Sunday, June 29, 2008

Oil Changes, Wal-Mart, And Disposability

I get my oil changed at Wal-Mart. I figure they cannot mess it up too bad. My regular mechanic would charge me more and tell me everything that was wrong with the piece of shit. The guys at Wal-Mart change the oil, make sure there is air in the tires, and let me go on my merry way. I like this, even though, every time I am waiting, they screw-up something on someone else's car. It usually has to do with tires, so I guess I am okay.

The beauty of Wal-Mart is that it has turned most everything into a disposable product. I buy a $8 shirt or jeans, I wear them for a while, but I do not care if they rip or get stained. They are only $8 and replaceable at a moment's notice. The other day I bought a $9 coffee maker. All I could think was as long as it made coffee 10-15 times, then it was worth it.

Now GGM will surely point out the sadness in all of this. I like quality stuff too. But right now, when times are tough, I am really thankful for $8 jeans and $9 coffee makers.

Thursday, June 26, 2008

A Story I Have Told A Thousand Times Or Fear Is A Two Way Street

When I was in middle school, we played football after school. It was me and a bunch of mediocre athletes. No, I am a less than a mediocre athlete. So it was me and a bunch of boys who were less athletic than me. Me competing against inferior athletes was mostly due to circumstance. It is also me revisiting and revising my youth.

I did not run the ball often. But when I did I would spit. I would claw. I would keep my feet moving. I would punish the mediocrity that was trying to tackle me.

So this one time, my team was losing. I decided we needed a quick score. I ran the ball. This hockey player tried to wrap me up. A central Virginia hockey player was trying to tackle me. I had to punish the mediocrity. I elbowed him square in the temple. He went down. I scored the touchdown.

"You killed him." The guy was still laying on the ground like he was dead with everyone huddled around him.

"He shouldn't have tried to tackle me." I jogged over to make sure he wasn't really dead.

He eventually got up. He suffered no long-term effects. No one's mother ever knew. He has a wife, two kids, and a career in the Navy.

We finished the game.

But I ran the ball less often.

Einstein Quote Of The Day

"God does not care about our mathematical difficulties. He integrates empirically."

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

It Is Not Missing The Bus By Twenty Seconds

It is how I react to missing the bus by twenty seconds. At least that is what I have to keep telling myself.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Some Things

1. I went home at 5:15PM. I ate dinner. I read about Tom Seaver. I came back to the office at 6:30PM. So what?

2. Before I went home I read this. I am talking about something I know nothing about, but the old-school sports columnists (not profilers like Jordan, Rick Reily comes to mind) take themselves too seriously. Every now and then, they hit a poignant subject, but most of the time their insecurities and their jealously of athletes comes through. I find most of their writing empty. I like Simmons most of the time, because he is objective about his subjectivity. He always reminds me that he is writing his opinion. I still like Whitlock, because he obviously cares. (Maybe I like him for his libertarian slant on many issues.) The point here is that good writing is hard to come by.

3. I have gotten old. I enjoy sports writing more than watching the games. I find this very disturbing. I need to go to a baseball game.

4. The vast majority of shit does not matter. I must accept this.

5. Even though George Carlin is gone, everything is going to be all right. It will never be the same, but life's comedy will not stop.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Video Stores Or Why Family Businesses Fail

1. My Dad turned down a thirty days free account for a cash on delivery account. "It is just easier." I had the whole thing worked out, but the woman bypassed me and went to the old man. I guess she knew what she was doing. I guess he knows what he is doing.

2. He is complaining about documentaries and foreign films not creating high enough returns. He has a point. But the idea was always to develop a yuppie-artsy clientele that liked going to video stores with documentaries and foreign films. To build this clientele there has to be some cross-subsidization.

3. We have the best employee we have ever had. She is organized and driven. She makes us a lot of money. But she does not share my vision. This combined with number one and two infuriates me. I might just be an absentee buyer, but I would rather not care than be this angry.

Monday, June 16, 2008

Tomorrow Does Not Exist

1. Tomorrow is just another concept like infinity or demand or supply. It doesn't mean a damn thing. I find this comforting.

2. In the Father's Day Wiffle Ball Game, I was 2-2 with two homers. Then it rained before it was an official game erasing my stats.

3. I saw a yard sale sign that said "Moving Sale Write Here." The people were moving away because they had just finished their doctorate degrees.

4. I lost four out of seven games playing basketball. I won the sixth and seventh game, because the other guy had played hard for the first five. I guess I was waiting to "turn on the jets." I am certainly waiting for something.

Thursday, June 12, 2008

For The Record

I find the majority of the posts on this blog sad. I hope to one day look back at all of this, and say: "Wow, that was a difficult time in your life. I am so glad you finally got over yourself. I am so glad you stopped being your own worst enemy. I just don't know why it took so long."

Soul Searching Or This Goes Nowhere

I am behaviorist. I have no idea what that technically means. I doubt if it means anything. It would be better to say I am an addict. No, I am like an addict.

I have habits. Most of them are bad. Most of them are destructive.

After my second movie in my second night, I was complaining. My girlfriend told me that my problem is that I can not enjoy anything, because in my mind, there is always something left undone. When I was at the movie, I was concerned about my unfinished dissertation. When I was working on my dissertation, I was worried about not watching movies and getting a job. I have difficulty finishing, focusing, and letting go. These fears make my life much more difficult.

Now I have known all of this for some time. (Most of my posts concern these subjects.) I have made studying self-help books and productivity porn a pastime. The solutions I have found have all been the same: set goals, establish habits to meet these goals, and then you will be successful. I interpret this as the backwards induction model or as the planning model.

But I do not believe in planning. Planning always leads to failure because of uncertainty. One day the alarm clock does not go off. One day someone needs help moving. Random events screw up the plan. One would have to create an infinite number of contingency plans. And honestly, the screw-ups usually turn out to be better than the original plan. I wrote one time: "I want to prove that the world works even if it doesn't make sense." I really want to do this, even though I don't know what "proves" means in a world that doesn't make sense. I am a behaviorist.

I am beginning to realize that this aversion to planning and goal-setting is bullshit. I am addicted to being unhappy. I am addicted to indecisiveness. I am addicted to not having goals and plans. My habits confirm these addictions. All addictions are empty in the long-run.

Some of my addictions stem from genuine curiosity. I am interested in many things but only for short periods. Maybe it is because of Nintendo. Maybe it is just me.

I know this. My dad and uncles are the same way. I will never be happy working for someone else. I will never be happy if I consider myself "stuck." I know this. But instead of recognizing it and adopting the singlemindness that it takes to put oneself in unstuck positions, I continue with my "stuck" habits and addictions.

I have no idea exactly what I am saying here. But things are much clearer in my mind.

I just have to finish.

Monday, June 09, 2008

Three Movies Three Nights

Iron Man was another good Marvel film. It didn't pretend to be more than it was. It remained wonderfully fake without feeling fake. It reminded me of X-Men. Good actors, slick dialogue, and good special effects. Just like a good comic book.

I felt similarly about The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. Of course, it was deeper because of C.S. Lewis, but I enjoyed the action and the pace. I will leave the deep thoughts for some other night. As my Dad says, "It kept me awake past midnight, it must have been pretty damn good."

Sex and the City did something I always wanted to try. It made a movie based on Don Henley's "The Heart of the Matter." After watching it, I do not want to try anymore.

I am still young and dumb. I know very little about anything. But eventually one has to wake up and put childish things away. One has to "fuck the bullshit" and live life for happiness. Pride, the accumulation of fashion, and living like you are twenty lead to one looking like they have been "rode hard and put up wet." There is nothing prideful or fashionable or youthful about looking leathery. The women of Sex and the City look old and worn out, and in the end, they admit it.

It just took them too long to get there.

I Need A Jump Start

Blogging is useless. It is wasteful. It is intellectual masturbation for non-intellectuals. It is psychology without a professional. It is excessive. It is dangerous.

But I like it. Yes I do.

I wanted to write a "Why I Blog" post, but I could not come up with any reason other than "Some times I want to bitch and complain."

Some times I want to bitch and complain, and that is good enough for me.