Sunday, November 04, 2007

Getting things done

I'm a task list junkie. Like any good Capricorn, I build TO DO lists that are long, complex, ordered, dated, subdivided, etc. Once they are made, I brood over them, I care for them and feed them, I review and revise and play and prune and fertilize and rearrange. But god forbid that I actually DO anything on any of the lists. No - we can't have any of THAT (says the Wombat through clenched teeth, the irony leaking like drool from one corner of the mouth). And, to this end, I downloaded a marvelous little program called TaskFreak . Just what I need - another way to make lists. Another place for them to die and become entombed. But then I ran across a reference in the programmer's notes to GTD - Getting Things Done - a book and philosophy by David Allen. I was sort of curious, so I looked into it. But I am also a cynic, so I expected little from it.

I was wrong.

Loath as I am to praise anything on this planet, let alone something that might inhabit the same realm as Steven Covey or Hyrum Smith (of Franklin Planner fame), this turned my head. Within the first chapter I was hooked. I haven't finished the book yet, but I have already put some of it into practice at work (and to a lesser extent at home). It is paying dividends. I will, as is my habit, take the second week of January off work for the annual Existential Angst Tour, but it will not be a road trip. Instead, I am going to turn this horrible mess that is my life (living space, projects, desires, etc.) into one big freaking In Basket and allow Mr. Allen to guide me through the ordeal of processing it.

So there.

(And while I'm at it, I'll have to actually buy the damned book so the man gets the royalty payment he is due - or maybe I'll just send him a check.)

I finally finished the Collected Works of Aleister Crowley. It was an experience like most magick - boring, boring, boring, ugh ...then you find a small gem that you tell yourself made the rest of it worth the effort. There were one or two passages of poetry that were good. The rest was turgid. But what really shone was the one or two essays that made it into the volumes. It was nice to end the ordeal with the Epilogue and Dedication at the end of volume three. Here it is if you want to read it.

Another book recently completed is The Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman. I read it because of an idea in the book that a friend relayed to me. But then I never found that idea in the book. (Was I just not paying attention?) The book struck me as cliche, as having big things happen in small spaces (not in a good way), and requiring too much suspension of disbelief. And yet, at the same time, it is pretty good. The cliche may not have been true when the book was written, and this book may be what made it cliche - an odd evidence of success. And the author may not have been able to say what needed saying without the other sins listed above, so I will give him a pass. So, in short, I would recommend the book. There is much to be learned, the chief idea being this - Stop worrying.Why? Because it really doesn't matter. (Or to quote Rex Gardner, "In fifty years, who will care?")

Playing with people as energy continues - with mixed results. I'm handling Lisa well, but I think she is seeing me as aloof and and angry when I am not. In fact I once had to convince her, with some effort, that I was not angry with her on some trivial point or another. The other side of that was when I was helping to find something that had dropped under the seat of her car. She remarked rather snippishly that she was getting cold from the other car door being open. I closed it then stood in front of the car for a moment, looking at the sunrise (mostly) and reminding myself not to react to her sniping. When I got back in the car she made a point of thanking me for at least trying to help - implying an apology for her behavior.

I cut my hair about a week ago. I was just tired of it. I needed a change. But then a few funny things happened. First, I caught myself in in odd behavior. At least twice I encountered a person and assumed some thought or reaction on their part based on their presumed perception of me as the long-haired hippy. Then I remembered that I had no hair. Oops. I learned that I was engaging in "bad ego" and that my hair was a large part of this. I was - gasp - normal. I am now, much to my horror, normal - nothing special - just another bloke. It is really hurting. This contrasts to what happened when I had to drive a rental car for a week when the Hippy Flower Painted car was in the shop. I was suddenly anonymous - I could drive like an asshole and no one would remember me the next day. Freedom!

Odd contradictions.

But then the universe tests my resolve by tossing a few Kat grenades at me. About a month ago, I got a heads up that our debt load had spiraled and that action needed to be taken. A week ago the tally came in at $12,000 - and that was accumulated in less than one year. But to make it worse, Kat now tells me that her car needs $2500 in repairs. I ran the numbers and learned that we are backed into a corner - getting rid of the car and replacing it is dead even the same cost as just swallowing hard and pouring more money into it. Of course this wouldn't be an issue if she had purchased a REAL car (Toyota) instead of a TURD ON WHEELS (Suzuki). So I resolved to dig out of it by the end of 2008. In round terms, 14 months to pay of 14 grand. In order to do this, I get to sell off my stock (there goes the money I was going to use to replace may car), give up my bonuses (again - I gave it up this year too, for the fat lot of good it did), and any chance to chase any of my small dreams this year - again (and again, and again, and again).

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