1 Comment

Purrfect.

This is Rexie. I’ve never met Rexie in person, but he seems like a good sort and he’s famous on the Internet. Looking at pictures of Rexie today kept me fairly grounded.

Tonight Earl and I also visited the local PetSmart store just to see the cats looking for a home. There were a few there and they seemed content. It was nap time for many.

My day was a whirlwind: the progress on the condo in Chicago came to a screeching halt due to some issues on the seller’s behalf and we were notified that there is going to be some budget belt-tightening at work. These two nuggets of news hit within a half hour of each other.

So I looked at a picture or two of Rexie and pictures of cats that have shared their lives with us over the years.

Purrfect.

Little Things.

Well this made my night.

Earl and I thoroughly enjoyed the latest episode of “Madam Secretary”, entitled “The Seventh Floor”. The tempo of this episode was different than previous episodes in that the focus was on Secretary McCord (Téa Leoni) and her staff. There was a great deal of character development of the staff and the entire episode had a “The West Wing” feel to it. The show has always done well with character development but the focus has been on the McCord family. Nothing wrong with that, but it was awesome to see the fleshing out of the supporting characters in Secretary McCord’s office.

This show is worth watching. It’s intelligent, it’s thoughtful and it “feels like real life”. If you haven’t seen “Madam Secretary” yet, please look it up on your favorite streaming service. It’s well worth it.

Oh, and I freely admit that I have a little straight crush on Téa Leoni.

Decaffeinated.

So on May 1 I began one of my 30 day challenges for self-improvement. This month I am going without caffeine.

The short version is, giving up caffeine is really hard.

I’m a week into this and I think I’m over the headaches. For the first couple of days last week I was going through some serious caffeine withdrawal headaches but by Wednesday night they subsided. I’m finding that I’m missing flavor more than anything; Earl has been kind enough to fill our fruit infuser water pitcher with limes or strawberries to keep the taste of water interesting for me. That is helping me from reaching for my old standby, unsweetened iced tea. When I flew on Delta this past weekend I opted to just have a beer, which is not a great answer to the no caffeine equation but it made the flight fly right by. I’ve already committed myself to not go down that path too often.

By the end of last week I found that I had a little more energy at work and my focus was better. Today was an unusually productive Monday for me, as I’m usually moving pretty slow on any given Monday. I like to think that by not kicking my body into overdrive artificially that I was able to perform as my body intended.

I’m still quite tired. We are at that time of year when Mother Nature is telling us that it’s one time but our clocks are telling us it’s another. The new blackout curtains we purchased for the bedroom are helping a little bit but my brain is still confused, even though we are two months into this special little hell others call “Daylight Saving Time”.

I think getting through the first week of being decaffeinated was the hardest part of this journey. I’m feeling like I can stick to it and I’m planning on doing just that well beyond this 30 day challenge I’ve given myself.

Hopefully when all is said and done I’ll find my natural Jolt.

DL 6009.


I’m onboard Delta flight 6009 from Raleigh-Durham to LaGuardia. Due to an aircraft swap, I was moved from seat 5A to 6A. I can’t complain about this as I’m in a row by myself and it is glorious. I was on the upgrade list for the premium cabin, but alas, I was number seven for six available seats. Honestly, I like my current seat better as there are three elementary school aged children in the premium cabin. They are being directed by a silver haired, clean shaven father with a sweater tied around his neck. I imagine he speaks with a clenched jaw.

The weekend in North Carolina has been most enjoyable. The weather was beautiful and the company was wonderful. It’s been raining non-stop in Upstate New York and the forecast looks like it’s going to continue this theme for the next several days. Looking at Chicago’s weather at the moment, it’s cool but it’s sunny.

Sun is the most important thing for me in a weather forecast. I can handle cold. I just want sunshine. Upstate New York has some of the cloudiest weather in the nation. This is not something to aspire to.

Since I have an empty seat next to me on this flight, I think I’ll take the opportunity to take a nap in peace.

Peace.

1 Comment

Growth.

Every once in a while I will put “All In The Family” on in the background while I’m working. For those not familiar with this ground breaking show, “All In The Family” was a ground-breaking sitcom that debuted in January 1971. The show wove comedy with often heated discussions/fights/explosions on the topics of the times. Over 40 years later, the show is still a television masterpiece.

When younger generations look back on “All In The Family”, they’re known to comment on the fashion sense of the early 1970s (what were we thinking), how out of touch Archie Bunker was with the times, Edith’s shrill voice, etc. Some may recoil at some of the language used. There are many elements of the show that are dated but they are vastly outnumbered by the sheer timeliness of the show. Archie and Meathead were fighting about things that Americans fight about today.

How sad is that?

In the past two days I’ve heard arguments on the show about computers and they way they’re changing society, women’s rights, gay rights, the economy, politics, the environment, religious and bigotry.

How disheartening is it that the American society is arguing about these exact same topics? It’s like the citizens of the United States have made absolutely no progress in these hot topics in nearly 50 years! People still call gay folks “fags”, others call minorities by horribly offensive names. Women are relegated to second-place status in our country (God forbid we have a woman president!) and religious nut jobs are still trying to convince us that we should all behave according to their beliefs and everyone else is wrong.

I’ve always hoped that during my lifetime I would see encouraging, positive change in our country. Poverty would be dealt with. Folks wouldn’t care about color or race or sexual orientation. Women would be right up there with men. At one time I felt quite encouraged about this, don’t get me wrong, we’ve made some great progress, but there’s a lot of people out there that want to see us go right back to the attitudes of 1971.

I’d like to think they just want fodder for another top-notch television show like “All In The Family”, but I doubt that’s the reason.

As Americans it’s our responsibility to steer our country in a forward moving direction. We should be electing officials that want everyone to grow, not fostering an atmosphere of holding people back and reintroducing uneducated segregation amongst our people.

Luckily, “All In The Family” is still an unbelievably great show that will continue to entertain. Unfortunately, it’s a shame that the topics are still so topical.

Detour.

I’m walking around a residential area of Chicago. The weather is decent this Easter morning; a lot of people are out walking. 

A woman is walking in front of me. She’s about 200 yards ahead of me. Farther up the sidewalk, a woman and her dog are headed toward us. The dog is average in size. Nothing menacing. The woman is on the larger size. She is overweight, larger than the average American. I despise the word “fat” and all its negative connotations, but she’s a big girl. 

The smaller girl in front of me walks into the street to avoid the larger woman and the dog. When past the pair she gets back on the sidewalk. The detour takes effort, jumping a puddle from last night’s storm, etc. There isn’t really a reason to make this detour; the dog is just doing its business and the sidewalk is plenty wide enough for all parties involved in the pass. Yet, the girl detours. 

Now, thinking about this. Maybe the girl is afraid of the dog. That is always a possibility and I shouldn’t be quick to jump to a negative conclusion. 

As she makes her way back to the sidewalk, the woman with the dog looks back at her with an incredibly sad face. In a split second my heart breaks. The dog is just doing its business and shows contentment. But the dog’s owner shows this split second of sadness. As I pass the two of them on the sidewalk I smile and say “good morning”. 

She looks down. 


Be kind to one another today. Be kind to one another everyday. Make it a habit. 

2 Comments

Alternate Reality.

The Supreme Court had determined that because the current administration had basically collapsed, a special election would be held in 2017 to determine the next president. The corruption of the current administration had caused these drastic measures. It was time for society to rally around the Republic and get the country back in shape. A lot had happened in six months.

The plan was surprisingly simple. The designated six months would be divided into thirds. The first two months would allow those interested in running to campaign for the primaries. The primaries would be held, in near unison, at the beginning of August. Both conventions would be held the last week of August and the candidates from both parties would campaign in September and October, with the election being held on Election Day 2017. The president elected at that time would be sworn in the Friday after Thanksgiving and would serve an abbreviated term of three years. If this fast paced election cycle could be pulled off successfully, it would become a model for future presidential elections in the United States in an attempt to prevent media, monetary and foreign “sway”.

Because this election cycle was so abbreviated, I was asked to work for a campaign in the role of CIO. None of the campaigns had raised a lot of money in such a short amount of time, my chief role as CIO was to be assured that folks that brought their own laptops for campaign purposes had secure connections to the pertinent databases and the machines were deemed clean.

I had never met the candidate. She was well known and had run for president before. This was her last chance. It was like a golden ticket from nine Willy Wonkas dressed in the robes reserved for the judicial types.

I was busy doing my work when she walked into the room. She was wearing red pant suit, her demeanor was pleasant but very firm. She knew what she wanted to accomplish, she wasn’t going to let this last chance slip by without one last fight. She was tired but she was determined. 

I was looking down at a Linux box trying to figure out why it had a monochromatic CRT green screen when she spoke, “I hear you’re keeping my network secure and getting the information we need.”

I looked up quickly at a familiar face and stammered, “Madam Secretary… um, uh, I wasn’t expecting you to be here. It’s an honor, ma’am.”

“Please, call me Hillary. Is there anything I need to know?”

“Just one thing, ma’am. That it with all my hope and might that the American people get it right this time”, was my simple reply. Before she walked away, I said, “it’s an honor, Madam Secretary. If I may, any chance we can take a quick selfie?”

She smiled, put her arm around me and walked over as we stood close together and smiled at my iPhone.

As in all my dreams, the selfie never came out. I couldn’t see it.

And that’s when I woke up back to this reality. 

Keeping Up.

In a way it’s hard for me to believe that it’s only Tuesday. Outside of pilot stuff, I’ve scaled away from social media and news outlets, trying to find contentment in my own little world. However, once in a while I see what’s going on via Twitter or breaking news alerts on my phone and I’m just so dang confused about our part of the world.

A man fatally shot a teacher, one of her students and himself, while also injuring another child in the process in San Bernardino, California yesterday, but this act of gun violence doesn’t seem to get a lot of attention on social media. It’s like the American public has become desensitized to gun violence in schools in the day and age in our country. Such a sad state of affairs.

There’s a whole bunch of outrage about basically every wrong decision an airline can make when United Express forced “volunteers” off a flight from Chicago to Louisville to make room for United employees that needed to get to Louisville to work. There was screaming, chaos, resistance, police involvement, a passenger yanked out of his purchased seat, bonked against an armrest and then dragged down the aisle where he apparently, ten minutes later, gained access back to the aircraft, face covered in blood and wrapped himself around a post in the back of the airplane. He was removed again. I’m sick of this story, I’m sick of really stupid airlines and while I think United was completely in the wrong in this instance, the man should re-evaluate his ability to pick which battles to fight. I guess I place a lot of emphasis on personal dignity and self-respect.

Then there’s a bunch of outrage this evening because Trump Administration Press Secretary Sean Spicer said something really stupid about Hitler and the holocaust, basically reducing it to some sort of unfortunate incident in the 20th century history books and now he’s apologizing and clarifying and doing the usual spin and twist of any typical Trump Administration official.

No one seems to notice that whatever part of the timeline in the grand scheme of things that we are currently sitting on, this part of the timeline is completely on fire. 

Oh, and Trump is kind of picking fights with various other nuclear powers in the world, so I’ll be happy awaking each morning knowing that we weren’t wiped off the face of the planet by nukes in our sleep.

I’m getting to the point to where I really can’t keep up with the news anymore. I can’t keep up with the real news, I can’t keep up with the idiocy going on in Washington and I certainly can’t keep up with the mass Pearl Clutching in progress every day over some new topic in which to engage in faux outrage.

I feel just as confused as Dorothy when Sophia was made over to look like a 65-year old Drag Queen. I wish life was that simple again. I wish there was a laugh track.

Bea

I guess we just need to keep looking for the bright side.

Baggage.

I’m feeling a little philosophical today. My “steel trap” memory was definitely inherited from my father. He would remember a customer, and the exact contents of their last purchase, 10 years after their previous visit to the family building supplies and contracting business. He held the entire inventory of the store in his head. For every useless fact that I can recite (for example, only one sign on Interstate 81 has ever spelled “Bartel Rd” in Brewerton correctly and that was installed in 1984 and incorrectly replaced in 1992), I have many happy memories and memories that haunt and taunt me. Every jab or slur made at me in high school. Every time I made someone feel bad (intentionally or otherwise). The time an elementary teacher told me to just be myself and it’ll all figure itself out. My first crush (in 5th grade), being confused by it and then being devastated when he left the school.

In the 2004 long forgotten, short run, sci-fi television series “Century City”, there was an episode about a pill one could take to selectively erase their memories to improve their life today. Instead of letting it go, they just chemically erased it.

Would you erase your memories if you could selectively erase only the bad ones?

Despite the ‘garbage’ that lives in my steel trap, I wouldn’t be interested. I’m just shy of my life’s halfway point and I figure all of that ‘stuff’, good, bad or insignificant, makes me who I am today. It still haunts me once in a while but it’s part of my baggage. And sometimes that baggage just needs to be put in storage, not thrown away.

Wiped Out.

I am wiped out. Work has been particularly “involved” this week. Oh, it’s only Tuesday. I didn’t sleep much last night, but on the bright side, I went to the urologist for another surgery follow-up and, for the first time since January 28 I am completely free of tubes and using all of my own plumbing.

Now I’m going to go to bed and hope that things hold together.