Archive for the 'justdrew Personal' Category
Well, I guess after months of inactivity, it’s time to update this site.
I nearly lost my best friend last week. My wife of some 20+ years (we gave up counting a long time ago) contracted a virus that caused her meninges (the membrane that surrounds our spine and brain) to inflame to the point where she had a seizure.
I have had some medical training, but nothing really prepares you for seeing someone you know and love become a flailing, gasping rag doll for three excruciating minutes. Now, any time three minutes seems like a short amount of time to you- try holding your breath and watching the clock. You’ll get some idea of how very long 180 seconds truly is.
Turns out this is both bad and good. It has helped me realize how much we neglect time and neglect our lives by letting small moments go unnoticed and unremarked.
Not only due to the threat of having it all taken away at any moment- which it can be, make no mistake. We are all just a moment away from experiencing the abyss of eternity and the end of our seemingly permanent existence. Sometimes we get reminded of this. And I think we’re fools if we ignore such opportunities to recognize and appreciate the gift of our mortality.
My motivation to write this came partially from a conversation with some relatives who implied that our near-brush with death should somehow convince me of the existence of their mythical deity.
I am convinced that if you believe in some other-worldly wishful afterlife, you’re likely to fall into the trap of allowing those little moments to go by un-cherished in this life. All the while convinced that there’s another infinite one waiting just around the corner. Well, to turn Pascal’s wager on its head here: what if *you* (the believer) are wrong?! What if you’ve been pining for something that turns out not to be part of reality??
What if the bus you’ve been waiting on –instead of getting up and walking to your destination– never comes?
Which of us will look back on our lives gnashing our teeth over the missed opportunities? The things never said or tried? You might console yourself with ‘Well, I’ll get plenty of opportunities to do that in heaven…’ but we both know better. Just like little Jimmy who still desperately wants to believe in Santa thinks that if he just believes hard enough, his mean so-called friends who said ‘Santa is just your parents’ will be proven wrong. There *is* a santa claus. There just *has* to be.
And like Jimmy, you’ll only be trying to comfort yourself for the mistakes you never bothered to try and repair in this life. You always had more time, right? And even at the end of your life you still think you still have more time, but you don’t.
Soon you will go back to the place you were before you existed as a sentient being. Your consciousness was something of a fluke. A rare spurt in the cosmic dust that appeared to have purpose, but will fade into the background radiation of space like all the other majestic stars that first generated the atoms you briefly used to form your body while alive on Earth.
We all have but a moment on this planet to do anything; great or small. Then we are gone. Maybe some of us will be remembered for a short time, but all will eventually settle back to the void of space. That, if anything, is our heaven. We are merely specs on the radar of cosmic space-time. Barely registering as a contrast to the vast meaninglessness of the cosmos.
And yet, that can be enough. If you really suck the marrow out of life here on Earth. And if you face reality for what it is- that is your only true choice. All else is wishful (and IMO wasteful or even dangerous) thinking.
To all my well-intentioned but (again, IMO) deluded friends and (mostly) relatives who even hinted that Jeanette’s illness was somehow ‘proof’ of their god’s existence, I say you go ahead and pray to that nasty imaginary ‘friend’ of yours.
Reality has no need for such inventions. To paraphrase one of my fav quotes from Col. David Crockett, ‘you all can go to hell, I am going to Texas’ I say ‘you all can have your petty god delusion (and its hell), I will embrace reality and not regret it’
I often wonder, “Don’t the creationists ever stand up, look around and recognize how much what they’re saying [in defense of creationism] is a mirror image of what flat-earthers and geo-centrists said just four or five centuries ago?”
It borders on insanity to look past the overwhelming evidence of evolution, yet maintain it does not exist simply because your religious texts say otherwise.
Apparently, these buffoons are no more students of history than they are of science (and reality).
I guess it’s okay if a few of us wish to believe that the moon is made of cheese, the sun rotates around a flat earth, and some god made it all in 6 days a mere 6,000 years ago. But teaching innocent children this nonsense serves only to retard the human race and to stifle their innate curiosity and creativity. Why bother searching for facts when those facts contradict our nice little illusion?
Fortunately, there are voices that hold a light up to the forces of willful ignorance. One day we can move on to solving the real problems we face- and stop getting in our own way by propping up these childish fairy tales as literal facts.
While this priceless quote values the immediate need of jobs, I agree the same is true of long-term human progress:
Baton Rouge high school student Zach Kopplin said up-to-date biology texts are critical to training Louisiana students to compete in a global economy. While there are plenty of jobs for biologists, “There are zero creationist jobs. Zero,” Kopplin said.
Sometimes I really, really love the interwebs…
Go to full screen and enjoy!!
Recently I posted a snarky comment on a friend’s Facebook post that highlighted a recent Onion article that calls into relief how a certain conservative moron has thousands of equally moronic conservatives under his sway.
The headline is a classic:
Nation Once Again Comes Under Sway Of Pink-Faced Half-Wit
In case you don’t care to read the article, Glen Beck is the
asshole moronhalf-wit in question.
I chimed in with this comment,
Drew What is it these days with conservatives and stupid people? At least Bill Buckley Jr had a brain… why do these morons now choose to follow other morons? So bizarre.
which was followed up by Jon, an apparently incensed conservative who took offense at my characterization of conservatives as moronic… which isn’t what I meant to say.
Jon If ya’ll think conservatives = morons I’m not sure this disconnect you feel is their fault…
Okay, deep breath. Obviously painted with too broad a brush there, Drew. So I replied with
Drew Okay, not all conservatives are morons; but Beck is, Palin is, Rush is… and every dumbass who swallows what these clods serve up is- at the risk of sounding redundant- a moron.
To which Jon says
Jon You’re proving my point. Doesn’t screaming `you’re an idiot’ at someone you disagree with (without, of course, actually addressing anything specific) show more about your own lack of understanding than anything else? And by the way, Buckley and Rush were friends, I was a big admirer of his. Was it the PBS show and his aristocratic accent that made him more palatable?
Really? What does he expect, citations? This is a Facebook comment thread, not a formal debate. Also, I was not screaming anything.
In any case, a mutual friend’s FB wall is no place for what was shaping up to be a good ol’ political argument. Still trying to keep it light, I clarified my position and ignored the fallacy implied that just because Buckley was friends with Rush (something of which I was unaware) that makes Rush smart by association. Very smart people are bound to have friends with room-temperature intellects. The law of averages demands it.
Drew I’m not saying they’re morons because they disagree with me. They are morons because of their reckless and childish adherence to logical fallacies and hate-filled speech.
I referenced Buckley as a counter-example. He was smart- not because of his accent -I’ve read many of his books and articles and in my head he has a very different accent
Of course, our intrepid conservative is having none of that
Jon Reckless and childish adherence to logical fallacies = faith? Hate filled speech = the state has to shrink?
Really? not sure I said anything about faith (though I will) nor the size of the state (which I feel is a red herring- conservatives are generally quite happy to increase the size of the state when it can enforce their agenda- remember faith-based initiatives and the Patriot Act?)
Still, neither of those are things I even remotely referred to, so I posted this rejoinder… plus an apology to the friend whose wall is now filling with these comments
Drew Wow, I didn’t think it was possible to present a strawman in such a short post. Well done, sir.
Jon, you’ve inspired me. Let’s take this to my blog- FB comment thread is not the best forum for a political debate. Sorry, Sian
Hence this blogpost where the debate can continue, should Jon care to.
He has the last word on the thread with
Jon Strawman? As you didn’t give me much I was guessing. And I’m not interested in debating, just trying to understand. You’re a liberal (right?), and that’s fine, I’m just fascinated by the dismissiveness. Political opponents aren’t just misguided, they’re morons, hated filled, etc.
And Sian, I’m sorry too if this has gone too far.
For the record, a Strawman is when you characterize an opponent’s position in such a way that you can easily tear it down.
The example here is Jon assuming that my (liberal) argument equates the concept of faith with logical fallacy. Many people of faith live their lives based on a house of logical fallacy cards, however I never said or even intimated that faith was even part of the equation.
So, I have invited Jon to come read this post and comment in a more robust forum where he can refute my proposition, which follows:
Sarah Palin, and Rush Limbaugh areis a stupid and/or disingenuous peopleperson who havehas managed to sway thousands of credulous and stupid people into believing practically everything they sayhe says.
Since I am affirming, I accept the burden of proof and will provide it, should Jon accept this friendly debate.
Now you know what to get that someone in your life who has absolutely everything… everything BUT a super-sharp pencil. (pencil not included)
Here it’s been months since I started a new job, got back into martial arts, battling a chronic cough and moving in all sorts of new and exciting directions in my life- you’d think I could stop a bit and share some cool stuff on my blog… of course, you’d be wrong, QED.
Anyway, news to come of a new travelblog my lovely wife Jeanette and I are putting together. Don’t believe she’s lovely? just look at her! she’s gorgeous- [pic to follow]
We both love to travel- though lately she’s been doing all the fun travel. Over the past few years I was doing all the business travel. Spending time on both coasts and even the Caribbean (it’s not nearly as much fun to work there as you’d imagine).
Hoping to put together an entertaining and informative podcast that will likely alternate between audio and video segments.
Still need to figure out how to scale an image to post here… last attempt pushed this gawd-awful, pore focused snap of my big head on the main page. Nobody should have to face that.
Also need to get used to the quirky UI of this Android app.
Well, I haven’t blogged about this whole mess until now but the final straw has got me steamed.
Last Spring I bought what I thought was a pretty slick (and pretty) HP Pavillion entertainment PC.
It’s a good-looking machine but came with Vista installed. I started having problems with it almost right away.
My first thought was to blame Vista. I’ve been less than impressed with it as an OS and of course, hearing all the problems others have had made me think that Vista really might be worse than I had thought. Honestly, I’m no fan of Microsoft, but I really felt people were “over-complaining”… that sentiment soon changed to feeling that the worst of the stories I had heard about Vista were in fact too kind.
Basically, my machine would hang and crash unexpectedly (I had no funky devices connected or unproven, experimental extensions) several times each day. Worst of all, the biggest problem cropped up when I was sharing my desktop in WebEx meetings with a big client. Anytime I resized a window while hosting a meeting, the thing would hang. Of course, I would only remember this key event after inadvertently grabbing a corner and trying to move a window out of the way… d’oh!
Anyway, once I had finally had enough, I figured I’d rid myself of Vista altogether. This was back in June but I was able to land an advance copy of Windows 7, so I loaded that up and was prepared to be rid of my Vista woes forever.
Win7 didn’t impress me (still doesn’t). And the problems didn’t go away… though they slowed enough to delay even further troubleshooting that finally uncovered some bad sectors on my hard drive.
Frustrating, but hey- these things happen. I’m not ready at this point to damn HP for a simple hardware fault. Happens to the best of ‘em. Since I’m still under warranty, I figure I’d better get this replaced soon.
I’ve been backing up and recovering enough in the previous weeks (I reinstalled Vista three times and Win7 once… this was getting to be second nature) so the thought of starting over yet again with a clean HD didn’t phase me.
Now, to contact HP customer service you can whip out the credit card and call their tolled nickel-and-dime line to get them to address your problem with their product. That didn’t appeal to me on principle, so I pulled up the free option to chat to a rep via instant message instead.
The process was fine; a little stilted and it was obvious I was getting many responses that were an auto-bot, not a person… or at least a person with some canned responses. I can’t blame them- that sort of thing will make sure you deliver consistent customer service and save your people some time and keystrokes… but it does feel less than personal.
We soon established that I do indeed need a replacement HD and that I do indeed qualify for a warranty repair. But I discovered that when I installed Win7, the installer wiped out my old Vista restore partition.
That sucked because when I installed it, I thought it would have left the restore partition (with the HP Vista recovery software on it) that came with my laptop in tact.
Turns out the Win7 installer wiped everything. So now, I’ve got a fresh (working, hopefully) hard drive on its way from HP but get this: they won’t send me one with the same recovery software on it that was on the original HD in the laptop. They’re sending one along tabula rasa.
HP customer service generosity knows no bounds- they will give me the software I so foolishly failed to back up from the HD they originally sold me … but it’ll cost me twenty bucks. Seriously?
I mentioned to the rep in my chat session how stupid I thought this was and could they please just send me that friggin disc without dinging me a lousy twenty bucks? I guess my persistence was enough since my chat rep agreed to send me the disc gratis.
Not really a big “win” in a contest “against” a major corporation in the interest of getting good customer service (I mean, really! – they are finally just agreeing to replace their defective hard drive with another one that looks exactly like the one I originally shelled out at least part of my 1400 bucks for…)
But the replacement hard drive arrives… but no recovery disc. “No biggie”, I reason. “Surely the disc was sent under separate cover…”
Weeks later. No disc. Wait- didn’t the chat dude say “don’t worry”? It’s a phrase they use a lot. I can’t tell whether it’s because they’re shelling out canned expressions or English is not their first language and they believe American English speakers pepper the phrase “don’t worry” every few lines of every conversation. Either way, it’s equal parts annoying and unnerving.
Well, in any case, I’m venting here not only because I’m pissed off at getting less than stellar treatment, but because I promised (okay, it might have sounded like a threat) the chatty-Cathy I pinged today that I would post this if I didn’t get some satisfaction.
Turns out, this ‘Cathy’ whose name in the chat session was Sherry, wasn’t too interested in my pleas for a little (tiny, really) concession. She did say she would log the issue- woooo, that should satisfy me.
It is the height of insanity in my opinion, that HP & other hardware manufacturers will lay out hundreds of dollars in rebates to try and attract new customers, but they cannot make an exception to a 20 dollar charge for a disc with data on it that comes free with the original hardware.
Would love to write up something positive here, but HP has failed to deliver on a simple little point of decent customer service. Hard to believe they’re willing to give up customer satisfaction by clinging white-knuckled to their 20 dollar bill. Morons.
I, for one will not purchase HP products again because I want to be treated like a valued customer- not an opportunity to keep paying out 10 bucks here, 20 bucks there, ad infinitum.
My next laptop will be from Apple… or anyone but Hewlett-Packard.
Well, it’s true that being accountable to someone makes you more likely to stick to your plan. Writing a blog about progress is one such accountable artifact, but truth is I’ve been only half-assing it for the past few weeks.
I’ll consider the next kick back into gear to be something of a restart.
I have been eating fine, but more along the lines of my previous diet (which is honestly not all that bad- it’s totally sustainable).
Where I feel I have really fallen down, however, is in getting to the gym. Lately it seems work and looking for work have occupied my time and I haven’t made as much an effort as I should to get to the gym for a real workout.
In the meantime, I’ve compromised by doing pullups and sittups in mad sprints which make me feel better, but it’s not as intense as my usual workout.
Oh yeah, did I mention it’s been raining here like crazy for the past couple weeks? Yeah, lame excuse. Still, it has left me feeling more like hunkering down and staying inside than getting out to the gym.
Will have to work on that.
More soon. Fewer excuses. Promise.