Delays on Delays

23 February 2018

Dear J—

I keep thinking that this is the day I’m going to get that ___ done, with whatever you want to fill that particular blank. Instead I spend time frittering away with tangential things until it’s too late to be done with anything else.

What about highlighting the peaks of the day instead? Well, I suppose that depends on what you see as the highlights.

Mike

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Smart Goals

12 February 2018

Dear J—

In corrective action space, we talk about having SMART goals – an acronym that describes them as systematic, measurable, achievable, realistic, and timely. At this point the work I’ve been doing in February has been under the category “none of the above” so there’s that to worry about, but no matter; we will continue to keep laboring until we’re there. Maybe I should redefine the first one as “small”: first little thing is to get the inbox cleaned up, then my desk. It’s hard to be thinking straight if there’s clutter all over, isn’t it?

Mike

Procrastination

29 January 2018

Dear J—

Look at that, not even a month and I’m already procrastinating on a bunch of stuff for work and professional development. I want to just be done already, y’know? I want to just declare that this is done and I won’t have to touch it again and that’s just that, right? I can’t, unfortunately. Maybe if I had smaller goals, or took more time to actually do work instead of procrastinate, then I’d be … naw, that’s madness, right? Smart mouth. The joy of crossing things off a list shouldn’t be underestimated, since that feeling – accomplishment – feels so alien lately. What do you do when you turn off the lights at night? Do you regret what has been done, or is there joy in everything you do and say instead?

Mike

Days Off

16 January 2018

Dear J—

Different conducting crews have their own style; the crew we had before on 102 would walk up and down the train together, chatting and recognizing passengers as we passed through, and now, there’s just the one guy – who I do recognize – but the other one, who handles the announcements, is as anonymous as any other voice on the train.

It’s also ridership survey time, as I see the contractors there at the doorway, making marks for when I get on and off the train. I suspect it will be a fairly high count this year, as the weather is mild and ridership has not suffered from the rain (what rain, right?) this year.

Once again I have failed in my quest to ride the special celebration train on Martin Luther King, Jr. Day – it’s a ten-car consist hauled up from San Jose, stopping at Palo Alto and San Mateo on the way to San Francisco to participate in a march and activities. It sounds like fun to me, but I suppose it sounds like education to the kids, who have their own suspicions about it. Perhaps I can convince them to go with me to the New Year parade in February, but that’s probably a hard sell as well. These long weekends with no activity are starting to wear on me.

Mike

One Stop

11 January 2018

Dear J—

I still want … many things. I have … no allowances left. Therefore, I …

Those blanks are obvious and should be filled in, right? I also have so much to do at work and so little motivation to be making numbers march in an orderly fashion around a spreadsheet, or making works apply to various items as we have a thousand different procedures and precedents and God help us all if there’s some conflict that means you can’t exactly do what you said you would. Follow through on your promises, c’mon, it’s not hard.

Mike

New Year

2 January 2018

Dear J—

So there is some confusion here: they ran a six-car gallery set, which means the bike car becomes the third back from the locomotive, not the second. I got on the wrong car with my bike and was confused by the closed door, doubly so when the car was filled with seats in both directions, though thankfully I was able to hustle down to the right car while it was still on the platform.

There’s also a slightly different schedule, as I understand it, and of course all of this will be subject to change in the upcoming year, so let’s keep that in mind too. New Year brings new and interesting experiences, thankfully.

Mike

Simple Questions

29 December 2017

Dear J—

They are all simple questions, this last working day of the year:

  • Do I want to be here?
  • Do I have to be here?

The answer to both is no, at least for now. I’m going in mainly to retrieve my computer and a few documents, but also to figure out what else I might be able to finish before the end of the year. A profile view of the gantry crane at Hunters Point doesn’t count, I think, nor does the idea that I should somehow insert a bow view of HMS Dreadnought (which didn’t survive to 1947, c’mon) help. No, there are a few simple things to finish up and then be done with this year, be done with this 2017 and feel satisfied about it.

Unfortunately my ambition does not match my means, and so I have roughly a thousand different thoughts in my head about what I need to do (I have a master list at work, thankfully) and none of them match up, I think.

I should have taken today off, honestly.

Mike

In Among the Outs

26 December 2017

Dear J—

We had such a boat of food yesterday; it literally arrived in one of those large sushi party boats which they typically use for … well, I dunno; when would you ever serve that many people that much food, and why would you? I mention this because it felt like we hardly left much of a dent in it, meaning the three trays of leftovers we brought home were significant and I’m still tasting it this morning, a giant bonus of meat and very little veg sitting in my gut like a cannonball.

I eat like this when I see my parents, and I’m going there again this morning to seek them out for a few more signatures. And then lunch, and then home, with any luck. And I’m still not done with a good portion of the work I swore I would get done by the end of the year, which upsets me to no end and no real fruition, either. Get Over It. Do what I can, when I can do it, and the rest will follow.

Mike

Dormer

21 December 2017

Dear J—

It’s been cold this week and so have I, apparently, not willing to give up an evening nap in favor of helping out around the house or the kids with their various projects. There has been already too many outbursts after being relatively fine about things: calm, even. So that’s that, I suppose, and nothing more to it.

I cracked my handlebars in the last crash I had, approximately two weeks ago after hitting the baseball-sized chunk of loose asphalt (seriously; if that’s falling off your truck, then you need to figure out a better way to secure that or not fill the truck so full). The handlebars felt a little loose and the quill bolt wasn’t tightening them up. Once I noticed the crack at the weld … is this how life goes, then?

Mike

Spare

14 December 2017

Dear J—

So right after that glowing report on reliability, it turns out the crash I had last week actually cracked one of the handlebar-to-stem welds. It’s a big unit – bull moose bars, widely spaced – and so since I have to replace the whole damn thing anyway (who can weld on that? I wouldn’t trust the results) I looked at all the pieces I’m going to need: handlebar, stem, quill adapter, brake hanger. I should just throw on one of the spare V-brakes I have hanging around while I’m at it, but no.

Today I got to ride the old bike, which I’d stopped riding maybe six months ago? It (and the knee pain) is a revelation: how did I ride something so small (it feels like riding a child’s bike, to be honest) and for multiple years at that?

Mike