Tag Archives: journals

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.

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.

revisiting Zach’s journals

I got back into Zach’s journals today. I had catalogued them from 2012 through 2014 a few months ago but quailed at the thought of doing it for his last years’ of writing.

Well, today I did it. I now have a spreadsheet with a year entered on whatever date he wrote. I mean, I can look in the spreadsheet for a particular date and see in what year he wrote on that date. For example, there were no entries for this date but there was one on December 23rd in 2013. Once again I make no promises about how often or how much I will republish but I have been able to think about it more recently.

I was just wrapping up when I took one last look through the folder that has all the files. Wait a minute – there are a bunch from 2010 and 2011! So that was another hour. There’s a lot of stuff there. I’m pretty amazed that I’ve been able to look through it today without totally breaking down. I have a headache, but I’m pretty calm.

OK, here’s a paragraph from Zach’s December 23, 2013 entry:

I got up Saturday morning and got new tires on my car ($492); I had only been putting that off for 18 months.  It took quite awhile, despite me having a 730a appointment, but I ended up just sitting there and reading in the waiting room, which was pretty nice.  Time well spent.  I then went to Barnes and Noble, with two objectives–one, because Matt gave me a gift card and I had it in my mind that I would buy the new Gladwell book with it, and then have Matt borrow/read it after the new year.  I also wanted to read the third Divergent book, which came out earlier this fall.  Once I got there, I browsed around a bit, just to see what was there, which was always fun.  Then, I started reading the Divergent book and struggled with it, partially because I was uncomfortable reading it there in the story and partially because I couldn’t recall all the characters and the events of the second book, probably because I binge read it late at night over a weekend.  And then thirdly, the third book just wasn’t really grabbing me and was kind of frustrating, so I stopped after about 70 pages or so.  I’m sure I’ll eventually finish it but I couldn’t really get engrossed.  Then, I started over-thinking the purchase of a book–I felt weird buying a book, even with a gift card, and actually left the store and walked out to my car before going back in and buying the book.  I think I just felt weird about buying a book, and all I could think about was moving it when the time comes!  Crazy.

Zach’s birthday

Zach would have been 29 today. We probably would have talked on the phone. His doctorate would have been finished. He would either have a job somewhere or he’d be working on a post-doc somewhere else. He would have most likely not been in California or anywhere on the West Coast. I think I say that because the programs he looked at for the doctorate were in the east or mid-west. Also, Emily was in Illinois so that would have been a pull.

I stalled out on my project of posting excerpts from his journals on a given day. I was getting close to the end of them and I lost heart. There is one I found from 2014 on his birthday, though. It shows Zach at his unsentimental best starting out an entry. (It goes on, BTW, but this is all I’m posting today.)

I was in a good mood and then decided to drink coffee, which was probably unnecessary but since it’s my bday, I get to do things like that.  LOL, I hate that attitude.

But with there not a ton of actually pressing things on my plate (minus a stats final on Tuesday that I should really study for but can’t take seriously anymore), I felt like spending time in here.  I always feel like I’m going to sit down and bust out some incredible stuff in here but then it turns into something more rigid and much less poetic than I imagine in my head.  So it goes.

Happy Birthday, Zach. I love you, son.

Zach’s journals follow up

I think it’s been a couple of weeks since I posted about reading Zach’s journals and teased that I would possibly post excerpts. Honestly, some of the things he put in them made me uncomfortable and I had to stop. Also, I was going through in chronological order and the closer I got to the end, the harder it was to read.

And I wasn’t even really reading them! I was just going through and writing down the dates of each entry. Things would catch my eye and of course I would read further but I wasn’t reading top to bottom.

My next couple of weeks are pretty open so I may get back to it. Stay tuned!

Zach’s journals

I had this idea the other day that I could go through Zach’s journals and make list of all the dates he wrote in them. Then on a particular date, I could put his writing for that day on the blog. I was feeling that perhaps enough time has passed that I could read them somewhat dispassionately.

I forgot how much he wrote.

I just spent almost two hours going through two years of journals – his so-called Statistical Appendices from 2012 and 2013. He had another set of journals under a folder called Corleone. I believe the Corleone files are more work related while the SAs are more personal. basically, all I did tonight was go through each month’s file and make notes of the dates he wrote. I wasn’t trying to read but a few things caught my attention and I did read them.

My current thinking is that if I do something like this, I will only publish excerpts. There are two reasons. One is the sheer volume of material. It’s not uncommon for him to write 3 or 4 pages on a particular day. I’ve done my best to keep the original files unchanged in case someone, someday wants to get a look at Zach unfiltered but for the purposes of this blog I’ll probably do a lot of cutting.

The other reason is that he’s pretty unsparing of feelings. He’s not writing for publication, he’s writing to, well, I don’t know if he even knows. I did see some comments about why he writes as I was blasting through tonight but my goal was to collect dates, not to read critically.

I have two more years of SAs that I will try to get to this week. Then I will compile all the dates into one list. Then, one day when I am thinking about writing, I may look up his entry for that day and work on that instead. I will still write about other things that are on my mind that may or may not be about Zach.

As luck would have it, neither the 2012 nor the 2013 journals have any entries for the 10th or 11th of September. I’ll wait until I’m done then review.

Zach’s journals

I read some of Zach’s journals today, after my ‘legacy’ post. I found I could read them without an inordinate amount of sadness. I’m a little more removed from the last time I was reading them seven or eight months ago. Today I wasn’t dwelling on the content so much as just appreciating that they’re there and marveling at the spirit that wrote them.

I’m not going to quote anything today. It’s either a lot or nothing and today will be nothing. I still think occasionally about the state of my apartment or bedroom when I go out for the day and wonder if I never come back what people might think about me. Those of us living have to go on living, though. We can’t always be thinking about our deaths. It will come when it comes.

I’ll call it the lesson of Rosalie. Live now!