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.