Monday, March 12, 2018


Part 1: Before the doctor's office

Running into the sun. The feeling of bright, radiant sunshine on my face as I'm running is so energizing and positive. Regardless of the temperature outside, the energy and the warmth fills me up, both literally and figuratively. Best case—turning the corner, emerging from the shade, and running into an intense beautiful sun. I actually think this is a byproduct of both loving to run and the meditative state I'm in while running. I can't write about it without smiling. Right now, the sun is blaring outside. And I wish I was running.

I am solar powered.


There's a band called the Sunshine Junkies, I think that's a pretty cool band name. Maybe I'm a sunshine junkie, too.

Alas, I'm a little worried about Sunshine Junkies, the band. I smell sarcasm as their name doesn't seem to jive with the ennui projected on their web page. Maybe I shouldn't judge a frowny band by it's cover, but they're a Seattle band, so what sunshine? Two songs on their eponymous album are called Edge of Hell and Crawl Back to Bed. (snort) Needless to say, I didn't “like” their Facebook page.

I struggle mightily with Facebook. Stupid 21st century. But I do think I finally have texting down. It's all rather rote for me now. I agree effusively with whatever subject is proffered and then end with a smiley face. Technically speaking, blogging should be considered a 21st century activity as well, but it's not. In many respects, blogging is the opposite of tweeting or Facebook-ing. Social media is fundamentally a push technology. Once you “like” me, my opinion is pushed into your stream (of consciousness). Blogging is a pull technology. Even if you use an RSS reader, it still feels pull-y.

Blogging is also a longer form. Complete sentences. Imagine that! It's longer in terms of the text and the pictures and the formatting, the whole deal. Also, there's little feedback in a blog. Sure you can leave a comment, but no one does. I like it that way! Bundle this all together and blogging seems almost anachronistic. No one it's my preferred communication medium.

The newer versions of social media go even further. Communication is mostly through pictures or “memes”. The lust for a superficial audience is even more intense. All of this boggles the 50-something mind... as it should. I've never used it, but Snapchat is probably the most confounding. Of course, something that perplexes the aged is most likely to enthrall the young. The stock, SNAP, currently trades at $18 a share, which makes Snapchat, the company, worth north of $20 billion. So, when Snapshot focuses their business on creating animated GIF's of young faces with rainbows shooting out of their eyeballs, they're doing things right.


There's a weird website that posts stories that are exactly 1,000 words long, It's odd, but I guess having an artificial limit like that is sort of haiku-ish. One of my favorite websites/ideas is National Novel Writing Month, You're supposed to take your November and write a novel. The goal is to write 50,000 words in that month. That may also be odd and an arbitrary limit, but it's way cool. I haven't done it yet, but I'd like to. It also made me think. If you write 1,000 words a week, then you'll have a 50K word novel in a year. (hmmm)

Every so often I scan my recent blog posts for negativity. In the current political climate, you can never be too careful. I don't want to fall to the dark side. I'm doing pretty well on that front. I also went back and checked how long my blog posts were. I wondered: Do I ever approach 1,000 words in a williamt blog post?

Um, no.

That's a little unsettling. It's sort of like someone who never exercises and then gets winded walking around the block. You sort of figure, “Well, that's not good. But I'll bet I could walk around the block if I get out there and exercised a little bit.” So, I'll exercise a little bit. I'm going to post in 1,000 word chunks here for a while. It looks like a thousand words is about 3 pages of text. How hard could it be? (gulp)


I'm in my Sooby in the Jew-el parking lot, texting. (agree; agree; smiley; done) I've hit the Jew-el, and now I'm off to the doctor's office. The lady across the aisle is parked in her car smoking. Her hand and the butt are both hanging out the window. She's trying not to smell like a smoker, or trying for her car not smell like a smoker. God bless her, but I can't imagine it's very effective. I wonder who she's trying to placate? Her significant other or family or the public in general?

I bought the book 1984 on Amazon and have it queued up. I wonder if Orwell would have predicted the anti-smoking craze? Your health doesn't belong to you. It's now a social cost to be managed by Big Brother and the herd.

Woah. Peripheral vision alert! The smoking lady is now a whirling dervish. Thrashing about, her arms are flailing inside the car like she's trying to swat a bee or something. It takes me a moment to realize that she's dousing herself in perfume and making a wild attempt to disperse the particulates of deceitful fragrance. Good luck to you, lady. Me? I'm off to the doctor.


What can you say about the doctor's office? It's one of the few places I consciously choose to go where the result is actively and aggressively negative. It feels like crossing the street and asking someone to kick me in the shins. My father's solution is to just not go. No physicals. No nothing. Until something breaks. I used to mock him but not any more.

I learned to meditate as part of my D-word years ago. I had always wanted to learn, and it helped me to manage the bone-crushing stress of those dark days. Now, I use my meditation skills to navigate a doctor's visit. I'll do a quick calm-down in my car and then dive into the negativity. My doctor may abide by the Hippocratic Oath, but his staff most certainly does not. Do no harm? Puh. Harm and humiliation is the job of the doctor's office secretary. It's their pleasure. Deep, cleansing breath... and smile. Buck up, little camper. You can do this.

Next time: Dead fish eyes

"Window squirrel"

Thursday, March 8, 2018

Older. Wiser?

"Older. Wiser?"

Better than 56 candles, eh.

Lady Bird

Movie: Lady Bird
Review: 2 bill-stars (out of 5)... um, barely 2 stars

Jeez, what a bad movie. This is a 1-star movie with Saoirse Ronan in it. She's the girl who was so fantastic in the movie Brooklyn. I'll noodge the rating to 2-stars for Sur-Sha.

Lady Bird is so bad... I'm writing this review on my laptop while the movie is flailing away on my Comcast teevee. The hook is OK. Lady Bird has nothing to do with LBJ, oddly enough. Sur-Sha plays a difficult teenager who wants to be randomly called Lady Bird rather than her given name. There are some funny parts in the beginning of the movie as well.

Overall, Lady Bird is a jumble. A lot of the plot focused on how terrible Catholic high school is. Can you believe that? This topic was anachronistic 40 years ago. Oh, and Sur-Sha lives on the poor side of town and wishes she was rich. She doesn't get along with her parents. (yawn) It's strange that a script like this gets made in 2018.

This is really weird and distracting, too. Saoirse Ronan is a 24 year-old wo-man. She absolutely does not look or act like a 16 year-old girl, eh. I felt that way about a lot of the cast.

Not funny. Not smart. Not a good movie.

What's changed, changing?

The funnest of fun games... What's changed in my lifetime? 
Well, 40-50 years ago, Baptists actively oppress those who disagreed with them. Your average Baptist wouldn't have anything to do with a gay guy (or gal).
Well, now, a gay guy oppresses a Baptist pol and gets him tossed from the board of directors of the Country Music something-or-other, wapo post.

Hate wins.
- Mike Huckabee, resigning from the CMA board, blog post
So Jason Owen, random gay guy, here we are in 2018 and you're less tolerant that a Baptist pol. Congrats! Mike Huckabee will work with you, but you won't work with him. That's a change.

I don't get it. Baptist, gay, funny-lookin', whatevs... I'll work with you. Pretty much nobody cares what your private thoughts and belief system is. We only care who you'll work with and tolerate being around.

But spending my entertainment $$$, that's a different story. I was interested in going to see Cabaret at the Paramount Theater. It looked pretty good, and our local theater here is usually outstanding. Then, speeding around in my Sooby, I heard the cast of Cabaret on WGN radio. The actors talked about how extra important their show was because... Trump and his supporters are like the nazis in the plot of Cabaret and must be stopped.

So, I skipped Cabaret. My $$$ did too.

I found this via a Bill Gates tweet. It's some major positivity. For humanity, most things are getting better.

A positive lookout on the efforts of ourselves and our fellow humans is a vital condition to the fruitfulness of our endeavors. Knowing that we have come a long way in improving living conditions and the notion that our work is worthwhile is to us all what self-respect is to individuals. It is a necessary condition for self-improvement. 
Freedom is impossible without faith in free people.  
The short history of global living conditions and why it matters that we know it

You don't really need to look at those charts. They all follow a common theme. The Industrial Revolution hit. and it was like turning on a light switch. Everything started improving: prosperity, education, political freedom, etc. 

IMHO—We're on the cusp of another big uptick called The Singularity.

Imagine a cheap little device that can compute as much data as all human brains taken together.

Perhaps, in a hundred years or so, some nabob will emerge from the din of negativity and nonsense to post some charts about how much improvement humanity has experienced since 2018.
thanks... yow, bill

Sunday, March 4, 2018

I'll vote ABR

"Snow Sooby"

The media says that I don't really want to build a wall. Can you believe that?
You know... every time I hear that, the wall gets 10 feet taller.
- President Trump

Eleanor Oliphant

Book: Eleanor Oliphant by Gail Honeyman
Review: 3 bill-stars (out of 5)... good

This is a good book. Eleanor Oliphant reminds me a lot of Forrest Gump (the movie, I haven't read the book). She's a very sympathetic character. She is trying to overcome her disability. Forrest had a mental disability; Eleanor's is emotional and physical. Because of her disability, she has an innocence in dealing with the world around her. That's a primary source of adventure and tension in the book. Her name is funny.

Like Forrest, you root for Eleanor. You hope and pray she finds her way. But one downside of Eleanor (and Forrest) is cuteness, or more specifically, the repetition of cuteness. Eleanor's amazement and naive analysis of everyday things starts at the start and ends at the end. It gets a little tiring.

At home that evening, I looked into the mirror above the washbasin while I washed my damaged hands. There I was: Eleanor Oliphant. Long, straight, light brown hair that runs all the way down my waist, pale skin, my face a scarred palimpsest of fire. A nose that's too small and eyes that are too big. Ears: unexceptional. Around average height, approximately average weight. I aspire to average... I've been the focus of far too much attention in my time. Pass me over, move along please, nothing to see here.
- Eleanor Oliphant looks in the mirror
It's easier for us to empathize with Eleanor. Her disabilities are more relatable than Forrest Gump's. Most people have some level of insecurity about their emotional state and/or physical appearance. The quote above could be almost anyone taking a self-inventory in front of a mirror.

Eleanor is proud of her vocabulary. This is a great choice by the author as we benefit as readers with lots of interesting words to read and figure out, I mean, discern. I also like the choice of first person narration here. It works.

A good read.

American Made
Movie: American Made
Review: 2 bill-stars (out of 5)... collapse!

The first 30-40 minutes of American Made are very funny and action-packed. Hey, I'm a big Tom Cruise guy, and he's great as a rogue/goofball pilot recruited by the CIA. His young, southern wife in the film is wonderfully (and hotly) portrayed by Sarah Wright. I'm on the couch laughing, thinking, "This is really good."

Then, the laughter stops. (ha) The movie shifts gears from action-comedy to drama and utterly collapses in the second half. The ending is epically bad. Like, all-time. I would almost recommend you sit through the 100 minutes of American Made just to experience its head-shaking ending. Almost.

Not a good movie.

Vote for NOT Rauner

The IL primary is March 20. For repub governor... I'll vote ABR = Anyone But Rauner. That means a young lady named Jeanne Ives.

Bruce Rauner is an utter, complete disappointment. He lost the war with Mike Madigan as IL raised the income tax without any meaningful pension or budget reform in the state. I could almost give Rauner that one, at least he tried. But then Rauner stabbed his constituents in the back and made Illinois the most liberal abortion state in the union. Goo-bye!

His most provocative action, however, came on September 28, when Rauner created a new entitlement to abortion.

The proposal included a provision to allow state employees and low-income women to receive free abortions for any reason whatsoever. Rauner said he’d veto it, making this pledge on April 14, which happened to be Good Friday. Cardinal Cupich thanked him: “Abortion is a controversial issue in this country, but using public money to provide abortions should not be,” he said.
I'll give him this, Rauner is still funny, even if it's unintentional. At some random media event, Rauner celebrated Black History Month by drinking chocolate milk. No way you could make this shit up. Jeez.

"It's really, really good," Rauner proclaimed, punctuating the demonstration with an awkward toast "To diversity."
- Rauner sips chocolate milk, says diversity tastes good
I don't know much about Jeanne Ives. Doesn't matter. Bruce Rauner... he gone!
thanks... yow, bill

PS - Another website crash, more nerd fun. I'll admit though... it's a little unsettling when your bank's website goes down for a few hours. (scrunchy face)