2021 06 13 Ronsplaining L1000369

My dad. We call this “Ronsplaining” :)

No one to replace the fish

There’s a scene in Lexicon by Max Barry in which Emily is sitting in a waiting room watching a single fish swimming in the upper half of a tank shaped like a large hourglass. The water drips slowly into the bottom half. Emily assumes that the whole mechanism will automatically pivot at some point and then the fish will be swimming in the bottom half. And so on, indefinitely. She figures it’s some sort of art piece. Looking more closely, she realizes that there is no mechanism for allowing the tank to pivot and that someone must just come in and replace the dead fish each day.

I can’t get this out of my head. The tank is not so much an artistic statement as a metaphor for life. It doesn’t pivot when the water runs out. And there’s no one to replace the fish.

Configuration Fatigue

Why am I so tired? I think it’s from spending so much time and energy configuring things.

I spent 2 hours yesterday trying some new visual config changes to Emacs for no good reason. Because micro-managing font faces is important! I’m not even supposed to be using Emacs, for crying out loud.

Then I farted with my TiddlyWiki for a while because I couldn’t decide if I wanted a sidebar visible or not and how should backlinks look, anyway?

After spending a week committing to using Lightroom Classic for everything related to my photography workflow, I ditched it entirely and have been setting up Capture One Pro and Photo Mechanic, which is what I used for a long time and had the whole workflow basically nailed. Now I’ve gotta start over. Again.

I have external hard drives, a Synology, and Backblaze for storage. You think I can come up with a decent, stable storage and backup setup? I can! But then I decide to configure it differently the next day because what if?

My Hugo-based blog at baty.net was breaking during builds for no reason I could find. I thought I’d try updating the theme but I’d forgotten how because I had recently reconfigured things to use Hugo modules instead of Git submodules. I just want to write and post something. Is that too much to ask?

I recently replaced my MacBook Pro and iMac with M1 versions of the MacBook Air and Mac Mini. I started from scratch with both, and it’s been weeks of configuration and I’m still not done.

Sometimes I think of all this configuration as just having fun tinkering with computer stuff. I’ve loved tinkering for as long as I can remember. Lately, though, spending time configuring things feels too much like work; like a crippling distraction rather than a fun diversion.

You’ll note that I’m posting this to my Blot.im blog. Why? Because it’s easier and there’s really nothing to configure and right now that is a welcome change. And I still haven’t fixed Hugo.

Maybe it’s actually “Decision Fatigue”.

When I was a smoker

Me smoking and looking impossibly cool (mid 1980s)

I was a smoker from 1983 until 1996. I loved smoking and I was good at it. I’ll probably start smoking again the minute lung transplants are an outpatient procedure.

It’s been so long since I smoked that I barely remember it. I hate to admit that what I do remember about smoking, I remember fondly. Except maybe the addiction part. It’s a wicked addiction. It took me at least a dozen serious attempts over several years to finally quit.

I failed many times at quitting. It would start with a night of chain smoking at a bar until all hours. I’d wake up hungover, cough a few times, and say, “That’s it, I quit!” I’d last a day or three and then something I didn’t like would happen in my life. Maybe a girl dumped me. Maybe it was a rough day digging ditches (I worked for a trenching company). Anyway, something would happen and I’d sit in a gas station parking lot for 20 minutes before finally saying “Fuck it” and buying a pack.

A girlfriend around that time allowed herself to smoke only on weekends. I envied her ability to regulate it like that, but I couldn’t do it. For me it was two packs a day or nothing.

I started out smoking Camel Lights, but that changed because of Don Johnson. Miami Vice was popular that year, and I tried pulling off wearing what I called “Don Johnson outfits”. I mostly just looked stupid and I never heard the end of it from my friends.

Smoking in the motel room with some new friends during Spring Break (1985)

While in Florida during spring break in 1985, I was wearing one of those infamous outfits when my friend Wayne went out for cigarettes. Instead of my regular Camel Lights, he came back with non-filtered Lucky Strikes. “You want to be Don Johnson so badly, here you go!“. (Johnson’s character smoked Lucky Strikes on the show.) I was drunk enough at the time so that the harsh draw of a non-filtered cigarette didn’t bother me. The next day I finished the pack, learned to love the harshness, and it was Lucky Strikes from then on.

In the 90s smoking started becoming less fun. Restaurants frowned on it until eventually they kicked us out for good. At one point I had a cubicle job in a confined office space and smoked all day right at my desk. How terrible that must have been for all the non-smokers. I still feel guilty about that. Once I started with Fusionary, I had to go outside to smoke. I’d become one of those people who stood shivering in the snow many times a day while “enjoying” a cigarette. Gross. I finally gave them up out of frustration.

Smoking with Robin (1992)

The above photo of me and my ex-wife Robin may be the last record of me smoking. I plan on it staying that way

I joke about starting again, because I actually miss smoking. I really was good at it. I carried a Zippo and could do that flip-snap-light move with it. I loved the way I could use lighting a cigarette as a way to pause before answering a difficult or uncomfortable question. I loved coffee and cigarettes in the morning. And it’s true that smoking after sex is wonderful.

I’m old enough to have smoked on an airplane. My dad tells me that when I was born, they brought trays of cigarettes around to him in the hospital. In the hospital!

I miss smoking, but I hope I never do it again.