Category Archives: Deep Thoughts

Unanchored

Sunday nights seem to be the worst.

The whole world’s going crazy and it’s getting harder to hold on to a sense of balance. So much going on at home, trying to just hold on to a sense of normalcy in our own bubble. So much to do at work, trying to carry my weight and help where I can for those who need it. So much to do at the hangar as we’re shut down but still trying to survive. So much to going on across our country as actual forces of evil are trying to divide and destroy us from within.

Am I doing enough? Or am I doing too much and will I recognize the straw that breaks the camel’s back? Or does that whole “you’re stronger than you know” thing still apply and I need to buck up, get my ass in gear, and do even more?

Overlying all is a growing anxiety and fear over the COVID-19 virus. We’re still healthy, but know folks who aren’t, and have seen just how bad it can be.

Where’s the center in all of this? Where’s the balance point? Or is there one, or is it constantly shifting and moving?

There’s a little bit of relief on the weekend as we can force ourselves to make time to relax, to watch a ballgame or movie. But even there I feel a constant dread, a guilt, a pressure that time is being wasted when I watch that game or show. Which I know is wrong, but which in turn just feeds into the cycle of angst.

Baseball is back, which is good – but I can’t help but feel that the other shoe is going to drop any day, with a whole COVID outbreak that could devastate a team, teams, or the league. Hockey and basketball return this weekend, and pro football is less than six weeks away. Who even knows if we’ll get college sports in the fall.

So much uncertainty, so much stress, so much impending doom. But tomorrow we’ll tackle it all again and do our best. Mainly because we really don’t have any choice. As the saying goes, “The only way out is through.”

But Sunday nights seem to be the worst.

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Filed under CoronaVirus, Deep Thoughts, Sports

No Context For You – July 19th

It’s Sunday night.

The weekend was…not sufficient. Disappointing.

Last week was…difficult. Frustrating.

The upcoming week will be…unknown. Anticipation.

The good news is that we all have tremendous potential to make wonderful things of tomorrow, this week, this remainder of this month, the remainder of this year, the remainder of our lives. If we have the strength.

The bad news is that we may be facing tremendous forces opposed to us, both intentionally and otherwise, and the race may never have an end or even a chance to catch our breath. Our strength will be sorely tested.

I was thinking this week of Grant Imahara. And Jim Henson. And Stan Rogers. And listening to “Hamilton” brought all of those thoughts together. “Why do you write like you’re running out of time?”

Indeed.

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Filed under Art, Deep Thoughts, Photography

Fifty Years Ago Today – Not Star Wars

Yes, yes, “May the Fourth…” Maybe next year.

Remembering fifty years ago today:

I was only fourteen, raised in a conservative, Midwest, middle class household. I knew that people were protesting the Vietnam War and a lot of people hated Nixon, but I wasn’t involved. I was too young, had too many other personal, angsty teenager things to deal with, like girls, trying to fit in while being a fish out of water in a new state that I (at the time) hated, missing my friends from where we had moved, and trying to figure out how to get out of being an altar boy seven days a week because we lived across the street from the church.

The perspective has changed more than a little bit for me. (Well, except for the girls thing – still a mysterious mine field.)

I don’t know if I think that the military or police or National Guard today would open fire on a crowd of unarmed student protesters.

But given what’s going on in Washington today, and some of the potential outcomes for November…

Hypothetically, if a certain orange monstrosity lost the election by an epic, historic landslide but still refused to leave the White House next January (like you can’t imagine THAT being possible!) and a few tens of millions of people took to the streets around the country demanding that he go (despite what I worry might be a raging COVID-19 pandemic by that point with over a million Americans dead) and it started to get ugly (think Chile, or Turkey, or the fall of the Iron Curtain)…

Would the military or police or National Guard open fire on that crowd?

I would hope not. They might. But I would bet they wouldn’t.

But would these shits stains open fire on innocent protesters?

michigan lockdown protests(Reuters / Seth Herald)

Even thinking about that brings me right back to the 1960’s (we were living in the Chicago suburbs during the 1968 Democratic National Convention) and 1970’s (“Four dead in Ohio’).

Let’s hope that at this time next year we’re having “Yoda-ritas” and watching Star Wars marathons with actual adults in the White House and Senate and House.

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Filed under CoronaVirus, Deep Thoughts, Moral Outrage, Politics

Boob Tube

It’s a good thing that television originally started out with an electron gun painting pixels across the face of a vacuum tube so that when it started to get filled predominantly with mind numbing stupidity it got referred to as the “boob tube.” Because I’m here to tell you, “boob OLED ultra 4K cinema HDR smart flat panel display” just does NOT roll off the tongue the same way! It’s even more ironic that the boob tube can’t show any actual boobs unless you’re watching cable. Except of course for that disgusting blob in the White House who reminds us daily of the original meaning of the term “boob” and not the meaning that I’m so fond of despite it’s extremely sexist overtones. I’ll stop now. You’re welcome. Wash your hands. Stay home.

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Meditation Might Be Worthless

Hear me out on this one…

I’ve never been much of a meditation sort of guy. Too much of a class clown. Not a big believer in the “woo-woo” side of life.

But I’ve mellowed with age. I’m long, LONG past the stage where I thought I knew everything and I’m now deep, DEEP into the stage where I’m not convinced I know anything. You know – mid-life crisis and all of that. (Anyone makes a crack about how I’m too old to be having a “mid”-life crisis gets shown the far side of the airlock door.)

(And yes, that is the class clown trying to come out and go all Hawkeye Pierce on the situation to distract from the actual crisis. I’m recognizing it – I just can’t stop it, so that’s progress. See?! There we go again…)

Anyway, where I work now we have Wednesday afternoon meditation sessions. Just ten minutes, but I’ll take the break. It’s actually quite relaxing and pleasant. I look forward to it. At last, I did until we went and had to shut down the office due to the COVID-19 crisis.

But here’s the thing.

On a day like today, because of this, and THAT, and then the day I had, and then… And god forbid you should actually read the news. And then we got word (which shouldn’t have been a surprise, but I still had hope) that the Ahmanson’s production of “1776” this summer is being cancelled. You have no idea how much I was looking forward to that.

And that in turn brought up the overwhelming likelihood that “Hamilton” will also be cancelled. It will be. It should be. The world is shit and millions are going to be dying.

And then one of the little escapes that I was truly enjoying (we’ve been binging “The Good Place”) hit the end of the 3rd season (which was an absolute gut punch) and I was desperate to move on to the 4th season to see how it’s resolved. But it’s not out there yet and probably won’t be until fucking AUGUST!!!

And I shouldn’t be starting every sentence with “and,” but I am.

I fully realize (especially writing this out) how privileged and highly ridiculous my particular whine is, given the magnitude of the crisis facing us all. I’ll own that. For better or for worse, this is where the camel’s back got broken for me today.

And as I’m teetering on the abyss, my brain spinning in circles like a rabid squirrel hopped up on meth, grasping at straws, it occurred to me. “Meditation.” Isn’t that what this is for? Isn’t that a much better solution than tearing off your clothes, covering yourself in raspberry preserves, and running screaming through the streets of Los Angeles at night?

Except…

Meditation is slow. It’s methodical. It’s pastoral.

It’s glacial.

I needed something RIGHT FUCKING NOW!!!

So it occurs to me that when the chips are down, when you’re facing your particular existential crisis, unless it’s a slow, methodical, pastoral, glacial sort of crisis, meditation might be worthless. Sort of like having a really good, really accurate single-shot long rifle when you’re suddenly attacked by a thousand rabid squirrels armed with machine guns.

And I now realize that my outlet, my solution, my therapy, my way to release Hawkeye Pierce, is to write.

I think there are about five, maybe six people who actually read this site. I don’t know if this outlet for my Day ‘O Shit would be better or worse if that was five or six hundred thousand.

Maybe that will be tomorrow’s existential crisis.

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Filed under CoronaVirus, Deep Thoughts, Entertainment, Writing

Focus

It’s hard to do right now. Focusing. Prioritizing. Thinking straight.

What a day, huh? The NBA is shut down. Dozens, if not hundreds, of universities and colleges have shut down. The NCAA’s March Madness, if played at all, will be played in empty arenas. The Mango Mussolini stumbles his way through a teleprompter speech that wouldn’t get a C- from a fourth-grade composition class, makes at least three world-class errors or misstatements in it, looks like death warmed over, and instead of rallying the country it causes a drop of 1,000 points in the overnight futures market, which means that tomorrow’s opening is expected to be a blood bath in a market already over 20% off of it’s highs of just two weeks ago.

Oh, yeah. And people are starting to die. There are worst case scenarios that have over a million dead Americans, and people already arguing over whether or not they’re actually the worst case.

It’s hard to focus, to act, to think, to not be paralyzed.

A few years back, when I was becoming unemployed for the first time in my life and not sure what the hell was coming, one of my biggest fears was the potential for ennui, for depression, for falling off the planet and not knowing how to get back on. So I started keeping track of the simple things and forcing myself to hold myself accountable. I still might fall off the planet, but at least it wouldn’t be a surprise when it happened. And the process itself, the data, the lists, helped to steer me in the right direction and not lose my way.

Somewhere early in that process I started this website. It’s never been profound, or popular, or whatever else it might have been supposed to be, but it has been an anchor. In the almost seven years since I’ve started, I’m not sure there are ten days in which I’ve missed posting something. It might have just been a picture or a lame observation or something incredibly witty and clever that no one on the planet ever noticed or read – but it got posted.

At about 03:00 last night I woke up and realized that I hadn’t pushed the “Publish” button on yesterday’s article. Nor did I get up at 03:01 and go do that. And I missed posting about four days ago just because…I forgot.

That’s one symptom. There are plenty of others. None fatal. Not super critical. None involve the fate of the world. But they’re bothersome.

As the shit hits the fan, if I get sick, or if others around me get sick, there may be days I don’t post because of that. That’s okay – I’m not Superman. But while I and my family and friends are still not sick, it would be nice to still be on top of things and in control (yes, I’m well aware that it’s a “control issue”) and not seeing little cracks in the dam.


Yesterday’s post?

It was about the thunderheads roaming the area.

 

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Filed under Deep Thoughts, Photography, Weather

Courage

We’re going to need it.

I won’t even bother repeating what I think about the current head of the US government and those around him – go to my Twitter or Facebook feed if you’re curious. Be prepared for massive amounts of profanity.

This is going to be a bad week.

I just deleted a whole big, long rant about economic crises and health crises and you can read the news yourself.

We’re going to need to keep moving forward, keep fighting, and keep watching out for one another.

This is going to be a bad week.

 

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Filed under Deep Thoughts, Paul

Taking A Wild Leap

It’s February 29th, which doesn’t happen that often, so I figured I might comment in my unique and inimitable style. But first, what did I have to say about this unusual date four years ago? Oddly, pretty much NOTHING AT ALL about the date, but a bunch of really nice pictures of Clay Lacy’s DC-3.

It’s no doubt an amazing aircraft, but… Leap Day? Nothing?

Okay, so let’s make up for that a bit. Acknowledging that it’s a day that only comes once every four years and even then not in years evenly divided by 100 unless it’s also a year evenly divisible by 400 (a good summary here), the random synapse firing that occurred to my somewhat sleep deprived brain was along the lines of, “That’s messy. I don’t like it. Why don’t we fix it?”

And by “fix it” of course, I’m not talking about coming up with some weird and unique calendar that somehow does away with that quarter of a day (“ish”) that’s extra. I’m talking about moving the planet’s orbit so that it’s a precisely even number of days long.

Go big or go home!

Since the Earth’s orbit takes it around the Sun in 365.25 days, the easiest way to get to an even integer would be to get rid of the 0.25 days. Moving the Earth closer to the Sun would make it orbit faster, so it would be easier to go to 365 days than to 366.

But…

If we go to a precise 365 day orbit, all of those folks born on February 29th would never, ever again have a birthday. Plus, of course, by moving the Earth closer to the Sun when we’re already destroying it with climate change would mean that we’ll fry and die that much sooner, so maybe that would be a second negative on that plan.

Plus, with a 365 day year, we still have that somewhat annoying “extra” day in there that means that if this year your birthday is on a Monday, next year it will be on a Tuesday, and the year after that a Wednesday, and so on. Still messy.

So let’s move the Earth even closer to the Sun and give it a 364-day orbit! This solves the calendar problem completely! Thirteen months of 28 days each! Uniformity! Standardization! Easy to remember!

Oh, right, it’s also boring. We would also fry and die a LOT faster, which most days I would consider to be bad thing, but frying and dying fast while being bored is so, so much worse.

Instead, I think we’ll have to move the Earth’s orbit out, away from the sun. This gives us a slightly longer year while simultaneously helping to cool the planet so that we can continue sans guilt to burn fossil fuels like they’re going out of style.

Moving out to a precise 366-day orbit doesn’t give us a fantastic, evenly divisible calendar. We would have to go out to a 372-day orbit to do that, and that might be far enough away from the Sun that we would freeze to death slowly instead of frying and dying quickly, so let’s table that idea.

No, the 366-day orbit gets my vote. It makes permanent leap years, which we’re already used to. We’ve all seen tons of February 29ths – now we would just see them every year.

We would also still have an annual variance in respect to which dates fall on which days of the week. The 366-day calendar gives us 52 weeks plus two days, but since there are seven days in a week, the match of days of the week to dates on the calendars would repeat every seven years. In other words, if your birthday was on Monday this year it would be on Wednesday in 2021, on Friday in 2022, on Sunday in 2023, on Tuesday in 2024, on Thursday in 2025, on Saturday in 2026, and again on Monday in 2027.

A little bit regular, but not boring!

(And saving the world in good measure!)

I hope that someone gets right on this.

Image result for make it so meme gif

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Filed under Astronomy, Deep Thoughts, Paul

Again The Similarities

The race is on – tight deadlines, crushing pressure to get things done, the finish line coming into sight, not clear if I’m going to make it or not. Some times I’m feeling pretty good, then something pops up that slows me down and I’m starting to get a little panicked. But I suck it up, put my head down, and keep slogging on. Things get back on track, but the pressure never goes away.

A lot of it is routine, rote, and I’m already exhausted, so the mind wanders. There’s music to keep me going, but when you’re this tired and trying to focus but also just trying to keep putting one foot in front of the other, the emotional roller coaster is open for business. One song will get me going, cranked up to an eleven, played on repeat two or three times. Another will remind me of something or someone and suddenly I’m on the verge of tears. Through it all, I have to keep moving.

Finally a milestone is reached. That’s great, even if it’s not necessarily the one that I was hoping to reach tonight. But the battle plan had to shift a bit so as long as we’re still making progress in putting the whole puzzle together, I’ll take it.

Through it all, I’m reminded yet again of the similarities and lessons learned in other activities that might seem to be completely unrelated.

Am I running a marathon? No, but that’s where the lessons and similarity comes from. The work for the past weeks and month have been back and forth between the real, day job and the upcoming audit for the hangar. For the past two weeks the major, monstrously huge hurdle for the immediate time has been cleared at work, so it’s been pedal to the metal on the audit, which starts on Monday morning.

It will be fine – I really can see the finish line. But it’s going to be close.

And I’m glad that I learned so much from running a marathon or three.

Maybe when both of these tasks are behind me I should do that again.

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Filed under CAF, Deep Thoughts

Chaos 2020

You know that infamous rant by Jim Mora, coach of the Indianapolis Colts, when some reporter asked him about making the playoffs?

In that same squeaky voice (with pretty much the same graying hair, pretty much the same sagging chin, and pretty much the same sense of frustration) imagine me saying, “Routine?! You want to talk about ‘routine’?”

What’s up with this 2 days off, 1 day on, 2 days off, 2 days on, 2 days off, 1 day on, 2 days off, 2 days on, 2 days off shit?

Granted, it’s better than not having any of those extra days off in there. But when you put that on top of the year and the decade changing, I’m having a tough time remembering what day of the week it is, let alone which month or year.

It’s like being on one of those bull riding machine that’s set up for almost 100% chaotic movement, no predictability, no pattern, nothing to do but hold on for dear life.

At least next week will have five work days in a row, which means only one “Monday.” (My god, has it come to this, that I’m grateful for five work days in a row?)

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Filed under Deep Thoughts, Paul