Posts tagged as “We Call It Living”
http://www.kfjc.org/broadcast_archives/archives/1103230653h_ann_arbor.mp3 Lightning gouged a chunk of the wainscoting an inch from Jeremiah Willstone’s head and she hurled herself back, bumping down the stairs on her tailcoat, firing both Kathodenstrahls again and again until the doorpanels were blasted into sparks and splinters. Her shoulders hit the landing hard enough to rattle her teeth, but Jeremiah didn’t lose her grip: she just kept both guns trained on the cracked door, watching foxfire shimmer off its hinges and knobs. The crackling green tracers crept around the frame, and with horror she realized the door was reinforced with iron bands. She’d intended to blast the thing apart and deny her enemy cover, but had just created more arrowholes for him-or-her to shoot from. As the foxfire dissipated, the crackling continued, and her eyes flicked aside to see sparks escaping the broken glass of her left Kathodenstrahl’s vacuum tubes. Its thermionics were shot, and she tossed it aside with a curse and checked the charge canister on her remaining gun. The little brass bead was hovering between three and four notches. Briefly she thought of swapping canisters, but a slight creak upstairs refocused her attention. No. You only need three shots. Keep them pinned, wait for reinforcements.Get it now, before it disappears from the archive a couple of weeks from now. -the Centaur
I can't even begin to tell you all that I've gone through recently: sleep deprivation, tonsillitis, tinnitus, internal injuries, a trip to the emergency room (unrelated), and near disasters at work. I've started another blog entry to explain what's been going on, but even that had to be put on hold by other disasters.
The quick point I want to pass on is that I work hard sometimes. I used to describe as working two jobs: by day, my work at the Search Engine That Starts With A G, and by night, the author of the Dakota Frost series. Both could take 40 hours a week or more, meaning normally almsot every nonworking minute ends up on writing.
Recently, that's become like four jobs: my old project at the Search Engine, a brand new project at the Search Engine, both with hard and conflicting deadlines, a scientific paper for my new project, also with a hard deadline, and my fiction writing, also with deadlines. Each one could be a full time job. Aaa.
Recently, this came to a head: I'd finished my scientific paper, had a breather on the writing, yet still knew I was going to have to work hard, nights and weekends, just on my two work projects. So I decided one night I needed to take a break, to chill out, to go to bed early and catch up on sleep. To recharge my batteries.
That night, when I got home, planning to crash out early, one of my cats urinated all over our curtains, then tracked it through our house, necessitating a 3:45AM cleaning job (cats will urinate after each other unless it is completely cleaned up), just before a Monday at work. The next night I was kept up by a sore throat, was worn out Tuesday, and was diagnosed with tonsillitis on Wednesday. The throat pain caused sleep deprivation, the coughing fits caused hemorrhoids (yuk!), the nasal congestion caused tinnitus and hearing loss in one ear, and all of this indirectly caused my trip to the emergency room (more on that later). This went on for days, then for over a week. And all of this just before a huge presentation at work, which we figured out we needed to cancel much too late to cancel - so I had to keep working, even though I could barely keep working. I couldn't really code in my exhaustion, and when I did readings for my other project - and I did work on my other project, because its deadlines wouldn't stop either - the textbooks actually blurred when I sat down to read them.
It was almost two weeks later, a day after the presentation, when I finally crashed, for essentially 36 hours straight.
So my point, and I do have one, is that you should take care of yourself. Now. While you're still feeling good about yourself. Because if you wait to take care of yourself until you're all worn out ... it may be too late.
(ABC News) A list of store closings planned by Borders as it tries to reorganize in Chapter 11 bankruptcy, state by state. Closings are due over the next few weeks. Some clearance sales are expected to start this weekend:Or put another way, the closest 3 stores to my address are closing; check out these search results:
For the full list look here.
- San Jose - Oakridge Mall: Closing
- Los Gatos: Closing
- San Jose - Santana Row: Closing
Now after the wise men had left, an angel of the Lord appeared to Joseph in a dream and said, "Get up, take the child and his mother, and flee to Egypt, and remain there until I tell you; for Herod is about to search for the child, to destroy him." Then Joseph got up, took the child and his mother by night, and went to Egypt, and remained there until the death of Herod.There are lots of ways to interpret this passage, but I'm most interested in the one by Reverend Ken Wratten of Saint Stephens in-the-Field church. Joseph is performing an action in faith - he's moving to a different country based on a voice he heard in a dream - but based on a realistic response to circumstances. Historians dispute whether the massacre of the innocents really happened, but not that Herod was a tyrant and madman who murdered his own family. So even though we don't normally follow the advice we get in our dreams - and, for the literalists among us, note that in some circumstances the Bible specifically warns us not to - it was nonetheless a reasonable response to the circumstance for Joseph to heed that voice and get the heck out of Dodge. Father Ken's interpretation of this is that we should respond to the circumstances of our life in faith. Not assume that faith will magically shield us from all woes, but realistically look at the circumstances we have and, based on faith, take the response available to us that best fits God's will. If you are not a Christian or other believer, substitute the idea that you should not rely on your ideology to save you, but you should nonetheless take the best action available to you consistent with your values AND the circumstances. (There's more to Christianity than just Always Do The Right Thing, but I digress.) So what does this have to do with cat spray? One element of responding in faith is that God can use changes in our circumstances to prod us to action - if we are willing to look at our circumstances in faith and try to see how we could, indeed should turn it to our advantage. No matter how trying the circumstances... Recently, we noticed a whiff of an odd smell and realized the cats had been spraying under a desk in our library, which I've been reorganizing. I wiped up the spray, picked up the stack of three plastic tubs of computer parts, and turned to take them into the kitchen - and a stream of cat urine slid out from between the boxes and dripped all over a pile of papers I'd set out to file. For those not familiar with cat urine, it's the substance they used to "eat through the floor" in the movie Alien. (No it isn't; that's a joke. See the link below). The cats had sprayed most of the under-desk shelf but the ridges of atop the plastic tubs had sealed it in and trapped the smell - until I moved it, when the funky urine landed on my pile of junk. Everything was trashed: the box for my MacBook Air, an old drawing book, some papers, a record ... but, miraculously, not my comic book artwork, which, in one of those circumstances which gives succor to those of faith and drives our skeptical friends nuts, was completely spared. God uses circumstances to prod us to make changes we wouldn't do on our own. I had already decided, in a sort of general way, that I needed to purge my library: this brought the point home, and even helped me decide what to purge. My wife and I already knew we needed to get all three of the cats integrated or get rid of one or more of them: this brought that point home, and led immediately to a new plan of action. And we already knew we were a team, but had yet to really accept that we had complementary work habits, but when she cheerfully worked to 5am cleaning while I slept, and then I cheerfully took over while she slept, that brought that point home. Religious believers, Christians, look on this as a reminder to look at the circumstances that befall you in faith, and try to find the action God has given you that doesn't just cope with the situation, it actually improves it and brings you closer to him. And for skeptics, remember: fundamentally, we live in a spot of this universe where it is possible for life to thrive for billions of years. It may sound cheesy, but life will find a way: and no matter what the circumstances, you can too. Like pilgrims, you may find it takes a long journey, but at least it's possible to reach the promised land. -the Centaur Pictured: Lenora irritated by a cat toy, our warring tomcats Caesar and Gabby, and a Youtube experiment attempting to replicate the "acid burning through the floor effect" from Alien.
Now that we're on WordPress, let's give this a try again and see whether Qumana plays better with WordPress than it did with Blogger.ANSWER: Worked just fine. Borders was closing up shop so I had to go back into WordPress later to add the post tags, but I assume that's somewhere in the Qumana interface I didn't have time to find. Image posting was relatively easy - actually slightly easier than the WordPress interface itself, though that's more a web app issue than a UX design issue.
Pictured: my mobile office on the balcony of Borders at Santana Row. Software: Android, Camera Sync, Mac OS X, Chrome, Picasaweb, Qumana, WordPress. Hardware: Macbook Air 13 inch, Nexus One. Foodware: the staggeringly unhealthy and delicious Cookies and Cream JavaKula.
Powered by Qumana
Sometimes it's hard to do the right thing. For example, I enjoy eating dinner out. There's nothing wrong with that; but it's always easier to eat out than it is to fix dinner, as I can have high-quality healthy food made for me while I read or write or draw, whereas cooking at home involves shopping, cooking, and cleaning that I'm fortunate enough to be able to pay other people to do (and that through the absurd good luck that the rather esoteric work I was most interested in doing in grad school turned out to be relatively lucrative in real life).
But that's not fair to my wife, or cats, nor does it help me catch up on my pile of DVDs or my library cleaning or any of a thousand other projects that can't be done out at dinner. Sometimes I deliberately go out to dinner because I need to read or write or draw rather than do laundry, but I shouldn't do that all the time - even though I can. But, if I keep making local decisions each time I go out to eat, I'll keep doing the same thing - going out to eat - until the laundry or bills or book piles reach epic proportions.
This may not be a problem for people who are "deciders", but I'm definitely a "get-stuck-in-a-rutter". So how can I overcome this, if I'm living with the inertia of my own decision making system? One way is to find some other reason to come home - for example, cooking dinner with my wife (normally not convenient as she eats early, while I'd normally be at work, and even if I did try to get home her dinner time traffic puts me an hour and a half from home; but we've set a time to do that from time to time) but she's out of town for business in New York, so I don't have her to help me.
So the way I've been experimenting with recently is treating myself. Over the weekend I made a large bowl of tabbouleh, one of my favorite foods, and pound cake, one of my favorite desserts. The next evening I grabbed a small plate of sushi from Whole Foods and made another dent into the tabbouleh. I had a commitment the next night, but the following night I stopped to get gas and found that a Whole Foods had opened near my house, and on the spur of the moment I decided to go in, get a ribeye steak, and cook myself another dinner, eating even more of the tabbouleh.
The tabbouleh itself is healthy, and maybe the sushi is too; the steak, not so much. Normally I wouldn't get another steak as I'd had a few recently, both homecooked and out at restaurants; but I wanted to overcome my decision making inertia. It would have been so easy to note the presence of the Whole Foods for later and go eat out; instead, I said explicitly to myself: you can have a steak if you eat in. And so I walked in to Whole Foods, walked out a couple minutes later with a very nice steak, and went home, quickly cooked a very nice dinner, and got some work done.
Normally I prefer to eat about one steak a month (or less), sticking to mostly fish as my protein source, but I'll let my red meat quota creep up a bit if it helps me establish the habit of cooking more meals at home. Once that habit's more established, I can work on making it healthier again. Already I know ways to do it: switch to buffalo, for example, which I prefer over beef steak anyway (and I'm not just saying that as a health food nut; after you've eaten buffalo long enough to appreciate the flavor you don't want to go back).
So far, tricking myself into doing the right thing has been a success. Now let's see if we can go a step further and just do the right thing on our own.
Pictured: a ribeye steak, fresh fruit and mint garnish, tabbouleh in a bed of red leaf lettuce, and Gazzaniga et al.'s textbook on Cognitive Neuroscience.
[ Waiting waiting waiting ... ] at Fry's Electronics, because the deal on the USB hard drive I decided to get to improve my offsite backup was, indeed, too good to be true - WHOA! They just gave me another 5$ discount for waiting! Go Fry's!
So now we're backing backing backing... -the Centaur