Monthly Archives: January 2018

pictures of Zach

I’m going to say that I don’t have any pictures of Zach in my apartment newer than about age 10. I have my little ‘shrine’ with Hobbes and some other little things of his but photos of him as an adult still make me wince.

I’m mentioning this because of the page I created on FaceBook. The purpose was to allow people who want to follow this blog to get notifications when I make a new post. I know there are sexier ways to do it but I couldn’t figure it out in a few minutes and FB was easy.

It works well enough. I suppose if you are reading this and hate FaceBook and want notifications you should contact me and I’ll work something out.

Anyway, FaceBook is all about promoting ‘clicks’ so I am constantly getting notifications that I can get more visitors to my page The Zach Project if only I . . . well, pay them money essentially. I don’t read them, to be honest, because the notifications always have pictures of Zach in them and I find that I always look away and scroll down as quickly as I can.

Zach speaks

I’ve used this title before and I’ll probably use it again. It’s a good title for when I quote from his journals, methinks.

So I looked in my little database tonight and I saw that Zach had a journal entry for today’s date, January 13, in 2013. Going to my folder with all the journal files, the first thing I saw was a filename with today’s date on it. Something called The Wayland Living Room.

Perhaps I should explain something first. What I’ve done with Zach’s journals is to save each file as a PDF with a name that indicates the date range of that file. In this case, Zach had a .doc file on his computer named The Wayland Living Room. I looked inside it for a date and then put the date at the front end of the new PDF file I created from it. In theory, nothing is changed except PDF files are harder to edit if someday I choose to release them. For the date format, I use yyyymmdd. Again, in this case, the file was dated January 13, 2013 so the new file name is 20130113 The Wayland Living Room. This way, they all sort out in the order they were created and it’s easy to find something by a particular date.

OK. So The Wayland Living Room is a document detailing rules for a fantasy sports league. There is nothing in it specific to any particular sport. It defines a Fantasy Leadership Council (FLC) responsible for ‘Maintaining the continuity and integrity of all Wayland Living Room (WLR) fantasy leagues.’

It goes on for five pages and is not my subject of choice. The FLC is comprised of four individuals: Zach and three others. If any of the other three individuals – who I am not going to name here – wish to have a copy of this, please contact me privately. I will be happy to share it with you. It is not of interest to me tonight.

Now, looking further in my list of file names – remember, I know the entry I want is from January 2013 – I see 20130108 – 20130519 Corleone Spring 2013. Uh oh. Corleone is Zach code for work related musings. These are often heavy with bullet pointed plans for situations at work and criticism of colleagues. (He’s plenty critical of himself too.) As I look through this document, I realize that my wonderful database which took me months to complete is not complete. I never went through the Corleone documents. Aieee!

The Corleone file has entries for January 8th, 9th, 11th, 12th, and 15th (and more), but no 13th. We’ll set those aside for now, although I did get them into the database.

Is there another 201301xx file? Yes, there is! And it has an entry for this date in 2013! It starts out with:

It feels like eternity since I last wrote in here, mainly because I was only in Atlanta a week ago (crazy) and because this past week of work was relatively busy and my mind was pretty engaged with it all week, and there was a lot of mental energy expanded.  That’s a long way of saying it was a relatively satisfying week of work.

His previous entry was January 6th, a week earlier.

After some talk about exercise, basketball, finances, Rosalie, and movies, he has this to say:

I’m not sure where I found this article but it was talking about STEAM curriculum, which is a play on the Science, Technology, Engineering, & Math, but adds Arts.  I did a little research and it seems like the STEAM concept is being promoted by a faction from UCSD and the surrounding area that is mainly some ph.d’s and a few other education individuals.  Their website talks about how STEM curriculum is myopically focused on one side of the brain and the workforce needs to have more balanced individuals.  It’s a simple concept really and basically the antithesis of the STEM movement but it’s the first time I’ve ever come across any organized usage of the concept or things related to its practical implementation.  Will be interesting to monitor its growth…

An article that I read over the break from Forbes that compiled the “top 10 brain science and psychology stories from 2012” which discussed several interesting concepts: receiving a compliment is like receiving a cash gift, with regards to how our brains respond and two people working on an issue may not be better than one because with two, it breeds overconfidence.

family communication

I haven’t written here in almost a week. As usual, there are many reasons, but one big reason this past week is that I’ve spent a lot of my writing impetus writing emails to my siblings. Last year I wanted to get a new car for my mother. I thought my reasons were good, and I talked it over with both her and Dad. We did some car shopping but it got put on the back burner sometime last fall.

Word of this car shopping got out – it was never a secret – and soon questions were being asked, help was being offered etc etc by my siblings. At some point, I decided the best way to keep everyone informed was to send out a blast email after I got back from a visit with Mom and Dad.

I think it’s been quite successful. Lots of discussion has been engendered that otherwise would have taken place over months, if at all. In fact, one comment I made in an email got back to Mom in a way she didn’t expect and now there’s blowback. Not from Mom, but from another sibling, who feels we are going behind the backs of Mom and Dad.

So, I’ve been spending a lot of time explaining this or that or defending myself. Now I’m trying leverage all of that into a blog post!

The six of us are lucky that both of our parents are still living and living by themselves in their own house. The problem, if you want to call it that, is that all good things must come to an end. Dad has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s. No one knows how that will progress except that he will continue to decline. Mom is in good health now and takes care of Dad with few problems but she is nearly the same age as him so the margin for error is razor thin. All of us help as we can but there are more and more issues that crop up that concern all of us as a group.

For me, the solution is easy. I like to write. I write about my time with Mom and Dad and send it out in a blast to my siblings. This gets everyone the same information at the same time and allows (assuming consistent reply alls) a good discussion of the issues.

I don’t know. Nothing is perfect. Not all of my siblings like to write like I do so it’s harder for them to chime in. If we were to try to do group Skype conversations (for example) it would be agony trying to find a time that would be good for everyone.

The best news is that all of us respect and like each other. I’ve heard stories of other families . . .

4.5

I had just gotten back to bed after going to the bathroom. It was warm, and I thought maybe I’d feel better if I cracked the window a bit. The windows in my old apartment are single pane and are rather loose in their tracks. Moments after getting back under the covers, the window started rattling and the bed started shaking. I looked at the clock – 2:40 am.

The rattling went on for maybe 10 or 15 seconds, then faded away. Sleep was out of the question for a while so I flipped open the ipad and went to the USGS web site. There was nothing bigger than a 2.4 anywhere near the Bay Area. The times are always posted by UTC so I spent a few moments trying to figure out the time on the most recent one. Was that 2.4 what I felt? I lay back on the pillow for a moment and then refreshed the page. Now it showed a larger red circle over Berkeley. 4.5 Magnitude 10:39 UTC. So my bedroom clock is a minute fast!

This morning on the news pages it’s a story: Bay Area jolted awake by 4.5 quake!! I don’t know if I would have been ‘jolted’ awake but it sure got my attention.

Well that’s about it. In 1989, after the Loma Prieta quake, the newspapers were full of things like when ‘The Big One’ was going to come. My recollection is that the likelihood was considered very high in the next thirty years. Well, we have two years to go in that window.

Happy New Year

New Years’ Day. A cause for celebrating amongst certain people in Pacifica. I was on the highway heading home last night when the dark hillside in front of me suddenly flashed like a huge strobe light. I was confused for a moment but then I remembered where I was. Pacifica likes nothing more than to blow things up and it had just turned midnight into the new year.

Five minutes later as I pulled up to my apartment, there were skyrockets all over the place, some kind of super bright sparkly thing right on Linda Mar Blvd, and several just plain old explosions. Unlike 4th of July, it was all over in only ten or fifteen minutes. I had a glass of orange juice and a piece of chocolate and went to bed.

Zach had one journal entry on a January 1st, in 2012. It’s long, over 2,000 words. Almost half of that is a bulleted list headed ‘Now, a reflection on personal goals: July 1-December 31.’ It’s structured like a template that he constructed previously with current comments but I can’t find the original.

Here are some excerpts:

    • Maintain reflection/journal, make notes on a daily basis and weekly put 30-60 minutes aside for a “things I learned this week.”  Stay focused and don’t let yourself get caught on little tangents
      • Obviously a strength here.  I’m not sure why I didn’t want to let myself get caught on little tangents, since I think a lot of the value of reflection happens there.  I want to continue what I’m doing in this respect.

. . .

    • Eye on the prize: University President.  The time has come for me to become who I say I am.
      • With both the above two…definitely done a lot of the prep work and now is a matter of actually moving forward and doing it, which is a running theme in my life.

and finally:

    • Keep updating or maintaining a bucket list and Socratic appendices.  A little materialism can sometimes make a big impact.
      • Yup.