Tuesday, December 10, 2013

Two Weeks and Counting

Two weeks until Christmas Eve. I will be working that day, but most likely I'll get dismissed at about 6pm. I usually work 2pm to 1030pm on Tuesdays, but I will have to go in early that day in an attempt to get my full 8 hours. We don't get paid for Christmas (WTF!), so I can use all the time I can get at this point. Then comes New Years Eve and New Year's Day when I work a regular shift, kowtowing to all those lucky folks who have paid holidays.

I've been really enjoying my reading time lately, even though it looks like I won't make my goal of having 45 books read by the end of the year. Oh well, having read 40 books will be enough of an accomplishment. There's always next year and my goal then will be to read deeper into my collection, picking up tomes I've been promising to get to before I croak. That time is now, or rather begins next year. I'm still trying to pare down my book collection, but finding books to trade in has always been one of my hardest tasks.

It's time to take a stroll to work. Here's hoping the day goes by quickly and smoothly.

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Pills for the Poor

Depressed? Take a pill. Still cannot get used to what is going on in your life? Here...take another pill. Medicine is no longer about care. It's about "How fast can we get you out of here?"

Yes, the world can be a cruel and unjust environment, but I am not one to await some type of supernatural salvation. If one wants to improve the world they live in, then that individual should take action to change the world. Start local and then go after the big boys. Never fear the big boys. Never fear going after something bigger than you if you are confident of your position. I will not waver in my value of knowledge and intelligence. If I spit out some ugly truths that make you uncomfortable, then you are free to go to another web site, un-friend me, or just plain ignore me.

I have been an outcast ever since I can remember. I was adopted, so I have never felt the blood kinship that goes along with family. I found out very early that I was quite different that any of my siblings or parents. They couldn't understand my frustration with the world around me. They didn't know how to talk to me, or more importantly, listen to me. I am passionate about what disturbs me in this world, but I'm tired of stifling my screams.

I am not a very well-liked individual, but maybe part of the reason for that is that I insist of being an individual. You are not likely to bring me to your view of the world without absolute evidence. I'm not going down any unknown path without first investigating who made the path, designed it and started to lead people down that path. I will not follow anyone blindly. Being on the outside makes me a very sad person...and yes, angry. I'm easily angered by ignorance and especially passing on that ignorance to the next generation.

So, I am off to work in a little bit. The car is here, but I choose to walk for my own well-being. It is my night shift, so I will not leave work until 10 pm. In the meantime I get to think about the fact that I've now been prescribed yet another anti-depressant (to work along with the one I already take.) I have to continue pill up as if I am the one that's insane. Oh well...life goes on...whether we will it to or not.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Hunger

I woke up hungry today. Usually I'm not up early enough for breakfast on a Tuesday, but today I had a 9 am appointment, so I dragged my tired ass out of bed at 7:22 this morning. No breakfast in sight though. Instead, I talked about my grief and anger for an hour, while taking periodic glimpses at Lake Union. I write out my thoughts. I walk away my stress. But sometimes I just need someone to talk to. Sometimes I just need a listening ear. I have been a listening ear to others for most of my life. My friendships were always lopsided in that respect. Now here I am, 52-years-old, still craving a friend to hang out with once in a while, maybe share a bowl, and just talk about whatever comes to mind, including those things that bring us down.

There is a false belief in the world today (among many) that the point of life is to be happy. Happiness is just one mind state, and we are multifaceted. Our happiness alone is not singular. Sometimes it's tinged with sadness, or guilt. Sometimes just breathing the air we are given is enough to be ecstatically happy. At other times we need a cake and with candles to blow out.

I want the afternoon to sit and stare at a lake, counting ripples. I want time to slip so far away that I forget words like agenda, and promise. I want a long, long stretch of a pleasant groove. Not happiness, yet a contentment of a sort. I need to feel settled with myself, not just full of myself. I've always been full to the brim with my self, but sometimes that inner brew is a bitter brew. It's not so much sugar, but salvation I need. I do not speak of spiritual salvation. Spirituality to me is just my life-long struggle to glimpse the truth. My salvation is to be satisfied with my own periodic results along this journey.

I like myself and all my myriad interests. I admire my compassion and sense of justice. I have a head full of trivia, which is useless but fun. I've even come to be comfortable with my looks, which haven't always been pleasing to me. I'm 52 and could drop dead on my walk to work today, so it's important to me that I have a sense of well-being and satisfaction as I walk through this world. Every breath could be my last, so I need to make a concentrated effort to taste the air.

No more time to ruminate. I must concoct a sandwich, and consume it with a side of Cool Ranch chips and a Coke. Today I work the two to ten-thirty shift, and I'm already lacking sleep. This is usually my morning to sleep-in. I must find a way to sight some sunshine on this overcast day, even if that light doesn't come from above, but form my own consciousness.

Tuesday, September 3, 2013

Wet and Green, but Never Bored

It does appear as if autumn has arrived. The calendar may state that fall officially begins on September 22nd, but the Pacific Northwest has it's own calendar. Autumn has always been my favorite season; brisk enough to warrant a jacket. It's when I most prefer to walk in the woods. The smell of seasonal decay. The bustling about of animals and birds, preparing for the cold season. I've noticed over the years, that one can forecast a bitterly cold winter when the squirrels make their nests extra thick in preparation.

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Last fall Colorado and Washington made news by being the first states to legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Recently President Obama and Attorney General Holder made it clear that the federal government had no intention of trampling on our liberties, as they are usually wont to do. The permission or lack thereof will not change my own attitudes, the green (not greed) is good, and if more folks just chill-axed with a joint once in a while the world at large would be a better place.

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Like most folks, I am a human with many dimensions, but -- also like the majority of my peers -- I only reveal certain aspects to certain people. I have my Facebook friends, and my Tumblr followers. I have a few friends and acquaintances who might even check in on this blog once in a while. Each of my faces reveals something different about my varied consciousness. I don't lead secret lives, yet I self-censor myself depending on my surroundings. I have found that as I have gotten older (I'm not old yet, just older.) I want to be my true self more consistently. It's grows tiring to continually adjust my outer personality, depending on the company that surrounds me. Yes, sometimes I'm a bitter misanthropic isolationist. Sometimes I want to preach to the world that you're all out of your friggin' minds, but then I humbly realize that I am also of the world. I have my own (semi-frequent) moments of insanity, just like everybody else. Sometimes I hide it better, but sometimes my madness just bleeds out for everyone to witness.

It's just me folks. I've managed to stay out of jail over the years (except for that one night stint many years ago.) I've always done my best to be a kind of gentle soul, and I don't think my three marriages denies that attitude. I admitted to myself long ago that I'm the artistic type; a creative soul. My priorities run counter to society's standards. I know that it's more important to spend time with family and friends. Whenever I have a free moment, I relax outside observing nature, whether it be the stars above, or the spiders stringing webs across my path. I know what keeps me vital and progressing towards the next morning and I cherish those motivations, even though they may differ greatly from folks I know and love. All I ever ask is just accept me for who I am, or please....turn the channel.

Sunday, September 1, 2013

A Genuine Sunday

If my honey and I are still ensconced in bed, and the clock has just passed eleven a.m., then it must be a real Sunday. Not one of those artificial types, when our morning rest is disturbed by a seven-year-old bellowing for Netflix and breakfast. This is a Sunday, when we might make a foray to the bathroom, or out to the deck to imbibe in the morning sun, only to return to the warmth of our bed. No twenty-year-old downstairs, who might awake at any moment to start making breakfast, clanging about in the kitchen. Only the cats to whine at us this morning, but once they get their kibble they quiet down and resume their everlasting series of naps. I could go into much more detail about what makes this Our Sunday, but I then I would have to reclassify this blog as NSFW.

Last night we were toying with the idea of seeing a film today; maybe even two, but having the house to ourselves is quickly engendering a feeling of laziness. "Doing stuff is overrated." So, we lounge about in our sleepwear, which we would not wear into the local 7/11. My brain is producing hunger pangs and I should probably listen soon. I'm not sure how our Sunday morning laziness is going to help my hunger. I haven't started cracking eggs yet, or searching for bacon in the back of the fridge. It's more likely that breakfast will soon become lunch, and we might have to throw on something more presentable, so that we can make our way to Burgermaster or someplace of equal mediocrity. Actually, I should state honestly that I am a fan of Burgermaster, and I don't consider them to be mediocre...but they are just a drive-in burger joint. I won't patronize McDonald's, but I've been known to eat at Burgermaster three times in a week. It reminds me of eating at the old A&W drive-in restaurants way back in 196-.

So, my laziness did not translate into an inability to write a blog post this morning, but my hunger will end this entry.

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

Quotes and Rants

“Most men lead lives of quiet desperation and go to the grave with the song still in them.” -- Henry David Thoreau
"In all affairs it's a healthy thing now and then to hang a question mark on the things you have long taken for granted. -- Bertrand Russell
l I decided to start today's post with a couple of quotations, partly because I am (slightly) at a loss for words, and partly because that first quote has been in my head all morning. Thoreau had some great philosophical ideas, but Walden Pond was still just down the road from his mom's house. I think Thoreau himself may have gone to bed with some quiet desperation still singing in his heart. I know that when I go through boxes of somebody's moldy book collection while at work, I can hear my own heart singing desperately for some type of freedom. Freedom to walk out of work for my own sanity. But we tie ourselves down with our own debts and doubts. The fact that I have not yet set foot in Alaska is very telling. It reveals multitudes about how I have prevented my own dreams from becoming reality all along my lifeline. Hesitation and doubt have killed off my dreams very early.

Now I've become just another angry old white man, whining about where he ended up parking the car, after refusing to ask directions all along the way. Silly old man. Now I look towards the horizon, which I'm hoping is still a ways away. My sight has become filtered through bitter past experiences. I look at the rich and (faux) powerful and know full well that mommy and daddy left them plenty of money to play with. Take the owner of the company under which our humble bookstore falls. He and his brother own fifteen malls across the country among other investments. The owner spent his formidable years sheep farming and smoking weed in Europe, knowing full well that he had his financial future all laid out for him. Meanwhile, my parents (who barely graduated high school) were proud as punch to see their oldest join the air force when he was seventeen, no realizing that he was guaranteeing himself a life of mediocrity. I cannot blame them and their old ways though, because they had no clue about how to claw your way out of being average.

So, I will carry my anger with me today, and bite my tongue when I'm shown how behind I am at work after taking three work days off. I will be reminded very quickly that my job is to keep customers happy, no matter what I may be feeling inside. My position is to continue to fill the pockets of the business owners, so that they can continue to play with their money and check off the greatest golf courses in the world, as they play through each one.

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Tuesday...Too Late?

Too late to be saved? Too late to eke out that one more day of vacation? Too late to think about bandaging old wounds? Too late for Tuesday? I'm pretty much answer-less today. Too (mentally) tired to even put any effort into forming the questions with clarity today. We are leaving for a camping trip this Thursday. It will be the first time I've gone tent camping in probably five years and the first time with Justin and Shawn. My wife is not outdoorsy in the least bit, but I think even she is looking forward to escaping the cacophony of the city for four nights, and having the possibility of some quality reading time. Even though the past week has been anything but bliss (a bucket of piss maybe), I'm starting to look forward to this getaway. I'm realizing how much I need this getaway. This mass of cells known as Marky B. used to stroll through the woods on a daily basis as a method of releasing the stresses of the world that had built up inside his mushy brain. I (this Marky B. guy) originally had my eyes set on the wilds of Alaska when I moved west. I had visions of chillin' (literally and figuratively) in a cabin in the woods - minus the flesh eating zombies, of course. Four days, camped by the crux of two streams at the base of the Cascade Mountains, is the least I can do for myself, after a continual string of days on the pavement.

The day is just beginning for me on this Tuesday in August. My shift at the bookstore starts at 2pm. The main advantage of this shift is that the boss(es) are gone by 6:30 at the latest. Then I can take off my pants and relax. (Kidding!) Today I'll probably start out a little early and eat at Vios, the bookstore cafe. The food is decent and I get half off. Then I might head down to my semi-shady seat behind the neighboring church. It's not as pleasant as it has been in the past, because a neighbor, whom I'll just call The Dragon Lady, as been somewhat stalking me. I think she suspects me of nefarious deeds behind the church, burning babies or something. The worst that I do back there, by anybody's standards, is to burn some leaves in a pipe and make a meager attempt to smooth out these occasionally rough work days.

So, the sun is shining. My honey and I are on the mend. (I think it's safe to say that.) We're back to mainly just being annoyed with everyone else in the world and feeling safe in each others' arms. Life is hard for a human being. We have these mental events called memories and this amazing electro-chemical tool called a consciousness that brings these memories back into the limelight, so that we can edit them, hang on to them and generally allow these unreliable memories cause havoc in our present moments. The mouse under the shadow of the hawk has less worries.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Dog Days of August

But what kind of dog is it? Who knows. I only know that I've been avoiding this blog, because I tend to use it to rant and whine about anything and everything that rains on my parade. I'm usually quite open on these posts, because I'm convinced that no one ever reads it. It's easier to speak my mind when I think I'm the only one listening.

So today being Tuesday, I am working the evening shift, which translates to 2pm to 10:30pm. I work with Alex who I think of as Matter-of-Fact Man. He's so damn serious and acts like the bookstore is being held up on his bony shoulders. Me on the other hand: I love recommending books to fellow readers and I even enjoy shelving and straightening the thousands of books in stock. But -- to be honest (and I always try to be honest)-- I'd rather be doing a variety of other things than working in that wonderful little bookstore in the Ravenna neighborhood. I could give you a list....

It is a brilliantly mid-August day here in Seattle. I was up quite late, working on my other blog(s), which are on tumblr. I am an honest guy, but some blogs are better left unseen by the general public (and more specifically older relatives.) I'd love to live my life -- with all my varied interests -- out in the open, but one has to consider the sensitivities of others. Or at least I do anyway. Seattle is a wonderful place to live openly though. We recently legalized both recreational marijuana use, and gay marriage. I am a firm believer in personal liberties, so I think the passage of these laws are no-brainers. If you are not hurting anybody else, than we should your neighbor give a shit about you do? They shouldn't.

My writing always tend to turn into rants. Either that or it morphs into erotic fiction. It's just a reflection of the way my mind works. So, when I sit down to write a post -- if I'm not addressing a specific issue -- then my mind tends to wander, and the next thing you know, I'm ranting about stupid people, working on sunny days, and the general lack of compassion in the world around us.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

In a Mood

And it's not Mood Indigo. I'm in the mood to rant. When am I not in the mood to rant, right? But being clear-eyed for a day or two, brings all the stuff up to the surface, into the bright light of my consciousness, to be examined and then judged and ranted about.

I've always known that I would be a happier soul (?) in the midst of an unpeopled wilderness, but that was not in my plans. Well, lets say it was in my plans, but my plans fell short. Now my plan is to survive into old(er) age, with a minimum of stress and a maximum of love for my family. Love should solve everything, but I've always taken too much to heart. It's hard to watch injustices unfold on a daily basis in our society. It's difficult to watch as the ignorant masses go forward with no clue. By no clue, I mean no curiosity to figure things out on their own. No impetus to research and makes decisions for themselves based on reason. It makes an old curmudgeon like me even more curmudgeonly. That's no fun.

We will be seeing Brian Regan performing at the Paramount here in Seattle this Saturday. He never fails to make me laugh, and there has been many a dark night when I listened to his comedy album on my iPod and let those stresses float away on the evening breeze...only to return upon waking.

I'm hoping we can get lucky and see Jim Gaffigan later in the summer. Then I would have seen two of my favorite stand-up acts in one year. That would be a treat.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Fighting the Doldrums

It's Tuesday. The sun has decided to go away again. The trees may be in bud, and the Robins are singing, but spring hasn't sprung quite yet around here. I (along with everyone else in this city) could use some sunshine. Actual sunshine and metaphorical sunshine.

My IRA agent called this morning about my retirement account, in which I have about $80 dollars. He wanted to make sure that I'm getting ready for retirement. I make $11 an hour, so my retirement is kind of moot point. Unfortunately, Wal*Mart is not hiring greeters anymore.

Friday, March 8, 2013

And Now For Something Completely Different...

Well, not that different really. Just more rants from a dissatisfied customer. It is Friday, which means I have the next two days off. That's a good thing. It's payday, but since I have already mentally spent $400, then technically I'm broke. That's my usual situation on payday though. I'm never going to actually save enough money for a Maserati anyway. I just like to keep myself supplied with books, and weed. Everything else I enjoy in life is relatively free. It's never fun being one of the working poor here in America. We're supposed to keep ourselves in debt, yet happy, buying shiny trinkets like iPhones and so forth. But most of the people I know are not happy...unless they're delusional. It's not easy to walk through life, wishing you were one of the delusional ones, so that life would be you down so much.

I've always quested for answers, because the life we're in the midst of just seems to be lacking. As humans, we seem capable of so much more, but we waste our time fighting wars, and not just physical violent wars, but culture wars! Culture wars? You know...that's when one faction is offended by the practices of another faction, and decided to use whatever power at their disposal to influence those they disagree with. Ignorant folks sit at home, absorbing propaganda from the airwaves, and get all up in arms about things that actually have absolutely no effect on their lives. Witness gay marriage: I don't think I've ever heard a clear explanation on how gay marriage threatens heterosexual couples, who happen to be married. These same puritans never seemed to get as upset by the high divorces rates (especially in conservative Christian middle-America), or the fact the Elvis imitators routinely perform wedding ceremonies.

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Here I am on a Friday with 44 minutes to go until lunch. I'm having a very hard time getting motivated at work today. I should be pricing and shelving books, but I just want a day in the sun. Who doesn't want a say in the sun, huh? The bright side is that after lunch I only have a mere 2 and a half hours of work left. The dark side is all around me: lack of funds, upcoming medical procedures, (a momentary) lack of herbal relief, bill collectors knocking on the door, the IRS keeping my name on a list. I could go on, but I will resist. Instead, I will go back to work.

Sunday, January 27, 2013

Too Late for Midnight

Don't ask me where that title comes from. It probably rose up from my subconscious and it's a song title or something. I'm too lazy to Google it to find out at the moment.

I have the urge to do about a dozen things at the moment, but I can tell that I'm fading fast. If I was full of vim and vigor, and could split myself up into a few extra personae, I would a.) read a chapter or two of Dennet's Kinds of Minds; I would watch another episode of AMC's "The Killing" -- I'm hooked; and I would continue to sit right here, writing and listening to music over my headphones. (AKA ear buds, AKA I will be needing hearing aids before I know it.)

Today whizzed by, as most Saturdays and days off in general, tend to do. Today had the added shine of being Justin's 7th birthday. We don't do parties, or go overboard in any way in this household. I just made him feel special, as I always do, but calling him "birthday boy" periodically, and pointing out that he had officially turned seven. He's looking forward to beating the hell out of a Sponge Bob pinata tomorrow evening at mommy's, but he enjoyed playing Super Mario with daddy; working and reworking his clay zombie sculpture; and having his favorite meal at nearby Mr. Villa's Mexican Restaurant.

Now I'm attempting to stretch my free time out just a little bit more, before succumbing to fatigue and crawling in beside my honey to slip into slumber-land. I hope that I can refrain from kicking my sweetheart in my sleep tonight. Early this morning, during a dream in which I remember fighting somebody, I kicked out repeatedly, also kicking my sweetie in the process. No harm was done. I just freaked her out a little with my nocturnal antics. She says that I do sometimes move, or talk in my sleep, but last night was a little extreme. I do remember seeing someone's posts on Facebook, joking about giving Chuck Norris a noogie, and wedge. It's possible that planted the suggestion of a martial arts fight in my dream. Who knows?

It's quarter past two, and I'm getting confused as to whether to say "tonight" or "this morning" in this post. I still need to brush my teeth and get ready for bed, which includes my nightly ritual of going outside onto our back deck for a short while, rain or shine. As it stands, I won't slip under the (heated) blankets until three, and even Justin would tell me that's too late. I can only hope to get in a nap tomorrow afternoon concurrently with his nap. He didn't nap today. but he was somehow quiet enough, so that I was able to catch up on some sleep.

So, even though I'm enjoying semi-mindlessly typing away here, listening to Led Zeppelin, I the Sandman playing my tune.

Wednesday, January 23, 2013

The Struggle to be Present

The struggle is to pull my brain out of its rut and get back to the goodness of life. It's not always easy to see the light at the end of the tunnel, especially if you don't necessarily believe in any kind of eternal light. There is too much suffering in this world for anybody to reasonably believe in a passionate god. Einstein once said that God doesn't roll dice, but I beg to differ. Yes, I'm going to disagree with old Alberto, because I as have come to understand the world -- and the universe at large -- it is random and chaotic. It's our little rigid human brains that try and put a reason behind everything, and I mean everything. It's why our brains are set up to recognize faces. In fact, our brains are so well-built to recognize patterns that we're constantly seeing elves in cloud formations and the face of Jesus Christ in water stains. It's just our brains trying to constantly recognize and figure things out, even those myriad of things that cannot possibly be understood by our mishmash of brain jelly.

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On another note: I will be going to work in less than an hour. Today is the one day of the week when I work the 2pm to 10:30pm shift. I took a sick day yesterday, because I was psychically unwell, as opposed to my usual mental debilitation. Shawn and Justin were both home yesterday too, for various ailments. Most of the crew at work has been out for one reason or another lately, but somehow I am the least believed when I call in sick. They may sense that most of the time I am well enough to go to work, but everyone has a right to some sick time. Just because I could function at work without passing out, does not mean I should be there.

It's been a life struggle no matter what direction I look in. I saw my doctor recently and found out that even though I have lost fourteen pounds since our last visit, my "bad" cholesterol has risen, so I need to revisit my doc soon. I worked through my IRA savings on various things like a family trip, clothing and bills, so now I'm back to my usual position of being broke. I have the IRS on my back to file for taxes for a couple of years ago. I will have to pay taxes on the IRA money I took out for our east coast trip. And then there is just the usual clamoring for monies from the ex-wife, American Express, car insurance and so forth. I just wish I had enough extra for some books and bud, but those luxuries are getting harder to maintain.

So, I am sitting here listening to some nice blues guitar by Joe Bonamossa. I have about 45 minutes until I need to button up and walk out into the cold rain for the trek to work. Everyone there will be there usual sourpuss selves, and I will just add one more to the crowd. At least today is not a holiday, as was Monday, so it shouldn't be busy -- just dull, boring and painful. I'd much rather spend this rainy day inside writing, reading and trying to reestablish ties with my beautiful wife. Instead, I'm going into the land of "I'm looking for this book, and I don't know the title or the author" type questions. Most days I enjoy working with book customers, but lately I just want to run away into the deep woods for a while. Just a winter respite is all I need.


Thursday, January 17, 2013

Rough Night

I don't know what demons I was wrestling with last night, but I was tossing and turning all night long, and got up in a cold sweat. I know that part of me (the sensible part) is craving a vacation; some kind of respite from this dark and dreary winter. I also need some kind of change at work. I don't know what, but my mundane job can be quite oppressive sometimes.

Monday, January 14, 2013

Woe to the Weary

Who likes Monday? There is a psychological element to Mondays that makes most of us dread the beginning of the week. If you work what is considered a normal work week, then you most likely have Saturdays and Sundays off. If you're like me, that's never enough time.

I woke up this morning with an intense yearning to stay in bed. As I've aged, my body doesn't work as well as it used to. I saw my doctor just a few weeks back (she has cute ears, which helps) and now I've learned that my cholesterol has gone up. It's the bad cholesterol that has gone up, even though I've managed to lose fourteen pounds over the last few years, by walking to work.

Even at 51-years-old, I still get stressed out by the little things. I still get depressed about being stuck in a dead end job, and realizing that time is running out, and I'm probably not going to have a better job in my remaining years. Not unless some random chance brings luck my way.

It's not always easy to remind oneself of the gifts we already possess. I am not a believer in gods or spirits. We are born into a situation and if we're not happy with our life situation  we can struggle to achieve something better in our life.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Slow it on Down

The weekend is half over. I've been having this passive-aggressive tussle with the management at work lately, about taking time off without pay. I'm for it and they are against it. I try my best not to take time off when they are short-staffed, or during the busiest times, but otherwise what is the harm? Oh well, this subject and the overall subject of work dissatisfaction in general is a dead horse, and I don't have a baseball bat handy at the moment, so I'm done beating that.

I'd love to just be able to stretch time out. The bad days seem to do on forever, but those mornings when I get to sleep in with my honey seem to be over in a heartbeat. Those are the moments I want to somehow make more elastic and stretch those good times out for much longer periods of our lives. Who doesn't want more of the good, and less of the bad, right?

When I manage to show up every day and stay the entire day, I work a 40 hour week at the bookstore. The parenting schedule I worked out with Jen gives me Justin after school on Friday until 4pm on Sunday afternoon. It's nice to have him every weekend, but I'd love to be able to see him more often during this short life of mine. My wife also works full-time, although she is a salaried director. Lately, she has been in there more longer than a 40 hour week.

Work gets in the way of so much that is good and vital: time with my son; time to sit and read the books in my library; time to make love to my wife/best friend/compatriot/chum and fellow book addict. I think that I'm feeling so much of this frustration with work, because I'm 51 now (or as I would say "50") and as I get older I have less patience for bullshit and stupidity. Having lived as long as I have -- and finally having found a partner with whom I feel about as close as one can to true love -- I have begun to feel as if I finally have some of my priorities in order.

I have two favorite quotes that come to mind often. They are both from films that I really enjoyed. The first line is repeated often by Chief Dan George in the 1970's classic "Little Big Man," who played Old Lodge Skins: "Today is a good day to die."

The second quote if from the 1980 Australian film "Breaker Morant," and it is spoken by Harry Morant: "Live every day as if it were going to be your last; for one day you're sure to be right."

I have also absorbed some eastern philosophy over the years, and I try to cherish each moment the best I can, as a fragile angst-ridden human being, with high blood pressure and a climbing cholesterol count (the "bad kind.") I don't have enough self-discipline to meditate twice a day for two twenty minute sessions. If I had that kind of discipline I'd probably live to a ripe old age of 101. I'd be the old man practicing t'ai chi ch'uan in the park on Sunday mornings, or monitoring classes at UW for even more self-growth. If I had that kind of self-discipline that I never would have quit playing piano. I would have driven myself to go to college and find a career in something I loved, like film or archeology rather than enlisting in the air force at age seventeen on a whim (or nearly so.)


The most recent neurological findings are suggesting that human beings lack true free will. We only have the psychological impression that our actions are chosen of our own free will. Courts of law treat criminals as if they have free will, and can therefore choose not to lead a life of crime. But more it more it has been proven (Google the data if you're interested) that our lives are predetermined by our genetics, our environment, and our own brains shaped by thousands of years of evolution.
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Well, another rambling blog post that may have been better suited to my journal, but blogs are what people tend to use a journals these days, aren't they? People voluntarily lead such public lives with their blogs and their Facebook accounts. I still fantasize about escaping from society and living in a cabin in the woods; or an Airstream trailer in the southwest, depending on fantasy. These dreams are relegated to old man musings now, because I've grown too old to realistically think about living off the grid anymore. As I age, I begin to depend on society more and more, and that only increases my angst.

Ruminating and rambling on seem to be my predominant modes tonight. But the digital clock over in the right hand corner of the screen reads 2:06. It's probably time to start to consider joining my sweetie under the heated blanket.

Friday, January 11, 2013

Whew!

We made it through that year, huh? There were some folks out there, claiming the world would end at the close of 2012, because the Mayan calendar ended on that date, or some such nonsense. Believe what you will, we're still here, crawling around like parasites on this little blue planet. Human beings have done some serious harm to this earth, as parasites are wont to do to their hosts, but I don't see the earth ending overnight -- unless a big enough comet slammed into us; or we finally do ourselves in with nuclear explosives.

We all want to have a discussion about gun control in this country right now -- and we should -- but we never talk about the big glowing elephant in the room: Nuclear weapons. The conservatives/republicans/morons are always clamoring for more nuclear power plants in this country, but we never address the whole nuclear weapon thing. I get those nagging thoughts about thermal radiation and blast zones. I have a little more knowledge than some about the effects of nuclear weapons, because when I was in the air force I was stationed at Grand Forks Air Force Base, and missile technician, specifically Minuteman III nuclear missiles.

I'm not talking about all kinds of top secret information, just information that is readily available to most citizens, but out-of-sight, out-of-mind. All you need to read about the effects of nuclear weapons is contained in the classic book  The Fate of the Earth by Jonathan Schell. There is a well-done, and emotionally moving film called "Testament," starring Jane Alexander, about the effects of a nuclear blast on one particular family.

I guess the beginning of the new year, and the supposed demise of earth at the end of 2012 got me on this subject. My job has been getting me down, as it occasionally does. I tried one possible path to a career, which included the air force and then a two-year electronics school. Keep in mind, this is back in the day when the flashy new computer was the Commodore 64. Sixty-four bits of data, contained right there in your keyboard. I continued on through a few high tech jobs, never earning more than twelve dollars and change, because they pay engineers the big bucks, not the technicians who carry out the actual tasks. Thanks to a cross-country relocation, I ended up doing custom picture framing for a while, until I shifted over to being a bookseller.

Bookselling is fun is you love books, and getting a discount on books and talking about books. But otherwise, it's a pretty thankless job. In most ways, it's just another retail job that underpays it's employees, and keeps us on a short leash as far as other benefits, such as vacation time. (A sore spot with me.)

On the plus side, tomorrow is Friday. My paycheck was short, because we are not paid for Christmas or New Year's. I also took a sick day in the past two weeks, and I didn't have a full 8 hours of sick time to cover that. On the plus side, I start early, which translates to leaving early. My sweetheart of a son comes over for the weekend. There are forecasting a sunny day. Not a warm day mind you, but sunny. A little sunshine will at least boost my inner strength, which has been lagging with all these damp dark days of late.

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I knew I that I had been in the mood to write lately. I could probably go on for another hour or so, but I need to be out of bed by at least 8 am. And I still need go out onto the deck and gaze up at the stars for a bit. It's a beautiful night outside, albeit a bit cold.