Category Archives: Journal

Journal:
Personal rumblings. Inner reflections. Sometimes a diary of things going on in my life, sometimes a diary of things going on inside my head. Tread lightly.

Surplus

Was just thinking about a guy I went to high school with. Boyd. He was a cool cat; we had mechanical drawing class together. Anyway, he was into model aircraft as a hobby. I was into model railroad. We bonded for a short few years, satellites to each other’s planet.

Funny that I remember him by full name almost 30 years later. But whatever; hope he’s doing well.

Got me thinking about my chosen hobbies. Strange, but it seems I’ve gravitated to the exact same sorts of hobbies that didn’t exist until the post-war period after 1945. Model railroads. Model planes. Ham radio. Home electronics. Hi-fi stereos. Electronic music.

Really, these are all a product of the post-war suburban ethic, that part of American culture, that part of the American landscape, that’s only made possible by a life of planned stability, of suburbs and highways and open space. That dream of owning a piece of God’s green earth, of being part of a community, of having enough free resources to dispose of that we’re allowed the luxury of committing ourselves and our talents to things that aren’t immediately necessary for survival.

I can eat just fine without a radio. I can get around OK without building my own engine.

This is all part of the American Dream, strange as it sounds. I like radio for the engineering aspect, for the technical problems, for the creative solutions, for the edification that comes from learning so much about physical laws. But I understand my privilege: I have enough disposable income to throw at these pursuits. I have enough free time to dedicate to it. I have enough time to craft it, build it, use it, enjoy it, share it, talk about it, and go to meetings about it.

Really, it’s the modern equivalent of pruning bonsai trees; it’s the human hope that we have enough, make enough, own enough, and aren’t too hungry and infirm that we can spend a few hours a week to trimming a few leaves and keeping a fruit-bearing tree so small that it doesn’t bear fruit, and we don’t starve because of it.

That, that right there, is the post-war American dream. The stuff that so many of the books that I checked out of my junior-high library showed to me. That I can have a life where I can do things that aren’t necessary for survival, that aren’t crucial to the continued existence of myself and those around me, that are fun. Fun! That’s the Dream.

I think it’s in that vast, breathless hope, that I enjoy my hobbies. And now, in repose, I understand why I do this.

Know your causes.

Meditation, Telemediation

There’s that thing where I have something vexing me, but can’t say in this public avenue, because that which is vexing me also has access to this very same avenue. Heavy times indeed.

All I can say is that my paper journal would be a far better sphere to contain my thoughts and ideas, truths and personal plans. It really is safer that way.

If only it were possible to publicly state for the record, for commiseration purposes, and yet filter a blog post so no one affected can see it. It’s like I’m looking for the functionality of Facebook or Google+ but without the corporate subterfuge and bolted-on advertising algorithms.

My interaction with all you fine folks really is telemediated. I miss seeing you face-to-face.

Evacuee

I gotta find some other place to be,
because where I am is leaving me worthless.
What I do is leaving me empty.
Who I’m with is leaving me alone.

Invisible Rabbit

Thanks, everyone, for your concern for my physical well-being during this Hurricane Harvey event. I’m fine. Most of Austin is fine. Matter of fact, we’re just inconvenienced by the slow, constant rain and gusty wind. The worst my 2nd-story apartment got was a 3-minute power outage Saturday afternoon, and my UPS systems kept my computers running through the duration. Meanwhile, I was at work checking for leaks in the datacenter and putting out buckets.

Austin is fine. Harvey was downgraded to a tropical storm by the time it reached us, so its fearsome force basically vanished.

If you would like to redirect your concern and assistance to those in real need, contact the American Red Cross and any other legitimate charitable organization of your choosing to see about lending a hand or a donation. The entire crescent of the Texas Gulf coast, around 200 miles deep, was and continues to be heavily impacted.

To Do Is To Be

Constant existential nagging.
Feeling it pretty bad lately.
The stable half that pushes for self-sufficiency
Is in a lockstep battle with
The unstable half that pushes for self-agency.

I don’t think I’ll ever be fully settled in my life,
One of those lives lived in
A permanent state of temporality.

I think it’s a side effect of moving a lot while growing up,
Never having much time to put down roots
And grow from that.
Ever since moving to Austin,
I’ve always felt itinerant,
Like I’m always two paychecks from disaster
And will have to move out in an emergency.
That’s certainly not the case anymore,
But nothing really feels like it lasts forever.

Some things, I’m grateful that they don’t last forever.

What doesn’t last forever is
My youth and agency.
I need to punch Eject and go wander.
The wanderlust is strong.
But I don’t need to,
I want to,
I desire to.

But then what?
Do I return back home,
Return to zero,
Lose concrete resources
And gain ephemeral experiences?
Lose personal capital and
Gain a camera roll?

I don’t think Nietzsche and Sartre ever had a proper answer.
Did they?