Thinking of Retirement

Thirty Nine. 

Three years and seven months until the youngest graduates high school.

Together we have a set income of over $40k. If we sold one house and paid off the other, our bills would be down to $24k/year. But Jen isn't done working, and the kids aren't quite done with school. 

I'm just tired of all politics, really. Global, national, local, and work-site related. 

I'm just not sure what I actually want to do anymore. I used to laugh and tell people I didn't know what I wanted to do when I grew up, but now I'm grown up, and I still don't know.

I think it might be time to take a step back and enjoy the last couple of years with the kids at home.



I haven't Lj'd in quite a while, I suppose. I haven't had 2AM multiparagraph rants here since I left my job at Google. Oh, I'm getting ahead of myself.

My father passed away this past January. He was 55. He spent a year and a half on dialysis for kidney failure before deciding to not do dialysis anymore. I don't think he wanted to die, but rather he had grown tired of living that way. When he first looked really bad, two years ago, I took a hard look at myself. I was nearly 400 lbs, with high blood pressure, pre-diabetic (what the hell is pre-diabetic...), and miserable. So I quit that job, the best company in the world my ass.

Man. That was a ride. I feel like I should be able to pull up a three page rant on what went down there, but I just don't have it in me. Maybe age has quelled the fire, or maybe the rage simply isn't there now.

I've gone back to college in my mid thirties. Using my GI Bill. My kids are closer in age to my classmates than I am. My daughter is hanging out with two of my EE classmates today while I work.

I was able to find a group of peers in our veteran organization. I spent my second and will be spending part of my third as the Secretary / Director of Communications / Webmaster in the org.

I'm working part time at the school for the art department. It's good work, or so they say. Pay is less than half what I used to make, but more than twice what others going to school make. For me, it isn't the pay that matters, it's getting to work with these young adults, helping them learn the woodshop tools. That and the near unrestricted woodshop access, which I don't make use of near as much as I should.

Another reason I don't LJ as much is taking on the admin role over at the Slorum. I get my rumbly mind out in fewer lines across multiple threads there. It's nice. Sometimes I see why the previous site owner hung up the hat. You can't please everyone, and even pleasing the majority will piss some people right off.

I suppose I'm still out here, on the internet, just not on LJ as much.

To anyone who reads this, hello. Sorry for my youthful burning rage. I'd delete it, but that would be disingenuous. It simply is a reflection of how I had felt at those ages.

Hello, goodbye, hello, goodbye.

Halloween Party

Costumes, families, friends & fellowship. Perhaps a tasty beverage or two. Kid friendly. Potluck: bring a dish and drink to share.

My house, October 31st, 6pm to Midnight

Ping/call/email me for directions.

I stole a lawyer's dog Thursday, and broke into a gated community

I had an appointment midtown, near 21st and Lewis. As I went inside an older brown male schnauzer barked at me and walked around. I checked and he had a collar. He was friendly, but ran off before I could call his human. So I went to my appointment.

30 minutes later I came out and he was still in the parking lot, running around. This is right off of 21st, and I didn't want to see the dog get hurt. So I called to him and said 'let's go'. He followed me to my van and jumped right on in when I opened the door.
I called the number on the collar and left a message after the robotic voicemail intro. Welp, I don't have anything to do for an hour and a half, and the address is only about 2 miles away, I'll take the dog on home.

I get on down the road and turn in to the neighborhood off of Lewis. Gated community. I browse through the list of names on the buttons, but the dog tag doesn't have a name and the numbers aren't matching the number on the collar.

Just then someone was leaving the neighborhood. I waited until they turned and saw the exit gate was still open. After a half a heartbeat of debate, I let myself in.
This neighborhood was quite swank. All modern houses, decked out. Zillow listed the dog owner's house at $840k, in Oklahoma.

As I parked in front of Hank's house (that wasn't his name, but I already forgot it) he got excited. When I opened the door he ran right on up to the side garage door. He pawed at the door, and you could see his nail marks from years of having done this. But still, no answer at the door, no answer on the phone, and I needed to get to an appointment in little over an hour. I didn't really want to drop him off at a vet or at a shelter.
Then I noticed that his tag had a faintly engraved number on the back. Problem was, one of the numbers could have been a 0 or a 6, couldn't really tell. I went with the 6. No answer, but I left a message.

After a few minutes of uncomfortably waiting in a neighborhood quite a bit out of my league, I tried the front door, the side door, and then the back fence gate, which was unlocked. After opening it Hank ran right on in. So I closed the gate and slid the small cinder block in front.

2 hours later I got a call from a woman who was asking about her dog. I explained what happened and she said oh, well, okay, so he's at home? A few minutes later I get another phone call. Mr. Hank's dad, the lawyer, had brought Hank to work, since Mr. Hank's mom went out of town to visit family. After multiple reassurances that I had left hank at home, he thanked me and said he had to run home anyway for something.

So that's how I wound up temporarily stealing some lawyer's dog one day.

It's not bad, it's that it should be so much better

Taking the internal work survey yesterday was quite depressing. Some of the questions answers came directly out of what I've been thinking lately: The Boss is getting us to do more work for less money.

I'm not even really that against the basics behind that. In a world of Automation, in a Capitalist society, you get more and more profit by getting more work for less.

But let's think that through a bit. Extrapolate to the extremes.

Right now, we're the lucky ones. We're the highly skilled, intelligent people that machines can't replace. But for how long?

A theoretical company buys robots to replace workers. The robots work 24x7, they don't get sick, they may need repair but not that often, and they don't cost that much, really. Take Baxter and Sawyer for example. Baxter costs $22k. Sawyer, $28k. That's a one time cost. Averaged out over a year, $425/wk for one year, or $540 for Sawyer. These brothers will work 24 hours per day, 7 days a week. No vacation, no holidays, not much sick time, at the cost of a bit more electricity.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXOkWuSCkRI (Baxter)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=S4mULTknb2I (Sawyer)
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJJe8PXEUhk EDI (Eddie)

And so I look at the things that we are doing and I keep shouting at myself, why Why WHY are we doing it this way? It seems patently obvious and plain to me that we can track what equipment is going bad and failing based on our ordering and shipping manifests, so why are we re-tracking that same information in redacted? Why are we recording our daily routines in a dozen different software environments? Badging into redacted, android location tracking (gps and wifi), redacted, tickets, bugs, redacted, redacted, redacted, redacted, time sheets, account login-logout, blogs, resumes, redacted, ...

It goes on and on. We spend more time than necessary tracking what we do, when the machine is already tracking everything we do, more efficiently, and with more detail.

So, we have machines that work cheaper than us with better follow through. But they don't think, right? They can't possibly do all the humany things we do?

I'm sure that's what the law degree people of the 90's and 00's were thinking. As computers became more and more efficient the entry level law job "discovery" was phased out in only a handful of years. Want to make good money? Become a Doctor! Oh, wait, IBM's Watson is better at diagnosing cancer than human doctors: http://www.wired.co.uk/news/archive/2013-02/11/ibm-watson-medical-doctor.

There is nothing that we can do that the machine can't do better. And that's what I want to work on. The machine! Making the machine better.

But what will that do for us?

Why have this machinery work more if we weren't to be working less.

Even our boss's boss's boss, all the way at the top, thinks that we should be working less.

"If you really think about the things that you need to make yourself happy—housing, security, opportunities for your kids—anthropologists have been identifying these things. It's not that hard for us to provide those things," he said. "The amount of resources we need to do that, the amount of work that actually needs to go into that is pretty small. I'm guessing less than 1% at the moment. So the idea that everyone needs to work frantically to meet people's needs is just not true. So the idea that everyone needs to work frantically to meet people's needs is just not true." - Larry PAGE.


Now, I'm diagnosed with Adjustment Disorder by the VA. I feel like this topic, alone, is consuming me. It infuriates me to see anything happening that goes in the face of this direction, and it pleases me to help move it along. I want nothing more than to find ways to optimize the processes around here, and free up time.


"Occupational and social impairment with occasional decrease in work efficiency and intermittent periods of inability to perform occupational tasks (although generally functioning satisfactorily, with routine behavior, self-care, and conversation normal), due to such symptoms as: depressed mood, anxiety, suspiciousness, panic attacks (weekly or less often), chronic sleep impairment, mild memory loss (such as forgetting names, directions, recent events)"


I want to find my niche here at Google, but I feel like we are, as a department, moving further and further away from actual optimization and toward frivolous busywork, drudgery, and simply justifying work to get employees.

Fall depression cycle begins

I've been in a pretty bad place... well always, but this is my tiny rant for my current situation :) :| :/

I keep waffling about my job. I love the place, the people, the culture. I don't have any job satisfaction at all though. I have little to no creative outlet here. I find most of the work I'm assigned is redundant time filler exercises. I do them, but I pay very little attention to them. I'm either on workwebpage, or reddit, or imgur, or clickerheroes, etc. etc. I rarely do only work. My attention is split and I'm only halfway here.

I keep getting told by both peers and managers that when I choose to put my mind on it they're amazed by my contributions to the team. I'm told that the things I know and do are invaluable. At the same time I'm told that I need to fall in line and do what everyone else is doing. That simply doesn't add up to me. If I'm valuable at doing the things I'm doing, and also meeting the requirements set out in front of me, then that should be at least adequate, if not good performance.

After 3 years of commuting 117 miles round trip daily I uprooted my family from their home of 8 years. We needed the change, but in doing so I feel like we killed our sense of place in community. We were Cub Scout and Boy Scout leaders and members. We were active with a community center Karate program. We were actively involved at Church with small devotional groups. It was rare to go shopping and not run into someone we knew and cared for in the community.

Now my oldest needs be prodded, and nearly dragged to Boy Scout meetings. My youngest has also asked to quit Scouting. The Mrs has a new job (in part what prompted the ability to move) and doesn't have the time to volunteer that she used to.

We haven't sold our old house yet. We bought our new place in late June, so we've had dual mortgages and utility bills for 4 months so far. The house we bought has been full of problems including foundation issues, water damage, mold, and more. We bought the place "as-is" from the local church that we'd be attending if we had the time to do anything other than juggle house repairs.

I drained our family stocks last year when my wife had a panic-attack over her student loans and no job yet. I paid off my sister for her half of my grandmothers house that she left the two of us. The house that my Mom and Dad live in rent free. Bought new windows and a new heating/air conditioning unit this year too for that house. So yeah, I'm up to three houses now with the insurance and taxes to go along with them.

Wednesday my account balance was < $6. I'm not used to living paycheck to paycheck at all. We haven't had to live that way since very early in our marriage. We were DualIncomeNoChildren for a while, and both active duty Military, when we started out.

So on my way home from night shift Wednesday I swung by Radio Shack. I wanted to pick up a simple little servo for my 3d printer, to add in auto bed levelling functionality. I checked the account balance from my phone in the lot, and started crying.

It seemed like such a frivolous simple thing to be defeated over, but that was my tipping point.

Things are looking slightly up though. We got an offer on the house that we accepted. It's about $6k less take home than we wanted.

I also applied for a different job. It looks like something right up my alley: automation and simulation, with a focus on the US Navy, specifically my old department and ship class. I'd hate to leave my friends and coworkers here, but I need some more personal fulfilment at work. Right now I loathe and resent myself because that's the perceived attitude I have reflected from a few of my peers.


Time to sleep.

Listen, you all. I'm gonna need your full attention for an overnighter. Our Grandle didn't pull the compile Monday, so we're going to really need to give it 110% to pull four nines. Let's take the terraquad of qbits, run it through eclipse, and make sure to add three Internet. We'll also want to ensure our BdoSs protection is running. I've got the two servers running through a dedicated IP. Once we have a stable existing project, we'll be able to synergize with the Mumble group to ensure full SQL saturation. Ready?

Gotam son. What have you been drinking? Everyone knows you'll need a hands-free magnified Cat6of9 just to get the jitter to an acceptable range. We don't even have GabeN's permission to downsize the discount. What we really want is to get Live with the Ody Memes. I'll grab the labtops, you make sure you don't hit the glasses with your face. Remember now, it's time to show dem nips ifn you need some Cheeze Wiz in your 'Nilla Wafers.

I know you're getting upset. That's why we need to coalesce the frontpage, backwash, IRC, and Mumble. Chaos, mad chaos, like debating youself in Breaking News simply because you can't stand to be right. Pil? How much time do we have until the DoTs cooldown is completed? Listen. We need to get this moving nao son. This would be simple with a table saw, you have no idea. We just need the right tools.

Sorry. I'm doing this from my phone. The government really is watching, since I gave them our logfiles. It's okay, they're gzipped with the torrents in my sharted drive. Nothing can get past that 8 bit encryption. It'd take a compy literal seconds to get past my firewalls.

Day 12470 started like any other day. Waking up early to Leroy Jenkins having a nightmare, had to go pee. Sleeping on the chair while he licked my feet, trying to sleep, trying to decide to wake up. Another failure to launch, another failure to understand, to comprehend. Maybe if the threadlock didn't get all up in this place, and people could return to nice, rational discussions. Instead we have heated arguments over the poorly drank Art that isn't even in the native form of the artist. Art, in the form of a 9mm. Atheistic spaghetti invading Texas? Not in my country, by damn.

Failing. Fourth Grade. How could it be so hard? Is it my fault? What should I have done differently. Mister Mom isn't the jorb I felt like it would be. Spaghetti Tacos, sure, that's fun once in a while. But day 5 of Peanut Butter and Jelly sandwiches really can strain the bio tubes. Clogged tubes, no fun, 404 that toilet. Formula 404. And why the hell did Peter Cullen sign on to read those forsaken lines. I'll Kill you All!?! No faith to his original character.

Listen. If there's only one thing you can take out of this it's this: Fire your Reddit, eat your bank account, and hit the DMCA. If you do that, you'll be sure to take down the crowd funded open source project in Three Twinks. This message brought to you by Thomas Jefferson. "It is much easier to avoid errors by having good information at first, than to unravel and correct them after they are committed."

/drops. mic.

We're all losing to the machines.

I had a fucking UP day today.

I ran out of my prozac 3 days ago. I found a bottle at work with 7 pills in it, so I took one. I also took a fat burner, Hydroxycut Hardcore Elite, drank 2 energy drinks, ate a protien bar, a couple of fiber one bars.

I sat at my desk and interneted. The total amount of work I did today was a simple calculation that I had made a spreadsheet for, helped someone set up the video conference hardware (twice), answered some emails, and delegated a task.

I was beaming by 2 in the afternoon. High on life.

On the other hand, I am completely and irreparably broken. I know that I know that I'm a pattern of information trapped in a mush of grey matter locked in a sack of mostly meat, an insignificant speck crawling on a ball of dirt that in of itself is an insignificant speck in the vast cold dark uncaring space.

And I couldn't have been happier about it.

On the drive home, ride share van, The new girl was talking about how she was getting tasked with re-working the training program, same recommendations I had made years ago.

It is incredibly frustrating. Before I switched to the Big G, I was programming thousands of possible scenarios into multi generator switchgear, capable of transferring a half dozen substations, automatically in closed transition with soft-load transfer, from utility to generator with the press of a single button.

And this week I plugged 5 numbers into a spreadsheet.

The entire fucking world is changing around us. There isn't a single job that isn't replaceable by a machine.

Self driving cars are coming. They're a decade around the corner. Do you know what that's going to do to fucking society. Truck drivers, gone. Taxi drivers, gone. People will be able to schedule a drive to work and a drive home. They won't need to own a car. A car will show up at your house, pick you up, drop you off, then pick some other guy up, drop him off.

Truck drivers gone, right? No big deal. But then so are the insurance adjusters, the legal teams, the people who make the little notepads that drivers record their driving miles and hours on.

Speeding tickets go away, as do most moving violations. There goes a huge chunk out of municipalities tax revenue. How will they pay to repair the roads?

People start moving to green energy. Solar, wind, cheap, reliable enough... but then they don't pay the city municipalities for their energy consumption. The cities can only charge for Sales Tax, or Energy Tax. About 50% of the cities revenue come from the Energy Tax. About 50% of the revenue goes towards Law Enforcement.

Money comes from nowhere. It's fucking loaned into existence. A bank comes and gives you a mortgage for your house. They write 1s and 0s into the ledger, + asset, your house, and - debt, the money they paid out to your previous home owner. It's real money they send out, though. They have the new asset in the bank ledger to prove it.

The head bank just looks at how much digital money it whipped up and says, hey, look, buy our Bonds because that's some nice stuff that'll pay out more in the future. Because it has to. Because if it doesn't, it all crumbles down.

Because the gold standard died in the 70s, the US Dollar is the default currency of the world, and it's only based on debt. A entire generation slave to debt of the past and present. A new generation enslaved to the commercial, the teevee, the internet, and the dollar.

Hello again, LJ, it's been a while.

1am rants are always fun, aren't they?

I'm at a point in life where we are hitting an overwhelming number of options. I'm currently working for the best company ever doing a job that I'm content at. Not happy, only content. It's a job that I can see myself doing for years and years, never really accomplishing anything of significance, and eventually retiring from.

MrsGroovy has finished college... 9 months ago. She hasn't yet had a full-time job in her field as a petroleum engineer.

We're heavily embedded in our local community: Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, Martial Arts, Church...

My commute is killing me slowly. 57 miles each way, 114 miles per day, 2 hours plus in my car every work day. About $14 in gas each day, plus mileage on the car. 60.8 cents per mile for maintenance, according to some report, so 27360 miles annually, about $0.75 per mile including gas and maintenance, or about $20,000.

It really hurts on the 12 hour shift days. I'm gaining weight. Never find time to make it to a gym, even though I've got an impressive enough gym in my home and at my office. When I do work out, my knee and hip feel like I've got an ice pick jabbed in there.

I have a hard time talking about my job problems these days. How can I complain about the best company in the world? Still, I see corporatization occurring daily, growing pains, and no matter where you are people are assholes and you still have to deal with assholes.

That, and I'm not truly happy there.

So I told myself for the last few years that I was going to force the issue this year and drag the family, kicking and screaming, to move closer to work. When I broke the news to the kids it went pretty well, all things considered. LilGroovy is all excited about getting a new bedroom to himself that he won't have to share with GroovyJr. WGGirl wants to have a big yard so she can design and build a roller coaster.

The house hunting started in earnest in February. We've spent days looking and looking for a house to buy. Pryor, Sapulpa, Verdigris, Inola, Choteau, Coweta... All about 30-20 minutes closer to work for me. None of the houses were MrsGroovy's dream house, and none of the communities felt like home. This one doesn't have an open floor plan, that one doesn't have 4 bedrooms, this one has a neighborhood association, that one is across the street from some shady looking trailer park.

So we started looking for land. $30,000 an acre? No decent internet connections.

During this time my Grandpa's cancer finally claimed his life. He lived an amazing 5 years after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. The weeks leading up to his death were filled with listening to bickering between family members over things that really don't matter in the long run... Why can't family come together and simply celebrate the life of a loved one? Why do we so often clash and hurt and lash out at each other when in pain. My sister ... She's going through her own personal issues at this time. She had little to no visible sympathy for my Mom, who just lost her Dad. The man who worked for years and years, often away from home, only to die alone in a hospice bed at 2 am one cold Saturday morning.

And so where am I going with my life? What am I doing? Do I keep working a job that I'm not really happy at, driving for hours each day, only to find myself worn out and withered, bitter and alone... I'm emotionally exhausted. I'm physically in pain due to my weight and my knee.

I'm back in a holding pattern, waiting to see if MrsG gets a job. She has an unofficial offer in the air, with promises of a good written offer in the works. It's been 3 weeks since she last heard from them, 3 months since her on site interview. Everyone tells us that the hiring process for this company is slow, but this is infuriating.

So here I sit, 1am, typing out how I feel. Thinking about going back to college. At nearly 34. My oldest child starting high school the same time I'm thinking of starting college. I know that I cannot do family + work + college. I'll fail miserably at all three. I'm already barely scraping by with just family + work.

I'm exploring options and feeling out the future with a strange mixture of hope and dread.