By Allen David
So, look, just to clarify—as I just tried to do with my girlfriend this morning when I thought I detected a little resentfulness as she was hurrying out the door for her commute to Whittier: it’s not that I don’t work; it’s that I don’t go to work . . . because I work from home. You’re not going to hear me badmouth it. I’m not denying there are some nice aspects to it. Why should I? Gratitude is a great approach to life—you ought to try it sometime. In fact, if you’ve noticed and are puzzled—or feel this would be a good time to admit your envy—about the happy balance that’s so evident in my life, I’d be happy to mentor you on some simple strategies for integrating a program of gratitude into your own emotional toolbox. It’s the same offer I made to my girlfriend—despite the bird she flipped me while backing out of the driveway. See, I completely get that there are some mornings when waving goodbye to a guy watching Sportscenter in his PJs can feel grossly unfair to someone who is simply not sure she can endure her impending commute. (Anybody have an inkling about where Whittier actually is?) But everyone’s got a cross to bear, and mine is a home office so messy that I can barely get across. (I’ve compiled a short list of prospective organizational mentors that I will be putting on my to-do list, as soon as I remember where I laid the damn list.) Meanwhile, I’ve gotta get started on the research for this column—and don’t be acting all surprised, as if you missed it when I clarified my situation earlier or as though I didn’t make it clear. To repeat: it’s not that I don’t work; it’s that I don’t go to work . . . because I work from home.
THURSDAY, AUGUST 29
Anybody else remember the Riverside company—well-connected with some prominent Inland Empire political and business leaders, as well as some cutting edge technology developed at UC Riverside’s engineering school—that wanted to build an experimental energy plant and decided to put up its smokestacks in the scenic Southern Utah area around Kanab? Last I heard, the locals were fighting it. Anybody got anything new? Helloooooo!
FRIDAY, AUGUST 30
This is an idea day, my friends, the lifeblood of any successful freelancing career, and the life-support system for mine. And I am coming wit’ it! You? Nothing? Wow. Apparently you can’t sense the realm of unconsidered possibilities flickering like strobe lights? Somehow, you don’t feel the dizzying opportunities created when individuals with unique perspective and expertise blow off commitment to their integrity and opt for shots in the dark created by making constant, incremental shifts in their angle and taking what comes. My friend, DJ Rhythm of Possibility, calls the excitement pulsing among us the “rhythm of possibility.” It works like this: the collection of beats arouses long-dormant glands, which are then drained of their volatile essences leaving an internal void that doctors call the Empty-Canteen Condition. This condition in turn triggers a nature-abhors-a-vacuum response known as the Thirsty Isle Schooner. The combination launches a relentless, self-indulgent drive for recognition that inevitably careens brainlessly and randomly toward the single-minded purpose of complete self-centeredness. As you can imagine, Idea Days are almost perfect for fresh looks at career areas that could be improved or refreshed by the application of creative ideas. But do like me and go for perfect: pop an Ambien.
SATURDAY, AUGUST 31
SUNDAY, SEPTEMBER 1
OK . . . so . . . where were we? And why? Well, we were in Kanab, which is a home base for the one-of-a-kind natural wonders of Southern Utah—Bryce and Zion national parks, Coral Pink Sand Dunes State Park, Grand Staircase Escalante, Pipe Springs . . . on and on. But this time our attention was drawn by Viresco Energy LLC, which thinks Kanab would be the perfect location to build that experimental energy plant, which would break down coal, green waste, trash, sewage sludge or other carbon-based materials into what the company calls “building block” gases like hydrogen, methane and carbon monoxide. What makes Kanab so perfect for Viresco’s plant? Ultimately, the fact that California wouldn’t allow Viresco to attempt its experiment. In 2006, UC Riverside and Viresco jointly announced plans to build a plant in Riverside. But those plans fell through. Guthrie blamed it on California’s regulations. “The business climate in California is terrible, and they hate coal,” company president Jim Guthrie whined. “So why push a boat upstream?”
MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 2
It’s Labor Day! So, why does my girlfriend have to work? And do I?
TUESDAY, SEPTEMBER 3
OK, here’s the upshot: Kanab’s residents fought hard but eventually were bulldozed by Viresco. The plant is under construction. I’m over it.