Monday, April 23, 2012

Where did the (academic) year go...?

Greetings, my friends.  For it has been quite some time since I've managed to put fingers to keys on this fine interweb-based pad of notes.  August and September brought changes, many many changes, some of which included a desire to focus on academics more than I had in, well, my whole life.  While there is internal debate over whether or not this occurred it became uncomfortable for me to devote time to writing about nothing when I supposedly had so much going on in academia.  So, instead of writing blog posts, and generally instead of doing assigned readings and prep work and progressing on projects in a timely fashion I reverted to my undergraduate vices of solitaire and minesweeper and scouring youtube for songs to fit my mood.  To this, I hope you've enjoyed my increased facebook posting and that we've been able to stay somewhat in touch though actual, face-to-face, human interaction.  In bars or over drinks.  Always with a touch of class.

It's raining hard right now and it's supposed to stay that way through much of Monday.  During the day, rain is my nemesis.  I have continued happily avoiding car-ownership and (it's been so long I can't remember if proper thanks were given here last fall..) was lucky enough to receive a two-wheeled gift from Brion Gallagher which has allowed me to become a hard-charging city-bicycler.  This is not the 70's Schwin cruiser or the tandem stylings of a life former.  This is a stock road bike from the late eighties or early nineties that I threw a rack on the back and, for the first time in my life, a MILK CRATE.  The milk crate is a game changer, ladies and gentlemen.  I don't know how I managed to get by for so long without one.  It makes going to the grocer a much less painful experience.  I can buy eggs and milk if I want eggs and milk and I don't need to worry about them being crushed by a bungee cord.  My kale remains in fantastic shape.  And, believe it or not, you can fit a pretty damn lot of food in one milk crate.  One freighted shopping basket roughly equals one freighted milk crate.  Granted I can get a little wobbly when I have that much on my tail, and I've blown out a couple of tires pedaling home fully loaded; all of that just adds to the adventure of city living.

I've been pleasantly surprised to find how easy it is to get around the city on two wheels.  Though, in the nature of full disclosure I'll admit that I lucked that my move to this little city coincided with an extremely mild winter; so mild that there hasn't been a day that I couldn't manage to get around on my bicycle.  Stopping was sketchy one morning in a half inch or so of white stuff, and late evening rides were a little slippery but thus far I haven't laid it down or been clipped by passersby so I have to consider my commutes thus far successful.  I will say that it gets pretty damn cold on January mornings, snow or not, but, that's what hats and mittens are for.  Warm temperatures are just fine and much preferred but you can't always get what you want.  This is why my belly is pasty white these days.  Boo hoo.

Anyways, it's raining.  It's been raining all afternoon.  I spent the afternoon in bed cycling between napping, watching recent episodes of the Daily Show and the Colbert Report on Hulu, and listening to a lot of earlier Tom Waits.  I've done no academic work today, and I'd like to say this was a much needed break from work but generally I don't accomplish a whole lot on Sundays.  It's my day of rest, of course.  But with temperatures in the fifties I've been thrilled to have my window wide open and hear the rain fall and the wind blow and not hear the usual honks and din and bustle of traffic and voices and commotion.  I learned just last week that Somerville has the highest population density in New England and is 17th in population density in the US.  Some transition.  If I knew that moving down I would have said, "Fuck this.  That sounds miserable."  75,000+ folks living in about six square miles.  I guess that's a lot of people but I don't really have a good frame of reference for these sorts of statistics yet.  But I will tell you this:there are very few backyards and lots of multi-unit houses.  On EVERY street.  Literally, every street.  I guess that adds up to a lot of people living on top of one another (pun intended..).

Personally, I live in squalor.  I recently spent a bit of time cleaning up a couple of weeks ago but I don't think I'm going to be able, nor want, to remove all of this place's "crack den chic."  It's a five bedroom place that was straight from craigslist.  Luckily, the four other people didn't torture or murder me upon my move in.  After eight months I hope I'm safe and this isn't just one lengthy set-up.  That being said I still lock my door most nights.  Can't be too sure, you know.

When I moved in my room didn't have a doorknob, a light that worked, or blinds in the window.  Since I moved in I managed to put a new doorknob on fairly quickly but have come to live by desk lamps at all hours and I wake when the sun begins to shine.  I'm perfectly fine with this.  Through the fall I cooked cleanly and healthily, buying many fresh fruits and vegetables and fairly high quality meats and experimenting with many dishes I had never tried to create at home.  Since the new year I've lost quite a bit of evening motivation and my diet shifted to more, how should I say this...pre-packaged burritos, chicken nuggets, and curly fries.  This is a bit unfortunate but, hell, that shit still tastes GOOD.  My beer drinking has been down though on the rare occasion that I do go out I try to pull all the stops and make sure I go all the way to failure with an extended set of 12oz. curls.  Always a maximizer, I am.

Getting back into coaching has been swell, as have classes, surprisingly.  It was nice to not have the time to think about what "going back to school" would actually entail when I started in August.  If I had remembered just how unhappy I was as an undergrad then I don't think I ever would have committed to such a seemingly fool-hearted pursuit.  In actuality the coursework now is not the same filler of most undergraduate courses.  I'm pretty happy to have an opportunity to continue with both programs (xc/track and school) for another couple of years down here.

My spring coursework will be wrapping in about two weeks and track will be completed right around Memorial Day.  Then, for a bit, hilarity should ensue.  Hopefully by then I'll be back on the write train "(Get it?!?!?!).  There have been many more smiles than frowns these last eight months for many, many reasons.  As always, I've got no shortage of stories to tell.

Feels good to be back.  Cheers.

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