I got a quick IM from a friend the other night wondering how I was doing as I have been quiet lately.

Yes. Yes I have.

There are a lot of reasons for this. Some of it is lack of time to do all the things I’d like to. There are probably other reasons, too, in certain domains. But the two bigs one are lack of time and the fact that I haven’t exactly been very positive about much of anything lately. This has kept me very quiet.

As much as I may like to complain I do not enjoy burdening my friends with my gripes. And some of the things I have complaints about are very few people’s business anyway.

Another part of it is that being on the job market I must really watch what I say and do. It breaks my heart to even think such thoughts but I can be realistic. [Actually, I think I am far more realistic than most people realize, but that is another issue.]

This is a time when I probably need my friends more than normal. Yet, I have slipped back into my shell anyway. And then that cycle gets exacerbated.

For instance, Anna Creech noticed that I had linked to one of her older posts and the link was broken in some blog maintenance that she had done so she sent me an email with the new link. I greatly appreciated that and fully meant to write her back and thank her. But I haven’t yet.

I installed a plugin to find broken links a while back and eventually it found 680-some odd broken links. [68x broken links out of 93x posts is quite disheartening.] I had fixed a couple of links already but when I fixed Anna’s the count immediately started going down. Rapidly. I tracked the downward progress over the next 18 or so hours and it got down to 196.

And then it started going back up again. After another 2 days or so it was back up to 680. Gah! I watched all this and took notes as it went down and then up again. All of this took longer than I had meant to take to write Anna a thank you note, though. When it all finally stabilized I was feeling bad for not responding to Anna yet. And so I haven’t.

I know it makes no sense. But there it is. [I do hope to write Anna before posting this.]

I have watched another friend come out of their shell and seem to flourish lately which does my heart no end of good. So I have left them alone due to my negativity lack of positivity. Not something they need right now.

I am also applying to jobs. I hate applying to jobs. I spent 20+ years in the Army to avoid just this. I have been in school for the past 10 years, some of which was possibly to continue avoiding this. I have no issues with working, only with applying for work.

I have lots of disappointments in my life and the whole process is full of disappointments. So not so much fun (as most might well agree). It seems funny but whenever I have spent a while somewhere many of the folks come to really appreciate having me around. My current workmates seem to want me to stay (as usual) but they have no job to offer me. I in no way look forward to having to go on interviews and “peddle my flesh.” My flesh is not worth peddling. It is my heart and soul (and mind) that you want. And I am incapable of showing you that in an interview. Well, perhaps not incapable but certainly recommended that I not try.

Alright. Mark, stop!

I promised myself this would not get out of hand but it has already. [And, yes, I cut lots out; multiple times.]

Let me just say:

  • I am tired.
  • I am sore, always.
  • I am stuck in my own head with no one to help sort out the messes.
  • I am really scared that my intermittent illness is coming back.
  • I am looking for a job.
  • I am about to be a non-student student. That is, I am not done but will lose most every “privilege” that comes with being a student. Like the ability to use the health clinic.
  • I’m not happy with much of anything on this blog in a long time. E.g., if WP is to be trusted then no one has linked to me since that idiocy about e-book week back in February and I can’t say I blame ’em. That wasn’t even a conversation I wanted to have and it probably got more links than any other post except a Carnival post.
  • My son is heading back to this fucked up war of ours. Yes, it is ours. Yours and mine. And it is still going on lest you have failed to notice recently.
  • And I am terrified that I will deal with this no better than the first time.

Everything is not bad, to say the least, which is why I changed negativity to lack of positivity above.

  • I have been seriously enjoying the flowers and trees as they bloom.
  • I have been enjoying taking photos of them and actually learning to use my camera a bit (which has greatly helped).
  • I have been enjoying laughing at all the people complaining about the weather. Yes, even my friends.
  • I have a book reviewing gig for a prominent publication.
  • I was complaining to Allen Renear about an example in an article and he fully agreed with me that the authors blew it on that one.
  • I saw many of my far flung friends Sunday at Commencement.
  • I got a nice compliment from a ravishing woman Sunday.

Heavenly wine and roses
seem to whisper to me when you smile

Lou Reed – Sweet Jane

There’s just too much thinking going on in my head and I basically have no one to talk about it with. And this blog is not the place to do so for most of it.

So. There you have it. I’m being quiet and that is probably best. In fact, best would be to strip out 90% of this post.

I do want my friends to know, though, that I do love them deeply. I am not trying to avoid anyone and would not resent anyone checking in with me if they desire to. No promises on speed or length of reply though. I already owe a couple people a response.

All in all, I’m actually pretty good. I am not depressed right now. Just not exuding a lot of positive vibes lately. And I need to reserve those for the job search and, more importantly, for my friends.

But I won’t let it change me, not if I can
I’d rather believe in love
and give it away as much as I can
To those that I am fondest of

Allen Reynolds – Dreaming My Dreams with You

As for the good, I need to say a very special “Thank you!” to an amazing person I am honored to call friend. We spent a good 5 1/2 hours talking last night. She let me bitch and moan. We talked about the good(s), too. We talked about things I just do not talk about with anybody. And then she let me into a special piece of her world. Thank you!

i search your profile for a translation
i study the conversation like a map
’cause i know there is strength
in the differences between us
and i know there is comfort
where we overlap

Ani DiFranco ¤ overlap ¤ out of range

Mark at Off the Mark is Off

Sitting here waiting on the bus home, I am now on my second 5-day “vacation”!

The one person that I really wanted to go visit is unavailable at the moment. And, Laura, I’d love to come visit you but cannot consider driving to Meeteetse and back in 5 days. Same goes for Helen in Vermont. Et. al.

So, I’ll do a few other things:

  • I learned that there IS a botanical gardens nearby, Mabery Gelvin Botanical Garden. I will go.
  • Wander Allerton Park grounds.
  • Read some.
  • Watch some movies. Since I just rented 3 I’m on my way….
  • Get some more running in, if the heat (and other weather) cooperates.
  • Weed out some more books and stuff from my apartment.
  • Straighten up the back room.
  • Get solid drafts of a resume and cover letters for the 2 jobs I’m applying for out to my reviewers.
  • “Sleep in.”
  • Drink a few tasty beers.
  • Have a picnic lunch (probably at one of the 1st 2 places).
  • Back-up/migrate some more data off the PC.
  • Catch the Perseids Monday AM if the weather cooperates.

Notice that there is little in the way of quantitative goals in there, whether relaxing or producing. The 2 job apps are kind of a necessary evil. But otherwise….

Unfortunately no decision to be made

Last weekend I heard that the 24th Annual Insect Fear Film Festival is tonight. I did not go the last 2 years because I was in no mood to go by myself, but I promised myself that I was going this year.

Then on Monday I got an email that my friend, Eva Hunter, and her band are playing in Bloomington tonight after a several month hiatus.

Damn! What to do? I’ve been torn all week.

Well, the weather has answered for me. Neither, is the answer. [Power just popped off and back on. Glad I have the stereo and computers on UPSs!]

It’s been precipitating all day—freezing rain and sleet. So with Ice Storm Warnings and Flood Watches in effect until midnight I’m not going anywhere; even “just” to campus.

I guess I ought to be happy that I don’t have to choose, but still, “Damn!”

Snow day tomorrow, too and Happy Birthday ISU

So we got us one heck of a blizzard and tomorrow has already been cancelled. Well, not tomorrow exactly, but you know what I mean.

I do hope the wind dies down though so they can get the roads cleared before Thursday morning. See, I have to travel an hour away because I have a bell to ring.

This year, Founder’s Day at Illinois State University (my undergrad alma mater) is the 15th and it is the Sesquicentennial of ISU. The oldest public institution of higher education in the state is 150 years old.

Since 2002, members of the Illinois State University family have celebrated the heritage of the state’s first public university in this special Founders Day ceremony. The bell from Old Main, the first building on the campus of what was then called Illinois State Normal University, is permanently displayed on the University Quad at the site of Old Main. Throughout the years, the bell was a symbol of daily campus life as it tolled the hours each day.

Although the Old Main building was deemed to be structurally unsound and removed from the campus in 1958, the bell remains a reminder of the campus that sprung up from the prairie. During Founders Day activities, the bell is brought back to active service as selected members of the University community pull the rope to ring it once for each year in the life of the institution.

I was a 2nd year (2003) bell ringer and as such am invited back each year to assist by ringing my little commemorative replica bell. I did participate in 2004 since I was still there, but have not made it back before now. The year I was an official bell ringer (2003), Founder’s Day was actually on my birthday. So if Birthday Month is truly and finally on my side now I’ll be able to make it over to Normal to participate in a few of the Sesquicentennial festivites at the university dearest to my heart—for so many reasons—and see some of my friends and hang out with many of the other past bell ringers; many of whom are far more prestigious than lowly little me.

Happy Birthday, ISU! “and gladly would he learn, and gladly teach

I hereby declare Birthday Month has begun

Just as I was about to head out the door and try and catch another bus, which I just noticed went by only 5 minutes late, I got an IM from Karla saying all classes at UIUC had been cancelled!

I verified it on the University website and I IM’d another friend who had made it in to work. She said they were about to be sent home, probably. Unsure whether we will get paid for any or all of the day, but at this point, “Whatever!”

Wishes do sometimes come true! I got my wish for a February storm (preferably not ice) and it is even big enough to close campus; well after most anything else was closed.

I see I just got a comment from Liz on my previous post about winter weather ruining her March birthdays so maybe I should explain.

I am not actually a fan of winter either. I grew up in the north suburbs of St. Louis County (MO) until the summer of my 15th year and then lived in the far, far, far west ‘burbs of Chicago until the day after I turned 19 and went into the Army.

As a kid, winter was OK sometimes but I could take it or leave it. The Army was the real problem. It spent 20 years out in the winter weather, standing around for 20-40 minutes at a time for no sane reason (formations), practice “camping”, shoveling so a walkway could become icy death when it was more sensible to slog through the 2-3 inches of snow, etc. In other words, lots of time in the winter weather on anything but my own terms. I came to despise winter.

I also do not snow ski in any form, I do not snowmobile, ice fish, or anything else outdoorsy that needs winter conditions.

But after “retiring” from the Army in 1998, returning to the Midwest and trying to piece my life together as I slowly and painfully began to come out an immensely deep depression and somewhere along the time I started the concept of Birthday Month to help me focus on more positive things, I also realized that I am a child of the American Midwest who happened to have a birthday in February. The middle of winter! So I learned to convince myself that winter—at least February winter—really isn’t so bad. I decided to actually like whatever the winter weather gods of February threw at me; sometimes it manifests itself only in bare toleration, but at least I don’t stress about it. I even decided that it was patently unfair if we did not get a major February storm.

Thus began my wish each February for a major winter storm in celebration of Birthday Month. While not exactly good at it usually, I guess this is an example of “making lemonade.”

Blizzard Warning! One wish down, two to go…


Originally uploaded by broken thoughts.

It seems I got my wish for at least one storm during Birthday Month! I hope this bodes well for Birthday Month because, despite my best intentions and the loving recommendations of friends, I am having a hard time getting started on Birthday Month this year.

Yesterday I tried to schedule an hour long massage for my birthday next week, but the therapist is going to be out of town. Sure, there are other therapists there and even cheaper places to go. But Zorica knows my back and takes it as a personal challenge. She is also the only person I’ve met who is up to the challenge. I don’t want to be petted–OK, maybe I do but I ain’t paying for that–or simply put to sleep. I want my back to be relaxed for a while once the massage is over and there is an immense amount of knotted muscle to get through before a massage will even begin to do anything. Paying most anyone else for a massage would just be throwing money away.

OK, off to see if I can catch the bus this time. One is late, the next reasonably on time, … If I have to wade through a foot of snow (which, yes, I wished for) I want the bus to actually come.

Snow day! Sort of anyway…

We have winter! It could be worse, but I decided not to risk it in my non-sure-footed car on the 1st snow. Blowing, freezing fog, snow, sleet, visibility issues. Most people have to re-experience how to drive in the snow and they drive like they never have done it before the first time.

So, I’m working from home this morning; doing meta-thesaural work. I need to provide some info and views on how I see the thesaurus, or don’t see it, to be more accurate. Then we’ll try and have a meeting Mon or Tue afternoon next week. Wish me well. I need some help visualizing the thesaurus or else I’m the wrong person for the job. I have plenty to work with as to providing an overview of the situation, including details about any specific terms and what I did with them.

I made a 2nd (small) pot of coffee and got out the biscotti for my 2nd snack of the morning. I can stay toasty and watch the early winter swirl around outside while getting work done. This is a nice ending to the week.

So. Welcome to December. It’s off to work I go….

Weird weather lately

Yes, Virginia, we, too, have been having unseasonably warm weather. In late November. Had to open my window last night; after turning off the heat several days ago. It’ll be in the 60s today, getting rainier, and then sleet and 20s for tomorrow. Yay! November is back.

Seriously though, we had some great weather over break. Warm, sunny and calm winds. We had at least 3 days like that. I did get to the disc golf course on Black Friday. If I had been paying attention I could have went on Thanksgiving or Sat. It’s been warm in assorted ways for even longer. Up till today, anyway.

I got in to talk with Carole about my class yesterday. It’s all good; I’ll just be taking a little longer. Carole was awesome, as usual. Discussed many of the same things as I did with Kathryn last week; this discussion was far lass abstract, though. Seems I have a better handle on how to possibly get the rest of my education restarted. I don’t necessarily have an “answer;” I have a path that may provide an answer. It feels ok.

It is odd, but I seem to be stitching together my recent past, present, and near future education into a (possibly) coherent vision. Probably the main reason the story couldn’t be constructed, much less told, was I needed to come to grips with how dichotomous it has all been and seemed, lately. I let Carole in on some of that oddness yesterday; but again, eight days later I have more of a plan.

She was great, and in advisor role, not professor. She knows me well enough to take a more long-term and growth-oriented perspective. I have been lucky to have people like Carole and Kathryn (and others) to talk to here at GSLIS.

In other news, I heard from Dr. Marcia Zeng yesterday that I am on the ASIS&T Standards Committee. Dr. Zeng is the incoming Chair of the committee.

Today I picked up a book I ordered via ILL to evaluate personally and as a possible recommendation for the LIS Library to purchase: Advance Topics in Information Technology Standards and Standardization Research, Vol. 1. / Kai Jakobs, ed., c2005. It looks like a current overview of (some) issues in standards and could be very helpful. I’ll have to have a look at the previous title, also: Information technology standards and standardization : a global perspective / Kai Jakobs, c2000.

This morning when I headed out of the house the day was just like a warm day in late November “should” be, that is, blustery, gray and overcast. It still is that way in mid-afternoon. Said cooling off is still scheduled for tomorrow morning. In fact, if it stays as currently forecast, I’ll be able to leave the window open tonight and close it when I get up tomorrow.