Monday.

Sometimes I look at Monday with a little bit of dread. I’m like most people in that regard, I suppose, because it means the weekend is over and it’s time to get to work. Who came up with the idea to work 1/3 of the day for over 2/3 of the week, anyway? I should read up on the history of that.

Today I was up at 6:00 a.m. and headed out for my morning walk. I try to walk two to three miles before starting the workday. On the days I skip my morning walk I’m a big lethargic during the day. On the other hand, if I get up at 6:00 a.m. after a restless night’s sleep, I’m lethargic as well. It’s a balancing act.

The walk worked today, as I found my balance, but only for most of the morning. Come lunch time I was tired. I snuck a power nap on the couch around lunch time and then I made it through the afternoon. I crossed off the requisite items on my To Do list at the end of the day, and more importantly, I achieved Inbox Zero nirvana, so there’s that.

I’m currently sitting in a Starbucks in Lincoln Square because I needed a change of view for a few moments. Some decorations are up on the street light poles, signaling the arrival of the Holiday Season (even though it’s not Thanksgiving yet). As long as I’m not being assaulted with Christmas music I’m good. I like the twinkling of the lights. They make me smile.

This Starbucks has indie sounding music playing. There is not sign of that Mariah Carey tune that gives me HTSD (Holiday Traumatic Stress Disorder). I wouldn’t mind if I never heard that song again.

Holiday spirit on a lively Monday or not, I’m not ready for crass commercialism.

Frustration.

It’s hard to believe I started this blog when I was still working in radio. It’s  been over 15 years since I was doing my thing as “J.P. Marks” on the radio waves on the Mohawk Valley in Central New York. Despite the decade and a half of time passing by, I still have a “radio dream” a couple of times a year. Last night was one of those nights.

My radio dreams usually manifest themselves as a frustration dream, and to the best of my knowledge this type of dream was common amongst DJs. The scenario always heads toward the same place. I’m my present age but I’m back on the radio. I’m trying to keep the music playing, answering the phones, and making sure commercials and jingles are lined up as required by the “clock” (schedule) dictated for the station. In these dreams I always end up with panic moments: I can’t read the catalog numbers on the carts, music is ending way before it’s suppose to and bringing about the dreaded “dead air”, or the phone is ringing loudly when I’m trying to talk on the mic. Sometimes I can’t read the spot log, or I knock down the hour’s worth of carts I would always stack to the right of the console (I was pretty anal about being prepared back when I was really on the radio). I’m trying to enjoy being back on the radio but I just can’t get it together.

These types of dreams are usually a symbol of something else going on in my life. I don’t miss my days on the radio. I loved being on the radio back in the day but I don’t really miss it. Once in a while I’ll listen to local radio when we’re traveling just to hear what other stations are doing these days. I know all of the segues are being controlled by computer now and there’s a really good chance the DJ isn’t even live or local. Voice tracks are timed to always sound flawless. I don’t find a lot of fun in that, but hey, that’s where we are today.

The song that kept having problems in my dream last night was “Sleeping Satellite” by Tasmin Archer. A great track, and in my dream I even remembered that it was cart #133 (Tom Cochrane’s “Life Is A Highway” was #144 at the station I worked at), but I couldn’t hear the entire song in my dream last night. So here the song as found on YouTube.

Geek.

A couple of weeks ago I mentioned that I had discovered Free Geek Chicago, an organization devoted to recycling older computers, saving consumers money, and saving the planet by breathing life into computers that would normally find itself in a landfill. One of the laptops I purchased is a Lenovo ThinkPad T410. It’s a respectable age. The keyboard is a little worn looking but otherwise the laptop is in beautiful shape and has been working well. I am currently running MX Linux on this computer, and I’m using it to type this blog entry.

The hard drive is a decent 256 GB, which is fine for my needs. However, it was an older spinning hard drive. Having used Apple products for the past several years, I had forgotten how easy it can be to update components in your favorite laptop; this generation of ThinkPad makes the task very easy. I have a 2014 Mac Mini on my shelf that can’t be upgraded at all, and to me that’s rather wasteful.

Our local Micro Center had a sale on SSD (solid state) hard drives, and I picked one up today for $35 plus tax. Within 10 minutes of arrive home, I had swapped out the hard drive and was restoring everything to where I had the laptop before I decided to make the change.

The new hard drive has really kicked the performance of this older computer up quite a few notches. This ThinkPad T410 is now flying along like it’s less than a year old, even though it’s probably closer to seven or eight years old.

While Apple does great things for consumers, and I believe they are trying to do great things for the planet, the idea of having to buy a new computer every X number of years or upgrading your phone every year to the latest and greatest gadget is not fitting in with my recent line of thinking.

I’m feeling like I can embrace this nifty little ThinkPad for the next couple of years. I feel like I’m making a contribution to keeping a perfect computer out of a landfill.

Small steps.


Happy Endings.

Oh, “Happy Endings”, how I miss thee. Your eppys always brought me such joy. I watch your three seasons over and over and they always make me smile. 

‘Tis a shame ABC cancelled your series a few years ago. I keep hoping Netflix or something will come to their senses and revive the series, but alas, ’tis not the year of Penny.

Until someone comes to their senses, we’ll just have to be content with reruns, and my straight crush on Eliza Coupe shall endure. 

Hope.

I have been refraining from writing about politics (too much) because honestly I was feeling PTSD-like responses to anything to do with yesterday’s election. My husband, the retired political junkie that he is, was completely enthralled with yesterday’s activities and of course we watched everything as it happened last night. I commented earlier today that I no longer feel completely hopelessness. I feel some hope that we are starting to head in a sane direction again. I feel like the gears of our democracy will start turning again. I’m hoping someone is going to hold Trump accountable. There is hope. While the Democrats did not win majority of the Senate, and honestly, I never really thought they had a chance, they did gain majority of the House and that’s huge. Very huge. The fact that Beto O’Rourke lost by a very slim margin to Ted Cruz in solidly red Texas speaks volumes. I’m really energized by Jared Polis’ win as Governor of Colorado. Polis will be the first openly gay governor in the United States. I’m also happy J.B. Pritzker won as Governor for our home state of Illinois. I just watched Trump become unhinged at his latest press conference. The man is really unstable. It’s funny how people don’t convey any worry about him being so close to the nuclear codes. I still think he might do something before the 2020 elections, just to create more chaos and confusion. For now, I’m happy with where the elections brought us last night. I feel hope. And I haven’t felt that for a long time.

Vote.

You know you should vote. You know why you should vote. I could write volumes about what’s going on in this country and why this election is so incredibly important, but I’m just going to say this: Please vote.

UA 3811.

I am my flight home from Greenville, SC to Chicago. I’m seated in the exit row on this Canadair CL-65. I drew the lucky straw and I have a lap child sitting behind me kicking the seat and making an occasional screaming sound. So much for my planned nap.

I’m suppose to wave and smile. Since I’ve missed my planned nap I’ll just mind my own business.

We are flying over the Appalachian Mountains.

They’re no Rocky Mountains but they’re interesting I guess. I have relatives that live in the mountains and love it. I’m more of a prairies and plains kind of guy. I don’t think any state deserves the nickname “Flyover State”, as there is value in every part of this country, but honestly I don’t feel the need to rush back to Nebraska. That’s the only state in the middle of the country that doesn’t really blow my skirt up. 

I wish I was flying the airplane right now. Any seat on an airplane is an awesome seat, but my favorite seat is up front.

I need to fly more. 

UA 4007.

I am on United Express flight 4007 from O’Hare to Greenville-Spartanburg. It’s been about six months since I last traveled for work; I’m looking forward to seeing my colleagues in person. Living in Chicago provides yet another perk; with O’Hare in the neighborhood it’s rare that I have to do the connecting flight routine anymore. I don’t miss the stress of bounding through an airport trying to make that next flight that I invariably scheduled to close to my arriving flight. Now if we could do something about the traffic getting to O’Hare. Small steps. I’ve been trying to find a way to share my thoughts (in a sane manner) around what’s going on in the United States these days. I’m sure I’m feeling the same fatigue as many others are experiencing when it comes to the news and the country seemingly darting from one crisis to another. In the past seven days we’ve had bombs mailed to prominent people in political arenas and nearly a dozen people shot to death in their chosen place of worship. I firmly believe the perpetrators of these crimes feel as sense of empowerment from Trump, his administration, and his supporters. I’m at the point now where I’ve lost most of my tolerance for anyone still supporting the guy. I’m sure there are folks that read this that still feel Trump is doing a great job and that the country is in a great place. I would counter you are wrong and if we’ve never had a political discussion we probably shouldn’t start the practice. Since my travel plans for work were in the air (no pun intended) until the last minute, I didn’t know if I was going to be around on Voting Day or not, so I requested an absentee ballot. Last night I completed it and sent it off in the mail. I don’t have a lot of faith that the American populace will do the right thing during these midterm elections in ten days. The polls sound encouraging but polls have been wrong before and I’m sure they’ll be wrong again. It’s all about “wait and see” right now. I hope that we’ll vote off this present political direction, but this ship will move slowly and this battle will still go on for years to come. For now, I’ll just look out the window of this beautiful flight and play “spot the airport”. I need to fly more.

Silence.

For Halloween I might dress up as Spock in “Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home” and give the Vulcan Nerve Pinch to every ass that blasts their music without headphones in every Starbucks or on every bus or train I travel on. When did it become OK to blast your music out in public like some sort of shrieking banshee? When did it become acceptable to scream a custody battle with your ex on your phone while wedged into a tight public space with dozens of people you don’t know around you? Let’s get back to the simple social contract: Don’t Be A Dick In Public.

Field Trip.

On a dark, snowy day last winter I took the CTA Brown Line down to the Loop and started riding out of downtown in random directions on the various other colored lines of the ‘L’. It was a fun experience and it was a good way for me to experience parts of Chicago that I wouldn’t otherwise see in my day-to-day travels. Before moving to Chicago we’d taken both the Orange and Blue lines in from Midway and O’Hare respectively, but that field trip was the first time I had been on the Green, Pink, and Purple lines. The CTA Yellow Line is the only line of the ‘L’ that doesn’t touch the Loop, as it starts at the Howard stop, the northern end of the Red Line, and heads out to Skokie. There are a total of three stops on the Yellow Line. I told Earl that I needed to do something a little mindless today, so we hopped on the Brown Line, transferred to the Red Line at Belmont and headed north. We took our first ride on the CTA Yellow Line and are now sitting in the Starbucks sitting not too far away from the northern end of the Yellow Line. Because the Yellow Line is out in the suburbs, the 5000 Series trains (same equipment as used on the other lines aside from Orange, Blue, and Brown) don’t move much faster in the open spaces. I honestly didn’t know these CTA ‘L’ trains could move this fast. And the vibe in the suburbs is so different from that in the city. Not bad, just different. I am so fascinated by things would otherwise find mundane.