Much like Billy Pilgrim, my brain has become unstuck in time today.
I didn’t sleep much last night, so my mind has been wandering all day. For some reason, the first thing I remembered this morning was my high school German competition skit from senior year (1996, when we wore animal skins and beat our enemies about the head and shoulders with mammoth bones). I could remember all of my lines, all of the fight choreography (these skits were a bit involved, but that’s my fault, as I wrote them).
However, I couldn’t remember my password to log on to my work computer for a good minute this morning.
I also remembered the brand, color, and price of the nail polish I used to wear in 1998 (yeah, I was one of those guys, trying desperately to be punk, or goth, or edgy, or something), but I forgot where we keep the coffee.
My brain is in open rebellion today, forcing me to travel through time to the mid- to late-90s. I’ve been able to cram enough coffee into my system to function at work, but just barely.
When your mind wanders, where does it go? Is there a specific time or place your brain pulls you back to?
You know what? I like this now even more than when I wrote it. It’s a flashback, and it ain’t even Thursday, yo.
Originally posted on 47 Echo:
I’m in Las Vegas, at the Centro bar at the Luxor pyramid. I have my beer (St. Pauli non-alcoholic, because I be crazy, yo), and I’ve just lost $40 in an employee-only poker game that I didn’t know existed before tonight. I heard a couple of the bartenders talking about it, and it turns out they were down a man, so…
Since 2010, I’ve tried to make it to Vegas once a year with my best buddy Jeremy. The Vegas trip is always my idea, and my baby — I do all the work to make it happen, and Jeremy just has to show up. It’s the one time I get to take a vacation from myself, to pretend to be someone else for a few days.
This “someone else” is actually quite a lot like me, except he stays up way too late, eats too much food (what…
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Yesterday was one of those rare days when I went into the office. My day job affords me the opportunity to work from home, but I do try to show up at the office once or twice a week. (Note that I said try; yesterday was the first time this year I made it across town to show up at my job like a regular person.)
While I like working from home just fine, going into the office has its benefits. Not the least of which, of course, is the awesome food court we have downstairs. With literally tens of outstanding options, I generally end up getting one thing.
This is because I’m old and boring, and because I dig on salad way too much.
But I was also texting back and forth yesterday with a good friend who also works for a huge megacorporation. His lunch options at the office seem limited to a fairly crappy cooler with overpriced, packaged food. It made me realize I’m pretty spoiled at my job, what with all of the free beverages, awesome food, and comfortable working environments.
So I’m interested — if you work for a large corporation, how do they treat you? What are some of the best (and worst) things about your corporate culture? If you do decide to reply via a blog comment, you don’t need to say which company you work for, of course. But the conversation I had yesterday got me thinking of corporate culture, and it’s a thing I might do a thing with. At a time.
See? You can be as vague about where you work as I am about…whatever the hell I just said.
Yesterday, I talked about the backlog of awesome things I’ve seen and read that I need to talk about. In the spirit of kicking my ass back into regular blogging, I’m going to start at the top, with the awesomest thing I saw during my blogging hiatus.
If you know Star Trek like I know Star Trek (as in, if it was a person, it would be going to a judge to renew its restraining order against me), you’ve definitely seen Victor Bevine before. If you’re a longtime reader of this blog, you’ll recall I’ve mentioned him once or twice — he’s the extremely talented actor who brought 47 Echo and Supercritical to life in audiobook form.
I don’t remember how long ago, I noticed that Victor had a book coming out. Good for him, I remember thinking. I’ll definitely have to read that when it comes out. When I saw it was released, I picked it up for Kindle, where it sat for an embarrassingly long time before I had a chance to read it.
It’s always tough reading books friends and acquaintances have written, because you’re somewhat terrified you’re going to hate them. Then, when that friend asks you, “Hey, what did you think of my book?” you’re stuck in the position of either lying or competing for the gold medal in the 100-meter Subject Change.
I don’t lie well, and I suck at sports… so I’m more in the position of hoping they don’t ask or immediately hiding behind a potted plant if I do see them.
Fortunately, Victor didn’t put me in that position. Oh, not that he didn’t ask what I thought, and not that I didn’t hide behind the Internet version of a potted plant anyway… but for totally different reasons. I hid because I wanted what I thought of the book to be shared with everyone, and here it is:
Holy shit, you guys.
Or, to put it in more specific terms: Certainty, Victor’s novel, is fan-fucking-tastic. It’s set in the time of America’s entry into World War I (a historical period I feel needs to be covered more in fiction anyway), and concerns an attorney agreeing to defend a clergyman in the midst of the backdrop of the Naval Training Station at Newport, RI.
One of the toughest things for me — especially when I’m reading anything that can be considered historical fiction — is the beginning. I constantly feel like I’m being told all of the historical information in a ham-handed way as I get to know the characters, and man, it can be tedious. No such problems here; I was in from the word go. The characters and setting fall together effortlessly, and the scenes play in my mind like a well-done film.
As you read through, you can tell that Victor is someone who truly understands story, and I’m not just talking plot. I’m talking the entirety of story — plot, characters, world building, everything — and weaves them together in a way that instantly puts you into the novel, and keeps you there all the way through.
Like I said, I saw and read a lot of cool things over the break, but Certainty was the undisputed best of the bunch. You owe it to yourself to go pick up a copy — I linked the Kindle edition above, but you can get it in whatever way you choose to consume books (including, of course, audiobook — there’s no way he could have left that one out).
Also, you should look up Victor on the Internet, because he’s who I want to be when I grow up (if I ever decide to grow up, that is).
Or three months. That’s how long it took between deciding to write this post and actually sitting down to do it — a further two weeks.
And what is the excuse for this lack of blogging? What’s the reason?
Sometimes, doing a thing becomes a habit. You do it because you’ve been doing it for the last six months, two years, whatever. You just do it because it’s a thing you do, it’s who you are — you’re a writer, you’re a podcaster, you’re a blogger, whatever.
Unfortunately, the same principle works with not doing a thing. You get out of the habit — going to the gym, blogging, whatever — and then, all of a sudden, it’s just not a thing you do. You’re not a blogger, or a writer, or a filmmaker, because you haven’t blogged, written, or made any films lately.
So, long story short, I’ve gotten out of the habit of doing a lot of things I should be doing. And this isn’t a New Year’s resolution or anything, but I’m going to be getting back to a lot of the shit I should have been doing for the last couple of months (the one that’s germane to this post, of course, being blogging).
So stay tuned. Rants about Star Trek and recaps of great things I’ve read or seen are inbound.
Also, it’s 2015, so get your hover board game straight. We will all apparently need those skills in just a few months.
Pictured above: Ebola.
Not really, but that’s what everyone wants me to think today, if my Facebook timeline is any indication. Apparently, since there’s a confirmed case of Ebola in the US (and in the town where I live, no less), we’re all clearly doomed. Doomed, I tells ya.
How have we not learned to just ignore the media by this point? Journalism isn’t a real thing anymore, with certain exceptions — it’s just an attempt to put the most attention-grabbing shit possible out there to get clicks, because that’s how web sites make money.
Look, unless you make it a habit to hang out with Ebola patients, and they keep throwing their vomit and feces on you… you have about as much to fear from Ebola as you do from dying in a mid-air collision. Sure, the possibility is there, but it’s so minuscule that worrying about it is just silly.
Also, has anyone seemed to notice that we seem to be doomed on a weekly, if not daily basis these days? And most of us are still here?
Wonder how that works?
CTFOAMTDT, everybody. It’s cool. Here’s a picture of DJ Qualls hacking the planet to make you feel better.
I’ve been an insomniac to some degree for most of my life. When I was in my early 30s and subcontracting for the Department of Defense, I used to just accept that there was one night a week where I would not sleep at all; I’d just get some writing done, go to the Waffle House at 4:30 am for breakfast, and show up at the office before anyone else.
The older I get, the harder it is to deal with the lack of sleep. For a while, I was able to club myself into unconsciousness at a decent time every night thanks to sleep drugs, but recently, those are seeming to lose their efficacy. I took a bucket and a half of ZQuil last night around 10 and was still wide awake at 3 am. In my younger days, the three hours and change of sleep I got last night would have been fine. In my mid-30s, I feel barely functional.
Coffee helps during the day. It makes it so I can move my fingers across the keyboard in a rough approximation of working. It makes it so I can respond to questions and seem like a mostly normal person (or as close as I get, anyway). The US military turns soldiers off and on at will using pharmaceuticals; I seem to be stuck in the “on” position lately. I don’t remember the last time I had a dream. I don’t remember the last time I woke up feeling rested.
All I remember lately is feeling like I’m running at 30%.
I don’t like giving anything 30%. But sometimes, you don’t really have a choice. Sometimes, 30% is the best you can manage. And I’ve been at 30% for… let’s call it a month. That’s less depressing.
This post is not meant as a complaint, though it is fairly whiny. This post is meant as an explanation; if you’re looking for books, or stories, or blog posts… there aren’t many lately. 30% is not sufficient to write much that’s worthwhile.
So, go grab a nap, you. You’re getting cranky. And by you, I of course mean me.