By request…

Someone asked yesterday if it wasn’t about time I make some topical remarks on Tuesday’s elections. I’d love to present you with facts and arguments, but the truth is that I’ve mostly tuned out. I’m mostly disgusted by both parties and I’d rather have myself thrown into Boston Harbor than line up with the tea partiers. There doesn’t seem to be a party or any organized group out there that addresses my apparently unique beliefs of fiscal conservatism, moderate social policy, and strong defense. Until we get past the whole “this one’s a socialist” and “that one’s a fascist” mentality, I’ve got little use for most political discussion. I’ve said it before, but the world is too complex a place to simplify it into a few soundbites and call it public discourse. I’m not optimistic that our body politic will ever get back to a point where we can collectively overcome out national ADD and actually have that reasonable conversation. Until we do, my plan is to do my research, read as much as possible about the issues, pull the lever for the candidates that makes me least nauseous, and hope I can keep the bile down.

In appreciation of dogs…

The more time I spend around people, the more I like my dogs. There are plenty of people I like well enough, but after a day at the office, there’s nothing better than coming home to these two. They’re not going to want to talk or ask questions. They’re not going to need a PowerPoint on short notice. And they’re not going to call an impromptu meeting. They’re mostly going to be happy with the same dinner they’ve had every day for two years, hanging out on the patio, and an occasional scratch behind the ears. Dogs are decidedly uncomplicated like that. When the world where you spend eight hours a day is doing its level best to go sailing off the rails, they’re an amazing bit of dependable normalcy… and possibly the last bulwark between me and bludgeoning people into a coma with a three hole punch.

Runnin’ (jumpin’) with the devil…

I was all set to bring you a different story tonight – a quick thought on the nature of Facebook and the people we meet at different stages of our life. That’s going to have to wait for a day or two now, because the devil has been sighted in a Paris suburb. Apparently he’s not only been sighted, but he’s also been stabbed by his quick thinking sister-in-law. Not a good day to be the prince of darkness, I suppose.

According to our good friends at the Belfast Telegraph, a total of 12 adults and children took part in this visionary experience that started when “A wife in the next room saw her husband moving around naked and began screaming that he was the devil… In the confusion following this apparent case of mistaken identity, the naked man’s sister-in-law stabbed him in the hand and he was ejected through the front door of the flat… When the man forced his way back in, they all began screamed in terror and leapt from the balcony screaming ‘Jesus! Jesus!'”

One has to assume that there is some kind of back story here. I mean even the morning after the most unfortunate one night stand, does anyone wake up and think the naked person in the room with them is the actual devil? Even in the depths of the worst hangover, I have to think that there’s a tiny little sober spot in the back of your head that tells you, “oh, that’s the guy I picked up at the pub last night and not the devil.” I’d think that’s even more true when the accused demon is actually your husband. I mean one can reasonably assume that you’ve seen him naked a time or two before, right? I mean I’m not a theologian, but the devil has horns on his… uhh… head, right? I can only assume that whatever horn-shaped appendage you saw was decidedly not on in the general region of his head. This problematic anatomy could have been a bit of a giveaway, no?

I’m forced to agree with the assistant prosecutor working the case when he allows that “A number of points surrounding this incident remain to be cleared up.” Yeah. This ought to be interesting.

Absolutely average…

The weekend has been absolutely average in every way. Nothing too good, nothing too bad… just humming along to the rhythm set by every weekend in recent memory. Maybe I should actually make an effort to go do things here in town, but I’m not sure I want to invest that kind of time and energy into anything that I’m making alot of effort to leave behind in something approximating the near future. Of course since we’re talking about the government here, the “near” future can safely be considered 6 months to 2 years. After that, I’ll keep myself entertained by figuring out what the new “average” looks like. Until then, though, it seems I need to find something to keep myself occupied. Maybe it’s time to reconsider that Xbox… lots of distraction without the pesky need for unnecessary interaction.

All resonable offers…

I want to write about anything other than the same old topics. I’m feeling more an more like a broken record and that doesn’t make good blogging. Cathartic for me, yes. Good blogging, no. Now and then I seem to hit these obsessive points (big surprise, right?) when everything I do and think about is focused like a laser on one thing, one goal. Focus is a good thing. Pouring endlessly over job announcements, making daily happy to glad changes to the ol’ resume, and preemptive house hunting only get you so far and seem to be a leading cause of sleep deprivation and stomach churn. That kind of focus feels, at least at the moment, less than good. The real problem of putting maximum effort into chasing one thing is that it doesn’t leave much time, inclination or energy for doing anything else. That seems to be the tradeoff. At some point the law of large numbers has to kick one in for the score, right? I’m ready to get to whatever’s next and all reasonable offers will be considered.

Fire two…

Cumberland job announcement #2 closes in about an hour and then it’s a restart on the waiting game. It’s been a week and a half since the first job announcement closed and I’m increasingly anxious to see if I’ll manage to make the cut for the interview round. If I miss the cut for the first one, making it for the second is extremely unlikely given that the latter is the higher graded of the two. If yes, I want to get started on the pre-interview prep. I’ve been out of that world for a couple of years and I’ll need to get current on the fly. That shouldn’t be a problem.

There are always other possibilities, of course, but I want to rule these in or out before getting too committed anywhere else. So for tonight the resume is spruced up and fired off into the interwebs in the hopes that a nice selecting official will find it irresistible. Let’s see if we can get this done, shall we?

In the movies…

As a kid, I loved old movies… Westerns, war movies, dramas… I ate them up. That probably had something to do with spending almost every Sunday afternoon at my grandparent’s house, where the Sunday afternoon nap and movie were a staple of the week. That’s how I remember it at least. Some of my favorite movies were the 50s vintage comedies set during World War II. In fact they’re still some of my favorites – guaranteed to stop my channel surfing in its tracks every time.

Mr. Roberts is the story of a blowhard skipper commanding an unimportant supply ship at the far end of the Pacific war. Actually, it’s the story of the malcontent first officer and long-suffering crew of this unimportant supply ship at the far end of the Pacific war and the hijinks that ensue when they conspire to make life aboard ship a little less onerous despite the captain’s best efforts to make them all miserable. The main subplot revolves around Mr. Roberts ongoing effort to get a transfer and “get into the war” before the fighting is over. In the end, and with the help of crew, Roberts gets his transfer only to be killed by a kamikaze while fixing a cup of coffee. Make of that what you will.

A guy could learn alot about leadership and psychology from Mr. Roberts – from the skipper who values his bucket-planted palm tree above all other things, to the exec who finds in necessary to occasionally bend the rules, to the junior officer who rises to the challenge of telling truth to power, and the dangers of getting what you want most. There’s a message there somewhere in that 55 year old bit of cinematography.

I’ve been thinking alot about Mr. Roberts lately. In fact, some days I’d almost swear I was in the movie. If only the old man had a palm tree…

Conversations with the doctor…

Given that I was all but out of the medicines that keep my stomach from tearing itself apart and my blood pressure from rocketing through the top of my skull, I basically had no choice but to comply with the summons of my newly appointed doctor to make myself available to him before he’d call in my refill. My last doctor had been incredibly accommodating when it came to dispensing the medications and I got the distinct feeling that this one wasn’t going to be so pliable. In fairness, he seems like a nice enough guy and legitimately concerned about his patients. Perhaps a few snippets of dialog can illustrate…

Doc: What brings you in today?
Me: You wouldn’t refill my prescription until I came in.
Doc: Oh yeah. So no complaints?
Me: Besides the obvious? No.
Doc: Good. No problems then.

Doc: We need to make sure your kidneys are working.
Me: I peed this morning…
Doc: That’s a good sign.
Me: I thought so.
Doc: So we’ll just take you back to the lab to draw blood.
Me: Super.

Doc: Do you want your flu shot while you’re here?
Me: No.
Doc: Why not?
Me: I get sick the day after every flu shot I’ve ever gotten.
Doc: Ever had the flu?
Me: Once years ago
Doc: Me too. Was down for two weeks. It’s no fun.
Me: Better make sure you get your shot.
Doc: Yeah.

Look, I know we’ve all got a job to do, but really, all I need you to do is keep me supplied with the drugs that keep me alive. I’m a wimp when it comes to being sick and you can count on the fact that the minute something goes wrong, you’re going to be the second to know because I’m going to want some shot or pill that will get me fixed up. I know this is a new relationship for us, but I’m pretty sure the “see you in three months” thing is a little excessive. I’ll concede to twice a year if absolutely necessary, but once a quarter is out of the question. We’re going to have to come to some sort of understanding.

Lies, damned lies, and statistics…

It feels like I’ve been blogging forever… It especially feels that way when I have to flail around looking for something new to write about. Looking at the data, though, I can see that I’ve been going at it at one place or another since 2005. I guess time files when you’re hostile and willing to share it with the world. In fairness, five years in internet time basically is forever, so I guess I should consider that some kind of milestone.

Some weeks and months have been better than others. My best ever single day = 58 unique views (this was the iPhone 4 release day incidentally). Best month ever (June 2010), 388 unique hits. The statistic that I’m most proud of isn’t a hit count per se. It’s simply the phase most often used in search engines that brings people to the blog: Teamwork Sucks. Given that October is the one year anniversary of that particular post, I take a perverse pride that it still has legs. Don’t believe me? Go ahead and Google “teamwork sucks” and you’ll find that I’m #7. It’s like I’ve really made a difference in the world. We’re going to disregard the fact that Google’s link doesn’t take you to the actual post… It’s the thought (and that fact that it gets you to the blog at all) that counts.

Since Get Off My Lawn seems to be something that is here to stay for the foreseeable future, there are a few changes that I’m hoping to get to in the near future. I want to get a little more focused in my writing… 21 categories and 131 tags is probably something that I can cut down with a little effort. Bringing a little structure and order to the back room of this operation strikes me as being a very good idea.