Friday, August 31, 2012

Orient Me

Week one is complete.  Mostly I sat in a room every day for eight hours.  Sometimes I got out to have a look around.  They've been drilling us extensively on the basics of psychology and psychiatry.  Also how to defend ourselves when someone when a resident attacks.  I have made friends with a new resident psychologist (Alex), and a resident chaplain/cantor (Mike).  I have never worked in a more eclectic setting in my life.  I love it.  Mike and I have become pretty good friends.  We often talk about God during lunch.  Or traffic in DC.  And Alex just earned his doctorate so I've been saying things like, "No doctor, we don't have time to go to Chuck E. Cheese's for lunch."  I wonder if they consider me the funny one... or maybe the annoying one... shit.

Anyway, my new boss and colleagues keep trying to pull me out of orientation because there's a pile of work to be done, but I keep refusing.  I am learning so much.  I might even be feeling the sparks of motivation to go into the field of psychology.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Where the heck is Jason?

I'm going through two weeks of new staff orientation at Saint Elizabeths Hospital.  Lay off, man.  Seriously, this place is amazing and I can barely talk about it because I'm not allowed.  Confidentiality and such.  But anyway, I'm extremely busy AND going through a major life change.

I will say this:  Driving to work is so much better than taking the train!  Oh man.  Free parking FTW!

Friday, August 24, 2012

Razor's Edge

I got my first shave from a barber today. I don't know why, but I thought it was necessary.  Or poignant.  I'm a sucker for symbolism, or acts of symbolic endeavors. I'm in between jobs - heck I've gotten tattooed to commemorate lesser events in my life. Getting a shave from a barber ain't like living among Buddhist monks in India, but it's something. For the record, I did bleed.


Had the most vivid, strangest dream last night... Is my body telling me something? Felt like it.

Thursday, August 23, 2012

Tick Tock

Waiting for IT to come shut me down...

Gotta turn in my badge, too.  Maybe I'll flick it down on my supervisor's desk like they do in the movies.

I wish I would have prepared an exit like this:

Spin the Wheel

It would be a cliche to say that traveling into DC this morning on the train felt surreal, but it was.  This is my last day at work.  My last day on the train.  My last day in this seven year old comfort zone.  Monday it's all new.  I'm all new.

New seems to be the theme for our family this summer as we wait for someone to buy our house.  Where the Carlock's will end up nobody knows!  

Monday, August 20, 2012


This is my last week at the Department on Disability Services.  I have worked here for seven years, which the longest I have ever worked at a single job.  I feel weird and anxious.  But I can't imagine living a life without these moments of borderline fear/excitement.  As they say, a life without taking risks is a boring life.  Actually, I just made that up.  But there is a catchy, insightful phrase I heard once about people who take risks versus those that don't  I don't remember how it goes, but I recall not wanting to be the guy who's afraid to take risks.  Failure is an option, yes, but what if I had never tried peanut butter on waffles? I would never know how delicious it is.  Or what if I gave up on Lynette after her initial rebukes to date me?  The thought scares the heck out of me.

Sometimes we get so comfortable in our worlds that we shun the alternative possibilities.  In Plato's Allegory of the Cave two men are born into and chained in a dark cave.  The only reality they know are the shadows flashing on the wall from a candle.  One day one of the prisoners escapes and discovers to his amazement that there is a whole world outside the cave.  When he came back to rescue the other prisoner he told him about the new world outside the cave.  However, the prisoner upon hearing about the "truth" of the outside world decides to kill him instead of escape.  Fear of the unknown was much stronger than his desire to begin a new life in a new world.  Remaining a prisoner was easier, because it was all he'd known.

I feel proud to have taken as many risks as I have in my life.  In retrospect, I wish I had taken more, but what's past is past.  I'm in the Looking Forward business.

Thursday, August 16, 2012


I received a package in the mail yesterday.  I was expecting a package, but this one was too big to be the book I ordered.  The return address label said, which meant only one thing: My conservative, right-wing brother was sending me something (my belated birthday gift) that would surely angry up my blood.  However, inside the box was Bill's book about the Lincoln assassination.  Considering that there are many, many other (arguably better) books written on the subject of President Lincoln's death, I'm making the judgment call here that this was an extreme act of passive aggression.

My brother, who I call Big Potty, knows I'm a left-leaning Liberal.  (Yet he still made sure to text me from his place in line at Chick-Fil-A two weeks ago just to get me riled.)  I can't politely tell him that I think O'Reilly is an ass hat, because this was a birthday present!  In defense of the birthday present, it's not a partisan perspective on the tragedy of Lincoln's death, just a glorified one.  Sigh.  The thing is also signed by Mr. O'Reilly himself.

It's hard being so different from my only true-blooded brother.  So hard.

However, the book did come with a free American flag! (True story.)

Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Music Appreciation: The The

Free Parking

Something amazing happens in August in Washington DC - the people disappear!  Congress takes its recess during this month and commuting for non-Federal employees becomes a dream.  The train was virtually empty this morning.  And quiet.  And fitting for my last two weeks of utilizing public transportation.  Soon I will be trading my fare card for my car keys and driving to work, which will surprisingly take less time.  (As is with most things in life, it's all about the parking.  And parking at my new job is free, baby.)

Perspective is an amazing thing.  If you would have asked me how important parking was in my life thirteen years ago I would have said not at all.  The flat land of Illinois lends itself nicely to ample parking.  But plop yourself down in the middle of a heavily populated urban area and suddenly choosing how to get to work is like choosing a church.

The hot topic in the Carlock house lately is commute lengths.  We're looking for a new home and have been leaning toward Woodbridge, Virginia, which will increase our commute by an hour.  The logic is this:  Spend an hour in traffic, get a huge house with five bedrooms, a yard, a finished basement, etc.  Because around these parts "houses" near DC are extremely over-priced, and well beyond our means.  So we're entertaining the idea of heading for the "country."  (It's not really country, I just call it that because it takes an hour to get there!)  But there are a heck of a lot more trees.  The area we're looking at is right next to the Prince William National Forest, which is actually a National Park.  Lynette thinks she can smell the increased levels of oxygen.  Fresh air.  One hour in traffic for some fresh air.  Is it worth it?  Like I said, it's a matter of perspective.

Sunday, August 12, 2012

You be the judge.

Allegedly, the little boy on that box is Ross circa 1982. I found this on eBay and gave it to its rightful (?) owner.

Thursday, August 9, 2012


By Jim Harrison

After days of darkness I didn't understand
a second of yellow sunlight
here and gone through a hole in clouds
as quickly as a flashbulb, an immense
memory of a moment of grace withdrawn.
It is said that we are here but seconds in cosmic
time, twelve and a half billion years,
but who is saying this and why?
In the Salt Lake City airport eight out of ten
were fiddling relentlessly with cell phones.
The world is too grand to reshape with babble.
Outside the hot sun beat down on clumsy metal
birds and an actual ten-million-year-old
crow flew by squawking in bemusement.
We're doubtless as old as our mothers, thousands
of generations waiting for the sunlight.

Wednesday, August 8, 2012


I came up out of the Metro tunnel this morning already sweating from the stale underground train air, said good morning to the homeless man who is always there, tripped over the same uneven sidewalk that I have tripped over before, walked through a chaotic flock of pigeons fighting over a fallen Cup O' Noodles and thought to myself: This is a good day to turn 39.

Happy birthday to me.

Monday, August 6, 2012

The Work

Here's what I'm thinking:  The flood was symbolic.  Because I'm never going back to my old cubicle. While on vacation in Illinois I received a job offer and gladly accepted it.

So, I am happy to announce that after seven years of faithful, devoted work at the Department on Disabilities Services I am resigning and moving over to the Department of Mental Health.  My new workplace is the Saint Elizabeth (Psychiatric) Hospital in Washington DC.  I handed my boss a letter of resignation today.

Stayed tuned to find out if I am making a huge mistake!