Reflection

I’m in the tub typing on a laptop perched on an inverted laundry basket. In the darker scenes of The Man in the High Castle I can see my reflection. I see the reflection of a man in his late fifties who frankly never wants to work for anyone else ever again. Tomorrow I have a meeting with my career coach, the person Intel will pay for a few more months to guide me through finding a job, and that’s what I will need to tell him.

I have money in my IRA to last, at current rate of expenditures, and taking income taxes into account, about a year and a half. Of course that can be stretched out by making money and by somehow cutting expenses. But neither of those come easy. Even so, I feel as though taking a regular job only delays my getting to what I really should be doing. The way to avoid that delay, and get to what I really should be doing, is not in finding a job. It’s in finding myself. And kicking myself out of the way so as to focus on the activities that are really in flow for me, and succeed spectacularly at those.

Write, really write, the book. Discover how to become a contract design engineer and build a solid reputation. Contribute in far more significant ways than merely providing capital and a strong back to Sunya’s business.

How are these going? Well, kicking myself out of the way remains a significant challenge. But I feel I am making progress.

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Positive

I posted on Facehook about one of our cars getting stolen and my truck breaking down but I intentionally was very positive about it and I think that’s why I got one sad and nine likes. All these people liked that there were helpful people out on the road and I’m not sure any of them read to the part about the stolen car.

And that’s fine, I like positive, I just think it’s funny. Interesting. Some word like that.

So we woke up to a missing car, and the kid who normally bicycles still couldn’t because the bicycle was stolen a couple weeks ago. So two kids went to two schools in one car, and two kids went to two schools in another.

Later in the day the person whose car was jacked took my pickup to get two kids — except the battery was dead. I checked and it wasn’t that, just the terminal had come loose. Of course the bolt broke when I tightened it and it took a while to replace it for various stupid reasons that would be funny if depicted by Pee-wee Herman but wasn’t and weren’t.

So she then took the pickup to work and I took my old Jeep to meet a career coach and broke down in commute traffic during a rainstorm. That was when people were helpful for a minute and I was cold and wet for an hour and a half before the tow truck showed up.

I got home about the time Sunya returned from her trip to San Francisco, which was a lengthy ordeal because of the number the storm did on the highways and freeways and drivers and trees. It blustered and blew outside the rest of the night. I didn’t work on the Jeep. I tried to make headway on these necklaces I want to make for the weekend. Challenges included getting batteries small enough to fit into the bottle, that sort of thing.

Today the truck was gone because the eldest child wasn’t clear that I needed to be asked or at least told when it came to her driving it to work. So we were down to one car and four kids going to four schools. But Uber has changed the world so it wasn’t really a difficult problem.

Then a friend posted that he had four tickets for Rogue One at the IMAX and was looking for takers. I knew I didn’t have time for that but was talked into my evident need for an adventure. I didn’t have a car. The holder of the tickets was having his own adventure and was neither at home nor the office. He was up near the old Air Force base casing a shady motel where his iPhone said his iPad was located that had been ripped out of his truck the night before. He couldn’t tell which room it was in and the police said there was nothing they could do so he was basically waiting for suspicious persons. He didn’t have a plan as such. I took an Uber up there — we detoured through the neighborhoods because a downed tree was blocking all three lanes of Watt Ave — and slid into his car to get the movie tickets while he was glaring at the curtained windows. I wanted to help but even if I had a car and the time I don’t know what I would actually do. It’s easy to imagine knocking on doors when you’re five miles away but when you’re actually there it’s another calculation. Who knows how much stolen property justified a motel room and what the occupants thereof will do to protect it.

So my Uber waited for me because when I ordered a new one, the system naturally chose him. We went on downtown and now I was at the IMAX on K St. One other person had responded about the tickets so I wrote his name on it and left it for him at the box office. I managed to convert the other two for future usage so my motel-casing friend didn’t suffer a total loss. I enjoyed seeing that movie a second time and enjoyed the food and drink we had afterwards, and then I Ubered on home again. I could have taken the train. In hindsight I sort of wish I had. But time is money and I’m not sure it would have added up.

While I was gone Sunya arranged for a bicycle, so at the appointed time I drove way up into my old family-man stomping grounds and picked it up. Hopefully it will avoid theft for a few good months.

A Post out of Principle

Why do I blog? Because it is here. What’s on my mind?

First, I need to be writing, but I am not. What I am doing is coming up with ever better details and plot points as I research this and that obscure set of information. And that’s nice, since I think of a thing and jot it down in my ever-present electronic journal that’s automagically up to date whether in my pocket or at my desk. Lots of notes in there. But they’re only notes. The actual writing is hard work, and I still have a lot to learn about turning on my magic-maker when all my impulses aim towards taking care of life. I have a lot of life to take care of. These writers who are single and live alone piss me off.

Not really. You who know who you are know you’re not who I mean. I’m just whining about circumstance.

When I was a kid and Mom would go away for the weekend I’d sit under my trusty Royal (the one Mom used to type up Dad’s doctoral thesis in 1953) and pretty much write fiction all day and night. It was nothing but juvenile shit derived from rereading Conan books, but it was something. I had the ability to focus and create. This is the ability that after several decades of family and corporate living I want to recapture. I have not yet done so outside a few precious moments.

Meanwhile my plot is fricking brilliant. I’m passionate about historical accuracy and I love browsing old newspapers and have come up with unexpected turns driven be real events that happened on the dates I have them happen. And it doesn’t even matter if anyone notices. Someone will, but while historical fiction is better if it’s accurate, it’s still fairly worthless if it isn’t fun. So my dream is to write a great story that really could have happened. A lot of historical fiction has migrated away from my nightstand for failing in this area.

Second, I take a lot of pictures and have nowhere to put them. I put a few up on Facebook, but it seems annoyingly self-serving to show all the fun things. And yes, even if it’s not on Facebook, it did happen. I just wish for a better means of remembering things that happened than storing hundreds of gigabytes of non-annotated photographs. Is there a business opportunity of some sort, a market for very personal photo-essays? Perhaps, if the writing is outstanding AND the pictures are too. But just thinking about it is an awful lot of work already.

I’m told I have a good eye. Some of my pictures are really great. Even if taken on a smartphone. Oftentimes because. Apart from the little plastic lens, smartphones have much smarter photographic guts than any camera I’ve ever owned. Pretty amazing what you can capture with them these days. But good eye or not, I see lots of things and have a strong impulse to see if I can keep them as I saw them.

Which suggests an opportunity. As the technology advances, more and more people are going to be saving their pictures. Very few spend much time organizing them. They require an assistant, and an AI of some sort that takes care of this for us all would be very helpful and popular. Something that can analyze the date and location and content and automatically put pictures into categories and albums with useful tags would be great. It’s completely feasible. I just don’t think AI is advanced enough yet. And I am absolutely not positioned to do anything about it. Maybe if I were some genius who worked at Google, I could use my 20% time on it.

Speaking of living life while not writing and taking lots of pictures, shortly before sunrise of New Year’s Day we met a genius who worked at Google and spent his 20% time on a project that made him rich. It was quite an interesting visit. But the man has a fairly extensive writeup at Wikipedia and I’m not comfortable sharing info and risking an invasion of his privacy. Here’s one clue: His penthouse apartment complete with roof garden overlooks the Old Mint, located here.

2017-01-01-06-10-41
Some of the shadowy Mint in the foreground with the Chronicle behind.

Tempted to make a NYE album — we were all over the place this weekend — but, eh.

Third … I could make a third subject. Any of many that come to mind would do. But this is long enough. Whatever this blog is for, here it is.

Oh, third, it’s 2017 and time to rename this thing. Removing the 16 from the title.