I have a small group of very long-time friends. We’ve known each other since the seventies – some even before then. Our group meets once or twice a year to keep caught up on what we are all doing; who has more grandchildren and who has died. And we reminisce about the old days which we all seem to remember differently, if at all. The old saying “If you remember the seventies then you weren’t really there” applies whole-heartedly to this group.Continue reading My Nietzschien Philosophy of Drug Use
You know the cartoons I’m talking about. They start with the Road Runner running down the highway. The bird goes “Beep beep!” as it runs past the Coyote. The Coyote gets an idea and sends away to Acme, A Company that Makes Everything. Moments later a package arrives followed with furious hammering, sawing and sanding by the Coyote until a new, road runner-trapping method is born which is invariably unsuccessful. Continue reading Living in a Road Runner Cartoon
Yeah, I’ve sorta taken a break from writing. The fact is that there hasn’t been much to tell and I was in and out of such a dark mood I was afraid that if I did write something, just for the sake of writing, I’d hear the voice of Edgar Allen Poe screeching, “Hey dude, Lighten up!” Maybe the appointment I have to get my teeth cleaned on Thursday will brighten my mood. Continue reading The Late Summer Blues
I hate Facebook. I use it for shameless self-promotion but I still hate it. The pages on their own are ok but so many misuse it in so many ways. Over-sharing is probably the worst offense. I mean, I love hearing what’s going on with members of my family but I really don’t need to know they are going to a movie, watching a movie, really enjoying the movie and then coming home from the movie all with attached selfies. Continue reading Kick the Digital Drug Habit
The only thing a college degree really proves to an employer is that you know how to complete a four-year long project. Of course for many of us even that takes much longer. I’m sure you all know what the types of college degrees are – BS, MS and PhD – which stand for Bull Shit, More Shit and Piled Higher and Deeper.
The most important thing you need to learn to survive in life is how to learn. Sometimes this merely involves paying attention. Most of the time you need to put in some effort. Never be afraid of learning how to do stuff by doing it wrong. Trial and error is a time-tested way of learning. The most ineffective method of learning is relying on others to help you or even worse, blaming others for your own inability to learn.
I worked in the R&D department of a data warehouse where they hired me to replace an employee who had a PhD. He may have had a degree but he wasn’t able to use facts to make something work. He was always spending so much time writing what he called ‘pretty, pretty code’ he never finished a project that worked.
I was at the data warehouse only a few months and had already designed a user interface for a new product and re-written code to rejuvenate some old products when someone asked me “Whats your degree in?” After I stopped laughing I said that depended on if he thought an Associate Degree in electronics technology actually counted as a degree.
At one point there was a new product they wanted to develop which monitored microclimates and reported the information to niche customers. I already knew some general knowledge about meteorology from hanging out in the weather department at a TV station helping them with their computer problems. (That’s an example of using the “Paying Attention” method.) When I found out I needed to learn more about the specifics of microclimates I said “I’m going to B&N. I’ll be back after lunch.” I came back with an armload of books which I read drinking in knowledge about things like pressure ridges and downdrafts. A big hint here is:
Don’t judge a book by its cover – judge it by its index.
I knew that even though I had some small experience in meteorology I was going to need more than that to make the project succeed. I wasn’t afraid of putting the effort in to find out what more I needed to know for the project.
When I was computer tech at another place I was one of three techs managing several hundred machines. One day one of the other techs and I were talking about how files are saved on a disk at machine code level. The third asked how we knew stuff like this. We both said we just read the books and played ‘what if’ with the software code. This goes back again to not being afraid of getting it wrong the first time. To do this there was quite a bit of effort and dogged research. Effort which the third tech some how never managed to put in. There were always too many video games to be played instead.
The three best ways to learn stuff: Books, Books, and Books. Then experience. Above all have no fear to experiment. How else can we expect to keep those Idle Thoughts coming?
Close to forty thousand lives are lost to suicide each year. There must be a reason for this. It must be something simple. Something like… EVERYONE HAS DEPRESSION. The only difference is that some of us deal better than others.
In fact, people having depression and thoughts of suicide are not anything new. Read Hamlet’s famous soliloquy. You know the one, it starts “To be or not to be.”
Yes, I have severe depression. I’ve had it for years. I wake up every morning with disappointment; disappointment that I’ve woken up. And if I believed in the one-shot-life dogma of the Judeo-Christian religion I probably would have offed myself a long time ago. The belief that once you die you get judged to go up, down or some other more mysterious outcome causes a person to feel that death is the solution and we’ll work out the details when we get there.
I have absolutely no problem with people who commit suicide. Yes, its sad for those who are left behind but the well known truth is that everyone dies. And I strongly believe that we all have the right, whether we take advantage of that right or not, to decide when that death is going to happen. Some people may not want to know when they are going to die, but having control over that one last act is for some people, the only control over their life that they ever had.
However I am a firm believer in reincarnation. That belief that you keep doing it until you get it right. Sorta like the student in English class that keeps getting their paper handed back to them from the teacher with big red letters at the top that say “I KNOW YOU CAN DO BETTER!” It makes more sense to me to think that since even the christians teach that life is a series of lessons, there has to be more than one class. I think it’s more like you live – you get lots of life lessons – you die and get your grade for the class – then if you haven’t graduated yet, perhaps by moving on to Nirvana, you come back to the next class for more lessons.
So this philosophy is what keeps me breathing instead of “cinching up my belt around my ‘waste’.” If life sucks this bad this time, what the hell is it gonna be like the next time? I’m in no hurry to find out. To paraphrase the bard, it’s better for me to suffer the current slings and arrows of outrageous fortune then to take arms against a sea of trouble and by opposing end them. I’m in no hurry to see what dreams may come otherwise. At least that’s what I think.
The other day I was telling some out-to-town relatives about some of the jobs I’ve had. One of these jobs was maintaining a promotional web site for a law firm. Promoting lawyers is one of the toughest sales jobs you could ever imagine. Quick, think of something positive to say about lawyers.
In addition, it was one of the most stratified organizations I’d ever worked for. I was only support staff with years of experience in I.T support. But if you weren’t an actual lawyer, or at least had a JD degree, you were just slightly above pond scum. Support staff in a law firm is only a necessary evil so that the lawyers don’t get their hands dirty with actual work.
So while I was discussing this I realized something and blurted out a Truth.
If we didn’t have lawyers, we would not need lawyers.
Think about it. Anytime there’s a lawsuit, someone first has to… get a lawyer. Then that lawyer notifies the other party in the suit and they have to… get a lawyer. Then the lawyers take over to settle the suit. No one but lawyers know for sure what happens next. Sorta like butchers and their ingredients used in making sausage.
Years before I worked at the law firm, the wife of a prominent local lawyer attended a class I was teaching. When I learned who she was, I made the comment that I guess I can’t make any lawyer jokes this term. She said it was ok, she had heard them all. And I’m sure she had. Oh BTW my favorite lawyer joke is shown here on the left.
I’m sure you have heard the quote from Shakespeare, “The first thing we do, let’s kill all the lawyers.” This is a wish I think we all have that we could live in a utopian, anarchistic society where we did not need some one to represent us in a disagreement. If that society included a workable educational system where we could all learn to diplomatically express ourselves or better yet just not get in each others way to begin with, the dead lawyer idea might be totally workable. In the understated words of Rodney King, “Why can’t we all just get along?” Then we wouldn’t need the first lawyer – which means we would not need the second lawyer and so on. Hey, now that’s a thought!