Monday, March 06, 2006

I am so angry, and sad, that I can hardly speak.

My previous employer is apparently attempting to prejudice potential new employers. An acquaintance here in Tampa runs a small consulting business, and had asked me if I could use some contract work to tide me over until I found a full-time position. He called them this afternoon to see what they had to say about me.

It wasn't nice. In fact, it was not-nice enough to approach, and maybe step over, the legal bounds of what you can say about a former employee (to say nothing of being offensive to me). They seem to be trying to paint a picture of me as dishonest and difficult to work with.

I feel like I'm trapped. Technically, they're a small business, but they're relatively well-heeled, and have enough resources to continue messing with me as long as they want. Karen is convinced that this is the reason I haven't gotten any offers--not even an interview--in two months; any curious companies have checked with my last employer and heard enough bad about me to make them skittish. I'm not certain of that, because I know the job climate for techies in Tampa/Orlando is bad right now, but it's certainly possible that things are happening exactly as she envisions.

To top everything off, we're officially broke. Unless I get a paycheck before April 5, we probably won't be able to make rent next month.

I want to dissolve into a little puddle right now. I'm nothing but a burden to the people I love most right now--and there's no relief on the horizon.

Thursday, March 02, 2006

Grr...

I promise a real update later on. This is a sort of public service message; my cell phone has apparently stopped ringing and stopped receiving voice mails. If you've tried to call me in the past week or so, it probably didn't work. I'm currently in the process of yelling at Cingular, but for the next few days at least, call me at home--you can e-mail me instead, if you don't have the number.

Sunday, January 29, 2006

There's something extraordinarily delicious about curling up to read a book, and finishing it in one sitting. It's even better when it's a good book, the kind that you know you'll be pulling out again in a month to savor.

Speaking of savoring, I've come to a conclusion. I love being out of work. It's very dangerous, I think; I've been officially unemployed for almost three weeks now, and I'm not bored. I fill out applications when I can't think of anything else to do, but I'm rarely stumped. There are games I've meant to play, books I've meant to read, bits of prose I've wanted to get down for literally years, and chores to do.

I don't even mind the chores. I'm still much more lackadaisacal about them than Karen would like, but I honestly don't mind them.

Right now, I feel like I could do anything. Part of it is the delicious afterglow of the book, which not incidentally was about unfolding into the man you always were afraid you might be, and part of it is that my natural sleep schedule seems to be from about 4 AM to noon, so I'm actually more awake right now than I've been in a while. But I'm relaxed, and very happy, and sketching out more bits of novels, and even poems, and in order to prove it, here's one I'm writing right now. It started out as a paragraph of prose, but I like it better this way. I think. We'll see when I look at it again tomorrow.

There's a jar of honey, cooling in the dark.
the light is still shaking off its bindings,
so savor the chill while you can.

Open the jar, and dip a spoon in the golden sugar.
Drip it over the warm new bread,
which is dark and covered with melting butter.
Taste the honey over the froth of salt and cream,
and underneath it the heavy, earthen smells of yeast and wheat.

Let the lazy, clean tide roll over you.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

I need to learn not to say ironically self-deprecating things like "if I get fired tomorrow".

If anyone knows anyone who's looking for help in and around Tampa, please let me know. )c,:

Monday, January 09, 2006

Well, that was easy.

Turns out Blogger doesn't like lines full of underscores. Guess I know now.

I like the new colors better anyway.

In my fantasy/I bring a hammer to work/my computer dies.

Grrrrrr. I have a ridiculous pile of work to do, and my Blogger template is broken, and I can't fix Karen not feeling good, and to top it all off, I can't get iTunes to hit music compatible with my angry, self-pitying mood.

Tomorrow night I'll fix my template. If I get fired for being essentially two weeks behind, it'll happen faster.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

Resolved

Everyone does New Year's Resolutions, right?

Well, I never have. It seems silly to me to take one particular time of year, and single it out for the time you evaluate your life and set goals for the future.

I'm going to talk about Heisenberg's uncertainty principle. (Why? Pfui; it's my blog, and I want to.) The math of it specifies a limit on how precisely you can know the position and momentum of an object. In broader terms, you can't know at the same time exactly where a particle is, how fast it's moving, and how much it weighs. The more precise you are about any single one of those quantities, the more uncertain your measurement of the others grows.

This throws a great deal of confusion into classical mechanics, which at the time Heisenberg published (1927) were already reeling from the impact of relativity. A great deal of the physics of Newton's time, as well as human perception, relies on the notion of causality. According to mechanics, if I knew all the relevant details about a cannonball--its mass, its air resistance, the local force of gravity, the angle and amount of force with which it was launched, et cetera--I could predict precisely where that cannonball would land.

Heisenberg's proofs dismantled that framework. I might be able to predict such things about a cannonball, because an uncertainty of micrograms or nanometers is trivial on the scale on which humans commonly interact, but there are severe limits on my estimations of the same quantities for a quark.

But on the scale of all human emotions and experiences, I'm a quark, not a cannonball. Chance and coincidence and subtle factors bounce people around in ways that are certainly not linear, and may not be causal. It may not possible to know, exactly and at the same time, where I am and where I'm going.

Except... I don't like feeling directionless. Up until about eighteen months ago, my goals had always been finishing my assignments, keeping my grades up, and moving up the educational ladder. Somewhere in there, I acquired the additional goal of girls, which led to Karen, which led to marriage. For the immediate future, though, I'm done with school, and my relationship with my wife has reached the point where it merely requires maintenance. (That's not to say it doesn't take work, but we're not actively planning to have kids, or buy a house, or establish a medical practice.)

I know precisely where I am, and that situation is comfortable, safe, and reasonably pleasant. But I have no idea where my life is going.

So, perhaps, a set of New Year's Resolutions is a way to start changing that. If I can identify where I want to go, I'll be able to at least look ahead to the next month or the next year instead of looking at the evening to see how much XBox time I can get in. If I write my resolutions down and set them in front of friends who understand how important it is to needle me about them, once in a while, maybe I'll actually accomplish something.

Here goes.

Writing

Write something every day. Set a reasonable limit--say, a handwritten college-rule page, front and back, or 1000 words on my blog or a story, and stick to it. Make it the absolute first priority, not something I do when I'm bored with video games. When it gets easier, increase the limit.

Start an additional blog (I know... I haven't updated this one in what, two weeks?) Use one for random thoughts, like my daily thousand words or what I had for lunch or how Halo went last night; the other one is for more polished essays, that I write and then let sit for a couple of days and send past an editor (or two). I should be writing every day, but I should also be putting out quality writing, and the two aren't always compatible.

Write a Goddamn novel, already. I have (at the moment) three fairly well-fleshed ideas running around: one is about a quarter of a D&D campaign setting, which may or may not be good fodder for a novel; one is a revision and amplification of a short story I wrote in high school; the last came out of my recent (remember NaNoWriMo?) attempt to blend the two harmoniously, and a half-hearted attempt at research into Japanese folklore. I really, really like the idea of taking the core idea of the short story and transplanting it to a detailed (I think I could manage detailed) and exotic (at least to me) place. As a bonus, a real run-up at doing that would let me hang around at libraries doing research, and constantly tap Adam's brain for language. Additionally, I've been reading a lot of modern fantasy lately: in the last two days, I polished off The Traveler (decent to good, I'll see how the series develops) and American Gods (incredible, and incidentally sharing plot and thematic elements with The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul, Lord of Light, and many Terry Pratchett novels, and if you haven't read any of that get started already). Maybe I'll try my hand at some of that, too. Introducing magic into a familiar setting seems like a good way to approach issues of faith and truth.

Life

Start working out and lose some weight. I'm still fairly healthy, but I'd like to arrest this trend while I still have the energy and motivation of a 22-year-old with twenty pounds to lose, rather than a 42-year-old with a hundred and twenty. As a bonus, physical activity is also a good way to let your mind wander, which would be good for writing.

Start therapy, and re-evaluate the use of antidepressants. I don't like being dependent on taking a pill every day to keep my boiling rage at everyday issues under control; partly it's that I don't want to take a pill at all, and partly it's that I'm not sure my current meds are doing everything they're supposed to (or even what they were doing six months ago). Maybe a psychologist could help; it certainly can't hurt anything but my paycheck, and insurance ought to cover most of it.

Be a better correspondent. This applies principally to Traci, to whom I constantly compose tiny missives in my head and then decide they're not worth bothering her to communicate, but also to friends like Janelle and Erin, with whom I talk sometimes but not often, because I feel like I don't have anything to say that they'd be interested in hearing.

See a (grrrrrr) medical doctor. It's not normal to have four sinus infections in six months, and there has to be something more that can be done to help with my gut, and I'll never know if I don't ask.

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I think that's good for now. They're not set in stone, but I'm going to come back to this list in three months; if I haven't made any progress at all, you all have permission to flog me. Gently.

Friday, December 23, 2005

Atlanta

Well, we made it safely. We stopped off to see Karen's family on the way into town (they left at 6:00 this morning for Miami), and spent about forty minutes exchanging hugs before coming to my parents' house.

It's a beautiful forty degrees or so, here; I woke up at 8:00 or so, and looked out the window to see frost on the grass. Probably no snow for Christmas, because it's supposed to warm up between now and then, but if the mornings stay clear, dry, and cool, I'll take it.

I'm not sure if it was subconscious or just an accident, but all the clothes I wore yesterday were gifts from my parents. When we got here, I woke my mom up, and she gave me a huge hug and said she thought she was dreaming. My parents really, really missed us, and I hadn't realized how much I missed them. This is the important part of Christmas... I'm glad we're here.