Inasmuch as I like the variety, there are times when riding this roller coaster is exhausting.

Some days, I just want to chew through the restraints and fly off at the next peak.

But we know that’s just a bad idea. Better to get off at the station and ride the merry go round instead.

First Principles: Quid Pro Quo

This night rotation has put me into a certain headspace — introspection, extrospection. Luckily, the neurochemicals are lining up and I’m seeing a few things more clearly. Spending an unhealthy amount of time alone, and I’m not too happy about that, but in this conjunction of moments, I’m relearning a few truths about being a human in a human society.

I’m slowly remembering how to not be alone. The rules are buried under the years, but I roll back and pull them up; in the act is a sense of discovery, looking at strangers and acquaintances as opportunities for growth. I’m remembering what I’ve forgotten:

First Principles:

  1. Friendliness before Friendship.
  2. Friend before Lover.
  3. By comforting, you will be comforted.
  4. By feeding, you will be able to eat.

That first rule, friendliness, I’ve been giving that the slip for years. I’ve come to rely on my caustic bitterness to protect me with a shield of sarcasm and defiant defeatism. That program has done me more disservice than protection. I’m friendly enough to get along great with people I already know (by then they’ve already become accustomed to my grumpy attitude). But what about people I don’t know? I built this wall around myself; lower on the acquaintance side, higher on the stranger side. All this time I’m feeling weary about them not seeing what I have going on inside the wall. Of course they don’t see.

But their ability to see me is not so important; I shouldn’t forget that (it’s a selfish idea, really). First Principles. What do I see in them? What’s going on in their lives? What is their internal state? Is there anything I can do (within reason) to help? Friendliness. As best as I can figure, by becoming invested in others, I gain value. Friendship.

The key is to have compassion. All I have is right now, and people are speaking to be heard. Hear them. People want more of whoever wants them. By paying attention, I will never be bankrupt. Those are the First Principles; everything else grows from there.

Car Windows

Since getting my smartphone, I’ve seen the horror of the mobile web — not the boiled-down, large print version of the web customized for mobile devices with small screens, but the regular web shrunk down to render in tiny fonts on small screens. This is what happens when site designers don’t update their HTML and stylesheets so that mobile devices like phones, tablets, readers, etc., can make informed choices about which design to render.

Since this site runs on WordPress with one of the default themes, it’s already “mobile ready”, so it renders a slimmed-down, linear format so anybody can read my sordid blog while they’re on the crapper. However, my music site, glassdoor.net, did not fare so well. It was previously powered by Drupal, but the problem is that Drupal is a big target for malware; if you don’t keep on top of all the software updates, it’s a matter of time before the site gets infected.

Well, in February, it got infected, and my webhost conveniently disabled the site and told me about it. Since then, I’ve revived the old static-ish HTML site I had before Drupal, no frills, no bells, no whistles. It’s just a handful of pages and a bunch of text describing the songs (it’s not exactly static — it uses a few SSI templates and uses mod_rewrite to hide that fact on the URL so nothing ends in .shtml).

What irked me was that my site wasn’t easily viewable on my phone. I know it’s a crappy site, but it’s a point of pride that my things Just Work. So I set about to re-engineer a few things (hence my previous post about CSS media queries). Turns out, it’s fairly easy to come up with a modified stylesheet for mobile devices with a small amount of screen real estate. The site is up, the color scheme is a little brighter (was rather drab, that), and I even spent some time adding the embedded Soundcloud music players so readers could listen as well.

It’s not the end-all, be-all I was wanting, but it functions. If I get enough motivation, I have a redesign in the works that I’ll eventually finish. But that’s another project for another day.

Graveyard Bailout

When I am on graveyard shift rotation, I cannot help but feel bankrupt. Socially, mentally, physically, spiritually bankrupt. Haven’t even started my first shift yet (that’s tonight), but with the black plastic over my windows, I miss the sun already. My sleep is either too long or too short. Feast or famine, and nothing in moderation.

Please offer some encouraging words in the next three weeks — they will bail me out in ways you won’t imagine.