Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Burnout Tastes Like Burning… Welcome Solstice & Goodbye 2011

Note: Cross posted from Suburban Eschatology Part Two.


From 2011-12 (Dec)

8:15 PM
I talk about this later in the post, but I wanted to let everyone know right at the top that this will, probably, be the last post until 2012.  I am taking a break.  It’s been a heck of a year, and I’ll be back, fresh and ready, after Winter Break! 

This includes the Photo of the Day on Rubble.  One sign of my burnout is that the Photo of the Day has become the photo of every now and then.  Daily posts will return in 2012.

2:30 PM
Winter Solstice today, thank the Gods!  Now the days start getting longer.  Happy day.  It was also my birthday yesterday.  These days, though, other anniversaries feel like bigger deals than just making another trip around the sun…  It was a nice day, though.

The sun is out and The Big One and I are going to take the dog out for a long walk.  Hopefully I can take some pictures and keep on getting to know the new camera I received for said birthday and for the upcoming holidays.

Yes.  Burnout.  I am very burned out.  It has been a long year.  The new year is not here yet, but I am a year older and the days are getting longer, so this seems as good of a time as any for a 2011 wrap up post.

This is the last task I am knocking down before stepping away from the computers for a couple weeks.  No Photos of the Day (or of the every few days, as it has been going recently), no posts to any blogs, little to no activity anywhere else.  Stick a fork in me, I am done.  Break time.

For the next couple weeks it is about the kids, books, cameras, watching some movies and catching up with some Breaking Bad, Rescue Me, and some other badly neglected shows.

It is going to be some time to get some perspective, to get some rest, and to get ready for 2012. 
This past year was a strange one and not an easy one.  2012 looks to be very different.  No less easy, but definitely more stable. 

2011 was a year when my life was on hold.  I started in California helping my mother with several issues, and ended in Gresham helping my children through several issues.  Those tasks took up the whole year.

But that leaves me in a strange place where my plans for my life in 2012 look exactly like my plans for my life in 2011.  This is not to say that I did not accomplish anything in 2011, far from it.  The work with my family has been tremendously productive and rewarding.  But in 2012, the main goal is to resume work on my own career and to start earning some damn money.

This also not to say that the work with my family is done, of course it is not.  The boys have come a long way, but there is still a long way to go, a lot of healing left.  Their wounds are no longer bleeding, but they are far from being back to normal.  The Big One still has a long ways to go before he is back up to speed with school.  The Little One, well, he has a long way to go before he’s back up to speed with life.

However, the progress they have made since April and May is amazing.  Some solid foundations are now in place and they are both further along than I would have guessed they would be at this point.  They are far enough along where I am feeling pretty good about heading back to work. 

There will be challenges, of course, with this transition, but I think they are part of the growing process now, challenges encouraging growth, not obstacles hindering it.

Time to get out in the sun for a few.  More later.

From 2011-12 (Dec)
From 2011-12 (Dec)
From 2011-12 (Dec)
From 2011-12 (Dec)

6:00 PM
Dog walked, boy walked, errand ran, dinner cooked and served…


I’ve been putting a lot of work in on the RubbleSites for the last couple months, a lot of posts, but even more time spent behind the scenes getting this and that set up.  I feel, for the most part, this work is coming to a close and that, after a few small projects that will be completed after winter break when the boys are back in school, that I am at a point where I can pretty much just focus on content creation.

And that is a good thing, because once I am back to work, there is going to be little time for anything else.  Posts may get shorter, and fewer and further between…  I think my goal at that point will be one decent post for each blog per week, with some other, smaller “feature” type stuff thrown in here and there too. 

Of course, I’ll be keeping up with my photo of the day and throwing music I like up on Retrovirus Lab, too.

So, the plan is, after the break, to take two weeks to finish the construction of these sites and to put a new portfolio together.  Then my full time work and only major project will be landing a new writing contract. 

One of the things that has been a little rough the last month or so is that I’ve fallen into a strange schedule with life.  Since most of the uninterrupted work time I have these days is at night, after everyone is in bed, I’ve become rather nocturnal these days.  I get a few chores done during the day, then the afternoon and evening has been spent working with The Big One and his homework, cooking dinner, usually more work with The Big One and his the homework (let’s face it, it has been more homeschooling than helping with homework), then getting everyone to bed. 

Only then have I found the time to get the serious work done on the bigger projects I’ve been working on, like the One Day on Earth video, the Occupation photos and videos, etc.  Since The Ex One gets up early, she’s been handling the mornings, getting the boys out the door to school.  Through the end of November and up until the last few days, I’ve been going to bed about the same time she’s been getting up to get her and the boys’ day started.

This schedule actually worked pretty well for that period, for the most part.  The Ex One was fresh for the mornings, and I was fresh for the afternoon and evenings, and the boys were spared dealing with a tired and grumpy parent!

Now that the boys are home, though, this schedule is terrible!  Today we hardly got anything done.  I have a few chores I need to complete before I start my break, the day is almost done and I feel like I haven’t accomplished anything.  Of course, on the old schedule, my real work wouldn’t have even started yet, but I am done with the nocturnal thing.

Once I start the job hunt, I will need to be on a normal schedule.  Since it would be murder on me to swing back and forth between day and night schedules every two weeks for the next month or so, I am not.  I am just going to switch to a days only schedule and keep it there.

After break, my days will be compressed into what I can get done while the boys are in school.  That means I will probably be a lot less productive, but there are no big projects, just a few small ones and wrapping up some big ones, so that should be fine.  The challenge will be not getting sucked into any new big projects.

So, for the rest of break, I am taking some time for me.  I might get caught up editing a few pictures here and there, but that is pretty much it.  I have a small project, also, that I need to complete for my mother’s Christmas gift, but that is a small project. I might also finish the One Day video, but probably not until the boys are back in school.

That is the project, the One Day On Earth video,  that was really burning me out, and it is still not done.  I put a lot of time into that video and, at this point, I am not crazy about the results.  With the limitations of the camera I shot the video well, there’s not much more I can really do with it. 

I took a break from the video for the last 10 days or so, once the deadline was extended for a month, to get some distance from it and to make some decisions about it.

Pretty much, I needed to decide if it was something that I wanted to put another 40 to 80 hours in to or was it something I wanted to just wrap up and move on from.  The break was good.  It is time to put a few final touches on it and to move on.  I was thinking about recording new music for it, nope.  I was thinking about re-cutting the whole thing in Lightworks, nope. 

I do need to put a couple more hours into it, but that is all.  Upload it and move on.  But it took several days of distance from it to realize that this was the best thing to do here.

The other big project I still need to finish is editing and posting all the Occupy Portland material.  Of course, that stuff was sort of time sensitive, so the longer I go without posting it, the less relevant it becomes, the less of a priority...  Still, I do want to get it up while it is still something of a current event and before it becomes history.  But at this point, January is fine.

And that is about it.  All that stuff, in a nutshell, was 2011.  And since I am putting everything not done at this point off until 2012, that means my year is done.  And I am tired.  It is time for a long break and a lot of rest.

See you next year.  It should be an interesting one!

Related Posts

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Well, that’s that… Stick a fork in the Iraq war

From 2011-12 (Dec)

Well, not that it was a “war.”  We haven’t fought a “war” since WWII. 

But yeah, it was a war.  It always seemed silly to me when I was a kid that a lot of people made a big deal about Vietnam not being a war.  Sure looked like a war to me.

And the Iraq conflict, apparently, for now, has entered a new phase where we have no boots on the ground except for those tied to the embassy in Baghdad.  Does that mean it is over?  God knows.  I suspect it is not over for the Iraqis but we can all hope for the best.

I wonder how this will go down in the win/loss/tie column?  The Ba’ath Regime definitely lost.  However, when you hear American military personnel talking about the logistical nightmare of pulling out the forces while still under fire from enemy combatants, it seems problematic to call it one in the win column for the United States.

Obama mail in my inbox this A.M…

Friend --

Early this morning, the last of our troops left Iraq.

As we honor and reflect on the sacrifices that millions of men and women made for this war, I wanted to make sure you heard the news.

Bringing this war to a responsible end was a cause that sparked many Americans to get involved in the political process for the first time. Today's outcome is a reminder that we all have a stake in our country's future, and a say in the direction we choose.

Thank you.


Nine years, nearly a trillion dollars later, with perhaps an additional trillion to go over the next 30 years when it comes to taking care of the veterans (figures from NPR), and, well, I just do not know….

It all just leaves me feeling pretty hollow at this point. 

Last U.S. Troops Make Quiet Exit Out Of Iraq : NPR:

Gen. Lloyd Austin, who commanded all U.S. troops in Iraq, says he was also worried about roadside attacks as the troops pulled out. He flew down to COB Adder for the last casing of the colors, when the army division's flag is put into its case and sent back home to the U.S.

This war is not like other wars that have ended with the signing of treaties or an exit from friendly territory, Austin says. One American base not far from COB Adder recently had 47 rocket attacks in a single day. Pulling tens of thousands of troops out in this kind of environment is a logistical marvel, he says.

"You're reposturing while people are still trying to cause you harm," Austin says. "That means that every element that moves has to be protected. It is the most difficult undertaking in our lifetime, in our military career."

Deadly Iraq war ends with exit of last U.S. troops -

Early Sunday, as the sun ascended to the winter sky, the very last American convoy made its way down the main highway that connects Iraq and Kuwait.

The military called it its final "tactical road march." A series of 110 heavily armored, hulking trucks and Mine Resistant Ambush Protected vehicles carrying about 500 soldiers streamed slowly but steadily out of the combat zone.

A few minutes before 8 a.m., the metal gate behind the last MRAP closed. With it came to an end a deadly and divisive war that lasted almost nine years, its enormous cost calculated in blood and billions.

Iraq, lost in the fog of war - Opinion - Al Jazeera English:

War draws combatants, their societies and politics, into its vortex and forever changes them. It does so not just once, but over and over again, until people forget who they were before the guns started firing.

War has a tendency to generate uncertainties and ambiguities of the most fundamental kind, about who is winning, about what has happened, and about just who we are.

At a moment of supreme - if relative - world power, the US invaded Iraq in March 2003 to prevent Saddam Hussein from rising from the ashes of the sanctions regime of the 1990s. The US sought also to supplant a hostile Iraq with a friendly American client. Iraq would be a base from which to exercise US influence and a replacement for the pliant Gulf monarchies, whose stability in the face of al-Qaeda was then far from assured.

For political consumption, and for gullible idealists, these goals were packaged as the threat of WMD and the spread of democracy.

A mere three years later, the most powerful armed forces in human history were facing defeat at the hands of a many-sided ragtag insurgency. Each pinprick attack in Iraq bled popular support from the war in the US, and made the dream of a stable, democratic Iraq seem fantastical. Meanwhile, around the world, US legitimacy lay in tatters: stained with the WMD that never were, the chains of Abu Ghraib and the blood of Fallujah.

Most of all, the US' reputation as the unquestioned superpower was destroyed. The war in Iraq brought an end to the American century.

The goals shifted. Now the problem was to find some way for the US to exit Iraq "with honour". This was the same problem that the US faced in Vietnam after the Tet Offensive of 1968.