How My Brain Works: About An Hour in the Life of Jon

It’s about 11 a.m. on a Wednesday morning.

I am at my desk at home, ostensibly looking for work.

For me, this entails a mix of job search, review, and application. I get quickly bored and overwhelmed by this task, so between steps, I pop over to Facebook, where I have been passing messages with friends lately, doing my best to make up for being oh so bad at correspondence for, broadly speaking, a year or more, and, more generally, a lifetime.

In the course of one of these conversations I offer an old friend, who is planning a visit to the ATL, the opportunity to stay at my home rather than book a room. I quietly applaud myself for remembering to ask if stairs might be an issue, given that the guest room is upstairs.

Thus begins the following sequence:

The stair handrail is a bit loose where it is anchored to the wall at the second floor landing.

I should fix that, especially since I have told The Empress of Whisky that I’m up for doing this sort of thing, what with all the free time on my hands just now.

Get up from computer. Start walking downstairs, to utility closet where tools are stored.

Upon opening utility closet, where cat’s litter box is located, remember I haven’t scooped it today.

Realize I need to pee.

Go to bathroom. Pee. Skip hand-washing, due to next planned activity.

[Somewhere along here, this blog post begins forming in my mind.]

Scoop litter box.

Dispose of results.

Wash hands.

Return to utility closet. Acquire a wall anchor and the right screwdriver to use with it.

[The blog post is definitely coming together now, looking good in my head. I decide to write first, then attack the handrail fix.]

Reach computer. Phone beeps. Check messages.

As I am checking messages, I hear Cat meowing from hallway, outside bedroom. She does this, frequently, when I am home and The Empress of Whisky is not. I think, sometimes, that she thinks I have The Empress locked away in the bedroom. I think this because sometimes Cat will not stop meowing until I have gone to door, opened it, and shown her that The Empress is not, in fact, languishing in the bedroom. She has not mysteriously teleported there from her office downtown. All is well, Cat. Cat then usually rubs on some shoes belonging to The Empress and, thus appeased, leaves the bedroom.

Sometimes, though, and this is one of those times, Cat will instead come when I call and enter the office to sit upon my lap.

This makes work difficult because it is harder to reach things like the keyboard. Left-handed mouse work is okay, though, as is using my phone.

Wait, the phone beeped awhile ago!

Pick up phone, respond to texts while Cat is purring contentedly on my lap.

Just as I have done about all I can before getting back to the keyboard, Cat hops up of her own volition and goes off to either find a sleeping spot or re-investigate the closet I am, as of this morning (before the time-frame of the events described herein), sorting and rearranging. Possibly both.

Begin writing in earnest. Get as far as these words right here.

Realize phone has been beeping a bit while I have been in the flurry of writing this entire post.

Pause to appreciate, again, how wonderful it feels right now that the words are flowing and the rate of brain composition and my typing speed are matching up damn near perfectly, which has been a rare thing in the past but is really happening a lot more often lately and goddamn I feel fantastic about that.

My eyes are watering a bit, probably allergy-related. (This is not a euphemism for crying. I really do have irritating year-round allergies that mostly mean a runnier-than-average nose but occasionally mean watery eyes. This is all while medicated. Ugh.)

Appreciate, again, having switched to a higher grade of tissue (Kleenex Ultra Soft, rather than regular Kleenex). This was initially done, at my — later proved correct — thought that they would be kinder on the nose of The Empress of Whisky, who had been down with a cold until just recently. (Yes, she applied bourbon. We know our medicine.)

Answer more texts.

Also? I love my clackity-clack old school keyboard, with its nifty backlit keys.

Take note of just how many words — ATL, teleported, clackity, backlit / and later, vis — I have added to my personal dictionary in the course of writing this post. (I really loathe red underlines that aren’t actual typos. And. Yet. I. Keep. Adding. Words. To. My. Personal. Dictionary. Forever. And. Ever. Amen.)


Review post so far. Adjust a few words. (But not many! Damn, they really are behaving  well for me lately.)

Note the time: 11:56.

Get up.

It takes about five minutes to realize this handrail fix isn’t going to work. Specifically, I realize this after inserting the base of the wall anchor, beginning to apply the screw that will attach the rail to it and bind the two tightly to the wall, when the whole anchor goes THWERTHUMP! and slips into the space behind the drywall.

(I did not add THWERTHUMP to my personal dictionary. The red line under it bugs me a lot, but that ain’t a word, so what to do? Leave it. Ignore it. You can do this, Jon.)

Realize someone probably tried this — or something like it — before, which is why the whole damn thing is loose in the first place.

Wash hands. (I have … a thing … about keeping my hands clean.)

Return to desk.


Write most of the rest of this post.

Facebook is dinging to let me know I have new messages, and my phone is beeping again. Ignore both because I am on deadline.

Recall how, just two days ago, My Friend The Former Lifestyle Editor Who Retired And Turned Mystery Writer told me something like, “I find deadlines very helpful.”

Remember how I used to always, for purposes of anonymity, refer to my friends in the manner such as My Friend The Former Lifestyle Editor Who Retired And Turned Mystery Writer and wonder whether I need to keep doing that.

Realize I am, in fact, running over deadline — think here, as always, of Douglas Adams and his statement: “I love deadlines. I love the whooshing noise they make as they go by.” — and that I may be in danger of overselling this whole piece.

Pause for editing. Quickly, now!

Reach for mouse to push the cursor toward that big red button in the top corner of my screen marked “Publish…”.

Worry whether anyone will realize I did not, in fact, fuck up grammatically — vis-a-vis quotation marks, accurately writing what that button says within them, and proper sentence-ending punctuation — in that last sentence.


Reach for mouse …


2017 Whisky Wind-down: Primer

If you follow my writing here on even a semi-regular basis, you’ll have noticed, well, “semi-regular basis” is about as good as it gets. There are, shall we say, “gaps” in my publishing schedule, assuming I have a publishing schedule, which, of course, I do not.

And yet, last December, I posted daily for an entire month.

I owe that rare publication streak to whisky and friends. In the course of friendly conversation, I and several “booze enthusiasts” of my acquaintance noted the growing prevalence of alcohol-based advent calendars. Not only were they suddenly everywhere, there were seemingly collections curated for every palate and budget. It occurred to me that it would be fun to use one of these as a daily jumping-off point for writing.

Advent was starting by the time I had that realization. However, while I am overall pretty bad at planning ahead (and shopping), I am aces at keeping whisky on-hand.

I daily profiled (to the limit of my amateur-but-improving abilities) one whisky from my collection, with accompanying anecdotes and other ramblings each somehow thematically related to the selected dram.

It wasn’t advent, exactly.

That term has a particular meaning in liturgy relating to Christmas; since what I really wanted was to say goodbye to a shit year, the exercise instead became a countdown to the end.

I’m not going to rehash my loathing for 2016. I’m not even going to (yet) get into my feelings about 2017.

What I am going to do is get my ass back to the keyboard. I’ve been away longer than I meant to be. Now the whisky is calling me back.

With that, proudly presents “2016 Whisky Wind-down 2: 2017 Whisky Wind-down, The Quickening Boogaloo for More Money.”

Or “2017 Whisky Wind-down,” if you’re into brevity.

Later today, maybe, I’ll get started.

Writing, I mean. The whisky is already open.



Note: If you missed last year’s adventure, you can catch up by hitting the 2016 Whisky Wind-down category tag. If that seems like too much reading, you can get the basics in last year’s primer or just skip to the end. If you are unfamiliar with whisky (or need a refresher) there is also this post on terminology.



I don’t do New Year’s Resolutions.

Which is a good thing.
If I did, one of them would probably be something along the lines of “blog more diligently,” and, as you can see, I kinda suck at that.
And I’m sure “stop procrastinating” would make the list annually.
Said list would be two weeks late, just like this blog post.

While I may not make New Year’s Resolutions, I do sometimes make decisions that might be considered resolutions, and I do so as the whim strikes me.

In the spirit of the New(ish) Year 2012, I’m going to look back on three of those from 2011.

I had a couple of sodas over the holidays, and they were the first ones I’d consumed in months. If ditching soda had been a resolution, I’d have totally nailed it. It wasn’t. I just made a decision, back in May, that the stuff wasn’t good for me, and I haven’t changed my mind.

Yay, me.

On a related note, as I observed a short while after I made my choice to ditch fizzy sugar water — more accurately, in my case, “fizzy possibly-carcinogenic-sweetener water” — this decision meant leaving behind a once-beloved drink (rum+Coke) and put me in search of a new go-to cocktail.

I’m happy to report that I have settled on the Warren Ellis Cocktail. (Google it.)
Yay, me.
I also made a minor financial decision early last year that I never wrote about.
A few years back, when I started my current job, I was invited to join The Lottery Club. If you’re unfamiliar with the concept, it involves pitching in a couple bucks a week toward the purchase of big-game lottery drawings, with the (explicit) goal of pooling resources to “improve your chances” of striking it rich and the (implicit) goal of insuring that you won’t be the one poor bastard left to work for a living should your coworkers strike it rich.
I’ve always known lottery odds are terrible — if you need an example, look no further than Rob Cockerham’s Incredibly Depressing Mega Millions Lottery Simulator — but I finally decided to stop throwing away money in adherence to “everyone in the office might get rich EXCEPT ME!” fear and do something more productive.

So I opened a new IRA for the sole purpose of depositing the $2 I’d been spending in the lottery club each week.

I rounded it off to $10 a month, to make automatic deposits easier, and I started in April.
Results? After nine months, I’m pleased to report that my $90 is now $90.67.

At this rate, I may be able to move up my retirement plans by an hour or so.

On the other hand, my coworkers who are still in the lottery club “invested” the same $90 and do not have even $0.67 to show for it.

Yay, me.

So, that’s three good things I accomplished last year, none of which I pledged to do in January.
As 2012 begins, I have no resolutions.
But I may very well let you know of any that cross my mind as the year goes on.