Archive for the “What I am doing” Category

I went to the grocery store the other day just to do something different (most everyone knows I eat out every single meal). I bought some beer, sunflower seeds, organic granola bars, soy chips, pomegranate juice, and some chocolate.

I hadn’t actually bought a bar of chocolate for me to eat in years. I don’t really eat candy, and I don’t like sweets. I like bitter and salty foods mostly.

So I got the darkest, bitter chocolate they had, 70% pure cocoa….and its awesome. I had no idea how good chocolate could be. I actually read an article yesterday that said chocolate is better than kissing. I wouldn’t say that; however, it is really good.

What else is going on? I lost in tennis for the first time in probably 4 or 5 seasons. I am going to a wedding this weekend, and to Mississippi the weekend after that. A buddy of mine just bought a house boat. Sounds like fun. I love the water.

I got really tempted the other day to go buy an XBox 360 so I got a friend of mine who reviews video games as a part time job to give me some computer games to check out since he gets them for free. I’m playing Max Payne II. I think its pretty cool. I like the name Max Payne. Very clever.

Next week I plan (thought I’ve been planning for quite a while), to go check out some open mic bars. I want to go play somewhere I think.

I haven’t been sleeping very well lately and my eyes look so tired all the time. I can’t really figure out what to do about that. I’m not that sleepy during the day; I just look like the walking dead. I guess it doesn’t matter.

Also, I am so thirsty these days; which is weird. I don’t drink (I don’t think) any less than I used to. I checked into the whole “you should drink 8 glass of water a day” common wisdom. It turns out that its a fair rule of thumb (on the high side) to replace what an average person loses in a day, and there is little downside to drinking more.

However, the real measure (most doctors say) is the color of your urine, and whether or not you feel thirsty all the time. I would say I drink around the 8 cups and my urine is fine, but I’m still thirsty a lot….at least more than I used to be.

Anyway, there is no resolution to that. If I’m thirsty then shut up and go get some water. Its not like its unavailable. I just think its strange.

I’m going to go eat some more chocolate and go to bed.

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Several people have commented on my comment that one day I may stop posting on the website. They’ve also commented about the girlfriend thing, and how negative/apathetic I’ve been in general.

That’s not like me at all. I just need to pick better times to write….things have actually been pretty good lately, and getting better I think.

I think the website will be around for a long time to come. Everything waxes and wanes. Habits, people, work, etc do take up time though. Its always fucking time. Why can’t we ever seem to get a handle on it?

I went to Chicago last week to get certified to teach a class on India, how their world view differs from ours, and how that can affect the workplace. I mention it because one of the points is that Amercans have a very linear view of time, Indians have a more circular view.

We speak about time as if it were a quantity, to be hoarded, spent wisely, parselled, and optimized. What we do now is dictated by what we were able to get done yesterday and will have a profound affect on where we end up tomorrow.

For Indians time is the liquid through which their lives move. It is amorphous and situational….it is not counted, but experienced. The past is important, but the present is forever recurring, and does not bear on the future like for us. Cause and effect can become decoupled in India….what you do today having little effect on where you might be in a few years. It is all determined by situation and relationships outside of your control.

We consider Indians horrible at time management when the fact is that WE are the ones always complaining about time. You’ll never hear an Indian say they are rushed, they don’t need to check their schedule (because they don’t have one), and they are never too busy to stop for a second and smell the roses (or the sewage in the streets, as the case may be). So I guess they seem to manage time pretty well….we are the ones obsessed, but never able to get a handle on it.

And then there is work…I got promoted, but didn’t really care. I got a decent raise, but it only served to offset the benefits they took away from me last year. I’ve actually wandered a good bit about work lately…read some bits of books about some of my favorite subjects (human motivations, incentives, and organizational values), thought laterally while stuck in traffic, researched how much it would take for me to retire today….dreamed up some weird scenarios to get that done, looked into some franchises so I could own my own business and get out from under the finger of the Man, researched some schools to go back to……applied for some jobs, but I will still get nowhere on that because I have “no relevant experience”. Screw those bastards. They are wrong and I am right….they just don’t know it yet.

I am still supposed to “make work better”. That is what all the things I’m good at tell me I should be doing. It is a powerful and scary idea to know what you are supposed to be doing with your life.

I think everyone should, at some time…hopefully soon, be forced to write down in a paragraph or less what they believe in and what they want…short and sweet. The shorter the better, so you can repeat it to yourself….like self-hypnotism. At first it might be long, but keep re-writing it until it makes perfect and obvious sense to you. You don’t even have to do anything with it…..the simple act of writing it will make it come true eventually. I would say it is the one of the single most important things I have ever done.

So I might go back to school too….not because I think I need it, or even to get a job (although I would certainly use it for that), but because I want to think about organizational (company, church, govt, NGO, etc) development and how organizational values and structure force people to behave in certain ways….how we are reaping what we’ve sewn…..how people are neither better nor worse than they have ever been. The situation changes and people do what they must to get by. Change the rules of the game and people will play it differently. And I really believe I would enjoy thinking about that for a year or two….to really start to get my thoughts together.

If anyone is interested in any of the things I mentioned above….get in touch with me.

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Tonight I am drinking a wonderful beer called Hollande….”a lager beer with a 400 year old tradition. Dutch history records our brewery as early as 1620, in the fuedal province of Utrecht.”

I’ve actually been to Utrecht. It is the railroad gateway to the North of Holland. I don’t remember much about the city itself.

So what’s going on with me?

First of all: Happy Bday Gemma. I miss you!!

Next: Josh Salley had a baby girl. I think that rocks…that he had a baby girl…not that I would know what to do with one. I talked to him on the phone today and gave a good deal of thought to fatherhood.

I think my whole generation, actually probably every generation, suffers from a fear of repeating the same mistakes our fathers did.

Anyway, I am sort of surprised that Josh grew up before me. I think he will make a good dad if his wife doesn’t drive him to the bottle. What would I do with a daughter?? Tell her to go ask her mother probably.

So congrats dude. Remember when we made that video in my room for church that was supposed to be like Saturday Night Live but was just us laughing at each other about nothing for twenty mintues?? No one thought it was funny but us.

Times haven’t changed much have they? I’m still the only one that thinks you’re funny.

Next: I leave for India in 20 days. People keep asking me if I am excited. No…not really, although the concept of India for the rest of the year strikes me as better than the alternative.

I’m flying out on the 26th, which is a Wednesday. I arrive in the middle of the night on the 28th…a Friday. I hope they have some good movies on the plane. Saturday and Sunday I’m going to Agra to see the Taj Mahal I think.

That sort of excites me. I admit it. I love ancient man-made wonders….the Pyramids…The Blue Mosque…the Coliseum…Petra…Angkor Wat…the Parthenon…Hagia Sophia…Machu Picchu…the Dome of the Rock.

Maybe I should add pictures if I can dig them up? I guess there is still Lhasa, Easter Island, and The Great Wall if I’m looking for something else.

I’m sure I’ll see The Great Wall one day. Actually, maybe not. I don’t think I could bear to go there on a 7 day vacation. That violates my whole idea of travel. I’m getting too old for traipsing around the world. Its a young man’s game.

Next: I had the funniest “conversation” today with one of my friends. Girls don’t generally make me laugh…actually I made myself laugh, and she played along. That is close enough though. I’ll take it.

So she was saying how men are so simple…that their egos are so easy to burnish (great word by the way).

So I said:

Ha. Ha. Not funny. As if a woman’s ego is any harder to stroke?

“No honey, I don’t think you’re getting fat.”

“No baby, I think you’re smart. Most people don’t know the difference between the water gauge and the oil gauge. It’s an honest mistake.”

“You look really pretty today. Have you done something with your hair?”

“Not at all baby. I’ve always thought they make those on/off switches too confusing. It could’ve been broken….really.”

“I am sorry that crazy bitch you work with is out to get you. Let’s go shopping and buy you a pretty new dress.”

“No way darling. That girl is way too skinny and no guys like fake boobs. That isn’t sexy at all. You’re the most beautiful girl here.”

“No, really. You’re not at all psycho like that other girl I used to date. It was my fault anyway. I should’ve known you were in a bad mood. I was being insensitive. Will you forgive me?”

“Sweetie, have I told you lately how happy I am with you? Can you go fix me a sandwich?”

And then she said she wasn’t girly, that she doesn’t do those things. I agreed for the most part and said:

To you I would say something more direct and caring
like, “Sweetie, the fucking thing wasn’t plugged in. Of course it didn’t work. Can you go make me a sandwich??”

Then she said:

I would laugh and say, “sweetie, could you plug it in since your arms are longer and i’m so afraid of electrical devices. i would make you a sandwich but i don’t cook.”

She can at least go get me a beer though, right?

Then I asked her to make fun of guys, since I think making fun of me is far funnier than making fun other people.

She said:

“Size doesn’t matter, especially when you are drunk. It feels great, really, that’s just right. Perfect. Ahhhh.”

“I really do like football….such a smart sport.”

“We don’t need to stop for directions, I’m sure we will get there sometime.”

I’ll give her credit. I did laugh at those….especially the first one. In fact I’m laughing now as I read it again.

Would anyone like to add anymore…guys or girls? Please weigh in. I haven’t laughed this hard in weeks.

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I finally met my cyberstalkers. We’d been talking by email for a few weeks and Egg1 finally suggested we meet on Saturday.

I talked to a few friends beforehand about their experience with relationships that started on the Internet and I must say it didn’t bode well. I have nothing to lose though.

Jason: You’re shit was hilarious. Why don’t you start your own blog and just tell funny stories about all the random shit you used to do? I would pay to read it. When are you coming down to Altanta to visit?

I must say that I was apprehensive. I played tennis Saturday morning and was all pissed off after I lost so I came home and took a 3 hour nap till 3 in the afternoon. At that point I really hadn’t decided whether or not to take them up on the offer….after all, its pretty weird on the surface.

So in order to help myself make a decision I started drinking and playing video games well into the evening…..under the logic that by the time 10:30 rolled around I would decide to go or be so drunk that it didn’t matter to me whether I went or not.

After a solid 6 hours or so of drinking by myself and whipping everyone’s ass on the internet at Tiger Woods 2004, I was definitely ready to meet a few overweight heifers and close the loop on my cyberstalker drama.

I finally showed up at Egg1’s house after getting lost several times on the way and finishing a bottle of wine. I’ll save the rest of specifics of the story and play Q & A with myself.

Did they weigh 300 lbs?

No, their combined weight was not even 300 pounds.

What did I learn that evening?

Men are good for three things: 1) Opening things (like mason jars or something) 2) Math…specifically geometry and 3) Installing things.

Tequila is fun to drink and I like hanging out with strangers. It is very liberating.

A kitchen is no good place for a teepee.

Some people really are nice for no good reason.

What did the girls do for a living?

Well….I asked this question several times and the only thing I really remember is that they staple things together. No wonder they think my blog is interesting.

What is my opinion of cyberstalking?

I think everyone should be stalked at least once. I explained to them that the whole experience was fun and interesting and that I owe them one for all the faux drama and intrigue.

People pay a lot of money for fun and interesting. They both expressed uninterest in their current job (imagine that) and said they want to do something different on their own and even offered a few ideas on what that might be.

I have an idea too. They should go into business together running a Stalking Service®. You pay to be stalked because it is better than another night of Adult Swim on the Cartoon Network.

You take an online survey and then are matched secretly to stalkers who have similar interests….then you get to lay clues about each other. Maybe it is something like a present to a friend on his/her birthday….they don’t even know that they’ll be stalked. Its like the movie The Game with Michael Douglas except more harmless.

You think I’m kidding and that its a stupid idea, but actually I’m not and it would work if someone were crazy enough to do it. What do you get for the friend that has everything???? Their very own stalker. How thoughtful!

My first business ideas are free. I charge a consulting fee for any subsequent advice though.

Was there a personal connection to me somehow or was this truly just a fluke?

There actually was a personal connection, although I sort of promised not to reveal it publicly. Publicly to who was my question to her. I am not aware but of a very few people from high school that read this website….even fewer that would care. However, a promise is a promise.

And for anyone out there from high school trying to guess…you’ll never guess. I never even knew her really.

Anything else to add?

I’m glad I asked….contrary to all my preconceptions, they are both perfectly nice and I think I will see them again until they figure out that I am really the one who is a complete whack job. (I think though that if they haven’t figured it out already from reading this website that perhaps I can keep them fooled for a very long time.)

So what’s the catch?

I don’t know. Maybe there isn’t one? Stranger things have happened.

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I’ve talked to a few people on the phone this week and it seems I’m repeating the same story, so I’ll make an update here on the website in case anyone else wants to know what is up.

Job wise: I got a great performance review. It seems I’m really good at my job now. It was glowing. I think part of that was because I had come so far from when I was hired…..when they were quick to tell me I sucked alot.

Looking back I sucked a little…I admit it, but the main difference is that I used to work 40 to 45 hours a week….now I work 50 to 55. 10 hours more a week doesn’t necessarily mean I am better at my job…it just means I do it more.

Additionally, now if I don’t meet a deadline or am not as prepared as I should be…I am excused because they know I’m working hard otherwise. I used to just get grilled…which wasn’t pleasant.

Ok…I have done better…which I accept. But if I went back to 40 to 45 hours a week I’d be right back in the same situation I was in before….which tells me that it is really about works hours…not job proficiency.

I told them before: I would do a better job if I had less to do. If you tell a juggler to juggle, he does it….if you give him 3 balls, he pulls tricks and entertains the crowd and kisses babies in between balls; if you give him 7 balls the crowd is amazed by his ability to keep it all going….but if you give him 30….it doesn’t matter if the guy can juggle with his ass…there is a limit to how many balls even the most expert juggler can handle.

There is a always a point past which you will fail. That’s what I felt like in the past…and likely will in the future. At least now I know it.

Life wise: I still think I am a little to busy. I am trying to “schedule” more free time…but that is almost an oxymoron. I’ve already mentioned what my week is like…its still much the same.

I would like to do more outside of work and I dream up a scheme-a-day to get out it….I’m bound to hit sooner or later right?

On other fronts: I bowled really well tonight; I hope I’ll get up the energy to go to the USC/Clemson game this weekend, but I bet I’ll be working; my dog is now having occasional strokes, but at 19 years old the Vet says she is in pretty good health so I can’t really complain; I’ve talked to and seen a good number of old friends lately….all of whom are doing relatively well…which is nice; and lastly, I really like these three shows on TV: Smallville, Andromeda, and The Daily Show.

I’m off to bed.

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I really don’t have anything much to say these days. There is little room for creativity, or spare moments to think of something worth writing about.

On Mondays I play tennis after work, although Monday is my optional day. Sometimes I just leave work (usually at 7 or 8), come home and wash clothes or clean up, or on occasion I even do nothing.

On Tuesdays I play tennis. My apartment complex hosts a free clinic at 8:30 and I get to hit a few balls and talk to the people who come every week. I’ve met some nice folks.

On Wednesdays I have my bowling league. I go straight from work to the bowling alley and drink a few beers and try to destress for a few hours.

On Thurdays I have basketball games. My team is with some people from the office and is a lot of fun. I don’t play that well because I never practice anymore, but no one else does either, so it works out.

On Fridays I usually work late and sometimes go out, but I enjoy sitting on my ass and doing nothing more…so I stay in a lot too. Occasionally on Friday I’ll do some of the personal stuff I didn’t do during the week, like write emails, clean the apartment, read a book, etc.

On Saturdays I usually go to work….at least for a few hours. During the league tennis season, my matches are on Saturday mornings, otherwise I usually sleep till noon….which is one of my favorite times during the week.

On Sundays I try to rest. It always seems I have something to do and so I don’t ever get much rest in, but it is my goal.

People sometimes ask me to do stuff that isn’t on that schedule, but I always have to tell them no, because you see that almost my entire week has already been allotted. It is over before it starts. I just have to show up for everything.

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Alarm at 7:40. I hit snooze twice and wish I were dead for about 10 minutes. During this first ten minutes of every day I would gladly trade everything I have, and lots of stuff I would have to steal, for an extra 10 minutes in bed. Luckily no one is ever around to make an offer.

Then I scrounge around for some clothes that aren’t dirty and wrinkled, always reminding myself to iron some stuff for the next day…which I never do. I do the hygiene thing and I’m out the door by 8:15.

At work I make coffee first thing, always putting in a few extra tablespoons of grounds, telling myself that I only make it that thick on days that I’m extra tired…which is everyday.

I got a request from the powers that be telling me to remove the coffee maker from my cubicle. After all, they give us free coffee and Coke products.

Officially, heat generating products are off limits…you know, in case my menacing coffee maker burns down the building. And that is a sound policy I think…..FOR ME TO POOP ON!! (now I put the coffee maker away everyday after I use it instead of leaving it out)

Then I do some work. That takes a long time and never seems to end. When I have too much it makes me frustrated and I work slower. When I have too little I dream of cheap beach property in Central America.

And I deal with people too. Most of the time they are nice. Sometimes they are frustrated too. Each person has their own buttons and telltale signs of stress. The stressed people really aren’t all that bad…..it is the ones for whom stress has become a way of life that are hard to deal with.

They aren’t stressed anymore. They are just rushed. They’re always rushing. They write terse emails and have short conversations. They back up slowly as they talk to you…unconcious of anything but completing the next task.

Those people get on my nerves, but not because of their attitude. I simply don’t like that. But that they allow their life to get like that and thus perpetuate the more inhuman side of work. I hate that.

At the end of the day I start to get hungry. I stay at work till 5:45 or 6 usually. Sometimes I stay longer, but my mood gets really ill. I need food. So I go out to eat after work and read a book.

I often find it hard to relax. I’m usually exhausted. At lunch I shovel food down my throat as quickly as possible, often times while sitting at my desk still doing work, so that I can get back to my work faster after I’m finished. I fail to see my own logic.

The deadlines do bear down on you though. My client spends about 20 million dollars a year for my company’s services. I don’t think they’d like it if I screwed that up.

So I come home and fight off sleep from 7 to 8 or so. I hate this time of day almost as much as the first ten minutes. I can’t sleep because then I wouldn’t be able to sleep at night, which would make the next day worse. Did I mention I hate this time of day??

So to avoid that I usually play tennis, or go bowling, or drink, or play basketball…or something. Tonight I played tennis for 2 hours.

I try to answer some emails, or at least read them, or at least try to read some of them. Today I got this one from Dean, which made me laugh.

Hey,

I thought I’d give you a mid-day sanity check. What you’re thinking is right…working for someone else sucks….corporate america sucks….we need to be snorkeling in the Yucatan right now…we need to be the owners of property in Latin America….and most of all we need to make a quick exit from our current jobs before we become corporate robots!

Later,

Dean

P.S. Tell your boss to stop giving you so much work to do but most of all tell him/her/it to EMA.

Uhh…actually Dean, I wasn’t think that…….BUT THANKS FOR FUCKING REMINDING ME!!!!

After this the day is pretty much over. I go to bed around 11 or so, maybe later, since feeling rested at work is pretty much a waste of a good mood, so being a little tired is ok.

And this is life, mostly. I don’t hate what I do. I have stuff I’m always planning to do, which keeps me from the crippling thought that this may be the rest of my life.

Unfortunately, the day I just described to you doesn’t leave me much time for life maintenance (laundry, cleaning, bills), relationship maintenance (talking to friends and family), nor silly daydreaming (which is all important to my sanity).

I mean, come on….this:

maybe this:

or this:

Don’t I look inspired?

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I always loved the movie Cocktail. There is one quote in particular I will never forget. Young Flannigan and his high-class New York girlfriend Bonnie went to the art show. There was a big argument between the two of them. He makes a big scene and then runs out into the street. She runs after him:

Bonnie: Don’t let it end this way.

Brian: All things end badly, or else they wouldn’t end.

My girlfriend and I broke up on Sunday after 5 and a half months. I don’t think we were right for each other.

I might make a post about all that soon, but right now I’m sure she is reading this and I don’t want to do anything that might hurt her feelings.

And actually, that was part of the problem. I had to be so careful all the time what I said around her, how I behaved. She often interpreted what I said and did to mean something completely different than I had intended, which puzzled me. When that happens often enough you feel like you are walking on eggshells.

And for better or worse, I only know how to act like myself. When I am not allowed to do that, always second guessing how the other person might react, always monitoring my behavior to make sure it fits what they find acceptable, it tires me out. The greatest complement I know how to give someone is to say that I feel as comfortable around you as I do with myself.

We had a lot of trouble understanding each other. After nearly six months I didn’t feel she knew me very well….and honestly I didn’t know her that well either. Too much misunderstanding.

I met a girl in Rhodes 2 years ago who I swear could see right through me. I only knew her 5 days. It isn’t important whether she really did understand me or not, only that I thought it was so. There was a good deal of openness and drinking involved with that since I was traveling, but that shouldn’t trump 5 months together.

About 2 weeks after that in Turkey I was falling in love with an Australian math teacher. I only knew her a week. I would’ve moved to Australia if she’d said the word.

It is true that it is extremely dangerous to compare real life to travel, but that is my past. What other point of reference do I have?

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I’ve been to Starbucks almost everday since I’ve been home. Its inside the Barnes and Noble.

Books and coffee, oh how I love thee. Let me count the ways:

1) Most people get a coffee and skim articles in People or Newsweek. Yesterday I read a whole book about buying and selling real estate. It took me two cups of coffee to finish it. I’m beginning to feel like Young Flannigan in Cocktail. Anyone want to open a business in a foreign country?

2) College?? Education?? There is more in Barnes and Noble than I will ever be able to know….and its all free. All I have to do is get wired on excellent Starbucks┬« coffee and start speed reading until I’m shaking and dehydrated from all the caffeine. Do you know how many cups of coffee I could buy with money I’ve given to colleges?

3) Did you ever go to the bottom floor of your university library, back in the catacombs and feel that one of those old dusty tomes contained exactly what you were looking for, that if you just picked the right book it would lead you to the treasure of One Eyed Willy?? Well, it still feels like that sometimes….minus the dusty part.

4) What great and nice people!! Although I could never talk to any of them for fear of ruining my fantasy, there is a whole store of people quitely searching for their inner peace, walking pensively, reading, considering all the ways they are about to make the world a better place….and all for 10% less with their Barnes and Noble discount card.

I could go on, but I won’t.

I finally talked to the regional recruiter for Starbucks today about opening a free standing store in Greenville. He said they will open their first Greenville location in December. They’d promoted from within about six months ago when they finalized the location.

He sort of implied that if I’d just been quicker that perhaps there would’ve been an opportunity. I told him I’d been trying to get in touch with him for about 10 months…..which is true.

That is fucking ridiculous!! I’ve been calling all over the country for almost a year, have talked to probably 5 or 6 people inside the company, made at least one or two calls a week, and countless emails….and the guy tells me I should’ve acted sooner???

I bet I’ve left him 20 messages if I’ve left one.

On the flip side they’re opening at least three more stores in Greenville in the next year and he suggested that maybe I could get on as a shift supervisor at the first location so as to be in the right place when the new stores open.

I suggest he eat my ass.

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I went to one of my best friend’s wedding last weekend. It was amazing, and reminds me again how one should not settle. You forget how great life can be when you’re surrounded by such mediocrity all the time. It infects you and then one day good enough is better than you expect.

He is one of the finest people I know. His family is as good as any I have ever met and they breed an atmosphere of love, support, and dignity. It is immediately apparent that when you are with the Rogers family that you should be on your best behavior. Their behavior demands it of you. They make you a better person.

He married a girl that is kind, beautiful and lady-like…..almost like a princess. Her family is as good as his.

I was a groomsman. I hadn’t previously met some of the other people in the wedding. They were all great people and I am sorry I do not live nearer to them. I feel like I’m missing out on new friends.

I took several buses out to Westport, MA from the Boston airport for the wedding. The difference between the people I watched in the bus station and the people I met in Westport was frightening. There is such a disparity. I know human nature dictates we can’t all be the same, but I wish it weren’t so much so and believe we can close that gap.

Their wedding was almost 4 days of idyllic beach settings, great food and wonderful people. They went to Tahiti the next day on their honeymoon. If you think storybook weddings between two beautiful people, joining two great families is a fantasy and only happens in old books, you are wrong.

Most of the time good enough is simply not good enough.

Here is a picture of the groomsmen:

The groom is the guy to my right

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