What’s Up? (2/6/17)

January 2017
I’ve been away for a month, but I’ve had things in order so I guess there wasn’t much to talk about. Coming into 2017 there were just a few things on my to-do list, and all of January was spent focusing on those things. 1) Any weight gained during the holidays has been lost, 2) I went and saw the movies I was meaning to see, La La Land, and Rogue One, and 3) I started putting myself out there again, trying to be and outward social presence.

Gaming
I’m more physically active than ever before, I’m trying to be more social as well — so explain why “Gaming” is the headline here. Well, I suppose, given that I have lost weight, and that I’m making friends outside of the “Pitt Alumni” group, it helps to have something fun and concurrent to do at home alone. Though I haven’t owned a home gaming console in years, and have stuck to a modest laptop for the better part of 5 years, I have recommitted myself to enjoying the hobby of video games more regularly. I’ve been listening to, and watching, nearly 10 hours of Giant Bomb content a week, since 2008, so I never really left the world of video games, even if I stopped playing them as much. Though that being said, I feel like I could probably go for writing a review of Pokemon Sun (2016).

KonMari
I did something very drastic this weekend. I tidied my apartment with the help of Marie Kondo’s “The Life-Changing Magic of Tidying Up: The Japanese Art of Decluttering and Organizing.” Now, typical home tidying would have me finding new ways to hide clutter (shove this there, hide this in the closet, kick this under the couch). I exaggerate a little, but typically that’s how I’d “clean.” With the help of a little audiobook, I discarded most of my clutter, rather than hiding it. What’s more, she helped me redefine many of my possessions as clutter.

Shirts that were going unused, or that had no longer brought me joy, were in my closet for no reason. They were clutter. I’d say my apartment has about 30% fewer clothes in it now, than it did on Friday. I have not completed my work, though you’re supposed to do it all in one fell swoop. The hardest thing to do, would be to let go of some of these books. If a book does not make me happy, then why keep it? I know this will be the hardest step, because I think having a full book shelf is what makes me happy to have a bookshelf at all.

Dry Month
There’s a theme here; less is more. Less clutter, more happiness. Less weight, more movement. Less boredom, more fun. So something I’ve been meaning to try for a while is a dry, alcohol-free, sober month. Why do that? I love cocktails, I like inebriation, I like the social aspects of it!

Well, because less is more? And to an extent, I think drinking a little less, or none at all for a whole month, will give me greater appreciation for it, and greater clarity for how I handle things like stress, and what to do when I’m bored on a weekend. It’s too late to make February my dry month, but I’m eyeballing March. 31 Days of sobriety should also lead to a massive drop in calories consumed. I’m not committing to it yet, but when I do I have to make it public; making it public makes it harder to back down from it.

That could be part of why I keep a public blog like this. A private diary has no stakes. You can confess and make promises, but it’s private, so your confessions and promises only matter as much as you care about yourself? If I tell you, anonymous internet, that I’m going to stop drinking for a month, then I’d be lying if I didn’t follow through. Here’s another public promise: This February I will be reviewing Neon Indian’s “VEGA Intl. Night School” (2015) and La Roux’s “Trouble in Paradise” (2014).

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What’s Up? (8/30/16)

Next Level 
I feel like I’ve recently taken my running routine to the next level. I used to run and walk to the park, then run all the way down the Panther Hollow lower trail, and finally I’d walk home. All in all, it accounted for basically 1 mile of running, 2 miles of walking.

Now, I can run all the way to the park, and run more of the Panther Hollow lower trail – where I used to stop at a stone bridge, I now run over it to another landmark. All told, that’s only another 30 seconds of running but crossing that threshold made me realize how much more I could run. Though, running the Pittsburgh Grand Prix circuit also made me realize how much running I was capable of.

So the good news is that, most days, I can just pop on some Future Funk and Vaporwave and just run. I can run from my front door to the edge of Oakland, and then I need a break. After that though, I can even run back uphill to my house again. I’m shy of running 3 miles, but I am definitely clocking in 2 miles of running some days.

Tenchi
The other big thing in August I feel I have to talk about is… Tenchi Muyo? I should be watching Stranger Things, but some nostalgia found its way into my life in the form of Tenchi Muyo — an anime that I half-watched growing up on Toonami. It’s really hard to recommend Tenchi Muyo; if you like harem anime… well first I guess it depends why you like harem anime right? But it’s not like this show is good for shippers, there’s like no romantic tension, and this show’s not great for people who are looking for sexual tension either and what are you doing looking for that? Oh, who am I to judge? 

Okay, then why did I watch a whole bunch of Tenchi Muyo this month? Well, to satisfy a nostalgic craving, for one thing. Tenchi was a show I watched when it came on, or when a friend would put it on when I went to his house, but I never put together the story. I remembered that it was a story about a boy who lived with, like, 6 female aliens – that’s all. As a kid, it turns out I was watching Tenchi Universe, a remake of Tenchi Muyo. Over a decade later, I’m watching the original and, the reason I’m seeing it through is the story and the characters.

I think that’s what I kind of like about harems; Negima, Tenchi, Ouran, all have cringe-worthy parts in them, but they all have characters you can grow to love, and stories that develop around them. In Tenchi Muyo’s case, it’s this huge space opera more or less, even if it all takes place on Earth. Does that make sense? We have aliens and demigods who live for millennia settling scores and looking for “ultimate power,” people from “The Galactic Academy” and the “Galaxy Police,”  and they all converge on this tiny cast of characters who spend a lot of time sweeping the yard in front of a Japanese shrine.

Gosh this show is so hard to recommend. So I’m actively not recommending it. Tenchi Muyo is boring as hell, the actions of characters are largely predictable, and yet — at the end of each OVA when bad guys are introduced and things start happening, it’s all worth it. All the time spent watching this characters sweep floors, do chores, and fight over Tenchi, comes to a head when everything you learned about them in the last 4 episodes suddenly matters in the fight against the next big bad. I look forward to watching Tenchi Universe, and most everything Tenchi-related I can get my hands on so I can get this out of my system and get back to watching Sailor Moon.

What’s Up? (12/1/15)

Thanksgiving

I’m thankful that this Thanksgiving was a real uneventful, pleasant, just eat awesome food with your friends and family kind of Thanksgiving. It’s what I missed. Good food, warm conversations. Wine. Best friends. Really went all out for four nights there, if only to return to frozen food and pasta in Pittsburgh. But hey, that’s okay. I can make time if I want to cook, especially on the weekends. It’s just the pace of things usually leaves me wanting to do as little as possible when I get home.

Taking Care of the Inside 

There was an eight-day lapse where basically no exercise was done, and a lot of good food was consumed. I wouldn’t say just because I got back to Pittsburgh that I’ve fallen into a healthy routine again. If anything, I’m kind of focusing on some internal things right now. A few cups of tea to brighten up the day. A movie in the evening to entertain. Sitting back and enjoying Fargo Season Two while not on the back of a stationary bike.

I haven’t forgotten the sacred rule…

“Everyday, once a day, give yourself a present. Don’t plan for it, don’t wait for it, just let it happen.” – FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper

It’s just, these last two days, I’ve needed more presents than self-improvement physical activity. Long as I live I’ll never forget to do things that keep me happy. I guess one of the things that’s keeping me happy right now is the prospect of not exercising right now. I know it’d be good for me, but in a way, so would pizza, Netflix, and a long nap.

What’s Up? (11/23/15)

Exercise Calendar

Exercise 

The days highlighted in blue show the days where I’ve done at least 40 minutes on the bicycle. Good job, me. Before October 19th I bet the blue spaces were few and far between. Or, further apart from one another. I probably haven’t gone whole weeks without a little bit of exercise for a while. I don’t have much to say on this except, I’m going to keep at it.

Lawrenceville Hipster

On Friday (11/20/15) I was making cocktails for someone, describing work, and my daily routine and whatnot — and she asked if I had become a “L-Ville Hipster” or Lawrenceville Hipster. Well, I didn’t know. I have a coffee place where I’m a regular who orders the same two things without fail. I shopped at H&M so I’d have a few new items to distinguish my look from my Oakland days. But otherwise… Whatever components make up a “hipster” I’m pretty sure I don’t have them. I think I’ve probably changed, grown, or feel significantly different since coming to Lawrenceville regularly but it’s not like I’m adopting a fake style, I’m just using the neighborhood to let myself be more… me?

This cardigan for example. I’ve been wearing it for hours. I love the thing. I love the way it meets at my neck. I love how it looks slim, or feels slim. The extra long sleeves are cool. Something about it inspires a great deal of confidence for me, the same way infinity scarves do. And I only ended up in H&M because of Lawrenceville, working there, and hearing about the H&M in South Side. So, by extension, Lawrenceville helped me find a piece of clothing that makes me feel really good. So am I some fake as hell hipster in Lawrenceville? Nah. I’m a real as fuck member of the neighborhood, and I love it.

What’s Up? (11/11/15)

Exercise
One way to keep myself on track is to force myself to write about this regularly. I guess one way of looking at it is that I’ve been doing way more exercise than blogging as of late. (Four posts in all of October is not particularly impressive. But maybe I just have fewer things to say nowadays?) Anyways the exercise regiments are going well. I don’t have the exact numbers in front of me, but I know I ruined a streak this morning. I did 20 minutes Monday and Tuesday morning after waking up at 6:45 AM, but this morning I absolutely lacked the will to get out of bed, let alone do exercise. On the whole, I think I’m getting better and better at my little routine. I petal faster and with less effort than I used to, I know what kind of music keeps me at pace, and I’m hitting calories-burnt milestones in less time than I used to.

It’s not like I’m weighing myself, or I’m on a weight loss mission, but feeling like I’m in better shape as a human being makes me feel a lot better. One way I’ve thought about it recently is, I’ve spent 22 years or so improving and making my brain pretty great, so I can spend a little time every day to make sure my body is just as sharp and useful.

Q and the Cell Phone
So, something interesting happened on the bus Monday. Young black male, who I only know as Q, turns to the white man sitting in front of him and asks to borrow his cellphone–says he left his at home, and wants to call his girlfriend to tell her to bring his phone to work. White man says “sorry, my phone’s not on” or something to that effect. “The phone’s for work only so I only turn it on when I get to work.” Q then turns to me and asks for my phone. Q makes a phone call using my phone, and it doesn’t go through so he hands it back. I ask Q if he could text his girlfriend. Q gives me the phone number, I send the text, she responds “Yes” as in, “yes I can bring you your phone” and then I return to listening to my podcast.

And the story could end there, except the original white guy (not me) starts using his phone. To which Q points out “I thought your phone wasn’t on.” “I just don’t let other people use my phone. It’s a policy.” And that’s when I decide that my podcast is less interesting than what’s going on in this bus, so I pause the podcast as eavesdrop on the whole thing. It never gets heated, Q just stands on the fact that the man was judgmental–he never uses the word racist, just judgmental. Even when the white guy exits the bus and it’s just me and Q talking, Q never throws the other guy under the bus for anything other than being judgmental. “He saw me, the way I’m dressed or something, and decided he wouldn’t let me borrow his phone.” It was interesting, I’ll probably say no more except I didn’t do anything special, I did something pretty normal, it just felt extraordinary in contrast to the blatant lies of someone else.

Better Me
I could probably come up with a venn diagram of things that are making me feel like a better person. 1) Eating different things 2) Having work 3) Exercising 4) Going out and dancing 5) Coffee?

Alright, I don’t know what I’d put for a fifth thing, but when you overlay those things, the center of the diagram is me feeling good about myself. I worked a little bit on my short story, I started a new GlitchFox project, I’ve got new furniture, I’ve got new records to listen to, Grimes has a new album–stuff is going on and I feel good and wow! I can’t say I remember what I shared last, but it was kind of a bummer right?

The thing I’m thinking is; living in an isolated state is really only unbearable when you can’t bear yourself. If you like yourself, if there’s things you can improve about yourself, and you enjoy that type of thing–self help, self improvement, then being isolated isn’t too bad at all really.

What’s Up? (10/21/15)

Little Time Before Midnight
There’s about an hour until Midnight, so I’m very close to writing a What’s Up? (10/22/15). I wanted to write in because I think I’ve committed to an exercise routine; I’ve only gone three days in a row, but that’s a start. 10 Minutes a day, 30 minutes a night. It’s simple, and it works for me. I make myself do a little in the morning to get my day started, I do more at night because I’m already awake and I have a day’s worth of calories to chip away at. I think a big difference between this plan, and the exercise plans of my past–is that I’m out of school. I don’t have study sessions or homework that can get in the way of a simple goal. Bike a little bit every day. Slowly begin to bike more, and harder, over time. It’s not a weight loss goal. But it might help me lose weight.

Mets
Today is “Back To The Future Day” for what it’s worth. In Back To The Future, Part II, The Chicago Cubs made it to the 2015 World Series. It’s the top of the eighth, and the New York Mets lead the Cubs in what may be the final game of the National League Championship Series.

And as I write, Daniel Murphy just batted his 6th straight home run in a postseason game.

That does it.

The Mets are going to the World Series… how can they not?

This is so exciting for me, but I’m also awfully excited for my family. I’m so happy that my family can see a Mets World Series again. The fact that Daniel Murphy just hit ANOTHER home run hasn’t really settled in. It’s an amazing feat. Totally unbelievable. The man is on fire…

And yet, I’m going to pass out soon. I have Thursday ahead of me.

What’s Up? (7/21/14)

I just realized I had a finished song that I was sitting on for easily, a month, and hadn’t released. I was going to play it at June’s Pulsewave, but it was a secret location and I opted to hang with the Xanax Cats instead, I think. It’s really good though… I’ll post it this week for certain.

That discovery, and more! There’s a lot of positive brain-storming happening right now. Ideas like, how will I celebrate being back in Pittsburgh? Who will I see first, and when? What outfits can I put together? Can I achieve my vision of complete color coordination? Pants match the t-shirts, which match the scarves, and maybe even the watches. Will I learn to make coffee from grind? Maybe French Press, or my own single-serve machine. Should I pull the trigger on a piece of exercise equipment? A part of me thinks it would be excellent to have a tiny stationary bike in the room. Could get some exercise while I’m going some readings for English or watching Netflix or something.

As my internship goes into its final four days, and my time on Long Island into their final sixteen, it’s only normal for me to be this excited about Pittsburgh again. There are some things I’m still itching to do before that happens though. 1) A drink with the Interns. 2) Another pool & beach session with the Xanax Cats. 3) Drawing my Summer Passport entries. 4) Maybe see Nine Inch Nails a fourth time. 5) Hang out with a Slimeball. 6) Having more Vodka.