April 10, 2004

thought for the day


aging pope chews off own thumbs

April 8, 2004


I have been assimilated. My mind is gone, no numb, no gone, no numb. Hello, What? (Once and Future King--I loved that book as a kid. Deep evergreen forests and knights with shimmering swords and magic and stuff. now they talk about harry potter. i don't know or care from harry potter. special defects and all.) So, hello, what? Work has been so non-ending, 5 a.m., 2 a.m., you gotta take it while it's there - this is the only time I miss having a team. No one to even cry to. My house--never, not in 10 years, this bad. Condemnable. The sweet-eating ants are back. I've decided to let them have the place. I am thinking to give them names like eatsy and beatsy and tiny and big boy (the one who carries his dead colleagues home--poor troops having ingested george's latest boric acid buffet, the poor man's biological weapons of mass instruction, which they are obviously breeding to resist) and fluffy and buffy and Henry and Gwenneth.

It just doesn't matter not any of it. It doesn't make the pain stop. It doesn't make meaning.


April 6, 2004

The secret life of the infrequent meeter

I am an undomesticated animal in the pet store of business. No matter where I turn, I leek urine on the carpets, track in mud, and when they're not looking, I've got my eye on the beef-basted chew toys better known as free notepads and pencils.

Once I lived in conference rooms. Half-day here, hour there, full-day here and there. I remembered, yesterday, sitting in a four-hour meeting, swiveling in my corner chair, the comfy black leather kind that I couldn't resist leaning back in, folding my hands behind my head, thinking gee, long time since I've done that, drifting, feeling important. I remembered what it was like.

Once upon a time, I was a frequent meeter.

Smells of old meeting rooms come back in waves, the new-paint scent of the barely-occupied corridor on the 22nd floor, slippery cold welcoming my elbows on the laminated wood conference tables.

Coming to from my reverie, I notice seven black leather portfolios competing around the table, and me with my spiral-bound $1.29 Walmart notebook, college-ruled at least, which I flip through during the introductions to find a page without Barbie stickers lining the bottom. That little girl of ours can't keep her hands off a notebook.

The expert meeters write down the date and topic of the meeting. They have to do that because they go to a lot of these things. I doodle some geometric shapes instead, and then start scanning the faces. I guess at how many are married, decide one is definitely in an open marriage, I wonder where their kids are today, who watches porn and who doesn't.

This, of course, is not what I'm here to accomplish. But I'm finding that I've forgotten to keep my attention span in shape this last year, and whenever I'm around a group of people, I hyperlink off into places better left static. I've developed new habits as a worker in the knowledge age, and putting me inside four cramped walls is one of the worst ways to keep me focused.

The habits of the frequent meeters are so different from my own habits now.

We take notes on the same things, the frequent meeters and I, but my cadence is different; I'm already in an MSWord window in my head. I'm thinking in analogies and metaphors. I write down what I need to know; they write down a lot they don't need to know.

Frequent Meeters are used to working lunches, and they remember to put their trash in the nicely branded boxes the caterer uses to pack the sandwiches, chips, pasta salad and cookies. I notice, later in the day, that I used my lunch napkin to blow my nose and all my unused condiment packets are littering my personal table space. My mustard nudges my table neighbor's portfolio.

When frequent meeters finish a meeting, you know it. There's no real cue, but time for them is in-built, and each begins rumbling and stacking papers, reaching down for a briefcase, shifting posture, sighs, laughter. The icing on the cake: portfolios slap shut.

Like me, I think, they're glad it's over.

On the way home, I call RageBoy. I say, "I forgot about the cookies, man. You know--meeting cookies? They are big fucking cookies with those chunks inside them, all rippley. They were so good! I had two."

The frequent meeters, they don't remember the cookies.

A Paying Gig for Bloggers

Blogsister Roxanne Cooper is offering $250 (paid via tipjar, amazon, or powells) to the person (with a valid email address) who comes up with the best new name for her blog.

Not often we get a chance to name a cool blog and score some cash. Get on over to Roxanne's and see all the cool names folks are leaving. Then, if you're like me, you'll say, crap I can't beat those.

April 5, 2004

Serenity Now!

The first bump, bruise, toe stub, stumble or tumble that marks the beginning of "one of those days" usually seems like "just one of those things."

You can't know it's going to be "one of those days" until you've stubbed at least twice, broken more than one glass, lost your keys behind the basement steps *and* burned the toast. One of those days requires an accumulation of errors, miscues, and minor ailments.

I hate those days of surprise. There's really no such thing as a little surprise for me. I don't handle surprises well, feeling them morph into shock, no, not around the curve, inside the drain, on the stairs, or in the oven. Surprises are like sushi to me--I can't get the hang of it. Even good surprises bother me.

It's a fight or flight thing. I get stuck somewhere in the transition. That space in between fight and flight, better known as terror.

Some days I feel as if I've made a permanent home there.

Days like this.


Halley and friends have started a new bloggerzine called Worthwhile. A nice lineup of contributors and already some good posts up. I've just been released from an all-day meeting, so I finally have five seconds to check it out--YAY!

April 4, 2004

Musings on the Anniversary of My Emancipation

April 1st one year ago, five years to the day after I started there, I took my last walk into Ketchum to drop off the paperwork that got me a little bit of money and 30 days more of health insurance, which, at nearly $1000 per month for COBRA, was like walking in to receive a gold nugget.

The weather hit spring here a couple of weeks back. As the softness returned to the air, it dawned on me that April Fools day had more meaning than the tricks Jenna tried to pull over on us all day long. I remembered that it had been a year since my emancipation from the corporate world.

The realization hit suddenly, since I generally go missing from myself somewhere around St. Patrick's day. When the dogwood blossoms sprang and I got wind of the season having changed, I had a few different thoughts (listed in no particular order) on the startling fact that I had made it through my first year as an independent consultant of the "writing" flavor:

1) holy shit, I made it!
2) holy shit, I'm tired.
3) holy shit, it's tax time!
4) holy shit, holy shit.

For me, the transition from agency to my own business has not been as jolting as it might have been if I hadn't already been working from home.

Essentially, I realized significant efficiency gains, as one might say if one had to write such phrases for a living, through having only ONE email account to check each day, only one channel through which clients and friends could communicate with me electronically.

Gone was my Ketchum email with so many dozens of messages each day, approximately 1/4 of them useful to me; Gone was Lotus Notes (praise be!), a requirement for working on IBM; gone was YAHOO messenger (another IBM team requirement); gone was logging into the corporate Intranet; gone were meeting notices.

gone gone gone.

On April 2nd, 2003, it was just me and bellsouth.

I felt both puny and free.

No more teams. No more resources. No more "global network" or best practices.

Sometimes, what's missing is just what needs to be missing.

One thing that eased the transition from part-time corporate citizen to full-time Net citizen was my home in blogspace. This space has been my workplace for so long now that losing my "internal" business colleagues was far less traumatic than it might have been. When you work from your couch for five years, and then you sign some paperwork, and go back home and work from your couch another year, the realworld watercooler just doesn't figure into the grief equation.

The friends I had "inside" are still my friends (though few are left "inside") and the only difference is that I get emails from them at my home email account. I've collaborated or have been turned on to work by so many of them over the past year, that they really haven't gone anywhere. And neither have I. At the sametime, we've all gone everywhere compared to where we'd been.

During this first year I had some pretty cool successes, and I'm thinking I need to round up links to what I can and update my e-portfolio (which I haven't touched in a year). If I do, I might post some links here, to remind myself what year one of my sole proprietorship was like.

I don't miss my real job. It seems so unreal to me now. A flip in perspective, a flip in priorities.

It seems unreal that I ever made the commute, infrequently as it might have been; it seems unreal that I ever sat in that cube, or in my fancy glass office at the job before Ketchum; it seems unreal that I ate lunch at restaurants; it seems unreal that I ever talked to clients on a phone with a tethered receiver; it seems unreal that I printed on a laser printer; it seems unreal that I ever knew what time it was.

It sees unreal that I ever did anything other than what I'm doing right now.

And I guess, in some ways, that's because I never have.

The Husband of Wirearchy

Jon Husband is just great in this post, where he discusses reading Emergence, which Euen let him borrow, presumably while they were secretly defining the standards of BLX 1.0.

Jon writes: "This will be the first age where we are truly, at the meta level, governed by the feedback loops that we create, both consciously and unconsciously. We will be organized to, and governed by, the dynamics of championing-and-channeling rather than commanding-and-controlling."

God willing.

follow the pictures n links

I saw the pictures of hyenas on leashes at Golby's (hi mike!) site, and he links to others who show a couple of additional photos.

Don't miss Yule's musings over how these pictures scare her more than images that are in some ways more violent, and what she makes of that.

...pictures of guys in uniforms with big weaponry don't have the power to frighten me in the same way. Why?

Same goes for me, where somehow the illusion of the "lesser evil" of democratic danger over anarchic danger may be just that.

Interesting question.

Note to self: Treat Nigerian spammers with more respect.

anyone who first came here in the last two weeks doesn't know who I am

I'm sorry I've been LAME and LOW on blogging since the PhoneCon Phenom, but the problem is thatt work has been insanely busy, doing taxes was insanely frightning, jenna had an insane ear infection, and my left over reserve left not much for writing.

I've been popping around comments where my wit and wisdom is frequently welcomed, sometimes not, infrequently deleted, and maddeningly, only once, yesterday, edited (see mamamusings.com's flap over assaholic back-channel behavior).

I don't make "I" statements in blogging; I'm not always delicate, I don't have the time or the inclination to treat indelicacy with delicacy; I won't preface my writing with "in my opinion," or "from my perspective," because this is, after all, weblogging, and that we are offering our opinions is rather undeniabley inherent.

I'm benevolent with folks who are being real, and I can sniff a personal agenda and self-serving attitude a country mile away. I call folks on bullshit when I see bullshit, and I respect when I'm called on bullshit. I've been writing on blogs since 2001, have some specifiic notions on what we are (and should be) doing here, and sometimes I even share those.

I consider weblogging both sacred and meaningless at the same time.

Don't fuck with me, I'm BLX certified.

NICE e-book, Free Culture

Hey, Taran has a wonderful Free Culture e-book on easylum. Go read it and enjoy!

HEY! the universe just ate one of my billable hours!

Windows just pushed my clock ahead an hour. Yah, well, spring this. I'm billing it.