Sketch Title

4 May 2017

Dear J—

So, let me sketch this for you this morning:

Arrive at the station roughly seven or eight minutes early, as usual. Skinny guy’s at the shelter – don’t recognize him, he’s not a regular, like the guy with the beautiful copper mug (either a dentist or a lawyer, commuting to Menlo Park) or the retired fellow who helped me turn the abandoned pants in to the police those several years ago. Nope; close-cropped hair, dark blue t-shirt, baggy jeans but not sagged to determine the particular color of his underwear.

He asks me when the next train is arriving and complains that he saw lights and a horn two hours ago with no train forthcoming. I tell him they run freight over the line at night, but he’s not completely satisfied with this and walks away; I see him later walking back from behind a truck, zipping up his pants and strolling back as the train arrives. When we board he;s right behind me and I hear muffled curses, turning around to see blood on his hands; in the light I can tell he’s been working all night or maybe just hasn’t had a chance to clean up yet? 

Mike

Friday Lite

28 April 2017

Dear J—

It’s what they call Friday Lite on the train: for some reason, Friday traffic is always lighter than other days of the week. I like to think that people are out and about doing fun things, though last Friday, when I had the time off, what did I do? Er, two Fridays ago, that is. I already can’t remember, and what I did last Friday was flail around and fail to get traction on any of the myriad of things there are on my desk. Start with one. Start with one. You can do this.
That’s life, I suppose: first you flail and then you get upset. The key is what you do with it afterwards, right? How do you recover, what do you say, how far down the line do you go to get better about it?

Mike

On Tap

27 April 2017

Dear J—

Every so often there’s a course correction coming and I think I’m reaching that inflection point pretty soon; we have some thought about what needs to happen, but suffice it to say there’s been too many days of little or no forward motion. And really, enough is enough; I’m sick of it, you’re sick of it, and there’s only so many ways we can dig up old photographs of SP’s Pacific Commute and smash them together online.

Mike

We See

26 April 2017

Dear J—

There’s still a lot to be done and not enough time to do it and, well, who are we kidding, really? There’s too much. So rather than do nothing, start doing a little bit at a time, what you feel you can manage, which is more than what you want, but less than the whole. And eventually, you’ll get there. The train picks up speed in a fairly gentle manner. Things to remember: how does the cat manage to throw his weight around and sit on you whenever and wherever he wants? The tally talk after getting home, when after a whole day of not talking to anyone that’s all I can keep doing, or is it? 

I’m confused by my instincts, which tell me that interacting with the family is good and yet I sit there and withdraw, night after night. If you’re not helping, then you’re not working out real well for that, are you?

Mike

Yesterday

25 April 2017

Dear J—

Still not done with everything, but at least I’m behind on it, right? I spent the day at home after going to a school event in the morning; rather than pretend I had enough time to be doing a ton of work, I was working from home. On … files. Yes.

Yesterday for lunch I found a place up north that had good reviews, one of which helpfully pointed out that it was literally inside a gas station. The restaurant, either called Yalla Yalla or Yalla Mediterranean or Inshallah, turned out to be surprisingly good despite sharing our seating with the beer and chips aisle; while the ambience wasn’t the best, the food was pretty solid. Afterwards, dessert in the City of the Stars, Brisbane and it all added up to a pretty nice day all around.

figgy had a quiz show-like presentation where the students came armed with different nuggets of facts about California history and geography, which was worth seeing. I should spend more time at these school events in the future, but first, I should be booking a flight to Alaska and confirming I have someplace to stay when I get there.

Mike

Sorted

21 April 2017

Dear J—

You keep putting pressure up and eventually something will happen, right? I’ve been casually watching the various playoff games (okay, ‘watching’ is a bit extreme, so I’ve been following them on the internet using my phone) and these games that are decided early aren’t nearly as interesting – nor illuminating – as the ones that end up in overtime. For lack of a better term, everyone shifts into an even higher gear and you start using bad sports metaphors like that and deciding which team is “hungrier” or has “worked harder”.

Not having a stake in the playoff fight this year means a lot less anxiety in following the games, though honestly, my team hasn’t been particularly competitive lately, so there wasn’t much anxiety to begin with. The dispassionate viewing means we can discuss things more rationally, right?

Mike

Things Unprepared

20 April 2017

Dear J—

Things I am not prepared to discuss: work, sleep, how’s it going, today.

Things I am prepared to discuss: the funding origin of the San Francisco and San Jose Railroad; how long and how that railroad became the Southern Pacific and specific dates. Ah, yes. Specific dates, which are largely meaningless in the greater context of things, but remain interesting to overly detailed personalities.

Great. That’s it for the day, then. See you tomorrow.

Mike

Slow Steps

18 April 2017

Dear J—

Either I’m sick and need more rest, or the allergies have been murderous this week. And either I’m paranoid at work or they’re making a move on what I do and how I do it. So keep your nose clean and try not to be so obvious about a lot of different things, including frittering away time reading about the next awful steps in the news. We’re supposed to be mature adults and yet our government has all the subtlety of a cheap hood: ‘Nice country ya got there. Be a shame if we were to drop a bomb on it, like we did to Syria and Afghanistan.’

In this I’m simultaneously isolationist – don’t we have enough going on without looking for a fight? – and aghast at the prospect of sending our Vice President in a leather bomber jacket to literally scowl across the border in person, like that show of force is supposed to send some kind of an unsubtle tough-guy message. There is an immensely strong sense of national pride that surprises me amongst Koreans I’ve met, and our leadership keeps poking that sleeping bear like it means nothing.

Mike

Robot Games

17 April 2017

Dear J—

In trying to remember my dream from last night:

  • There were two companies with robots, let’s call them Company A and Company B
  • Company A had just announced their new advanced prototype, Robot A2
  • Company B wanted it, so they hatched a plan.
  • At the announcement of Robot A2, Company B attended and held their own press conference declaring their intent to steal A2
  • Naturally, Company A beefed up security
  • When Company B carried out their raid, it came as a bit of Ja shock anyway
  • Company B used an electromagnetic pulse to wreck A2 and stole the development prototype A1 instead, which had been done (for some reason) with an analog computer and so wasn’t affected by the attack on digital signals.

It doesn’t make a ton of sense, but it was my dream and the deus ex machina bit at the end is pretty weakly plotted, subconscious.

    Mike

    Still Delayed

    10 April 2017

    Dear J—

    There’s a lot of things that I’m responsible for which are still delayed and, well, yes, I’ve described them well over the past few days and I’m not going to go further in depth on those. Over the weekend I was felled by a mystery illness (god knows what, but it involved fever and chills, leading me to sit around the house in a heavy coat and sweatpants) and we didn’t get out to do too much, which was okay as figgy took a long nap yesterday, catching up on her own excitements of the weekend.

    The kids are turning into fully fledged human beings; between the activities and personalities we have plenty to be thinking about as we progress through the remainder of the year already. I’m glad we have the opportunity but lord, do I miss the pliability and, let’s face it, gullibility of the young.

    Mike