Category Archives: Paul

Breaking Strain Redux

A bit more than a year ago I wrote pretty much the same thing that I was going to write tonight.

Go ahead and read that first. I’ll wait. (If that link doesn’t work, just search this site for “Breaking Strain” and you’ll find it. And please let me know that the link doesn’t work – how can I fix it if no one tells me it’s broken?)

Interesting to see the concept, desire for, and borderline desperate need at times for pillow forts. I had thought that particular recurring theme was recent, but everything old is new again apparently.

I’m thinking about this gem from Kipling tonight in terms of expectations, dreams, desires, reality, and hopes.

The juxtaposition of gratitude for what I have, the recognition of how much worse it could be, and the desire for what I dream of.

The memory of passions past, the despair of passions lost, the lust for passions regained.

Those are some nasty little three-ways to be caught betwixt and between!

And yet…

As Kipling reminds us, we don’t just fail…

Abide the twin damnation- 
To fail and know we fail.

…unlike the inanimate stuff we build with, we KNOW we fail!

And yet…

In spite of being broken,
Because of being broken
May rise and build anew
Stand up and build anew.

…we try again.

A year ago I said, “We’re badasses! Even when we don’t think we are.”

I wonder now just how much thinking is involved. It’s not the brain, it’s the heart. It’s not the body, it’s the soul. We’re badasses not when the world knocks us down, but when we get back up anyway.

Get some sleep. Hug someone you love if they’re there with you. Think about someone you love and smile if they’re not there with you.

Tomorrow morning stand up and build anew.

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Filed under Deep Thoughts, Paul

No Context For You – December 01st

A dark month, December. The days get shorter, the nights get longer, the temperatures drop, the winds howl, the rains arrive.

Is it any wonder that at the solstice we celebrate, no matter the religious or cultural justification?

Do we think we can frighten the night and the cold away with frantic noises and celebration? Do we as an “enlightened” people simply recognize the results of axial tilt and recognize the circumstantial passing of a defined point in the calliope of Newtonian mechanics? Or does it even matter?

We’ve made it through 11/12ths of this 2018 ordeal. Let us gather our strength to finish strong and bravely meet 2019 head on.

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Filed under Disasters, Paul, Photography, Politics

Cheap Thrill, Yellow Tags

We did a lot of cross-country driving when I was a kid, a LARGE family crammed into a station wagon for hours. I spent a lot of hours learning to play “license plate games” in order to keep what little sanity I had.

Things like that get ingrained deep in the subconscious.

Case in point – California was one of the first states to long ago stop giving everyone a new license plate for their car every year. Instead you get one set of plates and then you get a new sticker to put on it every year. To make sure that you pay your registration every year, and to make it easy for the police to see if you haven’t, the stickers are a different color every year. The 2017 stickers were green – see one of those and you know that the registration is late and you get a ticket. The 2018 stickers were orange – see one of those and you had better have a “DEC” plate to go along with it. The 2019 stickers are blue – lots of them out there right now.

This is that time of year in California when the next year’s stickers start to appear. For years, around Thanksgiving, I’ll start looking, keeping half an eye peeled when stopped at a light. It’s a little game to see when I can spot the first sticker of the new year.

Cheap. Thrills. (As advertised.)

But now I get to cheat. Hissy has “JAN” tags and I got the registration bill last week. I paid it quickly even though it’s technically not due for another two months and ever since I’ve been diligently watching for that first tag of the new year. I haven’t seen it yet. And today’s mail brought mine.

I WIN!!!

I have the “first” 2020 tag to put on Hissy.

They’re yellow.

It’s not quite godhood – just a leftover psychosis from a childhood crammed into the back of a 9-passenger station wagon driving from South Dakota to Maryland. But we all take what we can get.


Filed under Paul

No Context For You – November 22nd

Thankful for many things on this American Thanksgiving Day…

…yet also conscious of how many items include the concept of “thankful that it’s not so much worse and hoping that this time next year it won’t be this bad.”

Adventures can be simple things and exhilarating.

The big adventures, the ones that make front page headlines day after day after month after year – technically exhilarating, but usually not in a good way. The Space Race fifty years ago was one of the good ones. The current political situation and climate change (in general – brush fires, hurricanes, blizzards in particular) are bad.

Let’s all hope that next Thanksgiving we can all be thankful that those crises are less threatening than they are this Thanksgiving. And let’s all spend the next 365 days doing what we can to make that happen.

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Filed under Disasters, Paul, Photography, Politics

Up At 7:00

One thing I’ve noticed, which is just the cherry on the topping of my hatred for Daylight Saving Time, is that I’m still waking up every morning at “7:00.”

Or, at least, at what used to be 7:00. Based on where the sun is and when it rises and so on. But since we “fell back” almost three weeks ago the reality is that it’s 6:00 AM, not 7:00 AM.

Yet almost every day, my brain stem sees the light and wakes me up within a minute or two of 6:00 AM PST / 7:00 AM PDT, often with a touch of panic because my sleeping brain thinks that the alarm didn’t go off and I’m late.

Almost every day, it takes a few seconds and then I realize what happened. Then I’m trying to get back to sleep for that extra hour of shuteye that I so desperately need. I’m not even getting any slack from my subconscious on weekend days or holidays.

Stupid brain.

Stupid mornings.

Stupid DST.

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Filed under Castle Willett, Paul

What’s That Dinging Noise?

Stressed? Me? NAH!

Tired? Moi? NO WAY!

A block from work tonight on my way home I finally became aware of a red warning light on the dashboard, one that I don’t recall ever seeing. What is that?

And then the dinging noise started. What am I doing wrong? What’s that warning icon?

The airbags aren’t function? Well, good, I haven’t hit anything. Wait, that doesn’t make any sense, I’ve never hit anything, why is the alarm going off now?

Do I have something heavy on the passenger’s seat that is making the car think that I have someone sitting there and whoever it is needs a seat belt for safety? But there’s nothing on the passenger seat!


Okay, you need to understand that I’m one of those guys who ***ALWAYS*** puts on his seat belt. I literally will not move the cars around in the driveway without putting on the seat belt. I put on the seat belt in New York City taxis. I’ve lost friends who would be alive if they had been wearing seat belts. I put the seat belt on before I put the key in the ignition.




Except tonight.

Damn, that’s weird.

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No Context For You – November 13th

Everything’s creaky and tired.

The house is creaking and popping with the high winds (sans flame) pushing it this way and that. Got so bad at one point earlier this evening that I check to see if we were actually having a small earthquake.

This entropy thing sort of sucks.


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Filed under Paul, Photography