Friday random elevenish: “when a week’s a month” edition


As I’ve said to several people this week, starting around Tuesday afternoon, this week has felt longer than the whole month of August when I was stuck in Aberdeen (not too far from yesterday’s unpleasantness, incidentally) away from pretty much everything I love and care about.

It’s largely had to do with work stuff, which I’ve belabored more than enough in this space over the last year in various vagueblogging sessions. Conversations I’ve had with others around here this week indicate it’s not just me who’s feeling this way – it’s a culture issue that I don’t expect is going to get solved anytime soon, and if it does get solved, it’s going to involve significant realignment within the larger public sector entity within which I work. Suffice to say, we’re all keeping an eye on the headlines, and on the job boards. We’ll see. I don’t feel like talking much about it. It’s also one of those times of year where, given the schedule according to which I get compensated for my suffering, my salary deposits don’t line up in the most ideal way with the schedule against which my bills get paid, so I’m stuck in alternate cycles of feast and famine, and the latter condition is currently in effect, so there’s that extra little bit of stress happening, however manageable, predictable, and adaptable for it actually is.

So yeah, I’ve not been my best self this week.

I do have a potential bright side this weekend, being RavenCon 13.5, which, in spite of being, behind the scenes, something of a trash fire, will involve me making music with some friends, those friends being the ‘Riffs, as well as folks like Metricula and The Misbehavin’ Maidens, who always put on a great show, and, surely in the interest of kindness, say nice things about me. I’ll likely be in and out of this event, given that it’s local (I won’t be staying at the venue, which is only fifteen minutes or so from home), previously described economic conditions, and I have other bits of life to address as well.

That said, here’s where I know I’ll be, though other appearances are always possible, since schedules are completely notional until a given event is actually happening:

  • Friday, 9pm: Metricula (and her “Friends with Benefits”) – I’ll be sitting in on a couple of tunes, along with bits of the Maidens
  • Friday, 11pm: Dimensional Riffs
  • Saturday, 5pm: Dimensional Riffs
  • Sunday, 10am : Dimensional Riffs -though given the hour, I expect we’ll make this a jam session; bring your musical talent

Otherwise, I’m going to try and catch up with friends and see a couple of shows. I expect it’s gonna be low-key and a pretty small event overall. I won’t elaborate on how the sausage is made here, but grab me for a beer sometime if you want the whole story.

That’s all I got, really. I’m not going to belabor the headlines; y’all can read. It’s just more trash fires all the way down.

Since this is Friday, I’ll continue my tradition (I’m probably the last blog on the interwebs that keeps this up) of tossing up a playlist, because I like music. This week’s shuffle isn’t bad – starts out with a surprising amount of modern indie, though soon devolves, as all Pandor a algorithms eventually do for me, into the Donnas and Bowie. Closes out nicely with some ’80s deep cuts, though that total dud at eleven is keeping with my week basically shitting the bed, so whatever:

  1. “Bird Song” – Florence + The Machine
  2. “Little Talks” – Of Monsters and Men
  3. “Summertime Sadness” – Lana Del Rey
  4. “Bring on the Dancing Horses” – Echo & The Bunnymen
  5. “Love You Till It Hurts” – The Donnas
  6. “Mystify” – INXS
  7. “Paradise City” – Guns N’ Roses
  8. “Rebel, Rebel” – David Bowie
  9. “Electric Avenue” – Eddy Grant
  10. “Nina Cried Power” – Hozier
  11. “Juke Box Hero” – Foreigner
  12. “Jessie’s Girl” – Rick Springfield
  13. “Your Love” – The Outfield
  14. “Dangerous” – Big Data



Happy Talk Like A Pirate Day!


apocalypse not quite cancelled


Last week it was hurricane. Monday afternoon the metro area was beset with tornadoes

For the record, all of us are safe, with nothing to show for things beyond screwed up school bus routes and a couple of automated emergency system phone calls from the office; all the apocalyptic conditions were on the other side of the county, where at least one person was killed by a building collapsing.

I expect the locusts are next, which would be strange given what time of year it is. Maybe frogs.

Anyway, if nothing else it provided a welcome distraction from all the crazy at the office, where all the stuff I couldn’t get management to give five minutes’ consideration to two years ago all of a sudden needs to be done right now when I don’t have the resources to throw at it.

I suppose I should just take pride in the fact that I’m apparently an innovative trend-setter.

But honestly? Right now I would probably welcome the opening of the next seal.


in light of this afternoon’s headlines


…regarding Mr. Manafort. The question is who ends up with this particular line of dialogue:


friday random elevenish: “…signifying nothing” edition


The big news this week has, of course, been Hurricane Florence, who, as I type this, is starting to bump into the North Carolina coast. The track’s adjusted such that it’s likely going to be a whole lot of “meh” other than some extra rain and wind that shouldn’t amount to much here 120 miles inland. Didn’t stop the county schools from closing today, but honestly, that’s probably for the best, since two weeks in, they still can’t seem to get the buses running on time. It’s also been a bit of extra anxiety watching things settle out; early this week, it looked as if we might have been facing something pretty serious. I did get thirtysomething miles in on the bike before the dampness started this week, which felt good, though I think it’s going to stay put away for at least a couple of days. I am watching with genuine concern for my many, many friends and co-conspirators in the Carolinas and on the Virginia coast, and hoping they’ll get through everything unscathed.

Otherwise, I’ve been working to wrap up the fiscal year at the office; working to shore up my (ahead of schedule) parts of failing projects while fending off deflected blame from the parts that are bringing the whole business down. One can really only be thrown under a bus so many times in one week; I may have broken out the “dad voice” on several conference calls over the last couple of days. It was necessary. Not really worth going into details, but suffice to say it wasn’t an amazing work week, but then, what else is really new?

Beyond the painful stuff, though, I did manage to sort out the accounting business for my travel voucher for The Class That Ate August™, which should pay any day now, and I am freshly certified for Level III Program Management per the requirements of DAWIA, so there’s that for the resume (it goes nicely with my Level III Contracting and Level I Information Technology certs), but more importantly, it gets me off the HR/training folks’ watch list…for now.

So? Mixed bag overall. I have a weekend coming up with nothing on the schedule other than watching the rain and hoping the power stays on (if it doesn’t, it better get so bad that it knocks trees on my house so I get a new roof out of it). Hoping for some rest and rejuvenation. We shall see.

Reading back over this post, I suppose I could probably just cut/paste from any given Friday, with slight adjustments to account for the effects of climate change. Oh well; my life hasn’t been hugely interesting in a while. To fix that, though here’s something novel: Apparently one of the remaining cats has toilet trained herself.

Looking over the playlist here, I’m back to Pandora (because why the hell not) and the mix is about the usual for that venue this week, with maybe a little more modern indie than usual, which I’m not really complaining about. To be honest; I’m kinda digging it. It also fits nicely with the fact that Katie Crutchfield put out a new Waxahatchee record this week, which is always a positive development.

Have a good weekend, folks, and if you’re in the path, stay safe, okay?

  1. “Crush” – Cigarettes After Sex
  2. “Mr. Brightside” – The Killers
  3. “Village of the Sun (live Finlandia Hall, Helsinki, Finland, 1973) – Frank Zappa
  4. “Go It Alone” – Beck
  5. “Istid” – Vintersorg
  6. “Sunglasses at Night” – Corey Hart
  7. “Don’t You (Forget About Me)” – Simple Minds
  8. “The Plains of Memories” – Borknagar
  9. “Empress” – Snow Patrol
  10. “Sound and Vision” – David Bowie
  11. “Just My Kind” – the Julie Ruin
  12. “Two High” – Moon Taxi
  13. “Ride Like the Wind” – Christopher Cross
  14. “Timmy’s Song (When I’m Gone) – Keelan Donovan

a weekend, and looking ahead at flo


So, I got my body and my car maintained on Friday like I intended; generally good news on both fronts, though as expected, I need to begin shopping for tires soon. Oh well. We did juggle my meds around a little bit to try and shake the kinks out of the brain chemistry, though we’re not trying anything particularly crazy. It seems to be working so far. It helps when your doctor has a lot of the same issues you do, and just, like understands when you struggle to find words to describe that area of your experience. I do think that I may have had a close encounter with a sick person (at a doctor’s office? the horror!), because my sinuses and throat started acting up on Sunday, though I’m hoping for the best there; we’ll see.

Weather has largely screwed me out of biking opportunities for the weekend, and appears to be on track to do so going forward, as hurricane track maps I’ve seen stick me well within the path of Florence’s wrath later this week. I hope it doesn’t run right over us, all apologies to my many friends to the south in NC/SC, but unless she tears the roof off the house in a polite way so as to not damage my stuff but gets insurance to pay for a new roof, I’d rather not deal with it, honestly. If it cancels some of the meetings I seem to have to deal with at work (I hear tell of potential cross-agency shouting sessions late this week), I’ll take it, I’d just rather keep the lights on at home while that happens.

I did jam with the ‘riffs a bit on Saturday morning, and it went well enough; it doesn’t necessarily appear that the upcoming gig will be completely awful, though I expect the entire event is going to fall a lot closer to Dumpster Fire than anything else. More to come there, I’m sure.

No other real news to share, other than my wrapping the latest Pokemon Go special research task and snagging a celebi, discovering and loving the food from Curry In A Hurry on Thursday night, catching the first couple of episodes of Iron Fist Season Two and finding it not bad, and looking forward to my chiropractor appointment this week because my shoulder is doing some weird stuff.

Just going to try to stay safe and dry and not inundated with office crap, which is all anyone can really do.


friday thursday random elevenish: “requisitioning my groove back” edition


Because I have regularly scheduled maintenance to address on both my body and my car that had to wait until after my August Academic Oddessey™, I’m taking Friday off to address those things. By that time, I’ll more than likely be through the email backlog, figured out the line of accounting issues on my travel voucher (though that right there is a cross-organizational bureaucratic nightmare), and stretched the limits of credibility for avoiding meetings I don’t feel like attending by making use of the “catching up on things” excuse…

…but I think I can get away with dodging one more of them today.

It wasn’t a *bad* office week, I guess, other than dealing with all the usual hassles (plus some looming end of fiscal year things and the stuff mentioned above), though a conversation I need to have with someone that might lead to something if not good, at least different, has to wait until next week. We’ll see. At least my application for the certification I finished the requirements for with The Class That Ate August™ is in and being processed (and meticulously documented with all the pre-check confirmations included), so I should have that burden off my back (and a fancy new certification in my HR folder), so there’s that.

Otherwise, I’ve been getting back into the routine, adjusting accordingly for school starting this week (complete with a reshuffling of start times), and probably most beneficial to me, getting back on a real bike for the first time in a month. It’s been pleasant, refreshing, and helpful, even with the 100° + temperatures.

Nothing huge on the weekend schedule; I’m supposed to get together with the ‘Riffs to knock out some rehearsal for an upcoming gig (my first with them in like six months, and the last one I can think of on the schedule), but I’ll believe that when I’m actually there; folks have moved, taken new jobs, and now we’re spread all over creation (or at least the Commonwealth), and it’s even harder than it used to be to get a quorum present. Oh well, if things fall apart, it won’t be the most heartbreaking thing.

The biggest other thing is the plans for my lovely spouse and I to hit the Food Truck Food Court at Hardywood tonight. We’ll be pretty much unable to not have a good time at that one.

And after dealing with all the bureaucratic hassles around lines of accounting (which will be the death of me, in my actual job as well as with the travel office) currently facing me, I’m gonna need it.

Anyway, here’s some tunes. Lots of Scandinavia, plus it leads off with perhaps the best pop song of the 1980s:

  1. “Time After Time” – Cyndi Lauper
  2. “Gimme Shelter” – The Rolling Stones
  3. “Life on Mars?” – David Bowie
  4. “Walkiesjar” – Falkenbach
  5. “Age of Consent” – New Order
  6. “The Pine Marten’s Jig” – Jethro Tull
  7. “Dreams Tonight” – Alvvays
  8. “Come With Me Now” – Kongos
  9. “Still of the Night” – Whitesnake
  10. “Separate Ways (Worlds Apart)” – Journey
  11. “Langt Nord I Trollebotten” – Lumsk
  12. “All On My Mind” – Anderson East
  13. “Pine Woods” – Korpiklaani
  14. “Women” – Def Leppard

back to the grind


It’s that day, it seems, for everyone. I’m back to “work” work after spending a month in academia, plus the kids are back to school today. Such fun.

We shall all manage, and persevere; it’s the nature of life.

That said, it was a decent, relatively quiet weekend, after I nailed the last “celebration of knowledge” (I wrapped the course with a 90%, which is slightly better than “good enough for government work”), though it did take over five hours to get home, given holiday traffic, which was kind of what I expected. The weekend itself was relatively quiet; some shopping, some book and movie time, watching all my friends’ adventures at Dragon*Con, and a quick trip out to the college to see the kid and get some stuff she didn’t realize she needed. I’ll take it, especially the extra day.

That’s really about it; Tuesday will be about sorting through all the major issues left behind (the usual crap, mostly), and getting my behind back on a bike for the first time in a while after being without it for a month- I’m really looking forward to the trail.


friday random elevenish: “the end” edition


By the time this posts (time delay is kind of awesome, isn’t it?), I will ideally be on my way home after a month living in this damned hotel room. It’s all done except for the last exam, and to pass this course and earn my certification, I need to earn 30 of 125 available points on the exam. If I’d had a better solo brief (I though I did damned well, but apparently it was only worth an 86%) and hit one or two other questions on a couple of the exams, I’d be in the company of a couple of my teammates who literally only have to show up and sign their name on the test paper, having already earned the requisite 800 of 1000 points necessary.

Oh well, I think I’m in pretty damned good shape – I’ll land somewhere in the low 90s for the course, which is well better than good enough. I’m hitting consistent 100%s on my online practice exams; I think I can hit seven of thirty correct in the morning.

It’s been, shall we say, a month. There’ll be some stuff I miss: The Royal Farms convenience store chain. The taproom at Independent Brewing Company. The trails at Otter Point Creek. The daily ten-to-eight fire alarms for week 4 (seriously, I’m going to be upset if the don’t go off Friday morning). My teammates in the class and our private jokes. Being within 20 miles of my friends Andrea and Eric. The T-Rex.

I won’t miss the general shittiness of Aberdeen, Maryland. Nor will I miss the totally inaccurate temperature control mechanism in this damned hotel room or the lengths one has to go to buy a six-pack of beer in this state. I will never look fondly on the whole being away from my family for most of a month thing.

But, I’ll be done in about fourteen hours from when I type this, with a shiny new certification in my HR folder, and the potential for better opportunities such a possession might provide.

I can only hope anyway.

Anyway, here are some tunes off my hard drive. Pretty eclectic this week, honestly, with several friends and acquaintances who are rocking the Deadpool costumes off of the attendant throng at Dragon Con this weekend.

  1. “Whispers in the Dark” – Mumford and Sons
  2. “Anastasia” – Voltaire
  3. “Cover of the Rolling Stone” – Poison
  4. “Shock & Awe” – Neil Young
  5. “Trek Girl” – Nick Edelstein
  6. “Infinite Space” – Rusted Root
  7. “Old Folk Roam” – Jonh Knight
  8. “Sexxx Dreams” – Lady Gaga
  9. “Don’t Stand So Close To Me ’86” – Police
  10. “Jackson Cage (live)” – Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band
  11. “Follow You Follow Me” – Genesis
  12. “Warriors” – Imagine Dragons
  13. “Watcha Eatin’?” – Bitey Little Blighters
  14. “Human” – Of Monsters and Men

many, many peach butt photos


As I wind down this class (we finished up our last exercise today -several class hours earlier than it was due- all that’s left is some discussion, and one more exam), I find that while I’m completely and utterly sick of living in a hotel, and can’t wait to see my family again, I’m actually going to sort of miss many of my classmates, particularly the wonderful team I got (I imagine) arbitrarily assigned to, who have become, I’d like to think, pretty good friends through our shared academic experience.

In two days, I get to go home, and back to the working life, after the agreed-upon respite of Labor Day, which, for the first time in four years, will not include hauling ass down to Atlanta with my friends and bandmates the Blibbering Humdingers to perform for the DragonCon Filk Music Track, and sharing the stage with a bunch of great performers and working with some amazing volunteers who keep the whole business running. I’ve made a lot of great friends as part of that community, and I’m going to miss hanging out with them this year (though I did get a couple of things in the filk track’s Annual Songbook, so I’m not totally absent).

They’ll just have a year to miss us and appreciate us all the more next year. I have this silly class in the way, and Scott and Kirsten have another obligation this weekend (plus, as much fun as it is, the mechanics of things is kind of a hassle, and it’s not the most profitable enterprise we undertake in a given year).

That said, I am starting to see the happy reports of all my friends converging on the city where everything is named Peachtree, fretting about packing, and those heading in from the north sending photos of that Peach Butt thing on the GA/SC border, like this one from my friend Wanda:

I’m sure folks will have a grand time, and set things up nicely for us next year.


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