23:54 Already?

A little over three years ago there was a bit of terror going on in my head. After five years in which I was putting myself through college and surviving by working at least one and sometimes two full-time jobs, then spending about thirty-five years of dealing with both family and “career” where the demands of the job often involved 60, 70, 80 or more hours per week, and at one time packing an MBA program in on top of that, I all of a sudden had “nothing” to do.

Facing unemployment, I didn’t know if I could stand not being busier than God.

Let me tell you, three years of getting used to not being busier than God is NOT good preparation for going back to being busier than God, working full-time plus, and making a bit of time for The Long-Suffering Wife, and taking care of my CAF duties, and trying to get a couple hours of sleep every now and then, and keep this website going.

23:59. Push the button


Filed under CAF, Paul

It’s Not Good To Mock Murphy

It occurs to me tonight, while muttering under my breath and using terms of which my mother would have never approved, that our pal Murphy is not an imp, a pixie, a pookah, gremlin, or scamp. Nope, he’s an extortionist. And a particularly stupid one at that.

Foggy alley. Cobblestones. Night. A lone streetlight shines. Against it leans Murphy, casually threatening as you approach.

“Hey, Willett! I hear you used that fancy website of yours to poke a little fun at your truly. That’s not a nice thing.”

“It was just a little lark, Murph, I didn’t mean nothin’ by it.”

“Yeah, sure you didn’t. Say, that’s a nice run of decent luck you’ve got there. Be a pity if something were to happen to it…”

The reason that I think he’s a particular bad, stupid extortionist is that he hasn’t told me what he wants! What good is messing with people and threatening them so they’ll do what you want them to do, if you don’t tell them what it is that you want them to do?!


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Filed under CAF, Farce, Paul

It’s Murphy’s World, We Just Get To Live In It

On yet another “deadline” night with many long hours ahead, Murphy reared her ugly head. Fritzing, blinking, flashing, dying computer monitor!

Fortunately for me, I’ve got enough spare parts around here to build a reasonably good simulation of the bridge of the NCC-1701 Enterprise (“D” model) and I’ve torn down enough equipment so that I can look like a NASCAR pit crew when necessary.

The Long-Suffering Wife was wondering what the hell was going on as I was schlepping equipment back and forth between rooms and ripping apart old desktop systems that hadn’t been used in months, if not years. It was more disconcerting than comforting to have her yelling, “Poor, poor thing!” at me as I went by, but I know she meant well. (I may have been a bad influence on her over the years.)

Don’t worry, I haven’t forgotten about the second half of that Super Bowl commercial thought that was supposed to run last night. I just have to get a night where I can start writing it sometime before 23:30.

Recipes for Murphy-repellent would be appreciated.

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Filed under Computers, Paul

Accounting Critters

It’s a tough time of year for accounting critters. Tax returns. Audits. Financial statements.

Long, long days, and lots of them. Much too little sleep.

If you know an accounting critter, treat them gently this time of year. They’ll be better after April 15th. For now though, a pat on the head, a neck massage, a drink or snack, an occasional “poor, poor thing” will go a long way.

If you know an accounting critter who’s got two separate gigs going on, say, a regular job and a volunteer non-profit on the weekends and evenings, you might watch them for signs of irrational behavior. Well, you know, even more irrational behavior than normal.

You might ask me how I know…

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Filed under Paul

Super Bowl Ad #1

Because it’s that time, I would like to talk about this one:

This might be my favorite Super Bowl ad of all time, at least, until this year (more tomorrow about that). But when I went looking for it on YouTube, I found a decent number of remarks that display various levels of outrage, claiming that our hero is actually committing an act of sexual assault.

I’m extremely passionate about women’s rights, women’s equality, and condemning the abuse of women, both physically, mentally, and emotionally. I’ve gone off on that subject a few times here when there have been instances of women being treated like second class citizens (or worse, or so, so, so much worse) in science, academia, or in science fiction and fantasy fandom.

Yet I love this ad. It’s not just that the kid gets the confidence to kiss the girl, and it’s not that the girl doesn’t seem to mind at all. He’s also parking in the principal’s parking spot, he’s got a spring in his step, he’s taking a potentially seriously embarrassing social moment and turning it into an act of defiance.

I’m torn.

Is the negative response a symptom of political correctness gone too far? Or is the fact that I like the ad a sign that I have the “patriarchal rape culture” ingrained in my zeitgeist far more deeply than I thought?


Tomorrow I think we’ll talk about this year’s Super Bowl ad from Audi. It’s a lot less controversial.

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Filed under Video

Mid-Rise At Night

Offered not as a snarky comment on how late I’ve been leaving the office (it really, really is a good job and I’m not complaining and things are going very well, but, yeah, it’s a bit hectic and I’m out a little bit late), but rather as an observation about how nice a big, modern office building can look at night, with just a few odd office lights still on. (One of them mine…)

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File Feb 05, 23 38 22 small

File Feb 05, 23 39 00 small

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Filed under Los Angeles, Photography

What Was Happening Here?!

One of the truly great things about photography for me is how the vast majority of my pictures can take my memories right back to where I was when the picture was taken. This is especially true for travel photos, even for travel photos that are decades old.

That favorite picture from my European trip with my Pepperdine MBA classmates? Like it was yesterday. Those pictures from the harbor cruise in Cabo San Lucas? I can still feel the sun. The view climbing through the vermillion torii gates at Fushimi Inari? I can still taste the damp, mossy texture of the mist and fog.

In the last few days I’ve been spending a little bit of time every day sorting through the pictures from last year’s trip to Washington DC for the Hubble 25 NASA Social. Lots of pictures of the Smithsonian Air & Space Museum, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, the Vietnam Veterans Memorial, the Capitol, and so on.

In the middle of a full day of these pictures, each evoking vivid memories, I found this single frame:

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Whiskey. Tango. Foxtrot!

I have been known to occasionally bump the camera (or cellphone) and trip off a picture or two of some random piece of sidewalk, sky, building, body part, or total stranger. This isn’t one of those. This appears to have been deliberately taken. Framed. Focused. Well lit.

But WHY?

I have absolutely zero memories of taking this picture. An orange peel in the trash. Maybe a candy wrapper or water bottle or something else buried under it? No “aha!” moment that takes me back to a time when there was a logical reason for creating this image.

It’s just after a whole slew of pictures as I walked the blocks around the White House, and just before pictures of the Washington Monument, for whatever that’s worth. And yes, it does appear to be in sequence after looking at the file data. It’s not somehow mislabeled or showing up out of context, as if there might be another context where I would say, “Oh, yeah! I remember taking pictures of the trash!”

If Muldur and Scully want to look for proof that there is a God and she’s just messing with us, they might start here.


Filed under Photography, Travel