Deconstructing Reluctance

I rarely know when starting a new post if the effort will just sort of end about halfway through and never get published. Sometimes one just wants to write in a more public space.

But not too public. That’s what Teeter Tottering is supposed to be for. Clearly I’ve had little to say that I want to put there.

My job search hasn’t really started yet. I mean really started, as in treated like a job worked on for several hours every day. A part of me just doesn’t want to. For example, I got a query letter yesterday from a recruiter describing a contract job that touches on all the right skills. I replied, and he replied asking for a phone number so we could talk. Suddenly I’m all NOOO AAAH MUST CLEAN POOL. I’ll have to do it soon. But. But!

But what? I’m not ready, as in I haven’t been studying up on the things I know and the things I want to know better in order to give a good interview. I’m still in the space where if I go to an interview I’ll just wing it with whatever I happen to have. And that isn’t good enough by any stretch.

And why haven’t I been preparing? Well, beyond the attractive alternatives that surround me (and I’m told that a feature of being ADD is that when faced with multiple tasks, it’s very hard to tell which ones are important), I have to recognize that when in my office my mind reflects my environment, and this place is ridiculous. I’ve known for months that a necessity for working again has been to clean up and organize this place. Well, I did that for the garage pretty well. But I have a lot of shit that can’t go in the garage or the attic or anywhere else — I have a desk covered in whatever whatever that is two and a half feet away from the wall because that wall is hidden behind tall stacks of boxes — and I also have a table covered in whatever whatever plus computer stand, printer, monitor, and attendant wires, and stretched between them a workbench made of boards on which I repaired a laptop or phone or two but which is also covered with whatever whatever. Before I really fix up this room I need to deal with all this whatever whatever, and it is really hard to classify and deploy. It’s nearly axiomatic that a pile of whatever is made up of things that didn’t have a place to go hence still do not have a place to go. If not the trash, then I need to define yet another place for each of those things to go. And that quickly becomes an overwhelming and intimidating idea.

I was successful though in doing so in the garage. It still has large artworks and octahuts and supplies and pieces and things, but it also has walking room and working room and more shelves serving as places to keep things I want access to such as cable ties and shop manuals and tools. I was successful because I just went in and did it. I’ve been successful with a similar process in the office only when I’m willing to haul a bunch of shit out into the hallway and leave it there while dealing with other stuff — and then go through both sets of stuffs and find things to sell / donate / shitcan. I guess my plan for the remainder of today can be a) finish extracting leaves from the pool despite the cold weather because tomorrow is the green-waste pickup, b) call that guy and talk about hardware engineering contracts, and c) process this pile of receipts, file that pile of papers, and then “deploy” more of this crap. What crap? Fine, here’s a picture.

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“Office”, 30 Nov 2016

A Little Backbone Please 

A week and a half ago I discovered that under the years of dead leaves that had decayed into two inches of dirt, I had a concrete walkway along the side of my house. I raked and shoveled it clear, thus creating a big pile of dirt to dispose of. The city comes around periodically for just this sort of thing so I hauled it out front. Since I had an only partially dismantled fence to port it through, I had to lift it. No place for wheelbarrows. My first attempt was to shovel it onto a tarp and wrap that up and carry it. Bad idea.

I’m strong and got the job done but a day and a half later I couldn’t get out of bed. Not right away. I managed, and went about life, but from then on my lower back hurt like the dickens when I attempted to use it for almost anything. Ibuprofen made zero difference. A massage might have, but I didn’t make the request. I felt fairly debilitated; but not with nearly so much pain as my housemate endures all the time, so I tried not to complain. And over time the pain subsided, as muscle-strain pain will.

All but one sharp point of pain about three inches to the right of my spine in the concave curvature. That one ain’t going away. It pulls me up short at unexpected moments. I’ve a growing sense that finally, after all these years, I’ve done some damage that time and hot water jets cannot repair. I guess it’s my welcome to being almost sixty.

(Which chronological fact is hard to internalize given how many of my friends are between 28 and 45 …)

Random Rants about Recruiters, Telephones, Cheating on Girlfriends, etc.

Third day in a row blabberblogging at a cafe in the general vicinity of the middle school on the eastern edge of downtown. The weather’s beautiful and it just feels wrong to be at home when I should be out at a job somewhere. This is a recent and fairly sudden shift. All of a sudden I am wanting for a strategy, because these calls from recruiters with nearly impenetrable Indian accents don’t feel like they’re actually going to go anywhere. I feel as though my name has fallen into a database owned by some second- or third-tier talent firm and that just isn’t good enough.

* * *

That was all I had to say. Now I’m home, no longer at a cafe, getting thoroughly sick of phone calls. Beginning to decide that any recruiter who calls rather than sends an email is worthless. Especially when I can barely understand what they say. Is it racist to have a hard time with some impenetrable accent? No, it isn’t, though a scam artist tried to manipulate me into such a position yesterday. I said he didn’t sound like Microsoft technical support and he started to argue with me. I stuck to my guns, though, that he was being unprofessional. I never said a word about accent but that’s what he was fishing for. Clearly I was in whatever state we are in when we give time enough for that

It’s depressing. Monster sends word of contract engineering jobs in Sacramento. Five came up today. Four of them are in software, and the fifth clearly at the company I can’t go to. (And wouldn’t want to. I was there for years and years and never wanted to be a Verification Engineer and there’s no way I’m going to suddenly apply to do that as a temp.) I don’t think software, for all its popularity, is a great gig either. You spend your entire time on your ass coding or in meetings, and from what I know the contract jobs are sweatshop positions with impossible deadlines that eat up your life. At least in hardware and board designs the work is sometimes visually appealing.

* * *

Speaking of the annoyance of phone calls, an old old friend gave a rare comment and then sent a PM. The PM was nothing but some anti-Trump article. I wrote back to ask how he was. He said fine and asked for my number and a good time to call. I know the problem is me, but that effectively killed the conversation.

Which is weird and anti-social of me. He lives in Puerto Rico. We roomed together in the 1980s. It was because of his outgoing nature that I met my wife.

* * *

Do you ever wish you could go back to before some event or other and start over? After a couple three years of marriage I understood that we should have broken up after our first year of dating. We didn’t because a) I have a strong loyalty / longevity-of-relationship strain that probably grew, like the hard wood on the lee side of a tree, when I was a child and my brother died and my father moved away and my mother busied herself with 1960s dating and 1970s self-empowerment and b) she was convinced we belonged together and I held her opinion in higher esteem than my own and c) I was at that age (~30) when the nesting instinct overpowers all reason. When Jose picked up on her and then I went out with her (breaking the bros before hos rule but there ya go) she was perfect for what I needed at the time. I cheated on her a year later though and when that went sour took the wrong lesson, i.e. that going back to her after cheating meant we were meant for each other rather than that cheating on her in the first place meant we were not. Still we had two incredibly wonderful children and lived a mostly happy married life of twenty-two years, marred only by the inescapable leakage from somewhere deep inside us both that we knew we wouldn’t last. It sprang from different sources. In me, that I was unsatisfied and Just Knew that the woman I was meant for was still out there mixed with a lack of any real conviction for the permanence of marriage, and in her from picking up clues that I had no idea I was revealing.

That’s one interpretation. There can be many others.

So, if I could design a trip back in time, what would I change? Thing is, if I retain memory of the life I’ve lived, then a trip back would be such an incredible experience that questions of specific relationships would not be the most interesting aspects; whereas if I did not, everything would go the same way. The thing is to go back with just a few snippets of wisdom somehow implanted, and I don’t know how to do that. The important thing is that it could form the basis for an interesting story.

When I was younger and even less mature I frequently daydreamed about a magical trip back in time so I could fix or change things. I don’t do that anymore. But I used to and pretty soon they turned into ruminations on the possibilities in fiction, since sometimes writing fiction seems like the only way to live out a fantasy. In these cases, the stories would inevitably turn into moral lessons on the futility of second chances. My favorite second-chance story idea is actually still kind of creepy-cool. I should use it for a writing exercise.

* * *

Up above when “That was all I had to say,” I had found myself sitting at a table at Weatherstone falling into negative spaces I had no business writing about, across from an impossibly adorable blonde about my own age whom I chatted with briefly, and I just couldn’t come up with any blog-worthy ramblation. Instead I sat there distracted by Facebook and my job-search and pondering the for-me eternal question of how people meet each other. I met a woman at a cafe in Austin, TX, once, and took her to dinner that night (nothing else), and my sweetheart back home was fine with it (of course, or I wouldn’t have). But that as it turned out was an exceedingly rare sort of occurrence. People like me need a lot of small things to line up fairly perfectly for that to happen. I still have, and probably always will have, a strong reluctance to break my perception of the social contract whereby a woman, especially an attractive one who therefore gets lots of unsolicited attention, shall get no unsolicited attention from me. Even after all these years, my instincts tell me they have had enough of that shit and don’t want any of mine. It’s too bad because I know it isn’t true. But I only know it academically. I’m shy, you know. It’s a terminal condition. And anyway, she was with a dude; albeit a dude twenty or thirty years her junior who was probably in no way a social obstacle. Doesn’t matter.

These are the random moments with which I add up my days.

* * *

Friend of mine works for GoPro, which from the outside looks like an enormously successful manufacturer of products everyone wants and uses, but is really a sweatshop. Of course it is, there’s no other way to succeed. So I look at the highly attractive wording in an electronics design job at Fitbit, and think, uh huh, it’s all right here: “You will work on system- and circuit-level modeling, PCB design and layout, hardware bringup, and embedded FW development to rapidly build successful prototypes.” That looks like a whole lot of fun, and includes skills I either have, or that I would have if I had spent my time in smaller companies doing what I wanted rather than fitting in to the pigeonholes of a huge corporation. But there’s this one alarming yet absolutely necessary word: rapidly. This tells us that their campus of “modern buildings located at the heart of SOMA” is pretty much home for the energetic young visionaries who work there late into the night with just enough time for a shower and a nap in their shared artist loft in the Mission before they head back for work. No place for an old guy with a house up in another metropolitan area.

* * *

You ever write a bunch of stuff and then forget all about it until the next day? Publishing whatever this is now.

Battery Critically Low 

I’m not being metaphorical. I brought my laptop so I could again sit with it in a coffee shop, but I forgot to keep it plugged in last night and now it won’t come up. But I have my tea and croissant (very different from yesterday’s mocha and breakfast sandwich) and can’t just leave, so here I be, blogging mobile.  

Here being a Peet’s that is, per the map, about three thousand feet as the crow flies from yesterday’s. It’s a larger and more business-like place and has a completely different vibe. More people in professional work clothes taking it to go, etc. 

Professional is a thing I need to be. Suddenly I wish I was working. This wish will manifest in opportunity because it will make me more susceptible to clues about what’s out there and where to go. I just need to crank it up, and keep cranking  it up.

Yesterday I called a recruiter who had emailed and then called me. He was in New Jersey and had a strong Indian accent. He had a contract design engineering position in South San Francisco that appeared to be a good fit. Once we connected voice to voice he told me where it was. I got all interested because it’s at the life sciences division at Google. Also because it shows they really do scan resumés for keywords, “medical” being a relatively rare word in mine. I hope whoever reads it decides to follow up, because my resumé doesn’t really say much. It gives a general history but doesn’t include awesome moments and specific experiences. I don’t think it can and stay manageably short. On the other hand, it needs refinement to be more compelling.

This is one of those blog days when I haven’t chosen something to say, I’m just sort of streaming. That with the evident fact no one reads this anymore add up to fine with me. I’m just sort of journaling, only into the WordPress app.

You’re thinking, South San Francisco? No, I’m not moving. But work is work, and pretty much all the work up here is at the company I can’t go back to until next July. So the Bay Area. And SSF is better for me than the South Bay proper because a) it’s closer and b) this particular job is only fifteen minutes from the house of a friend of mine. I would raise the couch surfing possibility if I got the job, not before, but just that it’s there for the raising encourages me. 

Maybe the title is metaphorical after all. I need to get plugged in and soon. 

Homeless in a Hazy Sunlight

I’m in the morning sun at a table at Peet’s, a coffee shop chain that shows I am not the only great thing to come out of Berkeley. I dropped the 7th-grader off at her school and came here to sit and work on job-searching. I’ve allowed Facehooking and blog-commenting to have precedence, which isn’t smart, but I’m really enjoying the slow-paced life. I can’t do it a whole lot longer, but I still feel more or less “in flow,” as the festival kids say. (Facetiousness. Some of the wisest bestest people I know talk like that.)

This corner of 38th and J is a part of what we call East Sac, which by the look of the buildings was settled and developed in the 1930s. It’s semi-downtownish, much more so than anywhere in the burbs, but not as charmingly downtownish as Midtown about ten-plus blocks west of here. Still, the trees are mature and the people have the friendly downtown vibe so often missing out in the burbs where people seem slightly more suspicious and distant, if I’m not over-projecting here, which I probably am.

After I came in a very large black woman with an overstuffed wheeled shopping basket came in too and, rocking side to side, made her way to the restroom. They gave her the key and she left her cart and took care of herself. Soon she was on her way again. I didn’t notice if she ordered anything.

Aware of her, I was also aware of the visceral dislike many of us burbanites have for those we perceive as homeless. In a world where we are learning that more and more of The Other are not others at all but just reflections of ourselves, the homeless remain among the last holdouts of otherness. Now and then we give a dollar, but more often we cheer (if silently) when their trash-strewn settlements along the onramp or the parkway are suddenly dismantled under the sheriff’s loving gaze, and are annoyed when they’re in the way as we escort children and the elderly from our car to the restaurant. (When I say “we”, by the way, I only mean “we”.)

But, perhaps in the spirit of reducing otherness and perhaps not, I’ve noticed the homeless are getting to be less and less confrontational and more and more organized. I see less hapless anger and despair and more smart adaptation to street living. First thought is this reflects a “better” class of people finding themselves on the street. But the economy isn’t that bad. Instead I like to think that small increments of increased friendliness and decreased distrust on the part of the citizenry, slightly better outreach and other forms of community awareness, are finding fertile ground in people who really just need a little bit more of those things. It’s not at all hard for me to imagine living among them, being one of them, and it never has been, and I’m happy to see more and more folks willing to let them into their bubbles, if even just a little bit.

After all, when you see a street person who’s been on this planet for sixty years, you see someone who may have done all the things you have done, all the good and wonderful things, and made maybe just one additional mistake.

Not to be an Elitist but

One of my most valued friends runs workshops in which through guided meditation we address some area or other of life that needs a fresh look. She holds them at various people’s homes. I just decided to go to tonight’s. When I entered the address into the calendar and hit the map link, I got this as the street view.

capture3

Well, my house has looked pretty shitty at times too. And this image is a year and a half old, so shut up.

I just saw and figured I’d share. Facebook can’t get everything.

These workshops, they’re a mixed bag for me. I benefit from the meditative slow-down (they always start with a half hour of protective grid-building based on your fourteen chakras) and the focus on an issue (last time was about the divine masculine, and while yes my masculine is pretty divine it still needs work).

I’m sure the house is cleaned up, the hostess tends bar at some of our local LGBT clubs and she’s a big beautiful sweetheart, I can’t imagine squalor lasting long.

OK, back to “work”, I just thought I’d post something.

Sold: Apple ][ plus

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I joined the Apple II Enthusiasts Facebook group, and quickly engaged with someone who was interested and lived within driving distance. Last night he came up from Berkeley, where he lived about half a mile from where I grew up, and bought everything I had. I didn’t even keep the receipts, or my dad’s code printouts, or anything. I am learning to get rid of stuff.

Turns out to be an interesting guy and I think we will remain Facebook friends. I like the sorts of things he’s been saying after and about this disastrous election.

It’s fun to see a discussion bloom in the group for which my late system is the subject. It’s amazing what arcane details these enthusiasts know about Apple ][‘s. Already my old machine has been seen to have some unexpected variances from other machines that shipped at the same time. It’s like listening in on a bunch of sports car collectors talk about say a 1960 MG that was made as the factory was shifting to 1961 or something.

This is all my way of saying goodbye. Sunya has been observing these passages and correctly noticed that the yearning I had for my father, which was never really met while he was alive, is being worked out through my handling of the many things he left behind. I’ve learned so much about him since his things became mine. I would really love to have one last conversation, but.

For Sale: Apple ][ plus

2016-11-07-21-58-30My father bought his first computer on 18 Jan 1980. I know because I still have the sales receipt. I have all the sales receipts. He bought books and parts for his burgeoning hobby for the next several years and became reasonably adept at using and, after a fashion, programming his Apple ][ plus. He was, what, a few weeks shy of 54 when this all started. An early adopter, but not bound for a new career.

Almost, though. He learned to program in the late 1960s. He had earned his PhD in organic chemistry in 1954 and was an analytical chemist for Chevron Research at their facility in Richmond, CA, operating the mass spectrometer in a ground-floor lab. When Chevron acquired a computer he got permission to use it after hours and learn to write programs. His job was very computation intensive, and he soon proved the advantage of submitting some of his results for analysis in FORTRAN. So when he got his Apple ][, it wasn’t such a leap to play with it.

In 1985 he retired and in 1986 got a Heathkit PC and built his first DOS computer. Somehow he obtained permission from his old bosses to adapt his old programs to the PC environment and market them to other researchers. In hindsight that’s quite remarkable. Companies don’t normally give away their intellectual property. But his was an extremely niche market. He knew or was at least able to converse intelligently with all the other mass spectroscopists in the petroleum industry, and I guess management in his little corner of Chevron decided to just let him have at it. Soon he had himself a neat little global business selling software. He never made a dime, though. His product was a tough sell in budget-constrained research labs, but he knew it was useful, so he essentially gave it away. It had a price, but the support he offered and the time it took more than ate up any profits.

His Apple ][ languished through all this and in 1987 he gave it to me. A few months later my fiance talked me into going in with her on a PC-AT — it was my idea to toss in extra for the 80287 math coprocessor — and the Apple ][ yet again found itself under-employed. I packed it all away into the box our new computer’s monitor came in, and there it has been ever since.

Twenty-nine years later I am trying to get rid of the damn thing. There is definitely a place in my deeply compartmented brain where I want to play with this old computer, and I have found there are many enthusiasts out there who spend a lot of time making their Apple ][‘s do things. But I don’t have enough interest to make time for that and I need to make space and get obviously useless shit like this out of my way. I’m not at all unsentimental, but it has to go.

And so I am thinking out loud about it. This machine represents another one of those alternate paths that in old age we recognize as a real path not taken. In the early 1980s I might have seen the power and the potential (or at least the fun) and dived into programming and architecture and built myself an enriching career. But at that time I was into cars and guns and wishing I wasn’t shy and while I wound up studying electronics I never really caught the computer bug. Not even in later years when I got a Master’s in it and worked for Intel. Computers? Programming? Meh.

2016-11-07-21-58-14Yet there’s something oddly compelling about this stack of manuals on programming the relatively simple MSC6502 the Apple was built around. If it weren’t for cars and guns and music and girls and writing weird fiction and all the other unrecognized costly distractions of a brain wired as ADHD I might have enjoyed doing stuff with that. If I could go back in time it might be worth diving in and inventing something — a music card, say — that positions me to retire early and then really enjoy all those other things. But no. Life doesn’t run that way.

So I’m cataloguing all this shit and will sell it. Not without regret, as with all the other things. But what would you? I need to make space for the life I actually live.

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Discrete logic! Plated through-hole components! Ah, 37-year-old technology.

Thoughts on a Friday Morning that may be Interrupted at Any Moment

I forgot to eat, and now I will be in the waiting room without access to food until noon. It’s a small medical facility with no cafeteria so I will just wait. When she comes out, if she can move we will treat ourselves to a fine midday repast but odds are probably better that she will be loopy and uncomfortable and just want to go home.

So here I am, with my laptop and my phone and all such toys.

This morning, after dropping off the 7th grader and before taking a shower (i.e. waiting for her tub to fill), I wrote a lengthy Facebook comment in response to a pro-Trump friend’s sharing of an article he wrote. He’s an extraordinarily intelligent man with three technical degrees, a varied and successful career as a climate scientist, and a kayaking champion for his age group (he’s 81). I worked for him in the 1980s. He had evaluated the wind energy potential of various places in California and started a company to design and install computerized monitoring systems at some of the wind farms. It was one of my favorite jobs, being an engineering undergrad who got to go to the desert and climb turbine towers.

But I’ve lately had to consider my admiration slightly misplaced. He writes eloquently against anthropogenic global warming, providing clear and cogent-seeming arguments that global warming is not a result of CO2 buildup. I’m not invested enough to try and figure out how he is wrong, or why most of the rest of the scientific community says he is wrong. I’m something of a skeptic myself. But that’s not due to research or some weird loyalty to the petroleum industry. Mainly I’m a skeptic because almost every opinion I see that supports AGW blindly invokes the hockey-stick graph, most of which is extrapolation, while the write-ups fail to address the fact that correlation is not causation, leaving their arguments weak. And no, science and objective reality are not democratic.

But, whatever. My old boss is probably wrong. In fact, I just found this: OPINION: A scientist’s response to Ed Berry’s ‘climate denial’. It’s not fully convincing to me, but just because I don’t sing in that choir doesn’t mean the preacher is mistaken.

It’s always a curious phenomenon when the highly intelligent wind up so completely wrong. It’s a warning when this happens. None of us are really so smart as all that, and we are certainly wrong about something. Dr. Berry is wrong about Donald Trump, but a lot of people are, a scary high number of voting people. What interests me is that Ed is a supremely rational person who communicates clearly and simply. Communication reflects thought, and long convoluted arguments are inherently suspicious for that reason. His writing, his thinking, and his accomplishments, are clear. But so far as I can tell he falls into the same trap as other Trump supporters and irrationally believes

a) Hillary Clinton is a treasonous criminal who will destroy America

b) Donald Trump is the right outsider who will fix things

From the attention I’ve been able to pay to current events, I am unable to understand why an intelligent person well-schooled in critical thinking would take the pro-Trump position this late in the game; unless they’re human beings after all whose internally-consistent worldview organizes new information to conform to the previous set of conclusions. And we all do that. And so I guess I’m now suspicious of everyone.

So, whatever. My main problem with Trump isn’t that he’s an incredible asshole giving incredible encouragement to a million other incredible assholes (misogynists, racists, billionaires, etc). No, it’s become his weight as an unwitting piece in the global chess game. Russia, China, Iran, perhaps even India (just you wait) are all great countries whose leaders have great ambitions. The more they see the United States experience political discord and project an unstable foreign policy and thus become more of a problem and less the post-WWII leader, the more they will find alignments to increase their own fortunes at our expense. At this writing, with all the revelations about Putin’s influence, I am certain the leadership within ISIS is absolutely gleeful that through various actions in Syria they can manipulate American and Russian public opinion and lead the two great nations to war. We would “win” — did you know Russia has only one active aircraft carrier? — but the real winners would be scavenger countries positioned to pick up the pieces.

In this worst-case scenario, Clinton will not, in my opinion, make more mistakes than is usual, while Trump, with his damaged instincts and unbelievable lack of knowledge, will be an epic fuck-up.

This election makes me think of the election of 1864. Clinton is a form of incumbent, obviously, while Trump is the reaction to unpopular situations. In those days, General McClellan was very popular with a certain portion of the electorate, and advocated negotiation to end an unpopular war. We now know what a tragedy that would have been, as Lincoln knew then. McClellan’s win in 1864 would have brought the United States we know to an end. But Lincoln didn’t win re-election because he was on the right side of history. He only won because Grant and Sherman gave him battlefield victories in the months leading up to the election. Let that be a lesson. The voters are fickle and cannot take the long view, and so far we’ve been fucking lucky. There is no guarantee or immutable law that will save us from finally being unlucky. No power lasts forever, and when it’s time comes the end is sudden and surprises everyone.

With that cheery thought, let’s look at my job search. I’ve been putting off that odious task in part because I’m good at living in fantasyland. Another reason is I’m incredibly busy. Being master of my own destiny, like everyone else, I’m not sure why I’ve chosen to overload my life. But every day I find my to-do list full of really important things to do with the household or the arts biz or the book I’m occasionally writing or the cars or the yard or the pool or the kids’ school lives or what my mom needs me to do or my garage full of stuff or my office full of stuff and, you know. Whereas looking for work in my field that is appropriately remunerative is kinda intimidating. I’ve forgotten 95% of whatever I ever knew and don’t really feel like studying it back up again. Plus I’ve got to convincingly describe my Intel career in far more glowing terms than it deserves. I never got my act together ambition-wise and though that might be why I have a higher hair-to-gray ratio than most men my age, it hasn’t left me with a lot of the usual business-wise accomplishments to talk about. You know, leadership, risk-taking, making a difference. I’m just like my father. He got his PhD and was a comfortable scientist from then on, working in the same lab for thirty years.

On the good side, I left Intel for good reasons, not bad. I’ve never been fired. I wasn’t even laid off. I was honored with a “retirement package” even while being offered a fresh position. Taking the package was the right strategic move, but it wasn’t enough to retire on, or even to live on for one year, given the living situation I’ve chosen. I like to think that come July when I am eligible for re-hire or contract there, I will be doing something better, but I also like to think that if I am not, they will take me back in.

* * *

At this point a medical worker (possibly otherwise known as a nurse) poked her head round the door and suggested I bring round the car. I did, and forgot all about this posting until now, a day and a half later.