Monday, September 30, 2019

When Do You Hang It Up?

I am a person who never really knows when it is time to hang up on a job.

I will be honest:  work is becoming more and more of a consuming thing.  I have gone from a 40-42 hour week to a 45 hour week to a 50 hour week to a 60 hour or more week.  At one time I used to take lunch to go work out; I am now eating my lunch in meetings two hours late because that is the time that is available.

That said, that is just busy.  When is it time to hang it up and start something else?

I am not very good at making that decision.

I had never thought to reach the level that I have - but that presents its own problems.  It is likely that I will never exceed above this - and for someone that potentially has a working life of 10-15 years, that presents a bit of a problem in and of itself.  It is hard to go back once you have been at a certain level - people always ask you "Why?" and although you can have good answers, for many it is always a thought in the back of their head.

But do simple math.  My hourly rate has been cut in a third last week because of hours; do that long enough and one's life begins to look a lot like "Work" and very little else.  I had to miss iai - twice - this week due to a deadline.  Which is distressing because it is still the one thing that I cling to when everything else seems to be falling away.

I would say that the decision point is when something becomes "irredeemable" - but what does that look like?  Not having cash in the bank is one thing, but we have plenty. Not having a viable product is one thing, but we have several.  

It has been a long time since a job has come to dominate my life like this.  And it is making me think - but no answers.

The only thing I think I can safely say that if this is the new normal, this is not the future I want for myself.  So something will have to be done.

Sunday, September 29, 2019

A Slight Moment Of Despair

Friends, I have to be honest with you that I find myself in despair of life.

Not of life.  No no, no need for concern there.  Instead, I simply despair of a future that I can or will enjoy.

I feel, in a word, trapped.  Trapped by expectations, trapped by the living situation that I have spent 25 plus years building, trapped by the sense that I have obligations to meet that feel as if they will require me to do what I am doing for another 20 years (and trust me, I probably only have another 30 or so).

The future, it seems - or at least this earthly future - holds no hope for me:  I have seen a world of dwindling individual liberties, of collectivism, of government run amuck in its need to control every aspect of not only our outer lives, but our inner lives.  And I fear that I will never get to do things I actually truly want to do - if not because of lack of opportunity now, because that such things will be questionable at best and forbidden at worst in a world where any independence is seen as selfishness or outright rebellion.

I keep trying to come up with hope in this situation.  Oh, occasionally I come up with something that gets me fired up - a weekend where I feel like I am getting slightly ahead or organized or I get to do something I really enjoy - but inevitably it is crushed by the realization that no matter what, the Monday through (now) Saturday of "my real life" awaits in all of its bureaucratic, subdued earth tones, my-life-at-50+ glory.

I do not know that I am really asking for a solution - I am not sure that there is one that does not involve the sort of world destroying actions of quitting everything and disrupting the entire life of everyone around me.  But I wonder:  is this really the outcome of the modern world we live in?  And if so, are lives of quiet despair all we can really hope to achieve?

Thursday, September 26, 2019

The Collapse XXXIII: Rushing Towards Winter

12 September 20XX

My Dear Lucilius:

A bit more of a delay between communications. My apologies: our power has been a bit more irregular and there has been a great deal to do in a short period of time.

Our weather here has taken a definitive turn for the cooler here – we got down to 39 F at least once. So I have been busy. The quail have been moved into the greenhouse for their Winter Quarters, although I have not sealed up the greenhouse completely yet – still a little too warm yet during the day – and I have started to lay out the planters for Autumn (although I have not figured out the water just yet). I have taken the liberty of inserting the hive entrance reducers into the hive entrances, not completely blocking it to a single hole but reducing the entrance.

I am sowing the overwinter crops now – winter wheat, winter rye, winter barley, garlic, leeks, greens. I have always done this by hand, so it is not an unusual task with hoe, shovel, rake, and caster – although it has seemed that I have paid a bit more attention to it than usual this year. I will be honest that I believe it is one of my favorite days of the year – and indeed, it consumes an entire day by the time I am completed.

I am still pulling items from the garden as I am able. At this point I have surrendered the concept of dehydration (as we are effectively bereft of reliable power) and am just eating as much of the fresh produce as I can and feeding the rest to the quail. Somewhere in my notes I have something about using a wood stove as a dehydrator – I am not quite to the point of being able to burn it regularly, but should be there soon (indeed, I have been using a small camping stove outside to boil my water for coffee and oatmeal to put off heating up the house too much.

With winter coming, I have become quite a scrounger of anything burnable (my stove, you remember, will accept smaller branches). I have constructed for myself a pack reminiscent of an old Japanese wood collector: two pegs sticking out at the bottom of a board with rope to put my arms through and another set of ropes to tie off the bundle. On any walk I take now – and I take more and more because soon enough the snow will make it miserable to make any at all – I have my contraption with me, diligent searching for fallen branches or even small downed trees that I can come back later and cut up. Fortunately I live at the north end of “town”; there are very few houses that way and I am often the only person I see all day.

Protein remains my weak point. The loss of the freezer means that I have limited ability to store fish for the long term (my primary form of protein) – unless, of course, I had a smokehouse, one of those 550 items that I intended to build someday but never got to. It will have to move to the top of the list.

For now, I have had to be inventive. Salting fish has become the new smoking this year (fortunately, I had enough of that to last a while). And I have been trying to trade more for meat, although as turns out I probably counted more on the ability to trade honey that I have been actually able to do this year. I may need to try killing a deer myself before the Autumn has fled. I have not done this in a while, so it may come down to as much as luck as anything else.

I have made my annual pass of the cabin and shed, looking for any holes that need caulking or filling. I have also started to look at repair of the outhouse for the upcoming winter. I am already shuddering at the thought of trekking through the January winds.

Excluding protein (and I am working to close that gap as quickly as possible), I believe myself to be as ready as I can be, given the circumstances.

The thought of winter has already become concerning, and it has hardly started yet. I worry for us all.

Your Obedient Servant, Seneca

Wednesday, September 25, 2019

Going Grey: Being Just Remarkable Enough

Being unremarkable in a society of extreme individualism can be a difficult thing.  Why?  Because the individual is such the focus now that anything that does not truly stand out in a way stands out.  So the challenge, if one truly wants to go grey, is to just stand out enough to not stand out at all.

An example - not a terribly good one- is the difference of having some facial hair for men versus either having none at all (e.g. completely shaved), or having such facial hair as a beard that streams past your waist.  The mean - a beard, a moustache, clean shaven but with a head of hair - will not be remarkable.  Kojak or ZZ Top surely will be.

Part of the key here, I suspect, is to essentially create a persona, a way of appearing and acting in whatever and wherever you are, such that you never really appear to be out of the ordinary.  For example:  In my current job, we all very carefully avoid discussing anything remotely political.  Occasionally someone may make a comment and we all laugh, make a smart or sarcastic remark, and then carry on with our business.  The only thing that would stand out is if a person actually tried to have a political conversation.

Now, I am sure every person in the room has an opinion.  but what become the unspoken code is that every person does not want to be the person that starts the argument, that creates the difficulty - in other words, the person that stands out.

And so it applies to every aspect of the grey individual.  Stick out just enough so that you are camouflaged to not stick out at all

Tuesday, September 24, 2019

The "Servant-Leader"

Wandering over reading a link through from Glen reminded me - for an entirely different reason - of one of my least favorite current phrase in the Christian vocabulary:  the "Servant-Leader".

The origin is, of course, like the origin of most things bent in Christianity into wrong uses, based on an example - in this case, the example of Christ, who was both the "Suffering Servant" and the "First born among many sons" - the quintessential servant and leader, who gave examples and then lived them out, who led by example, who called upon all His followers to be servants, and some of those servants to be leaders.

What He most specifically did not do is call upon servants to define themselves as Servant-Leaders.

The great thing about being a Servant-Leader is it is a completely self defined role.  Unlike the roles called out in the New Testament, of bishops and deacons and elders with specifications and conditions to measure them by, the current Servant-Leader becomes this merely by self-identifying as one.  "I am a servant, therefore I function as a leader."

The outcome?  Thousands of people who have no business at all leading anyone pushing themselves as leaders and role models to anyone who will listen.

Let us be clear, folks:  nowhere does the Bible discuss the concept of self promotion as a tool for leadership.  Every one who was called to lead by God -even those who did not want to - acknowledged that they were in some way called to this by God.  It is those that appointed themselves that found His wrath and his abandonment of whatever their programs were.

The reality - the uncomfortable reality for a lot of Christians - is that one can be a servant - and in fact should be a servant - for long years, perhaps all of their lives, without ever being a "leader".  Whether or not we are leader does not obviate our obligation to serve.

We have done this mostly to ourselves, of course.  We have confused the concept of servant with "slave" or "underling" and thus the idea of being a servant without being, at some level, a leader, is something which humiliating to a great deal of people.  "God calls me to serve, but He cannot mean that I will be treated as a servant" we think, and so abrogate to ourselves roles and names that we have no right to.

Being a servant is hard.  It can be tiring.  It can mean that we seldom get the praise we feel we deserve, or even are completely passed over or forgotten.  It can mean we will be mistreated and misunderstood - there are plenty of people who will happily be served while treating us like service personnel, because that is what our society does.

I say all of this from a place of hard learning.  At one time - 30 years ago - I thought I was called to the ministry.  15 years ago, I surrendered that I was not called to be in the ministry but was called to be in visible public service in the Church. 5 years ago, I surrendered that I was not called to be in visible public service in the Church and have found the small cracks to serve in.  And of this service, I would never in my mind call myself a Servant-Leader.  I am merely one who serves.

Servants will build the Church.  Servant-Leaders will destroy it by making every service dependent on the fact that the ones involve be recognized as a leader if they are to serve.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Saturday, September 21, 2019

A Few Words From...Albert Camus

"The only way to deal with an unfree world is to become so absolutely free that your very existence is an act of rebellion."

(HT:  Survival Blog)

Thursday, September 19, 2019

The Collapse XXXII: A Slight Interruption Of Power

08 Sep 20XX

My Dear Lucilius:

This letter represents the first of what I assume will eventually become a standard practice: it was first written out in a journal, and then transcribed to the computer.

When the power came back on.

Yes, you read that correctly. We had a power outage two days ago. It lasted for 5 or 6 hours, then came back. The same event followed the day after. Prior to actually sending this letter out, the power was off for the better part of the day.

The first time jolted me into a state of action – indeed, I had been expecting this for some period of time, but not quite so soon.

My two biggest risks, of course, remain water and refrigeration. Refrigeration, as you recall, I had seen falling off already and so my refrigerator was almost empty anyway. I left it closed the first day until it came back on, then checked into what I had left. My milk was almost consumed, as was my yogurt – so that became dinner. My frozen foods had been dropping off for some time, so I had little enough concern myself with there, except to use up the meat in the yesterday or work to turn into jerky as soon as the power came back on. The fruits and vegetables came back out onto the counter – One more round of dehydration happened as soon as the power came on, and then one more yesterday. At this rate, I shall unplug the refrigerator tomorrow, let it thaw, clean it up, and then shut it. I can always using for storing other things.

The other worry is water, of course – not that my pump is far away, or deep, but it is rather convenient to have it brought into the house. But, sadly, convenient or not, it seems likely that this will end a little sooner than I intended as well. (On the bright side, I suppose, I can drain the water from the non-essential pipes much earlier this year).

I have the manual attachment for pumping, so I made sure that was ready to go. I also made sure that the 5 gallon bottle I had for the convenience of drinking (As I had none on the refrigerator) was filled up, which will probably become the new mechanism of managing my water supply (with a hose, one can fill up a 5 gallon bottle without a great deal of effort. And one does not have to trudge outside quite as often). Watering the garden is going to be more troublesome of course, as I am not quite sure at the moment how I am going to take care of that – but we are entering Autumn right at the moment, so I will have some time to ponder the situation. Fortunately the bees take not water and the quail little, and the indoor rabbits can be managed along with me.

There are a host of problems that I am going to have to work out more fully – showering, of course, as well as simply flushing the toilet – if I can find some bricks, I can load the tank a bit more that way and reduce usage. Washing clothes – my fancy small clothes washer I bought myself will do me no good at all with neither power nor water.

Other things I have prepared for – light of course, and heat, and at least boiling water – but now have to be more fully laid out. I have started a list of what it will take as I begin to start to need to do these things in a more formal fashion.

But for now, the lights are on, the water is in the house and hot, and the toilet flushes. I treasure these items all the more because, all too soon, I fear they are going away.

Ice. Ice requires electricity and water in the summer. I shall perhaps miss it most of all in my drinks.

Your Obedient Servant, Seneca

Wednesday, September 18, 2019

Going Grey: On Spending

One of the greatest challenges on going gray in the modern era is spending.

Essentially, we now live in an era where most of our spending - most of mine, anyway - is done via electronic cash, be it credit cards, bank cards, or electronic pay schemes such as Pay Buddy.  And if you track this spending, you have a pretty good idea of who you are and what you buy.

Think about it:  If you at all spend money on Amazonian and you check your purchase history, you will find a rather fascinating history on what you have purchased over the last years.  I say fascinating:  my history, for anyone that bothers to look, will confuse the heck out of them. But to be fair, even I have some books amongst my purchases that probably, on some list, qualify as "subversive"  (yay me).

On the one hand, there is not a great deal I can do about this - or maybe there is, but I am hardly qualified to comment on it in a meaningful way.  On the other hand, there are a few meaningful things that I can do.

1)  Pay cash:  I cannot emphasize that enough.  When I purchase certain things - ammunition, for example - I always pay cash.  When I am at the used book store, I always pay cash.  It is the only guarantee that I have that my purchases are not being tracked.

2)  Shop using unorthodox means:  By unorthodox I mean things like local online groups, thrift stores, bazaars, anything where you do not fit into a database.

3)  Barter:  I am not very good at this yet, but I recognize it as being a powerful tool.  If I exchange something with you, there are no records nor cash.  There are only things.

I think this is a difficult area to address, given our current society.  Suggestions?

Monday, September 16, 2019

The Age of Empires

We are - maybe - one generation away from the end of the world as we know it (no, not That end of the world, just the end of our world).  The end of the nation state is almost upon us - we are devolving back to the age of Empires.

Lest anyone think that this is a desired development, or some sort of historical "advance" - it is not.  Review the history of any Empire and you will find that while in fact they were able to accomplish incredible things, such as pyramids or cultural advancement or economic stability, it was all at the cost of the individual. 

In empires, citizens - if they are fortunate enough to be that (lots of empires had lots of inhabitants that were not) - existed only to serve the state and the ruling classes of that sate.  Their labor went to create things, their lives lived to to serve those that were in place above them.  They may have been described as having "rights", but these rights were only theirs on sufferance of the rulers and subject to revocation upon need or demand.

We now live in an age where such history is forgotten, where the needs of the State - be they economic, social, or environmental - outweigh the needs of the individual. Individuals, under the current modern view, are little more than rebels unless they conform to the "correct" social views.  At best individuals are only useful as supporters of the "greater good"; at worst, they are hindrance to be eventually removed.

You might think I am over-reacting on this.  But I have heard the baying of the masses, seen their "demands", watched the continued march of the loss of individual rights and the ability to act in the name of "the nation" or "the planet".

The Iron Age is coming.  I fear for the future.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Not Desiring A Consumer Economy

Individuals do not wish the economy that they claim to want.

The great weakness in the anti-consumer economy is that we are (almost totally) a consumer based economy.  Very few of us make or farm anymore.  We are largely involved in the selling of things to other people or the provision of services to sell things to other people.

But what happens if no-one wants those goods or services?

Take "Bob".  Bob works for an internationally known large coffee house.  He is a man of the anti-consumer movement.  He lives in an urban environment because it is hip, buys only organic food because is of "the earth", takes the bus or his bike to reduce his burden on the world, and fully believes the world is too much driven by corporations and their ways.

But then something happens - Bob's job goes away.  Why?  Millions of Bob's compatriots have stopped buying the coffee of the international coffee house since they have to cut back on their own expenses somewhere because people have stopped spending less money.  Suddenly Bob, arch-enemy of consumption, finds himself in the position as well as he is not competing for a job with millions of other people whose job depended on other people in turn spending their money on non-essential goods.

In the highest form of irony, a job that is available to Bob is at an international fulfillment center, where Bob can spend his time filling orders for consumers who have purchased goods, moving packages around in a large unconditioned warehouse.

For the clamor of folks who say we are too consumer based, there is a great risk that without consumers buying things, we are all quickly out of jobs.

Or, we can re-descend to a 90% farming economy.  I suspect Bob will find this work even less satisfying.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

11 September 2019

 Never Forget

By UA_Flight_175_hits_WTC_south_tower_9-11.jpeg: Flickr user TheMachineStops (Robert J. Fisch)derivative work: upstateNYer - UA_Flight_175_hits_WTC_south_tower_9-11.jpeg, CC BY-SA 2.0,

Tuesday, September 10, 2019

On Going Grey and Being Alone

To go grey, at some level, is to be alone.

We are not only noticed and judged by who we are and appear to be to the world, but by who we keep company with out.  Hang out with people enough and their beliefs, views, and opinions will be attributed to you - whether you hold them or not.

And so everything is not only what you do, but those with whom you associate with do.

Take even this blog.  Go to  my blog list to the right and read some of them.  Follow the comments for those who comment on those blogs or comment on this one.  Rather rapidly, you can form an opinion without having read a single one of my blog entries (mind you, we treasure the blog roll.  They are there for a reason, as are the comments everyone posts.)

How does going gray fit into my own world?  For lack of a more elegant term, it is "Be a presence, but not much of one".

I have friends in "the real world" - but my comments and interactions with them are managed to a very few - a very few - with whom I am 100% open.  To all others, I am 'Hail Fellow, Well Met".  Most of interactions are electronic and virtual anyway, so my disappearing for days or weeks at a a time is very "normal".

In others words, I know a fair amount of people, but do not stick out in any way in my associations with them.

To the rest of the world, I occasionally post motivational posters and sometimes greetings.  But that is about all.

To those few (and probably on the blog as well), I am as honest and up front as I can be.  To all others, I remain a pleasant face, a supportive presence, someone who appears for a bit and then retreats back into the background chatter of life.

I am, indeed, a vibrant person as are most.  I just choose where to display it very carefully.

Monday, September 09, 2019

Trying To Figure Out A Financial Future

I have been trying to reason out the best way to move forward financially.

I am not a man who is financially well versed.  I (somewhat) understand the logic of how to earn money and the (overall) investment categories of savings, investments, real estate, and "things" (be they precious metals or other investments).  I am at best an unsure investor because, truth be told, I have a very low tolerance of risk - in my world, savings would yield 8% a year and that would be great.

I am trying to think towards a future of some sort, a future that does not involve me doing what I do now. 

I will be honest in that we have had some luck (more through dumb luck than my planning) in retirement accounts - it is nothing to get truly excited about (on paper and all), but for the first time in a long time we have something that resembles a net worth.  Combined that with a very fortunate home purchase (literally, the last year we could have bought in this market) and maybe - just maybe - we have something to build on.

But that is just it - at best, it is just something to build on.  Now I am trying to figure out how to build on that

1) Keeping putting into the retirement account - yes, as long as it continues to get me a tax break and I have a match.  Free money (or effectively free money) is not to be scorned.  In terms of investments, mine are simple and uncomplicated - and so far, seem to be doing okay.  But this is a long term strategy at best.

2)  Savings - I like savings.  I like seeing money in the old bank account.  I like having a small stock of it at home, "just in case".  But frankly, I might as well just keep it at home - at best, I get nothing (literally) for having my money in the bank and even worse, I am watching the value of it being eaten away day by day (thanks, non-extant inflation which actually exists).

3)  Other investments  - I have a very small investment account, one of those micro-accounts, which I have invested with a very small weekly amount over the last two years.  My ability to pick actual value is, well, bad.  I am not matching the market at all.  And the difficulty with stocks is that they are  not liquid.

4)  Real Estate - Yes, I sold real estate. I understand the various ways that it creates cash flows for you.  At the same time, I understand the amount of debt it generates as well - and is another non-liquid investment in case of emergency. 

I exclude from this the home we live in, of course - my only question here is how much to accelerate paying it off, which is an outcome of how long we are here.  Or perhaps we hold it as a college home for Nighean Bhean, who is going to school here (and frankly, the house payment will be cheaper than the dorm!).

5)  "Things" - This can include many things, from Precious metals (which I sort of understand, except the people that sell them promote them so heavily and seem to have such a high overhead that it makes me wonder) to other items that will hold their value (firearms, for example, would fall into this category.  Swords, sadly, not so much).  Things are hard to predict though, and can be prone to loss, damage, and having to be moved multiple times.

So there you have it.  Five options, all of them inherently burdened with some level of risk or lack of desirability.

We are doing the other things, of course.  Paying down debt (really, actually now making some significant traction on this.  Hopefully by the end of this year or early next, we will be all but mortgage free).  Working on reducing expenses.  All of those sort of things.

But complacency is not the same as continuing to build towards the goal - in my case, not doing what I do.  I think I will get there - I am just never really sure of the options, as there are no really good ones.

Thursday, September 05, 2019

The Collapse XXXI: General Autumn Preparations

05 September 20XX

My Dear Lucilius:

I am receipt of your message from late 03 September – grateful that the InterWeb continues to function for both of us and that you are as safe as you can be, given the circumstances. I have been watching what coverage I am able to, although it seems very much more controlled now – perhaps not surprising, given the current state of affairs.

No, I have not had reason to go to a financial institution – or indeed, travel at all – since the announcement. At best I would have nothing to pull out, I think – at worst, I would have wasted the fuel. My attempts to log on to the bank website are met with “Our website is temporarily out of service – please come back soon”. I pray your attempts are more successful.

Indeed, official news channels have become very controlled. Where last week I continued to read about the slow dissolution of everything, this week I only read of how things are “getting better and more stable all the time” with no real justification of that commentary. Lots of government officials and experts, lots of models and charts – but everything with no substance, no data. You can see it in their eyes. They are terrified and attempting to talk everyone out of the terror they feel.

It is an uncomfortable feeling, Lucilius.

Here, the honey harvest has started the process of preparing for winter. I need to get the greenhouse ready to go for winter, which includes relocating the quail into it for the season (I only thought of this a few years ago. Sorry I did not think of this earlier – such a better arrangement than keeping them separately!). I need to finish up whatever harvest I will get from the year (and hope the electricity holds out long enough to dehydrate the lot). I have to finish preparing the bees. And winterize the cabin and the shed – much more thoroughly this year, as there is little back up for anything.

And wood. I need to collect a great deal more wood.

One innovation I do not think I mentioned – since the Post Office shut down, over the past week people have begun using it as a posting place for things for sale, to buy, or to trade. It is a small town of course, so you can pretty easily walk to wherever the owner is. I saw yesterday that someone posted they were willing to trade deer jerky. I might walk by and see what two pounds of honey will procure for me.

Keeping preparing, Lucilius. The cold dark in coming.

Your Obedient Servant, Lucilius

Wednesday, September 04, 2019

Going Gray: Social Media Edition

This whole "I should watch what I write and say" has me thinking deeply about the whole concept of Going Gray again.  Really overall, but especially in my social media life.

Going Gray, as you may recall, is simply the act of blending in, of being the unremarkable, of not drawing attention to yourself.  Mind you, once upon a time this may have been more difficult but now, in the age of social media and self promotion, it has actually become a great deal easier - do not draw attention to yourself online and  you are 90% of the way there.

How so?  By removing yourself from the social arena - or, in the event that you cannot change it, carefully managing your online profile (for example, many career fields almost require that you do this) - you pull yourself out of the spotlight of a great deal of the simplest method of tracking and trending.

I have not been as good about this as I should have been - even I have felt (far too often) the siren's song of public approval, of being thought well of, of being clever or attractive or unique or novel.  All of that will fade in milliseconds; whatever one posted or wrote stays up for eternity (or at least until the power final runs out).

Let us start with that premise, be as unremarkable in one's online presence as one is with the appearance of one's car or one's home:  not remarkable, not unremarkable, not memorable.  Be the 15th or 20th thing people think about - or even better, be something that no-one thinks about at all.

Again, I understand that this is contrary to everything that we have come to value as a society (on a side note, I wonder how much that really says about us).  It is all about us, all about the attention and glory on me.  I am the product.  I am the brand.

Let others become the product and the brand.  As for me, I will slowly fade into the shadows, where things are recalled, but none too clearly.

A caveat:  What if you are someone that regularly posts things?  Such a complete and total absence will itself create some form of attention.  Agreed.  So maybe completely dropping off of the InterWeb is in and of itself a form of creating memorability.  In this case, I would propose a fall off.  Maybe do not completely stop posting, but starting slowing it down. Try for even less memorable posts.  And over the intervening period of a month or so, slow the flow down until it almost stops entirely.  The algorithms will stop bringing you to the top, and within that period of time you will have merged into the background noise.

Tuesday, September 03, 2019


Funny how you keep finding holdovers in your life from years ago - things, comments, and behaviors that once upon a time may have been cute or entertaining but now are at best neither cute nor entertaining and at worst, are liabilities.

Like most things, they undoubtedly served a purpose in your life once upon a time. Perhaps you used them to cope with something or they became "part" of your personality and your presentation.  Then, one day, out they come and suddenly they are revealed in all of their ugliness.

I am not talking about the sort of bad behaviors that should and are being condemned.  No, these are things that you think of as innocuous or amusing or part of who you are and how you view the world - comments that you think are clever (but are not clever by half) or personal mantras and mottoes which, while sounding awesome in your own mind, sound lame when spoken to someone else.

In other words, they now neither fit you and your station in life nor the time in which you live.

You might think I am being too hard on myself, and possibly I am.  I have this tendency to whipsaw from high to low several times in the same day (thanks, maniac-depressive behavior that still follows me around).  So on the one hand, I do not want to read too much into this.

Yet at this same time, I think it is always a fair question to be asking myself:  is what I am saying really communicating what I want to say and saying what I want about myself?  Or is it me dragging around flotsam from years gone past, things that perhaps only in my own mind continue to make sense and should be discontinued?

Monday, September 02, 2019


I had one of reminder moments this weekend, the sort of thing that makes you stop and take a hard look at what is going on in your life.

It was simple enough:  a comment in a personal message across the InterWeb.  But a comment that sticks in your mind afterwards, not because of whom it was made to or what it was about, but the fact that it is now out there.  And, given the current climate, anything you say has the potential to come back to haunt you.

In other words, being on-line in as yourself puts everything that you have at risk.

And (somehow), I have a fair amount which could be at risk right now.  Life is good -really, really good.  For the first time in a very long one, we are almost in a financially sound position of no debt except a mortgage.  We have a home - not a glamorous one to be sure, but one that keeps our stuff safe and sound.  We can travel.  We are supporting two children in college.  I get to have hobbies.

But I would be lying if I did not say that this is all built on a sheet of glass that could shatter at anytime.

At one time - back when I had great aspirations - I told any number of people that I had a blog.  That number has dwindled considerably now- I have not mentioned it at all in the last 3 years and (I suspect) most of the people that I had told it to have now forgotten such at thing ever existed.  Which, frankly, is fine with me at this point of the game. 

The other thing that this has really pointed out to me is that it is finally time to transition away from The Book Of Face.

The same reasoning, of course - the risk is too great. Or maybe I do not trust myself the way I used to.  Or, perhaps, I need to start holding my cards closer to my vest, revealing less of who I am to the whole world, not more.

But this weekend was indeed jarring.  And I have too much to risk to be more concerned about being "known" than falling off the map.