Sittin’ and thinkin’.

I meant to be in bed two hours ago, but I made the mistake of checking on SEB to see if there was anything I needed to take care of. I noted that I hadn’t written anything in a couple of days and I felt a bit guilty about it so I started making the rounds of some of the various websites I go to when I need to catch up on what’s going on in the world. It usually doesn’t take long before I find something that gets my blood simmering enough to pump out a good rant or two, but it didn’t work this evening. In fact, it hasn’t worked in quite awhile and I’m not sure why.

I suppose the fact that I’m no longer on my ADD medication might play a bit of a role in this. Having been unemployed for three months with my insurance ending after the first month I can no longer afford to purchase the prescriptions so Courtney and I are back to dealing with our ADD without the benefit of stimulants. This is neither good nor bad per se, just different. On the one hand I find that I’m definitely more easily distracted now and I’m watching more television than I usually do as well as playing more video games than usual (which is quite a feat considering how much I play video games). This has obviously cut into not only the amount of time and focus I put into SEB, but into keeping up with the world beyond my apartment door. Or at least those parts of the world that aren’t the job listings I’ve been pouring over. At the same time when something has grabbed my attention I’ve been able to hyper-focus on it and that’s what prompted my last bout of fiction writing and has gotten me into actually working on a book. In some ways being off my medication is actually a benefit to my creativity although it’s a detriment to my level of output. So I’m sure this has a small role to play in the current situation.

Sitting here and thinking it over, though, I also realize that I’m simply overwhelmed with all the idiocy that is going on in the world these days to the point that it’s almost too much to wrap my head around. Whether it’s the latest bone-headed policy coming out of the Bush Administration to the modern day sequel to the Scopes Monkey Trail in Kansas, it too often seems like the idiots and the willfully ignorant are winning. Several folks have sent me links to news items that I once would have pumped out a huge entry about, but I don’t have the energy to do that these days. There are so many others out there that are doing a much better job at it as well that I feel like I’m just falling into the me-too habit. I read the wonderful work those folks are doing and I don’t feel I can add anything to the discussion.

There are also a number of things I’ve been meaning to work on for a long time as well—such as the book I keep mentioning—that I’ve been trying to address as of late. I want to get a new layout together for SEB and some of the blogs I host for family members. I’ve been kicking around an entry titled “Skepticism is not a four-letter word” for almost two years now. I want to write more short fiction. All of these things have had their fits and starts, but few are anywhere close to completion and so I work on them a little and then get distracted by a video game or TV show once more. Though the TV will be less of an issue come Monday as I’ve shut down the cable TV part of our service for now.

It’s amazing to realize how much of an impact being unemployed for this long has had beyond merely not having money to spend. I don’t feel particularly stressed out most of the time, but it’s totally screwed up my sleep patterns as I have to be exhausted before I can fall asleep. It’s affected my ability to think about world events let alone get angry enough about them to write a blog entry. It’s hard to worry about what the Republicans are up to when you’re just worried about whether your phone is going to ring anytime soon with a job offer.

So I sit here and stare at my monitor and the empty web form in the publish screen of SEB waiting for me to come up with something witty or insightful or rant-ish to say and try to get my brain to focus enough to produce something worth reading. This entry wasn’t what I had hoped to produce, but for now it’s all I can manage. Perhaps tomorrow will be better…

13 thoughts on “Sittin’ and thinkin’.

  1. So I sit here and stare at my monitor and the empty web form in the publish screen of SEB waiting for me to come up with something witty or insightful or rant-ish to say and try to get my brain to focus enough to produce something worth reading.

    don’t kid yourself.  i’ve yet to see an entry on your site that wasn’t worth reading. 

    what you described in this entry is something that many people are going through.  maybe the ADD throws an additional curveball into the equation, but anyone who has lost a job is going to be experiencing much the same things: lack of concentration, lack of focus, sleep pattern disruption, etc.

    i’m always torn here, because they say it’s good for people, when facing hard times, to know they’re not alone.  at the same time, when i was facing hard times and folks told me, “hey, buck up! there’s more out there just like you!”, i sorta wanted to kick them in the teeth.  raspberry

    i think the ticket is to learn to cope with the symptoms and not beat yourself up about ‘em.  i think we all pretty much do the best we can do given any particular situation, so don’t be too hard on yourself.

    you have a great site.  it’s always chockful of interesting pieces and, if you’re a little slow to post an entry every now and again…it’s okay, gives some of us time to catch up on articles we’d skimmed the first time.

    politically, i think a great many people are somewhat flummoxed by the things that are happening around us.  i’m in a red state.  i know i am.  there are so many *wrong* things being done that you wind up standing still not knowing which “thing” to chase after.  add to that: more and more people feel they have less and less influence on “the powers that be”.  throw me whole-heartedly into that group.

    any more…it’s not that the glass is half full or half empty, but that it’s the wrong @#$% beverage :/

    what to do?  as a friend of mine says, “comfort the disturbed and disturb the comfortable”, because after all…“what the fuck is wrong with you people?”  raspberry

  2. Somehow the urge to post is high but I wonder If it will end up
    being nonsensical or not…

    sleeep.. wonderful sleep been exhausted for so long and somehow
    its been so long since I can say I’ve woke up refreshed and motivated
    to go. yet the shit list of personal projects and half completed
    endeavors keeps piling up. This is most ungratifying. sometimes its
    quite hard to even start but once ya get going how the fuck do you stop?

    politics.. I agree this endless mind fuck is quite unentertaining anymore.
    If a topic pisses me off for a while I feel a bit energized and then my
    interest starts to wain and then it’s back to ho-hum and sometimes feel
    like its all wasted time. After all I could have been doing something on
    my long shit list that I wasnt that motivated to do to begin with. But I
    still can feel guilty for it.

    I think I have lost interest in just about everything I want to pursue –
    fits and starts, at best.

    empathy or mindless drivel?

  3. Well, after I got my severance package consisiting of an escort out of the building, I actually found myself on a highly consistant sleep schedule.  I’d be in bed by midnight, get up at 7, spend about 6 hours doing the job hunt.  Exercised regularly.  Normally, I’d have to be exhausted to sleep, and didn’t want to wake unless I did it on my own, but I’ve ALWAYS had a hard time waking to do something work or chore related.  The only time I can remember actually bouncing outta bed at 5 am was for Christmas, going to Astroworld, or some other exciting (as a kid) event. 

    I was surprised at how much time I could spend doing a job hunt.  I thought I’d exhaust everything the first few days.  Without the internet, I don’t know how I would have gotten my TWC reqs met.  Even riding around looking for business names to look up on the internet didn’t take long.

  4. (At the risk of sounding like Norman Vincent Peale, but I’ve been there and I do understand how little fun it is…)

    Les, up until a few months ago, your job was “takin’ care of the Man,” and your avocation was taking care of Les Jenkins and family.  The tectonic plates shifted and right now your job is all takin’ care of Les jenkins and family.  Once you define it that way, your work ethic will define the outcome.

    Exercise is probably one part of doing your current job that you don’t much care for – like meetings in your last job – but it belongs on your schedule all the same.  We’re more like dogs than cats in our physiology; we can’t be inactive for too long or it screws up our sense of well-being.

    You knew what your last job expected from you; why don’t you take ten minutes (don’t overthink it!) and draw up a list of what your current job expects from you? 

    Question: would you rather be unemployed and in steadily improving physical condition and creative outlook, or unemployed and sinking deeper into torpor while your family follows your example? 

    I love SEB – it’s my flat-out, top-favorite blog (despite the randomization in my Daily Favorites) because of the shape you give it, along with what you write.  I don’t expect your writing to be always great – even The Simpsons has about 50% lame episodes.  And this was a great entry, by the way.  Not everything has to be outrage at the idiot world beyond your apartment door – the news will still be there tomorrow.  Just sharing your honest feelings like you have done here is worth more than the 4 pounds of today’s Chicago Tribune.

    I don’t know how to end this sermon, because I feel pretty silly; so I’ll just shut up now.

  5. Les, as far as ‘producing’ for your blog goes, I don’t think you have to worry about it.  Everybody has dry spells, and there are times when the outrages just pile up so high that all you can do is shrug as you’re buried by them. 

    And that’s a perfect time for manga hair.  I don’t just come here for the intellectual discourse; I like to see the posts about Manga hair, and cool gadgets, etc.  And I think your guest posting permissions allow the blog to move along quite nicely, even when you may not be personally inspired.

    So no worries.  I’ll be here every morning, with my cup of coffee, before I head off to look for work, myself.  As I’m sure many other people will.

    Other than that, it sounds to me like you’re actually handling joblessness pretty well.  It probably has a lot to do with the fact that you have gaming to kill idle time, a family to talk to, and creative outlets.  There are people who don’t have those things, and for them joblessness can screw up a lot more than their sleep schedules.

    I think surviving joblessness is like an endurance test.  You just keep slogging away at it, applying for jobs, shrugging off the ones you don’t get, and moving forward.  Eventually, it pans out.

    And like Dof said—it’s good to make sure that you get exposed to some sunlight every day.  I know that I tend to literally ‘hole up’ sometimes, and that can get bad.

    You’ll make it.

  6. after I got my severance package consisiting of an escort out of the building

    Bwahaaahaaaa! 

    Sorry.  I shouldn’t laugh at that, but that brings back memories. 

    If they ‘escort’ you out of the building, it’s usually because they’ve just screwed you over so bad that they know that a reasonable person would set fire to something before they left.

  7. ahhh.. that was a sweet day… [sidebar]
    Ragman, there is something to be said for truly not giving a fuck.

    You know it gets good when your project manager is begging the contracts manager(s) to let you stay (in an escorted capacity of course) to hand off a pile of complicated shit that nobody else understands.

    It truly is vindicating; even if it only lasts another 20 minutes before they escort you to your chariot of fire in the parking lot & then to the highway. whats even better is when you get a promotion from your company and your back on a contract by the end of the week. at the same location just a different contract. oh the looks are priceless upon ones return because those that had crossed you are now powerless and they fucking know it..

    But Im not malicious. The correct responce to a nervous & surprised, “Uh, good morning..!?” in a crowded eatery
    is indeed a very audible “Eat shit you fucking pussy, thanks for the raise.”

    and it feels good to say too.

    grin  all of a sudden im feeling quite motivated..

    Qoayn entering dillusional self induced godmode.. iddqd iddfk cool grin  (dayum we need a godmode smiley..)

  8. You shouldn’t have spent all that money on ADD medication anyway. Being a skeptic, I still have to argue that ADD is an invention of 20th Century Corporate America, and that that pills you were taking were merely placebos. But what do I know…

  9. Nowiser said: If they ‘escort’ you out of the building, it’s usually because they’ve just screwed you over so bad that they know that a reasonable person would set fire to something before they left.

    Heh-heh…  Where shall I begin?  I was the only non-management member of a security committee consisting of less than a dozen people in a company of 500 or so.  Requirements for the meeting: having direct access to highly sensitive company info, like payroll, customer/client data, or physical building security.  I had utterly complete, unmonitored, untrackable access to roughly 4 million tax returns.  The company president was not involved in the meeting – he had no need for that kind of security clearance.  No kidding – they told me how top management had restricted access to data and very restricted network access.  We were discussing the security arrangement for a new building, that would have increasing layers of security (like a series of circles) as you went deeper into the building, ending with the server room in the middle, which is where my machines would have been located. 

    When my supervisor called me into his office for the ambush, he just handed me the print of the email he was going to send outlining my termination.  I was determined not to blow up, and tried not to say anything at all (HAH!).  I didn’t address any issues he listed b/c some were bullshit (one major snafu was made at his insistance under protest by me).  After commenting about getting canned for essentially not producing a bug-free app, I got up to go, and as I was leaving, he says “Thanks”.  I turned and ALMOST said “For what?  Not going postal and setting your desk on fire?” but I held my tongue and left.  The building guy who escorted me out didn’t get to my office for about 5 minutes, but I liked too many coworkers there to want to fuck something up and make life harder for (some of)them.  Others, well, if I’d had something flammable…

    Maybe a week before that, b/c some of us were working SO much overtime, the company sent our wives HUGE, expensive (ugly and stinky) floral arrangements and notes that said some shit about “we’ll get your husbands back to you as soon as possible”.  After I got canned, my wife’s firm talked about cutting the flowers up and sending it back with a note saying “No thanks!”.

    Qoayn said:You know it gets good when your project manager is begging the contracts manager(s) to let you stay (in an escorted capacity of course) to hand off a pile of complicated shit that nobody else understands.

    My supervisor and I were the only two in the company who knew the software(we wrote it).  Two others could be brought up to speed in a few intense days’ time.  One of my conspiracy theories on getting fired was since my super was under the gun himself, maybe he decided to solidify his value to the company by becoming the “man” when it came to that particular software. 

    Qoayn said:Ragman, there is something to be said for truly not giving a fuck

    I learned from a broken heart long ago to “acknowledge, and move on”.  So, I try not to dwell on the what-ifs and get shit behind me.  I also try to find ways to make the change work for me.  Hence, I’m back in school, which, for all that I really enjoyed about my former captorsemployers (I DID like that job a lot), they frowned mightily on me going back to school of any sort. 

    As far as my exercising regularly… well, not much conflicted with the time, and I did need to get out of the house and interact with others.

    Les said:I also realize that I’m simply overwhelmed with all the idiocy that is going on in the world these days to the point that it’s almost too much to wrap my head around.

    It does seem that the idiocy level is up lately.  Considering some of the crap that’s been going on here in Texas lately, it’s like the idiots are on a winning streak.

  10. Three years ago I lost my job as a consultant writing all manner of applications that fortune 100 companies used. I made good money, and I could program circles around my coworkers without having taken a single programming course ever. Self-taught. One day, someone who I worked with figured out a great way to make me fly off the handle… see, I found out two years into working there that the reason for my frustration was ADD. After that I set out to fix myself and my behavior, but there was one jerk who insisted that my buttons were still in there somewhere, even under the cloak of ADD meds. So he set an elaborate plan into place that worked like a charm (hindsight is so clear, the moment never is) and I went to my contract house and told them what went on and they called my supervisor about it and she told them they could keep me. I went in to the office before hours even though my contract house told me I could not set foot on premises, and I deleted all my email (now I know they must have gone to the prior nights backup just to see what I was hiding). Anyway, long story short, 1 month pay while the contract house “looked” for another gig for me (more like looked for a way to never have me work for them again for fear of future trouble). They’re so lucky I did not sue them. Then 26 weeks of unemployment plus an extension. Side work here and there, two interviews in a year, and since my son was four months old, I became a stay-at-home dad even though we cant afford to live on just the wife’s salary. ADD came into play in my job loss, as did it in my job hunt. I decided since I had no degree in anything, to go back to school. I was determined to put ADD to work for me… I hyperfocused my way right into the nursing program at a local community college, and now I’m just about done with my first year. One more year to go, and then after I pass the boards, nobody will ever show me the door again. I’ll be telling them where and when I’m willing to work.

    Prior to school keeping me so occupied, I had my own column in an ADD newsletter. But with all the stress of school, I found I had no time to write. Les, start writing that book. Go outside, find a park bench, and jot down a rough outline. Then take a nice long walk. Or a bike ride. Then sit down and hash a few of the ideas out. Get going. Now’s the time. Because when your next gig comes you’re going to wish you’d made use of the time.

    Or, you can contact the students with disabilities office at a local community college, and have them set you up and get you on your way to getting a degree in something like, uh, nursing for example. And, if you went around to the IT departments at different hospitals, they’d probably hire you and then the hospital would foot the bill to send you to school to become one of their future nurses. There’s a future in healthcare.

    Ok, I’m done babbling now. I have to get back to studying for my final. I stop by your blog when I need a break, and look forward to reading posts just like this one. Because I know exactly how you feel, and I like to know that I’m not the only one. Oh, and one more thing… see if you can find a way to get your meds. If you need them, you need them. Maybe theres a clinic or something you can go to. Call the departement of health, or mental health, or something like that.

    ND.

  11. TheBo$$, ADD is quite real, though it has been called many things in the past (including demon posession) and the sooner its present name is replaced by something less perjorative, the better. 

    Having said that, our schools and workplaces are designed in a way that is maximally disadvantageous to a person with an “ADD” brain.

    Too bad, because them’s the people who seem to be able to find the solution to complex problems while members of “The Society For The Congenitally Boring” are still holding comittee meetings about what color the report covers should be.  Coloring inside the lines isn’t a virtue when coloring outside them is what’s needed.

  12. DOF, Do you mean ‘pejorative’ or ‘perjurative’?

    Some kids are just a little overactive. Treating them with pills is quite American: finding an easy way out of a much more complex problem. Kids just don’t wanna take control of their kids, and they blame it on same made up condition (demons, “diseases”).

  13. Oh no!!!  I need my spelling pills!!!  tongue wink I meant ‘pejorative.’

    Treating them with pills is quite American: finding an easy way out of a much more complex problem.

    I agree, since ADD kids thrive without drugs in the right environment.  There’s nothing wrong with their brains; there’s something wrong with the school (‘nuther whole topic entirely) and our workplaces are just as bad.  That’s the much more complex problem.

    But the ‘condition’ isn’t ‘made-up.’  It is clearly visible on brain scans, is testable, and is a real difference between some people and other people.  It is only pathologized because the usual methods of interacting with people who have this difference don’t “work” … such as “taking control” of them as children. 

    Yes, you can punish an ADD kid into “behaving” using the neurochemistry of fear and dread as your drug.  Not everyone would agree this is the best way and it occasionally has disastrous results, of which the most common is to squash the unique mind before it can develop.

    Please do not misunderstand – all kids need discipline, but not all kids can sit still and still concentrate.

    Nor are pills the best way either.  With experimentation we may find what the best way is but it will have to wait.  Right now we’re busy teaching kids to fill in little ovals with pencil. 

    ADD in the workplace is quite real too; the brain difference doesn’t go away in adulthood.  ADDults who succeed – often brilliantly – are usually those who find a work environment that fits how their minds work.

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