Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Awesome Blog Find: Anticonsumerism

So, Dan found this blog:

It's freaking sweet. Originally, I wanted to go in this direction, you know anticonsumerism. Instead I decided to approach the issue from a different angle, like how we are in this consumer machine and the spiritual and emotional implications of our consumerism and work-a-holism (some people call this ambition).

Of course, being an autoblogger doesn't really help my stance any, since the automotive industry is driven by the emotional weakness and desires of its consumers (and car nuts like me). But I'm getting better, and I'm going to get a used vehicle instead of falling to pieces and additional debt over a new one. It is a constant struggle.

Wednesday, November 30, 2005

Doing your ZEN Laundry

There is also this story in Zen tradition where a student monk goes to the river to wash his clothes. There on the bank of the river he sees this 'master' washing his closes. Disturbed, the student asks 'Master, are you not free from this?' And the master quickly replies, "How could you ever be free from 'this'?", lifting his clothes out of the river.

Tuesday, November 22, 2005

It's been a rough month

A couple days ago (Sunday to be exact), I got a call from my parents saying that my mom's brother had passed away. Actually, it was the third call of the night. The first was that my Uncle Ronnie may have had a 'mini-stroke' and he was admitted to the ICU (at that point they were packing up to leave). The next call was that he was in the ICU and that his heart may have stopped. The final, omninous call brought the news, which was not surprising at all. Things like this don't hit me hard initially, but this was the second death in a month and I'm not looking forward to any more.

Last night, I couldn't help think about Ronnie. He had a stroke nearly 10 years ago, and had not been the same since. He was always so happy, though. He was always happy to see you and would get upset if you didn't come see him. Oh, I can think of all the times my family 'didn't have time' to stop by and spend a few moments with him. To think of all those opportunities lost because we didn't have time, and it really hit me hard. Thinking about reaching my arms around him, and the times that I wasn't there too.

I think my generation is probably the saddest of them all, because we, at the influence of our baby boomer parents, may be losing site of what really matters. The quality of our social interactions is pitiful, we're greedy, selfish, and self-centered.

Through all of this, I hope to see Ronnie in heaven. That's all I really want right now, to see those gone before me again.

Friday, November 18, 2005

Conflicting Views

So, I was watching the WB show 'Everwood' last night with my wife. Normally these shows have a theme that runs through all the substories. I can't remember what that theme was, but one of the MDs on the show (can't remember his name, but he's the younger one from LA) went out with his extreme sports buddy. His girlfriend, who he lives with, didn't like that he was spending is only day off to take a dangerous downhill bike trail.

So this sparks a discussion that seemed poignant. The MD was miffed that his girl didn't want him to go, and the extreme guy was like 'that's why I'm single.' That seemed to be this guy's M.O., he liked being single and the illusion of independence that brings. He was basically advocating that the MD should stay as busy as he could, and make something of his clinic (like open franchises or something, which is a stupid idea). Seeing this conversation, I figured the MD would mount his bike and in a twist of fate fall down the hill to his demise. I mean, they're having this conversation about 'what's important', the MD agrees he should keep trucking (he's over worked and doing too many things, BTW) and that everyone else is stupid for trying to hold him down. Well, his extreme friend ends up being injured (He'll never walk again sort of thing), blames the MD for going to the trial with him (because the trail wasn't officially opened until the following week and it's some extreme thing that probably wasn't safe), and basically wants to die and blames his MD friend for ruining his 'life.'

So, in summary, because this MD was working too much his free time became too valuable. He planned weeks ahead to take the day off to do this with this guy, the trail wasn't opened so they he pressured the extreme guy into taking the risk that day, because rescheduling for next week wasn't an option, his girl was pissed because he planned to take this day off (out of his ultrabusy schedule, she'd been blown off for several weeks) without planning with her... Then they have this conversation where they guy's like 'you're not dead yet, keep busting ass to get what you 'want''.

I tried to summarize that as best as possible. So what does this mean to me?

I'm working too much. I'm constantly on the computer, writing, doing IT stuff, researching for stories, planning my own business stuff. I'm constantly detached from friends and family, trying to make something of myself... Be it more money to pay off my enormous debt (mostly from my stint at a private college but a little consumer stuff), or trying to switch careers to something less IT-centric... It's all pretty self-centered really, but it's all in the guise of taking care of my family.

In all of this, I've been struggling because I'm doing too much to really be good at any one thing. I try to look for advice from a variety of sources, movies, literature, my experience, my friends, my wife, and the Bible. I've prayed on it a lot, and had plenty of time to meditate on it.

In the end, I can only say that the best thing in life is to Savor it. Not devour or inhale your time, chasing dreams that will die before you do or with you. I keep looking back at the parable of the wealthy landowner (or farmer). This wealthy dude had a good crop, and decided to store all his crop in huge barns that he would build and he wouldn't have to work every again (sounds like retirement doesn't it). Well, he spent all his time doing this, and in the end his barns burned down and I think he died.

So, it looks like between all this, we should live each day, try to 'survive', and savor every second. If that means that I take the time and thoughtfully rake leaves, so be it. You will never ever be able to stop 'working', but if you take that work and try to get as much joy out it as possible, then you'll be ok.

I'm doing too much to savor anything, and I feel like I'm spinning my wheels and wasting my precious life without accomplishing anything, connecting with my friends and family, or really making anyone happy (not even myself).

Thursday, November 17, 2005

Ah, the Joys of IT

Working in IT is alright most of the time. That is, except when there is a major project to undertake.

So I had to work out the move of our datacenter switch. In a well documented environment, this is normally no problem. No one documents anything around here, so I spent 2 weeks collecting data and working out the plan. I also made the cables.

So last night, I started the migration with one other person (who was on call). What a freaking nightmare. I pulled an all nighter (almost 24 hours on shift) and still had to work from home. So needless to say, I'm tired. I still have to work another 6 hours before I can rest.

Oh well, it's not too bad. It's honest work, it's not like I'm taking what someone else has worked on, rewriting it and calling my own.

Wednesday, November 16, 2005

Cat 6 cable and TPS reports

Trying to make patch cables out of CAT6 cable just plan sucks.

Not only that, but I have no idea what I'm going to put on my 'TPS' reports for all this extremely productive work.

Monday, November 14, 2005

Going to Win

Alright, so we're going to win.
I'm not sure what that means, but it means something. I've been talking to my partner in crime about working on other projects.

Projects this, projects that... I got a lot of time to think about what's important while I was flying to and from, walking here and there. A lot of time to think that sometimes all these projects and schemes don't really matter, that in the end it's the time that we spend with our friends and families that really matters.

I mean, greed, ambition, lust (not in my case) and a million other things set themselves up as urges that must be fulfilled, like you're fulfilling a need, when in fact you're just feeding a bottomless pit with the wages earned through hours of effort. There is nothing wrong with being driven, but one's priorities are what are important...