Tough (-ish) and Clean (-esque)

Today I went to the gym for three hours.

About three months ago a bunch of (well, call it four plus me plus some outside) people from work decided we should Do Tough Mudder. To which my response was “I’ve just posted how I’m not signing up for any large events, so really? You’re asking? Really? Okay.” And so I signed on. I proudly told this to my trainer, with whom I meet pretty much weekly, and tasked him with getting me ready.

For three months I met faithfully with David (trainer), each Wednesday cursing things like burpees and pull-ups and push-ups and other things whose Official Names I do not know but that doesn’t prevent me from dearly disliking. And about a month before Tough Mudder, we lost a team member.  A week later, we lost a second. A week after that, a third. And then there were four.

Four is not a big team, and four may-or-may-not have been successful in getting us over hills and walls and so forth. Add that to the fact that I was now the only female on the team, and certainly the slowest runner (hello, 10 minute mile!), I was uncomfortable. So I decided to see if I could pad the team. I checked in with my gym, and found someone willing.

Except he was signed up for the Saturday, and I couldn’t do the Saturday (hey, I was snack mom for the soccer game! Priorities!). OK, fine, I put an ad in Craigslist.

Now, I like reading Craigslist for entertainment, and have used it to sell many things, but not really to do something social. I got one response. It detailed the length of some male person’s phallus and an invitation to ride it. I did not respond.

On the Wednesday before my original Tough Mudder–which I have now bumped off to next year — I devised a plan with David. I would chart the obstacles and the runs, and create gym-equivalents. Running is fine (treadmill), but how many pull-ups do you figure equates getting over an 8′ high wall (somewhat assisted — say a push up or a pull up from a team member)? David figured 3 sets of 10. How do you replace swimming? David figured you’d use the same muscles as burpees and knee-bend deadlifts with weights, so 2 sets of 10 of those.  To simulate running in mud he added ankle weights. The only thing David did not compensate for was electric shocks (which I was to skip anyway) and an ice bath. On the flip side, instead of the cushy wait times in front of obstacles that my more mud-laden brethren got, I got one (1) three-minute break.

Two hours and 40 minutes later, I had run just over 11 miles (well, I had run about 9 and speed-walked another 2 because the knee was hurting) and done crazy crawling, push-up, pull-up, weight-lift, balancing obstacles throughout the gym.  I left the gym incredibly icky (not muddy) and wondering if an ice bath would have helped.

There’s a few things I can take away from this experience, and yes, a couple more goals:

1.  No, you don’t have to train running-wise as though you’re training for a half-marathon. But I probably should have run something over 3 miles recently.

2. If you do it alone, or in the gym, or both, you don’t get the event-based adrenaline rush.  You trade that for the “comfort” of controlling your environment.

3. I could have done it by myself in the mud. And I probably should have.

4. I’m training as though I WILL be doing it solo next year, because I don’t want to have to do it in the gym again.

Not that I don’t love David. I loooove David (in a totally platonic, he’s like an uncle kinda way). He is awesome and patient and inventive and he doesn’t let me slide. But next time I want him waiting at the end of the route, standing in the mud, with a beer. And I want that extra load of muddy, muddy laundry.

The Only Thing We Have To Fear Is Fear Itself

-FDR

Having nonchalantly signed up for Tough Mudder (NB: I didn’t actually yet sign up for it but I said I would so I will), I was initially apprehensive at the idea of a cold ice bath and a bout of electroshock therapy. But I spent a portion of this flight (greetings from 35k feet) actually looking at the event obstacles, both volume and detail, and see that there’s a whole lot of scary in store for my teammates and me.

Tough Mudder is aptly named, and aside from a couple of obstacles that include electrocution, and a couple (or 4) more that include ice baths, there are several that include enclosed spaces, and a few that involve heights. Oh, wonderful. It’s like someone gift-wrapped all of the things that freak me out and handed it over in one giant muddy package.

I can handle bugs, spiders, pretty much any liquid that comes out of an animal (thanks to a small child and a Zoology degree), heights that will kill me, the dark, speed, guns, knives, the unknown, and swimming with sharks. But while ice baths and electrocution are unsavory, confined spaces and heights that will only break a bone or two scare the high holy crap out of me. I have no idea how to train for this, except that this will be 10-12 miles of “suck it up and deal”.

Seemingly unrelated, but totally not, is a book I picked up recently that discusses (among other things) the value of “stuff” vs. the value of “experiences”. The bottom line is that we value the “experience” more than the “stuff” for the same dollar output. “Stuff” doesn’t necessarily make us happier, but “experiences” do; even people who do arduous, un-fun things reflect back on them and value the experience. (Anyone who has given birth or finished a physical event they weren’t really prepared for — cough — can testify to it having been a lot more fun AFTER it’s over).

I’m clinging to this. To be absolutely, perfectly frank, I want to quit this event before it’s even started, because I know not only what it will mean in terms of preparation, but that at some point I’m going to be stuck in a small, enclosed, dark space; I will be cold, I will feel useless, and I will want to quit, and the only reason I won’t is that I’m too stubborn to do so.

Here we go…

An Open Letter to My Personal Trainer, David

Well David, it’s that time again, where I’ve done something rash and signed up for something I probably shouldn’t do. There’s a timeline involved, and some frankly optimistic requirements; I figured I’d apologize now and get it over with.

You see, I let the Ms.Krieant sign me up for Tough Mudder, and I have a little under 13 weeks to get ready. It has some impressive obstacles, most of which have me scared out of my mind, but as you know once I’ve said I’ll do something, I’ll do it…

…as long as I get to whine a lot about it.

So I realize that up until now your charge has been mostly to try to get me stronger while avoiding the injury of the month; in our short tenure together this has meant occasionally avoiding my knees, my neck, my upper back, my lower back, or my right hip. Now we need to ignore all of that, because I will need all of those parts working and functional.

I also realize that this means that the chattiness of our sessions will have to reduce, that we can no longer freely evaluate others in the gym as you hand me five more pounds of something or have me do 15 more push-ups. It means that you’re likely to give me homework, that I will need to actually do weight work more than twice a week, and that I will be very, very sore these ensuing weeks.

But David, I’m turning 40.

I realize this isn’t much to you — I think 40 hit and flew by for you about a decade ago, not that you’d notice, being an ex-Marine and all. I realize this isn’t much to most of our early-morning compatriots, as I think the average age at the gym at our time of morning is mid-50’s. It isn’t technically even much to me in the sense that I’m not having a huge to-do over it, nor do I want to see black balloons, nor do I think the day after my birthday I will suddenly fall apart or feel older. The fact is, David, I’m tired of having my body feel older now.

Five years ago I entered into a half marathon, having never run, because someone told me I couldn’t do it. (Actually, he laughed and said, “yah, right”). Three years ago I entered into a 2-day, 160-mile bike ride because someone said I wouldn’t want to do it. Last year I did the STP pretty much under the same auspices. And each time, I injured myself either in training or in the event itself. But each time, I did the training without any professional help.

You’re here to fix that, David, because at 40, I’ve decided I’m tired of injuring myself. And this likely means I’ll have to do a lot of things I was heretofore unprepared to do, like go to the gym more than 4 times per week and maybe, actually, you know, stretch. Perhaps even do my regular PT exercises. I have a support group in my friends — one lent a very pertinent book (Supple Leopard, indeed), one gave me tips on how to deal with the electric shocks (or at least a realistic impression of what they’re like). But your job is to make sure I’m ready, and so I really do hope you’ll understand the bullet-pointed list you’re going to get when next we see each other.

I still reserve the right to whine, though.

Floating Along

I am, once again, at the airport. Can I just say how refreshing it was to NOT have an instant sense of direction once clearing security? I have a whole new world opened to me, and it’s a weird one. Item one: I checked email two hours after leaving on vacation and no work urgency or email had appeared! (What is this alternate universe I have travelled to?).

No, this is a welcome weird; I am semi-secure in the knowledge that nothing really truly awfully bad can happen, that my company can survive without me, and yet my (brief) absence will not convince them they should get rid of me. Nonetheless I am travelling with two laptops, which means I’ll be totally buff when I return.

Like every vacation, I have a laundry list of things I’m going to do (that I probably will not complete). Like every vacation, I have forgotten something (although the kindly Editor dropped by work earlier today and delivered my knitting, which was the item forgotten). Like every vacation, the boychild and I went to Anthony’s for pre-flight. Like every vacation, I am looking forward to in-flight WiFi.

I cannot sit still. I really can’t. I noticed it a few years back, and it was again brought to my attention when the Brit was in a meeting with me a year back. It has peaked since: hour-long meetings in conference rooms either must include my laptop so I can multitask *or* folks need to suspend their seismographs, because the leg or the hand or the pencil or the anything else will be rhythmically moving to the sound of whatever song is in the head.  So sitting on a plane for three hours is going to be less than pleasant. For those of you recommending wine: thought of that. But I’m going to 110-degree weather, and so dehydrating myself on purpose seems a bit stupid.

In four days I will return, and will have to text my PT and tell him about signing up for Tough Mudder, and will have to acclimatize myself to the notion that in 3 months I need to train myself to 1. withstand electric shocks, or at least grit my teeth over them, and 2. be able to pull myself up (all of myself) (by my own hands) (several times). Up until now the directive for the trainer has been much more mellow, much more “hey can you make sure you don’t re-break the parts of me that are broken?” and more “I have this specific set of criteria I must meet in 12 weeks.”

But until then I’m on vacation. Leave a message!

Phoning It In

I’m freely admitting here that I’m phoning this one in: life, and work, have taken over as is wont to do with a new job, and summer approaching. The sun gets early and so do I, I am proudly Foursquare mayor of my gym and I sleep better now that I have in six years. Work is intense and yet has finite boundaries, home is satisfying although I do admit that this school year it feels a bit like I’m limping to the finish (to quote a Facebook friend).

This sounds pitifully like a synopsized email to my mother: I’m alive, I’m happy, I’m sorry I haven’t written, I’m just really busy, and it’s all good. As I have two plane trips spaced at one-month intervals coming up, I hope to have a new rant up soon. Ideas for said rant include:

1. Wow, people in Seattle have no idea how to drive at all once change is instantiated.

2. I may become a shoe fanatic. I bought new shoes that happened to be high heels and I’m really, really enjoying them.

3. Gardening is frustrating if you resolve to do it without chemicals.

4. I have no problem turning 40, the fact that my son is already 10 is scary.

5. I am a dabbler, and despite the best advice of many I think I’m succeeding.

There was a time in my life where I blogged because the volume of drama necessitated it; there is no drama and unfortunately there’s not much I can add in terms of overall social commentary that I feel has to be imparted RIGHT NOW. This is a good position to be in.

Moving On

It goes to show that it’s been a while since I’ve blogged that the entire user interface of WordPress has changed since I last visited. Apparently I’ve been gone for a couple of months, courtesy of the legal quagmire I was in.

Now, to address the usual questions, NO I hadn’t done anything illegal and NO it wasn’t anything that impacted anyone else but my immediate family — such is civil law. But the entire affair — which could be measured at 15.5 months or 19.5 months or slightly over 3 years, depending on whose ruler you use and how petty you are — was exhausting. My ability to blog and post was limited to the most vanilla of subjects, as the process proved when you are in civil court the “other side” (or, more likely, their attorney) will write and say and twist things truly ridiculous given any length of rope.

I therefore had visions of scenarios like: “Bobbie posts about how stressful her job is, therefore she spends too much time working, therefore she is an unfit mother”. Or, “Bobbie posted about her recent dental appointment, where her dentist suggested teeth whitening, therefore she drinks too much coffee, therefore she is an unfit mother”. Like it or not, I was able to successfully (?) imagine in some weird six-degrees mental exercise all roads leading to the “other team’s” desired output, namely their contention that I am/was All Things Evil, Ever.

Now that that is finished, I’m free to post about whatever. Which, I am happy to say, I’ve actually given some thought.

My mother-in-law-to-be recently spent time with me in my kitchen and was extolling the virtues of a gardening blog she happened upon. When asked why I blog, I deferred to my older blog (which was divorce, and then dating, therapy), and then the current one (which before the Event was about physical triumph over a traitorous body and mental exercise over that which occupied me at work). The only consistent running theme has been “this is something that is occupying a percentage of my brain space”, but there was no consistency in the volume of the space it occupied or the genre of space. Nor, I must say, is it terribly useful (per se) to read. It’s more of a voyeuristic window in the frenetic ramblings of a mid-30’s (or, nearly 40) single mom with an interesting (to her) career and an inability to finally decide, once and for all, if she should get chickens.

Going forward, this blog will have three aspects: initially, I’m going to brain dump about all of my learnings of Court. It was a fascinating process, from beginning to end, and I certainly got my money’s worth (which, at best guess, is somewhere in the mid-priced luxury vehicle range). There will likely be a spike in Economics posts as I pursue my degree. There will be the occasional work vent, and possibly a vent or two in the parenting line, as my son is at the interesting and challenging age where I spend a lot of time playing chauffeuse, financier, and guidance counselor. You are hereby put on notice. With that, we begin again… seven years after we started the first time.

Welcome, again.

Miscellany

NB: I don’t use the word “random” in the title because it’s often misused. I find people use “random” to indicate what I would call “miscellany”. Anyone interested in the semantics can look up the differences in the OED.

The very best corn maze in the state of Washington is in Snohomish, WA. The place is unassumingly called “The Farm”, and if you are headed north up the 9 take the Snohomish exit right past the bridge over the river, turn left off the exit and drive about 4 miles. You can’t miss it. It’s a giant corn maze.

In the shape of Washington State.

And the maze is made of accurate highways — all marked… including country roads, also accurate, also marked. Cities and interests (Grand Coulee Dam, The Space Needle) are all marked with actual edifices and both “Quick Facts” and a longer set of paragraphs about the history of the part of Washington you are in. It was incredibly fun and I totally recommend it. I may force the Male Person into going some weekend.

Our group got lost trying to find Vantage.

You see, the maze was so accurate it included Road Closures. The 90 was closed in a part of it, as were two other major highways (mercifully not the 5, because we had to hightail it down from Everett to Olympia). And we spent our life driving walking around in a hellhole trying to find Vantage, between the broken bits of the 90 and highway 97. I think I actually want to drive out to the REAL Vantage, WA in order to make myself at peace with the experience.

During the field trip I had the joy of watching 3 boys (one of them my son). I have a friend who now has three boys, I really have no idea how she will keep her sanity. That is all.

In other (see? not random, ‘cuz we’re still talking about me, but miscellaneous, because this is a complete non-sequitir) school is both more and less than I thought it was. Believe it or not, listening to the Freakonomics podcast weekly and reading the Economist will still leave you with some knowledge bits lacking and so you actually do have to read your course materials and respond to the class discussion items. Fortunately, I seem to be able to do so. I psych myself out before every “problem set” that is due, and I leave each one going “Oh. That’s all right, then.”

Finally (again, miscellany, not randomness) I have not at all determined what I want to be for Halloween. Now accepting suggestions. In the past (recent) years, I have been: Elphaba, a Catrina doll (bride), a dominatrix, a Knight, Zorro, Alice in Wonderland (complete with blonde wig), and (when pregnant) someone with an Alien chestburster (a little lower, thanks to the BoyChild). Oh, and a Vampiress and I think there was a witch in there somewhere.  Rules: no massive face paint (Elphaba was impossible to clean — myself and then the items I cleaned with). Must be work-appropriate. Points for creativity.

And if you are saying, “But you promised us legal poo!!!”, well, I’m sorry, but that’s still (STILL) going on, and looks to be through the end of the year. Maybe you’ll get some dish for Christmas.

A Hot Shower in My Future

As per usual, the beginning of the year brought on new stuff and things: projects, drives, initiatives, etc. All of this translates to calendars that are triple-booked and a lot of that juggling we all euphemistically refer to as “work-life balance”. I have it… if only just.  Outlook keeps me in line. When you have to put in a calendar event to clean the catbox, you’ve gone too far. We are not there. Yet.

Tomorrow I will be on my first real bike ride in about four months, courtesy of the weather, a new job, and enforced socialization. I had the bike checked out today (new tube, otherwise good to go) in hopes of a 30 mile ride tomorrow, the first Official Outdoor Training Ride of 2012… for the STP.

Yes, I know I signed up for it last year. Yes, I know I didn’t do it last year (thank you knees, you are not at all welcome). Fortunately, I’m back in training early enough and cognizant enough of my limitations, my next injection is well ahead of the actual ride date. My only limitation is time — time to train, time to have things to do OTHER than train (you know – Mom/Work/House/Social). It’s a familiar whine.

Being back in the bike shop brought all the old training home though — yes, there’s the Gu, the Sports Beans, the Cliff Bars. And yes, over there is the rear wheel fender I keep meaning to get, so I don’t have the telltale “brown stripe badge”. Over there is the GoreTex jacket I will absolutely, positively not spend $200 on, even though it is in my size and has an appealing lack of pink.

Years ago I was a diver — I still technically am, there’s no expiration date on your certification although I am personally in favor of the idea of recertification. I’ve seen enough people in the water who were first certified fifteen years ago, just got back in recently, and I know that they are a hazard to themselves and others. At any rate– when I was diving, the second best part to it — other than seeing the really cool stuff Puget Sound has to offer underwater — was the hot shower afterwards. After two dives, even in a drysuit, you are cold, you feel dirty, and your muscles hurt — not from the dive, but from wearing 70 pounds of gear down to and up from the water. Diving is not an elegant sport, but it is rewarding. I quit cold water diving due to arthritis and a blase feeling of having seen it all (and I know I’m wrong, so see “arthritis” as chief reason) but I will keep up with warm water diving for the joy of it.

So the secondary joy there was the hot shower, the washing of everything, the loose, cottony feel of your muscles when you were done. I am very much looking forward to that, post-ride, tomorrow. I am MORE looking forward to a time when 30 miles is again “a piddlin’ distance”.

I’ve done 160. Come July, I’ll have done 200.

Winning, Losing, and Persuasion: Getting Spock and your Proto Human in Line

No one likes to lose. This is one of those things that someone actually did a scientific study on, and the rest of us are sitting here wondering who got a grant funded for that. But it’s true: no one likes to lose; and our fear of losing is GREATER than our joy in winning.

To wit: Let’s say I have you pick a coin out of your pocket; a quarter or a euro or a shilling. It’s your coin, so it’s your choice. Now let’s say I propose the following bet: every time that coin flips to “heads”, I pay you $10. Every time it flips to “tails”, you pay me $1. You will take that bet (statistically speaking, that is, most people will).

Now let’s say I keep your potential win still at $10, but your loss at $2. You’ll like it less, but you’ll still take the bet. Most people drop off when the potential loss is $4. Their rationale is this: $4 is a significant percentage of their potential win. This makes sense.

Until you realize a coin toss is a 50-50 chance, each time.

For example, let’s say you take the $4 version of the bet (you’re brave like that). We flip the coin 10 times, each time with a 50% chance of hitting “heads”. Over a large enough data set that means chances are pretty decent that you will have 5 wins and 5 losses; so you’d “win” $50 and “lose” $20. In short, you’d net positive just for playing, by $30.

In theory, it’s a good bet up to values of $10 on win and $9 on lose (you’d still be ahead $5). However, people do not behave this way. The urge to *avoid losing* will actually lead people to make unwise economic decisions. (Actually, this goes far beyond economy – some people will make unwise OTHER decisions just to avoid their notion of what “losing” is).

Evolutionarily speaking this makes sense: say you’re a proto-human and you’re ambling about in the jungles/desert/savannah/etc. You see a flock of birds take off in the distance with no audible warning. You either : 1. Bet they got a wild hair and just decided to up and fly, or 2. Bet there’s a predator nearby and amble your way to the nearest tree, just in case.

The person who bet #1 would likely DIE each time they bet wrongly. The person betting #2 would still live if they bet right or wrong. And so we learn that “losing” – betting wrong, making poor decisions, whatever tag you want to give it – has a cost. And over the millennia, this is drilled into our little proto-human bit of our brain.

The logic-driven, numbers-based sides of our brain can argue all we want with the proto human side of our brain, but proto human will not give in (or not give in easily). This is especially true if we’re not paying attention. The same gut instinct to avoid losing is why people fall for the “sale” that’s on the end caps in a store (try checking those prices against those in-line some time), why they rush to sell (or buy) a house without doing enough of their homework (guilty!), and why, despite all logical evidence, they will race ahead of you on the freeway at 80mph only in order to be sitting at the traffic light ahead that much longer than you, when your car ambles up.

A lot of the job of a change manager – one managing change for themselves or others – is to manage this proto-human angst over losing. People don’t like to “lose” what they are good at/familiar with over the unknown new stuff, they don’t like to “lose” control over where a project or team is going, they don’t like to “lose” the path they’ve envisioned for themselves.

In the book ‘Switch’ by Chip Heath, the idea presented is that when instituting change you have to convince the Rider (the logical part of the human brain you’re working with, let’s call it “Spock”), convince the Elephant (the proto-human), and give them a path to go down (here’s what I want you to do). This sort of change-management can work internally too.

Say you want to lose weight. You need to convince your Rider (this is the part of your brain that goes to purchase nonfat yogurt and lean cuisines and makes you order the salad at dinner), your Elephant (this is the part of your brain that sees someone brought in doughnuts so you’ll be “good” and only have half – well, a whole one, but you skipped breakfast – maybe one and a half because you’re going to the gym – oh what the hell your diet’s busted may as well eat two), and show them the path (I will be able to wear these jeans/this bikini/see my cholesterol go down).

The great part of the above example is you already know what appeals to your proto human and your Spock human (forgive the oxymoron). (Just because your proto human wins out more often than not doesn’t mean you don’t know how to do it, it just means your Spock human is not paying attention).

Management gets tricky when you have to convince other people’s proto humans and Spocks.

(By the way, by “management” we’re not necessarily talking people who work for you. “Management” means managing other people – by design or by proxy – and can extend to family/friends/acquaintances/etc.  You just don’t notice it, because you will tend to hang around people who require very little “management” – their Spock and proto-human already align with yours, pretty much).

The best way, then, to appeal to a Spock is lots of shiny charts and graphs, statistics, quoted sources, approved, sound, logic (theirs). The traditional best way to appeal to the proto-human is to turn the loss into a gain: what is in it for THEM, why is this worth their time, how will life be better/easier once it’s done. Alternatively, though, it is better to demonstrate how their life/work stream/issue will be worse if it is NOT done (again, losing is more important than winning, in a sense).

This is Why Physicists Are So Chill

If you are like me, and have a BS in Zoology you don’t use but cherish because for two years you got to cram your head with facts that come up in truly inappropriate moments at cocktail parties, you’ll know about monkeys.

Specifically, about monkey studies. Psychologists and animal behavioralists LOVE to do studies on monkeys, specifically chimps but also other species, because it’s a close enough derivative to humans that we feel we can draw conclusions but not so close that it will put people in uproar. (The fact that it isn’t technically humans gives some people the license to treat these studies like their horoscope: fully acknowledging those that conform to their ideas of appropriate and discarding the rest like a Tootsie Roll out of one’s Halloween stash).

I accidentally enrolled in an animal behavior class once and had such a good time I enrolled in a few more, this is why despite a declared major in Zoology with what was supposed to be an emphasis in Marine Biology I actually took things like Cellular Mollecular Botany and Evolutionary Genetics: the last two years of college are a smorgasbord and I was an ideal candidate for Overeaters Anonymous. I digress…

One study I’m reminded of constantly was done with (surprise!) monkeys: the effect of a routine, a schedule, on their daily lives. That is to say, your Control group (the group you aren’t fucking with, as it were) gets awoke at a certain time. They get to play at a certain time. They get fed at a certain time. They go to sleep at a certain time. Day in and day out, this schedule does not vary. The Test group (that would be the group you’re fucking with) has a supremely erratic schedule: they never awake at the same time, the time and distance from one activity to another (and, indeed, the order) changes around a lot, etc. Both groups get adequate sleep time and proper diet…. the only thing different is the time at which these things are allowed to happen.

The Test Group will go insane (in a self-or-others injuring way). Every. Time.

One of my mottos is to Encourage Entropy. This is with tongue placed firmly in cheek to the Second Law of Thermodynamics, which states that Entropy Always Increases. (The first is the Law of the Conservation of Energy: Energy can neither be created nor destroyed). But basically the second law states that disorder/chaos, or Entropy, in a system will always increase. Chaoticians love this because that is the sort of butterfly flapping its wings in China that brings the stock market down theory they love to tout (see Jeff Goldblum, Jurassic Park). I like it on the ‘If You Can’t Beat Them, Join Them’ method: left to my own devices I will create an environment so rigid for myself that any disruption therein will send me into a fit of OCD cleaning or some other expression of discomfiture. If I remind myself that there’s a LAW that says it’s supposed to happen, well, then, I’m just obeying the law. And as the Male Person says, I’m a total goody two shoes and will obey the law. In this case, I’ll encourage it along. While cleaning.

Lately the entropy in my life has been increasing at a rate I’m a little less comfortable with. The schedule was set, was changed, was messed with, was righted, was slightly shifted, was slightly shifted back, and is now in some form of stasis for a couple of months until the next round of shift negotiations occurs. The good news is any potential upcoming shifts are likely to be suitably telegraphed, the bad news is I have no idea what they are as of yet (there are, of course, reasonable assumptions and contingency plans).

The Entropy Erratic is furthered by an upcoming change in profession, for which I am very excited, proud, and honored, and totally will talk about it once it’s final. Trust me when I say it’s a move up, and over, and I’m full of technical squee, but we’re not there yet. I think, however, we can all agree that shifting jobs within a company means for a very weird transition period, one I am in currently, where I am leaving job A (and having to download all of my stuff to someone(s) else(s)), and arriving at job B (where I am no longer hot shit, I am not even a lukewarm fart, and I need to learn everything anew). Entropy, in effect, is getting a dopamine rush.

While I do have a reasonable confidence level (about 95%, plus minus 3%) that this will all calm down around mid-December, I am in turn reminded of the Third Law of Thermodynamics: basically, you can’t freeze anything to a total stop. You can slow it down a lot (a total lot!) but the Entropy will always be there, even if you get all Kelvin on its ass. There’s a certain peace in that.

For those of you wondering: there are actually FOUR laws of Thermodynamics. The Zeroth one — yes, it goes 0,1,2,3; like I said, physicists — basically states if you have 2 systems in thermal equilibrium with a third, they are in equilibrium with one another. The practical application of this in terms of my life is that if things are cool at work and things are cool at home then things are cool with me; I continue reminding myself that this law comes *before* the one about entropy increasing.