You know it’s bad when . . .

. . . when you actually feel your best when you sit down to work.

And that’s been the case twice in the past five weeks since we moved here from Austin.

Can I just say this city is not my favorite? Despite hearing two older gentlemen talk about how they couldn’t see “any reason to leave this town, where you can find everything!” while I was out walking the dog this morning. New Yorkers really gotta get out of the city more often.

Anyway, Duane Reade is awful. My three-times-a-day med, Lamictal, for OCD (not the television version, the real-life kind – that is, Misty only wishes I were super-clean) was sent around the country but not to me. Yesterday, until the evening, was my second day of withdrawals. My head’s still a little loopy, but I’m here!

I had to cancel a Skype speaking session with a graduating class of English majors at my alma mater yesterday. I will, hopefully, catch them for a short 30-min session tomorrow. They need to be warned about the economy they’re entering with their degrees.

OCD and Misty Again, Plus Work

The OCD isn’t as bad today. At least not yet. I can feel it slowly increasing as the night gets later, but still nothing like the last few days. I still think it’s the new manufacturer.


I think, in some ways, I took a job above my skill level or, more accurately, quite different from what I’ve done prior and what I was expecting. That’s a good thing. I have an excellent boss, I am constantly learning new things and I’m daily being challenged while also introducing my own tips and techniques in their marketing efforts. Continue reading

OCD, Misty and Class War

My OCD has been tormenting me in recent days. The intrusive thoughts and worries and compulsions are growing. I should have noticed the early signs, probably. Increased wishful thinking, counting more than usual — then it blew up into this, full-on . . . I don’t necessarily have the words right now to describe it. It really is torture. It really could take over one’s life if one let it or if the disease prevented anything resembling a real life.

People have it worse.

I think my worsening symptoms are caused by a change in manufacturers of the generic version of Lamictal (lamotrigine). It’s happened before. I’ll have to get my psychiatrist to tell the insurance company (fortunately, we have insurance through my company now) that only the brand-name version works. It does work best. Hopefully, and more than likely, the insurance company will preauthorize it and we’ll be good to go.

For the brand-name Lamictal, it can cost thousands of dollars a month, if your dosage is high enough. I was paying nearly a thousand or more a month out-of-pocket/on credit/on someone else’s credit before we were able to get insurance through Obamacare and then my job. That was for 90 pills (30 days’ worth) of 200 mg Lamictal pills.

Anyway, not much I can do but suffer until I get the real thing.


 

Misty is out-of-town visiting her folks in Waco for a while. It’s good for her to get away for a little while, I think. Tomorrow, she has an interview with the U.S. Digital Service, described in this article as the government’s startup, where designers, developers, engineers and others are recruited from the private sector to work to improve the digital technology aspects of government and increase citizen interaction with the federal government. They’re what grew out of the small team who fixed HealthCare.gov.

I’m really proud of her for getting the interview. It’s very competitive. My best wishes are, as always, with her.


Anyone paying attention has heard something about the refugee crisis in the European Union stemming from the war in Syria and, let’s be honest, the violence and starvation in many refugees’ varied home countries in the Middle East, Africa, the Balkans and elsewhere. They wouldn’t be leaving otherwise. The rhetoric by some leaders — especially the Tories in Britain — is beyond ridicule.

My question is: How does this influx of immigrants, who are bolstering some nation’s declining birthrates and replacing lost labor, affect the class issues I pondered in my last post. What will be the effect of more well-educated, un- and under-employed young people being on the European job market? (For many of these immigrants aren’t low-skilled farmers but educated doctors and bankers and computer scientists.) Will they (the immigrants or the Britons) agitate for change? How will the British lower classes (and by that I mean most everyone not in the highest levels of income and assets) react to a tighter job market with (possibly) lower wages? At what point do all the idle freelancers take to the streets?

In fact, the British Labour Party has just voted Jeremy Corbyn, their version of our socialist Congressman Bernie Sanders, as party leader. His own party has been tearing him apart because, they say, he’s unelectable in the general election. Sort of the same thing we say about Bernie. Worse, though, is if either were elected president or prime minister, they likely couldn’t get anything done — both parties would oppose any real sort of reform. But would that intransigence cause the people to demand something different? Something more? Down the rabbit hole we go . . .

When I talk of change, I’m not advocating for a particular ideology or plan for government — at least not yet. I haven’t found or created one that satisfies me yet. One thing I know is that I don’t want to kick the poets out of the republic,

 

Beautiful Math (also, three in one day?)

I’m convinced my research skills are the result of my obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). I think all the time I spent researching how diseases and germs and thoughts can spread and impact life and cause death made me someone who, given the power of the Internet years later, could find pretty much whatever needed to be found. Folks at TFN – especially Dan – knows it.

It probably also gave me the tenacity to inch my way through complex pieces of legislation and regulations and laws and statutes with LSG. And, of course, the research that came with that. What do they mean when they use the word “connected device” here? Where is the definition? Under what section? Oh, geez. I have to go back that far? And that, of course, refers back to another statute? Ugh. Okay. Please don’t tell me there’s no definition or they broke them apart.

Tedious, but not as tedious as math is to me. It’s the kind of tedium I can actually enjoy a little.

It’s what I urged a client to give their people more time to perform: research on clients’ products before jumping into content strategy and design. The client will never get a decent product if the producers – the creatives – aren’t given the time to gather, ingest and integrate the information they need to communicate to the clients’ audience(s). Sometimes a simple messaging document and creative brief (if you get one) aren’t enough. You want people who know your product, your company, your values more than a centimeter-deep to tell stories about you. Would you prefer a friend or an absolute stranger with equal knowledge of you to write your biography?

The worst mistake you can make, after having finally gotten someone up-to-speed on your product, is to dump them because of poor performance when not knowing squat. I’ve done it to people before – and I’d hazard to guess I haven’t escaped being the subject of such decisions. Regardless, you’re blaming the employee for your failure to plan. That is, it’s your failure as a leader.

Tedium, complexity – it doesn’t lack in creativity either. Finding hidden treasure is rarely as easy as using Google Maps. Mathematicians’ brains explode the same way other artists’ do when in the presence of a “beautiful equation.” There’s no inherent rigidity there. There are always logical knots to be worked and unraveled and redone correctly this time, hopefully.

Where is this going? Hell if I know. Something to throw against the wall, though. Or down the well! Ha-ha!

I think I’m done applying for jobs for the day. ‘Course, it’s still early. I’ve probably hit a good fifteen to twenty places in Seattle with resumes over the past few hours. Tuesday (or tomorrow, if their company/boss is un-American) is going to be some recruiter’s lucky day.

 

I wish this book had been around when I was in my mid-teens: The Man Who Couldn’t Stop: OCD and the True Story of a Life Lost in ThoughtThough I didn’t know I had OCD then.

The OCD Inside

Most people know when they call a friend “OCD” for keeping his or her files in order or intimate that they may be “a little OCD” because they’re never quite sure if they closed the hell is heregarage door, they’re not really talking about obsessive-compulsive disorder. They’re talking about a very superficial representation shown of it on TV. Hopefully, when we say such things, it’s with the awareness that in no way are those things representative of the whole of true OCD. There’s far more to it than just organizing one’s shoes in a specific way. I can tell you that from personal experience. Continue reading

9 @ 9 from 1999

Every once in a while, Misty and I happen to catch the “9 @ 9” on 103.5 BOB FM (Austin). As the name implies, at 9:00 PM they play nine songs from a select year. Tonight, it was 1999.

The year 1999 was rather eventful for me, and those events have been on my mind lately anyway. It was the year I enlisted (and separated) from the Air Force. My sister is currently in Army basic training. So it was interesting (and rather nice) to reminisce a little. Mainly about driving around in Biloxi, Miss., with my windows down listening to the radio. Or riding the base shuttle around and around and around while listening to my Walkman or the bus driver’s radio just for something to do. And, to a degree, the time in early and late 1999 when I was doing the same in Austin and its outlying areas. It also reminds me of the depths of my undiagnosed OCD and depression at the time.

You might imagine how throw-away lyrics (and songs) like this were so poignant to me at the time given the situation(s):

Somebody once asked could I spare some change for gas
I need to get myself away from this place
I said yep what a concept
I could use a little fuel myself
And we could all use a little change

Well the years start coming and they don’t stop coming
Fed to the rules and I hit the ground running
Didn’t make sense not to live for fun
Your brain gets smart but your head gets dumb
So much to do so much to see
So what’s wrong with taking the back streets

You’ll never know if you don’t go
You’ll never shine if you don’t glow

If not poignant, then reflecting my desire to escape from the military, strike out, be successful, be free. Something I highly doubt would be the case today, but was when I was eighteen. I know a little more, have lost a little more now.

And who would have thought the lyrics to Lit’s “My Own Worst Enemy” would actually apply to part of my later life, especially given I didn’t drink for at least most of 1999.

Anyway, here’s the full playlist for the night. The last one was the number one song on this day in 1999. Sad.

Eiffel 65 -Blue (Da Ba Dee)
Lit -My Own Worst Enemy
Tal Bachman -She’s So High
Fuel -Shimmer
Smash Mouth -All Star
Lou Bega -Mambo No. 5 (A Little Bit…)
Foo Fighters -Learn To Fly
Len -Steal My Sunshine
Sugar Ray -Every Morning

On a side note, I was just asking Misty the other day what happened to such summer throw-away one- or two-hit wonders. Do they still exist? Or is it all Bieber and Clarkson now?

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