Enough with Reagan-philia!

It’s gone too far. It’s gone far too freakin’ far. George Will blasts the Reagan-philes in his usual erudite way.

Mind you, I think pretty highly of Reagan–in my thought process that politicians should have a few simple, core beliefs that they govern from and never but never stray–but talk of putting a “Reagan Memorial” on the Mall? Please. Reagan goes as either the best or second-best president post-WWII [obviously, Kennedy would be the alternative in that discussion], but did either irretrievably and irrevocably change the American landscape? Not really. Now Roosevelt, yes, did, but only in cementing the concept of entitlement in the American mindset. Were the man not dead, I think I would cause him great harm for that…


What the … [expletive deleted–this is a family site]. JPL’s new “neatness” policy has to be the biggest load of crap I’ve heard from NASA in ages.

I mean, really. Engineers are more productive in messy environments. Why? They aren’t spending time cleaning up all the [-ed-] that Pointy Haired Bosses give to them! GAOHGOQIHEGOPQIE:OQHGOQIH!

Okay, I’ve had a bad, bad day at work, and now this. Time to go home and not worry about it any more.

We Don’t Need No Education

We may not need education in Alabama, but, by God, we need a new danged highway.

Yes, this will greatly benefit West Alabama. This is near and dear to me–my family lives in WAla. But seriously, with our schools shot to hell and back, do we need to spend $1.5B to build a highway? Where will the money come from, Don? Is your no new taxes pledge–even in the face of growing support to raise taxes to pay for education–going to go away because, like all corruption in Alabama and the SE US in general for road building, you can make money from this?


Back Off!

Yeah, I’m going to do something with IJSM soon. There’s much news to be put up for you all to know about, especially with me leaving SGA.

However, I’m here to bring up an interesting thread on /. I have been a significant participant–my nick is TOTKChief. It’s a pretty interesting read, really–though the comments are somewhat disappointing. Few of the highly-modded responses are all that clueful. Typical of /., yes, but I’m not the only aero-geek on /.!

Enjoy. I’ll have some info on the latest insanity soon.

Sleep…Perchance to Dream

Well, I watched a little TV last night at Ralph’s mom’s apartment [she winters in Florida and summers in Chicago, which is probably a good idea, and she doesn’t come back to Chicago until mid-April, so I’m staying there], and then I woke up around 9:45 last night. I probably woke myself up snoring. =)

I flipped the TV and most of the lights off, and I trekked into the single bedroom. It’s a sparsely-furnished apartment–Ralph says his mother fixed up the living room and sitting area for $100 out of garage sales. Makes sense: no need to toss down lots of money on a place you inhabit by yourself and only spend half the year. The bed sits in the middle of the room, and the purpose is clear: this is the place to bed, and that is that.

I wonder what kind of woman Ralph’s mother is. I think her name is Dorothy; I have gleaned that from notes left by family members who have stayed there. She obviously paints–the walls are adorned with her artwork. A calendar has a one-line description of her days; many of them say, “Painted–but not well.” I’m not sure I believe that, but maybe she has just those few inspired days. Rich Mullins used to say about his albums, “What you’re hearing is the only inspired 60 minutes I had in that year.”

Being a creative type, I understand the sentiment–self-criticism is highly important to motivation. It can become self-damnation, of course. That’s one reason why I both love and hate to have creative types as friends. In some ways, they bring sunshine into my life, because they have their own unique experiences to share. In others, they bring sadness into my walk, because their self-criticism reminds me of the near-disease that inhabits the creative community:

“Never be satisfied; never give up. Push, push, push.”

It can wear you out.

That’s where I was–I had pushed, and pushed, and pushed in all the areas of my life. I’ve got TOTK and SGA, each of which could be a full-time part of my life if I let it. I’ve got the variety of stuff at church, including the youth musical drama I put together in no-time flat…amazingly. I’d pushed until…my body pushed back.

And I’m back today, pushing again. I type this while writing a piece for TOTK Today, talking to Ralph as he walks in and out for smoke breaks, answering the various questions about sports and TOTK that the DigIn folks always seem to have for me, etc. Heck, I left this entry for five minutes while I pinged around to do something else, and I still have an ESPN.com baseball preview article that I’ve been trying to read for an hour.

We often kvetch about how life is harder these days. I don’t believe that for a second. But there are times that I do enjoy the simple-mindedness of purpose that existed 100 years ago. You didn’t have so many things to worry about, really, because they were all part of one larger problem. But now, we’re so fractionalized and factionalized, and technology enforces that upon us. Those of us who try to do everything live shorter lives in the process. =)

I still wonder what type of woman Ralph’s mother is. I assure you that her life is simpler than mine, but it’s creative nonetheless. What a joy that would be: to be creative but focused.

Safe is the Wayward Traveler

I’ve just tried to calculate the number of hours between the present and my last decent sleep, but it’s not happening. =)

Left Huntsvegas around 11:30 last night. Turned back at midnight when I realized I’d left my wallet. Got back on the road again for good around 1:00 a.m. Got to Nashville’s airport around 3:30. Dozed in my truck while listening to late-night sports talk until 4:30, when I got on the shuttle bus [which had just started running] for the terminal. Got to the gate way early, and by the time I got to the plane, I was sleeeeeepy.

I remember passing over the KY-TN state line–but only because where I flew over has the neat TN River conflagration up there. Look on a map if you’re unfamiliar with it. I was next conscious when my ears started popping on the descent, and was aware of my surroundings when the landing gear extended. That has to be the first time I’ve really sacked out on a plane. Guess being an aero eng major makes that easier to do, eh? =)

Ralph got tied up this morning, and I got to wait at the airport for two hours. Was great idle time for the brain. Soooooo much has been happening lately that absorbing it all has become a huge problem. But now I think I can make it happen at my pace, so that’s cool. Looks like we have a fun few days lined up, and Ralph and I are going to lay a lot of groundwork. Ralph is trying to get me to move here; I’m trying to get him to move to Huntspatch. =) We’ll see who wins.

Home, Hearth, and Happiness

Just got off the phone with the folks. Glad to hear that Mom sounds just a little stronger than before. Also good to hear that her left eye is tracking a little better, and that surgery is possible to rejuvenate the nerves and such should the need arise. She may always have double vision in her left eye, but the ability to use both after the stroke she had in August is amazing. =)

It’s really frustrating to be too busy to go home as often as I should. Last time I was home, I cut the trip short because the Governor was coming to town and it was our opportunity to protest. Since then, I hadn’t successfully made time; and then I turned off sick this week, unable to visit. Such frustration. With elections and church stuff, it may be late April before I get up there. I hate that; time with my parents is precious, especially when you nearly lose one of them. I treasure the time I get to spend with them, even if we don’t “do anything”.

Looks like home is indeed going to change. Plans for me to move back on campus are progressing, and Jared is certainly transferring to UNA. Glad that he found what he wanted to do to make himself happy and rich before he was too far to change majors, unlike myself.

It makes me wonder why I didn’t decide to change majors earlier. I should have. I had every opportunity to do so; I resisted them all. I resisted my calling, which is as much of a sin as getting a degree you don’t want and wasting taxpayer dollars. =) It leads me to wonder: “Why am I doing this? How will God use this to change me?” I think it’s just further evidence that He knows better than I do.

I’m reminded of Jeremiah 29:11: ” ‘For I know the plans I have for you,’ declares the LORD.” It’s frustrating to be a recovering control freak and not to know what those plans are. I find the answer in the next few verses. I do yearn to be brought back from captivity; I feel trapped into the exile that is the engineering career I am not happy with [despite my supposed ability to do it rather well] and the future for myself that seems so bleak without following a calling.

I’m reminded of a conversation with Jennifer where she reminded me that vocation is really just calling in a different context, “voca” being from the Latin, “to call”. Of course, when I hear of vocation, I think of the Vo-Tech, guys with 85 IQ’s thinking their only way in the world is to tinker with cars, punch metal, or something similar. “Teach ’em a skill and keep ’em safe and out of sight,” society seems to say, but that’s not really fair, either. Of course, I’m sure society’s treatment of people who leave high-paying jobs to work for a God who is both always visible and always invisible will be interesting, too. But we are to be in this world, and not of it. That’s a struggle, but I get a little closer to it some days.

In all of this, it probably seems as if I’m down. I’m not. I’m refreshed. But I also recognize that some of the hardest work of life lies ahead, and here I am, unready to take it on. I must get in shape, in all ways, for the days to come.