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I don’t have many poems committed to memory… okay let’s be honest, I have almost no poems committed to memory. However this little ditty has always stuck in my mind, and of late I find it to be particularly apropos.

My candle burns at both ends
It will not last the night;
But, ah, my foes and, oh, my friends
It gives a lovely light!

– Edna St. Vincent Millay

Life has been busy. Crazy silly busy.  Here’s a short to-do list to give you an idea:

  • Buy new headphones
  • Fix up that bike a friend gave you
  • Floor hockey night
  • Bocce night
  • Text your aunt back
  • Start getting ready for your big summer party
  • Book Asheville trip
  • Book Denver trip (well, decide if you’re going first)
  • Book Portland (figure out when first, though)
  • Celebrate your birthday
  • Kayaking safety training
  • Pick up tickets, so many shows coming up…
  • Build shelves, lots of shelves
  • Paint the mud room (do this before the shelves)
  • Paint your bedroom
  • Text that girl you went out with the other night (can’t tell how interested she is though…)
  • Start getting ready for another juice (or semi-juice)
  • Figure out which 5k’s your doing this summer
  • Finish The New York Trilogy (good luck finding time for that!)
  • Practice your French

I’ll be happy if I get to half of these… though at least half are not optional.  To top it all off I volunteered for a special detail at work, which has been leaving me exhausted every day. Time is at a premium, sleep is at a premium, and the list just grows.  Sigh. Things are, despite my frustrated tone, quite good though. 

But enough of that.

What interests me most at looking at the above list is what isn’t on it. I’ve been doing a pretty poor impression of the video game and tv loving homebody I used to be. I’ve been doing and watching more sports than ever… it’s strange. Floor hockey, running, biking, kayaking… what happened to that nerd who used to stay up all night playing Xbox games? I miss him. Those Xbox games were fun.

It’s confusing really… my social circles of late have evolved along with my sporting activities…. Sometimes while sitting at happy hour I wonder if folks I’m with realize what a bonafide nerd is sitting at the table. I may be wearing an O’s cap and cooling off after a close game of hockey, but man I have a book case full of RPG books (mostly D&D) in my den downstairs… books I have no intention of ever getting rid of.

I don’t know, I suppose I’ve been feeling some dissonance about it lately. Perhaps I should journal more of it later.

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The older I get the more I seem to fall back on simple truths. The kinds of truths that we choose to believe and hold close. And for me one of the most important is this: be a lover, not a hater. In fact, let those damn haters hate.

It’s lovey dovey Valentine’s Day, and the world–especially the internet–is showering us (itself?) with a hearty salt and pepper mix of affection and cynicism. The lovers gushing, the cynics growling. Me? I’ve got a hot date with an ice rink tonight, so you won’t catch me doing much of either. While at this time last year I was getting smashed on Leviathan with my then girlfriend, the lack of either this year has not dampened my spirits in the slightest. In fact, I may have actually been asked out once or twice this week and politely ignored or misinterpreted such invitations. There hasn’t been anyone on the radar lately who has caught my attention. Well, not who’s single anyway.

But enough of that.

I’m pumped for tonight. This winter my love affair has definitely been with winter sports. I’m playing in a full ice broomball league this year, and the competition level is higher by a manifold set of notches. You might not think there’d be much difference between half ice and full ice, but it almost feels like a different game. Like the difference between put put and real golf. It’s a long, fast horizontal game. Lots of sprinting. A lot more contact. And real, actual strategy.

Fear not, I’m accustomed to dating the cold ones.

The first couple games I wasn’t sure what to make of the competitiveness. At first of course I liked it. No dumbed down casual league rules. Folks on the ice are actually trying to pass and make real plays. But as we lost two games, the flip side quickly began to show. My teammates freaking out over missed plays, goals, and losses. A mad, wide-eyed, “C’mon guys! We gotta get back in this!” I play sports in my free time to have fun first and win second, so we seem to have different ways of looking at it.

But I think they’re starting to get through to me. In a good way. And fuckin A good, this is what I wanted. All week, I’ve been obsessing over my Thursday night game. Thinking about how much sleep I get. How many minutes of practice I can sneak in before the game. What my sticking is going to be like. Hell, even what I’m going to eat today so that I don’t cramp up. I want that win.

The drive feels good. Something that I’ve been missing lately for sure. Feels like once I got my promotion last year, I settled in and started to get comfortable. Once I get comfortable, I get lazy. This seems to be a theme for me. But self improvement is also a theme, and I’ve got a very determined opinion about which of these I want to win out.

So let’s see a win tonight in broomball. And if not a win, then at least some good aggressive play and perhaps even a goal.

I was going to write about skiing here, but perhaps I’ll save that for another post. Here’s a picture from Seven Springs, where I just went this weekend with a bunch of folks. Loads of fun, and I’m definitely getting better. Can’t wait to hit the slopes again this week.

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Right, so it’s a new year already.  Been meaning to make a new years/last year summary kind of post but haven’t quite gotten to it, and honestly wasn’t entirely sure what all I had to say.

Last year was definitely a year with its ups and downs, but all in all, I really managed to right things and pull onto an even keel, which is what I wanted.  It was on the whole a successful year.  I’ve always been a bit vague on here about the past two years, but suffice to say I dealt with a little more than a normal share of hardships and it was tough getting through some of that.  These past six months were about putting the last of that behind me.  And much of that meant just working my ass off, which I did, even if it meant not being around a lot.

So that’s the thing I’m looking forward to the most in the coming year: being around. Focusing on what I want to do as opposed to what I need to do. Life is good, and I’ve worked hard to enjoy it.  It really does change things, if subtly, when you know that.  When you’ve worked through that.

So, I’m not much of a resolution maker but here are a few things that I’m looking forward to in the coming months.  Perhaps I will bother myself to journal about them on this modest little page that I pay a tidy little annual sum to reserve.

1) Vacations

So far I’ve got a ski trip planned and a tentative Vegas trip, but it’s time to plan some more. Currently I lack a default travel partner, but whatever. I worked my ass off last year and took like two trips. This year there needs to be more, even if they’re just here in the U.S.

2) Dating

Yeah… I don’t really have anything to say about the break up I went through last year… and I don’t have much to say about the dating I’ve done since then.  The only woman I dated last year who I actually really liked ended up–in the end–making fun of me on her blog and basically calling me a homo. Because I like flowers. I don’t know if that’s a remark on my taste in women or a remark on the emasculating power of flowers, but I sure hope it’s not the former. And anyway, as a good friend of mine put it to me lately: “…well, we’ve got you as a +1 for the wedding.”  So I need to get on that.  I hate dating, I really do, but there’s no reason for me to be hanging back and getting made fun of for my homophilic love of flora in the meantime.

3) French and Motorcycles

I’ve been meaning to learn some French and learn to ride a motorcycle for a little bit now.  I could see me skipping out on the motor biking, but getting more and more into cooking has really made me want to learn some basic French.  I mean, just to pronounce and spell things.  I don’t expect to be great at French anytime soon, but I’d like to at least sound like a competent chef.  It seems that if you want to get serious about cooking, there’s just no side-stepping a little bit of French culture.

Which sounds fine to me. How about some French classes and then maybe a trip or two to Quebec? These are worthy and easily attainable goals.

I guess I’ll park it there and leave it at that. Three goals sounds good, and things all around are good. Also things are tired. It’s late, and I’ve a busy day tomorrow providing for my technicians.

Au revoir for now!

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I’m sitting at an airport gate, having arrived early for my flight for once, and killing some time.

This is the first time I’ve traveled alone in a little while, and it’s a bittersweet mix. Exciting because I’m getting back in to being single again, and yeah it does feel pretty good to be a bachelor on the go. But I do so miss having a traveling partner. I hadn’t even done a *that* much traveling in my last relationship, but we did get around to a few places. NOLA and that bed and breakfast ski weekend stand out as highlights. And we had been in the process of planning more when the relationship split. Such is life, I guess.

And that’s been a weird hold up for me in dating. I spent the better part of my 20s learning things the hard way, and I’m just now in the phase where things are good and I’m ready to travel. And, man, am I! I’m a homeowner now, so I have to be careful with money, but still, traveling is the thing at the top of the list. I want to get out there. See the world. Hell, just see more of the US. And I’m gonna do it.

But it can be a little weird when you’re on a date with some uber ivy league girl and she’s been to a dozen countries already. Cause she could be out on a date with some other guy, who’s been to just as many countries. And such is dating. I guess the dates where you’re feeling weighed and measured aren’t the good dates, and honestly they don’t phase me that much these days.

But it’ll be nice to find the girl who’s going through the same steps as me. Maybe I should stick to dating the liberal arts majors, for whom entering the workforce was a less than glorious experience and who had to survive on their wits for a bit before they started to find success? There’s folks like that out there, right?

Anyway, guess it’s food for thought.

For now I board a plane to San Diego to enjoy a couple of days at the beach with friends. It’ll be sweet. And then after that… on to the next adventure.

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So it’s a little interesting, I guess, being thrust back out into the dating pool unexpectedly.  I’ve definitely taken my time with things.  Hell, I was full on heartbreak boy there for a month or two.  But life goes on, and so do I…

I guess coming back around to dating right now, I can see sort of clearly why so many ladies date up in age:  those young guys just don’t have it together.  And when I say that, I’m definitely thinking of the younger version of myself.  Always oscillating between extremes, an emotional pinball, and so obsessed with defining life and discerning ultimate self identity.  I don’t miss those parts of being young, and I don’t miss how they messed up my dating life at the time.  I revisit some of the relationships in my mind sometimes, and man I just want to smack myself and shout “relax!”  But such is life.  (I have always been determined to learn things the hard way.)

Perhaps being a thirty-something (especially one who’s mistaken for a twenty-something) with some confidence and calm is a bit of an asset when it comes to dating.  I’m exploring that, and so far I like it.  It’s just funny I guess because when I was younger I would really obsess over age differences and age related things, and I’m finding that these days I’m just not worried about it.

I think the thing that experience has taught me the most when it comes to dating these days is simply not to overthink things.  Dating makes us so stupid.  Otherwise amazingly intelligent people are rendered complete fools when it comes to opening ourselves up to others.  The tendency to define who we should be dating, what we want from relationships, what kind of relationship we ultimately know we need to be in… There’s plenty there to obsess over, and it’s easy to overdo.

The other thing I’ve come to see so clearly about dating is the importance of first impressions.  And I don’t mean that in the sense that one should treat it as an imperative and obsess over one’s appearance so as to guarantee perfect first impressions always.  In fact, I think that quite impossible.

But no, I’m talking about just that moment: the first moment.  I read Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink a few years back, and he talked about our subconscious minds and how quickly and efficiently our subconscious minds analyze and make determinations.  In that first moment, so much information is exchanged, so much learned, right then, right there.  It’s profound when you stop and think about it. We meet, and we immediately know so much.

And it can be amazing. Have you ever had that moment?  You meet someone, and just click, snap, something just happens.  It doesn’t have to feel like magic, but somehow you just like someone right off the bat.  In fact, a number of my friends are in the process of getting married these days, and a lot of their first dates are described like that (followed, generally, but some form of all night conversation).

I’ve definitely had that moment.  Though definitely not on the dates I went on this week.  Very fine, attractive young ladies, and what academic pedigrees! (I guess I was running a theme this week)  But there were no sparks to be had, alas.  Oh well.

Maybe next week there will be some bang, pow moments… or maybe not.  In either case, I won’t be overthinking it.  Enjoy your days and toast your dates, that’s all that really matters.

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Don’t date coworkers. I’ve actually learned this lesson already, but somewhere along the line maybe I forgot it. I dunno. That was a long time ago, and I was a different person back then. 

But if you do ever date a coworker, prepare for this: the awkwardness. The word has started to get around about our breakup, and I’m constantly having to re-explain it. We work in a big office, and a lot of people know us. And hell, we simply dated for awhile. People thought of us as a couple.

Along with the awkwardness comes a unique, almost Sisyphean, sort of torture: reliving the details every damn time. For me, this has been going on for a month. That’s about how long ago she first told me that she’s leaving the United States to go live indefinitely in Spain. She didn’t ask me to come with her, and she express interest in anything long distance. Besides, I know her. I know that this is to be the start of a brand new chapter for her. There is no part written in it for me.

None of which I took well. Especially when we went back and forth several times and she said that she was reconsidering. She didn’t. She’s in Spain right now, actually, laying down the groundwork for living and working arrangements. And it was strange that I had to do it–because it was very clear to me that I was the one being rejected–but it fell to me to break it off.

And now everyone at work is getting word, and now they’re asking, offering condolences, etc.

I’ve made it through the five stages, but it seems to me that they keep coming in pairs. Denial + Bargaining. Depression + Acceptance. Anger + Acceptance. Bargaining + Acceptance. Depression + Depression. Each a unique burst of emotional flavor crystals that makes me hate life in a new way. I’m hanging in there, though.

Anyway, I haven’t decided if I really want to write about it much here, but I felt like getting some of my thoughts down. This page gets stalked regularly by one of her crazy, creepy exes, and, at some point, also I’m sure her. So there’s no point in getting into it too much.

I’ve been pretty weak about being social lately. You could say that I got sucked into that relationship black hole that seems to swallow people in twos… but I think it was something a little more than that. The outpouring of support from friends as I went through the breakup was an important reminder to me, though: don’t get so holed up.

I’m working on it.

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Here are some current things…

Current Obsession:  This song, by Burial.

Current Thing I’m Most Lazy About:  Cheese.

I subscribed to this magazine not long ago called Culture: the word on cheese.  I have two subscriptions to two magazines in the whole world, one of them a regular dude sort of magazine, and the other a magazine about cheese (I keep putting off subscriptions to a few music magazines).  And anyway, what I wanted to do was start maybe something like a food diary and make cheese something of a true hobby, but I haven’t really gotten around to it.  I do love cheese more than most things in life, but truth is I just haven’t had time to cook much this summer.  And that means little time to visit my local cheese monger.  This is another thing I must rectify.

Current Most Excited About: New Orleans.

The girlfriend and I have been anticipating a New Orleans trip in a few months, probably just after the holidays.  She’s never been.  I’ve only been once, but I can’t wait to introduce her to it.  Just thinking about it… there truly just is something about that city.  I think she’s gonna fall in love with it as quickly as I did.

Current Whatev’s: Gears 3.

I had been jumping up and down anticipating Gears of War three for not only months, but years now.  And then it came, and then I finished the campaign with a friend just last night, and…. man I’m kinda over it.  I think I must feel the same way about Gears that some folks feel about Halo these days.  I never got tired of Halo, but by the time this last Gears rolled around I had simply had my fill.  The campaign is on rails… which at first felt so innovative.  The game played like a cinematic theme park ride.  But now it just feels overly scripted to me.  The characters were always pretty thin to begin with, and seriously, it was three games of fighting the same damn monsters again and again.  (And having said all that, it really truly amazes me that I never tired of Halo).

Current Obsession Bordering on Religious Fervor: George R.R. Martin’s Song of Ice and Fire series.

I never thought I’d get roped into these, but after seeing the HBO serious I just had to have more.  There are only two salient facts when it comes to George R.R. Martin:  1) his fantasy epic is pure, unfiltered nerd crack; 2) George R.R. Martin is a motherfucker.  This man giveth with one page, and he taketh away with another.  I almost screamed, tore at my clothes, and then ran into the streets like a lunatic when I read “the red wedding” chapters.  That son of a bitch author is just downright cruel sometimes.  But oh how I can’t quit him, how I can’t….

Current Project: a Deadmau5 head.

I’ve dithered like crazy wondering do I call it a Deadmau5 mask, helmet, what?  I dunno.  A Deadmau5 head thing.  The girlfriend and I had the dubious task of choosing between The Black Keys and Deadmau5 at Virgin Freefest.  I love The Black Keys to death (as does she–it’s her fricking ringtone), but we were both so glad we opted with the Canadian mouse man DJ.  His stage was this gigantic all LED installation that just blew everyone away.  One of the things that was so cool about the show was how many folks turned up with their own Deadmau5 heads on.  I knew right then and there what I wanted to do for Halloween.

As of now though…. I haven’t lifted a finger.  I’m giving myself about a 50/50 chance of following through on this one.  A lot of folks have posted their how-to’s online, so there are plenty of guides.  But some of them get a little pricey ($200? shit!)… and plus I just had this clear idea of how I wanted to do it.  No idea if I actually can though.  I guess we’ll see.  I promise to post pics.

Current Bummer: Missing out on Wild Flag/Eleanor Friedberger tickets in DC.

Sad face. 🙁

Current Best Decision Lately: Getting rid of cable.

This was a group decision, actually, by me and the roommates, but so glad we did it.  I had gotten into such a routine.  And understandably so, I mean, those shows on HBO and Showtime are so fucking good these days, not to mention all the other channels with their own pet shows.  But our bill went up to around $180, and we were like just fuck it.  Basic cable isn’t worth it, IMO, and the roommates were happy to cut down a monthly expense.

I haven’t missed it, I’m so happy to say.  Been catching a few things on Netflix, but for the most part just changed up some of the routine.  God my ass off the couch.  I’m sure I’ll have it again someday, but I hope that day is a ways off.

Current Thing I Should Be Doing instead of Writing This: Going to bed.

Good night!

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Taking it or giving it?  Which are you better at?

This is one of the things that I’ve always hated about being single.  I mean, I guess everyone hates it.  If you like it, well then either you’re a sociopath or you’re a masochist (or both).  But I’ve always felt like I really hate it.  More than most folks.  I’ll stay stubbornly single, in part at least to avoid this part of the game.

The thing for me has always been that I hate giving it more than I hate getting it.  I can take it.  I’m a big boy.  I’ve been in plenty of relationships, and looking back there are some heartbreaks that I have a hard time seeing repeated.  So I’m prepared to handle it.

But dishing it out has just never been easy for me.  I like dating sites, because at least on something like that the terms are all laid out.  There’s no confusing middle ground, and the people on there aren’t your friends (well… this being Smalltimore, I run into friends on there all the time–but I’m not asking them out and vice versa).

I’ve had to break off relationships where the breakup was really painful for me, and telling someone you don’t want to go out with them is nothing like that.  But it’s just strange how intense the aversion really is.

It’s like I have a fucking endodontist appointment today.  I really don’t want to go.  But I should really just be a gentleman and say to this young lady who keeps hounding me, “Look…”

I wonder what exactly makes rejecting others so painful.

Is it a selfish thing?  Like, am I just turned on by the fact that they’re into me, and some part of my ego or whatever doesn’t want me to sever that?

Or is it that there’s a glimmer in their eye, a spark of optimism.  It’s fun to be excited about someone, and it’s fun to imagine the possibilities with that someone.  I love that feeling, who wouldn’t love that feeling. And in some way it can only be an ugly thing to snuff that.

If you turn it on its head, rejecting people itself can seem a selfish thing.  Choosing yourself and your own future over a future (I’m including immediate future here–not necessarily long term) with this other person.  I can see it as an embrace of one’s own ego, one’s own self and life.

But it doesn’t really feel like that.  It feels like booing at someone’s long awaited, eagerly performed recital.

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So I’ve had this stalker lately.  Cute girl.  Sweet.  But she just, like, doesn’t seem to be getting it.  And I’m getting to a point with it.

And before I get too far, you can see why I stopped linking these pages with my Facebook pages awhile ago.  Hell, Facebook is a Flickr/eVite hybrid to me these days–that’s all I use it for.  But the thing is: people will seek you out on Facebook.  They won’t seek you out on WordPress.  Or even Twitter.  And if they do, they’re either savvy enough that you’ll get along with them; or psycho enough that you feel fully entitled to tell them off.

Anyway.  Stalker.

Like seriously, man, how many hints does it fucking take sometimes?  Really?  Really? Are you going to make me blow you off?  My general awkwardness around you and habit of suddenly cutting out aren’t obvious?  And this when you’re throwing yourself at me?  Like how many times have you blatantly thrown yourself at me?  I’m losing count.  And each time I end with a polite, “Goodbye, see ya!”

My friends were even teasing me about this.  And with good reason.  It seems obvious to everyone but this poor young lady that I am–capital–NOT interested.

There was an encounter with this person this weekend, well two–the first one I knew was going to happen, it was someone else’s party.  But when I turned and “randomly” ran into her a certain Maryland local faire the next day, I began to wonder: is this a coincidence?

I don’t know.  I don’t want to say actual bad things about this young lady because, hey maybe it was.  But it was suspicious as shit.  Did I mention on Facebook that I would be there?  Did I mention it to her and forget it?  ‘Cause it was really suspicious.  To the point that I almost texted a few friends and said, “Hey, if so-and-so asks for my number, mind saying that you lost it?”

And now she’s hounding me again.

And this is what I want to say to her:

“Heyyyy, girl, what’s up!!! lol!  So yeah, like I could totally come “grab some coffee” with you, but see I’m seeing this chick now, and she’s like, kinda… possessive.  I don’t want to scare you or anything, but she’s got some warrants in another state.  It’s regular stuff.  Just like, uh… traffic tickets, maybe a ‘failed to appear’.  Oh and that one for hacking into that guy’s computer and stealing his wife’s identity.  Lols!!! Omg!

But, no, like, maybe we should just be friends.  Like I’m not kidding, you could get hurt.”

And what I’ll actually say to her:

Something polite.

My point is that there are times in life when I just want to say fuck it and make a bunch of shit up.  Because why the hell not.  How many times in life do you get the opportunity to make some crazy flying bullshit up and not give a fuck about it?

But I’m not really that type.  Apparently I do, in fact, give a fuck.

And in either case here’s a tip for the ladies:  throwing yourself desperately at a guy is the most unattractive thing a woman can do.  And if a guy actually goes for that, hey guess what?

But hopefully you already know all that.

(I really, really hope you already know that.  Take good care, ladies.)

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Or lack thereof I should probably say. I’m kinda wishing right now that I’d set myself up a hot date or two for the weekend, but no, the only hot date I have is with my house. There’s more work to be done.

It’s been sort of a weird time lately. Like seriously everyone I know seems to be coupled up right now, except for myself. Of course there’s my friends in long term relationships and the ones who are engaged, but I mean even those folks I know who are almost hopelessly single are coupled up. So like now, I’m that guy. I’m the hopelessly single guy. What the fuck? How did I end up picked last in gym class?

Truth is, it’s been kind of rough lately. I made sort of a concious decision to take a break from dating when I underwent the home buying process. I knew I was just gonna be too busy and too stressed. And I was right. The last thing I want to do is a) bore a lady to death with tales from Home Depot, and b) be too tired to pay her any attention. It’s only a couple months, I knew I’d live.

But then there’s been the family drama (which I still would like to post about–maybe later today). Going through a family crisis is not really a fun thing for the single person. It’s times like those when more than anything it would be good to have someone there for you to help keep it together. But it’s probably the worst time in the world to meet someone new.

Like imagine that first date… the scene is set, the music is low, the wine is flowing. “So,” she asks, “how was your week?”

“Well, one of my closest family members snapped, and we had to put her up in a hospital. I spent 12 hours in an emergency room and saw and heard things that I will never forget. Uh… how about you?”

Yeah. It’s not a pretty picture.

But that’s all cooling down. The parents have stepped in, and the family crisis torch has been passed from me to them. I guess I have permission to start living my life again?

So we’ll have to see about that. I was having a conversation with a friend of mine who’s a fellow INFJ, and apparently singledom is just a thing for us. We were high fiving each other about it, actually. I guess we’d prefer to call it “stridently independant” as opposed to single. I think I’d also say that we’re stubborn and idealistic. So we stay single, and then when we do fall for someone, we fall pretty hard. It can be a bad scene.

But I think this fall is going to be pretty good. I’m feeling optimistic, and I want to chase that feeling.  Hell, maybe this weekend will be good.  After all, summer ain’t over yet.

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