Jan 222018

Well, I’m 16 pounds off my all-time high. I weigh less than I have in over a year.

Sadly, I’m apparently to the part where I stop losing weight because my body is getting used to exercise again and wants to protect the muscles it is rebuilding, so it hangs onto water like grim death.

(That is what I am telling myself. Of all the narratives I have encountered I find that one the most agreeable, so it must be the right one. Hmmm.)

I have to keep doing what I’m doing for another two weeks or maybe a little longer, and then I’ll be rewarded. That’s what it says here on the screen, so I know it’s true.

I’ll finish Ozark this week. Have to find another treadmill show.

I don’t think I’ve ever used a treadmill seven days in a row. Heh.

 Posted by at 3:43 pm
Jan 192018

Last Saturday afternoon, as I was relaxing with my family, I got a call from one of the medical companies with whom I have a business relationship. I didn’t care for the timing of it, but it’s the first of the year, and the topic of the call was reasonable. I hung up after confirming twice that my understanding was accurate and that everything was handled satisfactorily.

Yesterday I got a voicemail from this same company, asking me to call them back. When I did this morning, the machine with which I spoke did not understand my multiple attempts to communicate and, rather than give me an opportunity to talk to a person, simply hung up on me.

(One day I shall write the definitive criticism of those godforsaken phonebots.)

So I called the customer service number, and I learned—guess what?—that, contrary to my twice-confirmed understanding on Saturday, everything was not handled satisfactorily.

The details are even more boring than this narrative so far, so I won’t share them. And the company doesn’t matter either. Both the nature of the details and the companies are all the same in this regard.

And you know what? I realize there is no malice here. No one sets out to do me harm, stress me out, or anything else. It just happens. It’s institutional. For many reasons—some good, some not; some accidental, some by design—the power, the intelligence, and the conscience required to handle these problems never converge in a single person.

I want to think about this stuff for one hour once a year and then have it fade into the background completely. (Gee, that’s my recollection of how it was 20 years ago.) I don’t want to have a “relationship” with you. I don’t want to think of you as a partner, or have your stupid app on my phone, or have to talk to another person on the phone who calls me William every single damned time s/he says anything.

I think a well-designed and highly secure (such that any information whatsoever could be exchanged) web site, staffed and supported by people with Asperger’s and a minimum IQ of 110, would suit me perfectly. Can we have that?

 Posted by at 11:00 am
Jan 182018
  • Decided to base my Monday morning go-to-work decision on whether it looked likely I’d be involuntarily out Tuesday. I said it did, so I worked Monday, and took the holiday time Tuesday. Had enough to do remotely yesterday that I’m not all that behind. I love it when a plan comes together.
  • The boys are going to end up with a one-day week. Theirs was one of the few school systems still out today, instead of delayed. (Sounds less ridiculous when you consider that Ardmore is also included in “Limestone County Schools.”)
  • Our low for the entire weather event was 6.6º F. That’s as cold as I can recall it ever being here, at this house, since we moved in 17 years ago.
  • I remember telling you I was going to start Ozark. When was that? Oh, I see it was only about five months ago. Well, I didn’t, but I really am watching it now. I’m making friends with the treadmill, and compelling episodic television is about the best treadmill companion there is. Maybe I’ll even try something longer after I’m done with this (it’s only ten episodes so far).
  • Danica Patrick’s retirement plan is to run this year’s Daytona 500 and Indianapolis 500, and the hard part of the puzzle just fell into place. GoDaddy has announced it will sponsor her for both races. Finding a seat for her will be easy now. (Not that it was ever going to be particularly difficult.)
  • Now that I have saved a little bit of money for a laptop, I’m not sure I want to turn loose of it for that. Funny how that works. I’m still running this netbook with Lubuntu on it, and it’s a little slow, but it works fine. (And it actually has me thinking I may want to stay with Linux for a mobile rig. Repurposing a decent Chromebook is an intriguing option for such.)
  • Catch Arrival while it is available on Amazon Prime. Marvelously thoughtful and profound science fiction. Saintseester told me I would enjoy it. She was right.
 Posted by at 11:00 am
Jan 152018

Now in new tasty orange!

Kids, don’t eat dishwasher detergent.

That’s where we are today, here, now, societally.

You know, I tend to magnify my parental shortcomings. In a certain frame of mind, it’s far easier for me to recall things I wish I’d handled differently, or just out-and-out mistakes, than it is for me to remember triumphs.

But then I see sincere guidance to adolescent human beings warning them not to place dishwasher detergent in their mouths, and I swell with self-regard. I think I must surely embody 99th-percentile parenthood excellence, my place in the Fatherhood Hall of Fame already guaranteed.

Now, certainly, our children have had misadventures of youth. There was an ill-conceived escalator encounter, for example. And there are perilous arenas whose doors we are only just now opening. I am most definitely not crowing too loudly. Ample opportunities for immaturity-driven bad news remain.

Hell, I’ve even issued dishwasher detergent advice at my house.

I’m just saying I never had to tell any kid of mine old enough to shave not to eat soap.

 Posted by at 2:56 pm
Jan 122018

Somewhere on the series of tubes this week I encountered the term “micro-cheating” and thought “hmmm, that sounds like I could get a post out of it.”

And here it is. But it’s not the post I thought I was going to write.

I thought it would be about closeness in general. I was prepared to rebut a position that any closeness with a member of the opposite sex who is not my wife was inappropriate and “micro-cheating.”

But, no. That would be an intelligent response to a sincere, but inadvertently wrong-headed, article. The actual piece itself is silly and essentially useless, containing gems like:

“…listing a ‘friend’ under a code name in your phone…”


“If your partner is hiding any aspect of their relationship with someone else — say, if they close Gmail the minute you walk into the room — that could be a sign that something’s amiss.”

Is this really a hair we need split for us now? If I think my “friend” needs an alias, or if my inclination is to hide email from my wife, do I really need to read in an article that I just might be doing something wrong?

“The top signs are secrecy and deception.”

Wow! A revelatory insight, indeed.

We need to cease the apparently-comforting-to-some fiction that morality is some hopelessly complex continuum, responsive to endless dissection and interpretation. There are some things that truly are morally ambiguous, but they aren’t dilemmas we generally encounter day to day. You know the difference between right and wrong. Do you actually need some nitwit with a fancy title coining a Newspeak term for something before you know you shouldn’t do it?

 Posted by at 11:24 am