Friday, April 15, 2005

Deep in the Darkness

By all rights, I should be in bed. I called the SOOTTAD and left a message maybe twothree hours ago and now it's getting on towards 1am2am. I studied a little, looked at some pictures, and then started surfing around the 'net maybe an hourtwo hours ago, the music of the mix that I'm putting together for her playing in the background.

It's a reunion year -- college reunion, 15-year. I started surfing because I remembered that the notice I got in the mail yesterday seemed to suggest that there would be a list of the people attending this year. No such luck though; maybe it hasn't been set up yet, a whole two months away. Two months. It doesn't seem all that far off.

Anyway, from there, I started poking around the alumni directory and began recognizing names. A roommate from my grad year apparently lives here in Waltham, and it looks like he got his PhD. The guy who lived down the hall freshman year who had the same birthday as me looks to have relocated to Pennsylvania, although it still looks like he's managing the dive resort down in Honduras. There's the friend and neighbor from junior year with the PhD and law degree still living down in New York. On and on the names go. Then I start googling other names I can remember.

I have mixed feelings about going to reunion. I was hoping use it as an opportunity to share some of my memories with the SOOTTAD -- the campus, the town, the diner, Hot Truck. And there are a bunch of people that I'd like to see, but just don't get the chance, despite living just a short drive down to New York, or even in the next town. It shouldn't be so hard, but time creates barriers: calendars get filled, priorities and situations change. We are not the same, and as we change so do are connections. They change, weaken, fail.

It's a chance to try pulling the threads back together... but a part of me doesn't want to look back. I've been a bad friend for not keeping in touch. I want to just cut my losses and move on. It feels like it's already too late.

And then there's me. Compared to them.

PhDs, lawyers, published authors. Families, contributors to society, managers, big shots. People who have their shit together.

And then me in transition. (Hey, at least I have a job now.) Looking for a change, maybe. Just playing. And I know I'm being stupid. That these things are unimportant. It's the life that's lived -- I've traveled, I try to enjoy life. But, it seems so... inconsequential.

So I continue to debate: to go, or not to go? The logistics are already a little tricky with the SOOTTAD in Chicago and having to get back for school on Sunday. I'll put the decision off, see how a feel about it in a few days.

And I keep surfing.

And then, the descent into the bad place. Not this past Sunday's bad place -- different, but in some ways just as bad.

I surf over to the Ex's blog.

It's never a good thing. I still have some baggage from that period, but it's mostly water under the bridge. It's not like we parted on bad terms, but they weren't exactly the best of terms. Civil. We weren't right for each other, and we went our separate ways.

We live on opposite coasts now.

And so I spy, and there's this judge that sits in my head that's constantly making comparisons, evaluating.

Wow, they bought a house IN the city over there. That must have cost a freaking fortune!
Check it: looks like she's a senior manager or director in her company now.
Look, fancy new car!

She seems to be doing ok, I guess. Looks like they go out drinking. A lot. Damn, how many cats do they have?

I have to admit that I'm not always sad when I read about her occasional troubles and frustrations. I have been reassured on occasion that this doesn't necessarily make me a bad person, but I try not to dwell on it too much. But what I usually find the most interesting is discovering the things we have in common -- activities, music, opinions, blogs. (although somewhat troubling.) This shouldn't be that much of a surprise, there were reasons we got together in the first place. But some things you forget, and some you may never know. It's interesting that a blog might give you more insights into a person than actually living and spending time with them for 4-7 years.

Beyond such philosophical meanderings, I don't get much from these covert visits. Usually just yet-another-thing for which to be annoyed with myself. Tonight, a creepy parallel (besides the blogs): she apparently has the same phone that the SOOTTAD just got.

Stupid brain, just cut it out.

Must. Go. To. Bed.

Thursday, April 14, 2005

more transitions

Strange things are afoot at the circle K.

Well, not necessarily strange, but change is definitely in the air, and it's not just the pollen.

Things have improved somewhat since Sunday -- there have been no cascading outbursts, no spontaneous breakdowns; the perturbance that had been clinging to the edge of my perception, that edginess, has settled down. It still sucks mightily that the SOOTTAD is almost a 1000 miles away, but it feels like things are under control, an equilibrium of sorts, be it unstable or otherwise. We've been talking a lot on the phone (thank god for free night and weekend minutes) and there's generally been stuff keeping me busy (and distracted).

For one thing, disc has started. My summer club team started its practices last week and I played in my first hat game in JP on Monday. The weeknight JP league has a much different feel than the weekend games in Waltham -- the level of competition is slightly higher, but more importantly, it has a more social culture, due in large part to the presence of Doyle's right across the street. I didn't fully understand how integral the bar was to the frisbee scene until I walked in after the game and the woman at the counter immediately told me that my team was in the middle room... and then noticed that almost every other team was in the bar, too; segregated by color (I'm on a green team), but at least present and accounted for. The running helped, it always does. But it was good to grab a beer with some friends I hadn't seen in a while.

So disc. And school. This week is effectively finals week -- we got our first final back in Physiology last night, and we have finals/assessments in Anatomy, Technique and Skills & Dynamics this coming Sunday.


And then there's the new job.

Yeah, a new job.

When I was telling a friend of mine about how I got hooked up with this gig, she thought it was the weirdest thing -- no job posting, no applications, no cover letters, just a short email exchange, a phone call and then a fairly casual affair meeting people at their office. (I did send them a resume before I went in.)

It seemed a little weird to me, too, but not totally out of the ordinary. (This was also before I went back for a second meeting and a meatier grilling of my experience that actually felt like a job interview.) There had been a slightly more formal structure to the interview process for my previous job, but the discussions were still pretty casual and I got hooked into the position by a cold call from a recruiter. The only difference this time around was that the initial contact was an email from an ex-coworker. And if it doesn't seem that weird to you, maybe it's because I'm not conveying the vibe of the initial phone conversation I had with them, which I unfortunately don't feel I can adequately express here.

So anyway, I start Tuesday. We'll see if it works out. It's a contract gig, my first. So in addition to familiarizing myself with a new design and getting used to a new environment, (not to mention the return to a commuting routine) I get to figure out self-employment taxes (Social Security, Medicare), estimated taxes, IRAs and probably lots of other crap I don't even know about yet.

Between work and school and studying and disc and running, I'm not exactly sure when I'm going to have time to sleep or eat.

As an aside, it's interesting to notice that as I'm being pulled back into the step of working life again, all that political stuff that I've been ignoring and/or hiding from has started creeping back into my awareness. When I lost my job, it was pretty easy to just ignore it because it felt like it was outside of my circle of concern. It felt like I was no longer part of the system. My focus was on budgeting my savings, minimizing spending. Keeping active, distracted. There was no connection outside of that, perhaps by choice. (I don't know if I could deal, either financially or emotionally.) Simply being unemployed made me feel like I was outside, disenfranchised.

So I guess I'm, uh, franchised now?
Could I get some fries with that?

Anyway, here are two links that I've stumbled across over the last few days, one that discusses the falling value of the dollar (and how it's tied to our ballooning deficit) and the other about what's broken with the Bush Administration's education policy.

Monday, April 11, 2005


Originally uploaded by tallasiandude.

First tulip bloom of the season.

Sunday, April 10, 2005


Perception has slowly been creeping into consciousness all day. After class this afternoon, things finally slowed down enough for the details to begin coming into focus.

And it looks like one giant barrel of suck. (Yeah, supersize me, baby.)

i am a fucking wreck.

Saturday, April 09, 2005


Originally uploaded by tallasiandude.

Took a digger on my long run today.

Looks like it's gloves and finger cots this week in technique class.


not there yet

So, V wanted to know if I wanted to get together tonight -- hang out, commiserate over our respective suckitudes -- and I just realized that my head's in that place where I don't really want to spend the evening alone, and yet, I don't really want to spend time with other people.

I guess I'm not really doing as well as I thought.

holding pattern; slow transition

It was nice to sleep in this morning after having to get up early that past two days. And yet, in some ways, it would have been better to have something to kick me out of bed and get me moving.

Early Wednesday morning I took the SOOTTAD to the airport. We had eaten dinner at Tuscan Grill on Moody Street the previous night and then stayed up much later than we should have, but we managed to get up early enough to hit Wilson's diner, together for the last time (at least until she comes back in June to pack up the rest of her stuff), before driving to Logan. We love both of these restaurants; I keep hoping she'll write about them, since I couldn't do them justice.

Logan. Frustrations in Central Parking were a good distraction from the emotions of the imminent departure, but really, it just replaced stress with stress. Poor signage, exit arrows leading to dead-ends and aisles blocked by cones -- the Logan nightmare that used to be the Pike-to-93-to-tunnel commute transferred to the newly centralized, overcrowded and partially under construction clusterfuck that we'd normally avoid by doing curbside drop-off, but which wasn't going to be an option on this particular morning.

I'll spare youmyself the details, and just point out that since only ticketed passengers can go to the gate, I can only watch her go through security and up the escalator until she's out of sight. I wait a few moments before walking slowly back to the car. I feel... heavy. I look at the planes or rather, their tails, peaking up behind the terminal building, keeping an eye out for the green and red of the AirTran logo.

I'm pretty much on auto-pilot. And when I catch myself drifting into the bad place, I force myself to keep busy. Activity -- keep moving, keep to the routine. Run, study, go to class.

Thursday morning, I'm up early again -- for an interview*. Then study, run, play disc.

I talk to the SOOTTAD in the evenings.

Friends check up on me. When they ask me how I'm doing, how things are going, I don't really know how to answer. I'm ok -- been worse, been better. We're ok. But I'm ever so slightly on edge. Off kilter. I'm keeping myself distracted, but I'm not really processing things. I can't. At least, not right now. People want to be there for me if I need to talk it out, but I'm not really ready for that right now. And trying to force the processing before my brain is ready for it leads to the dark places, the bad places.

I stay up late for no reason.

This morning, with nothing pressing for the day, I lie in bed, listless.

Nope, still not ready.

Try to appreciate Spring. Disc season. Starting to poke around in the garden -- I email with the SOOTTAD about planning, weed/perennial identification. It's no longer freezing after dark -- I was ok in just shorts and a shirt when I came home last night. Days warming, lengthening.

Close. Almost there.

I think we'll make it through this. It's feeling more normal. I'm already planning my flight out at the end of May.

Now, if I could just get to bed.

* I effectively had a first round of interviews last week but have avoided talking about it because I didn't want to jinx it. That, and I've really just been too busy. Mixed feeling on how it went -- at times, I can tell myself that it went alright, but generally, I do a pretty good job of convincing myself I totally screwed it up. In any case, it's done and I figure I'll hear one way or another sometime early next week.

Friday, April 01, 2005

681 minutes

That would be 11 hours and 21 minutes of special-extendo, Platinum-edition Lord of the Rings goodness.

I bought the Director's cut of the Fellowship of the Ring when it was first released, but realized that I didn't want to watch it until I could watch all three films in all their extended glory. So it sat, unopened, until they finally released the extended edition of the Return of the King last December.

But then it became an issue of finding time to watch them all, because somewhere down the line, I decided that I needed to watch them all consecutively on the same day. Weekends are always busy, and while I didn't have silly things like work getting in the way for me during the week, I still had to make time for my training workouts, not to mention studying and going to class. And the SOOTTAD was still working and had suddenly become significantly (and rather inconveniently) busier, not even counting the hate-my-job-looking-to-escape activity going on around the same time. So we kept putting it off until this week, with her finally done with the old job, and her imminent departure just a few days away.

Our friend V (who is also currently employment-deficient) came over around noon, Doritos and vanilla frappaccinos and the Two Towers* in hand, and we got rolling soon after. We took a brief break at every disc change (each film was split onto two DVDs), ordering pizza at the halfway mark of disc 2 of the Two Towers and ended up finishing a little before 1am this morning.

I'll make no attempt at writing an actual review and just say that I thought the platinum series rocked. I really liked the way it fleshed out a lot of the backstory that was missing from the theatrical releases -- I thought it allowed the story to flow much better. It was also interesting to see how an extra few seconds in a scene could drive home a point about industrialization or war that hadn't been present in the theatrical release, without feeling out of place.

Highly recommended if you've got a free half-day in your calendar.

No foolin'.

* A minor glitch in our nefarious plan -- our copy of the Two Towers was nowhere to be found. Our only guess is that we loaned it to somebody, but at this point, we haven't a clue as to who we lent it to. Fortunately, V had his own copy, so we were good to go.