My trainspotting, squirrel-watching aimless life

This squirrel's Napoleonic pose makes him look a lot more decisive and commanding than I feel at this point in time.

Who knew, when the tide began to turn (sometime in 2007? 2006 perhaps?) that economics -- typically characterized as the dismal science -- would turn out to be such an interesting and timely subject. Back in the swirling mists of time, I dimly remember sitting through an Econ 101 course in college, all I recall, was that it was extremely boring: Unrelenting, stultifying tedium unbroken by any flashes of wit or insight.

Now, however, economics -- macro and micro -- seems quite directly tied to matters such as my ability to keep a roof over my head, consequently it is a much more interesting subject, I feel like like a patient who has been given a diagnosis, and the prognosis is not good: Time to get my affairs in order.

Which is my usual windy, verbose preamble, for recounting that I attended a presentation this past week by Jeff Carr, consulting economist for the state of Vermont, his description of the long-term structural problems facing the state, and the likely impact of the just-passed stimulus package, was not at all encouraging, one of the few positive things he had to say, was that a complete collapse of the financial system was only very narrowly avoided back in September, when Lehman Brothers went bankrupt.

As I have noted, the cumulative effect of this situation is having a paralyzing effect on me. I still have a job to go 40% of the time, that should give 60% of my time (3 days a week) to spend on other, productive activities. What I'm finding, however, is that even getting dressed in the morning is becoming a struggle. It's easier just to stay indoors; watch the birds and squirrels in the backyard, even picking up a camera takes too much initiative.

The squirrel has not been around much this winter because of a new rodent-proof bird feeder -- but he did appreciate a handful of North Carolina peanuts.

Perhaps, like me, the animal is pondering what to do next.

When I'm not staring out the window or attending presentations on the financial apocalypse during what would normally be considered working hours, I spend time online with such aimless websites as twitter and Facebook or playing simple flash games like pool online. I even find that I also lack the energy or inspiration for the time-suck that is blogging, one would think, that I would have the time to produce hundreds of cogent words a day, thousands of words per week, but no, it is all a blank to me now.

This isn't very constructive and I hope that as the days grow longer I will find the motivation and energy to plot a move forward and take some action, my present mode of living can not continue indefinitely, it is very demoralizing and unhealthy. Perhaps the crisis still hasn't fully hit home enough yet, Dr. Johnson observed, "Nothing so concentrates the mind like the prospect of being hanged in a fortnight...", maybe when I begin to really feel like a condemned prisoner, I'll figure out what I want to try and do next: Something has got to give.

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