Return to Office: results are coming in.
Productivity: zero gains
Worker morale: dropping like a rock
This is not my job, by the way. This was a survey commissioned by some right-wing financial rag. Barron's, I think.
I suspect the motivation behind the pressure to "get everyone back in the office" is twofold, one of which I'm not going to address, and the other is to prop up commercial real estate prices, which are staggering like one of the early chumps who thought they could fight Mike Tyson and win.
I get a lot of family members and other people who ask me for advice. I have no idea why they pick me as the designated advisor, but at least they feel like they have someone to ask.
What a terrible thing to not have anyone that you feel you could ask about something and get a reasonable response.
I suspect that's most of the planet.
I gotta come out of the closet here: LED light bulbs are absolutely terrible. I feel like the world around me has been leached of color. They are worse than CFLs and that's really saying something.
I replaced the lights in my music room with LED bulbs, which was a horrible mistake; I'm going to try to find some incandescent replacements. It's like trying to practice in a jail cell with the new lights now. I really can't use the room, because in order to do that I have to be in a good headspace, and I just can't get there with those fucking awful lights.
For those who want to recommend another brand, well, I tried 'em all. Additionally we have an issue with California law - not all lights can be purchased here anymore. They have to be the most efficient of the efficient. That's a great idea. But in practice those "most efficient" bulbs end up being the worst looking.
Well, Happy New Year, all. Please enjoy to the maximum; our time here is limited.
So, last year an Ohio woman assaulted a Chipotle employee. She was last week sentenced to 180 days in jail, 90 suspended, and she could reduce the other 90 to 30 by agreeing to work as counter service in a Chipotle.
At first my reaction was "oh hell yes, let her chew on some of that fun daily customer abuse for a while, bet she won't last two weeks" because I'm still bitter about my experience working retail when I was younger.
And then I realized what it actually means and it's appalling.
Working retail foodservice is a job so absolutely shitty that it's now being used as a legal, judicial punishment.
That's not OK. None of it is OK. Nobody's job should be so awful that anyone would contemplate using it as a punishment for someone. And there's far too many jobs in America that would fall into the category of "punishment" these days.
I just watched that glorious B-movie, "Death Race 2000". It's like the Hunger Games, if the Hunger Games had been shot on a $500 budget and involved a lot of driving over people. But more or less the same plot. I've seen far worse films; it was cheesy but not bad.
Read this stupid comment.
Addicts are usually the most sensitive and loving people I've known (when the intoxication isn't altering their personality).
hahahahaha give it a fucking rest. You don't know any or you wouldn't have said anything remotely that stupid. Drugs do not alter a person's personality. If someone is a raging asshole, compulsive liar, murderer, thief, compulsive secretary fucker - whatever their particular problem/fun activity is - they will be one sober or straight. The "sobriety industry", as I call it, has made billions off of people desperate to believe that people will change when they get sober. They don't. Never. They might be able to fake it for a while, and you might be desperate to believe that your loved one/family member/offspring can be made ok, and it has always struck me as particularly cruel for people to say that they can be. Because that's just simply not the case.
So, the Russians bought Forbes. THAT explains the deranged shit that been coming from them for the last couple of months.
"You guys elected Donald Trump President of the United States. You can't walk that back."
It's either a bit early or a bit late in life to admit that I don't understand anything about anything. I don't understand the world, I don't understand how anything works, I don't understand jack shit.
Watching a YouTube video - band of teens who are pretty damn good for their age. But they're not doing a good job on one song.
me: "Christ, that's unfortunate"
At least all my humiliating musical stuff is in a landfill or my music room closet. Not out there on the internets. Oh well. They are better than that regrettable video. They will be OK.
"Jann Wenner, who co-founded Rolling Stone magazine and also was a co-founder of the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame, has been removed from the hall’s board of directors after making disparaging comments toward Black and female musicians. He apologized within hours."
Not enough. Real justice would involve this human garbage being stripped of all his assets and forced to turn tricks out in front of his garbage museum. This guy has been a piece of shit since day one. If anyone wanted to give the Hall of Fame actual credibility, they'd put him up on a gallows and hang him out in front.
A news publication today asked: "Phenylephrine is useless. How many more drugs like that are there?"
Tylenol. Very effective at destroying the liver. Not much else.
Been ten years since we lost our dog, Hannah. This is not something you ever get over; you just carry it with you until you die.
I am sick beyond telling of seeing dead animals on the side of the road. If we truly have been granted dominion over all the beasts of the earth as the Christian bible says - and I assume most other religions say something similar - we are doing a wretched job of it. Just completely unacceptable. I no longer wonder at the manufactured focus on climate change as that's literally the least awful thing we are doing to this planet, and the only one of the many horrors that we are perpetrating that can be mitigated by any other means other than population reduction.
Extirpate humanity. We are using the gift of life that we've been given for nothing but evil.
I was thinking about writing about how Michael Anthony (former bassist of Van Halen) had gotten the worst fucking-over by his bandmates I could ever think of, and then realized that title sadly goes to one of the nicest guys in the music business, Joe Walsh. And the worst is watching the second half of that Eagles documentary where Don Henley and Glenn Frey are sitting there giggling about it. They thought it was funny that they'd fucked this guy out not only the royalties on the music he wrote with them, but on the material he did solo and pre-Eagles. Ahh, those guys are monsters.
10 years of the best friend you will ever have
2 years of vet bills
A life altering tragedy from which you will never recover.
It's about owning a dog, of course. Pissed me off when I read this at first. Thought it was unnecessarily dramatic and negative.
And then I thought about it
And thought some more
And the guy who posted this, he ain't wrong. I just wish he hadn't boiled it down to the essentials so I wouldn't have to think about it like that.
My next car will be used and pre-2003:
Can't decide if mankind's worst invention is the car, or the road. The combo kills thousands of people per year and an uncounted number of animals.
Everything's a fucking cash grab these days. Everything.
Deterrence no longer works. Transgressors, whether of the criminal variety or just the typical rude shithead who cuts you off in traffic, believe - correctly - that odds are good that they will suffer no consequences for their actions.
There's a "but", though.
Used to be that people thought that they probably wouldn't get caught, or they could talk their way out of consequences or simply buy their way out. And that's all true. But a limiting factor on the magnitude of people's transgressions was that there was an outside chance that they might not be able to do that.
Now people don't give a shit. Get arrested, get shamed, get shot by the cops, go to jail, they don't care. Out last president, a man so vile that even his most fervent supporters freely admit is a criminal, is looking at losing his money, power, wealth and status and he does not give a shit. He's just gonna keep on committing crimes. I frankly don't understand this mindset but have seen it enough to realize it's permeated every strata of society, it's probably the most dire danger to our society we've ever faced, and I have no idea how you even address it, never mind fix it.
This was one hell of a weekend. I played what is probably my last gig - certainly the last one I'll do as a part of a traditional "rock band" - followed immediately, as in about two hours after I got home - by the death of my father-in-law, who was one hell of a nice guy and in no way deserved the four-year long ordeal and shitty death he got.
Fuck cancer indeed. I know it's a fashionable thing to say, but it's got the benefit of being true. My father-in-law spent four miserable years being eaten alive by this fucking disease.
My wife was with him as was our dog. Our dog was an absolute hero throughout the whole thing, but the real courageous, great presence there was my wife. She has courage and strength that I still find surprising after being married this long (13 years). She is truly worthy of her father's name and legacy (there's a long and incredible story there, but it's not for this blog).
Out of the six houses in my neighborhood, my wife and I are the only ones who commute to work every day. Not to say the others don't have to travel for work, and we are all of us still working full time, but we are the only ones who have to commute to a physical location every day. This is FUCKING RIDICULOUS. It's 2023, not 1972.
So, Cormac McCarthy died today. He assuredly is not everyone's cup of tea. I'll be honest: his bad stuff is awful. I mean, just not good. His good stuff (Blood Meridian, Suttree, No Country for Old Men, The Road) is great. Blood Meridian remains the best book I've ever read. His last pair of novels was one bad (The Passenger) and one fairly good (Stella Maris). He lived a LOT longer than his youthful alcoholic lifestyle should have permitted.
It's worth noting that the setting, story and general plot of Blood Meridian, including the names and most of the deeds of all the main characters, is not fictional. "Historical drama" or something like that is what you'd call it. Found this out after reading the book, was a bit of a shock.
RIP old man. You did okay.
My health and my job are not going too fucking well at the moment.
Not four days after mentioning the place, the Eagle Mountain mine complex and town is sold for 22.5 million dollars. The question is now, for what? Nobody knows who bought it or for what.
Heh, this thing is more than a year old now. Sure is a lot different than the version that existed back in the early 00s (same domain name). The old one was frankly a lot more...revealing, and certainly more complex. Lotta material. It was a good blog. And then it was just...not working for me anymore, and I got rid of it. This one is two pages, never shows up in google search listings and nobody ever writes me about my blatherings. That's more than fine.
In a sense, my experience with this blog resembles the experience of the internet at large. It had its heyday, and although most people do not realize it, that heyday has passed. Now, if you want exposure to an audience, you go into one of the 'walled gardens" of the internet: Facebook, Instagram, TikTok. Those places are where things are happening. These little blogs that are left, especially like this one with zero "walled garden" links or connection, are very much like some of the ghost towns we still have all over this country, where there's a few people, or maybe just one, living there.
My site here is the internet equivalent of this real-life place:
They even still have a working school. For maybe four kids. The place is a trip.
That what we have here, folks. My little ghost town. You are welcome to have a look around. Don't steal from the ruins.
So, I have been in a band for over seven years now. We've been playing, with the exception of a year-plus break for COVID, at least once a week. Usually more. It's been a good time. But people change over the years, it's not fun anymore, and the band is coming to an end.
I have three reasons for "punching out of the crashing aircraft", one of which I have addressed with these gents, and a couple which I have not.
One: my health. I went from being a pretty functional being in 2020 to a pretty non-functional one after my surgeries in 2021. I can work (my job is sedentary) and I can eat most things, and I can still play my ass off, but I am a somewhat broken piece of crap after this experience and I'm obviously at this point in 2023 not going to improve much. There's a commute and setup/teardown component to gigging, and I can do it, but it's not getting easier. That has been addressed with the band.
Two: My bandmates are way too fucking loud. Even a buddy of the guitar player who has been seeing me play since the 80s said it at our last gig: we are way too loud. And he's mostly deaf! Any band in which I'm the quietest one is FAR too fucking loud. It's like the guitarist and the drummer are in a fight to the finish. I've been wearing full earplugs full-time since last year, something which I never have done before, because we are SO FUCKING LOUD it makes me (literally) nauseous without them. It has cost us quite a few gigs recently, and it's probably just as well we are disbanding because there's not a lot of venues at this point in history that are willing to put up with that shit anymore. This has been addressed with the band on multiple occasions earlier and my bandmates, put brutally, do not give a shit. Bands of people my age have gotten the DI/IEM religion - no amps on stage. Usually electronic drums (I do know a few drummers that can play quietly enough to handle these gigs). And if you want any gig that pays worth a shit these days, which are the wineries and the casinos, you WILL be full IEM with electronic drums or you will not play that venue. For me, this is the last band I'll be in with a guitarist that uses an amp onstage and likely the last with an acoustic drummer. I'm not doing this to audiences anymore, and I am damn sure not doing it to myself.
Three: material. The age difference between me and my bandmates was not an issue back in 1986 but it is now. I CANNOT get anyone I know to come out and see us. No interest in the material. I can't blame them, I was sick of our setlist by 1990, a feat for a band that didn't start until 2015. Our setlist is rapidly approaching something that an archeologist would find of interest.
There's some other reasons at work but they don't need to be addressed and by themselves would not have led to this outcome. They do, however, make this course of action a lot easier to take.
Love my bandmates, they are great guys, but none of us is heading in the same direction anymore and it's time to wrap this up. Last gig is July 1 at the Helix Brewing Company. Wish it was the gig before that, which is a venue I like (I'm not a big fan of Helix) but you can't always get what you want.
If you're interested.
Edited to add: what I'd prefer is an arrangement where we can hash out all our individual gripes (there are a lot, not just mine here), go full IEM and update our setlist, but the collective will is simply not there. Which is fine.
I always liked Heinlein's idea of the "Fair Witness". Still do. It holds up. One of the few really good ideas that he had. Declarative knowledge is really not the same as experiential knowledge. Humans indulge in/rely on the former FAR too much.
The things that "everyone knows" are often not accurate or true.
The hippies had a saying when I was young: "question authority". A fine sentiment. I have a better one: question yourself.
I was just on a blog published by an IMPORTANT federal government program.
The last update was September 2022.
If you update your blog once a year, you are not serious and I will not take anything you have to say seriously.
April 27, 2023:
Jerry Springer died today.
He was known for his deranged daytime "talk"/interpersonal combat show, which made him a lot of money. Most people who remember him think of him, at best, as "lowbrow" entertainment.
He was not. I heard that man substitute for a talk show host on Air America one evening and was absolutely blown away. Stayed for the whole show. This man who I thought was a gormless idiot had certainly fooled me. He was one of the smartest people I have ever heard on any form of media in my life. His knowledge of politics was staggering, but he also was on point with economics, history and literature as well. Just an amazing guy. And a very kind man as well.
Godspeed, Mr. Springer.
April 14, 2023:
More C-Suite placating lies.
Today's narrative can be summed up with this bullshit headline at CSNBC:
"CEO shares the No. 1 question to ‘never ever’ ask at a job interview"
oh my god I might not get the job oh my god I might not get the job
What wisdom does this CEO have for people interviewing?
Guess what that question is? You didn't even have to guess what question is giving these folks such a rash, right? Yep.
"Is this position remote?"
Don't be afraid to ask for what you want. Now is the time. It won't last. It never does. But get what you can while the getting is good.
April 10, 2023:
I have recently become acquainted with the practice of referring to the time before the COVID pandemic as the "before times". That's a phrase that came from the original Star Trek, first season, episode "Miri" (I think that was number 11 but am not certain). It does of course predate Star Trek, with one (only 1!) mention in the King James version of the Christian Bible, but otherwise has not really been part of the commonly used vocabulary. Until now.
Boy howdy, if you're the praying type you'd better pray that the future looks like the first iteration of Star Trek and not something else, because for all the horror that came to Earth before the era of Star Trek, that was kind of a collection of "least awful outcomes", in that only a third of humanity died in the last great war that human society experienced. It takes no great feat of imagination to see how the Vulcans could have showed up here in the 2060s to find a world in a habitable zone that was populated with a few insects and rudimentary plants, full of dusts, synthetic viruses, toxins, radiation, and ruins of a former civilization.
April 01, 2023:
Been reading this thing making the rounds of the news that Steven Tyler (of the band Aerosmith) staged an intervention on Kurt Cobain (of Nirvana, who went on to kill himself) about his very obvious drug problem, and Kurt told him to get bent. While Kurt's reaction is sadly predictable, man, if Steven Tyler tells you that you have a drug problem, you probably have an issue that needs to be addressed. Tyler knows a thing or two about drug addiction.
March 31, 2023:
Insanity is just a term used when people enter a state of mind that makes it inconvenient or difficult for others to exploit them.
March 13, 2023:
The only way the world improves is one death at a time.
February 03, 2023:
It's been 26 years - since 1997 - that I first had a company flack lie to my face and tell me that employees care far more about non-tangible things, like employee discounts and "perceived coolness of the job" (his idiot words) than they did about how much they were getting paid.
I still read this all the time. It's a C-suite placating lie. Straight up: a lie. I have managed enough people in my life to know that what employees want is the most amount of pay and benefits for the least amount of work, period. Anyone who tells you otherwise is deliberately lying to your face. Call them on that shit. It's a myth that just needs to die ASAP.
February 01, 2023:
Thinking of de-registering to vote. Just a thought.
January 31, 2023:
It's easy to assume that everyone is a lunatic, but the truth is the vast majority of people you interact with every day just simply aren't. Even most of the ones who strike you as acting a bit weird are not, like the woman in the grocery store yesterday who told me about the time she ate an entire fried chicken in her car. She laughed: "you're a complete stranger so I can tell you this". I laughed too. She was right: you shouldn't eat fried chicken in your car, but sometimes these things just happen.
January 11, 2023:
Almost one quarter of the way in and there is still a very weird reluctance on the part of, well, pretty much everyone I know to treat the 20th century as "old news". Why we still look to those days for guidance or a template on how we deal with today's issues is beyond me. Things are very different now.
January 02, 2023:
Been at the same job for twenty years as of today. It's a good job. Think I'll stay until I can retire if they'll have me.
January 01, 2023:
My dog got me up at 1:53am to go outside. Once outside, he did not do his business. He instead charged the family of skunks that I hadn't seen, getting once again within a few inches of them.
For what must be the ninth time, he did not get sprayed. He's never been sprayed. I truly don't understand how this is possible.
At any rate, Happy New Year. Seriously. A non-skunked dog is something to celebrate.
December 19, 2022:
A flight from Phoenix to Honolulu left 36 people hurt, with 11 suffering serious injuries, after the plane experienced "severe turbulence," officials said Sunday. A total of 20 people aboard Hawaiian Airlines Flight 35 were taken to two local hospitals, Honolulu Emergency Medical Services confirmed. Nine of those 20 sustained minor injuries with 11 suffering serious injuries, according to EMS.
My father is a retired airline pilot. He always made us fasten our seat belts while we were in our seats and didn't let us go running all over the plane, AND THIS IS WHY. A 2g drop - not at all uncommon - turns that fall from your seat to the ceiling the equivalent of falling off the roof of a single story house - headfirst.
Stay in your seat and keep that seatbelt fastened. There's a reason they tell you that.
December 01, 2022:
Christine McVie was, by a long shot, the most talented member of Fleetwood Mac. A band which was one of the best of their era.
November 04, 2022:
An interesting post by what I strongly suspect is a covertly funded Chinese government source. This does not mean that it is wrong, it's just something to keep in mind:
1. A period of extremely right wing rule causes a reaction that brings the center left or centrists back to power – Biden after Trump, Gantz/Bennet after Netanyahu, & Lula after Balsonaro
2. However, the center left return on much narrower margins than should be the case, indicating an increasing percentage of the population are conditioned to tolerate the ever more reactionary extremism, the shifting Overton Window, becoming ever more radicalized
3. Current & future economic conditions around the world will be increasingly tough in the coming years, due to both structural (increasing protectionism, trade wars, polycrises in much of the Global South, the developing Sino-US technological decoupling that drives the world toward 2 blocks) & cyclic forces (such as the recession in the consumer electronics & semiconductor industries)
4. Under such tough economic macro environment, when nativism, paranoia, & over-securitization of everything are already increasingly evident everywhere, the center left currently in power faces strong headwinds in the coming elections
5. When the right wing return to power, they are more extremist than the previous iteration.
6. The EU unity over Russian invasion of Ukraine is masking, for now, the rising reactionary right wing that will put it under severe stress going forward, such increasingly illiberal forces are already in power in Hungary, Poland, Italy & Sweden, & gaining momentum in Germany & France
I still see no signs of the highlighted part. Technological parity with the US, almost there. Largely through theft of IP. But innovation? Not seeing it. Not saying they can't do it; they can. But they aren't.
November 02, 2022
Happy Día De Los Muertos.
There hasn't been a lot of death in my life, which means it's simply being backfilled; it's all gonna come at once and hard. Notable mentions:
Doctor Anthony Armino
Enzo and Scooby and Gidget
William "Bill" Jones (who deserves an entire post on the value of what may seem like small, inconsequential actions)
There are others and it's early in the morning and I can't think of them. But they aren't forgotten. They'll come up when they need to.
I miss all of you.
October 17, 2022
33 years since the Loma Prieta earthquake.
I'd normally call my buddy Eric Friedmann today, but he died back in 2020. We called each other every October 17th. Something about going through a near-death experience with someone really does bind you to them.
I miss Eric.
I don't miss the "anniversary of" that used to hit all the Bay Area media every 10/17. Looked around. Couldn't find a single one this morning.
Part of me is really, really glad for that. If they've let it go, I guess I can too.
Wish you were here, Eric, my old buddy. Really really do.
September 27, 2022
Watching an old video of some friends playing back in the 1990s. VCR camera.
How is it 2022 already?
September 04, 2022
Still miss Hannah. I'm going to feel guilty about that dog for the rest of my life. You don't know what you don't know, and I just didn't know how to be a good dog father back then. I wasn't bad - there are a lot of people who are just awful to their animals - but I could have been a lot better. Spencer owes you a lot, baby girl. I miss you.
July 28, 2022
It is really an amazing experience to listen to a song an ex wrote about me and to realize that pretty much every word of it was true.
July 27, 2022
You will not find the truth on the internet. Facets of the truth hide in many places, some easy to find, some very hard to find. But none of them here.
May 14, 2022
There have always been toasters.
Think about the times that were before you were born. Can you prove they even existed? I mean, there are artifacts, there are accounts, but you can find those at Disneyland. All you really know about the past are the stories thereof, and stories - humankind's defining achievement - are in the end, just stories. They can be true, false, or a combination of the two.
All I know is that there have always been toasters.
Oh, you can read stories about a time when there were not toasters. I don't believe it, myself. So far as I know, toasters have always been part of the world.