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a letter i just sent to my mayor and the head of our bureau of transportation   
11:11pm 03/10/2012
  I love my town.

Hello, my beloved elected and appointed leaders!

This is a little long winded but it has a point and I hope it'll make you feel good about yourselves and your work.

I'm a transportation wonk and a full-time cyclist--I ride to work, I ride for transportation, I ride for fun, I took the Portland transportation class at PSU, and I'm an organizer of much bike fun in Portland and in particular the world naked bike ride Portland edition. Thank you for enhancing all of the things I love to do on my bike! You -- yes, you two specifically -- make my life so incredibly great that I bought my first house in Portland after waffling for 12 years in other cities across America that I tried living in. And I love paying my property taxes, and leaf removal fees, and income taxes, and vote for bonds to improve our city--because your leadership so totally jives with my way of thinking. You truly are representing my interests, 100% of the time. You are spending my money wisely. You rock!

And you've done it again. I'm a daily bike commuter over the Broadway bridge from my home in Nopo to downtown, at least one and sometimes two round trips in a day. Whenever the sidewalk is being repaired, I stop taking the Broadway bridge, since the two-way traffic on the sidewalk is dangerous. So, I detour to the Steel, lose 5-10 minutes of my life, and thank the powers that be (and the powers that have been) for having options.

Your arrangement of a first-class treatment of detoured cyclists on the bridge means a lot to me--not just the time saved, which in reality only adds up to maybe a couple of hours during this repair cycle. But that you thought about it, worked with the BTA and Trimet, and made a precedent-setting, politically tough call to defend the safety of the meek in exchange for the inconvenience of the majority...yeah. This is a great example of why I love you and this town.

Sam, I'm going to miss you a lot when you go (and I look forward to seeing what you do next. You'll have a staunch supporter in any forum). Tom, I hope the new mayor keeps you around. You guys deepen my love for Portland and make my life better. Please know that your hard work is *extremely* appreciated.

With love,

me
 
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this isn't supposed to happen to me   
07:17pm 13/06/2012
  my leg swelled up last week after a sore day followed by an intense bike race (in which i still placed last, but had fun. it was the first race for that bike and i am having it reconfigured to be more functional in the next race. but that's beside the point.)

it hasn't unswelled since. magn0lia, masseuse & chiropractor extraordinaire, came over and gave me delivery kinesio-taping service, just as professional as any i ever received from algol_galaxia back in the day, and this helped reduce a fairly significant amount of pain..but the tightness and swelling, i just kept expecting to go away. and it didn't, and it didn't, and i was having trouble walking normally, but it felt ok on the bike as long as i went easy, and i was trying to ignore it, and then magn0lia came by a *second* time and told me in no uncertain terms to go to the doctor, tomorrow, because blood clots might be involved and those things are potentially fatal.

tomorrow turned into two days but I went yesterday and the doctor said "well, it could be a clot, but you're young and have no reason to have one" (provocations typically include: being sedentary, taking a long car or plane trip, medical trauma like a deep cut or surgery, or being trapped in a cast), plus i seemed to get better when i was warmed up from exercising. So he referred me over for a blood test to just make sure i wasn't having a clot.

the tests, i was informed, are 100% accurate if they report a negative. but the false positives are possible and even likely, so all it could tell me is i don't have a clot, which is referred to in the lingo as DVT, Deep Veinous Thrombosis (that's my darkwave my bloody valentine cover band name, by the way). anyway, the test takes overnight to happen, so i get a call this morning, "well, you're not negative. come back in and we'll look with some technology. we can fit you in...in the middle of the afternoon and no other time. but it's essential! come in today!" ok...

so i make a shambles of my afternoon and shamble over to the doctor (ok, i rode my bike, because that's what i do. i shambled to my bike though. recall that i've got an endearing limp...) and i get two sexy nurses, one of whom is a nurse in training, and the other of whom is a sonographer (sez her name tag). they tell me to strip, then daintily put a towel over my junk, and proceed to give my leg an hour-long sonogram from the crotch on down. i've only ever seen a sonogram once, when i was 5, and got to go with mom to look at lil sis kim still in the womb. technology, as far as i can tell, hasn't changed much. she lubed me up, rubbed me with a wand on a cable attached to a screen, and scrutinized something i couldn't see the whole time. her poker face was impeccable and all i was told was that "these things are code red, stat, so we'll have someone read it while you wait." i know these people know when they see a thing--x-ray techs have given away my broken bones before a doc even gets the x-ray more than once. but she was unreadable.

so i dress back up, go wait in a chair too uncomfortable to sleep in in a cell phone dead zone until she comes back out and says the doctor will see me now. this sonographer, her eyes are flat, i can't read 'em at all. i'm still feeling upbeat because there's no way a healthy dude like me would get an unprovoked clot, and chances are it was just a false positive. but the doc marches straight in and says "bummer, man, you gotta clot." he explains briefly that it's unexpected, it's good i came in quickly, and that my chances of getting a pulmonary embolism were really low now that i'd be getting treatment. By the way, that's the potentially fatal clot-consequence, where the clot decides the leg is so last week and moves up to the lungs and effectively suffocates you by blocking the blood from getting to some or all of the lungs. so that sucks, but hey, i'm already on the road to recovery, so whew, right?

i try to stay upbeat as they shuffle me over to the entire wing of the clinic called the "coagulation unit". apparently a fuckton of people take these medications, so many so that the nurse has clearly done this spiel a thousand times as she explains that i'm gonna spend the next 2 weeks injecting my own belly with this one anticoagulant, and then the next 3-6 months taking this other one orally. oh, and while i'm at it, i can't drink, or anyway if i do, i'll probably bleed to death from scratching a mosquito bite, because my blood is gonna be thin as a supermodel from the 90's and won't want to stop bleeding short of cauterization. but hey, at least i'll knock some weight off in the process, probably, since not drinking all summer is likely to help with my first-time-ever over-200# scale visit. sigh.

the good news: i don't have to change my lifestyle, as long as my lifestyle isn't based around taking advil (or drinking), or eating highly variable amounts of green veggies (broccoli, spinach, brussels sprouts). it's not that I can't eat those, it's that I have to eat the same amount every week. and knowing me, that means "none", since i'm terrible at keeping the house stocked with veg or really remembering to eat anything in particular when i'm out. and i get to keep exercising "as much as is comfortable". right now, the leg is so swollen, it's not comfortable to walk, run, bounce, or bike hard. but i can bike gently for now, and according to kdaisy721 who just went through this, i'll be unswelled shortly, like in a week or two.

in the meantime, i gotta go to the doctor a lot and try not to be such a klutz. thank goodness i have awesome insurance--it paid for $854.99 worth of medicine today. fuck our healthcare system, but thank goodness my employer believes in taking care of its team.

give me a hug if you see me. i could use one. now for dinner (and presumably hugs) with a randomly-visiting decibel.
 
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i keep meaning to write...   
09:54pm 25/12/2011
  I have some great examples in my life, with jupiterjuniper leading the charge, but I just don't keep up the way I mean to. And sure, you might argue, forgive yourself for not shouting into a dying breeze that is the death of a once-vibrant community, but actually, this (like everything, at the bottom of it), is about me, not you. I should write, often, for myself. And hey, you guys would get the benefit most of the time, since I don't have a lot of private thoughts (more's the pity, might say several of the folks who long ago stopped listening to whatever self-involved drivel I was spitting out at the time).

But hey, hi, I miss you and I thought xmas night as the family sleeps softly and I'm kinda bored out of my skull would be a good time to write, and also probably go for a walk but I can't really take you along in a useful way, it being dark and me being a poor photo/video-grapher even in the light with good equipment, which I donut possess.

Let's instead review some of my blessings, there's a thing you could enjoy being along for, perhaps?

My family is excellent. My christmas gifts received were generous and thoughtful (yay art, nifty & silly things, and a whole lotta spendin' money); my gifts given, well received. My life is great. I don't know if I've said anything around here but I am loving working for New Relic, whom I've been with for 2 months now and I am still in love and I'm sure everyone who has already heard this is tired of hearing about how excellent my job is, but...man! Come work with us, if you're a developer or designer? Here's a link to our job listings just in case you're maybe looking for work and are awesome. And most of you are pretty awesome =)

I've taken up climbing, I've already skied more times than last year and have a fair amount more lined up, and I'm biking a fair amount despite the winter. I've had luck with the ladies enough that I don't think of dark_knightly unhealthily often and my self-esteem is nearly rebuilt (so much faster than it was after the algol_galaxia debacle, and I wasn't even in love with her). I'm enjoying my visit to Texas, basking in memories and friends with another week to go. I'll be spending more time in San Francisco over the next few months for work, but am gonna make some time for personal as well and enjoy faux-living in the city--i'll get a bike that fits me and my style to tool around on, hang out with my half-dozen friends (and several dozen awesome cow-orkers), and yay!

I didn't drink for 45 days straight and I didn't miss it much (except when I was at the bar). I'm still a lush at heart, but I no longer worry about my alcoholism. I haven't even been drunk very many times since I started drinking again--which is actually a pretty stark contrast to where I was before I stopped, so maybe it would forever be a good idea to take some time off in the winter to regulate and examine and clear the old head.

I spent almost 2 months bike camping this year. That was quite excellent. Maybe I'll get to do that again sometime, though not this year. I rode over 10,000 miles all told. I feel great!

Things I didn't get around to doing this year that I meant to:

writing more.

meditating more.

exercising quite enough.

But hey, I forgive me. What are you forgiving yourself for, as this year ends? I'm moving forward in a swoosh of positive and hope you have some of that too.

Maybe I'll do a year in review post later on. But for now, happy day, be well, and hugs!
 
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happiness is   
11:22pm 08/11/2011
  ...really enjoying my job! 7 days in and i like *everyone* that i work with and they are all at least as smart as me. i like our software more and more. i'm becoming useful more quickly than i expected. i'm getting positive feedback.

...successful (repeat scheduled!) first dates that are ended with a hug instead of sex or a kiss

...playing rock band with many friends for 5 hours on sunday evening

...meredith_mccraw visiting in less than 48 hours to go see tmbg!

...a warm cat

...reading way more than usual

...getting enough sleep, and settling into an almost-daily meditation routine

...doing ok without the booze. 8 days, a long rockband session & trips to several bars without falling or jumping off the wagon

...one last bike race for the year next weekend. yeehaw mud!
 
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the quickening   
11:41pm 30/10/2011
  it's almost 12am when it'll be october 31st and my life will change.

nothing to do with halloween, really. just some things going down tomorrow:


  1. i start a new job at this pretty cool company called new relic. we make software to profile your web app. it's awesome software. i wish i'd had it at several of my previous jobs (nike, respond2). the company is full of brilliant, practical people. they call themselves a startup but have 75 employees and are thoroughly profitable and their revenue is growing far faster than their employee count. they pay well and insist on a 40-hours-like life/work balance. i have been promised that this will be the hardest job i've ever had--i will be engaged fully. i don't think i've ever had a job that really did that to me before. there were periods at most jobs, but it was never sustained. i am ready to try that; this will be a trial by fire of sinking or swimming, wherein i'll figure out whether i can stay in tech for awhile or whether i really need to find another career. in the meantime i plan to put some money in the bank so that i can do whatever i need to do if i do have to escape. but right now, i'm actually kinda excited about joining a cool team, with 2 bosses i like, at a company with a kick ass product that i am not embarassed to sell (see nike, respond2) and am even a little proud of.

  2. i stop drinking tomorrow, the plan being to dry out for a couple months. as [Bad username: mhat"s] lady alexis pointed out, it is not a proof of not-being-an-alcoholic to be able to stop, for AA shows that alcoholics can stop. it's the moderation that's a problem, and well, i'm not addressing that for now. but i do wanna see what drying out feels like. and dawningday points out that two months feels different than one month--that is, the clarity changes for at least that long. we'll see a) if i make it that far and b) if i agree. there are already potentials for cheating--rockband night next week (hopefully) and thanksgiving...but, we'll see.

  3. i start writing a novel tomorrow. it's time for NaNoWriMo again. i'm ready, this year. not that i've prepared more, but i have an idea and a desire to do this thing.

  4. i feel better by the day about myself as someone who can be romantically involved. i'm dating again, though i haven't found ms. right yet...and i am still totally damaged goods as risa pointed out to me, but i *feel* less damaged by the day. so that seems positive =)


in strange other news, after being a paid subscriber forever and ever (and buying several other people paid accounts), i finally let my LJ account lapse. i think i've given them enough money for the time being. glad there's still a free mode..

hope you're well!
 
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01:58am 09/10/2011
  don't stop believing, says journey. how is that song the only song that's ever made me sob, sobbing out loud for maybe the second time in ever in my life? well, it's about a girl.

she sang that song and did it better than me. i still judge myself based on how i think she feels about me. and lately she's acting like i don't exist, which makes me feel the same way about myself. and then i think that if i hadn't fucking rocked the boat, if i'd just stayed miserable and heartbroken, well, maybe it'd be less bad than being even more miserable and heartbroken now. i didn't sob, before. i just whined.

i was sad before, and frustrated. but now i'm uncertain and worried that i'll never be able to judge myself on my own merits.

the last time i sobbed i had just asked her to move out of my home. which she pretty much took as "please leave my life". funny how something so bad for me is the thing that touched me most deeply in this world. fortunate that i've never lost anyone closer to me, and i'm lucky - there are several.

wish i understood human emotion. or maybe it's better that i don't.

i'll probably delete this in the morning.

the morning response: i won't delete it, i'll just explain it from a different emotional place. it's good to recognize and remember, even the embarassing moments.

i was feeling pretty emo last night. true feelings that i've been wrestling with, but it's not a constant thing--i usually feel pretty good about myself. i do still miss the relationship i poured the most energy in my life into--and by that i mean that i miss the good friendship that was actually usually functional under the dysfunctional romantic relationship. and who knows, she might just still be taking healing time, and she'll act like a friend again, someday. i haven't given up, i just start to grow weary of being the only one trying, months down the road.

though i do sometimes judge myself based on my (probably wrong) perception of what she seems to think about me, i usually judge myself based on what's happening in the moment--the people i AM interacting with. the joy i still facilitate, the change in the world i still effect, the adventures i still enjoy.

so don't worry--rejoice that somewhere in that relationship, i got a real gift--i got feelings back which i'd repressed/buried for 18 years, and with them came some sadness, but more capacity for joy, too. and i know that's good, even when i'm crying hard.

thanks for your support. now, it's boardgame and brunch time!
 
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daily updates   
12:34pm 11/09/2011
  so i've been writing in this community effwritersblock every day this month. the fragment the other day was from it. today is about the world naked bike ride that i helped organize. i probably won't bother reposting anything else in here unless i'm pretty moved by it but if you want more of my writing, there you go.  
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a fragment   
09:48pm 09/09/2011
  we met at a sleepy party in a friend's immaculate house only a few doors down the street from my own. she showed up late with the host's boyfriend, apologizing for being driven to the party. i jokingly apologized for walking and got a dirty look. but she was too tired to hold a grudge that night, and as she took a ride home from the last person to depart, i dragged myself home too, drained from staying past the limits of my social tendencies to bask in her laugh.

i made the boyfriend pass on a note from me to her, his co-worker. how i'd enjoyed meeting her and wanted to see more of her. she wrote a laughing reply to the note via email and told me she knew who i was. how? she was ran the campus directory and had done some poking. she was interested! i felt the butterflies...they blossomed into something kind of intense and beautiful. but fleeting. we were momentarily great, then good, then awesome, then terrible, then trying to repair, then giving up.

she taught me some incredible life lessons. put her actions where my words were: you can do anything you really try to. she turned me from a recreational cyclist into a biker, a thing to identify as and live and breathe. she taught me how to ride, how to fix my ride, how to fix my body when it broke, how to do it with style and finesse. some of the most valuable applied lessons anyone had ever taught me about living my own life--and she taught entirely by example. and i worshipped her for that.

when we separated, it was an explosion. she'd already absorbed much of my circle of friends and wasn't ready to let go of some people i loved--my best friend, my sister. i had to agree to be not-not friends, a concept i couldn't understand, but the communication was so far broken that i couldn't even figure out how to ask her to explain, really, and so apparently there was to be no more talking. no more eye contact. just an awkward separation and her running out of the room when i came into the party second.

then she taught me another thing, as i rehashed events over and over, in my head, to my 20 closest friends and some distant ones. as i tried to figure out where i'd gone wrong--i'd never in my life lost a friend other than to death, not an ex, not anyone i'd cared about, especially not so deeply, for so many months. i was distraught and grasping, gasping, hoping that she'd make time, take effort, to tell me how i'd failed. how to prevent future tragedy.

and on new year's eve, as i told the story (for at least the 30th time) of her and me to a new friend, met in person but friendship created over 2000 miles of internet, she called me. talking to tinyfroglet, asking what to do? how could i talk to her when it always ended in tears? i needed to! but i didn't trust talking. or words. they'd caused the explosion, implosion, and built the moat. she didn't understand. i didn't understand. and tinyfroglet told me not to answer the call. and R texted and said there was no other chance. and tinyfroglet told me, it is NOT YOUR FAULT, IT IS HERS.

and that was a good lesson to learn. sorry to the other 29+ of you i couldn't take that news from. you all helped break down that wall and make me well again.

she's still crazy and i don't care and it's great. and when i think of her i get a little misty eyed--i still want to say thank you for the huge positive change in my life. but that wouldn't work. doesn't, when i try it. i miss her. and, eqaully, i miss the me who believed that every friendship was salvageable.
 
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big sky country   
09:06pm 20/08/2011
  i feel kinda like the last 1.3 years have been a big vacation--i haven't been working regularly (but i have regularly been working irregularly!) for money, and so i've had a lot of time to recharge. strangely, though, a lot of my time was still spent working--working for a few consulting clients that kept me afloat (alongside my mostly-depleted-now savings), volunteering (the PDX world naked bike ride and barcamp portland organizing roles took up about 2 full-time months of my life, put together, and of course i have been volunteering for other stuff like osbridge, the BTA, shift, and whatever else wandered across my plate), and working through a lot of my remaining mental issues with the breakup with shads. so now i'm interviewing for real, salaried, 9-5 jobs. i took the written test to become a portland firefighter and passed--now it's on to the lug-a-hose-up-the-stairs test in a couple months, and then interviews for that. my mind is back on my financial future--something completely boring to me, but my finances are approaching the point where i have to think about it lest the potential for failure become worrisome.

so i'm in montana, taking a vacation from my life! i'd promised my friend heather i'd come visit her in missoula, montana, and i hadn't been in big sky country since july 2007. this trip had been in vague planning for months, since there were a few people who wanted to see heather and a few others who wanted to see montana, but in the end, it was just myself and aaron, whom i didn't know very well, but was assured was a nice fellow. he made a great travelling companion, just as easy to get along with as me! (says me =)).

this entry is feeling pretty uninspired, so let me get onto the good parts so i can at least post it, have written something that i can share with you guys, howbout?

1) train trip into glacier was mostly dark. but the parts that weren't were rather pretty: the gorge out further east than i'd seen it before (only travelled thru it past the dalles in my moving truck, at night, 4 years ago on my way to town). glacier, which was entirely after dawn. and some of eastern montana. we slept a little. cuddled some (i heart cuddles! boy cuddles, rare and elusive, were great and probably disconcerting to the bible group we shared the train with). ate our food, drank our drink. got to know eachother.

2) we arrived in east glacier, deboarded, assembled bikes and bags, ate disappointing huckleberry cobbler, shopped at overpriced tiny grocery where 2 days food cost the same as 1 blah meal including aforementioned cobbler, and then biked. we biked to st mary's. and i recognized it! the same route that alex, shawn, eric, and i did alone during the texas 4000 back in '07. it was neat to revisit! only this time i made it up the hill without much trouble (at a slower pace, loaded with camping gear). and i didn't bomb down so entirely out of control, fearless and immortal, as i had in '07. but that was fine, good even, probably. the first day in this blog-batch is essentially the ride we did.

3) we camped with a bunch of other hiker/biker types at st mary's. and that was good. huckleberry milkshake was better. sleep was epically long--probably 12 hours.

4) we rode over going-to-the-sun road. it was tall, it took us awhile, and we had a blast doing it. we had beer at the top, because goldang it, i had carried it all the way up there, and nobody told us not to. revisited a hike from that same '07 trip up top; there was way less snow--we were a month and a half later in the season!

5) we camped in the yard of aaron's friend sarah in west glacier and met her many housemates, their many guests, and had a great evening. even though sarah was not, in fact, home.

6) we hiked 13 miles on the highline trail, with a rather ridiculous elevation profile, for our "rest day". we saw glaciers! which are on a limited engagement, scheduled to disappear by 2020 entirely from the park. so seeing 3 was excellent. even that one we had to slog several hundred feet straight up to soak in. but there were backrubs, to go with the glacier. so that was ok. we came home to finally find sarah arrived, and she smelled worse than us (probably--i didn't inhale, honest!) since she was 10 days out on a hike and just returned. instead of showering, we went skinny dipping in lake mcdonald under the milky way, saw meteors, talked about life change, and made merry. we slept well.

7) i set off early, due west and south, to get to missoula the next day. my legs were exhausted from hard-ride followed by hard-hike. i still made it about 75 miles before calling in reinforcements--heather came and picked me up, closer to her than to me, but not by much. no way was i pulling a 140mi day on those legs. and there was much rejoicing as she pulled up and we caught up and drove south through a very pretty reservation, and some towns we'd seen in '07 (hi, arlee! you gave us free ice but no free water, as i recall.)

8) missoula has been great. slept in a lot. read a lot. biked a fair bit. spent most of a day at the adventure cycling association for heather's last day of work, and chatted with a bunch of touring cyclists and employees. drank beer. saw the clips of faith thing from new belgium that i somehow missed in portland but which followed me all the way to montana. drank great beer (no, fat tire isn't great. but i had 8 other tasty ones, most of which i'd never even heard of--new belgium brews a lot that they don't otherwise distribute..)

9) ate more great food, drank great beer, rode great bikes, talked life change, in general enjoyed visiting with heather. yeah. this is vacation!

10) tomorrow is further tour du missoula, including more drinking, eating, shopping, laughing, and carrying on, before i have to head north to whitefish to catch a train on monday night.

...and return to my life, which is getting more normal by the day--two interviews in the next week. might be working in as few as 2 weeks. might have to cut back on all that volunteerism. might not get to go on many more trips until the xmas migration back to texas. c'est la vie. it's been good, real good, and i believe i've done it right.

thanks for reading. dunno if i'll post much more, here. i don't...feel it, anymore, somehow. send me a thoughtful emailed question, and you'll probably do better for getting something juicy out of me, these days. my letters will be more interesting than my memoirs =)

peace.
 
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so this is how it ends   
09:12am 05/06/2011
  ...feels more like a whimper than a bang. strangely reminiscent of the last time i disengaged from being in love, in...wow, 1999 or 2000 with shaynabelle. trying to apply the lessons i learned there--stuff like:

  • continued sexual fantasies do not help with falling out of love (a shame, since the two ladies i've been deeply in love with were extremely sexually attractive to me and were hard to permanently withdraw from the spank bank)
  • sometimes you really do need more space/time than you want to, to nurture the remaining friendship
  • new interests take it very poorly when you confess that you are honestly not over the old interest yet. which is a fair way to feel, but i think many people aren't honest about it and they get credit for just keeping quiet while i lose points for being an open book.
  • she might be hurting, a little, too.


there were fireworks, the good kind and the bad kind, in the during of our relationship and its end. but as her time in the house wound down, she retreated due to the should-have-been-expected miscommunication, which we managed to convince me tearfully was all my fault. i still think it was, but i *feel* like it wasn't. she's such a great debater. i need to take a remedial debate class. and hire someone to walk around with me taking mental notes back to which i would refer during debate, since my mental notepad is completely fucking unreliable.

or i could start dating people that are active communicators. so, you know, we solve problems before they are big problems. that might not be a bad idea and might be something that could *actually* happen in *this* reality =)

so when she finally left, it was just "goodbye, good luck, and i hope we can still be friends". and i cried a little.

thank goodness kdaisy721 is here just now. she helps, as always, quite a lot really. and all of my friends. you guys are great, too. thanks for your ongoing support! i'm already in better shape than i would have expected, and remembering more about the disengagement with shay and how i repeatedly fucked that up (but thank you so much, shay, for being the wonderfully forgiving person you are and still being such a close friend despite my ridonkulous behavior back then!) and trying to disconnect those mental pathways and behavior patterns. and succeeding some. and failing some. and life will go on.

just now, i am going to pick up a mattress to improve the pillow room. yesterday i worked with a group who are living my dream (doing bike tours for a living), which, hey, i would love to be doing too and yay for a first step down that path (thanks, tinyfroglet, for the brainstorm/encouragement that got me there!). i am finalizing plans to paint my entire house (insides) this summer with a new friend (platonic) who is incredibly much "my kind of person", to turn it into a space i love, rather than a community i love in a space i just kinda like. and, pedalpalooza! 5 days out! omg! my life, she is so great. and i believe i shall return to the unequivocal love of life soon enough. so yay!
 
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beginning to worry.   
10:36am 23/05/2011
  the computer is a fantastic tool in my life:

  • without a calendar in my pocket in the form of a microcomputer (palm pilot, smart phone) i could never effectively live the life i'm trying to live (life goal!)--participant, doer, community builder, fun-lover, socialite. that technology has enabled me for 14 years now!
  • without a keyboard i'd probably write far, far less--i haven't written anything serious on paper in 6 years (my last burningman trip journal). partly because my hands can't keep up with my head in that medium--i can't write 120wpm or even close, and when i try, my scrawl becomes illegible. partly because i am frustrated by the immutability of the handwritten word--editing is heinous. partly because a computer as a focus gives me some of the tunnel vision i need to cultivate to get in the zone to really feel the flow of prose that is the source of both my best [words :: intended meaning] matches (life goal!) and the most fun (other life goal!). that technology has enabled me for even longer.
  • without computers as tools and people who need help making them behave as better tools for them, my lifelong total income would hover around $3000--about half and half a summer job at age 15 and pizza delivery for 3 months at age 25. technology is a valuable career skill. 17 years of enablement there.
  • without social networks, i would have grown up very sheltered and ended up a much different person, and i would be a far worse friend than i am today. or anyway, i would have far fewer friends. i suppose i might treat those few far better, were i not spread so thin. but i like it the way it is. this line item actually wants to be a post of its own, i will remind myself later to do so, for the effect has been so positive since age 15 that i love to bask in its memory.

there are others, of course. i was tired of traditional music media management before the mp3 was invented; i would almost certainly have stopped buying cd's over a decade ago and just be a radio listener with almost no discernable musical taste now. the hobby of computing has scratched a great itch in my brain for a great many years (though that phase in my life is waning). the computer amplifies my intelligence--allowing me to have knowledge at my fingertips that i by all rights shouldn't know via experiential learning--others get that via books, but i keep little in online storage/cache and rely on the internet to fill in the blanks incredibly often. my forgetfulness is not crippling with this prosthetic device!

but here's the worry: computer as entertainment device, boredom alleviator, goof off accessory is overtaking my productive use as primary use. i had one of those flashes of insight that i've been having (or recognizing) more of lately (yay!) about my life: this "tool" is getting harder to use, since i almost compulsively take a break every few minutes to read twitter, or play scrabble. when trying to do "real work" (be that for business or pleasure), the siren song of personal email is frequently too hard to resist.

i guess i have it easy--i check only a handful of sites daily, and most of them don't have enough content to distract me for long. i read my handful of favorite webcomics in no more than 10 minutes on any day--usually just a couple minutes. my livejournal friends page is almost empty these days (i have filtered it down to a level which from which i can fully catch up for missed weeks in an hour or two). twitter can entertain me for around a half-hour per 8 hours of america's-not-sleeping realtime, and is my go-to "waste 15-60 seconds now!" device. but again, even it runs out at some point of constant reloading. scrabble is in theory infinite in its availability, but i do stop finding it fun after some number of games--between 1 and 20. and then i have a refractory period ranging from minutes to a couple of days. so i'm lucky that i don't do reddit, or troll youtube (often, anyway), or have a netflix subscription, or play on the forums anywhere, or even play games, particularly, these days--i wouldn't have to quash many individual habits to get down to an all-business lifestyle. not a lot of different things to cut out. and frankly, the compulsion frequently isn't even that enjoyable. i could probably and should probably try going cold turkey on quitting scrabble for awhile. i stand to regain a fair amount of online productivity.

...or find other distractions. that's what i worry about. that the computer-as-a-productivity-tool era of my life is fundamentally broken. but really i think that i could change, but don't want to. a more insidious addiction.
 
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08:25am 18/05/2011
  my god have my emotions been a roller coaster lately. as i'm certain is clear to the 3 remaining readers of this blog and my twitter stream, i've been having a hard time with my ex. feelings of betrayal, bitterness, sadness, needing space and hating when i have it. completely fucking irrational and pretty unhappy some of the time.

last night some of that came to a head and good thing it did. as usual, both parties were unaware of the feelings of the other and a small scene was made (fortunately, via text message) and caused some of the floodgates of communication to come unplugged and i don't even know if there will be positive results regarding the friendship i want so badly, but at least now we're both more aware of the problem. which was a frequent problem in our romantic relationship as well--"oh, i had no idea i wasn't satisfying your needs...for the last 2 years :/"

so i don't know if that's positive or not, yet, but it was definitely necessary and i feel better for having been through it. (ok, i fibbed, i haven't made it through yet--she told me what she thought, that much is true. i did write the long email about how i feel and how i hope things will go but i am sitting on it for the day to make sure it still says what i want it to say at the end of the day. just like i waited til the sober light of dawn to write it in the first place, rather than writing it from a painful, unhappy place last night. PS: thanks to my cat's 6:20am vomit session for having me up at dawn.)

but this post isn't actually about the past. it's about the future. sitting there last night, in search of every kind of distraction, i realized i need to change. not change my desires (to remain good friends with her; to remain open, loving, in touch with my emotions; to continue to be able to express what i think and feel as often as i want to those i care about), but change my actions.

i think the best parallel to my desires is a story my friend Raj told me once while we were stuck in 5mph traffic coming down from the mountain in colorado for several hours. i could talk for hours about Raj; i in fact have a man-crush on his brain, which is amazing (the brain, not the crush). but the story is simple and he is somewhat irrelevant to this post, so i will carry on to the story: it's about his parents, who had an arranged marriage, and in fact had barely met before they married. yet, he says, they have one of the healthiest relationships he knows of. not because they were or are perfect for one another. but because they chose to put effort into loving one another, and that effort has been tireless, but extremely effective. they did not fall in love. they actively made it so. and it works. and it is strong like titanium, their love. and i was and am fascinated by this phenomenon, as one who only falls into most things in his life (and, is generally pleased with how his life works as he surfs the currents of probability. pleased not to be choosing all the time, but going with the flow, and letting things work. because, everything works if you let it!)

so how is that parallel to anything except the curvature of my brain's myriad unexpected wanderings? well, i am deciding to dig myself out of this pit of despair and be happier. i tweeted that i'd decided to stop being sad and a wise friend said that emotions don't work like that and she's right. but what i can choose to do is be healthier--both in the emotions i choose to wallow in (choose joy!) and overall mental health, which i believe leads to more positive feelings. to this end:


  • i need to start going to yoga or doing aikido again (i'm thinking yoga, since it's easier to fit into my already overbooked schedule). healthy body sane mind, as some song buried in my playlist says (it's punk/ska...maybe the impossibles or less than jake? don't know and can't be bothered to figure it out just now)
  • i need to meditate daily, at least on days that i don't have yoga. i only do it for 15 minutes or so but it definitely perks up my day and flushes some toxins out of the ol' brainstream.
  • i need to write daily. catharsis via typewriter, check!
  • i need to reread the 4 agreements. i don't actually love this book, but i was reminded of one of its lessons in particular the other day and i need to really accept and start living it: don't take anything personally. anything anyone else does is about them and their feelings and their opinions. act from your own feelings and then be responsible for the results.
  • might need a lil camping trip, all alone and without technology or intoxicants, to do some deeper meditation and a little mental reset. i've found a likely hole in my schedule next week that i might attack. we'll see how i feel after doing some of the above in the interim!


not sure if you'll see a lot more of me here, or if i'll write in my private journal, or maybe work on a novel or my long-overdue trip journal from the desert. i just read a beautiful piece last night that made me want to write more (this one: http://robinsloan.com/last-beautiful . go read it! it's short and sweet and awesome.) and then i realized that it would be therapeutic. and i need active therapy--because it's none of her fault that i'm still hung up on her and unhappy about it. that's all me. and i have to cope, like a big boy. chase my joy and "live my dreams", as the tiny charm that gogolsbeloved sent me while i was on my first bike tour says. still good advice lo these 4 years later! (and probably 40 years in the future, it still will be good advice.) and it dovetails well with some serendipitous general-purpose advice (not particularly directed at me) just this morning from a friend that i made on that bike tour, on art, and doing it successfully: http://philintheblanks.com/blog/?p=546

so that's where i'm at. where are you, today?
 
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i swear i had something to say...   
12:11pm 13/05/2011
  i had one of those thoughts, earlier, the kind that makes me want to pick apart my feelings on a topic in public and request the pleasure of your commentary. and then i failed to act upon this urge immediately and like a dream interrupted by the sounds of a cat getting sick, it evaporated in the instant of distraction, action, and reaction. of course i was just reacting to a text message which would have been there 20 seconds later, but i am not any good at prioritizing my time in the heat of a moment. long-term planning i'm great with the optimization ("so, since context switches cost a lot of time and effort, let's do one thing at a time and start with the best cost-value ratio even if it's not the most important task since it'll be done quickly and the feeling of accomplishment can buoy us onwards through the longer harder stuff and ..."). when already working, a clown could come in and ask me to get face-pied for no other purpose than his amusement and i'd probably say "sure!" i am a yes man in that regard, and i am pleased that my friends abuse it only moderately frequently rather than constantly. for i can be snuggling a pretty girl who made a rule that if i leave her side she leaves my life and still be distracted easily by just about anyone asking just about anything.

attention deficit disorderly much?

so let's see, what is new in my world today? a fair list of things:

1) new roommate transition is beginning--the traditional "sharing of the google docs rent/utility cost spreadsheet" took place this morning, and i'm trying to clear out enough room in the various storage locations for john to move in in a few weeks. the "garage" is a big one, because both him and other-recent-addition mark have tons of tools and it would be nifty to give them a place to store as well as use them that isn't inside the house. for though i love screwing inside, sanding, sawing, varnishing, and many other activities just don't seem completely compatible with health and cleanliness.

2) going with former roommate in a few hours to take his cat to get put down. his cat is around pixel's age, which scares me a little, but P seems to be in good health and is certainly as purry and cuddly and grooming herself and healthily hungry/thirsty...but 12 is a long time in cat years. so i'll just cherish whatever i have left. (since she's immortal, my cat, i know in my heart of hearts i have until forever! but what i know in my heart is often not the truth that i will have to someday address with my brain :/)

3) big weekend! let's see:

  • matt's goodbye-to-portland festival this evening will take us to some iconic locales--the classic-games arcade that serves beer, the food carts, some karaoke at the only place i've really had fun singing (i don't sing in public lightly).
  • the midnight mystery ride, which i will attend and then come almost straight home from, since..
  • ..i'm racing in a triathlon in the morning. i learned long ago that if i don't take the first step, i never get to the hundredth, and race season is no different. so i'm starting early despite having done 0 swimming or running since my last race, at the end of last summer. i'm not worried about drowning, but it may be a bit of a slog. that's ok, that's about the shape i'm in..
  • after the tri, my friends are leading another of my favorite sorts of bike rides--pub crawl! this is the "beer century", which i came dramatically close to succeeding at last time (100oz of beer by bike...i think i hit 92 or something in about 6 hours?). this time i'm just gonna hit a bar or two since i have other things!
  • hangouts with 2 relatively new friends, in separate pieces. movie+consolation snuggles for a recently dumped friend, and drinks and peoplewatching with a brand new friend.
  • sunday sunday sunday! i'm helping a pal hang a picture. i think i'll spend the rest of the day recovering from my weekend...


oh, and, ramp up to barcamp is in its final week. woo! it'll be fun! come play with us! free food and beer and lots of geeking. and not just computergeeking, either!

whew. for a mostly-unemployed dude, i sure don't have a lot of downtime.
 
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he has a sort of dry wit...   
09:38am 09/05/2011
  yesterday i had a beer. but for the 7 days preceding that, i had none. after my post about alcoholism i back-burnered thoughts of illness and addiction because i'd kind of made my peace with the situation--i like drinking but don't believe i'm compelled to do it or anything. and suddenly i had a day where i explicitly didn't feel like drinking, so i didn't. and looking ahead to my week, i had no social obligations that would likely make me feel drinky--no happy hours, no meetings at bars, no parties where i wouldn't know many folks, no dates or dancing. so i took the un-plunge and dried up for a week. and it was good.

i definitely had a productive, hangover-free week. i missed the sauce only slightly--usually when hanging out with others who were drinking and offering me a beer (not realizing that i was on the wagon.) i got shit done i'd been meaning to do for months (but didn't actually end up making a sizable dent in my to-do list or anything). i woke up with at least somewhat less struggle every morning.

and at the end of it all, i only really wanted one beer, to go with a great dinner my roomie and i prepared for eachother. i didn't get drunk or even buzzed, i just enjoyed the flavor (yeah, i drank a good beer.)

so i don't feel as dependent as i had; i will still be taking a longer dry spell in the winter time. and it wasn't hard or bad, but i did find that in company of new people, my shy self came out instead of my fluid, fun and funny self. i'm definitely still a social drinker/drunk, and i'm ok with that. i think i might hold off a little on the antisocial drinking (alone), because it doesn't really give me any benefits, though. so hey, that was informative and functional and not at all scientific which is fine because i am neither rigorous nor double-blind.

and hey, we have some homebrew here to drink! american wheat ale is ready, and the coffee porter just got bottled this week (not drinking beer while bottling beer: some kind of crime for which i'm certain i shall later pay =)) and will be ready at the end of the month.

i don't think i came up with any grand revelations during my undrinking binge. i was perhaps more thoughtful since drinking definitely leads to carelessness (in myself, at least), but i wasn't a deeper thinker. i meditated a few times, which was good, but my mind is roaring since the last meditation i had was the wheels-spinning, coasting-through-nature kind during my tour in february. so maybe my mind's a little calmer but i think i need a meditation routine to do much good--drinking or not. (which could be as simple as doing yoga every day, or doing aikido a few times a week. or sitting on my ass for 15 minutes more days than not, calm and empty. that's the kind i did last week and it was good, if not sustaining in effect.)

it seems to me that i ate similarly (certainly less likely to come home and want second dinner at 1am), however, minus all the empty beer-calories, i seem to have merely maintained my weight (a rare happenstance that i measured my weight at the beginning of the week, but convenient since i measured it again now to find it unchanged)--but i also didn't do a whole lot of extra miles on the bike this week and i ate several extra servings of dessert, since i made the best bread pudding, twice! and ate a lot of it both times. and it's like 90% butter sugar and eggs. so maybe that was a confounding factor. i think i'll probably have to wait for a month+ to see a real difference, and maybe not make the richest thing i've ever cooked twice in a 4-day period.

in conclusion, this half-assed experiment showed that not drinking is kinda good for me. it seemed dramatically great the first two days, but then calmed down to just good.
i'll probably be more inclined to skip it in the future, though clearly not in social circumstances, when it is a net gain.

thanks for your support!
 
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what matters most in a relationship?   
05:22pm 04/05/2011
  i've long thought it was maybe dedication or devotion, maybe communication or cooperation. and while all of those things are awesome and necessary for me to *enjoy* a relationship (of any kind--from work colleague to lover), i've recently come up against the lowest common denominator in my mind: respect.

what's funny is i didn't accord respect much, er, respect in the past. i mean, i respect humanity and individually almost anyone i have more than one chance interaction with. and aside from occasional verbal blunders wherein i accidentally malign a group (saying "boys want to fix, girls want sympathy" to someone who is transitioning female-to-male being my latest foot-in-mouth snafu--generally i believe this to be true but perhaps indelicately phrased at that moment), i act like it in a fairly non-ambiguous way. are you angry after we interact? that was not my goal. did i screw up? i am truly sorry, it was not my intention. do we disagree? fine, but we can do so without name calling or such intense focus that we can't find something to connect and cooperate on as well, even if it's not politics/green hair/religion/what constitutes good sex. heck, i once upon a time hung out with a dude who sent spam email for a living, and though i totally totally disliked his work (and in fact, my work at the time was largely undoing his work!), once he realized that i wasn't into what he did but also wasn't being a dick about it, we grew to have a rather good relationship based on him teaching me hackeysack and me teaching him basic self-defense. this perhaps hearkens back to one of my life philosophies, stolen from the movie the roadie, "everything works if you let it", but no matter, i respect you enough to not hit you or devolve to ad hominem attacks or anything else uncouth.

certainly i do not always get this respect reflected back at me, for instance when i'm riding my bike legally in the middle of an auto lane since there is not enough room for me+car in said lane (this is legal in texas and oregon--ride "as far to the right as is practical and not hazardous", to paraphrase the legalese), and someone in a car behind me is shouting at me to get off the road and passing me unsafely (say, around a blind corner, with inches to spare, at high speed, while shouting and looking at me instead of watching the road. funny how often that all happens in one go. where i mean funny uh-oh, not funny ha-ha). those people i do scream at, usually something like "you just threatened my life." that kind of thing is about as disrespectful a thing i can think of to experience, so i lose a lot of my zen nature when it happens and feel not in the least bad about being angry and derogatory to the actor, particularly since they never even hear my insults. but that's rare, and certainly i will not threaten them (or their protective metal cage) back--i'm not a guy who whips out my u-lock and starts pounding on windows or anything. so while i do not respect them at that moment, neither do i let me disrespect sink to the same level as theirs and even if there is no positive result, at least i didn't make their day memorably worse.

there's also the case of someone like bill-gates-as-microsoft-ceo or george-bush-as-president, where someone is driving an aspect of my life (acting in my name, be it as leader of my country or leader of my industry) in a way that i feel is so totally wrongheaded i just can't find much common ground. and while i was writing that, i realize i can still summon some respect for those guys--gates made it easy once he turned into a huge philanthropist, and bush, well, i have a great (liberal) friend who was an aide of his while governor of texas, and even she has good things to say about him. not total losses, respectwise--i can find things to respect in their lives. fortunately i never met total scum like charles manson or someone who kills kittens in their spare time, i guess?

so, i feel like a respectful person. and maybe i get more respect back as a result. but when i feel disrespected, more than when i feel unliked or unappreciated...if the person who i'm in conflict with can at least offer some respect for me doing what i feel is right...we can carry on in our lives without having to avoid one another. if not...well, not so much. and that was part of what got between me and shads. i don't think she doesn't respect me. but she did some stuff that i felt was disrespectful and didn't really apologize until i prompted for it. in balance, she's mostly respectful, but wasn't in some important areas that got lost for a little while, and so i had to tone down our relationship from "close friends" to "friends that could build something good, again". we'll see how it goes..

what do you think is most important in a relationship? i realize i got a little heady there, but maybe you have something more like "humor", or "does not have an intolerable odor". tell me!
 
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