kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
Good article: http://mentalfloss.com/article/58230/how-tell-whether-youve-got-angst-ennui-or-weltschmerz

I hate to be a downer on an already-somber day. And I agree that 2016 has overstayed its welcome. But really, can we expect 2017 to be any better? Celebrity deaths aside, you know what's slated to transpire on January 20, right? An author whose blog I often enjoy is Chuck Wendig, who penned this gem: "I mean, 2016 wasn’t a blip. It was the beginning of something. All the bad news that’s arisen isn’t isolated. It’s part of a pattern. This shit is just getting started. The bump that was 2016 isn’t a hill we’re climbing over. It’s the top of Cthulhu’s head as he emerges from the deep."

I hope that's not true, of course. But all signs point to Not So Good.

I just feel bummed. It's the time of year when reflection and introspection and resolution are all on the agenda, of course, which doesn't help. I just feel, all too often these days, like some hollow shell stuffed with all manner of bad things, and a heart that's lost its way, if it ever had one. I need to change something. I need to change everything. I have no idea where to begin.

Anyway. Sorry. Somewhat-happier post planned for tomorrow, I hope. For now, time to go home!
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
Well, the pool pump was a bust. The plastic goo I got is pretty neat, but it only forms a chemical bond with certain types of plastic, and I guess the pump housing isn't one of those types. So it felt nice and solid at first, but when I tightened the bolt it came loose again. So on to Plan B, which is to replace the whole pump housing with a new one, with factory-fresh bolt inserts and all. This will involve a bit of re-plumbing, but I am hoping it will be within my skill set. And if not, it would be a quick (and hopefully cheap) job for a pro.

Weekend otherwise was so-so. The wife and middle kid have both been fighting off some mystery ailment or another, so they were both a little under the weather. But we went to the American Girl store as planned Saturday morning--and now need to go back again, because I didn't think I needed to check the box of the thing we bought to make sure the thing we bought was actually in the box. But it wasn't, which we discovered when we got home. Might use my lunchbreak today to drive back down there and rectify the situation.

Last night I took the girls to EPCOT Center. It was our last chance to hit a park before the summer blackout period, and between Heather's illness and general busy-ness she could use a break from the kids, so off we went. It was a pretty good time! We did more rides than we normally do, including Soarin' (which Hallie and Amy went on once before, but it was Hermione's first time). That was a hit, of course--I think that's one of the best experiences at WDW, though we don't do it much because the line is always long. They're planning to add a couple more theaters to expand the capacity, and I think they're also going to change the film to Florida instead of California, which certainly makes sense. So we rode that, Spaceship Earth, Living With The Land, the Mexico boat ride, and we checked out the store in China and had dessert at the bakery in Norway. Mmm, good. It was a bit warm, but there was a nice breeze so overall it was a very pleasant evening.

I've been splurging a bit on games for the Wii U--I see it as playing catch-up. :) But not too bad, I've mostly been getting good deals on pre-owned games. Let's see, I got LEGO Batman 3 (good game, but now we find it a bummer that the multiplayer on LEGO games is only 2 players--hopefully LEGO Dimensions will rectify that!), LEGO City: Undercover (which is as awesome as I expected, but only 1-player), Wii Party U (we enjoy the minigame collections, lots of variety and quick to play as well), The Wonderful 101 (neat game, but pretty difficult and entirely chaotic), Rayman Legends and ZombiU (haven't even gotten to try those yet!). This Friday is the release of LEGO Jurassic World, which I think I must get immediately. :) Then I'd like to catch up on a few other LEGO games, and grab things like New Super Mario Bros. U and the Zelda games. Just checked, the new open-world Zelda game (which does sound amazing) was just pushed back to next year, that's a bummer. Oh well, lots to get in the meantime!

Amy still only ever wants to play the Mario Cat Game (Super Mario 3D World), of course. And I must say, she's getting better at it! Yesterday we were playing, and she actually outscored me on a couple levels! Mostly because we died midway and had to continue with reset scores, but still. I'm a proud gamer Dad. The other girls aren't quite as into it--they'd rather play on their PC, where Terraria, Don't Starve, and Scribblenauts are the order of the day. And Sims 2 sometimes.

Speaking of gaming with the girls, I taught them Poker recently! When I was a kid I remember lots of fun nights spent playing penny-ante Poker with the family, so it's cool that we can do that now. I started them with 5-card draw, of course, but next time I'll introduce 5- and 7-card stud. I don't know the varieties like Texas Hold 'Em, maybe we'll try that later on. I also showed them Blackjack real quick, but they didn't like that as much. They like getting more cards, they said. So I guess 7-card stud should be a hit. :)

Otherwise I've been feeling a bit blah. I dunno, every now and then I let the 10% of stuff that isn't where I want it to be distract me from the 90% that's truly wonderful, and I stew in those negative juices for a bit. Mostly I blame myself for being the cause of my own discontent, and for not seeing how I can make it better. Same old, same old, I suppose.

Okay, back to work. Or maybe I'll hit the road for the mall, grumblegrumble. Hope everyone is having a good Monday!
kv0925: (Gromit Reading)
I had my mid-year (actually more like 3/4-year) review with my boss this afternoon, and it went well enough, but I still am feeling like not working much for the rest of the day. So instead I will update. Aren't you glad? Of course you are.

• Work. So while I'm on the subject, work has been.. okay. But that it isn't better is pretty much my own fault, because I've been having a rather lazy few weeks. There's lots to do--too much, actually, which is maybe the problem. It's almost like there's so much on my plate that I hardly know where to start, so instead I launch Chrome and zone out on the Internet. Don't get me wrong, I do enough work to keep me acceptably productive and sufficiently out of trouble. But getting ahead? Ha. I'm working on it.

• Exercise. Not happening, but I really need to do that. My day job is just way too sedentary, and that's bad. I read somewhere that no matter how much exercise you get otherwise, there's really no making up for the ill effects of sitting on your ass for 8 hours a day. It needs attention.

• Mental State. Is okay. I dunno, I've been feeling a little.. disconnected, I guess? Not from my wife and kids, at home everything is fine. But otherwise, I just feel a semitone out of tune with people somehow, both IRL and here on the interwebs. It's like I really WANT to relate to people, and have more friends online and off, and be someone people look forward to interacting with, but I'm just not. I've never considered myself particularly remarkable, in any way, shape or form. But I know I'm not average, either, not really. It just doesn't convey. It all comes back to wanting to be more awesome, of course. But how?

• Music. Being more creative is high on my list of how to be more awesome, so I happily report that I actually had a chance to use my musical equipment last week! My employee said he'd love an instrumental version of a particular tune to use as a cell phone ringtone, so I took the song and sliced and diced it a bit, added some MIDI drums and bass, and popped it out as an mp3. I thought it was middling, but not a horrible attempt. He seemed to like it, so that's good. It was nice to try out my gear, though, and I learned a lot even through just that couple hours of playing. So I need to do that more often too. Problem is, I feel like I no longer have any idea how to write lyrics, or take the various musical fragments I come up with and turn them into full-fledged songs. I just need to do it, though, and practice to rediscover those abilities. I used to have em!

• Photography. Not too much going on there, really. Lots of macro shooting in the butterfly garden, but not many paid gigs lately. I do have a maternity shoot scheduled for tomorrow evening, with a couple whose wedding I did a year or two ago. They were a lot of fun to work with, so that should be good. And repeat business is always nice! I sold the Rebel I bought while on vacation, and I'm actually trying to sell my other backup body too. With the weddings I have coming up later this year I'm hoping to finally upgrade to a full-frame dSLR, probably a 6D (though I'd prefer a 5D Mk III, of course--we'll see if the price comes down a little more as the year wears on). I'd also like to replace my workhorse zoom lens. I keep seeing good things about Tamron's new 24-70mm f/2.8, which I think is the only stabilized lens in its class (and seems optically very good too). I need to book some more gigs to put money towards this stuff!

• Vehicles. Been trying to sell the truck, and had a couple bites but no takers yet. I'm tempted to just take it and the Scion both to a dealer and trade them both towards something rather than trying to sell them privately. I'm just not sure the hassle is worth the potential extra money, you know? I just don't know what I want to get instead. I think I'm still leaning towards a Ford Fusion--[livejournal.com profile] planetgeorge, how's yours working out? Could be something to do this weekend. :)

• Politickin. Leaves me feeling pretty discouraged lately. I mean, it's always bad. But there just seem to be so many steps in the wrong direction lately, even when the way forward seems so clear. Take economic policy as one example of many. There are basically two positions in play. One says that any growth in government spending is bad, as is aggressive monetary policy, because it will lead to shaken investor confidence, high inflation and rising interest rates. The other side says look, we're in a liquidity trap with persistent high unemployment and low aggregate demand, and we need more government spending to offset all that and get us back on track. Pretty much all the evidence says that the former view is wrong and the latter is right--but the people who hold the former belief are still taken seriously, and the people who espouse the latter view are still seen as kooks. And I just want to take some of these people and shake them until they turn blue. Don't even get me started on the anti-abortion and anti-voting-rights stuff going on at the state level. Or the legislator in Utah who would like to do away with compulsory public education. Or the gubernatorial candidate in Virginia who wants to outlaw oral sex even for consenting adults. Or the Prism/NSA fiasco. Or..

• The Zimmerman Trial. Okay, what the hell. Since this all happened literally 4 exits up Interstate 4 from my home, I may as well weigh in. Obviously around here we've been saturated with the case since the shooting happened, so getting the trial over was a relief. I am of two minds about the verdict. On one hand, I think it is a miscarriage of justice. On the other, I do not see how the jury could have come to any other conclusion based on the law and the evidence. Florida law is pretty clear, and we obviously encourage the shoot-first-ask-questions-later mentality that's been foisted upon us by the NRA and ALEC. So yes, it sucks. Yes, it needs to change. But it was really the only possible result in this particular case. What bugs me is how the case touches on so many of the fundamental problems with our society, from race relations to gun control to criminal justice--but none of that will change, so it's much ado about nothing, and a tragedy without any sense of redemption. That makes it all the more sad.

Aaaaand I guess that's about it for now. Hope you're all well and looking forward to a lovely weekend.

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