Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Like smoke signals...

I got the problem with the email resolved... but now the changes have to propagate through out cyber space. Mail has slowly started to trickle into my Inbox... but it is painfully slow. Funny about the order. I got SPAM from The House of Blues, a couple Political Emails and then the emails from my friends started to come in. Makes sense, the commercial servers have more to gain by keeping their router tables updated.

Until all the Internet is aware that jennifermattis.com is back online - I'll be sitting here clicking Refresh, Refresh, Refresh... waiting for news from the outside world.

I'm torn between two geek visions: Lord of the Rings, where they are sending that signal through the mountains to call the Rohan people to battle and the world described in Neuromancer. Take your pick. I'll drum my fingers. Refresh. Refresh. Refresh...

Comedy of Errors

Now, it is only noon, but today is really having a ball with me.

Waking up - not keen on that, as I probably had an extra drink last night that I should have skipped... but manage to make it to the 6:15 exercise class I like. Work my way through that, hit the showers and there I run into the start of the domino effect. I'm missing my belt. Forgot to pack it. So I'm going to have to go belt-free, which isn't a big deal, just annoying.

Hop in the Jetta and head to work. As I'm on Wilshire going west, I hit a large puddle and, thankfully, make it across Veteran before my car stalls out. I try and try and try (if you repeat try and try enough times you'll sound like my car) and it won't start. So I call AAA and the truck comes 45 minutes later. Nice guy... but I think something is up when he can't think of a service center within 10 blocks of my house. However, I'm stuck. I could go to my old mechanic, but he is across town and I don't know how I'll get the car back or get to work. As it is, I'm close enough that they'll drive me back to my apartment after I drop off the car. Another suspicious thing: the tow truck driver and garage owner greet each other with big smiles. Oh well.

They take me back to my apartment where I go to get my roommate's car. Now, she has a terrible future ex-husband... and when I'm feeling frustrated with mine, she recounts another story and I feel lucky again. But she's off in Europe - cannot disclose where due to icky future ex-husband - and I have no idea when she is returning, she was supposed to be back last week. Anyway, she pulled some fuses out of her car so that if the icky ex or his evil friends were to attempt to steal it, that it wouldn't start. So I get the fuses in - which takes me about 15 minutes and then go to start the car. Well, the car is too smart for me. The key turns, but the computer display says, Key Not Accepted. I read the manual (RTFM, right?) and do as it says, but it will not accept the key. After another 20 minutes of banging my head against the wall - I seem to be doing that a lot recently, I give up and call a cab.

After the most expensive cab ride of my life, I get to work. Now on the way I get a call from Super-Cool-Sal who reports that my main email address is bouncing. Oh dear, one more problem. I knew something was up, as I stopped getting emails at about 2 pm yesterday. Well, got the ticket open with the hosting company and as it turns out I forgot to renew the domain name. Too bad Network Solutions didn't let me know - don't they WANT my money??

We'll see when that gets up and running again - to my friends, have patience, I'm not getting emails. I'm laughing at this already, but it may turn to tears if things along this route.

I saw some sunshine, it might not be 100% bad.

Monday, February 27, 2006


The hard drive on my computer died. This happened last week. I had my computer up and was going to get the wireless bobble to go with it so I could actually get it on line. But then it died. I fussed with the BIOS boot order and even stuck in a CD - but it isn't spinning right. It spins and stops and spins and stops... just long enough to confuse the computer.

Such a drain. I knew the drive wouldn't last... but then again, what does?

Thankfully the most important thing, my contacts, had a copy on the 2nd hard drive. So I didn't lose those. I did, however, lose 3 years worth of email, about 5 years worth of documents and files. Now, what is all of this worth? $300 to get fixed? $600? I'm not sure. I'd rather spend a weekend in Las Vegas than fix the drive. On another lucky note, a friend gave me an extra drive. Maybe I can get the box up on that. But now I'm out software. Ick.

More personal than the computer is a betrayal by the body. My sick grandmother is a prime example. She wasn't that ill, just a cold or flu, but she was just miserable. A terribly pale face, no energy. She looked drained. But she was mostly alert and just ready to be back to normal... if only her body could get on the same page.

I find it incomprehensible why the body revolts. A recent car accident followed my another near miss and my back is just frantic. Right in the middle a spasm keeps jumping from the left side to the right. The best remedy is the steam room at the gym. However, with each tinge of pain, I find it more incomprehensible why my body insists on doing this. I don't like it and I'm unable to fix it. Why must it continue to whine? I get told that it is trying to tell me something - yes, that it is weak and pathetic...

Oh well - off to the steam room.

Thursday, February 23, 2006

Sleep on it

We now have scientific confirmation of what I've always known... that it is best to stop consciously thinking about a big problem and let the subconscious do the heavy lifting:

I love absolving my conscious mind of responsibility. Our subconscious does such cool stuff. It keeps the heart pumping, monitors air in/out take, does the serious thinking and is responsible for eye movement and physical stuff like walking.

Almost makes all those things I think about all day seem totally irrelevant.

Monday, February 20, 2006

Win-win or Zero-sum

As I journey on my path of reflection triggered by recent events in my life, I'm seeing how some people see connect to others in a value/punishment fashion. The person or relationship is only valuable if something has to be given up in order to obtain it. Much like game theory - there is a zero-sum nature about it.

An example of this from my relationship is with Michael. Not long before Christmas, I went out with a girlfriend. I was having a great time and didn't call in, as I should have, to report that I was going to be home late. On my way home I got an indignant call followed by a cold shoulder for my trespass of not calling or returning at the promised time. In retaliation, he asked me to host dinner for two new friends of his at work. While I enjoy cooking and I was interested in meeting his new friends, the request was made late Monday night for dinner Wednesday, the night before we were planning to leave for our San Francisco for Christmas. There was no compelling reason for having this dinner timed as such, except to punish me for my Monday night sins. The whole experience served only to alienate me.

Revenge is a key element in this mode of thinking - instead of letting it go when one person does more, a score is kept. I had to do X, so I'm going to be sure you do Y.

To continue with the game theory idea, I come from win-win. I just want the best outcome for both of us. If you're happy and it doesn't cost me anything I'm gleeful. My relationship with my friend Adam is like this. There is only finding good, in each other, in each other's lives. While I'm getting a divorce, he is getting married and I couldn't be happier to be in the wedding. Our relationship is balanced with each of us carrying the load on some days - I have called him seeking advice and counsel, with him doing the same on other days. Score is not kept, as we both see the value in the relationship.

Now, how to combine these two world views. Price, or opportunity cost, are closely associated with value. We see two rings in a jewelry store case and we often assume that the one with the higher price is more valuable. As many find that "high-maintenance" significant others are more valuable than the easy going competition.

Fundamentally I have a terrible time understanding how to make people "pay" for my love. If I connect with a person and find them to have similar values and interests, I just cannot be stingy or zero-sum. I want to be part of their lives, share in their experiences, as that in itself is its own reward. The value is in the connection. We both win.

Where I find problems is in those who I like and connect with who have zero-sum minds. It takes so much energy to keep on their scoreboard. To keep looking to push their motivation, to convince them that I'm worth the trade-off. The easiest way to deal with these people is to disconnect and disengage. Sad, as that takes it from win-win to zero-sum to a negative score. Do we all start out win-win and then get burned into becoming zero-sum? I never want to see that happen to me - yet by being who I am, I think I make an easy target.

Two Things we Can All Agree about

I've seen two things getting pushed among my friends and organizations. The first is appreciation for WWII veterans. They are not going to be with us much longer. My grandfather, James DeLano, Sr. was the navigator on B-17 bombers doing runs from England. He never spoke much about his service. Michael got to meet him once before he died and was able to pull more stories out of him than any of the family.

I had planned to visit my grandparents for a weekend in January and Jim passed a few days before. Polly, my grandmother, was trying to deal with the details of the memorial and death that weekend. Jim had a long slow decline, so his death was expected and the family was prepared. Yet, one of my tasks was to go through the micro-letters that he had sent to Polly while he was stationed in England. Reading about the boredom and golf games in the afternoon was wonderful, especially as I only got to knew my grandfather as he was losing a battle with dementia.

I've been to a number of air shows in the last few years and I always get teary at the B-17 they have sitting out. They gave so much and for such a clear cause.

Hmm, in light of that, the second thing doesn't seem as important. I'll save that for later.

Thursday, February 16, 2006

Fun with Friends

Spent the weekend in San Francisco. Had a lovely quiet time with two sets of friends and their dogs. Four pug - we call it the Puggle. How much more love can a person have than when attacked by 4 pugs all looking for affection?

But better than the pugs was the company. One long walk through the streets and sights of San Francisco and another on the Beach, running the four pugs through the surf. Pugs have the best smiles.

Aside from the views, I didn't realize how luck I was to be out of the way of gunfire. There are very few shooting in San Francisco, but who knew that I could be safer there than in a field with the Vice President? His shooting of Mr. Whittington was quite a shocker - doesn't the NRA require gun training of its members and legislators?

Now I'm wondering what would happen if Mr. Whittington passes, he did have an injury related heart attack this morning. Could Vice President Cheney be charged with manslaughter? And when can he and the Shrub go for a duck hunting trip together, asks my friend André.

Friends are good things. We should spend more time with them.