Category Archives: Paul

No Context For You – March 06th

The devout, well brainwashed, compliant seven year-old Catholic school kid buried deep down inside me (trust me, he was is a real sanctimonious little prick) wants to give up something for Lent. Something grand and noble and… sanctimonious, like Diet Coke, chocolate, fear, or hatred.

The significantly older atheist who now occupies this meat suit (who might still be a real prick on a regular basis, but at least he’s not sanctimonious about it) wants to give up all of the crap that makes getting out of bed in the morning such a pain in the ass. But since that crap pays the bills and is required for that whole “responsible adult” thing, that’s not gonna happen either.

Someone online suggested giving up hope for Lent – they may be onto something. But that seems extreme and I’m too tired for anything extreme. So maybe I’ll just give up caring instead.

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That Feeling Of Impending Doom – Again

There was a day a few days ago when I was… Disturbed. Upset. Anxious. Angry. Exhausted. Frustrated. Furious. PISSED OFF.

That fortunately doesn’t happen often. In this instance I was able to work my way through it and finally calm down in large part because I knew exactly WHY I was disturbed, upset, anxious, angry, exhausted, frustrated, furious, and pissed off. There was no secret, just a need to keep moving and work through it.

Tonight’s much more annoying.

Most of those symptoms again, although not nearly at the intensity level of last week. Yet it’s still plenty strong enough to make me feel like shit.

What my father used to call “a feeling of impending doom.”

It’s annoying because I really don’t have a clue WHY I’m feeling that way. The day had its ups and downs, there’s some stress at work with a big event coming at us like a freight train, working on the year end and audit, and so on – but nothing to justify or trigger this kind of feeling. I didn’t have any clown on his cell phone while driving try to kill me on my commute home.

Which makes me wonder – what if there’s something that happened that triggered these feelings and was so strong that I’ve just completely wiped it from my memory? That would scare the shit out of me.

“A feeling of impending doom.”

The key is that it’s a feeling.

It’s not head-based. There’s not a storm or hurricane coming. There’s not a threat of war. My job isn’t in jeopardy. I don’t have some strange growth or pain or blood in my stool. There’s no obvious evidence or warning – but my subconscious is putting together things that I can’t identify and hitting that hormonal klaxon.

That’s much more annoying.

Here’s what has not helped put those feelings at rest or calmed my nerves:

  1. Dinner (chili)
  2. Double stuffed Oreos
  3. My usual ’80’s music from Sirius/XM
  4. My playlist of favorites
  5. “Hamilton” (this might have been when I started to get really worried)
  6. “Star Trek” reruns (TOS, so it might have actually made things worse)
  7. Tuvan throat singing videos (it was worth a shot)
  8. Writing this post (although it helps – if I can force or trick myself into a place of creativity it can break the spell)

“Spell” might be the key word there. The software running on my meat computer (my ego, created by my brain) knows that this is just a mood (or too much sugar from those Oreos) and will pass. The feeling, the fear, the doom, the twisted up gut – those all come from the meat computer and the hormonal soup that it swims it.

Stupid brain.

Tomorrow the sun will rise. (Wait, is that what I found out… Nah!) Everything’s Gonna Be OK. (EGBOK!)

Unless, of course…

Nah. Let’s try bluegrass music. Sometimes that works.

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Over The Hump

After being obsessed with a huge project for weeks (ever since we got back from Kansas City at New Year’s) and spending pretty damn near every non-critical moment (i.e., The Long-Suffering Wife’s cancer treatment came first, then my paying job, then Chiefs games, then “The Project”) slaving away it, I’m finally over the hump and can move back to other things.

It’s a really weird feeling. Almost like I’ve forgotten how to not be going at 50K RPM 24/7/365.

Literally. Every. Single. Day. Family taken care of? Check. Not at the office? Check. Chiefs not playing right this second? Check. Time to get to work on “The Project.” Until at least midnight, often later. All weekend. Every day. Every weekend.

Because there was that hard deadline coming up. Can we get it changed or rescheduled? No. But I’ve got these other issues and my wife… No. But… NO!

So — I didn’t quite hit the deadline. It was due Monday morning, I finally got it done last night. There’s some angst over that, but I’ll deal with that. Or, more to the point, they’ll have to deal with it.

*breathe* (again) Repeat as necessary.

I’ve heard it said about writing a book that, “A novel is never finished, merely abandoned.” (I searched for the quote, found a lot of variations – YMMV.) Ditto for this. As it winds down my brain keeps coming up with, “But you should have…” and “You forgot to fix…” and “Wait, this is still…”

Whatever. By definition, it’s done.

For the observant, this might also explain some of the subtext in the last seven weeks’ posts. Yes, it’s been an ordeal.

It’s behind me, and if the next ordeal starts tomorrow (it will!) then I’ll deal with it on its own.

So tonight I felt guilty about sitting in front of the idiot box for a couple of hours and surfing my Twitter feed. You can take the boy out of the Catholic Church, but you can’t always take the voices of those nuns out of the boy.

I’ll survive. I’m sure I’ve got plenty of other things that still have to get taken care of after I take a breath.

Shit, are my Christmas lights still up??!! (They are.)

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Too Stupid To Know When To Quit

It’s not a bug – it’s a feature!

It helped me finish marathons.

It helped me though grad school while holding down a job and being a parent and a husband.

It kept me in a job that I didn’t like much wile I was a single parent.

Tonight (with a little help from my friends) it helps me at least get close (closer? close-ish?) to giving the auditors what they want at 8:00 tomorrow morning.

But I’m definitely going to need a nap tomorrow night!

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Too Many Computers

00:07 Friday morning (Okay, it’s Thursday night…)

I just finished writing (what is now) last night’s “Too Many Numbers” post, the process of which was way, WAY too stressful.

Too tired, too many computers (five right now, counting the iPhone and iPad which I’m using to pull up data), too many screens (seven total), too many numbers…

And suddenly I see that my website directory has vanished. The directory on my local hard drive which keeps all of my working files for my website as well as the original copies of all of the pictures I’ve posted for the past five years or so, as well as the backup documents and…

But that’s okay because it’s on Dropbox! I can recover it! Yeah for Dropbox!

Except that Dropbox isn’t showing ANY of those files in its deleted files list…

Crying starts to sound like a perfectly good option…

There was a power outage today – did that fry something? I’ve gotten an occasional error message from Win 10 that the primary SSD hard disk is doing unexpected things – did that fry something? Do the gods just hate me?

From somewhere a calmer brain takes over. A quick search of Dropbox for the directory name shows that it got moved to be a subdirectory of another directory. It’s now sitting under a directory that used to be next to it alphabetically on the list of directories. Which makes me think that I’m using too many mice, trackballs, and Apple Pencils on too many computers on too many screens.

I wonder if I didn’t point, click, and drag on computer B when I was looking at computer A and computer B did exactly what I told it to, i.e. take this directory and move it and drop it on top of this other directory, which translates in most OS’s as “move this thing into that thing.”

I need a smarter and less literal computer. And an antidote for adrenaline.

23:40 Friday night (not Saturday morning yet!)

Oh, and I had the sense while I was waiting for my heart rate to stop resembling a hummingbird’s to pull out a 6TB external drive and let it run overnight, copying everything off to something less dynamic than DropBox.

When did you run your last full system backup to an external drive?

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Too Many Numbers

Do I owe someone that? Do they owe me that?

My brain is swimming in an unnatural and toxic stew of accounting numbers. And this is just the prep for the audits. The real thing doesn’t start until next week.

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Discombobulated

Like many of us, I like to think that in a crisis or time of stress I will remain relatively calm, level headed, and able to keep my wits about me. I can function even when there’s chaos.

However, as was demonstrated again today, while that might be true to a large extent, it’s also critical to not take it for granted. I can’t simply say, “Oh, yeah, this is stressful, but I’m good when the shit’s incoming to the fan, so let’s just carry on.” No, the lesson I believe is to recognize the stressful situation for what it is and realize that, while I might do better than average or have had some training for how to prioritize and stay more or less functional in the face of chaos, in such a situation it is critical to be extra careful and aware that I might be on thin ice.

We had an appointment at 10:45. All of a sudden it was moved up to 10:15. There’s a significant amount of stress associated with the whole thing. No worries. I’m cool. Cucumbers name their children after me.

Until I got to the appointment and realized that I didn’t have my phone. Or my glasses. I was out of touch and blind as a bat inside arm’s length distances.

No worries! I have my backup pair of glasses that I ALWAYS carry in my briefcase. Except that they weren’t there. They had gotten moved to my backpack for the Seattle & Kansas City trip and never put back.

A little more flustered, a little less confident, I went for the backup backup pair of glasses – they’re in the backpack too.

The pair that I keep in the van I’m normally driving? I’m sure they’re there, but we were driving Hissy today.

I can live without the phone, right? I had my iPad, after all. Except that the day’s events needed me to be available by phone all day.

So once we got the preliminary events out of the way and I had a break where I needed to just wait for an hour, I instead boogied home (fortunately we were only twenty minutes from our house) and solved the problem.

That part at least felt satisfying. But I’m well aware that it’s a problem that I caused with my own carelessness and stupidity.

Stress can’t be avoided.

Dealing and coping with stress can be learned.

But it doesn’t make you Superman.

If you’re smart, it teaches you to recognize the sound of the ice cracking under your feet and makes you be very, very careful.

Today I wasn’t smart. I was discombobulated.

But I recognized it before it was ultimately too late, and I corrected the problem.

Next time I need to avoid it to begin with.

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