Tuesday, September 25, 2018

Conundrum

This whole supreme court nomination process has taken a horrible turn for the worse.  For all parties involved, more than likely.

Here we have a woman who has come forward with an accusation (I won't get into the second accusation.  Once you dig into that it has a whole lot of holes in the story).  Everything in the way she has acted to this point seems to follow the pattern of someone who has suffered a sexual assault.  Brett Cavanaugh is nominated, and in good conscience she submits a letter to her representative in congress that details out her experience.  Not the way I may have done it, but in todays political climate I can't blame her for choosing that route. 

The nominee denies it outright.  There is no evidence that someone could dig up from 36 years ago that would be credible.  The person who she said was there stated that he has no recollection of the event.  Women he has been associated with all his life, from romantic interests to co-workers, have come forward enmasse to state that he never acted that way towards them.  Ever.  So it comes down to a he said/she said.  Except we might get the chance to look them in the eye while they tell us the story.  Might.....

The real problem with this whole situation is that it's become political.  Both sides are playing with the MeToo movenent on this one, and it's a really shitty thing to do.

The senator who received the letter waited 6 weeks to bring it up.  6 WEEKS.  Almost all the way through the confirmation process.  Why you ask?  Simple, they are stalling for time.  They are hoping that they come away with control of the house during the mid term elections.  Then they can pull the republicans game of stalling and not completing the process  until they get a nominee that they want.  So we had 6 weeks of time that went by and during that time nothing was investigated, and no questions were asked.  They waited until the time suited them best and dropped the bomb.

The republicans who are in charge of the committee are being just as hypocritical.  I know that time is supposedly short on this for them, but it's a nomination to the supreme court.  It's important, really important.  They are going to have a circus style hearing that will included testimony from both of them.  We all know where it's going to lead, and where it will end.  He will get the vote from the committee and it will move the the Senate.  And he will be confirmed.

The shame of it is we, as a people, should have demanded a closer look.  We should have expected that there would have been people who attended those schools during that time period to be interviewed.  We, no matter which side of the isle your on, should expect to be able to discern the truth. 

I don't know if something happened or not.  I'm inclined to believe that something happened to that woman.  Her actions and reactions add up to someone who has experienced trauma. 

But is that enough to ruin a mans career.  Have we jumped the shark so far that the accusation without any evidence is enough to convict a man in the  court of public opinion?

I guess we will find out soon enough.

Wednesday, August 15, 2018

A Debt

The older I get the more I lose my sense of ego.  I am having the privilege of becoming more humble as time goes on, and realizing that it is happening.  Which is a fascinating experience. 

In retrospect it seems that I owe a lot of people in my past a debt.  That debt can never be repaid, not in any currency anyway.  I owe them a debt of knowledge, growth, and self awareness.  Some of the lessons taught were harsh and some were kind.  All of them were necessary.

You see, I wouldn't be here today without them.  My life would have taken a very different path, of that I am sure.  Those lessons have become the foundation for my character and for who I still want to become in life. The people who supplied those lessons also supplied a snapshot of what those possibilities are.  Both good and bad.

So I paid attention to what the experiences taught me.  I continue to learn as I grow and mature.  The experience will always be the same, but the lesson will change with growth and time.

I have not always been ready for what I needed to be taught.  Time and retrospect allows me to learn even today. 

So to the people of my past, my sincerest thanks to you all.  Whether you were a friend or foe does not matter.  I took the experiences you provided and applied them to my life.  I learned from them.  And because of that I can move forward towards the man I want to be.

Tuesday, August 14, 2018

A little kindness

I just got some bad news over the weekend.  An incredibly kind person passed away.  She was 94.  I knew her and her husband 15 years ago in a tiny ghost town called Kilgore, Idaho.

It was January, and according to the locals, the worst winter anyone could remember.  It was 30 below zero every morning when we went to work, and on good days it got to minus 10.  There was 10 feet of snow on the ground.  Some mornings we had to use the truck exhaust to warm up the snow machines so they would start.  The job we were doing was crazy.  We tried to convince our client to hold off, but to no avail.  We shouldn't have been there.

But we were.  We were all pretty tough guys.  We'd spent a lot of time in the elements and had the right gear for the weather.  But nothing can prepare you for that grind of working 15 days straight in those conditions.  I didn't see the sun until the day we left and went home.  All of us had frostbite.  Pulled ribs, blown out knees, bad backs.  We were either breaking trail, or we were trying to snowshoe through rugged country.  Our bodies eventually had to give out.

The one bright spot in this adventure was that the two year round inhabitants of Kilgore took us under their wing.  An older couple who had lived and ranched in that valley for many years.  Their daughter lived one town over.  We got to know them all, even most of the people in the next town over.  They thought we were crazy.  And talk of crazy people spreads pretty quickly.

Those two showed us a kindness that seems to be disapearing today.  They took us in, looked out for us, and did their best to make sure we survived.  The didn't have to, but they were from a different era.  A different place in time and space.  I truly believe that we would never have been successful without them.  They always had a pot of coffee in the morning for us while we got ready.  They would call the road department to pull us out of the ditch if we didn't arrive by a certain time.  They made sure we all made it out of the back country every day.  They did their absolute best to help us nurse our wounds.

We knew they were beautiful souls, and that we were lucky to have that brief time with them.  Their kindness made us better, and made us want to be better.

He died of an accidental gun discharge on the ranch he loved.  We went to his funeral.

She died this last weekend of natural causes in the next town over.  With her daughter next to her.  I won't be able to go to hers.

Enough time has passed that my heart isn't broken, but I do feel a deep sadness.  They were extraordinary people, and my life has been better for knowing them.  Even for that short of a time.

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Making Due

Sometimes you have to make due with what you have.  It may be harder, take longer and in general be a huge pain in the ass.  But there are going to be times in life when it is just going to be what it is.  And, to be totally honest, there isn't a damn thing  you can do about it.

I've been in that situation for a little while now.  I've had to learn the quirks and personalities of things that should not have an ounce of either.  But there I was, talking to inanimate objects like they could hear me.  If someone actually saw me they would have been tempted to call the authorities.  And off to the loony bin I would have went.  Oddly enough, those things could get the whole range of emotions out of me.  From rage to quiet resignation and everything in between.

But just recently I got an upgrade.  Not the one I really wanted, but one that would help considerably.  I was ecstatic.  Finally I wouldn't be banging my head against the wall.  Finally I had some new tech that would alleviate my frustration.  Or so I thought.

That's the funny part about mixing the old and the new.  The problems that I was having simply disappeared.  And for a brief moment all was right with the universe.  But then problems I could not have imagined started to pop up.  And I was straight back to talking like a mad man.  All I can say is thank god for youtube and message boards.  It's comforting to know that I'm not the only one who has these issues.  Oh, and now I can at least try a few things to regain my sanity.

I see the point in all of this of course.  Just because it's new doesn't mean that it's going to make everything better.  It's just new, not a magic wand.

I think this is where we get all wound up in our society.  We all want new.  Thinking that it will solve all of our problems.  We want the bright shiny penny.  But it really doesn't make a difference in the end.  New won't get rid of our problems.  It won't placate our demons.  It's just new.

So next time I'll have high hopes that new will be helpful.  But I'll check my enthusiasm with the knowledge that it may just be new problems. 

Monday, August 6, 2018

A busy summer

It's been a while since I posted.  Sorry about that.  Once again, the summer has flown by.  We seem to have been consumed with projects.  One right after the other with no time in between.  We did finally get to take a long weekend to the lake.  Which was just what we needed. 

The weird part about that is that we were stressing out about it leading up to the trip.  Getting ready, doing this and that, traveling.  My brain was lying to me and saying that it was to much trouble.  Funny, when we got there it was exactly the thing we needed.  We relaxed, if just for a few days.  We didn't work on projects.  We let you batteries recharge.

I needed it.  Life has been hectic.

I think we all suffer from the same thing every once in a while.  We get so wound up in what we are doing we forget to step back and give ourselves a little space.  We forget that life isn't all about work, sometimes it's simply about leaning back and enjoying the view. 

I need to work on that.  I need to be able to step back, look at my life as a whole, and see what's really important.  I get buried in what I'm doing, and that's not a good way to live life.  You need to have a balance where you can get into the weeds, but you can also step back and look up.  See the actual forest, not just the trees.

I think I've known this since I was young.  But it's easy to forget these things when you think life has to be a certain way.  When you see the image of what you are expected to be as a man, father, husband.  It's an image I only have for myself oddly enough.  Other people don't put those expectations on me.  I put them on myself.

I'm going to try to use this as a wake up call of sorts.  To give myself a little space to enjoy life a little more and try to worry a little less.  And to attempt to break the shackles of the expectations I put on myself as a younger man.

Maybe I can grow a little young again.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

Street Corner Jesus


I think I’m getting grumpy in my old age.  At a minimum I’m getting a little less tolerant, that’s for sure.  I was driving around my small little town the other day and there must have been 5 pan handlers that I saw in different areas.  Mind you, my town is not very big.

Now, I don’t know these peoples stories.  They could be homeless.  The could be addicts.  I didn’t stop to ask.

What I do know is this, I work.  I work a lot of hours.  I spend a lot of time away from my family in order to provide for them.  And the older I get the more I realize what the actual cost of that is.  Not in dollars, but in time and memories.  Time I don’t get to spend with my wife and kids.  School functions I can’t attend.  Games I can’t go watch.  It’s the deal a lot of us have willingly made for my family.

I also pay my taxes.  And I know that there are services available to help people in need.  Not only through the government, but civic organizations and churches.  Places these people can go that really need the help.

There is a part of me that keeps saying I shouldn’t judge.  I don’t know their story.  But when you see the same guy standing on a corner for two weeks straight with a sign I have to start asking, why isn’t he supporting himself just like I do?  Where is his sense of personal responsibility?  Why should I support that person, who obviously has no desire to go out and support themselves?  If I hold myself to that standard then I should be able to hold them to it as well.

I know it’s not “Christian”.  Thou shalt not cast the first stone and judge not.  But at what point do I get to judge?  How many people get to stand on a street corner and play on peoples charity before we all say enough is enough?  How long will it be before we start telling people that they have to be productive, and there are no free rides?  I don’t know the answer to that.  But at some point we all have to expect a certain amount of personal responsibility out of each other.  We should all be striving to live up the expectations of our greatest self.

I believe we should always offer our hand to help someone up.  But we should do so with the expectation that they are striving to stand up and move forward, not sit back down and write another cardboard sign.

Tuesday, April 17, 2018

An Old Dog


Except for a few rare instances I’ve done just about everything I can do when it comes to my profession.  At least that is what I’ve thought for a while.  I’m coming to the grand conclusions that I may have been wrong about that.

Technology is advancing so quickly it’s getting harder and harder to keep up.  You figure out how to do something today, and tomorrow the procedure changes and your back to square one.  I guess that is part of what is so nice, and frustrating, about what I do.  The basic principles haven’t changed in a long time.  As a matter of fact, if you were inclined to do so, you could still do most of what I do with paper and pencil.  God forbid that should ever happen though.  It would take me forever to get anything done.

So it becomes a game of trying to at least stay on the curve when it comes to technology.  I’ve seen a lot of it come and go.  Some of it was good.  A lot of it was bad.  And it was all touted as being the end all, be all, for getting the job done.  “It will save you so much time you won’t believe it.”  And for the cost it better have.  Although, as we move ahead, the tech seems to be a lot more good than bad.  Even if it doesn’t play well with others at times.

So where does that leave me?  Watching a whole shitload of youtube videos, reading a whole bunch of message boards, and looking over product documentation.  All I can say about that is “thank god someone else screwed it up before I did and asked the manufacturer a question” and then posted it online.  A little trial and error goes a long way when all of the questions have already been asked.
I’m not complaining.  I could be stuck in some dead end job that requires no thought or creativity.  The day goes by a lot faster when I’m busy and being challenged.  It also has the added benefit of keeping me mentally sharp.

Who says an old dog can’t teach itself a few new tricks.