Now that I’ve had a few days off, I’m really of two minds when it comes to getting back to work tomorrow. The giant slacker part of me doesn’t have any interest in any of it and wants to put it off as long as possible. The more career minded part of me remembers that I’ve got projects running that need attention and that I’m still scheduled to be off two weeks in December and if I don’t want them to crap out then, I need to get on the stick now and get them squared away. While the practical part of my brain is going to make sure I get up at 4:30 tomorrow, the slacker part isn’t going to like it at all.
I can see now that it’s going to take a feat of strength to keep my focus during the next couple of weeks. I can’t point to exactly what combination of forces have conspired to steal my give-a-shit, but they got away clean. Late fall and winter have never been my favorite time of year and this seasonal lack of motivation is nothing new. This year, though, it came on strong and faster than usual. I’ve had the better part of a week off and I don’t feel any more rested than I did the week before. At this rate, it’s going to be a long road to spring. So tomorrow, I’m going to get back at it. If I’m going to be tired, it might as well be from doing something semi-productive.
I’m happy to say that I officially survived Black Friday here in Memphis and managed to pick up a few things without beating people to death with their own 40-inch flat screen televisions. Every year people are surprised that I would show up anywhere on this day, but like everything else I do, I have my reasons. Black Friday is essentially everything I hate about people all wrapped up in one day. And while I basically have no use for people, my weakness in this case is that I like to watch them interact with one another. It’s like my very own retail-baited Petri dish. The draw of watching stupid people in large groups simply overcomes my aversion to being in close proximity to them. Mostly, though, I went out this Friday morning to be a human shield and for whatever lifting or toting might have been necessary.
I’d love to say that I went out Friday with great goals of finding perfect Christmas, but what I actually ended up coming home with was a new Bluetooth keyboard and a 1TB Time Capsule. I’m just starting use to the keyboard and it’s definitely different than the wired version that I have been using. I haven’t decided yet if I’ll miss the number pad and full-sized arrow keys yet or not. The bottom line is that it’s one more device that lets me cut the wire and adds a surprising amount of space on the desk. Less clutter = good. The Time Capsule is a horse of a different color. I know I’m probably more paranoid about backups than most, but there is something reassuring in knowing that every file on my computer is being backed up multiple times a day. My backup files should never really be more than an hour or two old now… and that kind of instant restoration makes me happy.
The last working day of the week is wrapped up and I’m looking forward to my favorite food holiday of the year and seven days of basically having nothing that I really have to do. Of course there’s plenty that actually needs done and I’ll probably even do some of them, but hanging out at the house is exactly what I’m looking forward to doing. For now, I’ll sit here happy in the knowledge that I can be as unreachable as I want to be for the next week. The last semblance of “must do” activities is picking up the turkey from Honeybaked tomorrow evening. After that, it’s mainly about hanging around the kitchen and playing gopher while the cook is hard at work on the rest of the meal. How’s that for good times?
Through most of college my drinks of choice were whiskey sours (when the budget allowed buying liquor instead of Red Dog or Beast). I’ve had all the right mixers in the house for a week and just poured myself a tall one with Jim Beam black. Boy-o-boy, now that’s a tasty drink. And I’m super-glad that the budget can now sustain buying bettter materials than Old Grandad or Old Crow. Now all that’s left to do is mix another one and hope that the Flat Tire ales I had at the Saucer tonight don’t want to pick a fight with ol’ Jim later this evening.
To say I’m running a sleep deficit might be the understatement of the decade. Once upon a time, four hours of sleep was good enough to get up and do it all over again. Those days are probably fading faster than I want to admit. Still, I like to think I’ve got one or two more good runs left in me. I’ve got five working days out of the next two weeks and with the proper application of coffee and raw determination, I might just be able to hang on for the ride.
Of course just now it’s off to bed… Tomorrow’s wake up is about two hours earlier than usual. God help me.
As a rule it doesn’t tend to take all that long before people start annoying me… Particularly people who are in my space for an extended period of time. When someone’s in my space and that doesn’t automatically happen, I’m pretty much at a loss. I suppose that means we play it by ear… Yet another skill which I seem to completely lack. New frontiers all the way around, I suppose.
There are alot of perks to dog ownership. One of them isn’t getting a phone call at nine in the morning that about a pup that managed to sneak away and turn an inhaler to little bits. The good news is that after a trip to the vet and getting meds to make him blow chunks, Winston doesn’t seem to be any the worse for wear. I had really thought that at two he was basically over the whole chewing whatever happend to be close to the ground thing. Apparently, not so much. Unfortunately, that means it’s back to watching him like a hawk any time he tries to leave the room. Hopefully tomorrow will be slightly less eventful.
I’ve carried a Visa card from Citibank since I was 19 years old. In the last twelve years, it’s gone everywhere from Europe, to Hawaii, to the Caribbean and it’s been well used on those trips and has always been in good standing. That’s why I was a little surprised when I opened the mail this afternoon to find that Citibank was planning on increasing my regular interest rate to 21.99% on December 20th. Now lord knows I don’t have a problem giving my cards a workout, but at 22% they can keep their money. Seriously, who borrows money at a rate like that?
Of course, the fine folks at Citibank were quick to point out that I could get a lower 15.99% rate and all I’d have to do would be transfer a $5000 balance from a different card and that 16% rate would be mine for the next 18 months… and then go up to 22%. Is that a great deal or what? Customer service was plenty sympathetic, but insisted that my only option was accepting the new rate or closing the account (and taking the hit on my credit score in the process). Those aren’t the only options of course and it seems that it’s time for me to say farewell Citibank. As I type this, a balance transfer authorization is enroute from Discover (with a 13.5% rate locked in) to the home office in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
So, Citibank, I’m not going to pay your ridiculous “standard” rate and I’m certainly not going to wreck my credit score by closing the account. I’m just going to let it sit there being something you have to update and keep track of and send statements about until I decided what to do with you. In the meantime, I’m going to do my bit to spread the word about how ate up your company is and directing as much business as possible to your competitors.
Tell most people younger than me that there were once two Germanys and two Berlins and they’ll look at you like you’ve suddenly sprouted a third arm in the center of your chest. They don’t remember a world where a great city was divided by concrete barricades and when all of Europe was divided by an iron curtain; or when two superpowers stood toe-to-toe and tried to spend one another into oblivion through proxy wars and an arms race. And then we watched that world that we had all grown up with dissolve before our eyes on cable television.
If a man is extraordinarily lucky, he gets to live through that kind of change once in his lifetime. In twenty years there’s been nothing to compare those days against. A hundred years from now when the first relatively objective histories of the last half of the 20th century are being written, they will tell the story of leaders like Walesa, Thatcher, Reagan, John Paul II and Gorbachev. They’ll tell stories of round the clock airlifts to ensure the freedom of a city cut off from the rest of the world. They’ll tell stories of every day heroics by those who sought freedom on both sides of the wall. And finally they’ll tell stories about the day that wall was torn down.
Twenty years ago today, all the world watched and wondered as the unthinkable happened, as history suddenly shifted on its axis, as the rising tide of freedom washed over the concrete battlements of an empire in retreat. I can’t imagine when I’d rather be than right here, right now.
It’s hard to imagine that the trillion dollar healthcare plan passed by the House last night will do much of anything good for the vast majority of Americans. I’ll admit that I haven’t been following the issue as closely as others, but a cursory look seems to indicate that the federal government will be getting into head-to-head competition with private insurers. As a rule, I tend to believe competition in the marketplace is a good thing for consumers as it encourages development of new and innovative solutions and helps to control costs or dive them down. In order to do this, though, competition must take place on a level playing field. Private sector companies must look to their bottom line and compete using limited resources. The federal government recognizes no such resource limitations, making head-to-head competition with the private sector an inherently unfair proposition.
I don’t think Met Life or Blue Cross Blue Shield will go out of business tomorrow, but I do think the direct competition between the federal government and the private sector as defined by the House is going to be bad for all of us… Or at least all of us who are happy with our current insurance plan. Until someone can tell me how this program can be sustained over time without contributing to an increasingly unsustainable operating deficit or dramatically higher taxes, I remain opposed.