31 January, 2009

Live Mesh is unreal

There's a new product that Microsoft offers. And it's on the web. And it's free. And it is incredibly powerful and amazing. The product is called Live Mesh, and you can access it at http://www.mesh.com. This is not an infomercial. I am telling you about it because, based on my experiences thus far, I am amazed, and honestly a little bit frightened by its capability.

In a nutshell, here is what Live Mesh lets you do:

  1. Create a web-based "network" of any/all of your computers, regardless of where they are located.
  2. Share files between all of these computers, e.g. if you have your iTunes library on your home computer, you could listen to these songs from work, by having the folder of music in this shared "mesh".
  3. Connect remotely to any of your computers, from anywhere.

Did you catch that last one?

You can connect to any of your computers from anywhere, with no special software, smartcards, hardware, security gateways, firewalls, etc. All you do is go to the mesh.com website, and login via your Windows Live credentials (i.e. your Hotmail address), and then you can connect. 

The concept of "I forgot that file at home" need never happen again. No matter where you are, you're always there.

The frightening thing about this is that it sort of subverts any corporate firewalls that exist in quite flagrant and blatant fashion. For instance, to get on the corporate network at Microsoft, I typically need to insert my company smartcard into a card reader, enter 2 layers of special passwords, and go through an authentication process that actually takes over my machine so that my local internet connection cannot be used at the same time as I am working on the corpnet. 

With Live Mesh, this is "bye-bye". Not necessary. I can go to this website, and within 60 seconds, I am connected to the actual desktop of any of my work computers, with full corporate access. Security breach? I am not sure. Of course I am ultimately responsible for the security of my own information, so if there were a breach via my computers, I would need to own the responsibility. The bigger question is whether companies can afford to have this circumventing route available.

Will Live Mesh live unchanged from its current state? Highly unlikely. Otherwise companies might as well throw away all their firewalls and other security checks.

To me, it's amazing because of the power, simplicity, and absolutely obvious demand for such a thing in a world where we want all of our information available all the time from anywhere in the world. But as is the case with anything powerful, we need to be at least a little bit worried.

30 January, 2009

Cat-like reflexes?

Or just really stupid?

Tonight, I was driving home and it occurred to me that things are okay. I had been feeling stressed and peeved lately about some small things. Interestingly, at the same time, I have been feeling quite happy about bigger things, compared to how I had been feeling the previous few months. The small things mostly relate to finances. There's just the stress of the economy, and of job security, and of the value of my home (which apparently has dropped between $25-30 thousand dollars since I bought it 11 months ago). But some of this is out of my control; e.g. the economy. And some of it is at least partly in my control; e.g. job security. If I do a good job -- a very good job -- then I would hope for it to remain secure. It's true that you never know. But just like you cannot control whether your airplane will stay up in the air or crash into the Hudson River, there are some things that are not worth worrying about until they happen.

So, on the way home, it occurred to me that things are okay. Really okay.

I made some decisions in my life lately. In lots of areas, but the big thing was that I decided to start taking better care of myself. Eating right, sleeping more, exercising often, drinking lots of water. And I also decided, in conjunction with those additions, to make some subtractions. Namely, eliminating caffeine, and significantly reducing alcohol consumption. Not that it was particularly high, but it was heading in an upward direction, let us say. I did these things with the intent of feeling better, and perhaps being able to improve my enthusiasm and efficiency in a number of areas of my life. And it seems the rewards are coming rather quickly. 

The other area in which I decided to make some changes related to finances. I realized that for me, socializing had become "eating and drinking", and this tended to result in the expenditure of about $30-40 daily (if not more) on just those things. And that shit adds up fast. So, I am trying to redefine what socializing means, and also trying to redefine, to some extent, how I choose to spend my time. There remain many things in life that I would *like* to be doing, that I never seem to find time to do. Perhaps this realignment will help facilitate some of those things happening.

So, why the title for this blog? And why the comment about stupidity?

Well, after having all these wonderful thoughts on my drive home, I park my car, and get out of the car to go in the house. And as I do this, I immediately realize that the car is rolling down the hill! It's not a steep hill, but it's rolling, and it took me about 500 milliseconds to realize this. And my realization is, if I do not act quickly, the car is going to smash reasonably hard into the car in front of me which was about 8 feet down the hill. I am not sure what that would do, if anything. But it would probably make a noise. So my initial reflex was to try to halt the car. But those 500 milliseconds were enough for it to gain enough momentum that halting it didn't seem to be happening. So, I spun around, practically dove into the car (door wasn't closed yet, thankfully), and yanked the emergency brake, bringing the whole process to a peaceful halt.

Then, standing there, adrenalized, I realized that it never even crossed my mind about where my feet had been positioned when this circus was initiated. If I had accidentally tried to halt the car by bracing my body closer to the car, there's a really good chance the rear wheel would have crushed my foot.

And that would have sucked.

29 January, 2009

In the presence of greatness

Sometimes you discover that you're in the presence of greatness. And it's a slow dawning. You know that it's something. But you don't realize the full extent of it until it lands in front of you like a giant dragon, glistening in its multi-hued glory.

So it goes.

There's a problem with greatness, in that it inspires and discourages at the same time. It makes you want so much to *be* that greatness, but the realization that you're unlikely to ever get there can be quite disheartening.

Where does it come from? Why are some people transcendent in their abilities? To me, technical prowess is only slightly captivating. People who are technically good, it's easy to look and acknowledge and then dismiss it as being the result of hours, months, years of intense practice.

But people who are good? People who are just coming from the right brain and crushing you with the sheer simplicity of their perfection, or perfection of their simplicity? Those people leave me sitting and staring, mouth agape, and wondering how it can be.

27 January, 2009

Toilet paper dispensers

You knew I had to go there eventually, right?

You knew that eventually, this blog would end up in the toilet.

Actually, I am writing about something that I suspect might be a secret and subversive ploy to demoralize employees at my office. That ubiquitous restroom appliance known as a "toilet paper dispenser". You would think that its purpose would be to dispense toilet paper, no? But actually, I think this is a misnomer because, as far as I can tell, the primary function of this awful device is to protect the toilet paper from being accessed in any way, other than in tiny shreds.

Let me show you what we're dealing with:

The fortress. Yes. Under lock and key, one of the largest corporations in the world guards its bathroom tissue. Because you know that employees are going to steal lots of this half-ply 5 grit sandpaper if only they were to remove this kleenex chastity belt. Although, one could argue that with the way the economy is going, it won't be long before we're all standing in line for toilet paper!

So, I realize that this dispenser looks rather innocuous. But I assure you. There are a number of devices to obstruct, confuse, and enrage. Let me give you a brief sampling of some of them.

"Hmmm," you say. What's that strange looking lever arm that is lifted above the toilet paper roll? What purpose could that possibly serve? Is it designed to aid one in removing tissue? Of course, that would be lovely. But alas, that is not the case. What you are seeing here is the "locked and ready" position of what I like to refer to as the "can't spare a square arm of doom". The reason I call it this is because, as soon as you begin pulling on the roll of toilet paper to get whatever amount you deem appropriate, this happens:

Doesn't look like much? Ah, but it is lad. It is!

This lever will immediately, within about 1 square of (half-ply) tissue rolling, clamp down on the roll and not allow free dispensation of the amount that you have requested of the device. I have tried pushing this arm down, up, over the top, all possible combinations. I highly recommend against the "over-the-top" route, because I quickly learned that they have left raw metal edges on the inside fold of the rim of this fortress, so that any man who attempts to reach within its confines will pull back a bloody stump.

To make matters worse, apparently the designer knew that there would be difficulties with this contraption. So, rather than fix the problem, or provide useful messaging, they have instead placed intriguing, cryptic commands on the ends of the magic lever:

Can't read that, can you? Sorry. Let me help you. It says "BACK.  VERS L'ARRIERS. HACIA ATRAS." For those who are not trilingual, that means "BACK. BACK. BACK." I can only assume this is a warning of the danger that lies within that chamber.

And you would think that would be sufficient. But there are additional warnings on the other side of the lever:


This seems contradictory to me. Back. Up. What the hell do they want from me? This is a toilet paper dispenser, and it reads like some sort of instructions for attaching a conduit for in-air refueling of a C-101 Army Transport jet. Need it be this complicated?

I am convinced that this is not actually a toilet paper dispenser at all. I think it is actually a device used to imprison boggarts. And the tissue roll is placed as an additional protective tool to prevent people from losing a finger. Why they'd decide to hold these creatures in a bathroom is beyond me.

Come to think of it, that would explain a few other unpleasant aspects of the restroom.

26 January, 2009

Arranged unhappiness

This needs to be vague, to protect anonymity, so bear with me.

I have an acquaintance whom I always have thought might be gay. I would not say that my "gay-dar" is necessarily 100% accurate, but it's pretty good.

After the holidays, I ran into him, and heard the news that he was engaged. I had never before even heard that there was a significant other, or dating, or anything of the sort. It sounded as if he went home for the holidays and returned engaged.

I thought "Hm... that's unusual," but I don't know him well at all.

Then recently, I took a look at this person's Facebook profile. Although they are not on my friends' list, they happen to have open access. And on his profile, there were a handful of recent photos of him with his new fiancee. And I have to say, neither of them looked particularly happy in any of the pictures. Okay, maybe she looked like she was trying to be happy, but it was sort of a "deer in the headlights" kind of forced look. And he looked like he was being dragged to his own execution.

I am kind of thinking it's an arranged marriage.

And it makes me sad. I am not in a position to judge people's cultures, or choices, or actions. But, if you look as unhappy or strained as they do, I cannot imagine this is really in either of their best interests. It is especially difficult, I imagine, when you are not living immersed in a society where the majority of people adhere to the same practices. It provides the type of juxtaposition that could exacerbate resentful feelings.

Of course, I could be completely wrong here. But something inside me just tells me that I'm not wrong.

24 January, 2009


we are all
of misfortune.

every day provides
an opportunity
to find a way
to not take
for ourselves.

things would be
if only
he would have done...

or she would have done...

we make ourselves
the victim
and then we
build a wall
of righteousness
around us
to keep out
and shame
and loss.

but the wall
is made
of glass
everyone can see
right in
they see us
and they know
the truth.

but we close
our eyes
to all of that
it feels safer
to be
the victim

23 January, 2009

physical archives versus digital archives

A friend of mine writes a blog.

One of her recent topics involved the comparison between online journals and old-fashioned notebook journals, that reside in the physical world, rather than in the world of pixels. It was interesting to think about the points she made, regarding the fact that a physical journal has the capacity to retain elements from the physical world. Objects. Dimension. Even debris. Or physical memorabilia, like a flower petal, or a leaf, or a lock of hair, or a photograph with a date on the back of it, tattered and worn. These things can all exist in a physical journal, but not in an online journal. The physical journal ages, and it evolves. As you move forward through your space and time, it too has its own form of moving forward. And as you grow away from who you were when you wrote it, so it goes that the notebook becomes a little bit different. And these physical objects that it may contain, including the distinction between a scribble and a carefully penned entry, all have the capacity to elicit a bigger memory than just words in a standard font, perfectly spaced, with nothing more than the occasional typo to indicate the intensity or lack of care that went into the writing.

These two forms of archiving thoughts have the same central purpose, but there is little in common between them, beyond the surface. My blogging friend noted how personal her physical journal is, and how things there stay there. This would not be an object that she would likely share with the world, or with even more than the fewest of closest friends. And even then, probably only in her presence. And possibly only being held in her hands. It is her object. It is a part of her. 

But the online journal is birthed, in a sense. Once you click "Post" it is out there. And anyone can look. Anyone can show it to anyone else. Anyone can link to it! Anyone can even cut and paste from it into a separate file, to be saved for their own purposes, forever. You do not have control over it. Even if you delete it, there will be echoes, ripples, remains of it out there. If you burn your diary in the physical world, it is gone. You have erased that history. But you can never be sure that you've completely eradicated anything that is posted to the internet.

I could never make a physical journal, as she has made, and as surely many routinely maintain. For some reason, I have great difficulty choosing objects that mean something to me, and then organizing them for safekeeping. They end up in odd places. Boxes. Corners. Discarded, often, in fact. There have been many things with which I've felt this strong connection. But I do not have the scrapbook personality. I am not sure why, but it probably has something to do with commitment to myself. I don't commit a whole lot of energy to doing things that are strictly personal. My endeavors are always about connecting with others. Even this blog is as much about trying to entertain, or at least maintain an audience, as it is about expressing my feelings.

I admire the journal writer who takes the care in herself to preserve precious artifacts, and pen private poems for no eyes to ever see. I wish I had the discipline to sit alone long enough to create real art. Whether it be writing, or music, or whatever. Instead, I choose to keep skimming along surfaces, and directing my energy outward. I guess someone has to.

20 January, 2009

Proof that there may be a malevolent God

Everyone must do laundry, no?

One of the things that is great about doing laundry is that when it is done, you can wear all your favorite clothes again. And for me, one of my little idiosyncrasies is a preference for particular socks. There are some socks that I really love. So, of course, I want to wear those first. Though, there is a rank order of preference, and sometimes I will wear my second favorite pair straight out of the laundry, and save the first one, so that I have something to look forward to later in the week. Likewise, there are socks that I despise. I do not throw them away because you can never have too many socks. But I would rather wear my favorite socks dirty than put some of these ugly and uncomfortable pairs on my feet.

But here is where I find my evidence for a malevolent God.

As I go through the laundry basket, invariably, I do not find my favorite pair of socks. Instead, what I find is the following: I will find, sequentially, one sock from each pair of socks that I own, before finding a single pair. And often, the first sock that I find is one of my favorite ones, giving me false hope for a quick score. That's clearly something that an extremely diabolical deity would do. After finding one of every pair, I will need to dig around, and eventually I will start locating the matching socks. But, because of these evil forces creating havoc under the guise of entropy, I will invariably locate the matching pair of my most hated socks first (a pair of blue wool socks that are too tight and do not stay up well). And then, proceeding in reverse order from least to most favorite, I discover each additional match. The time between discoveries grows increasingly longer, with a large jump right after I find the dark brown ones that look like dark chocolate, and aren't that soft, but are almost tolerable. And forget about finding the blue splotchy ones (favorite), or the medium green #1 or medium green #2 splotchy ones (second and third favorite). When I finally do get through all the discoveries, hours later, I always have one final roadblock, because medium green #1 and medium green #2 are so similar, that I will often put on one of each by mistake, and not notice until I am almost out of the house, and then I need to go back upstairs and fix the problem.

I believe in the laws of nature and physics. Seriously. But I was unaware that the 2nd law of thermodynamics also applied to socks, though I suppose it's reasonable. Socks are made of chemicals.

But it is not entropy causing this wild sock chase to occur. It is something sinister, and willful. Something that believes itself to be powerful and probably fancies itself to be a tad mischievous.

I do not bow to this god.

Except, insomuch as I need to bend over to go through the socks.

18 January, 2009

It is Inauguration Day, not the f•cking Rapture

Tuesday marks an event that has happened once every 4 years for over 2 centuries. But this time, we are apparently going to party like it's 2999.

Yes, Barack Obama is going to take office. Yes, Barack Obama has one African-American parent. Yes, this has never happened before. Yes, this marks the end of a presidency that was, at best, only 50% illegitimate. One would hope this marks the beginning of a new direction. But the reality is that NOTHING changes on Tuesday other than the names on the books. The Iraq War does not end. The economy does not recover. America's standing in the court of public opinion does not immediately gain absolution.

Believe me, I prefer this over all alternatives, and it at least demonstates that barriers are not impenetrable. But whether the world becomes a better place, who knows?

Yet people are having bashes, balls, you name it. And to me, it just feels like taking a very serious matter, politics, and turning it into a festival. Other than the mere fact of his election, there is precious little for this country to celebrate right now. And I wonder how many millions will be burned by agencies public and private on this event.

Will our government suddenly begin serving the interest of the people? We shall see. But I am not going to quit my job on the anticpation of national healthcare. And I am not going to throw my tiny little quail-sized nest egg back in the stock market. Because, save for one (noteworthy) difference, January 21, 2009 is not going to be all that much different from January 19, 2009.

-- Post From My iPhone

17 January, 2009

Caffeine high at Powell's in Portland

After being lethargic all day, a quadruple 2% caramel latte from Grendel's has flipped me around into positive territory. However, now I am too buzzed to read a book, so this giant bookstore is a bit overwhelming.

I always go to the guitar book section, even though I think I have read enough about guitars. Fact is, unless I have hours to spare, bookstores are overstimulating to me anyway. Tonight we are going to see Sunset Valley and Swoon23 play at The Doug Fir. I am excited about it. Portland repeatedly seems to me to be superior to Seattle in every observable way. Too bad my life is in Seattle, and my job is in Seattle, and my band is in Seattle, and my mortgage is in Seattle, and...

Soon we will go eat at Old Town Pizza which is owned by Jason's brother. And then we will find other ways of killing some time until the show starts.

-- Post From My iPhone

15 January, 2009

The story that cannot possibly be over-sensationalized

As much as I want to fault the media for going berserk over today's Hudson River plane crash, there really could not be any "over-reporting" of such an event.
"I think the pilot, he did a great job," Berretta said. "I think it was as good of a landing as you can make in a river."
That quote really says it all. The media, of course, want to invoke miracles, and all sorts of other fantastical notions. And many passengers, families, and random citizens will want to blame some sort of god for this highly unlikely outcome. Of course, you find them explaining how it is that god decided to throw some geese in front of the plane in the first place. Maybe god was busy making himself a grilled cheese sandwich when that happened, and then he looked up, as he was flipping the sandwich, and noticed this plane plummeting to the earth, and he reached out his large hand with the spatula, and gently set the Airbus A320 down in the Hudson River.

All kidding aside, if you have done your reading, you will know that this is not something that happens every day, year, or decade. If you Google "successful water landing" you will find all sorts of links. But going to our trusty Wikipedia, I learned the following about large aircraft and water landings:

2009 Airbus A320 crashed in Hudson River after dual engine failure, all 155 passengers survived
2005 ATR 72 ran out of fuel near Sicily. 20 out of 39 survived, with severe injuries
2002 Boeing 737 lost both engines near Java, 59 out of 60 survived
1996 Boeing 767 lost fuel after hijacking, breaking up on impact, 52 out of 175 survived
1970 MD DC9 ran out of fuel near Saint Maarten in mile-deep waters, 40 out of 63 survived
1963 Tupolev Tu-124 ran out of fuel, and crashed in a river, all 52 passengers survived uninjured
1956 Boeing 377 lost 2 out of 4 engines, and ditched near Hawaii, all 31 passengers survived
1956 Boeing 377 crashed in the Puget Sound due to pilot error, 4 passengers drowned during rescue

So it is not entirely unheard of, though I had not heard of any of these incidents before now, except for the hijacked 767 that crashed in a horrifying fashion.

So it could have been much, much worse...

Don't fly on an Airbus?

Today marked what might have been the first ever "successful" water landing for a large commercial airliner. I cannot back up that statement, other than that I remember having heard somewhere previously that there has never been a successful water landing. As you've probably already heard, US Airways Flight 1549 went into the sparkling and refreshing waters of New York's Hudson River today, with 151 people on board. And it appears, at this moment, that there were zero fatalities.


The early reports suggest that the plane may have been struck by a flock of birds, taking out both engines on the aircraft. However, a little bit of poking around on my favorite air disaster-related websites revealed a recent story about Airbus having some issues with engines stalling due to mechanical problems, resulting in incidents and fatal crashes. My favorite quote from the referenced article was the following:

American authorities warned such stalling problems "could prevent continued safe flight or landing"

It took "authorities" to come up with that conclusion? Probably high paid authorities, at that. Airbus has had a long series of knocks during its approximately 40 year history. One issue that was linked to some crashes years ago involved the fact that Airbus had started using "fly-by-wire" technology, in which many flight controls that were previously hydraulic had become electrical. Additionally, there had been some problems related to the degree to which Airbus planes were automated in such fashion that could cause greater difficulties responding to unexpected conditions during flight.

I am sure that you can find a million links to these if you want to do so. I will provide you with only a few links:

Related to autopilot:
In emergencies, Autopilot is the boss - not the human pilot

Australia incident blamed on autopilot failure

Related to fly-by-wire:
Article discussing fly-by-wire as being too complicated of a system 
P-I story comparing Boeing and Airbus technology

The last link is a fantastic article in the P-I about the differences in philosophy between Boeing and Airbus on aircraft control design.

One final piece of strangeness mailed to me by a friend:

Amazing... it arrived only 19 minutes late!

14 January, 2009

The Dewcaster

When we were together, I had asked her if she would paint one of my guitars. And she was excited to do it. That was the first time she'd painted a guitar, and she had lots of ideas in her head. Probably enough to paint 20 guitars. But she went with the theme that I had asked for, which was "something to do with leaves or vines". The painting was completed in November, but some of the finishing work such as sanding, and final layers of lacquer coating, had not been applied when we stopped seeing each other.

After looking at this guitar, and itching to play it for months, since it was also a project guitar in terms of the electronics, which I had replaced, I finally decided that there was no good reason to keep it sitting on the sidelines waiting for the finishing work. It looks really good, and I just want to start playing it.

Thought I'd share some rough pictures of it. Decided to call it "The Dewcaster" because her initials are DEW, and I think it's not a bad name for a Telecaster with this design. I will post some better pictures when I am inspired to do so.

Everyone's a blogger now, and is it really a good thing?

The internet has become nearly a primary modality of communication. The telephone, of course, will never completely cease to exist because of the mobility it offers. But it's so much easier to communicate asynchronously, while almost instantaneous. In the workplace, I have come to realize that the telephone is almost superfluous. For people who are nearby, even, I still find myself choosing instant message rather than getting off my ass and walking to their office. It's not laziness. It's convenience. And I am not sure if there's a distinction, except in my mind.

As for blogs, it seems that more and more people are writing them. A friend from Boston recently commented that the internet is full of so much "noise" and that it seems pointless for some people (in particular, me) to be blogging. This is something that should be reserved for real writers. People whose livelihood depends on their internet communication. Well, unfortunately for him, that is not how things work. There are countless free websites whose specific purpose is to give anyone a voice who wants to have one. When I first started writing my blog, I only knew of one other person who published a regular blog entry, purely for the purpose of personal writing explorations. Then I met a couple more. And a couple more. And since I have been blogging, I have seen no fewer than 4 of my friends also take up blogging as a hobby, in some cases, anonymously. I don't think it's so much that I inspired them, and I will not take credit for such. But I think people are realizing the power of the internet as a vehicle. We all owe ourselves a journal of our events, our thoughts, or observations. But it's perhaps hard to justify doing that with nobody to ever read a notebook tucked away in a nighttable drawer. But now that notebook is public, and the potential feedback, and the availability of an audience, is a driver for us to do it. 

The downside, as there is with everything, is that you need to be careful what you write. As I can attest, and others whom I know can most certainly attest, what you write on the internet can and will come back around to affect you, and others. Maybe there is an intent to influence others. But the problem with putting it out there is that you cannot always tell what influence you will have, and you may not get the desired effect.

And there is a strangeness to making one's writing available for the general viewing. People can come to know you, passively, in ways much deeper and more personal than they might in regular encounters over a far greater period of time. I even have one or two associations on the internet whom I have never met, but who know me, or at least elements of my life, far more intimately than some people who see me on a weekly basis. Is that knowing? I am not sure. But one thing is for sure. The concept of knowing probably needs to be redefined in this new forum.

The blogging skeptic from back home, of whom I commented earlier, had asked me why I do it. He just thought it was a stupid waste of time, and even went so far as to specifically mock the process (he'd read my blog about the French Press). I didn't really have a good answer for him. And I don't think any answer I could provide would really satisfy. I don't like to admit it, but it must be a bit of exhibitionism. Because if it were not, then why would I write publicly? Just as, in my audience, there must be a touch of voyeurism driving people to read about my endeavors. It's not a crime, and it's not dirty. It occurred to me while I was working out today (trying to remain disciplined) that a blog can be a little bit like an internet-based reality program.

13 January, 2009

Lacquer, bubbles, breakups, and waiting

There's one disadvantage of having your girlfriend paint your guitar. If you breakup before she's finished, then you have a semi-finished guitar. And that is where I find myself now. Of course, I am being somewhat facetious about what was actually a serious matter, and I mean no disrespect or lack of reverence for the feelings that linger around the topic. But the guitar, which was a project guitar that received some love in the form of new electronics, is sitting painted, but not ready for primetime, because the lacquer finish over the paintjob was somewhat of a half-finished experiment that needs more work. And I am not confident doing that work myself. Hence, there it sits, unstrung, with a custom design painted by someone who is no longer my significant other. I don't think of it as awkward, but I guess it is. I don't know the first thing about finishing guitars. It would be easy to sand it all the way down and remove the paint. But I don't want to do that. The paint is good. But the finish needs to be finished. And I don't know how. You can see that I am in a predicament. I would like to be able to play this guitar. I would like to be able to use this guitar. And right now, it's caught in limbo. The finish was brushed on, because the initial attempts with spray did not seem to be working right. But the brushing seems to have left brushstrokes, and bubbles. I am told (she told me) that sanding, and doing more brushing, and then wet-sanding, would eventually make it smooth and shiny. But I am skeptical. I think it might need to be sprayed on. And I am not sure if I can do that.

Really, at this point, I just want this guitar to be playable. Right now I could reassemble it, and suck it up and accept that the finish is not smooth, so what, who cares, let it be, it's made to play, not to look at it. But I can't help but want it to be "done". So I wait for some inspiration, or for one of my reasonably artistic friends to help me do the finishing job.

11 January, 2009

Paranoia? Or bullshit detection?

I don't know which it is. Maybe it is both.

But sometimes when I am talking with people... strangers... friends... could be either... I get this sudden feeling that I am not hearing the truth. That the stories being told are complete fabrications. And this is not often, and it is not with many people. But when it does happen, it is a very strong feeling. 

"You are making this up," I think.

"No way that what you're saying is true"

"I am not even listening anymore, because this is from out of nowhere"

It's not that they're telling me that they walked on the moon, or that they saw Angelina Jolie in Safeway this morning. Doesn't need to be that elaborate. But still, what they are saying does not resonate. And I don't know what it is. I wonder to myself, "Am I the only one that is doubting this?" I wonder if I have some special power of bullshit detection. Or, conversely, I wonder if I am just doubtful and paranoid, and tend to be skeptical of everything everyone says.

But no.

Because I am not. There are just a few people in my life with whom I have this sensation. And they are universally people who would have a reason to make themselves grander than they actually are. People who have inferiority regarding their accomplishments, or esteem. And the timing of their stories is inconsistent with the apparent significance of them. For instance, if I had run into Steve Carell in Fred Meyer this morning, you can probably bet that I would have put it in my Facebook status, from my iPhone, within minutes of the occurence. I would be calling and telling everyone I know about it. But for one of these "sensationalizers" that I am talking about, this would come up as an afterthought at some arbitrary point in conversation. We've already caught up on other things, and we talked about the Mariners, and we talked about the show we saw last month, and we talked about the good movies that are coming out on DVD. And then, out of the blue, BAM!, "You'll never guess who I saw this morning at Fred Meyer... I'm not even kidding you! It was Steve Carell!! So I went up to him, and I said 'That's what she said', and he cracked up laughing, and asked me if I was a fan! And then he insisted on giving me his autograph, and he even bought my order at the checkout because we were in line together."

You know. That kind of thing.

Are these people obvious liars? Or am I just really keen on detecting bullshit? Obviously, I exaggerate with the example above, but it's not that far from the level of storytelling that I am relating to you. And I wonder why people do it. Decent people. Fun people. Smart people. Interesting people. But it must be from an insecurity that they have. They need to be better than you, smarter than you, funner than you, more decent than you, in a way that is meaningful to them because they don't feel it. Something leaves them feeling out of control, or inferior.

I don't wish to avoid these people. Because some of them I really, really like.

But I wish they would just get real, so that I can have a real relationship with them, rather than some sort of dog and pony nonsense.

09 January, 2009

Black and White

Black and white
One absorbs all light
The other reflects
But in absence of light
They become the same

In the absence of sight?
They are always the same


-- Post From My iPhone

The price of being an extravert

There is really only so much time in a day. In a week. In a month. In a year. In a lifetime.

Being an extravert, I tend to fill much of this time in social engagements. Perhaps to a fault, at times. I would rather hang out with people than do just about anything personal. The only time I seem to want to be alone is when I have things I am supposed to be doing, but do not want to do. I'll refrain from providing examples of such things.

But sometimes, I have this tendency, in my quest to "fill time" of starting to spend time engaging in social interactions that are not all that rewarding, with people with whom I do not have very much similarity or compatibility. To clarify here, I am not referring to any recent relationships that I have had. In fact, the connections I have had in my relationships have almost always been very satisfying socially. The ending of these relationships was more related to incompatibilities in the relationship, not due to the absence of much closeness, friendship, and great conversation.

It's just that every so often, I feel like I start getting into social situations that are leading me nowhere, and centering around discussions, behaviors, practices that are contrary to my own best interests. On one hand, I think it's due to the extreme extraversion. If you want to watch TV all the time, you need to watch some bad programs, so to speak. But I also think it is an avoidance of engaging in deep, meaningful connections with people in my life. In that sense, the analogy would be that hanging out with a close friend is like reading a good book, whereas some of these social engagements are like watching reality TV. It fills the time, but you're left with not much other than a slightly decreased sense of self-respect.


Isn't there something to be said for just having fun? Yes, of course. But I guess I would like to think that special times and bonding is occurring with people with whom I share more than just space on this planet. For example, people who want to talk about serious issues, or debate ideas, or care about each other in more than a transient way. And I do not even impose the constraint that these need to be like-minded individuals. I have one or two friends who are fundamentally in opposition to me on many major issues. But there is still a seriousness, and intent, and concern in our relationships that make the time well invested for me. People who are different can teach us more than those who are the same.

Not sure where I am going with this. I guess I was just thinking about choices that I make.

Changing behavioral patterns is difficult

I am not sure why it is, but I feel like I have developed behavioral patterns that are difficult to modify. Some of these have been in place for several years. Some have developed recently. I am not sure why I'm having such a hard time changing.

The big ones are probably similar to things that many of you face: eating, sleeping, exercising.

I have never been able to eat particularly well. While I am not a fast-food eater, I do go through periods of eating slightly junkier (more pizza, burgers, nachos) versus slightly less junky (salad, lower-fat entrees, healthy cereal). Right now, I am not too deep into either camp, and fortunately overeating is not a big problem for me. But I can't seem to exercise any real consistent discipline in this area. I go to our cafeteria, and the options are many: sandwich bar, stir fry, pasta, indian, thai, mexican, pizza, salads, grill. Those are the typical choices. And for reasons not entirely clear to me, I am always drawn to the pizza, and need to fight the urge to get it. This is not good pizza. I don't particularly enjoy it, and it usually makes me feel rather crappy after eating it. But I am still craving it. And if I do not get pizza, I feel like I am missing something. It's in my brain. Pizza. Pizza. Pizza. Craving cheese, and grease. Same with a restaurant. I would rather order macaroni and cheese, or a burger, than get a healthy salad, or some type of fish or chicken that is lean without creamy sauces.

I've made the decision repeatedly that I will no longer get pizza in the cafeteria. And I do not keep this commitment to myself. It goes well for awhile, and then I have a day where I am either overtired, from staying up too late (topic #2), or occasionally it might be that I am either depressed, or rarely hungover. But on those days, I "allow" myself the pizza. And then the discipline is broken, and the trend repeats.

There's that saying about "eating to live, instead of living to eat", and I don't know why it's so hard for me. Probably has something to do with leptin. But I just know that when I go to a restaurant, I will absolutely feel like I am missing out on something if I do not get certain types of food. Why is it? I want to be healthy. I need food for nutrition. But it ends up becoming some type of emotional connection and validation for me.

Sleeping is another issue. This tends to go in waves. When I am in a relationship, I tend to adopt the habits of my partner. If they go to bed at 11, I go to bed at 11. If they go to bed at 12, I go to bed at 12. If they go to bed at 10, I tend to break up with them :) When I am not in a relationship, the circadian clock disintegrates. I shift later, and later, until I am going to bed at 4am or 5am. I have restricted myself to not ever stay up until daylight, because the level of depression that would initiate is more than I want to experience. But I just won't go to sleep. It is not "insomnia" because I can be dead tired. But I won't go to sleep. And this triggers the whole cascade of tired, bad eating, can't exercise, depressed, cannot get work done. And I willingly choose this. Why?

Exercise is the final, big issue. From my late teens through approximately age 32 or 33, I was very devoted to exercise. I would even call it "obsessed". I recall days in my early 20's where I would go running in 10 degree weather, in the snow, 6 miles, even though I had a 101 degree fever. Yes. And I would take my temperature afterwards, and it was only 99, and I would say "Running made me better!" when in fact, my temperature would be 102 degrees within a few hours. The point is, I was completely nuts about working out. But something happened in the middle of graduate school, where I became progressively more bored with exercise. And I went for months without doing it. And I am usually in complete denial about just how rarely I am doing it. I think I'm still exercising, but I am not. And all I want to do is go home and be social, or hang out, or eat (badly).

All these things are tied together, but I am not sure what the starting point is. And I don't know why I so willfully take poor care of myself. I am even feeling like I am starting to look older because of the lack of care. And I don't like that. I want to stop this, and reverse it. But it's overwhelming.

My therapist told me "Start with the exercise". The logic is that this is the thing over which I can exert the most direct control, with the greatest number of benefits. Perhaps doing this will trigger all of the other changes. But it is a large activation energy, and will require a period of uber-discipline to execute on it. I started a week ago, but my trip to Boston caused an unnecessary abort of the process.

I'm hoping that by telling you about it here, I will feel compelled to stick to it, and not keep weaseling out of the routine.

And with that, I am going to head to the gym, and work off that pizza that I ate for lunch.

Red flags, faux pas, and other embarrassing moments

Before I start, let me mention that I am not sure of the plural of "faux pas" but I know it is definitely not "fauxes pas" or "faux pases". So forgive my faux pas for this lack of French prowess.

The red flag is a metaphor that we all understand. It means "danger" and it can apply to an infinite number of contexts. Our friends warn us to be ever-vigilant for potential red flags in our relationships, or at job interviews, or when purchasing a used car. And the red flag usually does not refer to something overt. For instance, if you go to purchase a 1977 AMC Gremlin, and when you test drive it, you discover that flames are coming from under the hood, this would not constitute a "red flag" in the traditionally useful sense. In this case, we don't need to search for signs. They're obvious. Likewise, if we are making plans to go on a date, and we discover that the name and address of our prospective partner for the evening is the same as what you've seen in a recent notice at the Post Office for a most-wanted criminal, this is not a red flag, no.

Red flags are more subtle. They are indicators, hints, warnings, cautions, harbingers, curiosities, signs, footnotes, caveats, and all sorts of other pieces of data that, when taken alone, may mean nothing, but as they start to add up, usually signal a potential problem.

And, as I said, we are tuned and trained to look for red flags. 

But what we are not as ready for is the fact that we, ourselves, often are the originators of red flags to be detected by others. And people usually won't tell you about your red flags. Or, if they do, they won't refer to them in such fashion. They will just tell you that they're concerned, or that they think you should be aware of certain tendencies that you have. Our friends and colleagues usually soften the blow, because nobody wants to be a walking red flag.

The thing is, it might be much more instructive to hear it like it is. "Hey! I'm seeing a red flag here!" You don't get it very often. People say it behind your back. The candidate interviews, and everyone treats them politely. Then, after the interview, everyone tells each other about any red flags they saw with the interviewee. We don't usually get the opportunity to defend our red flags. The flag is observed, and the judgment is silently made.

Today, I had the interesting opportunity to be told about a red flag that I had unknowingly been flying. It's important to note that what is a red flag to one person might be completely innocuous to another. But here it is, and there I was. And it was not particularly complicated, but it was something I had not considered. And I felt a little embarrassed, because I really don't like to be one to give a negative impression. I am sure it was not a *net* negative, but I have this completely delusional idea in my head that I should be striving to please all people, all of the time. It's absurd. It does not upset me to know about the red flag, but it causes me to step outside myself for a moment, and see things from a different perspective. The "thing" was something that I already know about myself, and am aware that I do. But I had never thought of it in the context of a red flag that one might use when making judgments or decisions about the type of interactions that they will feel comfortable having with me.

And it creates a small conflict in me. I completely see the validity in the concern (I'm not going to tell you what it is!). And I would like very much to not be putting up this red flag. But I would need to consciously alter aspects of my behavior in order to avoid it. And I am not sure if that is something which is sustainable, or even wise to do. What behaviors constitute "personality" versus "judgment?"

I am not really sure. 

07 January, 2009

35,000 feet above my life

Asynchronous blogging here. At 35,000 feet, I’m bouncing around in a rather turbulent flight from the Atlantic Ocean to the Pacific Ocean, hopefully not stopping in either body. Listening to the entire collection of The Rolling Stones on shuffle, and the feeling that this aircraft that is “neither here nor there” is a good metaphor for how I feel about my lives in Seattle and Boston at this particular moment.

Most of the time, I feel like I never want to leave Seattle. But that’s probably because most of the time, I am in Seattle, connected to all the things that I have either created or joined in the past almost 10 years. But I come back to Boston, and suddenly, connections that span 30+ years of my life pop open like spring flowers that don’t bloom seasonally, but instead blossom when I land back in this life every so often. And it becomes very difficult for me to even compare the two worlds. I know that it is not necessary for me to do so. Nobody has said “Can you compare and contrast for me the lives you have in these two places?” It’s just something I feel compelled to do.

Save for the one connection that came with me 10 years ago from the East to the West, it feels like everything in Seattle is just a little closer to the surface than what is left behind in Boston. I am being careful to choose my words there. I am not saying “shallow” or “deep” or “superficial” because there are so many value judgments that people typically attach to those terms, and I do not wish to risk or inadvertently allow for those interpretations to be made. Closer to the surface, I guess, means that I became much of who I am before I arrived here. And the people in Boston (plus one) were stirred in that molding pot that defined most of who I am today. It’s like archaeology. Okay, no it’s not. That’s a horrible analogy. Let’s see. What is it like? I guess it’s like a flower garden. The Boston world comprises the soil, and some of the perennials that persist. The Seattle life is everything that has since been planted, or blossomed in that fertile soil. Many rich and beautiful things are new, but they develop upon who I already am. Is that a better metaphor? Or did that one suck too?

Seattle scares me sometimes because I feel like it is transient… not completely secure. Most of the people I have come to know here are people who moved here from somewhere else. And many of them have left, or will leave, for somewhere else. I have seen no fewer than four sets of very close friends leave here. Some came back, and then eventually left again. Some came back, but not close enough to be back in my life. Some may one day return, but it is unclear. Those bonds were growing, and were absolutely essential parts of my week-to-week life here. And then they’re pulled apart, made far more complicated by distance. 

People do ask me, “So, do you think you’ll ever move back to Boston?”

And it used to be that my answer was flat out, “No.”

But lately, I have at least felt compelled to ask the question of myself, “What is keeping me in Seattle?”

And there are very specific things that keep me here – reasons that I could not imagine myself leaving. But what if any of those things were to change? Then what? If one of those things were to change, how would it shift my thinking? If two of them were to change? When does the connection to a past that, no matter how far away, contains deeply rooted relationships, outweigh the reasons that would remain for my staying here? Of course, the other possibility is that I would decide neither A nor B, but move ever forward to some new destination. Europe? Canada? Portland? 

I suspect I am just feeling nostalgic about Boston right now, due to it being my first social visit in well over a year. And at the same time, I am feeling disillusioned about Seattle because of some turmoil that is currently hanging in clouds over my life there. I planted some seeds in recent years, and the plants that grew did not flourish, even though they initially bore fragrant, colorful petals. And the remains leave the soil a bit acidic. But I suppose that this will slowly be churned and turned and rejuvenated through natural processes. 

Maybe the real lesson here is that I should choose to revisit these deep connections with my former home more frequently than once a year. It does not require a plane ride to stay close to people, and to remain in touch. 

But still, that simple solution does not seem to do it for me.

06 January, 2009

Airport thoughts

Is morbid obesity a disability?

Should I need to be crammed into my seat next to such an individual? Right now I am waiting to board, and hoping that the "obese lottery" does not land this person next to me.

Good news is that he's in row 18 and I am in 29, so someone else is the "big" winner.

I overhear someone saying that it costs $100 each way to bring a cat on the plane. That is asinine. Cats cost $100, but babies are free? Which is more disruptive to other passengers? And there's no "fat surcharge" either.

I do not understand this world.

-- Post From My iPhone

Are we all destined to become less flexible in all ways?

I try to be patient. I really do. And each time I come home to visit, the patience starts at a solid high, and gradually withers until, by the final day, I am on the verge of conflict. The reason is that it seems that my father becomes more and more idiosyncratic and inflexible every single year. I just don't understand it. I just won't understand it. I don't even want to understand it. And it drives me insane.

The long-standing argument: Recycling

I come home, and I notice that the wastebasket is filled with everything. Cardboard boxes, styrofoam, paper, plastic, garbage. You name it. It's in there. 

I ask "Why don't you recycle those things?" Actually, it would be more accurate to say that I used to ask this, because I cannot even broach the topic anymore without the conflict I am about to describe ensuing at nearly the peak intensity, from having had this same argument before, multiple times.

The response to this question is: "No."

"Why not?", I ask.

"I did it for years, and finally, I decided it's enough already", he replies.

"What do you mean, 'It's enough?'", I ask.

"Listen. We don't really generate that much. And I did it for years, and I just got tired of it", he says, now becoming a bit impatient.

"But it's not like you have a term of duty for recycling, like service in the Peace Corps. You have all this stuff, and you have the time to separate it, why not recycle it?", I press.

"Alright, you've made your point. And I said, for a long time I did it. I separated everything out. And it was a nuisance. It's not worth the time and effort for the small amount we generate", he again insists. (I should note that my Dad generates virtually nothing BUT recyclables. He eats most of his meals from Lean Cuisine frozen boxes, and it's ALL recycling, so his assertion is a bit disingenuous)

"I don't understand how you can say you don't have the time. In fact, you have all of the newspapers in this amazingly neat pile, stacked in the garage all week. And then you take that neat stack, and instead of putting it in the recycling bin, you REintegrate it back into the trash. Why don't you at least recycle the newspaper? I don't see how that could possibly be MORE effort for you, since it is already separated," I reason, hoping for a compromise.

"Alright, you've made your point. And like I told you, I did it for years, and it's enough already," he replies, unflinchingly.

"So you won't even recycle the newspaper?", I plead.

"Let's drop it," he says.

This is the way that argument goes. And I try not to start it. But to watch him gleefully bundle up all the items and throw them away with zero regard, and to assert that because he doesn't generate much (which is untrue), that he doesn't need to recycle, makes me boil. The logic is so flawed. It's like saying that I don't need to vote because other people will. Or that I can throw litter out of my window because not many people do. Just ridiculous.

The other thing that drives me insane when I am home (okay, ANother thing, not THE other thing) is that my Dad likes to throw things away rather than save them. Leftovers? Must throw them away within 24 hours. I am not sure why. I don't know if it is just an organizational thing, or the desire to discard used items. Who knows. Someone pours soda from a can into a glass, and there is most of the can left. My dad will immediately spill out the remainder rather than ask if anyone wants it, or save it. Why? A slice of pizza that someone cut in half with a knife must be immediately thrown away because it wasn't a whole slice. I don't get it. These little things drive me nuts.

Add to this the fact that he enters my room without knocking, and I cannot tell you how happy I will be to get on the plane back to Seattle.

That said, being here has been really nice. And I will actually miss him, and miss home. But going back into the house where you were raised, and staying with family, is a challenge.

05 January, 2009

I am here because of you, and you are here because of me

Sometimes I have these moments where everything just seems to fit together like an entire puzzle dropping from the sky, all the pieces interlocking in an instantaneous and obvious pattern. And it is as if there is no other way that it could ever be. Seattle. Boston. Past. Present. Future. All connected through strange miniscule tethers. And I feel like I am everywhere, all at once. And much like a frozen-in-time view of any universe, I can choose to look at the entire assembly, or to find origins, vertices, points of interest. There are also the paths untraveled, resulting from other obvious bifurcations where everything has followed one path, yet there is an overgrown dirt trail in the direction unfollowed.

Such is the situation standing at the dada show, at the Hard Rock Cafe, in Faneuil Hall, Boston. I am among a group of friends that date back not quite half my life, but dangerously close to that long.

And freezing time, and rocketing back to the origin of it all, I see a notice posted at a bus stop at the University of Massachusetts, Amherst Campus, in front of the Northeast dormitories. I am completing my senior year of college, about to begin graduate school. The year is 1990. I need a place to live, and I am looking. And there is a flyer at the bus stop. For a room at a place called Presidential Apartments. The price must have been right, so I tear the little number off the page, and I call. And this is the reason for so many things. So, so many things. There were obviously earlier pivotal points that brought me to that moment, but this is a critical one that I can recall, and it seems poignant. In a nutshell, the following cascade of events occur over the course of the subsequent 18 years:

  • I meet three guys who live in the apartment to share - they seem cool, so I move in
  • I meet one guy's girlfriend, who is over, but we barely acknowledge one another
  • I live in the place, but the guy with girlfriend ends up moving out before I move in
  • One year later, I run into "the girlfriend" who is now single, and we begin dating
  • She introduces me to some people from her work who play softball
  • I become progressively closer friends with these softball guys, and their crowd
  • I become very interested in a band consisting of some members of the softball team
  • The girl introduces me to a chat network that she uses to kill time
  • My relationship with girl goes on the rocks and ultimately ends
  • I meet, through a common friend, Edna, on the chat network, and we become friends
  • Leave Amherst, but remain friends with the music guys, and Edna, back in Boston
  • I turn the music guys onto an LA band called dada, and we become groupie types
  • The music guys ultimately inspire me, and push me to get into my first band
  • Edna and I eventually start a relationship that lasts a long, long time
  • We move to Seattle
  • I play in more bands
  • Edna and I exit relationship, remain friends
  • Lots of other stuff happens, including some other relationships and some other bands
  • I go back to Boston to visit, and go to a dada show with the music friends from back then
  • I realize that had I not taken the flyer from the bus stop, none of these things happen... I don't date the girl, I don't meet the friends, I don't meet Edna, I don't start playing in bands, I don't move to Seattle, and I don't end up in Boston at a dada show with said individuals...

And there lies the amazing, random causality that defines the paths that our lives take. The butterfly flaps its wings in China, and a kitten gets its claws stuck in some curtains in Newark.

The senselessness is almost palpable.

03 January, 2009

See what you want to see. Say what you want to say.

We have no choice but to be subjective. Any assertion otherwise is self-delusion. I am me. I am inside of me. I am viewing the world through my biases and experiences. We have the right to strive towards whatever level of objectivity we desire. But it is an assymptotic endeavor. We'll never get there. It's always coming from inside of self. The efforts that I make towards objectivity do not bring me a whole lot of happiness, I have to say. To make that commitment essentially means trying to see what is, and trying to project what is, to the best of one's ability. But this will not always be favorable, rewarding, or deserving of sympathy. We all have selfish moments, but do we reside in them, or traverse them like a tight squeeze between more spacious caverns in a cave.

To some extent, this endeavor of seeking "what is" is analogous to the concept of "personal responsibility". It takes personal responsibility to not write or rewrite history in one's own favor. Nations don't do it. Companies don't do it. And largely, people don't do it. I am sure that I don't do it, since I fall into at least one of those categories, as far as I know.

Here's the reality (as I see it).

I know (much of) what I have done in this world. You know what you have done. AIG knows what it has done. Pakistan knows what it has done. To a large extent, that self-awareness exists. And if I choose to malign, exclude, modify, euphemize, or perform any other alteration of "what is", then I may do a short-term service to myself. But in the long run, it all comes around. And self-delusion is like running down an infinite hallway full of mirrors. The truth is always there, and unless we run for ever, and never look left or right, we're eventually going to see it. Self-discovery and self-improvement stand a greater chance if we choose to stop in this hallway, face the mirror, and accept who we are, and what we've done, and the full context and reality of it.

I don't know that we're capable of doing that at all, or constantly, or temporarily. I don't really know anything. I am not sure if I *think* I am looking in the mirror, but I am actually running, and dreaming of mirrors that show me what I want to see. It's hard to know. But one step toward this is asking the question, "Am I looking in the mirror, or am I running?"

That has to be worth something, doesn't it?

Here today, gone tomorrow

Tonight I saw dada play in Boston. It was a surreal jump into the past for me. Back to the mid 1990's. But I saw them in a club that did not exist when I last lived here. And it was in a neighborhood that bore virtually no resemblance to when I last walked these streets, as a result of the "Big Dig". So it did not really feel like my hometown.

But I was with the people who meant the most to me in this town. The people I miss. The people who inspired so much in my life.

It is sad to me that I have a "new" life out in Seattle while so much remains here in Boston. I am the same person in both places but I feel a little different.

It is hard to explain. Especially posting on an iPhone. I'll write more later.

-- Post From My iPhone

02 January, 2009

Another time, another place

Dada, Boston, Spirit of 2009.

I feel a million miles away.

It is so easy to slip into parallel universes.

-- Post From My iPhone

01 January, 2009

Fastest Seattle to Boston transit ever

Flew on Alaska this morning. Departed on time. Comfortable seats. Good breakfast at airport. Slept on plane. Flight only took 4.5 hours. That is not a typo. Arrived 30 minutes early. Quick transfer to bus. Quick transfers from blue line to orange line to red line. Map says there is no traffic.

This has the potential to be the easiest commute home ever. But I don't want to jinx it so I will add the modifier "so far".

Of course I have had nightmare commutes in the past. Twice my dad went to the wrong subway station. Once it took hours to figure it out because he went to the other while I went to the first. And I think he had no cell phone. It was bad. Another time bad weather caused the red line to be closed and I ended up in the middle of nowhere and needed a bus and who knows what else. It was so traumatic I have blocked it from memory.

So I am keeping my fingers crossed.

It was also nice to land in daylight. Usually I take the Jetblue redeye but this time I took Alaska and that is the infinitely better choice even though you have a half day less at destination.

Okay that's all.

-- Post From My iPhone