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what the hell is going on?  
12:03am 26/08/2009
Yeah I know I never post. Yeah I get following me is kinda pointless.


No seriously.

So ok Slunge, what is up this time? the only time you come 'round the old neighborhood is when you've got something...

But this time I don't. I'm working hard? Yeah.Tough decisions? Check. All the stuff i usually have to do, but damn. I mean to say it's taking it out of me.

I don't like feeling like I'm behind the curve, but I'm not sure I can even describe the curve today; past keep it rubber side down.

Not a great post I know, but it comes out of a sincere feeling of distress. Here is what is odd, I've been in plenty of business related stressful situations before. I've weathered them all with little more than a blink. What makes this different? I think I might actually care abut this job past the balance sheet, and there be Dragons.

My company is far to large and public for me to care about requisite decisions that have to come to bear. But... But... But... I think I do! It's been a decade or more since I've felt this conviction. I know how it ends.

It ends in tears and self recrimination,
and alcohol.

Over 40?
Seen it all before?
Willing to put your face in the fan blades one last time?

For this company, and this opportunity? Yes! Goddammit! Could it be another COBT? Aye. But these old bones are willing , and I Believe.

Stay tuned to when a biter old man faces his hopes and dreams crushed yet again, for tonight; good night citizen.
location: Edmonton
mood: tiredtired
music: Explosions in the Sky - A Song for Our Fathers
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tonight there is snow  
01:31am 11/11/2008
I had to walk some trash out to the curb and tonight and Edmonton is covered with snow. I know this is just the tip of iceberg, but I was strangely exhilarated. Well here is hoping the novelty doesn't wear off.
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For some reason I think i need to speak to the readers  
02:20am 10/11/2008
Hi Gang,
I have no idea why I want to post now, but I do.

So here it is. A post.

Thank you citizen, move along.
location: Edmonton
mood: weirdweird
music: none
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What dreams may come  
09:15pm 07/11/2008
Last night I woke up from a deep sleep convinced meth addicts had kicked in my basement window and moved into the downstairs bedroom. But not just that, oh no gentle reader. I was also convinced as soon as I closed my eyes they would stealthily come upstairs and into the kitchen. Where they would pick up my kitchen knife and slit my throat while I slept.

They would move upstairs safe in the knowledge that they wouldn't be disturbed and continue to live with my corpse until finally someone checked. Then they would escape into the backyard and away from the scene forever. So sure I didn't sleep a lot for the rest of the night, but what does this say about my state of mind?
location: Edmonton
mood: uncomfortableuncomfortable
music: Rise Against - Swing Life Away
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Some times you just need to talk  
11:38pm 25/10/2008
And some times there is no one there.
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Don't talk to me.  
09:09pm 24/09/2008
I'm a little upset.

I just keep thinking through things and I'm upset. You may think "Slunge hates Palin" (true), Slunge wants to leave the country (true), Slunge is inappropriately annoyed by ridiculously young kids (true).

So what is your point?

Maybe it's time to be honest. This is a really hard time. First things first. As a country the US is not doing well. Hell, it prays for "well". I share a national angst that things will get worse before they get better, and there isn't a lot of worse left till we hit dire. But that isn't it the core of my surly disposition.

OK all of you that just said I'm always surly...fuck off.

No. Seriously.

I post so infrequently that if you are still reading, and can't tell the difference you should be ashamed.

For those few that didn't fuck off and still read (thanks mom)it turns out that this week we are empty nesters. What that means in non-jargon is that our children are both out of the house and a very close relationship that spans nearly 20 years is gone. It is not unfair to think of this as a divorce. Someone needs to grow. They need to explore their borders and find out 'who they are'. In so many ways the comfort of home has become a little too close. Divorce isn't a happy thing. I largely ascribe that pain to loss. I certainly feel loss now.

Don't cast me inaccurately. I recognize that my job is coming to a close. I'm to encourage my children to grow and make good choices. On a rational level I understand that they are growing and forming their own identity. I hope I've done an OK job at this. I faced this at kindergarten, yet life and time keep reinforcing that _my_children_ are_not_mine_. They belong to themselves. Half my heart is happy for that, the other half just moans...

So for today I indulge myself with hope and regret. I wish... I did... If only... I remember...

Ultimately, both of my children are strong enough to stand on their own. This is my fight to overcome. I need to be brave enough to let them stand alone. I need to not second guess them. I need to avoid the easy path that says "Just listen to Daddy". They are ready.

But oh my god, I will miss them.

"Without you I was broken, but I'd rather be broken down by your side." -JJ
location: Edmonton
mood: sadsad
music: Jack Johnson - Broken
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Live Journal Throwdown!  
01:57pm 27/08/2007
As you may or may not know, I've been thinking about dropping out of the rat race lately. And, as I often do when I have trouble deciding things, I ran a little thought experiment. This is where you come in. Also the 'throwing down".

You "get" to do the same thought experiment!

BOOOYA! A Thinking Person's Atomic Knee Drop!

So here we go cats and kittens: If you could stop working today, but had to cut your earnings in half, what would you do?

Some rules of the road, errrr ring, whatever. For the smartassery contingent. You can not say "get another job" unless that other job represents a significant deviation from your current line of work. The whole point here people is to think about what sort of freedom comes from losing half of your income but all of your responsibility. Maybe it isn't freedom at all, the answer might be "figure out how to eat". I don't know, it's your life, and your Live Journal entry to make. Take your time, think it through. Think about it on the bus, in the shower, whenever your sitting around wishing, "Man I if only I had something to do". Now you do! Do this instead of making stupid spreadsheets. Best of all, your boss can't bust you for doing it while on the clock. Yet another value-packed service brought to you by Slunge.

You're welcome!

For ya'll that don't have LJ accounts you can just reply in the comments, but for those of you who do please send me a link to your entry, I'd love to read it. Furthermore, pass it on! Spread the challenge. I'll post my own thinking in a separate entry and link it back to the comments for self-referential completeness.

mood: contemplativecontemplative
music: All the other Head Voices
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Rat's on the high wire  
12:33am 17/08/2007
Lately, I've been thinking about what is important.

Oh that's not big Slunge...please tell us more!

OK OK OK. smart asses on the right, Wife of Slunge on the left.

Thanks WoS.

You're meant to be on the left. MY left.

I've been doing a fair bit of thinking about dropping out of the rat race lately and that's what brings up the whole "important" bit. Soooooo, what's important. I'm not sure I know really, and I find that disturbing. I don't mean this to sound all mid-life-crisis-y, but there should be a list of fundamentals that are important. Something past food and shelter, and Harry Potter books.

I mean as rat's go, I'm fairly good at it. I turn corners, I run mazes, I eat the occasional crumb of cheese or peanut butter. I manage to stay out of the way of most traps, and I'm totally willing to carry plague. Be that as it may, rats are not known for their bravery, nor their willingness to take risks. Nor are they overly well known as happy and contended. Furthermore, it seems difficult to re-enter some races once you are out of them, and having achieved some level of competence at a fairly decent race. It's hard to just walk away from it.

All of that brings us back to what is important, and I'm still no closer to an answer. Although I did mange to disturb myself with exactly how rat like my existence is. You can thank me later editing it out....particularly the bit about the tail. One friend says I 'need to take a leap' (I'm choosing to assume 'of faith') and do something different. I feel that he is right. It could be that all this thinking about what is important is just a way for me to keep my brain away from making a big decision. It may be that it all comes down to "do" or "don't". What's the worst that could happen? I make the switch, fail, lose everything and have to start again.

There it is! The real problem I'm having is that dropping out (in my version) entails going where there isn't much of a net to land on if my little high wire escapade goes badly.

It's not the falling, it's the hitting the ground that worries me.
mood: contemplativecontemplative
music: Samples - Nitrous Fall
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Stoopid stoopid wasted stoopid day  
12:54pm 21/06/2007
So Wife of Slunge and Son of Slunge are off on a little jaunt. This means I had to take them to the airport. What it also means is that I had to take them to the airport 3 times. To really understand this you have to start last week, so join me, gentle reader, as we enter the not-so-way-back machine and relive a week in the life of Slunge.

Last Thursday we had a squeak in the window of our Mini and another intermittent window problem. So we took it to the shop to get it checked out. It stays overnight. They fixed the squeak and we drove home only to figure out that now the door wouldn't open from the inside. So back it goes. Apologies, apologies, another overnight and they fix that. So we drive home and discover that the door only sometimes open from the inside. Yepper! Back. Again. This time I get a loaner BMW |0.o| Turns out they aren't that great. This brings us up to yesterday around noon. For one car. Trust me it gets better. Where by ‘better’ I mean worse.

Let’s learn!

On the same day, we take our wagon in for its 20k service plus a recall repair, loss of current to the 12v outlets, and a weird noise. Of course it stays overnight. They fix everything but want to charge me for the weird noise which turns out to be the exhaust system slipping out of rubber bushings. They couldn’t find a rental car for me so they offer “to do something on the labor”. I guess that is garagian for charge me a crap load of money. I think it should be a warranty repair. They claim that when Daughter of Slunge was hit from behind it dislodged the exhaust system. It’s not clear how being hit from behind would pull an exhaust system backward to dislodge it. Maybe they studied up on ‘magic bullet’ theory from the grassy knoll school. Regardless, I refuse to pay. Now I have to take the wagon to the body shop. They need to inspect it and then we all call the insurance company who will decide if it is related to the accident or not. Now everything is in the hands of a benevolent and just insurance claims adjuster, and we’ve only just made it to 3pm on Tuesday.

Now for the final piece; You will recall that WoS and SoS are flying and visiting exotic locales like Milwaukee. Except their flight is delayed by 7 hours. Of course! How could that not happen? A seven hour delay for a 6 hour flight… I have no idea. Truly. I’m at a loss to explain a delay that takes longer than the entire trip. My mind refuses to accept that it's true, but there I am at the airport. It's now about 4:30.

Eventually my day ends up looking like this:

Get up go to work
Drive home at Noon
Drive to airport (60 miles -ish) in BMW
Drop of WoS and SoS
Go home get in wagon
Go to body shop deal with stuff
Get call that Mini is fixed
Go home get in BMW
Get call that flight is 7 hours delayed
Trade in BMW
Get Mini
Go to Airport
Pick up WoS and SoS
Go home
Wait 2 hours
Get in Wagon go to airport.
Drop off WoS and SoS
Go home...8pm

All and all not a very fulfilling day, but I slept I late this morning on purpose and that always makes me a little happier.

BTW, I don't know if your watching America's Got Talent, but if not you missed this guy
In the show he walks around like a giant dope, and looks kinda doofy...then blows the doors off the joint. As has been mentioned before, I like a good stealth play. Keep it up Cas.
location: Sunnyvale, CA
mood: frustratedfrustrated
music: Walking on the Moon - Cas Haley
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Cambodia on 18 inches a day.  
04:44am 22/03/2007

Recently I was reading about Cambodia. I don't recommend it for the faint of heart. The history of Cambodia seems to be mostly of invasion, civil war, and occupation. Lather, rinse, repeat. It's filled with fantastic ancient temples, some of which were used for less than 20 years, and archaeologists want to get in there and study them.

Now keep in mind dear reader that Archaeologists spend a lot of time walking around in obscure places, usually far from the beaten path, and digging in dirt. And those are exactly the same places were landmines like to hang out. And boy howdy, does Cambodia have Landmines! Official estimates from Cambodian Mine Action Center (that's right kids, an entire center just for dealing with landmines)puts the number between 4 and 6 million. The entire country only has about 12 million people. That is a stunning ratio. But never fear there is the CMAC, the Mine Action Group, and the Halo Trust, to help clean things up. And they are doing a great job. Official estimates from the United Nations and other bodies cite around 80 square kilometers (nearly 20k acres) cleared of mines since 1993. That's a lot of land and the pace is increasing.

So there is a bit of good news! But do you know _how_ they cleared that much land? Neither did I! It is fascinating. First, a chap walks up the edge of a suspected mine field. Then he lays down a red stick that is roughly 6 feet long. He then reaches forward about 18 inches and lays down a second red stick parallel to the first red stick. Then a second fellow turns on his metal detector and tests it to make sure it works, and then he 'sweeps' through the 18 inch area. If he get's no reading on his detector, he picks up the first stick and places it on the second stick. Next, the first chap rolls up and places the 2 sticks 18 inches apart.

Lather. Rinse. Repeat.

How mind-numbing to cover 20 thousand acres that way. But don't forget you could still explode! In that vast tract of land the Deminers have removed over 1 million landmines and pieces of unexploded ordinance. Holy crap! They have removed less than 25% of the total estimate. Imagine if every step you took across your kitchen had a 75% chance of dropping you into a bottomless pit. It's like that. Sure there are safe corridors places that have been demined or heavily traveled for years, but still. Wait, wait, it gets trippier.

So there you are working on you gajillionth 18 inch strip today and the metal detector goes off. How do you know if it's a landmine, a buried can, and unexploded shell, or any number of other things? Good question. You uncover the little gem, BY HAND! You grab your trusty metal rods and you start disturbing the earth near the suspicious beep enough to lightly brush away the soil. Hopefully you brush away just enough to see the side of the mine (they tend to explode upwards) and then you flag it. Later some fellows with a small explosive will detonate it from a safe distance. If you are unlucky, then the mine was placed (or drifted) on it's side and now your looking at the business end of a FREAKING LANDMINE!

Amazingly, for all this risk there are few injuries amongst the deminers. Villagers don't fair so well. Cambodia has over 40,000 reported amputees from land mines. I don't know who these deminers are, but they have a level of courage and determination and focus that I can never hope to equal.
location: Bangalore
mood: shockedshocked
music: Samson - Regina Spektor
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