Acting Up

My musings, thoughts, rants, and discoveries. - Scott Maddock

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Location: Redmond, Washington, U.S. Inc. (Formerly U.S.A.)

Back to Blogging

I haven't blogged here since 2012. Why am I making a stab at it again?

I realized two things about social media I wanted to get away from. First was that I was often using it as a journal, which is boring and maybe TMI for those platforms. Secondly I was using it too much for my taste, so that I felt like a tool for marketers rather than using social media as a tool for my ends.

Friday, December 28, 1990

How Did I Get There?

Ahh. I left the laptop at home and have only been checking E-mail a bit. With everyone on vacation, there hasn't been much to check. That and the fact I haven't been very good at initiating or perpetuating conversation threads of late.

I had a bizarre and fun dream to wake up from this morning, along with a bit of instant karma for my dream behavior. Doesn't seem fair to have retribution in the waking world for a dream trip, but at least it wasn't in kind. Upon awakening I walked down a few blocks to get latte's and such for those still in the house, as well as a triple shot espresso and a wrap for myself. I'm on my own for an hour or two, and thought a bite to eat and a little journaling would be nice.

I'm walking across the street after the barrista stop. I stepped up on the curb edge managing to get some rotting leaves or sand underfoot creating a minor stumble as the foot slid back down and I regained my balance. The tray of coffee and latte decided on a little geyser action as I leaned forward and caught them. I thought it quite funny, though embarrassing as it happened. As though folks in Duncan, BC would care, I surreptitiously brushed the worst of the beverages from my face. A surprising amount made it through the sipping holes to my face. Judging by how full the cups were when I delivered them I don't think any of it missed my face.

My dream transgression involved a line for the ferry to West Seattle. Somehow the line of New York style of pushy cars on the pier turned into a queue of pedestrians with the same attitude. I held back a couple guys who were trying to cut into the line. "You won't get there any sooner by shoving," I said to calm them. "But we'll be in front of you!", they responded. Of course, I responded immediately and beat both of them soundly.

The real transgression was after putting them both out of action, and succumbing to the heat of battle and starting to strategically further beat the Hell out of them, like Ender. Unlike Ender I quite enjoyed myself. Regrettably, I woke up right then, before I really had a chance to revel or feel any regret. That is actually my bigger fear in physical confrontation, not that I will lose, but I'll not stop at the point of success and continue to the full satiation of my blood lust. It is fun in a dream, even if afterwards the gods douse me with coffee as retribution.

It seems peculiar at first, that I revel in warrior violence in dreams. I think it has to do with the dichotomy of my own psyche. I'm generally very gentle and considerate by choice and desire. I feel badly if I miss an opportunity to be courteous or generous. On the other hand I know I can go to the other extreme, even to the point of killing without second thoughts or qualms if I believe it is called for. Example. I was awarded an Air Medal with a Combat 'V'. The 'V' stands for valor, but in reality means it is the result of a specific combat action or mission. The unqualified Air Medals were for attaining a certain number of combat flights or hours.

Basically, I directed a coalition air strike to an active Scud sight. This wasn't particularly notable in my mind, as we were doing these kind of activities on every mission, often several times an hour. Someone thought this particular mission event was of note, or maybe it was simply because the pilot wrote it up for us -- both he and I were awarded the medal. I probably would never have reexamined what my combat actions resulted in if not for the medal. The point is I was the critical link between intelligence collection and the air wing. There were lots of links, but I was the only one in our communications chain which wasn't redundant. I'm also sure most of those strikes resulted in significant casualties.

Blah, blah. What all this thinking about violence as a warrior got me to wondering was the connection violence to kindness. I choose to be kind. Simply stated, it is a more enjoyable and fulfilling means of interaction for me. I started as a child through some mixture of upbringing and inclination, but now it is choice. I wonder if people who have a full realization of the violence they are capable of tend to be more sincere in their lack or embracement of kindness. Rather an unsettling thought. I've killed. Probably had my hand in hundreds, maybe even a few thousand deaths in the performance of my duties, which happily in the last war were defensive. Which is no consolation to those I fought. Let's look at a couple current events in this light.

Stanley "Tookie" Williams. A vicious, low-life, thug. Were his prison activities self-serving, or did he learn kindness in a way and degree that is hard for those who haven't been violent have trouble truly comprehending? When Arnold killed him, did he learn anything? Was killing Tookie or any of the others since he became governor the act of a warrior which gave him a better appreciation of compassion and kindness? Or was it a calculated and soulless political move with not an iota of courage, which if anything gave him a sick and fleeting arousal of some sort when he sanctioned the killings? I don't see how that could possibly give one insight into kindness. Is this insightful, or simply a warrior's conceit?

Second, and unsurprisingly for anyone who reads this journal, Iraq. I feel this war is based on deceit, and is illegal. Most of the combatants I have talked to feel the same way, which has to be devastating. They are committed to each other, so I'd say most of them remain noble warriors. There are of course exceptions on all sides in any war, but I believe most warriors on either side of a conflict are ethical and moral, though with cultural differences it may be hard to appreciate. The Bush administration are NOT warriors, though some politicians are.

Our current veterans need our support and understanding more than ever. It is hard enough for those in a war which they feel is righteous, it is devastating for those involved in a war which they can't condone. I know first hand there is a lot of discrimination against veterans, almost exclusively at the hands of conservatives. Not many conservatives would read this blog. I think zero would be an accurate estimate. So, you readers who are progressive or liberal or whatever you want to call yourselves, continue to support our veterans when they come home. It really is up to you.

It may seem Vietnam was recent, that we haven't learned a damn thing, and still have an insatiable desire for using our military might for it's own sake or the sake of profit for private enterprise. Think again. Look at our history, the wars with England, Indians, Spain, Mexico, etc. Forty years really is a long time between major conflicts. Welcome our veterans. Be the ones who give them a hand up. If it is done better than we did for the Vietnam vets, maybe the next unjustifiable war we'll pursue will be even more than forty years from now. Maybe we'll even find ways to avoid seemingly justifiable wars.

Thursday, December 06, 1990


Originally posted 9/6/06
Okay, this is silly, but I feel very sad. Today was one of my co-worker's last day of work. I started working with her my first or second day at Expedia, and the system she was program manager for has been the majority of my work until my recent change to a different job description. I have enjoyed working with her, and we've always managed to communicate clearly. A unique experience, having someone that will actually stop and look at a problem from a different angle to consider other options. It has been a two way street and when one of us has made a decision that was not what the other envisioned we always understood the other's need. No bruised feelings, just a great working relationship that functioned to come up with the best solution for all, and I can't think of a situation where we did something I considered dopey. How often can a tech geek say that?

I've grown to consider her a very good friend at work and will miss her a lot. It's likely we'll not meet again, and I find that surprisingly sad. It's not like theatre where there is the expectation it is more likely than not you'll see your friends again after a project is completed. I will miss her friendship and professionalism. I feel irked Expedia didn't work to keep her. I'd guess she didn't play the political game, and it is our loss and her new employer's gain. Just between us, if she'd been fifteen years older (or myself younger) I'd have been tempted to ask her out once we weren't in effect working in the same group. Of course I feel the same way about a lot of actors I work with, as it seems all the intelligent (and most actors are) and interesting ones who are my age are involved. It is nice to find people I like as much in the tech world -- it reminds me of the world outside of art, which artists should serve.

I'm removing caffeine. No coffee this morning, though I've had two 12oz Diet Cokes today. Stopped my evening drinks a while ago too. I've really detox'd my system by adjusting my diet, and figured I might as well cut out those toxins. I've been feeling like it is Spring, and wonder if the final bit of detox'ing will make a difference. We'll see. Maybe this the new adjustment has my emotions on edge, like a silly old guy wanting to buy a flashy sports car -- I do miss my Corvette. Maybe, but as I think about it I suspect I would be sad to see a friend go in any case.

Monday, December 03, 1990

Damn Spring

Actually June 3rd, 2006. Too maudlin for current postings:
It's too hot in the office to be productive. My mind is wandering all over the place. While meandering a thought hit me. There is nobody who really knows me. That's nothing new, Hell I'm still trying to know me. Like most of us I suspect.

If I vanished tomorrow, there would be a lot of sad people who would miss me deeply. Now, that is a gargantuan change. That is not the thought which did hit me. It was impolite, and it did hit me.

If I vanished tomorrow nobody would be devastated at losing their soul mate. That is half the thought.

There are a large number of people whose departure would tear me up deeply. Some would crush me, like my Dad, Stepmom, siblings, nieces, nephews, and a slew of friends and artists. There is no one person who would leave me devastated. That is the other half.

I've not been looking for a significant other. First it was to avoid the marriage experience I had, then it was because I knew I had to focus and learn to like myself again. Lately, it is because I like the freedom I have. To pursue my passion. Yet I've known for a while it is an excuse. I know too many people making journeys similar to mine that are in committed relationships. The fear of a relationship is not there any longer, or at least not so much as the habit.

I suppose the ache of that mean old thought which hit me is now notably stronger than the fear of getting into another sucky relationship. Even that doesn't worry me too much as I know a shitty relationship wouldn't break me down as it once did.

Spring reminds me of my solitude, and makes all the lovely women I know even lovelier. It also reminds me that plain old getting laid after so long would be pretty nice too. There is my conundrum. Certain things seem to come to me lately, like the opportunity for ETI and maintaining my job, and opening up as an artist. I don't get the courting scene, hence the archaic description. I've no more clue on how to get laid than I do on how to find a possible life partner. So, where should my effort go? Getting laid is nice, but it doesn't have the same appeal as the whole package.

I'm like Launcelot debating with his conscience and fiend in The Merchant Of Venice. 'The fiend is at mine elbow, and tempts me, saying to me,...' "Scott, Get yourself laid." My conscience says "No, wait another decade or two if that is what it takes to find love." Etc. Unlike Launce, I'm more likely to agree with the voice of my conscience (unless it really will be another decade). I worry I'm simply picking the more comfortable path for myself. So, this internal debate will continue to rage. In the meantime, I can't let myself succumb to inertia while I'm arguing priorities.

I just had another thought, but this one made me chuckle heartily. If my nieces or nephews knew us old aunts and uncles still get just as worked up they'd say, "Ewww! Gross!" It's funny because I remember that age very clearly, and I'd of said the same thing. It was like last 4th of July when my nieces and their friends were looking at a photo album and shrieked in horror, "Oh my God! Uncle Scott used to be so hot!" The same realization of horror happened at about the same age when I saw a picture of a babe in a bikini, that turned out to be my mom.

Another old picture story. I was trying to figure out who the really homely girl at my brother's 8th or 9th birthday party was. The picture was several years old at the time, and I couldn't place her. The moment I asked who the "Ugly chick" was I realized it was me when my hair was much longer.