Lapses, and FUBAR
Three posts into Project70 and my first lapse. Notwithstanding this post's date, (google has forgivingly let me backdate it) today is January 5th and I've missed two days.
I give myself partial credit and partial blame for an ambitious post about Reality Isn't Optional, my attempt to conduct an oxymoronic rational inquiry into politics and economics. I started the post, but I got bogged down, as I have done many times before, thus the lapse.
Project70 is not about letting lapses persist. It's about living the rest of my according to my intentions, not my habits. So what caused the lapse? And what do I do about it?
What happened? I picked a topic too grand for a post. I wrote dutifully, then started researching, then got lost. That explains one day's lapse. The next day I had a bright idea about one of my technology projects and got so caught up in it that I didn't even think about writing until it was too late in the day to write. And although I was fairly committed to writing every day, I wasn't sufficiently committed to posting. And I wasn't willing to post something that was less than completely thought out.
Underlying all of this is the more general failure mode: Starting And Not Finishing Up. That's SANFU. I started my post on economics and didn't finish. Started my technology adventure and didn't finish it. And that's my point of attack: SANFU!
So I'm going to invent and apply a few anti-SANFU policies. First, I hereby threaten myself to publish utter crap and incomplete work unless I have something good and complete to publish. Really it ain't that hard to finish something. All I have to do is sit my ass in the chair and the words come. And it's not that hard to produce something decent. Decent stuff comes when I am not overly ambitious.
Second, I'm going to set smaller objectives for myself: little bits of work that I can start and complete and most important that I can write about.
Let's see if that works.
That's the gist of the post if you are looking for content. But my ass is in the chair, and this post has stirred some memories, so if you're looking for anecdote or memoir, read on.
SANFU reminds me of SNAFU, the old military acronym: Situation Normal, All Fucked Up. And that remind me of its next-of-kin, FUBAR: Fucked Up Beyond All Recognition. SNAFU was a pretty common term back in the day, probably due to returning World War II Warriors. I learned FUBAR from S/Sgt Jack Eldred, a brilliant guy who I met while I served a term at Air Force Strategic Air Command (SAC) headquarters in Omaha, Nebraska, doing site support as a civilian contractor, trying to keep my skinny white ass out of Viet Nam, and learning that Catch-22 was not entirely a work of imagination, but based on how things actually worked in the military. When Jack, who had a wicked sense of humor, designed an office form form he always gave it an "official" Air Force form identifier, something like
Colonel Petkus was nominally in charge of the group, but everyone soon learned that Jack really ran things. Colonel Petkus just gave the orders which Jack carried out, and which were always based on Jack's recommendations.
Colonel Petkus consulted Jack on every significant decision. "Jack," he'd say, "you know that ..." he'd name some topic needing decision. "Yessir," Jack would say and give Petkus his recommendation. "That's what I was thinking of doing," Petkus would say. "Yes, sir," Jack would say. "I think that's a wise decision because..." and Jack would explain why Colonel Petkus must have been thinking what he thought he had been thinking. "Those are my reasons, too," Petkus would answer, and then order Jack to do what Jack had just told him to order him to do. "Yes, sir," Jack would say.
If you weren't a moron you learned to talk to S/Sgt Eldred before going to Colonel Petkus. If Jack agreed with your idea, it was as good as done. If Jack disagreed, you'd be wasting your time talking to Petkus. "What do you think about that idea?" Petkus would say when someone was stupid enough to pitch it to Petkus over Jack's disapproval. "Bad idea, sir," Jack would answer. "My thoughts, exactly," Petkus would inevitably reply.
I had some other fun experiences during the time at SAC, but I'll save them for other posts.
TODO: Write them other posts.