Oh, it’s going to be a late night.
The West Wing
I’m watching the season finale of the West Wing. It’s sad how very, very attached I’ve become to some of the characters… to the point that my body now feels the way that it feels when something bad has happened and I don’t yet know how bad it’s going to be. (e.g. I’m in my car, and it’s spinning around on the highway and headed for the ditch. Or I’ve just accidentally cut myself pretty deep with a knife while cutting something in a stupid way, and it hasn’t started to bleed yet, and I’m wondering how bad it’s going to be, or if once the blood starts gushing if I’ll just pass out, and bleed to death.) If you don’t follow the show, then you won’t care. If you do, then you probably already know what happens. It’s a season finale, so it’ll end with a cliffhanger… which sucks. Tomorrow I’ll wake up and not care, but for today, right now, this is all I can think about.
Thanks to Tuuk, I was able to go and see the new X-men movie a day early, which worked out well, as I was going to be busy both Friday and Saturday.
Aside -> Ha! King Ralph is going to be President. That’s grand. … Ah, he’s a complete prick too. and it ends. Son of a.
Oh yeah. X-men 2 was really good. Here’s one thing though: Don’t call them “X-mens”. I’ve heard that from at least 2 or 3 people, and they sound like idiots. “Men” is already the plural form of “Man”, so “Mens” is just stupid. And don’t try to play it off like it’s a possessive, cause it’s not the X-men’s movie. It doesn’t belong to them, it’s about them. They are the “X-men”. I’m not going to spoil the movie for those who haven’t seen it, but I had a big beef with the major scene near the end… Pretty much, they could have done something one of a zillion ways, and they did it the stupidest way possible. Way to be, X-mens. Either way, it was a grand movie, and I eagerly await its follow-up.
I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but I’ve been in a bit of a lousy mood the last two weeks or so, and I think a fair amount of that might stem from the fact that I have not been sleeping well at all lately. It’s common knowledge that I don’t get much sleep to begin with (averaging between 4 and 5 hours most nights.), but for the past two weeks, I’ve been getting more around 2 1/2 – 3 hours of sleep, which just isn’t enough. As a result, I’ve been feeling pretty lousy, which leads to bad moods, irritability, and pretty consistent bad attitude towards just about everything. It’s an unfortunate situation. I’d attempt to get more sleep, but I just wasn’t able to. I’d lie awake at night, mind racing over a billion things that I couldn’t possibly figure out or get rid of, like trying to make logical sense of an Escher piece or something. So I’d just lie in bed, waiting… and eventually I’d drift off to sleep… and I’d have these dreams. It’s not really fair to call them nightmares, because they aren’t scary at all. There’s nothing disgusting about them, or gory, or haunting. They just suck. They’re dreams where bad things happen, and I’m powerless to stop them. And they’re repetitive… the same things keep happening, over and over. Different people, but the same events. It’s like replays of past events with a new cast of characters each time.
Now I’m no stranger to repetitive dreams.. There are whole worlds that seem familiar to me at this point, as I’ve had many dreams in the same setting, with the same cast. Where certain things are just reality. I’ve even got a dream world where I’m married with two kids (a boy and a girl), and I’ve been having dreams there since I was about 13. (My wife has changed appearances a few times, but has never really resembled anyone I know closely enough for me to think she represented her.) That dream world is really nice, and I always feel a little let down when I wake up.. alone. But anyway, these repetitive dreams I was having lately were not of the “wonderful” variety, and I don’t understand why I was having them, and I just wanted them to stop. On the bright side, today I finally got a lot of sleep, as I slept right through many alarms, and consequently missed church, which was quite upsetting. But I don’t recall having any of the dreams, which is a good thing. It had gotten to the point where I was daydreaming certain aspects of it as well, likely because I kept thinking back to them so much. I hope that goes away to.
Last Friday I worked from home, as I’m giving the whole “work from home 2 days a week” thing a shot. As a result, Wednesday and Thursday evenings (late, late evening) I put some work into rearranging my room to better accommodate working from home. It’s one thing to work from home one day a week. I feel fine sitting on my bed, with one main project to work on, coding away. But with two days working from home, I felt the need to set up a more “business-like area” for me to work. (Business-like area –> An area free of distractions but still close enough to all that I need that I don’t just up and leave. It should be comfortable enough to make me able to stay there for 8 hours in a day [e.g. my bed], but uncomfortable enough to make me eager to leave once the 8 hours are up [e.g a prison cell].) So far, this is what I’ve managed to come up with : my home cube. It still needs some work, but it’s getting there. It’s just like a home office. Hopefully, this will make me more motivated to work from home. I still need to get office supplies to make the cube really feel professional. Eventually, all of the office supplies and furniture should make the cube feel like my actual workplace.
The problem with my room is this: I still don’t feel like it’s set up the way I want it. My room at my house in east town was perfect. Everything fit exactly how it was supposed to… and it had to, because I needed to have everything I needed to survive fit inside the room. Fridge in the closet, TV, Music, Bed, Computer, Clothes. It was perfect. Now I’ve got a ton of room, and I guess I don’t know what to do with it all. I think my room as it is right now is functional, but not particularly “nice” looking. And more importantly [to me], I don’t think my room really represents me all that well. Right when Julie and I started dating, back in the day [when I was still living in East Town] she made casual reference to the fact that my room seemed like a “picture of who I was”. It displayed both my interests: with posters and pictures covering the walls, Television, movies, music, and computer gear placed in areas of importance, and prominently displayed, and my personality (? habits? compulsive behavior?) with things all very neatly arranged and symmetrical, everything organized and placed exactly where it belonged. I don’t get that sense with my current setup. I try to keep things neat, and I like the fact that I know exactly where everything, so that I could find it in the dark if need be (and that’s come in handy on a few occasions) but I still just don’t like it. So I’m trying to rearrange it. I tried once, and took almost everything out of my room, cleaned and vacuumed and dusted everything, and then starting bring things back in, and just putting them where I thought they’d fit best. The end result: one desk was moved about 4 feet, and turns to face the other wall, and the guitars got moved to the opposite side of the room. Everything else stayed exactly the same. Such is life. Hopefully I’ll figure something out. It’ll probably involve some Java programming, or graph paper and some cut outs.
I mentioned earlier that our softball season started, and we go toasted our first game. Well, last Wednesday we had our second and third games (doubleheader), and it went much better. We still lost both games, but I thought the team played fairly well, and more importantly, I had a complete blast playing. Brian, the coach, had made the rule that I couldn’t be subbed out, as I had sat for most of the game last week, which was quite nice. (the rule, not the sitting out the week before). I started out in the outfield, and later moved on in to shortstop. I could tell I was pretty rusty, but like I said, we aren’t great, and I had a blast playing. The one downside was the catcher on the 2nd team we played, who despite being up 10 runs and well on his way to certain victory still felt the need to elbow the first basemen, attempt to take me out on second with a slide (I jumped over him.. and no, there was no play at second, he was just sliding cause he’s a jackass), and then bowl over Tuuk at home (again, there was not a play going on, as the game was already over). I’m all for playing competitively, and being a aggressive, but this kid was a dick, and I hope he gets what’s coming to him at some point.
I was talking to Alan the other day, and we were talking about a certain line of thinking that we both agreed was pretty much impossible to capture in words that others would understand, so here I am to try to do it anyway, because I’m fearless. (Fearless –> 1.) A complete idiot. 2.) A mild idiot made more foolish by the consumption of alcohol. 3.) Secure enough in his/her own self to not mind making a complete and utter fool of him/herself on occasion.). The basic gist is this: “I both love and hate my life.” I reminded of the time I was asked if I could be anyone else, (i.e. live their life instead of my own) who would I be. I ended up saying no one. I think part of it is that I feel like I’ve invested so much into this life, I own it to myself to see how it turns out. Part of it is that I really think I’ve been doing a decent job, and have certainly tried to better myself with each mistake I’ve made. There’s always that “grass is greener” thought, but when you really start to think about it, and all the things you’d lose if you were to abandon your own life for someone else’s.. it’s not as easy a thing as it once seemed.
So I love my life. I love where I’m at. I’ve got a great family, a good job, great roommates, I’m somewhat attractive, and I’ve got some pretty decent abilities in a variety of areas. [I’m fairly certain I’m going to be excellent at sex too, cause if most things are 90% mental, and I think about it all the time…. You do the math.] I’ve got great friends who are loyal, funny, intelligent, loyal, thoughtful, moral, loyal… I certainly have far more than I deserve.
But I hate my life. I’m never content, I’ve spent a good chunk of my life really depressed, lonely, sad, and bitter. I haven’t achieved most of the things I thought I’d have achieved by now. Many of my dreams seem to have faded away in the cold face of reality. Things that used to be so important to me are all but forgotten now. People that used to mean the world to me have slipped away. And people that still mean more than life to me I’m kept from for one reason or another. I’m alone, even though I’ve got all these friends. I don’t have that one person that I can turn to at any time. I don’t have that person where whenever anything happens, I can’t wait to tell. Even when I thought I did, I didn’t. I don’t have that person that would rather be with me than be anywhere else. And since that’s what I want, I feel lonely and sad a lot of the time. And it’s not for lack of trying, I’ve seen guys who have done far less, and seem to deserve far less have exactly what I’m looking for just drop into their lap, while I sit alone. I certainly haven’t gotten what I deserve.
At the end of the day, I come back to this thought, though: “I’d rather be me than anyone else..But I’d like to be the me that I’m working towards, not the me that I currently am.” I think there are good things about not being content.. it keeps you driven towards your goals. It’s just when you are so disillusioned with where you are that you’re misery overcomes your ambition that you run into problems. You got to have faith.. faith that the efforts your currently making are helping you reach your goal, and you’ve got to have hope.. hope that the goal you are driving for is achievable. A decent sense of humor about the entire thing probably helps to, to smooth over the failures, and to placate the soul in the meantime… I’d like to think I have those 3 things in decent supply.
A little while back, Mandace and I were hanging out, somewhat late at night (maybe 11 or 12, I don’t really recall). We ended up getting into quite the long discussion about a great number of things, and about midway though (and then again at the end) I wondered allowed exactly how we ended up going from the original topic to the topic currently being discussed. I’ve always found it fascinating how one subject can lead to the next, and on to the next, and randomly connect to totally disconnected topics in a short period of time. Even within my own crazy thinking, I sometimes try to retrace the steps my mind took to go from thinking about what type of juice I want to drink to trying to figure out the name of the stuffed prong-horned antelope I once owned (Orange Juice -> O.J. -> O.J. Simpson -> the Naked Gun movies -> Leslie Nealson -> Police Squad -> Watching Police Squad in Wyoming on a family vacation -> Yellowstone -> buying the prong-horned antelope at a souvenir shop in Yellowstone -> “Dusty”). Anyway, the conversation Mandace and I had I thought was really interesting (it helps that it hit on a number of subjects that I find quite interesting), so here’s a quick look at it:
Cracked Tulip -> Holland Tulip Law -> Tulip Time Festival -> School Band -> French Horn -> Trumpet -> Small Band -> Bassoon -> Star Wars Soundtrack -> Episode 1 and 2 -> The Emperor -> * ->name on the website -> spelled name wrong -> Veins -> tracing veins -> Movie PI -> Math PI -> Calculus 2 -> E -> sign language E -> My own sign language -> Events at work.
Now to explain that a bit: It started when it was noted that one of the tulips we now have at our house was cracked. I noted that you’d best not do something like that in Holland, because there are laws against damaging Tulips.. what with the tulip festival and all. We started talking about how I had off of school for Tulip time things because so many people were involved (dutch dancing, school bands, etc.).. that segued into talk of school bands. Mandace mentioned playing the French horn, which I had always wanted to play, but got kinda stuck with the trumpet. It was all fine and good, and I liked it well enough, but my school was really small, so our band was small, and we could never keep a band teacher for more than a year, which really, really sucked… plus, the teachers started to get lower in quality, to the point that I no longer deemed them worthy of my time. (seriously, if I’m in 7th grade, and I look older than you, and you’re supposed to be a band teacher, it’s not going to work.) The worst was in grade 6, when It was just me and David Martin (on clarinet) making up the entire band. Concerts would consist of 2 duets and a solo for each of us. I’m not kidding. Yeah, it sucked.
I casually mentioned that an instrument I really liked was the bassoon. I just loved the way it sounded. It always reminds me of the jawas from Star Wars, because the music on Tatooine, and with the Jawas especially, featured the bassoon heavily. (Listen) [It was at this point that I realized I hadn’t listened to the Star Wars soundtrack in a long time, an really ought to] I went on to explain how the Star wars soundtracks had a number of different themes for different people (Luke, Yoda, Leia, Darth Vader, The Emperor, etc.) and events (the Force). So you could get a decent idea of the story just by listening to the music, and hearing the way these different themes wove themselves together. I think it’s grand. I talked about the Love Theme from Episode 2, which I just absolutely love, and used to listen to endlessly until it got too tightly bound to things, and now must be listened to sparingly. From that came a discussion on my I liked the two prequels so far, despite some unfortunate parts (Jar-Jar Binks, and some stilted acting). I talked about how much I liked the underlying story of the Emperor; His rise to power, his crafty use of other people to set himself up in a position where no matter what happens he wins every single time. I found that, and still find that to be an amazingly interesting story, and I think for that reason, the two prequels so far have been great fun to watch. It was here that I began to wonder out loud how we got on the subject of Star Wars. Neither one of us could remember, and I refused to let it go, so Mandace began bringing up random subjects in the hopes of changing the subject.
She mentioned that she was surprised to see her name on my site, and wondered if other people even knew who she was. (JHo, at the Matrix, later stated that he believed her to be a black man.) I mentioned how I had spelled her name wrong the first few times, and Swac never bothered to correct me. (jerk..) I then asked how we got to talking about Star Wars…
Mandace asked if I had seen the movie PI (this was brought up because she mentioned enjoying tracing the veins that stuck out on her sibling, I think, which in turn was brought up because the veins on my arm always stick out.) Apparently, in PI someone does something with tracing or tattooing or something, on their face, I think. (I’m sketchy on this whole section). From there we got to the mathematical PI, cause I couldn’t understand how a number could go on infinitely without repeating. If this number was the product of some sort of division, then the remainder had to be smaller than a certain number (I wasn’t sure what, yet.) but if that were true, then dividing at least that many times would necessitate getting at least one remainder to repeat, and once a remainder repeats, you’ll have a repeating answer. But that all depending on PI being the solution to a division of two non imaginary numbers, which it couldn’t be. I then wondered aloud how we found PI in the first place… We both agreed it had something to do with circles. (Addendum : I’m pretty sure it’s Circumference / Diameter, and it’s infinite because it’s based on a polyhedron with infinite sides. Math majors out there, is that right? I’m just kinda guessing, as I didn’t feel like looking it up. Besides, I’d feel smarter if I was able to logically deduce it.) Well that discussion lead to us talking about our Math classes. I had, for a short time, considered getting a math minor, until i got a D+ in Calc. 2, which I blame mostly on the fact that my professor didn’t speak English, didn’t like me, and gave me 0’s on my assignments without bothering to read them. (Okay, he didn’t give me zeros, he wrote “No” on the top, and then just didn’t grade them.) So I stopped doing them. I hated that class so much. Mandace then told of her math woes, and at one point attempted to make a sign language E to indicate a grade, I believe. (Her E was essentially the “3” sign, with ring, pointer, and middle finger all pointing to the side). We then started doing sign language for a while… and Mandace told the story of how she learned sign language, which segued into stories of home schooling and a few other things which I can’t recall at 3:30 in the morning. Eventually I told of my own creative sign language that I’ve developed at work, which lead to a great number of work stories that ate up much of the next hour. I then questioned how we had started talking about my work, and how we got talking about Star Wars, for that matter. We then retraced the conversation back from work to sign language to math to Pi, and then Mandace remembered the bassoon, and everything made sense, and I called it good, and went to sleep. I’m a fan of conversations, and I hadn’t had a nice long conversation in quite a while. So thanks Mandace :)
I was on my way back from a horrible, horrible golf outing Tuesday, doing about 78 mph, when my tire decided to explode. I was already pissed off, as I had had a lousy day in a string of lousy days. So I managed to get the car off to the side of the road, which was a bit of a struggle, because my car very much wanted to just run into the ditch in the center of the highway.. The tire was on the driver’s side front, so changing it would mean standing/kneeling a few feet from oncoming traffic, which I wasn’t to thrilled about. I had also never changed a tire, and while I wasn’t afraid to do it, nor did I think it to be all that complicated, there’s still that thought “this car is expensive, and I’m about to do something that I haven’t done before, and I’m fairly certain I’m going to somehow screw it all up. So first I had to move all my stuff (baseball bats, 2 pairs of shoes, golf clubs, 2 tennis rackets, etc.) out of the trunk, then I got the spare out, and the jack, but I couldn’t find the wrench anywhere. I checked the owners manual, and it said it should be sitting right under the tire. I looked again, and there was nothing but metal, some foam, and a piece of carpeting. So I called my roommate, so see if he had any bright ideas. Robb suggested looking in the trunk. I mentioned that I had already thought of that, but figured I’d give it another shot. Still no sign of it.. although the carpeting looked like it could be moved, so I grabbed it, and sure enough, the thing was hiding inside. A smarter man would have figured it out sooner, but I was pissed, and fairly certain that if my car could screw me over in any way, it would. So I said goodbye to Robb, and decided to get going on this tire. I’m amazed at how willing I am to break stuff when I’m in a bad mood, or perhaps when I decide I hate something. When I went to take the hubcap thinger off, I didn’t see where I could unscrew it or anything, so finally I took the crowbar-like part of the wrench, and just jammed it in there and gave it a whack, and off the thing popped… into the middle of the slow lane. So I darted out there and got it, and it turns out that’s what I was supposed to do. So score one for the Ohio/Michigan school system.
So then I went to jack it up, but it was too close to the road, and I was getting pushed over by the wind wake of trucks that apparently didn’t feel like moving over a lane. So I moved the car a bit closer to the giant gaping chasm along side all Michigan highways, placed there by some evil dictator who loves to see cars roll off the sides of these high speed roads, apparently. There was finally enough room for me to get to work, so I start jacking the car up, and as I’m doing so, I can hear the tires sliding ever so slightly on the loose gravel. I’m beginning to picture the horrible sight of my car sliding down the ditch, tumbling over as I sit there with a spare in my hand ready to switch tires. So I proceed cautiously, every half-turn another gamble with the god of car-ditch-jack catastrophes. Finally, it’s up high enough, and as I was smart enough to loosen the thing before jacking it up, I was good to go switch tires. Just then a cop shows up. I approached…
Cop: “have a flat tire?”
I could tell instantly that this cop was a smart man.
Me: “Yes.. Flat driver’s side front. I’m changing it now.”
Cop: “So you don’t need a wrecker?”
Me: “Nah, I should be set in a second.”
The cop asked for my license, so I gave him that, then went back to work on chancing the tire. I got the tire off, tossed it in the trunk, and then got the spare on. Then I was set to remove the jack, so I started turning the thing, and it’s making that sickening noise again. So I started turning the other way, and it’s making that noise again. I’m thinking “righty-tighty, left-loosey” but I’ve never known how that’s supposed to help me, cause it’s going in a circle, it’s going to be going both directions at some point. Finally, I realize I’m screwed, so I check the book, and yeah, counter clockwise is what I wanted, quick jack the thing down, put all the supplies away, get my license back, hop in, and drive away, doing a smooth 45 mph until i got to the next exit, and somehow managed to find my way home using back roads. (turns out it wasn’t that hard). Later that evening Robb kindly took me to the Pick, and I stayed at Joel and Adam‘s place for the night. [thanks, guys]. Finally got myself a new tire on Thursday, and all is well, I love my car, but once I get a new one, I’m beating the hell out of this one.
Mattb and the kindness of strangers
A while back I mentioned mattb comics, and soon afterwards I wrote to him mentioning how much I enjoyed his work, and requesting a few (okay, all) of his old back issues, which he sells. He mentioned a book that would have a number of the issues in it, which would be coming out later in the year, and I mentioned that I’d likely pick that up at some point, but for now, the plain old photocopies would be good enough. So I sent a few bucks in, and waited. A little while later, I received this in the mail. Yup, he sent me the book, and then the remaining back issues that the book didn’t include, and a few mattb buttons to boot. He even autographed the thing for me. I thought that was really kewl. Every once in a while, something happens to restore my faith in humanity. My favorite is still the time I was in downtown Holland, and I swung by Cobblestone crafts to by something, and paid in cash. I left, and headed on to Holland Cd. While I was walking, I heard someone running at high speed a ways behind me. I finally turned around, and there was the guy from Cobblestone running towards me. He caught up to me, and explained that there was another $5 stuck to the bill I had paid him with, so he wanted to return it to me. Seriously, that’s pretty nice. I can’t think of all that many people that’d go that far out of their way to return money that could just as easily have been stuffed into their pocket.
GoJplant, Go Jplant
Got a call today fromJplant. He explained that he was out near me, and that he was in need of a bike pump, and there was free ice cream in it for me if I came out to his aid. So after some searching, I found Swac’s bike pump (in his golf bag… yeah, I dunno), and headed on out there to meetJplant, and the two lovely ladies that were with him. [an aside, I suck at following directions, but I’m pretty sure you said 88th St. Jeff.] So we hung out for a while, I enjoyed a grape slushee, and pumped up 2 tires, and was on my way. I enjoy it when I can do my good deed and not be punished for it, so this was a good one. [another aside: I should be biking more.]
The Matrix: Reloaded
Thanks mostly to Swac, we had a big ole Matrix outing on Thursday night, which included: Swac, Mandace, Robb, Mindy, Joel, Adam, Tuuk, Dave, JHo,Jplant, and Myself. We saw the 7:30 showing at Rivertown, then many of us headed off to Fridays for some dinner. I won’t spoil the movie for those of you that didn’t see it, but I will say this: I enjoyed the movie. I think I went in expecting just the right amount. I didn’t think it would change my life, so I wasn’t disappointed. I didn’t think it would suck, so I wasn’t overwhelmed. I expected lots of special effects, lots of nifty fighting along with crazy camera/time altering, and I expecting some kewl sci-fi-ish storylines/concepts to be presented. All of these things were true. I found the conversation with the architect to be really interesting, and I hope to either see it again or read somewhere that full conversation, because I think some really kewl concepts were brought up there. All of that being said, I have a bullet for the guy who decided that a 40 minute Rave scene inter-spliced with shots of Neo’s ass would be a great addition to the movie. So yeah. I can understand why some people wouldn’t like it (especially those of you that are either anti-fun, or anti-American), and I can understand why some people really like it (people kicked each other a lot, then drove really fast, and that’s just plain kewl).
My old roommate from Junior year [the 711 House], and good friend, Adam Young, was in town this weekend. So Adam, Sven, Swac, and I went out golfing on Saturday, which was a ton of fun. Golf is a great sport if you’re with a bunch of guys of fairly similar skill level who are just interested in having a good time. It is made even better with beer. We headed off to Max and Ermas for dinner, which would be the 4th day in a row I went there, and the 3rd day in a row I had Joe as my server. Joe no longer doubts my dedication. I’m trying to convince Adam to give Metroid Prime a try, as he’s nearing the end of Windwaker. Seriously, Adam, just go get it, cause it’s amazing.
After Adam took off, I headed off to Tim Vroom’s new place, which is near the meeting point for my car pool place. He’s got himself a really nice place, and it made me think about the advantages of having my own place… until I remembered that I’d turn into a hermit, and I’ve already got a giant room to myself, and all the space I could need, with the added bonuses of people to hang out with, and food to steal on the occasional day when I decide that eating is necessary. It was good hanging out with Tim, though, as I’d not seen him in a while. I was so wiped out by the time I got there that I doubt I made much of an impression on the other people that were over (mainly co-workers, I believe). But I did get to see a Nomad Zen, and they are sexy. The drummer from Mustard Plug had one, and he was there, as he works with Vroom.
So that’s all for now. It’s about 5 am, and I have to work tomorrow. I still have a few things on my list that I wanted to talk about, but I’ll have to save them for another day.