Must Be Wednesday

I don’t know if you noticed, but I generally post on my blog on Wednesday afternoons. Why is that you ask? Well as an old crusty web developer, I am obsessed with data.

Not the data that the mega-corps collect, share and sell. No, I just want to how many people visit, maybe generally where they are from, and what kind of device and app they are visiting with. But, as a data nerd, I can tell you all that stuff, even what is collected on the sly ,really means nothing.

The algorithm can offer stuff it thinks you want, but it can’t control how you see it. Except on Wednesday, specifically, Wednesday afternoons. This is when the most traffic comes my way and it always has.

This isn’t a secret to most web developers and masters and designers. I first noted it back in the 90s when I was doing primitive web apps on the side. Like clockwork, every Wednesday there was more traffic than usual, particularly on e-commerce sites.

Did most of that traffic come from corporate domains? Why, yes it did. Even the internal app I was building for the big evil oil company had an uptick in traffic. Some people may get a case of Mondays but everyone gets a case of Wednesday afternoons. 

You are bored, hours before quitting time and you have Amazon calling your name. Someone on Facebook needs to hear your opinion. A news article is unread. It is Wednesday afternoon, what else is there to do?

Even on the last real job I had before my body and mind broke down, was in 2011, and I could still count on Wednesday afternoons.

Because, while you were bored, weirdos like me were looking at the data you were leaving behind (which has ethical uses, which requires very little data, but is often too much collected and used for unethical ones). So Wednesdays it is. Like this Wednesday. Where you are probably bored and can’t wait for the day to end, never mind waiting for the weekend.

You are exactly in between weekends. E-commerce, social networking, or maybe even a blog post will pass the time. Maybe this post will help. Thanks. I see you.

Is it or did I forget It?

I love to do many things, especially writing. Programming is a close second, both avocations exercise my mind, though in different ways. Every other hobby I have (mostly gardening) is something to do with my hands while I think.

Despite that love, sometimes you just need to take a break. After becoming disabled, I didn’t even think about programming for at least seven years.

I didn’t start programming again in earnest until this past year and even then I didn’t start collecting the accumulated bits of code into some sort of coherent project until the past three months (here is a good one).

In the past year, my writing was limited. For whatever reason, I focused on writing and fine-tuning short stories (here is a good one 😉). It exercises different writing muscles.

Then after August, I stopped writing, well I didn’t write any fiction, spending my days crafting (lovely) blog posts, like this. Like when I quit programming, after a time I worried that I was going to forget how to do it.

I kind of dabbled around the edges of my stories, tinkering here and there. I am at the stage with my main work in progress where I am fine-tuning and putting in the details. Even though this is the tedious stage of editing my final draft, I did allow myself some pats on the back for the occasional well-written turn of phrase.

Still, as I plunged deeper into my programming mode, I worried I forgot how to write a novel and I love writing novels. My creative side was sated, programming creating a different puzzle to solve.

I programmed and worried. Then someone spoke to me. I had been thinking about her story for a while. The notes suddenly took form and I could see how I was going to get her from point A to B (well maybe C or even J).

The big scenes and beats popped into my head and I started writing a novel. And I love writing novels.

There is a place I go to when I am programming or writing, where every neuron is focused on the task at hand. My mind doesn’t wander or waver, which is certainly not the case when I am not creating something (if you want to see one of the best depictions of the bipolar brain, watch Matt Damon in The Informant).

When I was young, active, and fit, rock climbing gave me the same thing. Your sole focus is the cliff face you are gripping. It is a weird place to be centered on the edge of danger, but you feel free.

Writing a novel doesn’t have the same rawness of the chance of plummeting to your death (at least I don’t think so, but you would have to ask my critique partners). It does require that same focus though. I am spinning a story of fifty-thousand words or more.

There are always a lot of words between points A, B, well maybe C, or even J. As much as I miss the odd comfort of person and rock, I can find that same contentment in telling a tale. Words that match, paragraphs that foreshadow, tragic events and errors, danger and peace. Writing lets me create a new world, where no one has ever been before (someone may have said something similar. If they did, let me know).

The words came. I didn’t forget. We are already meeting the wayward ne’er-do-well who will be a guide. And in the distance, from the foothills, the Wastelands loom. The story is alive in my brain, every cell in that old grey matter focused on what happens next.

Maybe I should get back to writing so I can find out.

Because I didn’t forget how to do it.

Resolutions, revolutions and reevaluations

It is another year, nearly my 60th on this planet. The world turned, in spite of any resolutions I may have had. And how my world was turned. This past year had some pretty impressive highs and lows, even without my bipolar tendencies. 

But the whole world has been manic, hasn’t it?

I guess what I am saying, is that in the chaos of the world, why should I make a resolution? Who needs the pressure? Life is already a minefield. In my experience, the things that need resolutions, happen when it is time. 

The world revolves and we are along for the ride. Sure, this is a new set of days, after a spin around the sun, and yet, in the grand scheme, it is just another day. I suppose we assign the value that we need to it. Maybe it’s depressing for me to say that.

I can tell you after the fifty-one I remember, you don’t need to give yourself the pressure of a resolution. The celebration can be as raucous or serene as you want. Don’t feel pressure on that either. If you need to hide in your closet and cry, maybe take a long weekend to yourself. If you need to dance the night away and celebrate the end of the year with cheer, that’s just as valid.

For most of us, it is somewhere in between. What does that really mean? I feel like we set the pressure on ourselves. Only you can decide what is important. No one can decide that for you.

Something I started even before my TIA last February, is this, ‘one little thing.’ What is one little thing I can do today? And I don’t even have to do that much. I know, I am talking about mindfulness, basically. I always found that stuff like CBT made me feel pressured. Like I should have some incredible life change or deep insight into my soul. 

It doesn’t work that way, and like habits are changed when you are ready, it will come to you when it is time. Am I describing a slog? Is life really just one little thing at a time to be done or overcome?

Honestly? Sometimes it is. The days make up the year, and you can’t stop the trip around the sun, but you can (try) to make each day a little better. It might be a little win or just another day. 

Either way, my hope for you in this next revolution, is to you have more little wins than just one more days.

Maybe it was a good year, after all

As every publication, social media poster, and blogger has been rushing out ’best of 2022’ lists, I have been reflecting myself. People have been discussing their critical darlings all year and now it come to a head.

I admit I am an old fogey, often stuck half a century ago, and much of modern popular culture I don’t know, or maybe even understand,

An aside, but it seems weird that the media that is used to create the media about the ‘best of’ media was laid down by early adopters like myself. Now, what was a simple need to have self-updating forms, became a way to rate co-eds at Harvard and burst forth as the like button with the idea of mining people’s data for a dollar.

All these things came to head this year. Because of course, it did, it was an election year. Twitter (which has fewer monthly users than Pinterest and is not the real world but is assigned way too much import) was bought by a self-absorbed billionaire and the expected chaos ensued

All social media (still not the real world) became a hotbed of anger because the algorithms have learned that division drives business. Hate clicks are harvested, analyzed, and regurgitated. The world is upside down in the cyber world

With that in mind, it is easy to forget that the year wasn’t that bad. I mean, publications, social media posters, and bloggers are rushing out the ‘best of 2022’ lists. They found something good to reflect on, maybe we all can.

Maybe it was as simple as a show that moved you or made you think. A piece of music that does the same. A painting or any other graphic art. Whether a movie or symphony, these things can brighten and even enlighten.

Into the storm – I-84 Westbound

Maybe it is greater than that. One’s life can change, good or bad, and maybe just getting on the other side of all of it with the change of the year is the best you can do.

A lifelong fantasy realized – Star Wars Galaxy’s Edge

Maybe not every day of the past three-sixty-five was bad. There were days filled with joy, or at least a laugh or even a smile.

Pacific Ocean Sunset – At Sea in the Pacific

Maybe it was a sunrise or sunset,

Autumn Brook – Murray Park

a quiet brook,

Waves on the sea – Pacific Ocean

or a roaring sea.

Summer Sunflowers – Evanston

Maybe it was just a peaceful moment to reflect and realize, hey, maybe you will be okay.

Winter Sunrise – Evanston

Maybe it was a good year after all.

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