we dream, we create, we change, we love

Archive for September 2014

Not Going Shoeless

leave a comment »

love your dreams and you will love your mind

after our concert, i changed into my street clothes and gathered my things – my instrument and th tux they’d bought each performer and th luggage i’d brought along after checking out of my room before the performance – ready to head to th bus for our trip home

outside th streets of boston already had a thin layer of snow from th blizzard forecast to be coming in

but before our chartered bus arrived, i hesitated – i couldn’t remember packing th fine dress shoes they had bought each performer, to go along with th tux. so i returned to th room where we’d prepared for our concert then packed up after, only to find th area already occupied by th next group who’d leased th conference center, a craft show

i could visualize in one swift glance all of th scenes my dream ought to have then been progressing through, as i looked down to realize th reason i’d not packed my dress shoes had been because i was wearing them

[& woke on th thought of how unusual it was for me to be heading back out to th bus instead of endlessly searching on and on and getting sidetracked on distraction after distraction and being unable to find anyone who might know where lost items could be found and all sorts of other frustrations . . . for once, i had everything i needed to have, that being so unusual that i hadn’t even bothered to look to th first place my shoes were most likely to be]

Bumper Sticker [] - oneirra

Written by macheide

30 September 2014 at 6:01 pm

Posted in oneirra

Tagged with

Smart ID

leave a comment »

So, I have me a new smart ID for work.

Smart IDs. Smart phones. Smart cars. Smart bombs.

Everything is going smart. Except me.

I’ve always said I was never all that smart from the getgo. As I understand it, I tested barely above what they used to call “retarded” on IQ tests given early in youth, and I’ve always had difficulty thinking things through. All along, the only way I was ever able to keep up was learning to use those strange loops and extra dimensions I found inside my head. Now, since my shananigans, those voices have fallen quiet and I haven’t been able to get them back. Leaving me with an identity not all that smart.

They tell you they don’t want you to smile when they photograph you for these smart IDs. Hard not to, given the irony of it all. Oh well, I only expect to wear it another year anyway.

bumper sticker [] - deskjob

Written by macheide

29 September 2014 at 2:26 pm

Posted in deskjob

Tagged with , ,

There and Back Again

leave a comment »

I can feel it within reach, always.

I know how to stand at a distance.

I will be ready when it is time to go.

I have things to do until then.

bumper sticker [] - psychopomp

Written by macheide

28 September 2014 at 10:56 pm

Posted in psychopomp

Tagged with , ,

Distended Warranty

leave a comment »

Suzi’s Sophie had to return to the shop today. That’s twice in less than five months since purchase new. Even the sales manager doesn’t need to be all that astute to verbalize how equipment as expensive as Sophie ought not need to go into the shop twice so soon after sale. I’ll add that one would think that Sophie’s company would realize that fact well enough to make getting it right a rather high, immediate priority, so as to ensure the references they might expect of a happy customer as knowledgeable in this equipment as Suzi is. Which is not quite the impression given by the estimation that Sophie will be in the shop for 4 weeks, despite payment of an extra $50 for expedited service on the extended warranty already in place on the machine.

This is exactly the sort of “customer service” that turned me from an IBM evangelist into a power user who will never again touch an IBM machine and who has persuaded many users to follow him out the door. That I am unkind or that I wish anyone ill will, that is a lie. Just that, show me so very bluntly that you don’t want my business, and I’ll say fare thee well, as you wish, and don’t come back looking for me later on pretending like you never sent me away.

As for the warranty, in my opinion companies should extend any warranty by the period of time that an item is in the shop for repairs. In IBM’s case, that would have extended the 1-year warranty to more than 20 months solely on the basis of shop time during my machine’s first year; then given how defective the equipment was well known to be, eventually the warranty might not have accumulated 12 full months in my own possession until maybe 3 to 4 years after its sale. Yeah, I know, that’ll never happen. What companies ought understand, though, is that the alternative is that their best customers leave and never look back. Those companies should expect no better.

bumper sticker [] - capslock

Written by macheide

28 September 2014 at 10:44 pm

Posted in capslock

Tagged with ,

Precious Waste

with one comment

“It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.”
“It is the time I have wasted for my rose—” said the little prince, so that he would be sure to remember.

The Little Prince,
brought to my home library by a book angel

Waste. I’ve been called that. Not worth the time. Not good enough to keep. Not even worth the flush it takes to be rid of me. Eh, I’ve been lied about before, and that won’t ever cease. I for my part accept it all as precious. The only waste that becomes its lie is the one that quits its love. “It is the time I have wasted…” I remind myself, so I will be sure to remember.

Which brings me to today’s task in my project aimed at cleaning up the mold and rust and dust from aftermath: my waste bin. Represented by the bumper sticker placed on the fixed post that provides aftermath‘s header – “The time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time” – which is of course what makes it worth the wasting. In the former life of aftermath, I had that waste bin linking through to a OneNote notebook, Waste. Which, like so much else that has floated off into entropy the past few year, was barely the ghost of what had been intended, and even that creaking with age.

When I first encountered OneNote some seven years ago, I was very impressed, expecting it to eventually stand shoulder to shoulder with weblogs for delivery of content on the Internet and via apps. Alas, Microsoft has failed to take advantage of a huge vacuum that exists to this day, untouched by Google and Apple and every other cross-device content provider. So in the same spirit displayed in my notes about my Underground Systems, I could easily ditch OneNote in favor of taking aftermath‘s waste bin to an Excel-Word recycling center.

But, “it is the time I have wasted…” I repeat out loud, so I will be sure to remember. And what better way to waste time on wasting time than to persist in using OneNote. So rather than junk it as is done with the likes of waste such as I, we’ll give it a permanent lease and make it important for its waste.

In this instance, representing my personal vow that no moment of mine will ever be waste. Every single moment will reach out to touch someone in some way that recognizes and accepts them as important. Precious.

bumper sticker [] - aftermath

Written by macheide

28 September 2014 at 12:44 pm

Posted in aftermath

Tagged with , , ,

Underground Systems

leave a comment »

On a personal leave of absence from 43things the past two years, mildly disappointing to now finally get the memo about that site going down soon. It was always more the idea of it than anything else, that and a community I never belonged to, but nothing great functionality-wise. Even so, it was better than anything else I am finding by way of search for a replacement.

Why do I bother wasting time any longer looking for a new killer app for such interests or records? For years now, my go-to has settled into a close collaboration between Excel and Word, stored and controlled on my own local laptop. I won’t stop looking for some means to move some of the content online, if only so I can access things I want on different devices. But for the vast volume of material I work with, Word and Excel work quite fine; so I can stop wasting time playing around with tools that can only manage little pieces of the job.

So now among my major underground systems —

  • Benefits Finance Study — The first of my systems to demonstrate to me a power in Excel-Word collaboration that I have not found anywhere else. Also perhaps the best example of the “underground” nature of these systems – although I continue to dig and build on and on, quite likely nobody will ever see this material.
  • Poetry Register — Despite the success of my Benefits Finance Study’s use of Excel-Word, I persisted far too long with far too many alternatives, wasting so much time and effort, before I finally started treating the poems and poets as though they were pension plans, recreating almost overnight via Excel-Word what I had taken years to lose to the likes of Google’s junkyards. And again, like my benefits study, the system that I’ve built in my Poetry Register will more than likely never make it aboveground to get seen by anyone, despite how useful many might find its content.
  • Bucket List — Despite how well Excel-Word had been working for me on benefits and on poetry, there I too easily went again, off hunting for some app or software to handle for me what 43things had previously been doing. Why? No, once again, now I’ll turn to Excel and Word to rebuild what 43things will soon demolish. And more than ever, like my benefits study and poetry reading, this task list will never see the light of day, certainly not as I had felt comfortable doing with the 43things website.


bumper sticker [] - macheïde

Written by macheide

25 September 2014 at 4:25 pm

Posted in macheide

Tagged with

Library Returns

leave a comment »

Hollis DedicationSuch things only happen in the movies, right? Actually, something like this did hit the big screen: think Serendipity, when Jonathan Trager’s bride-not-to-be hands him a copy of Love in the Time of Cholera and he opens the cover to find the name he’d been searching five years for.

About 44 years ago, William Hollis wrote Letters and Voices From the Steppes, a book of poems in which his friend and colleague Bernie — to whom the book is partly dedicated, and one of whose sculptures adorns the book’s cover — figures prominently throughout. Bernie’s children also put in appearances.

One of those children was Becky, who during that same year was beginning to take an interest in the poetry student who was editor of her high school’s poetry magazine: me. Influenced heavily by Becky and Bernie, I eventually doubled up on my math major during my closing years of college so as to have the opportunity for my major in English to be highlighted by some very delightful poetry studies with Bill. Upon college graduation, Becky and I married in a ceremony at Bernie’s home, surrounded by Bernie’s sculptures and the legend in which the Steppes poems were steeped. At which point Bill gave Becky and me a copy of Steppes, recognizing not only her own familiarity with the subject matter, but as much for me as a student of his. Ah, but when Becky and I divorced a decade later, in an effort to avoid any bitter arguments over division of joint property I asked only for Dylan’s Highway 61 Revisited (and one other item, meant more as a symbolic gesture the significance of which was lost on her). So Steppes went off with her, although she had by that time demonstrated quite well that, as Leonard Cohen put it, “You don’t really care for music, do ya.”

Several lives later (quite literally so) I am finally rebuilding my own poetry library, so quite obviously needed to add Steppes back to my own shelves. Suzi had just recently introduced me to the online wonderworld of one of my favorite local hang-outs — second-hand book dealer Half-Price Books — where a few weeks ago she guided me through my first foray: four Hollis poetry books, led by Steppes. Coming from various book dealers with whom HPB works, shipping info indicated I would be receiving three separate packages from three separate sources.

My first shipment brought me two newer Hollis books. Although all these books are second-hand volumes, I found mildly intriguing and a bit disappointing that one of those first two books with a handwritten personal note from Bill to the original recipient was in almost mint condition, quite possibly never even opened before for so much as a single poem. My second shipment brought me Steppes which the HPB info had described as also being “Signed by Author.” Having recently read online a Hollis poem speaking of the memorial service for Bernie’s death some years ago (a poem in which many of the Steppes characters re-appeared in a rather sad, very distant echo of the power of the Steppes voices), and guessing that Bernie’s own copy of Steppes probably wasn’t held onto by his beneficiaries, I wondered aloud to Suzi whether I might find this copy of Steppes to have been given personally by Bill to Bernie.

And then opened the book’s cover.

To find the dedication shown here. “Ummm, even freakier than Bernie….,” I said, handing Suzi the book for her to see. “This is my book.” I am the “Richard” of “Richard and Becky.” Almost 3 decades after I forfeited Steppes to divorce, my own copy is the one that finds its way back to my shelves, to my eyes, to my reading.

“Take what you have gathered from coincidence,” Dylan sang. A huge difference between fiction’s Serendipity and my reality’s Steppes is that my coincidence is no sign, no forewarning that anything significant is about to happen. I grew up sincerely believing life made great circles such as those in Dickens’ Great Expectations, and perhaps it occasionally does so. And this nice little completion of a circle is worth a contented smile, like at least one little piece of the whole space-time continuum has actually found its rightful place for a moment. I know Bernie would smile at it, at least, almost as if his emissary from a far place had come home to stay. But past that, no message, no sign. Just that one fitting moment.

bumper sticker [] - grolier

Written by macheide

11 September 2014 at 12:46 pm

Posted in grolier

Tagged with , ,

Fun Fun Fun

with one comment

I doubt I could,
but together we sure could!

That was Suzi. Upon my suggestion that she help me with my timesheets. Responding to my hope that she could make that tedious chore “fun” for me. Then we both laughed at our shared private thoughts of how we could make timesheets so much fun, they might ban me from having to fill them out ever again!

What if anything might be even more fun-adverse than timesheets, I might ask. Say, caring for a baby? Oh, but I’ve way too much deep experience changing diapers and giving baby baths and feeding finicky baby mouths and rocking little ones to sleep and waking at odd hours caring for a child, way way way too many hours for me to ever feel the sting of insult suggesting me the fool to think caring for a baby can’t but be fun. Seriously, babies are one of the most fun things a person can ever hope to enjoy! Because fun has nothing to do with the burden of the responsibility or with the tedium of the activity or with the ickiness of any part of the effort. No, fun has a lot more to do with one’s desire to engage in the activity and the depth of the pleasure one can get out of the activity.

That, and doing it with someone else, as Suzi acknowledges. Like, can a person truly have fun solo? Perhaps, although most activities one might raise as illustrations of solo fun have at least an implicit involvement with someone else. For instance, my poetry reading — even when I do so out loud, a frequent fun exercise of mine, my poetry reading is almost always conducted alone. Yet what makes it most fun is that I am not reading my own poetry, nor did the poet wrote the poem solely for his or her own benefit, rather that I am engaging in an activity meant for at least two: a writer communing with a reader. Absent that joint activity, any supposed fun seems flat and empty. But immerse myself in that collaboration, and any definition one could give to “fun” describes the experience that keeps me coming back for more.

Ah, yet Suzi suggests that together we could make timesheets fun, while of course implicitly but rather painfully making it obvious that she will not be helping me out in such a way, not on this particular activity. Leaving me to my timesheets alone. Which of course means that of all the things I can point to that I do in any given fortnight, that one activity happens to be the only one in which I can find no fun. I’d much rather be changing the messiest baby diaper. Oh well.

bumper sticker [] - adrien

Written by macheide

4 September 2014 at 1:41 pm

Posted in Adrien

Tagged with ,

Adrien’s Richards

with one comment

                They called me saying, “Quick! We need you
                To help with The Boardinghouse readthrough.”
                        A cookie for me
                        And a nice cup of tea,
                Then we’ll see what some digging might lead to!

Yes, I’ve agreed to play the role of Mr. Richards in several performances of The Boardinghouse, to be staged this coming November by our community’s Players drama group.

Partly, to stretch my memory skills, which have really sucked since the shenanigans. Partly, to try out something new, since I’ve never done drama before (no, speeches to actuarial audiences don’t count). Partly, to do my part to keep our community’s drama group alive. And mainly, just because it sounded like fun.

Mr. Richards is a failed writer who during the play turns from miserable attempts to come up with ideas for a murder mystery novel to even more miserable attempts to write poetry, managing only to fashion some terribly bad limericks which only happen to turn funny once one of the other actors takes to providing satirical final lines to Mr. Richards’ feeble efforts. Ah, they’ve typecast me well! Just because I love reading poetry so much doesn’t mean I can write it, so just about all I’ve written since college has been the occasional limerick, most of those quite easily as bad as those recited by Mr. Richards.

And when Mr. Richards is trying to write the perfect murder mystery, rather frequently he melodramatically “dies” onstage . . . of course, only to get better once his death seems to be little more than a shrug to the other actors and actresses. Again, typecast! — who out there knows better than I how to die multiple times and come back to life just as many times?!

And Mr. Richards winds up being given chores, starting with taking out the garbage. I won’t say how that fate befalls him, except to say: once again, typecast!

So I’m celebrating our first script readthrough, completed this morning, practicing being in character by composing the limerick given in this post, then imposing on my other colleagues at this evening’s Players’ monthly meeting, making them have to hear me recite it as Mr. Richards might. They tell me I have to work on it a bit — mine apparently isn’t quite as bad as the real Mr. Richards’ poetry is. Hmmmmm, I think I can act the part on that one with a little work . . .

bumper sticker [] - local

Written by macheide

3 September 2014 at 8:25 pm

Posted in local

Tagged with ,