Thursday

Happy Thanksgiving

Glancing outside, I can see that most of my neighbors decided not to hit the roads for the holiday. My wife and I went with that option as well. She’s actually working a few hours today.

The headlines predicted lower volume on the roads for Thanksgiving. This economy. We’ll have a nice cozy thanksgiving together. I’m just used to a bigger turnout on holidays.

We’ll probably stay here for Christmas too. We saw everybody during the wedding, and I personally am out of vacation days and spendable cash etc...etc...

I spent Christmas of 2006 alone actually. And it felt unnatural. Luckily, that’s the only time I ever did that. I’ve always been lucky enough to have family around for Christmas. But in 2006, some plans fell through at a point when it was pretty much too late to try to come up with new plans...to travel anywhere, and I ended up being here in Florida alone on Christmas. My wife was in Virginia with her mom and brother. I have a sister and a subsequent branch of family in Virginia too, and I have a sister and a subsequent branch of family in North Carolina as well. But for Christmas 2006, I was going to hook up with my nephew, who was living a couple hours north in Ocala, Florida...but it kinda never happened...his plans got all jacked up.

It was weird being alone on Christmas. I would just go for these long drives. There were bars open with people in them. But I didn’t stop in. I drove by...they had their doors propped open. It was really warm that night. Early in the day we had one of our weird winter-time tornados. It ripped through the forest north of my my place in Eustis.

...wow, I was going somewhere with all of this, but now I can’t remember where that was (why do I do that).

I guess: just...have some happy holidays, and if you’re with people, enjoy their company...and if you’re alone, maybe there’s a bar that’s open...that you can drive by. You could go in too.

Monday

Worried about Layoffs

I am doing some power-worrying about my job and the job market in general. What if I get canned, and I can’t find anyone willing to hire me? What if I can’t get a nice, cozy, cushy cubicle job? I’ve been brainstorming this all day.

Mowing the lawns of foreclosed homes - Banks have in their possession all of these empty, foreclosed homes, and nobody is taking care of the grass. The banks get fined by cities and counties and so on - - if the lawns get too unruly. Maybe you could just call up a bank and ask them if they have any lawns they want mowed. Here in Florida, the grass grows pretty much all year I guess.

Substitute teaching - This might be cool. It doesn’t pay much. I don’t know how much work there is...every week there’s a new headline about budget cuts, it seems like.

Obama’s New Deal type stuff - Maybe these public works projects they keep talking about will be for real. They’re going to fix up schools, right? Are they going to hire more teachers? That’d be good. Maybe I’ll end up working on some public works construction project...road crew or something like that. Some of the Obama New Deal stuff is supposed to be green, right? It would be pretty sweet to learn how to wire up a field of solar panels. I took some computer aided drafting classes a few years ago - I wonder if I could get in somewhere in a drafting job.

Unemployment benefits - I’m not sure I’ll get to go out like that, I would hope so. I’ve heard it’s only about half what you make. I guess I could go indefinitely on that. It’d be tough to find new work and keep your gas costs and cell phone costs down - while you’re rolling in half the usual amount of dough. And there would be the temptation to do lots and lots of daytime drinking. Bad bad bad.

Move back to DC - Even after the dotcom bust and 9/11, DC was adding jobs. DC was doing better than other cities. I bet there are a lot of jobs opening up right now in DC.

I guess I could last a few months with no income at all - maybe six months. I can’t imagine going any longer than that. Maybe I should imagine harder.

Maybe little economies will develop in our communities. Barter and so on. What service could I offer?

Flea Market - Maybe I could find great stuff at yard sales that I can mark upand sell. I could rent a table at a flea market. There will be a lot of flea market shopping for the holidays this year, I’ll bet. Maybe I could go in on a little baking thing with Keri. Sell some baked goods at the flea market. Maybe I could make T-shirts with crazy/funny/morbid/goofy writings and drawings on them.

I still have my warehouse idea - I could rent a warehouse (cheaper than you might think) and I could move into that beast, and I could charge people to store their junk there. I would want to do this near a college campus or a military base where there’s a lot of transience and shuffling along, residence to residence. Maybe I could open a small retail storefront on the warehouse and ship packages and send faxes and sell all kinds of random crap - resell cell phones, calling cards - all that stuff - anything - whatever.

Maybe there will be some new need for writers...like paid writers...who will get paid to write things...like news. This is the wrong time to live in a news blackout. Shoot, has anybody considered bailing out the newspapers? Newspapers would seem pretty important in a time of crisis. Maybe the nonprofit model of journalism will hold some opportunity for a writer wannabe like me.

OR HERE’S ONE: What’s to stop a person from writing a local news blog and selling a few ads? Selling the ads, I guess, is the problem. You call up some local auto repair shop and tell them you have started a blog to cover local news and that you would like them to purchase an ad and suddenly you hear a click and the dial tone starts back up.

Friday

Another Big Headline About Planets OUT THERE

These articles lately about discoveries of planets around nearby stars in the skies - and our abilities to study them: They really throw me into sci-fi mode. They also throw me into armchair social scientist mode...and they also throw me into hairbrained-quack-kook theorist mode. Hairbrained-quack-kook theorist mode can be a lot of fun. Anybody can be a theorist. (I write 'theorist' on applications and forms in the blank for OCCUPATION.)

Obviously, we wouldn’t be able to travel the trillions of miles to visit these planets...which are only faint dots on a monitor at this point...and indeed: they have yet to find a planet out there that seems like it could support life...but...according to this quote of a quote via AP science writer Seth Borenstein:
It's only a matter of time before "we get a dot that's blue and Earthlike," said astronomer Bruce Macintosh of the Lawrence Livermore National Lab.

If we can receive an image of the place, we can receive light from the place right? ...we could receive signal from the place...we could send signal to the place then, logically, right? We can’t get our bodies back and forth to there. But we can get some signal going back and forth.

Linguists and code crackers could decipher their signals maybe. Maybe a common language could be formed. Maybe we could connect our internet with their internet, connect our satellite communications with theirs. Maybe we’ll be reading their blogs some day. How different will they be from us? Are there certain aspects and elements of society that are universal? Do they have elections? A left and a right? Do they have graffiti? Hackers? Maybe they’ll hack our communications. Are we worth hacking? Maybe they are already hacking us. Maybe they already have blogs on 'our' internet. Maybe my blog is one of them. Maybe I'm a space alien. You don't know. Maybe me and my pointy-eared, big-brained, compadres from the other planet are easing you into the idea, right now, that there are other bloggers out there on other planets.

Sunday

Florida, an Uncool Part of It

So Florida went to Obama. I voted for the winner! Too bad my particular county didn’t go to Obama. Lake County Florida went to McCain, unofficially, with 82,000 votes, according to our paper, the Daily Commercial. 62,0000 votes went to Obama.

So I don’t live in a cool part of Florida.

I got to Florida in May of 2006. I had always wanted to try out Florida. My parents lived here before I was born, so I had heard all about it. Keri was offered a job down here, and I was interested in living here - so we made the move...I can do my particular type of work anywhere (cubicle dweller/clerical/paper shuffler/data processor/net surfer/pipe dream dreamer/writer wannabe).

I was interested in Florida for dopey, Micky Mouse reasons. I had the picture postcard impression of Florida...which does exist...but there's a lot more to Florida (meaning less). I don't know. You have some big metro areas and a bunch of backwaters in between - just like any state, I guess.

I haven't really connected with a lot of people here where I live. I drive pretty far away into work - into the Orlando metro area. When I stop to get gas in the morning around the corner, there aren't a lot of people like me standing at the pumps: Khakis and polo shirt; nine-year-old four-door sedan; office worker slouch; NPR's Morning Edition audible through my windows...no...mostly pickup trucks. All kinds of labor and skilled labor: electricians, landscapers, masons, welders, general construction, framers, roofers, sheet rockers, etc... I'm not in my element.

There are a couple of idiots with rebel flags on their trucks near where I live. I actually see this more often than one might expect out here in Lake County Florida. It's a hate symbol, plain and simple. All those morons who say it's heritage not hate - forget that, Homie. It's cool though: Somebody spray painted 'I love you' right on the driver side window of one of those rebel flagged trucks. HA! Welcome to the 21st century.

Wednesday

No Audio

A guilty pleasure of mine is to watch that TV show, Cops, like when I’m running on the treadmill at the YMCA. I watch it without sound because I always have some sort of fast, aggressive and heavy music searing my inner ears via iPod. On the episode I watched today, two cops in Cincinnati, Ohio got dispatched to a graffiti call. The two cops arrived at the scene, an apartment building. Two guys were sitting there outside the building, beneath a long graffiti sentence. They made no move to flee, they remained still. The graffiti looked like it could have been written with a grease pencil or an oil pastel in black. It said, “I have a vision and I want to see it through.” One of the guys had black stains all over his fingers, the camera zoomed in on his hands. The guy looked like he was in his early to mid twenties. He rose and spoke with the officers. I have no idea what was being said, I just wanted to watch. For some reason it seemed like the spectacle would be more pure if I didn’t have the audio. The kid didn’t seem drunk or anything. I mean, I don’t know. He wasn’t swaying. He wasn’t shaking. He wasn’t twitchy. There was something odd about his eyes though. He looked like he was on the verge of crying if you looked at his eyeballs...but the rest of his face conveyed resolve. He seemed intent on standing there and conversing with the cops and responding to every question they put to him. After about seven minutes of questioning, the young man turned around and placed his hands behind his back. The police put handcuffs on him and escorted him to the back of their patrol car. The two police men then walked up to the graffiti on the wall. They read it and looked at each other and smiled. And then the show went to a commercial.

Sunday

Go Easy on Me When You Start Reading My Thoughts

The 60 Minutes story about people operating computers using only their thoughts and some of the other stories lately about EEG, "measurement of electrical activity produced by the brain as recorded from electrodes placed on the scalp," has got my mind racing.

You know that this technology will only get more efficient and advanced. That is the inevitable thing that technology does - it improves. Soon our brains will be like little wifi-ready computing/thinking units that can be read by other computing/thinking units and gadgets. We'll be reading each other's thoughts.

I guess you will be able to get the equivalent of an tinfoil hat - a blocking technology - a force field around your brains that will prevent people from peepin at your thoughts. But some folks will be able to hack it just like hackers always find ways to hack everything.

Maybe it will bring about a new accountability once we can all see each other's thoughts. We will achieve a supreme empathy. Will we cull certain undesirable thoughts and intentions...because they are rejected by the viewing public... How much of a shock will it be to see the thoughts of others? Does it depend on the person? What about people who think weird thoughts...and really can't help it... Maybe our weird thoughts won't seem so weird when we see the weird thoughts of others.