O’er the Years That Have Mov’d Me

For the most part, the trip home was ok. Saw my family. Drove for 13 hours total. The drive up was wet; when it wasn’t raining, it was foggy. The return trip was faster than expected (ssssh), but I was heading straight into the heart of the sun for most of the voyage. Saturday was soggy, but we still had a cookout at my mother’s place; grilled hot dogs with saurkraut, pasta salad, potato salad, baked beans. Good eats.

Headed out for a drive around town Saturday night; seems the construction progress has slowed down a bit. Saw only two brand new churches. God Boxes. Cruised by the houses where a few of my best friends in high school lived; it was strange to see the houses without the original families inside. Things change, I guess. People move on. I have; I’m nowhere near where I was, or who I was, back then.

As agnostic (and as atheistic) as I have been in the past 2 decades, I’ve been thinking more about the supernatural, about higher levels of existence. The Big Thoughts, the kind of stuff that used to keep me drunk in the 80’s. I haven’t asked questions of faith in a decade. Three weeks ago, ABC’s Nightline program hosted a panel about Satan, and the four panelists presented four completely different views on the Red One.

The most notable panelist was author and philosopher Deepak Chopra. Of the four, I agreed with him the most. His point is that the existence of Satan is an extension of our desire to push off blame for our actions onto an outside party, and that it takes an amount of self-delusion to believe such an entity exists. I agree with this. After my fall from faith in ’93, the one realization I found that hit me the hardest was that once I take God out of the equation, the entire Devil complex falls flat like a cardboard box. Poof, gone.

What the show did, eventually, was get me thinking about the invisible again. Since then, I’ve looked at notes on Gnosticism, Buddhism, stuff about spiritual awakening. I don’t believe anything…yet. But it’s got me thinking, and remembering back to a time when I felt something higher and bigger than myself. It was a fire that kept me warm. It was a wind that drove me. And I pushed, and produced, and felt something. I haven’t done that in years, and now, after this spark, I’m burning to write again.

Leave to Hello

So I’m getting ready to begin the start of my prepping for my departure to Texarkana tomorrow. I would already be all packed and loaded, but this coffee won’t drink itself. Besides, it’s my life, it’s my time.

Not really. It’s work, coffee, Ruby on Rails. Sleep. Rinse and repeat.

I really should’ve had this Ruby on Rails project finished long before now. It’s supposed to be simple with RoR. Shit simple. But I keep making it difficult. Keep adding stuff like “secure database queries” and “input validation”…and I’m not even started on the Posts models yet! One of these days, I’ll do a proper writeup of my RoR experiences, but there’s no time for that, what with my staring dumbfaced at code and drifting off to play minesweeper for 3 hours before bed.

I need a break. Really, I need a break. I guess part of my fascination with the latest U2 album is that the band sequestered themselves to a villa in Fez, Morocco while they wrote the album. It’s the idea of being someplace else for a while and finding my voice again that appeals to me. I don’t travel, and I typically don’t make plans to leave town for the weekend. So I end up being here, doing the same ol’, for months on end, with little variations in the pattern. It’s no wonder I’ve grown old and inflexible.

I feel like leaving for a while, but going to Texarkana this weekend for 48 hours will have to do, I guess. I won’t have the time, energy, or space to throw myself to the muses; trips home aren’t for that. Travel isn’t for me; that’s my feeling. Travel is for people who have accrued vacation time and have managerial approval to spend it. Travel is for the unemployed who have friends in distant cities. Travel is for people who don’t have to worry about supporting themselves or paying rent on a place to store their stuff. Working stiff contractors like me can’t travel. Time worked is time paid, and I am running broke.

Maybe I should just sell all my stuff and roam. Eh, I’m too old for that. At my age, that kind of behavior is just two steps away from being a homeless bum. I dunno, maybe it’ll be therapeutic, or maybe if I throw myself at the bottom hard enough I’ll bounce up higher than I am now. Maybe I actually flourish in the face of change. Who’s to know?


minesweeper failed with 98 of 99 bombs found
I hate minesweeper.

I can’t stop. Quitting smoking was easier than this. Once I move my mouse to the icon and double click to start playing, my entire night is wrecked, and so is my mousing hand. Seriously, I can’t stop playing. Even if I close the game and leave the computer to go do something else, for hours I’m still playing the game in my head. I see those goddamned squares when I’m talking to someone and all I can do is try to solve puzzles that don’t actually add up. It’s ridiculous how addicted I am to this.

The insult to the injury is that Minesweeper is so 1998. I think I’ll seek some counselling and maybe go to a Tetris clinic to get me down from this.

Sunshine and Birds

Happy Zombie Jesus Day.

Nice and warm today, and I’m out and about on foot. Should’ve worn a hat. Springtime here in Austin is a beautiful, beautiful time. The birds come out and show their colours. And boy, how they shine. It was cold and wretched yesterday, and the lack of a crowd at Pease park was incredible. I was able to walk around without dodging unleashed dogs or ducking for cover from errant frisbee golf discs.

Got a call from my chiropractor yesterday (unorthodox, given it was Saturday). She left a message announcing that my doctor’s clinic has decided to kick her out and replace her with a physical therapist. That’s a condemnation on her, to be sure, but I wonder what the true reason is.

Maybe she’s not performing to the business metrics required by the clinic, like keeping up rental contributions on the exam room, keeping a certain quantity of clientelle, making sure the number of reschedules and days out are below a limit. Maybe the clinic, in hiring her and the acupuncturist, made a grab at “embracing the eastern medicines” for holistic therapy, but now in this current market all the white people are shedding their need to spend money on the frou-frou stuff. I dunno.

What I do know is that she fixed my back and gave me a few methods to strengthen myself against further problems. I do feel some allegiance to go back to her at her new solo practice, but given the uneven ride thus far, I’m not sure if I should cut and run, passing the buck onto my insurance company’s support of her services, or just keep going.

I’ll return her call Monday and talk to my insurance carrier to see if my visits will still be covered. But even then, at $30 copay per office visit, it’d be a tall order to actually visit her as often as she’d like. I’m not made of money.

Speaking of money, the paycut I got a few months ago is starting to affect me. I’ve gotten some money on the side here and there (like the check from when the kid backed into my car), and soon I’ll be getting my tax return, but no matter where I cut corners, I’m just above breaking even, and that’s scary. May 27 is my 24-month anniversary at my job, and nobody but Volt and my client’s HR department know if they will honor my latest extension to August or if they’ll walk me out the door next month. Looking at my bank balance, I seriously hope they let me stay around.

I picked up the new U2 album “No Line on the Horizon”, and I’m giving it a spin right now. I like it so far. I may make a review later.