Comments on life, the universe and everything from an aging Sixties survivor.

Location: Massachusetts, United States

Ummm, isn't "about me" part of the point of the blog?

Thursday, February 28, 2008

How Chaos Rocks

I’ve done fairly well staying off politics here, even if it means passing up some really spectacular raw material lately. Through maybe four years of this stuff I have also stayed off work fairly well.

Today work appears in my blog, and I hope to keep work to collateral status.

The theistic are prone to say that everything happens for a reason. I do not buy that. What I can accept is that a succession of random, inchoate actions can have an unexpected and beneficial outcome.

This seems to have happened to me, just now. When I was swept out of IT in the backwash of the dot-com bust, I ended a fruitless job search by going back to school for a medical coding certificate. This puzzled my friends nearly as much as my learning Welsh. Coding may be as abstruse as my mother tongue, but it is a damn sight more germane. When I finished the programme, and before I could find a coding job, I took a job writing medical documentation. I took it because I needed to do something at least vaguely related to my new education, and I needed money.

Jobs one takes just for the money are seldom successes, and this was no exception.

In the course of wondering what I could do at my age to get out of this self-inflicted fix, I ran across some wise words from a career counselor. You can’t change the boss, so if you can’t change the conditions, change your job.

Years ago, I had begun watching a small publishing firm in my home town, which specialised in medical topics. I had never had all of the singular mix of skills they required, but despite numerous rejection letters, I kept an eye on them. Wondering if this time I might have the skills, I watched their Web site closely for more than a year. This winter, I thought I saw my opening.

I was right. I am beginning a job that requires a rare mix of skills which I now have, thanks to an apparently random series of actions over the past ten years. Two weeks and two days passed from emailing the resume to accepting the offer. It is chaos theory applied to the workplace. No one item was the prime actor: the success lies in the interaction of separate, apparently nonlinear elements in the mix. True chaos theory suggests that the disconnection of initial conditions is more apparent than real: that their outcome is deterministic.

In this case, at least, hindsight suggests this is true.

Still, I draw back from the metaphysical abyss. We shall see in two years or so whether I can overcome the ennui that has usually had its way with my motivation after that time. If I have, then this square peg may indeed have found its proper hole.

Monday, February 25, 2008

You Want to Watch out for Optimism

A few days ago, I was reflecting that I was coming up on six months of TN remission, and allowing myself to think that maybe this time the remission would stick and the meds would keep working.

I should know better by now. No sooner does one think along those lines than the Beast comes back with a reminder of who's really in charge.

There's nothing more to be said, really. This business just sucks.


Sunday, February 24, 2008

Department of Lost Skills

Are you in doubt whether the eggs you have just purchased are edible? Fill a vessel of reasonable size with water and drop in the suspect eggs. Those which sink are edible. Those which float are not. If you have some that bob suspiciously on one end, scoop them out and have an omelette right now.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

How We Know We Can't Cultivate Patience

It says here that we must wait "until 2010" for the next lunar eclipse.

Oh dear lord! Do you really mean I must wait all of 32 months for something? I want it NOW!
Oh wait...I am getting it now. Never mind.

No doubt about it. I've slipped two notches closer to card-carrying grumpy-old-manhood.

Saturday, February 16, 2008

More Evidence:

that no matter how bad your day is, someone else's is worse.

Disclaimer: file this under amusing anecdotes, since I'm bloody well aware that a million bucks spent on a violin could feed and clothe several villages in certain parts of the world.

Friday, February 15, 2008

OK, semi-political:

Draft of a proposed e-mail to Arlen Specter (or is that Spectre?), Henry Waxman, my very own John Tierney, and several other as yet unnamed Congressfolk.

When last I looked, we still had wars in Iraq and Afghanistan and much of New Orleans and the Gulf coast is still in ruins. You can buy a partially ruined, foreclosed-on house in Stockton, CA for ten cents on the dollar, and the economy is heading for the tank for the second time this decade.

All of this makes me feel glad and warm that you are protecting the nation's interests by investigating Roger Clemens, who probably broke actual laws in the commission of baseball, and Bill Belichick, who may have broken NFL rules which are not (as far as I know) acts of Congress.

Not since they pulled the plug on Terry Schaivo have I been so reassured that Congress was so vigilantly protecting the general welfare. I'd be even more reassured if you gave all of this a rest and did an actual day's work.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

More Signs of the Apocalypse?

Nah, just business as usual on the MBTA.

I speak, of course, of the T's decision to improve on-time performance on the Framingham line by simply adding six to twelve minutes to the existing schedules. Presto! trains that were chronically six to twelve minutes late are now on time.

One is tempted to ask what happens when the trains start being six to twelve minutes behind this new schedule. (But we know the answer to that, don't we?) One is also tempted to ask if this process of elastic scheduling is finite, or if the schedule extension goes on indefinitely (but we know the answer to that, too).

All this may explain the fares. We aren't just paying for transportation, we're paying for the comedy.

Saturday, February 09, 2008

There Should be a Reason

This is Day 3 of nursing a quadriceps strain. Interested parties will note that this link, like most others found when searching the topic, is to a sports medicine site.

I'm trying to work up a story that I was training for the semi-trailer pull in the World's Strongest Man competition when this happened. In plain, bitter truth, it occurred whilst I was tiling the basement floor.

In other words, doing absolutely jack in athletic terms.

Since I can't walk much of anywhere more than a few meters, and am damned if I'll give in to crutches whilst mobility of any sort remains to me, I'll have a lot of time to work on the cover story.