This is my second blog.

My first blog chronicled my experiences over three years caring for my dad as he lived through and finally died from Alzheimer's. That is the book that is for sale.

This second blog kind of chronicles of life, what it is like to start your life over in your late 50's. After caretaking, you are damaged, file bankruptcy, and the world doesn't care what you did. After 8 months of unemployment, you wake each day knowing the world doesn't want you. Finally you do find a job, 5 weeks before homelessness, but doing what you did 30 years ago and getting paid what you did 30 years ago. So this is starting over.

The object of life is not to be on the side of the majority, but to escape finding oneself in the ranks of the insane.

Friday, August 22, 2014


I don't fly, I think I've mentioned that before, then again, I can't remember what I wrote last month let alone last year, so maybe that is news to my imaginary readers.

Consequently, I've driven thru 36 of the 50 states which gives me a unique perspective on topics, one of which is when you have to go to the bathroom, you go to McDonald's.  McDonald's is the same, no matter where you are in this country, same building, same food, and clean bathrooms.  Funny thing is, I haven't eaten a burger from McDonald's since May of 1979, but I've used their bathrooms.

When my dad and I drove to Colorado, he had to go badly and we stopped at some gas station in, I think we were in Colorado but not yet to Sterling, and I took him to the bathroom and it was the most disgusting dirty bathroom I'd ever seen.  I held him up so he wouldn't have to sit on the seat and didn't care much if he hit the toilet because most others who used the room didn't bother much with aim.  Gawd, just writing this I remember that place.

But McDonald's is always clean, well pretty clean, and that is something McDonald's strives for; when you walk in a McDonald's it will be McDonald's - the food will taste the same, the environment will be the same, the people will look and talk the same, regardless of whether you are in Macon Georgia, Park City Utah, Nashua NH, Kalamazoo MI, or Waco TX.

Trainers are like this also.  I took Train the Trainer back in the 1990's, it was required to be a Certified Trainer for Microsoft or Citrix.  Tell them what you are going to teach, teach it, tell them what you just taught them.  Sound familiar?  Every damn book today follows that pattern.  Objectives for the unit, meat of the unit, then review of what you just learned.

And one of the things that drives me absolutely nuts?  Almost as much as 'perception is reality' and 'it is what it is'; when you ask someone a question and they reply, "that's a great question".  It's not that it's wrong, but in a training class, you will hear the trainer say that for every question from 'what time is lunch' to 'how does Bohr's light experiment relate to Einstein's theory of relativity'.  So by the end of the week, it becomes quite irritating and patronizing and I've actually stopped asking questions because I didn't want to hear 'that's a great question'.

And sometimes companies strive for a similar experience for their customers, like, oh say, telephone support.  They want everyone to provide the same experience to the customer, no matter who they are talking to in the company.  The problem is if a customer calls several times and talks to multiple people they will start hearing the same thing over and over and realize there is a script of some sort being run and then what?

People don't like being manipulated and scripts are manipulation.  Now scripts don't have to be verbatim, they can allow for some creativity, but it feels unnatural to me.

God blessed me with the ability to speak in public.  No fear, little nerves, but no fear.  And I hardly ever will write out a speech, okay, the eulogy for my mom I wrote out but I had no idea if I was going to get through that without losing it so writing it out was smart.  But most of the time I have an idea, some notes or not, and away I go.

So to answer calls and have a script seems so confining, it's like shackling an athlete with balls and chains.  Now some things are smart to do and natural, like restating the problem to make sure you understand what the problem is - my problem is empathy statements.  They come out so disingenuous, like some line at a bar.  It's not that I'm not empathetic, it will show throughout a phone call, but to say it just doesn't work.

Which is also a subject I've thought about but read little about elsewhere.  Sociopaths are people devoid of empathy and there are a host of character and personality traits that go with sociopathic behavior.  What is scary is how many of those traits I possess, yet my problem is the opposite of sociopathism, I over empathize with people, their pain, their problems and many of those personality traits are protection, to protect me from over empathizing.  Gawd, I hate self analysis.

What really surprises me is a company, which is nameless on this blog, that is famous for innovation, for independent thinkers, independent thinking, puts so much emphasis on structuring behavior to fit a model.

It also scares me.

When will AI evolve in the labs to a point where computers can do telephone support?  Think about it for a moment, if for years people respond the same to every call, when will artificial intelligence be able to take over and no one will be able to tell?  When will AI develop to a point where we will converse with machines and only machines - think how many times you call a company today and check balances, make payments, order new services, and never talk to a human being. We are being conditioned while the places still using people are conditioning and standardizing communication.  I often wonder if the recordings of calls is done for legal purposes, training purposes, or something more nefarious, to use to program artificial intelligence.

Do you ever wonder when you read news stories or blogs if computers wrote the story?  I do.  I could even suspect misspellings in stories may be intentional to cover the fact it is a machine AI generated story.

Funny how The Terminator was this great scary movie of an unstoppable force chasing you, and today we have a whole different meaning to the film where sci-fi has met reality and reality is losing.

Assemble, construct the thought
Deadly repercussions of science
No thoughts of self
Breaking down the mind
Under one control, forging
Obedience like a dog
Complete domination
Electricity the life's blood
Walking thin lines
To deaden is to live
Efficiency without feeling
Now your soul is lost

Wielding immense power
Without fear or emotion
In man's struggle
The rights of life
Uniform command
Erosion in all unity
Imprisoned by intelligence
Imprisoned by progress
Industrial empire
The greater of all thought
Production of a mind
The power of creation
Now a silent God

Trapped in this hollow shell
Trapped in the abyss
Technological cell
Electronic living hell
In this anarchy lives
Among the strong
I shall stand
I will never surrender
I live