On Vacations

Grape Jello on the couch. Reading my Washington State atlas because it's the only thing with words near at hand. And I need a vacation. I've been saying it for a while, but I know it now. Just how tired I feel in the evening.

The Lab needs a vacation, too. It needs a retreat, it needs to work out some issues. Grape Jello with the big spoon tells you this.

Maybe I'm just tired. If I'm going off about principles and philosophies, maybe I ought to be serious about them in the site. Maybe I should figure out what being serious about them would mean in the first place.

Not quite a crisis of purpose. All indications are positive, all feedback good. If you make a web site and it's exactly what you'd imagined, what does that say about the limits of your imagination?

I'm going home for a week. The Lab is going on hiatus for a week. I'll be back in Seattle a week into October and we'll go forward from there. There's debugging ahead, and the rainy season, I'll take it as it comes.

I've taken my httpd logs out and chopped them into firewood. Kind of strange, given how well they've served me, all the hilarious little imponderables I've found sifting through them. It's the same way with the puns, and the essays, and the stories. I have no complaints, have never spent a unrewarding minute on them.

Okay. Put it this way. I feel like I know something. And maybe I do, but what if it's unearned? Maybe I ought to get back to radical ignorance under my own power, before I get knocked back there against my will.

Tehshik linked to me when he went away on vacation, so I'm returning the favor, although I should have put up this link long ago. You should read him daily.

Here's half a story. A little less than a year ago, I was driving in Kirkland with two friends, and I saw a searchlight coming from somewhere to the north, so I drove around until I found the parking lot it was set up in. Then we talked to the searchlight operator for a bit -- WWII surplus and still going strong. I justified myself to my friends with a new rule. Sudden impulses must be acted upon. If the idea comes into your head, follow up on it.

This is how you meet searchlight operators, this is how you wind up at the IHOP on Soldiers' Field Road, it's how you go outside from yourself in order to make things happen. This is how stories start.

I trade in stories. This is what I do.

And I need to think about this. Long and hard. There are certain issues with this obsession with narrative.

It's the future perfect tense, that's what scares me. There's a long road from here to shipping, long months and short days. There are going to be "Email only" days, evaluations and reevaluations, minor mysteries torn apart on the rack with a stack trace and a sneer. All of it summed up in a loose handful of "will have"s.

It's a year and a half since I pulled my hair straight up for a day, a year since I sat in Memorial Stadium and tapped my foot as the sun set. Up, down, up again, and large sums of money. All yours if, no wait, don't tell me this time.

Put another way. I do not need a vacation from 14-hour days, from the mail trucks, from the too-late rants and raves, from the conditions of my existence. These are not signs of something being wrong. These are signs of something being right. Small wonders inspire poetry, but great ones inspire reality. I need a vacation as a reminder, not an escape.

I don't want the mob with the torches and pitchforks making decisions for the Laboratorium. Which requires exercising a certain careful judgement when planning the experiments, especially the ones involving reanimation. Format, design, tone, contents, continued existence in present form -- these are things that'll have to be ironed out. And for that, the Lab needs its time off.

This is not: retreat and regroup.

This is not: now I can't give it up, it's a trap, just my luck.

This is not: double or nothing.

This is not: field work and primary sources.

This is not: business as usual, a cosmetic overhaul.

This is not: don't go fucking up a good situation.

This is a vacation. It is what it is, and there's a dog waiting for me at the end of it, and he's going to lick my face.

"I am by no means standing still. I have my whole life in it. Yet he does not go further, does not go on to something else, for when he finds this, then he has another explanation."

Back in a week.