ago, I had one of those early-morning dreams. You know the kind that are chaotic and bothersome, and move so quickly that they wake you up.  I woke up about a half hour before the alarm, and was furiously thinking about how much I like hot dogs, and making a website or something just dedicated to hot dog recipes, ideas, sausage makers, etc.  It hit me like a frying pan that morning... It was an instant brainstorm, and it led to the idea of a hot dog recipe/enthusiast site called Weinerly.

I reserved the .com and started a facebook page that morning.  Haven't done too much with it since, but after peeing on the proverbial fire hydrant, I did manage to get a free hot dog roller from work and make an initial video.  I've got a couple recipes, and a couple of my friends have some good ones too.  I've got a vision for where it could go, but I'm not saying too much here.  Surprise is important.

I've also been really craving listening to and trying to get good at creating music again.  It's hard to do with an unpredictable and difficult schedule, but it is possible.  It's just coming really slow.  Being busy is important because it means the bills are paid, and that home is taken care of. It also takes precedent over creative ventures and projects. Maybe that's why the ideas are piling up but the action on them don't get too much of a shot.

Such is life, though.  I'm pretty happy with how things have turned out so far.  I guess at this age, it's the priorities that count, and there's still got to be a little bit of energy left for the sandbox when there's time for it.

Mountainside: Part One

An except from a novel I'm writing about a futuristic sabotage mission:

Flyer 23 silently glided west, cloaked, on a thousand click pace nine miles above Earth.  The scenery was beautiful below, only a few clouds floated above the Balkan Mountains, and the swift flight made them look like gentle hills to those who observed.
“Arlo, you ready for this?”
“Yes Minnie. Boomer and Shale made sure I got all the details down.”
“You are quick to act, I’ll give you that, but getting into the Peak is going to take a little more than witty gusto.”
“Something you’re very good at, I might add.”
Minnie frowned at this.  She knew what was at stake, and didn’t think much of Arlo stepping in on her brand of wit.
Minnie replied, “True, but you’re the one going into the hole. You know they don’t mess around at The Peak.  One careless move and you’re done for.”
“You really think I don’t know this?  The only reason I signed up is because you got us out of the mess in the Pacific.  We just needed a ride.  Not a mission.”
“Well, now you’ve got a ride, and a mission.“
Arlo looked through the window again and looked at the hills below.  Dammit, she was right again, and wouldn’t let him forget it.  Flyer 23 had him and his friends at their disposal, and though their story made complete sense, there was still something uncomfortable about joining them and becoming part of an adventure.  What if their story wasn’t the whole story?  Sure, everyone knew there were some secrets at The Peak. Everyone knew that the East and West weren’t quite ready to mend fences.  The non-participants of the world sure weren’t going to take any sides.
Minnie was still there, as if waiting for a response.  Arlo simply nodded in acknowledgement.
“Arlo, do you have everything you need? We have forty minutes to the drop.”
Reluctantly, Arlo acknowledged again.
“Yes.  Chamo, com, and both my packs.  And the payload.  If I have to let it go at the wrong time, I’m sure you’ll get the signal.”
“I’m sure we will, hotshot.” With the word “hotshot,” Minnie pressed the com into Arlo’s sternum.
Thirty-six minutes later, Flyer 23 prepared Arlo for his solo drop just south of The Peak.

Friday, October 21, 2016

Here Goes

I know it's been a while since I've written... and there have been so many changes in the last seven months.Here goes.

2016 has been a really bizarre and eventful year for me.  I lost my keys back in March. I mean, 100% gone.  Still haven't found them.  Jamie found a locksmith to replace my car key, and made copies of the other ones.

The next month though, Grandma took a turn for the worse.  There was little time to prepare, but we drove to Mtn. View to go visit her.  It's about a 400 mile trip each way, and we had to leave Friday and come back Sunday, maybe Monday.  I forget.  It was kind of depressing to go to the nursing home to visit, but there was a lot of family there.  I was ready to see Grandma and everyone, but wanted to spend a little bit of time with her because I knew it would be for the last time.

Jamie cried privately, during the moments we went outside to smoke. The next Friday morning, she passed away, 25 years to the day after my Pa on the other side of the family passed away.  The funeral was the next day, so we went back that weekend.  It was very sad and very emotional.  She was buried in the Cove.  There's a cemetery there with many Canards and relatives, a place I connect with through family history, and want to be buried at when I pass, though it's far away from home. It probably won't happen since my roots are pretty deep here.

The service was very ordered and dry.  Personally I didn't think it was enough of a tribute to her life.  It was alright, I don't mean to sound like I'm complaining, but the mood of it was too formal.  We are all family and friends.  At the burial, we all met several even distant family members. And old family friends.  It wasn't a large event.  But there was love there.  As we left Mountain View, I thought to myself, I have no close family anymore in the town i partially grew up in and made so many memories in.  Grandma has travelled to Heaven, and the lady who helped raise me for a time is not in this life anymore.

The next month began a whirlwind of work stress that is only now subsiding.  I'm in the mortgage business, and early this year, rates started dropping dramatically, increasing business for all lenders.  Just an aside, mortgage rates are not based on the Fed rate, they're based on the 10 year Treasury bond.  That's why rates change so frequently and don't exactly follow the Fed rate.  Follow that on financial websites and you'll know when to bite.  Anyhow, the 10 year hit a record low earlier this year.

There were four people on my team for the system I'm on back in May.  There's a new system that was deployed early this year, and I was on the team dealing with finishing out work on the old one. Right after Memorial day, two of them abruptly left the company.  There were no replacements.  The only help the remaining two of us had was sending bits of our work to a site and California, and another one on Florida.

My one remaining teammate has some health issues that can be unpredictable, so I never knew when she would miss work.  We get along pretty well, so please don't think I'm being critical.  We both have been up against the wall for months.  I've had to cover when she was out. She had to cover when I was out.  It was like dancing with the devil just to go to the office.  For both of us.

Things have been shuffled around a little bit now.  It's just now beginning to be sane there, if you can call it that.  It's toughened me up a hell of a lot.  I'm thankful for my job.  I get paid pretty damn decent, so I'm flexible and trying to make the best of it.  It's made me a little bit better with confidence and other work related stuff too.

That's just a couple things about the last seven months.  More to come.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

Just Going To Start Writing And See What Happens

Every once in a while, I like to freewrite.  The mood gripped me earlier tonight, and now I'm just getting around to it. Do you ever feel like you've got to pee, but when you try to go, nothing happens? That was me an hour ago, creatively.  But now I'm loosened up enough to just let it flow.

I just get the itch to write sometimes. It's my way of expressing the various things that bounce around in my mind.  I'm not so hot at hanging out with a group of people at happy hour, or getting into conversations with large groups.  I'm more comfortable listening around people. Folks I know, yeah, but large groups, ehh.  I like a nice one-on-one conversation. But writing, it's totally personal. It's unbridled expression, the type that isn't absorbed nor flows in casual conversation.

Just typing this stream-of-consciousness stuff is both relaxing and mentally engaging.  It's almost therapeutic.  After thinking about what to write, I came up with some stuff.  Writing is a reminder that life isn't cookie-cutter routine, no matter if it seems like it.  Especially right after work, the one time of the day, where a majority of it is complete, and for the most part has been almost fully defined by routine.

This is true, especially on a Tuesday.

So about two weeks ago, my keys disappeared.  You know how you lose your keys, and go on a frantic hunt for them for like 45 minutes, and then they show up?  We did that shit for six days.  And they're still missing.  Jamie's second set of car keys is gone, as well as my first set. Jamie had to get a locksmith out so we would both be able to drive once Spring Break was over.  It was completely nuts.

Insurance covered it, so that's good.

I've been really busy at work for the last 6 or 7 weeks, helping out through a large transition.  That's partially why I haven't been keeping up on the blog.  But, I'm not complaining.  Overtime is quite nice, after coming out of last year's unemployed period.  It's going pretty well there.  I'm lucky to have a good job and work with cool people.

I don't know if I mentioned this before, but I am now an ordained minister of the Universal Life Church.  I signed up because I have been invited to officiate my best friend's wedding next month.   At first I thought ordination was a requirement to officiate.  In Texas, anyone can perform the ceremony.  But I'm still glad I signed up, it's very cool.  It's going to be a really big event, and I am super happy for this couple.  It's gonna be a wonderful day!

I went over there last Saturday to visit and kind of work on ideas for the wedding. Before that, Jamie, me, and the girls went to Sherman to check out the mall there. The mall had pretty much nothing going on.  It was about 2/3 abandoned, and looked and smelled like 1981.  But it was fun when we found an open store.  When we left, we went to Hastings.  Because, you know, if you have a Hastings nearby, they got all the good stuff.

We also got hungry and went to a place called La Mesa.  It was kind of sprinkly outside and rain was coming, so we chose La Mesa to eat.


I am serious, we all ate ravenously and I experienced the best fajitas of my life that day.  Five tortillas.  I used all of them.  It was fantastic. No meat or veggies were left on that frying pan.  So if you're ever going north on 75 out of the Dallas area...

In other news, I'm trying to get a little healthier these days.  Slight changes in diet, habits, exercise right now.  There is a group up at work that works out in the fitness center right behind our work area. They go every single day.  I'm giving it a whirl tomorrow, but it'll be a little time to get worked up to the daily thing.

Well, that's all for today... I've got a cool idea for a meme.

Monday, February 8, 2016

Sights and Sounds

It's been interesting lately.  Good interesting, and bad interesting, but mostly good.  Since the last time I wrote, I've experienced a hardcore month-end at work, and survived.  Some of my worries about the people I care about have subsided, and other worries have shown up. I've listened to an incredibly huge amount of music, and I've experienced some social situations that are quite rare. 

So that's the viewpoint I'm writing from tonight.  My comfort zone, what little of it still exists, has been upended many times, and of course at this time, for better or for worse.  I figure the best thing to do is make sure that the seatbelt and restraints are secure, and my hands and feet are in the car at all times.  That's what you've got to do when you cross the yellow line and get into the ride.

At the end of January, I got to do some overtime.  It's not the kind of overtime where you're all "Hey, there's so much I could keep busy with," but rather the "I've got so much to do and it has to get done and OMG can I make it happen" sort. The chaos type.  And that doesn't bother me, really.  I actually prefer to be in the hot seat and on a mission if I'm working extra.  There's just more meaning in it if it comes with extra accomplishment.  And it was needed, and it got done.

I love listening to music at work.  Much of the time it's heavy metal.  Or electronic music.  Those are the two types of music I like to listen to while concentrating or working on something.  It's fast music. It's very dynamic and it takes a lot of talent to write either of those types of music.  Occasionally I'll slow the tempo down with one of many other types of music, but the fast and flighty stuff works for me.  I think that's why I also enjoy Bach so much. He was a badass.

I'm looking forward to going to the Mac Sabbath show on March 3. I got the next day off from work, since it might be kind of a late show.  It's on a Thursday.  I thought it would be fun to go to it just because it's so ridiculous.  Everyone's a little hesitant to see me go, since the last time I went to a metal show at Trees, I broke my ankle in a mosh pit.  I mean, come on, I think I've learned my lesson.  Duh!  When I went to the Power Trip show back in 2011, I was debating on whether to film a couple of their songs from the balcony with my phone, or get into the mosh pit and actually be in a real mosh pit.  I chose wrong the first time!  So at this show, I'm going to capture a couple songs on my phone.  I have a WAY better phone this time, so I'll find a good spot early and go from there. 

I mean really, I'm not trying to break any bones here.  Been there, done that, got the X-ray.

I really do like music.  And ever since I got into the Mac Sabbath, Elvana, etc. mashup thing a few weeks ago, I've been following other artists as well.   Turns out a week from Saturday, mc chris will be doing a show in Fort Worth.  I've always wanted to go to one of his shows.  Not sure if I mentioned it here before, but he did inspire Grace to do a school project about Milton Hershey.  It'll be a fun show to go to.

In other news, yesterday, Grace and I went out on a bit of a Sunday drive.  Jamie was doing some things here at the house, and so I took Grace riding around.  We started a half a mile from here, and decided to go down a road we thought hadn't been built.  And we ended up way out in the country.  She was naming horses and cows, and we even saw a couple abandoned houses, a "broken farm," some old barns, and a tiny town forgotten by many, but taken care of in a cool way by a few.  One of those tiny towns, with a city hall, a Baptist church, and no stoplights or gas stations.  This place was tiny, and really cool, because it wasn't the sort of town anyone would ever think of as a town.

Then we went to another small town, this one much bigger by comparison. And there were early 20th century Victorian homes for sale.  Some of which are possibly haunted.  Not the one next door to the church though. Maybe.  You know what they say about homes over 100 years old, if they're haunted... hey, they were there first.

Which brings me to today.  It was nice for a Monday.  I was productive, and even when it got stressy, it wasn't so bad.  It was a day of small victories.

I can't get all this written tonight. But that's why it's a blog.  Because it can't all be written in a night.

Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Hump Day Typing

I'm back on my freewrite game again.  It's quite possibly the best way I can think of to get through stressful, busy, or difficult times positively.  So, there's really no actual or direct point to this. It's all stream of consciousness.  Perhaps someday I'll get good enough or sharp enough at this writing thing and finish a novel.  Then we can hang out and you can say stuff like, "Hey, man, I was reading your stuff when you were a blogger and 10,000 Lakes is pretty cool too.

Anyhoo, enough about that.  It's been a weird month.  This is the first full month back at the job, and my first full month of getting things done.  Getting back on board is a good feeling, and getting back into the monthly ups and downs, while remembering the important stuff is really good. What I love about this job is that there isn't really a way to be complacent about it.  It's complex enough that even a veteran can still learn something new.  In my role now, I'm sharing that with newer teammates.  At the same time, I'm learning things from them as well.  It's the type of business that requires that sort of teamwork and information to survive.  In other words, when it comes to my career, I feel alive again.

It can be very stressful sometimes because things often go wrong, due to things out of any of our control. But, it gives me that jump, that just-enough-chaos thing.  It's enough to keep me on my toes, and enough to really get some satisfaction by navigating things in the right direction. 

I've really been getting into Fair To Midland lately.  I've been a fan of theirs for years, but only lately have I gotten back into their songs.  I know some folks who know a few of the members personally, and they've shared stories about spending time with the band, as well as some of their musical and artistic ideas.  I can generally describe a band's music based on three other bands, but I often find this difficult with Fair to Midland.  In any case, I've been jamming their music at work, particularly The Carbon Copy Silver Lining and Fables From a Mayfly, their first and third albums, respectively.  The closest I can come to the three-band description is Tool, Rush, and Dream Theater. But that doesn't do them justice in description.  Their keyboardist Matt Langley is the Stephen Hawking of keyboard.

They are on hiatus now, maybe broken up, maybe just living out of the spotlight, who knows.

Anyhow, here is one of their songs, Tall Tales Taste Like Sour Grapes.

I'm also into mashup music.  Remixes and mashups have always been something I gravitate towards musically.  The idea that two completely different ideas or works of art can combine into something else has always intrigued me.  I enjoy electronic music and hip hop because both genres use this technique.  Plus, both are great types of music to work to. My introduction to the mashup was Dread Zeppelin. I bought a couple of their albums back in the early 90's, because I couldn't get enough of the idea of Led Zeppelin done reggae style with an Elvis impersonator singing.

25 years later, we have Beatallica, another one of my favorite bands of all time.  And, more recently we have Elvana. 


For the last several years, I've liked where this mashup thing has been going.  I'm going to a show here in a few weeks to see a band called Mac Sabbath, which is, pretty much, a mix of McDonald's and Black Sabbath.  It's at Trees.  And everyone who knows I'm going is telling me to stay out of the mosh pit!  And I promised I would!  If you know me, you know that story. My boss even told it to fellow coworkers today. :)


Friday, January 22, 2016

Didn't Make It To Star Wars Tonight, So I'm Writing And Listening To Megadeth's New Album

And shit, it's badass. Great album called Dystopia.  I'm jammin' and writing.  I've always been a big fan of mixing music and writing.  Or music and college homework.  Or music and work. Or music and driving.

OK. Music and anything.  Well, almost anything.  I couldn't imagining blasting some Ludacris while doing my taxes.  Luda's there for me when I'm working and getting into confident mode, though. :)

Music is a great escape, when you have time to really listen deeply to it.  Or, when you are trying to make it.  To me, music can also be a great way to pass the time.  It's great while doing things around the house, to take away from the mundane things that need to be done.  Music has helped me through so many different areas in my life.

My entire family history has been peppered with creative folks, and people interested in music in one way or another, for different reasons.  It's in my DNA.  I'm pretty lucky in that way, actually.  My dad is the #1 influence on me musically.  When he isn't working, he enjoys listening to and performing bluegrass music with some incredibly talented people.  He's the bassist in two different bands.  He's got more bluegrass on his computer and other hard drives than any iPhone or iPad can contain. 

My mom has a piano that she's had since probably before I was born, and that I used to tinker around on when I was a kid. And now, she lets Grace play it, and she just learned Hot Cross Buns on that exact same piano. 

I look at old family photos of my ancestors, and there's a musical instrument in the family photo. 

So, all these generations before me, the love of music has been passed down.

Music is definitely a great escape for me, but it's also a great motivator.  Around Y2K, I really started to appreciate electronic music.  I looked up on the computer music to work to, and overwhelmingly electronic music was praised as the way to go.  At the time, obviously, techno was in its pop prime. I was already a huge fan of Fatboy Slim, and all the Big Beat stuff going on at the time.  And it really did help me focus on work.  Any kind of work. Later on in my college classes, I'd listen to electronic music while doing homework, or at work, when I was busy. And I still do.  Fast tempos and technical sounds are absolutely great for focus, concentration, and goal-setting.

Heavy metal's pretty good at that, too.

I like my music fast and heavy, which is great when it comes to accomplishing things.  But when it comes to relaxing, I'm not sure what type of music works for that.  I'm not a laid back, mellow guy, though I do like to come across that way in case things get stressful and I need to lead.

But anyway...

I'll tell you more about things here pretty soon, on the next entry. 

Saturday, January 16, 2016

Steppin' In The Pool ('Bout Time)

I'm beginning to get the creative itch back again, finally.  The last album I released was a compilation of older, high sound quality stuff I never really compiled, and that was on 4/30/14.  It's part of a new music project I call Yo Mama Dental Floss System.  The album released that day was called "Surround Sound," based on this picture:

Listen to it here, as if I haven't posted it and you've never heard it before: Yo Mama Dental Floss System - Surround Sound

On that note - I've added the lyrics of all 58 released 10,000 Lakes songs to If you know 10,000 Lakes, it's mostly nonsense, so it's an exercise in smartassery.  But if you'd like to "interpret" any of the songs, you can, here.

 Anyway, it's coming back.  I've been doing goofy memes for a while, but the musical and lyrical side... they're starting to come back.  Grace is into making songs, or at least song ideas.  Just like I did way back when.  After going back to my old/new job, I can actually listen to whatever music I want again.  So many months of brainless pop and old country was just not working out.

So it's time to get the feet wet and step in the music pool once again.  I need to spend some time with the guitar, the keyboards, and whatever else I can make noise with.  And Grace wants to sing along on a few things.  I think that would be pretty cool.

So, I'm announcing that recording will soon begin on the new Dr. Tissue album, "The Bionic Reindeer."  All I'm letting out for now is this:  a very well-known hair product company has given me permission to use their shampoo and conditioner descriptions and ingredients as song lyrics, and I'm going to be recording my dishwasher as background sound for one of the songs.

Wednesday, January 13, 2016

Sunshine Jump! (Or At Least Something Different)

I thought I would write tonight. In a selfish way, it's a way for me to get past some things that have bothered me over the last several months. But in a non-selfish way, I can express my life.  Which is what a blog is supposed to do, right? :D

A month into my new/old job - where I am now is becoming a larger contrast to my position and role before.  It's like night and day.  There was a great deal of attrition during the time I left.  So the team I am working with now has some experience, but for the first time in my career as a Closer, I feel like I have some sway, aka something to offer. 

I've always been reserved, but coming back has been an environment where I can help newcomers get more familiar and comfortable with a new position.  It's brought me out of my cave, so to speak. I'm having to show people things I once learned and even earlier, had to just run with to survive in the job. 

What it has created is a stronger environment.  I'm usually the chill guy that just rolls with the nosebleed seats and handles whatever comes along my way. 

But that doesn't cut it anymore.  I work with people who are, in many ways, overwhelmed with a new job function. Everyone on my team is trying to overcome it, and trying to get past the confusing mess that comes with mortgage closing. 

There's an enormous talent in this group - and it's up to me as the veteran to help as much as possible, in order to bring all the good individual talents into the group itself.  But, I'm still trying to remember all the ins and outs of what we're supposed to do to make sure everything is perfect.

I've had a few chances to share some productive and helpful ideas with the new team.  Others have too.  But it takes time for a great team to nail everything down.  In that sense, I'm with the new people.  But in another way, there are questions everyone has, that I can solve individually, and form a way to get past them with the team.

On a completely different note, I got March 4th off.  Mac Sabbath is coming to Trees in Dallas on March 3rd, and I plan on going to that show!  If you haven't heard of them, they're a McDonald's themed Black Sabbath tribute band. Don't wanna miss that.

I'm also trying to quit smoking.  I had five cigarettes today. But also a patch and Reese's flavored vape stuff.  I've got to quit smoking.  I have music stuff to do, and the vocals have to be as wild and woolly as the lyrics.  Goals.

I also have to lay off on the beer.  I mean, I love beer, and I make beer.  But it makes me bloaty. I'm trying to turn that into an artistic/part time thing.  At some point, I've got to work out, at least a little bit, to stay healthy. And maybe even make some new songs sometime soon.

And those new songs, well... that's another collection of musings to be passed along.  You gotta wait on those goodies.

Tuesday, January 5, 2016

New Year, Old Me

Apparently I have plenty of things to talk about.  So here goes.

First of all, I'd like to point out that I have no New Year's resolutions.  I've decided that they're basically scheduled pipe dreams with an almost 0% chance of success.  As Mitch Hedberg once said, "I'm sick of following my dreams. I'm just going to ask them where they're goin', and hook up with them later." I'm completely fine with that philosophy right now.  And why wouldn't I be?  Life is hard no matter what, and recently I've been blessed with some good news that got me out of the hole.  There are other things in my life that have been horrible and remain so, but we all experience that.  So I'm not going to promise myself something I may not be able to follow through with, just for logic's sake. Just because you get a new calendar doesn't mean you have to reinvent yourself based on it.  I can do that on my own schedule; it doesn't have to begin on January 1. But it could, no judgment on those who do that.

The job is going well.  It took Divine and nearly Congressional intervention to make that happen.  I've been at my new, old job for just under a month now.  It started out rough with getting access to everything, but it turned out. I expected some roadblocks in getting up and running.  No complaints, though.  Now I'm up and running.  There is a really large contrast between the time I first came to closing and the time a few weeks ago when I came back. 

The first time I was new at it and completely freaked out for a couple of months, this time around I'm the veteran closer on a newly formed team.  Some of the things my teammates are going through now, I went through over my first few years of closing.  I am sort of cast as the mentor type now. I had a mentor in my early days as well, and given the dynamics now, I feel like I'm in that role.  And it doesn't hurt my feelings at all!

In other news, Mom is cancer-free! She has been for a little while now, but she has had to undergo some chemo treatments since then.  Now she's doing follow up medicine, and soon this whole thing will be in the past.  If you've read my previous posts, you have walked with me through all this and know the territory.  She did get sick halfway through the chemo, and had to spend some time in the hospital.  She lost some weight and had some really difficult days, but the doctors there got things figured out and were able to help.

A 3-week stay was the biggest one.  I am so glad I didn't have a job at that particular time.  It was a dry and rough time for everyone, but looking back on it, I am glad to have been able to drive up to the hospital right up the street to visit and spend time, at any time.

Things are starting to become "normal" again right now. That is, I've been able to adjust to a particular and healthy routine.  Being unemployed was very difficult and unnerving. There was no vacation type of feeling in it at all.  It was like watching the clock tick, hopelessly, while nothing was being maintained, or much less solved.  For the most part, it was a sort of "Countdown to Extinction" sort of feeling.  I knew at some point things would work out, but I was blind to it and had a great deal of challenges along the way. That's a blog entry in itself, but I have to describe a little portion of it here.  Not knowing the next move can sometimes be a catastrpohic showdown.

Speaking from now, I'm thankful for the resolution to all these issues. At the same time, I'm thankful for going through what I did with the job thing, having some time to go to the hospital for visits, and surviving a process not everyone has the patience for.  Every day I go to work now, I'm not just going for a paycheck, or to complete what I need to just to get things done, there's purpose. I have to do what I need to do, but it's for something, for someone I'll never meet in person. A new home, or a better house payment. 

That's worth it for me.  Making the magic happen for someone is special, if it takes a load off of someone, I'm all for it. That idea has done wonders for me, and if I'm part of doing that for someone else, I'm a happy camper.


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