Friday, April 30, 2010

Deepwater Horizon

We're watching a slow motion disaster. Just beyond the horizon. Out of sight but always in our minds. Where's the oil? Will it start washing up on the beach today? Tomorrow? When? How many birds will it kill? How long will our commercial fishermen be unemployed? What will it cost to clean up? When will they stop new oil from spilling into our Gulf? And a thousand other questions. None of which have real answers.

For now, eleven families have lost their loved ones. For now, there is a ten day ban on commercial fishing. For now, projected clean up costs reach $12B. For now, projected fishing losses reach $3B. For now, projected tourism losses reach $4B. And for now, there is no projected animal body count. We have to wait to see how that goes.

As for repairs? For now, six non-stop teams of remote-controlled robotic subs have failed to stop the flow. For now, it could be two more weeks before concrete-and-steel sleeves are put in place to cap the three gushing lines. For now, it could take $100M and three months to get a relief rig in place to tap the feed to the open lines.

And for now, the corpse of Deepwater Horizon continues to spew two hundred thousand gallons of raw crude into the Gulf each and every day.

That's roughly two million gallons of oil released, so far.

And it won't be stopping any time soon.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Rib Meat

Even though I slacked on my own autobiography for a while, I didn't neglect my health. I put in 3 - 5 days a week at the gym. I watched what I ate. And I avoided junk food / fast food with a passion. At some point, I hit 195lbs. First time since 2005. But that was due to 3 days without power (ie: Air Conditioning!) Three days of stress and terror. Three days helping other families recover in the wake of Katrina. Since then, I went up to 217. But now I've cut 22lbs, and I'm at (or below) 195lbs. Ten more to go. I'll be at my fighting weight. 185. A weight I haven't seen in more than a decade.

To help recover from some workouts, I visited April today. Hands like a pneumatic vice. Therapeutic massage, she calls it. Borders on torture. Not the least bit romantic or relaxing. But incredibly refreshing once it is all done. Except once. Near the beginning, she was dragging an elbow down the length of my spine, and she hit a land mine in my back. Lights went off behind my eyes and my legs wanted to twitch like an electrified frog. Whenever she would knead a certain knot, I'd all but pass out from the pain. Turns out that it wasn't a knot. It was a rib. My 8th. And it was "out of alignment." Dislocated rib meat. Probably slipped off while I was moving a fridge last weekend. Required a lot of directed breath, some forced relaxation, and a phenomenal amount of sharp edged pain. But I felt exponentially better after April wrangled it back in place. A weight lifted off of me.

But the odd thing was not knowing it was out of place until she caught it. How long would that have jabbed me if April hadn't found it?

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Three New Friends

During my long absence I found a couple of new friends. Some technology. I'd been resisting for a while. Fear and funding my main opponents to change. But I took a series of leaps and found myself bearhugging 2010 computing.

Windows 7 - To a computer junkie like me, changing your OS is akin to changing your soul. We spend years getting everything the way we like it. We get comfortable. Everything is fine tuned. All our widgets are tweaked for optimal performance. Our systems all but purr. Then a newer version of our beloved (or loathed) operating system comes out. Nobody I know seriously dives into the change. We usually make tons of excuses. Drag our feet. Resist. Resist. Resist.

But I finally dipped my toe in the waters of Windows 7. And I liked it. First my netbook. Then a PC at work. And finally my home PC. It wasn't easy or pleasant to make the transition, but I'm really enjoying it. The OS is snappier. Cleaner. More productive. Sure, sure, sure, it probably borrows heavily from Apple. But it is a truly magnificent change. And I'm still finding my way around this new monster.  But I'm a fan. Very big fan. And I'm encouraging everyone to make the switch.

HP Mini Netbook - I've had this thing for a while. But I've only recently started tweaking it. As a hard core computer junkie, I'm usually multitasking for hours. Dual monitors. A horde of applications cascading across all my desktops. Downshifting to a lower gear with this netbook took a few tries before I saw the benefit. It is ultra portable and fairly powerful (for its size) but the screen is quite limited. It forces me to slow down. I have to monotask. And that is a big big change for me. I'm not used to only doing one thing. But I like it. Especially when it comes to cleaning out an Inbox.I'm able to gnaw through my tasks quicker. And I feel less distracted.  Won't give up my desktop, but I do use the netbook more than every.

Wireless networking - But the biggest luxury of the netbook is that it is wireless! I installed (and secured!) a wireless access point. And now I can sit in bed and catch up on email. I can soak in the tub and listen to Pandora. I can get some sunshine and still work on projects or place orders on Amazon. Very very very liberating.

One day soon, I'll get Meg's pink Sony Vaio fixed. (She dropped it and broke the power port.) Maybe upgrade her to Windows 7. And the two of us can roam the house like giddy digital nomads.

Changes. Difficult to commit initially. Yet well worth the effort. No regrets.

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Fix Is On

Watching C-SPAN. Bunch of financial executives getting grilled by Congressmen. Villains questioning other villains. A grand, farcical comedy put on to appease the sheeple. There won't be any serious reform. Nobody in power wants it. Obama has surrounded himself with former Wall Street dupes. Geither, Poulson, Gary Gensler, Rahm Emanuel, Mark Patterson, Larry Summers. So on. So forth. All alumni from the Blood Sucking Vampire Squid (aka Goldman Sachs.)

Further proof? Check the stock market. All the mavens and quants and brokers see the covert writing on the wall. While all the mewling sheeple were watching Senator Levin bravely taunting Dan Sparks by repeatedly saying "shitty deal," on C-SPAN, the traders bought more and more of Goldman's stock. The result? A one-day gain of $549M in the investment giant's market value.

We're watching smoke and mirrors. Wall Street has already bribed their way into a successful end game. The fix is on.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Ab Aeterno

Blink. Six weeks later. Side projects. House work. Chaos at the office. Earth Day. Personal issues. Raising kids. Consoling my lone brother. Teaching a class. Green drinks. The gym. The car. A little of this. A lot of that. I honestly don't know where the time went.

I feel better when I write. It is a private exorcism. All these dead memories in my head. After too long they clump together. In thick grey patches. Clogging the pipes.

I'll catch up. Somehow. Someday. Before I forget. Before the dead have moved on. Ab aeterno. Into eternity.