Category Archives: Nuts and bolts

perfect is the enemy of the good

I’ve been busy lately, but the truth of the matter is that I just haven’t sat down to write posts much over the last few months. I realized this morning that I’ve been waiting for that perfect moment when I can clear my head and concentrate on writing something worthwhile.

I want to give my readers – few though they may be – value for their time. With very few exceptions, I am proud of the writing that I’ve put into this blog over the past 2 1/2 years. It may be that by writing in less than ideal circumstances I may not write up to as high a standard.

So, this is a try.

Dad is gone. Mom is alone in her – their – house. Sepi and I are going down today. There are some more insurance papers to work through but mostly it is just to hang. She is busy, she says, but the nights are the hardest. Last week I went down by myself and ended up staying to about 9 pm. At the point of leaving, the fact of her alone-ness at night in that big house hit me. I almost offered to stay, but I realized that she had already been alone for several nights since Dad’s death and it was a fact that wasn’t going to change.

It’s Presidents’ Day so no band tonight. SoundBox starts tomorrow. Life continues.

a new year

Well. Since the beginning of September, I find I have written only 5 posts on this blog. That’s four months, for those of you scoring at home. I will do better this year.

I think about writing often, though. Usually, it’s while driving to work. Since moving to Brisbane I’ve been taking a SAMTRANS bus into town some of the time. I get off at Mission and Ninth and walk the four blocks to Davies. At Van Ness, I usually have to wait for the light to cross. Cars and trucks whiz past seemingly at only an arm’s length away.

How fast are they going?, I think. 40 miles an hour? 50 miles an hour? 53? Sometimes I think about how it would feel if one of them swerved and hit me. I usually stand behind the traffic light pole just in case. The sidewalk is not very wide at that particular spot. I look at the drivers’ faces as the speed past. Often they are hunched over the steering wheels. Their tension is evident. Where are they going in such a hurry? Work, mostly, I think.

I am fortunate in that there would be no bad consequences if I was late to work – once in a while. Like once or twice a year. I generally allow enough time to get to work calmly. No work is important enough to have an accident.

two years

Sort of continuing my last post . . .

Originally, I was going to write about my last week and how stressful it has been making preparations for my wedding with Sepi. This is not a political blog.

I may develop that further but for now I want to acknowledge the second anniversary of my public writing here.

Two years and two weeks ago I put up my first post on this blog. This post is number 277. If I’ve done my arithmetic right, that’s a post nearly every three days on average. That’s remarkable especially since the last three months have been much less often than that.

Thank you to my loyal readers and commenters. You are few but very meaningful. I’m going to try to write another post tonight to bring my average up. (Just kidding.)

timeliness

I’ve often wondered what would be the best frequency for posting here. It’s not a news site so daily is a bit much, although I toyed with the idea for a while. In my head, anyway. In fact, long time readers know that I rarely post two days in a row and I don’t think I’ve ever posted three days in a row.

Droughts are more common. I’ve often gone a week without making a post but most months have had at least a half dozen. I’m not going to go back and generate statistics. I’m making a point about the last two months. Well, since March 1st, about 7 weeks. Since then, I’ve only written five posts.

The March 1st post hints at the upheaval in my life that occurred that week. Since then, I have been re-evaluating everything and writing pithy commentary on my life just hasn’t been in the cards. Next week, I’ll be going up to Washington to visit Jeremy and his family. I’ll also be seeing Peter and Nanci in Spokane as well as my cousins Dan and Nettie. I don’t have any high expectations that I’ll be posting from up there but I have hopes of breaking the log jam and being able to post more often when I get back

busy

I’ve been really busy lately. That’s partly why there haven’t been very many posts, but only partly. The negative reaction of the person I thought was my friend to a post I made has rocked me. Most of what she said in comments on this blog I did not allow to be published because they were raw personal attacks that did not leave room for discussion. Comments must be civil.

I thought about it, though. I take responsibility for my actions and don’t want to hide behind administrator privileges just to make me feel better. The post in question was only seen by three people that I know about (who reacted to it) before I removed it. Her reaction has been much stronger, I believe, because she has seen I have a new woman in my life.

I would like to talk about her but I am cautious after my experience writing about Rose. I will say her name is Sepi. I met her last fall and we’ve been spending a lot of time together for a couple of months now. My earlier post about charged words was inspired by our conversations. Are we ‘dating’? Are we ‘seeing’ each other? Do we ‘love’ each other or are we ‘in love’? Is she ‘mine’ or me ‘hers’? Words can be confusing, or misleading. Our conversations have been lengthy and are ongoing, I believe that is the best part of our relationship. Partly because of the upset around the blog post no subject is off limits. Early signs are encouraging that we have established a strong basis for a good relationship.

One of the most encouraging signs is being busy. Sepi has gotten me out doing new things, meeting new people. For years, my concept of busy was working a lot. Now I am able to do more things socially and it has been a revelation.

I am returning the favor the best I can. I took her to my jazz band concert and today she will be meeting Mom and Dad and other family members at Teresa’s birthday party. There is more to come on both sides.

Here’s a picture of me in my St. Patrick’s Day tie ready to head out for the jazz band concert:

Rose revised

I wrote a post on Monday about Rose. I thought it celebrated her and my relationship with her. Rose felt otherwise. In fact, Rose was furious with me. Although she was very angry, she told me not to take it off the blog. So I left it. I thought she might leave a comment but she has not. After hearing from other family members that the post was not what I thought it was, I have now removed it.

So everything I thought I knew on Monday is in question. The solid relationship I thought I had with Rose is in tatters. My whole concept of this blog is in disarray. What can I write about? My thoughts?I think about other people. Other people are part of my life and thus my thoughts.

I wrote a post last week based on Zach’s journals. I quoted extensively from his writing. Zach almost certainly never intended his journals to be distributed. Am I trespassing on his rights?

I had a good talk with Sarah today about some of this. She told me she keeps a journal but does not expect anyone else to ever read it. She has asked me before to not be included in this blog. I’ve told her I don’t think that is possible. She is an even bigger part of my life than Rose. How can I not write about her? I certainly would not betray any confidences. I try to be discreet, with Sarah especially but also everyone else I’ve written about. Maybe I should have been more discreet writing about Rose. Everything I thought I knew is in question.

Why am I writing this blog? For me? For Zach? For Rosalie or Noah? For their children or grandchildren? For someone I might meet someday? I told Sarah that I have had great pleasure reading letters and journals of our ancestors and I thought my descendants might enjoy doing the same. Yes, I want to be remembered. I think the only way for humans to continue to survive is to share their experiences with other humans. It’s kind of cool to write and have the potential for a large audience but the same potential can be frightening. There are literally no restrictions on who might read these words. And, although I put a copyright notice at the bottom of every page, the reality is that these words would be ridiculously easy to copy and re-purpose.

I’ve kept a journal sporadically for many years. I have writing from my high school days. Perhaps I should look it over with an eye towards posting it here. Perhaps it would drive the few readers I have away. I thought when I started this blog that I might engender some discussions. That has not happened. I’ve gotten some good comments and other feedback but no discussions. No one has ever gotten angry with me about a post like Rose has.

I have a few days off work. I will be thinking on all this. Everything I thought I knew is in question.

charged words

my

mine

has

have

love

These I put on a list a couple of days ago. But I’ve been mulling this idea for a long time. I don’t think I have any grand conclusions, though. Try these out:

my wife

my car

my father

my house

my dog

my job

my son

that chair is mine

those papers are mine

be mine

My brother has two children

My mother has a piano

My aunt has cancer

My neighbor has a television

I have a girlfriend

I have a guitar

I have a sister

I have a book

I love Mozart

I love Seinfeld

I love potato chips

I love you

post SoundBox post

I had a lot of ideas for posts last week as I was working SoundBox. My schedule wasn’t even that onerous. I had every night off except Friday and Saturday and Saturday I had the day free. Wednesday night I had a union meeting so I got home late.

But no posts got written. Sorry about that. Now I have a week (mostly) off so I’m hoping to catch up here. At the moment the well is dry, however. I’ll be back shortly . . .

writing

Writing is mysterious and beautiful. Good writing is hard. From somewhere I remember a quote from a 18th Century writer of a letter. At the end of a 20+ page letter to a friend he apologized for going on so long. He said he didn’t have time to write a brief letter.

Or something like that. The point is that it takes a lot of time to arrange the chaotic ideas running through one’s head into organized sentences that someone else has a chance of understanding. In this blog, I try to think before writing, thus most of my entries are relatively brief. 20 page letters will not be read by 21st Century readers. Now in the forums sometimes I see ‘tl;dr’. Too long, didn’t read.

I found one previous reference in this blog to the American writer James Gleick. His book Chaos has been a long time favorite of mine. At Mom and Dad’s the other day, I spotted another Gleick book: Genius, The Life and Science of Richard Feynman, and filched it. I had read it before, some years ago, but I thought it was worth another reading.

This morning I opened it and almost immediately I was struck by the quality of the writing. In the Prologue, Gleick tells of a meeting in 1948 of the world’s best physicists:

In the annals of science it was the last time but one that these men would meet in such circumstances, without ceremony or publicity. They were indulging a fantasy, that their work could remain a small, personal, academic exercise, invisible to most of the public, as it had been a decade before, when a modest building in Copenhagen served as the hub of their science. They were not yet conscious of how effectively they had persuaded the public and the military to make physics a mission of high technology and expense.  . . . Next year most of these men would meet once more . . . but by then the modern era of physics had begun in earnest, science conducted on a scale the world had not seen, and never again would its chiefs come together privately, just to work.

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.