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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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I’ve been thinking a bit lately about motivation.  In part, I suppose, because that is part of my job these days.  I should be keeping my techs motivated to do good, accurate work.  It’s tough, though.  I suppose I try to just be fair and lead by example, and maybe I haven’t gotten much further than that with it right now.  And that’s institutional motivation anyway.  Everything is different when working within an organizational framework.  One needs to consider corporate culture.  Ethics.  The law.  It’s complicated.

Shouldn’t personal motivation be simpler?  Sometimes it doesn’t seem so, but I’ve been keeping at it.

I really got my ass kicked in broomball Thursday.  It was a good night, let me be clear.  I got my first assist, and I had some shots on goal–even if they weren’t great ones.  But man did I push myself.  I was aggressive and kept pushing.  In the second half, I started to go too far and felt it immediately.  I was playing wing, and I could feel their defense getting tired.  I scrambled like mad on a few back to back plays, sprinting harder than I had since basketball in high school.  I rotated back to the bench a minute later, out of breath and panting like I’d just gotten run over.  My breaths came so deep and hard, for a second I thought I would hyperventilate.  Right there, mortified in front of these teammates who are still very new acquaintances to me.

Things cooled down. I caught my breath, and in the end we chalked it up as a somewhat successful loss, as for the first time this season we were playing with some real teamwork and putting pressure on goal.  I spent the next day completely laid up.  I’m getting old, man, I can’t keep doing this.

And yet I do.

I’ve been striving for discomfort lately, and from it I’ve been finding a new reserve of self motivation.  It’s tough when you’re in your thirties, and so many things in life seem to be on…. I want to use the phrase “cruise control” here, but instead I think I’ll say schedule.

You live by the schedule, you die by the schedule.  You have a career–an organization and a set of peers that have daily expectations and challenges for you.  You have a home–a never ending set of responsibilities and projects.  You have a family–where do I even begin with that one?

You live by the schedule, you die by the schedule.

It’s easy to lose your motivation when locked into a circle. A routine that can seem as meaningless as it can directionless.  I’ve taken to the inconveniences to break it up and keep me moving.  The problems, the challenges.  Too many people let go and let the schedule make all the decisions for them.  I mean, it’s easy.  I can’t even call someone lazy for simply checking in every day and meeting those tasks of career, home, family.  After all, there are many who fail to even do that.  Those destined to wipe the schedule clean and start over.  Once, twice, maybe again and again. We all know a few of those folks.

It’s tough, but I’ve been at it in little ways.  Playing in a more competitive broomball league is just an example.  It’s hard, it’s kicking my ass, I have no idea how successful I’ll be, and yet I’m keeping at it.

I woke up today sore as fuck and yet as refreshed as ever.  Decided to hell with stopping by the office on a weekend (I had planned to go in).  Today I’ll set my own schedule.

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Everything is happening slower than I want it to.  I’m glad that I bumped the move up a week, because it’s taken a lot longer than expected.  There are still a few things left at the apartment that I need to pick up (I left my pictures hung because I didn’t have time to spackle the walls yet).

Just the move itself took twice as long as expected.  I do this thing right…. people, they usually assume I’m in my 20s.  I look young.  And sometimes I feel like I’m still in my 20s.  But after loading and unloading that truck several times this weekend, I felt like I was 50.  Despite having more muscle tone than I used to, I’m not the young buck I once was.

And now that I’m in the house, everything is taking forever.  My list of things I hope to get done this weekend is impossible:
– Reseal grout in kitchen
– Chop down branches in back yard
– Get the deck ready for company
– Get my lawn mower and mow the lawn
– Paint my basement
– Sort boxes and unpack more
– Hit up IKEA and put together some furniture
– Install CO detectors

Heck, I know there’s a bunch I’m forgetting.

I guess part of home ownership is learning to take things one step at a time.

Despite what sounds like griping there, I’m sleeping better than I have in months.  Oh speaking of sleeping, I now need to purchase a split box spring for my bed.  So there’s another thing to do this weekend.

And this is, of course, in addition to this weekend’s social events.

I guess we’ll see how it all goes.  One step at a time…

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Did not make it to work today.  This is not a good thing, since I am running the training room all week and teaching a rather technical lesson.  Luckily it seems that my backup is going to be okay with covering me.

Also, supposed to have a date tonight, and really not so sure that that’ll be happening.  Yeah, bad time to come down with a cold.

Gonna try and get some things done around here though, which will include some posting on this page.  I need to inveigh against Tim Burton.

I was a little surprised by the ending to last night’s Lost.  Guess I won’t spoil it here, but we’re not used to seeing Ben Linus episodes end that way.  Ben is at the end of the day a tragic character.  It was nice, though, to see Tania Raymonde return to the show.  I find her almost supernaturally beautiful.  I wish that I could call her, and that she would go out with me, and that I could put my mouth on her mouth.

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I’ve been trying to find a moment to do a “favorite music of ’09” post, but it keeps escaping me.  I spent today trying to be productive through the fog of readjusting to nine to five life.  During my vacation I slept past noon almost every day.  My body just does not know what’s going on right now.  What time is it?  Should we be somewhere?  When I’m awake, it feels like I should be asleep, and when asleep it feels I should be awake.

In the meantime, I would encourage everyone to head over to NPR to catch a first listen of Vampire Weekend’s new album.  You can stream the whole thing here.  My first reaction is that it’s not quite as catchy as the first album, but still pretty catchy.  There’s more of those 80’s-ish afro-pop sounding beats so far, the ones that seem to remind me of Peter Gabriel.  I don’t really feel like listening to any Peter Gabriel to verify if that’s actually what it should be reminding me of, but if you yourself would like to pursue that then I would salute you for doing so.  Let me know how those old Peter Gabriel albums are doing these days.

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Sitting back and ruminating whistfully for a few moments here on this penultimate evening of the year, the moment doesn’t exactly necessitate declarations.  However, I am prepared to declare 2009 a pretty good year.

It started off with me in a major funk actually.  Last winter.  It was sort of inexplicable, although I think it came down mainly to being in too much of a tedious routine at work.  I was hitting up the junk food restaurants and avoiding the gym after work.  Which was a real shame because I had gotten into pretty decent shape back in ’08.

But I fixed that.  Got promoted to another division at work.  Got back into shape a bit.

I moved.  I live in a very swanky apartment that I’m completely in love with.  The mastery of my own domain has brought me a wealth of inner tranquility.  Already I’m dreading the day that I move out of here.

I went on a few vacations that were a lot of fun.  Had to take a break from that once I moved out on my own (no roommate!), but I’ll be back at it soon enough.  Next time out I need to get further from home.  I’m thinkin’ about Europe (perhaps I should resolve to brush up on my Spanish this year… or perhaps learn some French).

I dated a lot this year.  More than in most years, if not any year.  Did that online dating thing for awhile, and it was like new date, new date, new date every week.  It was alright.  A few of them lasted a little while, and each of them not working out was a shame in its own unique way.

Oh, by the way, I am no longer dating the lovely young lady I was most recently dating.  I think I had mentioned her on here.  I wish I could say that it was something I did, but she went rather suddenly from being really, really into it, to being really, really not into it.  Don’t know what to say.  We talked about it a bit during the breakup conversation, and the gist of it was mainly that she’s got too many things going on right now and can’t get her head into a relationship right now.  God typing that out right here, it just sounds trite.  Like nonsense.  One thing that life has taught me is that no matter how pure one’s intentions are going into a breakup conversation, pretty much all of it ends up coming out like nonsense.  I’ve only been on the receiving end of that conversation a few times, and I’ve learned that what I tend to do is go into super, super sweet and understanding mode.  I become Mr. Copacetic.  There’s probably a psychoanalysis session in there somewhere…. something about my mother and father’s conflicts, for sure.

Oh but speaking of being super sweet, after talking about this whole episode with one of my BFFs, the one who I can pretty much tell ANY relationship stuff to, we came up with a dating resolution for me:  be more crazy, or be more of an asshole.  Girls don’t suddenly get bored with and ditch crazy assholes.  So that’s something I can work on this year.

But enough talk of dating. Except to say that this one was a real shame. I really liked her a lot.  Nothing to do but move on and forget about it right now.

And right now I have a different focus anyway.  Being single really behooves me in these first few months of 2010.  I’ve got to buckle down and finish some things that I started here.  One of them includes working a lot of overtime, so that I can pay down a credit card.  The other involves getting back into the shape I was in not so long ago.  Actually, muscle tone wise I’m already out ahead.  I can bench more than I used to, and I hope to be able to bench my body weight this year.  We’ll see.

Just in general, though, I need more discipline right now.  I’ve been in this sort of, I don’t know what to call it, hedonistic I guess kind of mode.  I’m fine with that version of me, but I don’t want to be that version of me right now.  I need to drag out a different set of habits.

As to the rest of the coming year, it’s hard to predict.  It’s funny, not to bring up that recent breakup again, but one of the things she said was something like “my life is so hectic and transitional right now, and you’re so settled down in your life.”  I don’t really see it that way.  I feel changes in the air.  The last thing I want to do right now is buy a house, settle down, and resign myself to life as an insurance man.  I’m okay with being an insurance man right now, but I sure as shit don’t want to die one.

But, that said, I’ve got a lot to sort out.  Before I do any of it, I need to put my nose to the grind for a few months.  Once these loose ends are tied up I can start focusing on other life changes.

Anyway, adios 2009!  Please don’t feel remiss that 2010 is going to make you seem horribly lame by comparison, but yes 2010 is going to rock.

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Starting the day off with small victories here.  On Friday, I was in the middle of explaining some of the more complicated rate computation factors to my students.  I don’t think of this part as being complicated, but then again I am a geek.  Not all people are geeks.

So this morning I started explaining the structured percentages we apply to an individual’s average indexed monthly earnings, and… they got it.  It’s pretty abstract, and we were really hitting a wall on this one.  I mean, all I was getting was blank stares, even some real frustration.  Somehow I got through it, and it clicked for everyone in the class.  Yay!  I think the key was using food analogies, but then again I think that’s the key to everything.

Anyway.

Christmas is coming along.  A lot of my gifts are taken care of already.  I ran into a problem with the program I’m using to burn my mix CDs, and I’m kinda pissed.  Either it’s the program, or it’s the hardware.  I am going to be super pissed if it turns out to be the hardware.  Super super pissed.

Long week ahead.  Need to work on the mix CDs tonight, need to hit the gym, do laundry, order some gifts.  All kinds of crap.  Really can’t wait until Christmas comes and goes and then I have some time off to unwind. I plan on spending a few days doing nothing but cooking and vegging out on the couch.

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… for spending the whole day on the couch playing Xbox.  At least not when one has come down with strep throat and has been specifically ordered to rest and recuperate.  I’m not sure that running around as an army guy shooting at other army guys should be a rejuvinating process, but it seems to have worked for me today.  I never find time to play these games that I pick up and then when I have a day where I need to be sedentary, I feel guilty for playing one all day.

But oh well.  I didn’t feel like watching movies and was too loopy to concentrate on a book.  I got a few good wins in.  It was fun.

Getting sick right now has been the definition of bad timing.  I was incredibly proactive about going to the doctor right away (almost hypchondirac-ishly so), so I got on an antibiotic as early as I could.  Earlier in the day even, and the swab probably would have read negative.

But the timing sucks.

It’s bad for work.  I have a new lesson starting on Monday and, shh, don’t tell anyone but I’m not ready at all.

It’s bad for dating.  I wonder if there’s a card on someecards for “Sorry I got you sick right after we started dating…”  Wait… hold on… found one here I have to send to her…

Anyway, more on that subject later.  I tend to tiptoe around the subject of dating on here anyway.  I will note that she and I have been in a veritable round of one-ups-manship on the timing front.  I’m working a lot, she went out and broke a limb, now I’m sick (maybe we’re both sick).  I suppose I could outdo her on the limb by going out and severing one of my own.  I wonder if there is a someecard for “Sorry I severed an appendage right after we started dating…. PS: want to catch a movie tomorrow?”

There’s got to be someone out there with that situation.  Anyway…

I should be working on my Christmas mix CD right now, but I haven’t felt like concentrating on anything.  I really am kinda spaced out.  I completed another mix CD a few days ago, and I’ve decided on some final touches for it.  I could be finishing that up too…

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How is it that The Strokes could put together such a masterfully succinct and enjoyable album as Is This It and then fade into the mediocrity of their subsequent albums?

It’s late.  Well, end of the day.  My students have all left.  The other class on this floor has left.  And I’m finishing up some work and listening to The Strokes.  You frustrate me, Strokes.  What is your god damn problem!

I’m by myself up here right now.  Alone at the top of a thirteen story tower in Baltimore.  It’s a strange thing being alone at the top of a tower.  I can look out across the city and see the rush hour bustle.  The city is dark.  Alive right now only in lights that trace themselves across the streets, across the skyline, and down the horizon.  It’s quiet.  I hear only the building’s air vents.  In here everything seems frozen in time, crystalline in appearance.  It’s like looking out from inside of a snow globe.

I love these little isolated moments.  I feel like for a moment–just a moment–I can think clearly.  I hope I can catch some more of them over the holidays here.  I’ve had some things percolating in the back of the brain.

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Everything seems to be happening at a slower pace than I would like right now.  In too many aspects of my life.

The main frustration today is my training room.  We keep encountering these hold-ups, and right now I just want to get everyone through this and to the holiday weekend.  Grr.  I don’t think anyone realizes that I’m actually really irritated.  I’ve this tendency towards the copasetic that I’ve long considered to be one of my flaws.

Two more days.  I just want to get these folks through this week.

I weighed myself the other day and clocked in at 200 pounds.  Jesus Christ man!  It’s remarkable because I have gained ten pounds, and my waist size hasn’t changed in any noticeable way.  It’s all muscle.  Or maybe it’s 8-to-2 or something, but whatever.

I feel like I’m evolving into a beefy sort of guy, and this creates mental dissonance for me.  I’ll always think of myself of this skinny, non-athletic type.  But lately my exercise has been coming together.  I think I’ve just been following a more rounded routine when it comes to lifting and cardio.

Anyway, it’s all transitional right now.  Stepping on the scale and seeing 200 makes me freak out a little, because I don’t want to turn into a big giant fatty.  So I’m gonna need to watch with it my diet over the holidays here, as I continue to trim a little padding off.

But it’s weird.  I think I’m just gonna weigh more with a full rack of muscle on my frame than I thought.  My weight is likely to stay in the 190s, when previously I thought it would be more like the 180s.

It’s strange to muse over how in my 20s I was always struggling to be perfectly fit and never quite getting there, and now all of the sudden I’m finding it easy.  Then again I’m not out drinking five nights a week and eating cheese fries at the diner all the time like I used to, so perhaps it all makes sense.

Anyway.  Sort of a quotidian sort of journal today.  I had this post I was going to write up about Ingourious Bastards and Godwin’s Law, but I didn’t get to it.  Maybe later.

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