"The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt." – Sylvia Plath

I’ve been attending a writers’ workshop. We meet on Monday nights in our neighborhood’s residents’ center. The first week more than 20 people attended; last week, for our lesson on blogging, we had around 10. Maybe people nowadays know all there is to know about blogs, but judging from the questions asked during the session, I’d say the people who did attend knew nothing about the internet.

The workshop has focused mostly on fiction; for me, that’s like attending a swimsuit workshop where we’re all required to wear Speedos – I don’t “do” fiction. I’d much rather curl up with a good biography or nonfiction tome about history or politics. The only time I find fiction acceptable is when I’m stuck in a car for more than eight hours, and the fiction is in audiobook form. And even then it’s more mindless noise to help pass the hours ... and I can always count on at least one line that makes me laugh out loud, especially when the author probably didn’t intend it to be funny.

Case in point: “She didn’t know whether to shit her pants or have an orgasm.”

(helpful note: Don’t google that phrase, hoping to find the author. You won’t find it, and you’ll be shocked at what you do find.)

“The wastebasket is a writer's best friend.”  – Isaac Bashevis Singer

So far, my problem has been this: I come up with an idea, and then I delete it because it’s stupid.
Are the ideas really stupid? Hard to say. I tend to have so much doubt about my ideas and my ability to execute them that everything is born and dies in the shower, which is where I get most of my “this will work!” ideas.

Why is this? I’ve been tortured by this lack of confidence for my entire life, regardless of what I’ve been doing – reporting, editing, IT work, training, photography ... you name it and I’ve doubted if I’m any good at it. My wife always laughs at me when we talk about careers, which is the white whale to my Captain Ahab, because I’ll talk about something and then, with all earnestness, say “You know, I think I’d be pretty good at that.”

It’s almost as if I’m talking myself into it – believing that I could do something competently isn’t a problem, but that I could do it spectacularly? That’s a stretch. The only thing I’m good at is denying that I’m good at anything.

If I could monetize that, I’d be hating myself on my own private island in the Caribbean right now.

“Writing comes more easily if you have something to say.”  – Sholem Asch

And isn’t that the problem? Finding things to say?

For now, instead of forcing the issue, I’m going to write some stories about things I know – people, events, etc. Let’s see if that gets the juices flowing. It’s not exactly fiction, but some of the things that have happened to me don’t seem real anyway.

Everything's tied to everything.

This is a test:

Can (1) MacJournal upload a post to (2) my Blogspot blog and then (3) automagically tweet it to the world?

We shall see.


So ...

I’m testing this new “journaling” application called MacJournal, and my first post was to have been a picture of Fletcher that I took a few days ago. But the photo didn’t make it, and I’m trying again.

And by the way, WTF is “journaling” software anyway? Isn’t WORD a journaling app? Or TextEdit? Or the back of a cocktail napkin? This does not explain why I bought it ...

This is a test. Also, a cat.


Sleeping (1 of 2)

Sleeping (1 of 2), originally uploaded by pr9000.

A friend asked me to tell the story of why I'm so frustrated with my job today. I obliged ... it's long, but it came out so quickly that I feel changing a word would be a sin.

It's a story about documentation. The old IT director didn't write a thing down. I've spent countless (billable) hours fixing mistakes I made because I've had to make changes to systems about which I know very few specifics.

Latest example: our backup software needed to be patched. So I ran the installer, rebooted and my server suddenly lost all its config files, and said I didn't have a valid license.

Of course, the serial info isn't filed away anywhere. Oh, and the software is written by a company in Germany. It's 3 p.m. CST when this happens.

Long story short: the old IT guy did a very unconventional install – installing the Unix guts of the app on a second partition –and didn't document it, or do the symlinks correctly, because the patcher had NO IDEA the guts of the app were on a second partition.

(Stupid Facebook character limitations ...)

So the patch did what it was told to do and installed a new copy of the app in the proper location. I backed up before I patched, and now I'm trying to restore the config from the backup.


Also, the 80 GB boot drive of this PPC Xserve was partitioned into "Boot" and "Scratch." Guess which partition had the critical data? If you guessed "The one named after a notepad" you'd be right. Maybe it's some voodoo server naming convention about which I'm unaware, but in the graphic arts field –did I mention this is a video house? – a scratch disc is one that can be deleted without worry, because its contents are just temp files that can be recreated.

Also also, why partition ONE SINGLE DRIVE? The tech note said some installs could be done on separate volumes to keep the DB from filling the drive. Makes sense, and might explain the decision. But two partitions != two drives!

I am forever amazed at the crap sandwich I've inherited. There is no excuse not to document your installs – none whatsoever.

There might be an excuse to choose a vendor LOCATED ON ANOTHER CONTINENT in a country KNOWN FOR INVADING ITS NEIGHBORS EVERY SO OFTEN. There might be an excuse to say "Sun won't support our tape library" if you haven't, you know, CALLED SUN TO SEE IF THEY STILL WRITE CONTRACTS ON IT. There might be an excuse to keep some Adobe app install jewel cases, but not all, and then NOT KEEP THE INSTALL DISC, thus FORCING ME TO GO GRAB A TORRENT OFF THE INTERWEBS and break the law because Adobe won't send me an installer disc for old software.

I'm sorry, I've lost my train of thought.

Anyway, there's your story. Sorry to rant, but really, his head's probably stuck in his armpit because I doubt he could find his ass in the first place.

And here it is in Facebook:


trotter II

trotter II, originally uploaded by pr9000.

This blog has been asleep lately. It'll wake up soon. Until then, it's enjoying the afternoon sun streaming into a dark, warm living room.


the generosity of our neighbors

, originally uploaded by pr9000.


The Beatles - Abbey Road

The Beatles - Abbey Road, originally uploaded by dag.

My head just exploded. What a great set of outtakes.