Tuesday September 11, 2018 – Columbus OH

Well, a famous day for sure.

I remember my movements on that morning in 2001. An early morning call from Pilar telling me to turn on the TV. I had just returned to San Francisco from London. And like everyone else in the world, I remained glued to the TV for a few hours trying to digest it all. For some reason, not knowing what else to do, I went to the office. There were a few of us there, but soon we were told to leave and go home as they wanted to vacate the building. So I went for a long slow run on a path around the harbor. It was a route I often ran and it was in the path of incoming airplanes for the airport–but of course there were no planes flying this day. Later I went to a restaurant because I didn’t feel like being alone. I had not yet moved into my apartment in Marina and was in a hotel in the city and I felt very lonely and disconnected. I had only recently become un-engaged from Pilar and was still hurting from that. And then the days following with the confusion and misinformation and then the long, slow, misguided but seemingly inevitable march towards war and revenge–ultimately on the wrong people. It wasn’t long after this that I quit my job with Siebel and went to Mexico for 3 months and then on to Namibia for my year of teaching.

Anyway….A long time ago.

Saturday night, Larry, Jerry Mayab and I saw Buddy Guy downtown. As expected, terrific show by a polished master at the peak of his entertaining prowess. Still slashes on the guitar and has no problem telling people to ’shut the fuck up and listen’ when he wants to tell a story about drinking and playing the blues with John Lee Hooker or BB King. It was a fine night. The tickets said the show would start at 6:30. Like amateurs, we pitched up at 6:30. Got a beer and found a good spot about 50 feet in front of the stage. Around 7:45 or so a warm-up band came on—Johnny Fury. 5’5” smoking hot young guitar slinger. Good warm-up act. Then a break and another warm-up act. I can’t remember his name, but not nearly as entertaining as Johnny. Finally, at around 9:00, Buddy makes the scene and played until 10:30. By that time it was late enough that we just Ubered home, had a few whiskeys and a pizza and called it a night after some good political dialogue.

 

A short video from one of his best.

Interesting day at work today. The schedule and approach we are meant to execute simply is not achievable with our current team and infra-structure. I can feel it. Like nearly all schedules put together by executives, it is too aggressive and structural limitations on hiring means we simply don’t have the management resources to oversee the multiple tracks running in parallel. Meanwhile we have spent around $35M on Deloitte, Sogeti and a few other vendors, all of whom are seriously under-performing. But we have not held them accountable for delivering and our internal bench has no depth and not much in the way of talent. It seems when Platinum acquired the company and made the required staff cuts, they may have cut too deeply and we are left with not enough talent to do what they are asking us to do. Today I presented what I thought was a pretty compelling acknowledgment that showed the improbability of success on our current trajectory and was basically told just to figure it out and get it done. And also, they want to actually accelerate the pace in 2019. So do even more with our inexperienced skeleton crew and Deloitte Bush League team. My bosses are all smart guys so I am guessing there is additional information that they know that I don’t—or they are just under so much pressure that they will continue to try to achieve the impossible because they have few options. And the least attractive option is to be the honest one to raise your hand and say we fucked it all up by hiring an incompetent lead integration partner who sucked up all the money and didn’t deliver. Anyway, I was sleeping well for quite a while but now am back up at 2:30 with work anxiety again.

The little dog continues to improve. When I got home yesterday we went on our normal walk. But she was all wiggles and giggles and jumping around and rolling in the grass like a pup. So cool to see her back to feeling good. We still have another few days of antibiotics but she is definitely on the mend.

My canoe project is underway. I am building a Freedom 17—hate the name but it seems to be the right boat for my first time build. It is advertised as a straight-forward project and a very reliable and versatile canoe. Small enough to handle easily solo but carries a decent payload for overnight camping. Sunday I bought a single piece of ‘B’ grade 1/2” plywood for the strongback. The recommendation was to use 3/4” but I have a lot of extra 1/2” plywood laying around and wanted to use it up. I can’t imagine that the 1/2″ won’t be strong enough to support this canoe which will weigh only 50lbs when complete—so I went with 1/2”. I got all the pieces cut and labeled and stacked neatly in the garage and will begin assembling the strongback on Saturday.

There are multiple phases to this initiative. Once the strongback is built, I will need to cut and shape and attach the molds. Then I can start the planking and then there is cutting, shaping with rasps and files, and lots of sanding. Then filling in cracks with sawdust and epoxy and multiple coats of epoxy followed by more sanding and then fiberglassing. Then repeat the process on the inside, build the gunwales and deck and paddles. It’s a process. I am anxious to get into it, but find I have so little energy after starting my day every morning at 5:00 am (or earlier) and only getting home around 6:00 or 6:30 every day. Work exhausts me but I no longer have the enthusiasm that came easily in younger days—now I see work for what it is rather than the more idealistic view I used to have of being part of something important. It’s just another soulless corporation in pursuit of higher and higher profits at any price. We are of course just pawns in that game. But I need to try to keep myself going for a couple of years until I can get organized financially for another sabbatical. Then the AT and perhaps a long circumnavigation of North America by camper and canoe.

3:45 am now. Will try to rest for an hour before getting the hound out for our early morning reconnaissance of the neighborhood. She takes this duty seriously and I must not deny her.

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