Because I promised...
Mellow Jon
This is it, finally.  I was about to keep re-recording it until it I got all the mistakes out, but my fingertips feel like they were just going to split in half and bleed all over my guitar if I didn't call it.  And I didn't want to let kelaria keep posting new videos before I even posted my one ;)

This is me playing Home, by Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeroes.  This isn't about anyone, or for anyone, and probably not because of anyone either.  Just a pretty song I ran into on Pandora, and couldn't get out of my head.

Pardon the sound quality, my computer is a jet engine, and I'm using the best Mic I have in the house right now.  Which is the mic that came with the original PS2 "Rock Band" (Bet you didn't think I could do that!).  I don't have alot of mic's in this house.  

I told myself I was going to have this done by this last weekend.  And I played the hell out of it last night, and it was an hour past my bedtime, and I was miserable and wasn't going to be good.  But practicing when you're exhausted can be some of the best time for learning.  

I'm going to start learning another song pretty quickly.  I've been out of guitar for a while, so it took me a long time to get comfortable and up to speed with those fingering changes, simple though they are.  Maybe this next one will go better.  Nu-Folk isn't really my favorite genre, but it works for me, when I'm in the right mood.

Mellow Jon
That song, "Simple Man"  I was going throw a Shinedown album on my mp3 player at work, and there's that song.  It got to me today, just bring up an old, endless thought about my childhood, about the unimportance of happiness.  It really got to me, and I thought I was going to cry, like I'm going to throw up, like the tears are crawling up my throat.  No one ever asked me if I was happy, or told me to have fun.  I was warned endlessly about the dangers of drinking and drugs, and sex, and going to parties, and nuclear weapons and unintentional racism and feeding gremlins after midnight and just anything fun, ever, at all.  And I was a good kid, an "altar boy", or "boy scout", so I obeyed.  No fun ever?  Okay, no problem.  Now I don't know what's wrong, but something about fun or happiness doesn't work for me.  Is it because I'm still an obedient little child inside?  Or because I DO genuinely fear the dangers they cautioned me against?  Or because I'm screwed up in ways that have nothing to do with the last twenty years?

I called my doctor's office last weekend, it was around 3:00 PM when I got the courage to actually call.  Ended up with just the message line.  Left a message.  Called again on Wednesday to just schedule an appointment.  December 9th.  Like a month away.  The doctor finally returned my message this morning.  I didn't call him back in time, he left for vacation.  But what he said on the message really caught me off-guard - "...Just wanted to make sure you were okay".  That's a huge trigger for me.  I'm always okay, even when I'm not, right up until someone asks me if I'm okay.  And then I'm not okay.  Even if I was REALLY okay, now I'm not.  But if this "getting better" has to hurt a bit, that's okay.  I'm finally at a point in my life where I can turn the microscope back on myself.  Stop fixing air compressors and old computers, and try to let someone fix myself for a change.

I spent all Tuesday and Wednesday night drunk this week.  Just alone and drunk.  The call was stressful, and I keep having bad daydreams about some elderly evil wench psychologist that's going to misdiagnose the shit out of me, or decide it's just all in my head.  My girlfriend in college had a psychologist like that - that memory sticks with me.  But I'm going to do this.  There's no future for me like this.  Where I'm at right now is as far as I can go with my life with who I am.  Living alone in a two bedroom rental house, with only mismatched hand-me-down furniture, great friends who I don't really stay in touch with, and no hope of ever having a relationship that I can hold together past the "honeymoon" period.  I'm at the top of this ladder, which is a good feeling, in a way.  But this 20 ft. ladder is in a 50 ft. hole.

I found out today that I've finally broken even (about a week ago I think) - I hit a "zero net-worth".  I came out of college with tens of thousands in student loans.  And I've just now, finally balanced all my remaining debts with bank balance and retirement savings.  I couldn't quite cut a check for all the student loans right now, and I wouldn't, because I like the idea of a rainy day fund in-case-of another layoff.  Unlikely, but so was the last one.

I use the word "finally" alot.  As if, my entire life, I'm just trying to check off boxes on a to do list that's decades old.  No living in the moment.  I rely on my friends to drag me into the "right now". I really am always working through a to-do list.  I should really change that.

Finally getting ready for bed now.

Forgot to shampoo my eyebrows again today.
Mellow Jon

This quote had been driving me nuts.  (no no, not the shampoo thing).  It's from Six Feet Under, Season 3, episode 3.  I'm on episode 10.  I went back to find it, because it stuck with me.

Relationships aren't easy. You just have to work at it, every day. Can't expect everything to be perfect all the time, and you can't get shaken when it isn't. And if there's a moment when I feel like I'm in prison, I just have to think about all those moments when it feels safe, and remind myself that those moments outweigh the prison moments.

Brenda: Being alone is the prison. Just thinking about yourself, being trapped in this fucking vortex of always watching yourself, which I suppose is okay if you're interesting. Truth is, nobody's that interesting."

Brenda described, like, my entire junior year of college.  Hiding in my room, trying to out think my way out of the trap of over-thinking of everything.  First you over-think your life, what you're doing here, who you are.  Then you think about thinking; why you think so much.  Then, about thought in general.  And after that, it just turns into a metaphysical mush of stuff that could be really deep, but wasn't, because I was just a stupid kid. 

One of my coworkers passed away this weekend.  He wasn't in my group, and I didn't work with him.  But it's a small facility, around 200 people.  Everyone knew who he was.  It was cancer.  And he was at work, all the time, I know he was at work, at least last week, he'd pass by my desk to get to the meeting room on our side of the building. 

All day at work, there was this general misery of everyone knowing about it and no one talking about it.  And then there wasn't - people seemed to be laughing and socializing, in the way that people do any other day of the week.  Somewhere in between paralyzing, remorseful misery, and the feeling of a renewed love of live, exists the right feeling that I should have about this.  But I'm not there - I have only inappropriate feelings. 

I bought a new microwave this weekend.  I cleaned my house all weekend.  Kitchen mostly.  Shuffled some things around, moved all the plastic bags off the top shelf that I can barely reach, to a waist-height drawer that had been empty.  I tried to clean the old microwave, I tried!  But it was too far gone.  A solid line of rust along the door, and a larger patch on the back wall, as well as all the usual funky food splatter.  It was my parents' first microwave, the one I grew up with.  They gave up on it when the timer started going on the fritz, so I nursed it back to health, and repaired it again just about a year ago - failed door latch mechanism.  It was made in 1992.  I guess I got my money's worth.  The new one is nicer - stainless steel all over.  It doesn't have numbers, just a dial that you spin to select the time.  Don't know if I'm going to like that, but I'm optimistic. 

Oh, and my dad and I fixed the SHIT out of an old 30 gallon air compressor.  It's pretty nice, 5.5 hp motor, single stage.  We just found a failed start capacitor last weekend, and the proper replacement part was backordered into December.  So we improvised.  I shopped around, and found a decent substitute, that was way, way bigger.  And we thought we could make it fit, but we couldn't. 

See pics, because they're cooler than me just talking about it.Collapse )

This feels like an entry I've written a dozen times before
Mellow Jon
I started using a phrase tonight with an old friend that I text to.  She's already seen Six Feet Under, and she mailed the DVD's to me so I can watch it to.  So I text her while I'm watching it about what's happening, and she does her best to not hint at what's going to happen next.  So Nate married Lisa after Lisa had his kid, and now Nate is unhappy, and Lisa is a huge bitch about everything.  And I told her that she should get SHOT IN THE FACE, and then I said it again about this awkward budding relationship between the widow matriarch of the house, Ruth, and the funeral home's intern, Arthur.  She's definitely more than twice her age.  And that gave me pause, because I remembered where I got that from.  My ex-girlfriend from Georgia.  She was the only person who ever said that.  And I briefly, genuinely missed her.  That never happens.  Another relationship where I can't really give you a good reason why it ended.

One of my ex-girlfriends (a different one, from Kansas City) said that I should get counseling.  We have been friends since my college years, she knows me better than anyone, if anyone could be said to know me, or if there is really anything to know.  We dated and broke up enough times we lost count.  Not meant to be.  Haven't quite ruined the friendship yet, though we talk less now.  She thinks its all very obvious, that I need to talk to someone.  I don't understand why.  I mean, I didn't, not until recently.  It just hit me, that I'm really unhappy, not being able to feel anything.  Not having any memories with feelings.  My entire life reads like a textbook.  This is all like, just the Wikipedia article of Kevin.  And usually, that works for me - I expect myself to be unfeeling and calculating at work.  Feelings get in the way of numbers, of ideas.  But it feels like a slide that I've been slowly riding down ever since this new job.  Ever since I decided that nothing is more important than doing well at this job, and not getting laid off again, well, I got what I wished for.  It's gotten so hard to turn it back on.  I must have went most of the last week just completely shut down.  I don't feel like I need help, I just understand that I need to consider it.  Because I understand that I'm going to continue down this path if I don't throw down an anchor.  But I really don't care.  Feeling nothing at all is the closest I've ever been to "okay".  And that's the part that I know isn't okay.

I had a dream this morning that kind of fucked me up.  It was in the college dorm that I always live in in my dreams, that looks nothing like my actual college dorm.  It's huge, like 30 stories tall, an unfeeling skyscraper.  And there was this girl I liked from high school, and she was running through the halls and crying the entire dream, and then I WAS her.  She just got engaged recently, well, in real life, not the dream.  Crying really scares me.  I hate the idea that people need to, but I know that people need to.  But, I don't know, crying has always been a terrifying thing for me.  I either start to panic, or just emotionally shut down when I'm with someone who's crying.  

I got new strings for my guitar.  Plan to wire it up tonight.  I got extra-lights.  I hope they feel a little better.  I got some nicer strings that should last a little longer.

Finished Halo Reach recently.  Very dark ending.  Very dark, and sad.  Darker than any of the other Halo endings.  Nice to finally finish it.  I get so paranoid about never gaming, and then just falling behind on everything.  Still haven't played either of the Bioshock games.  I know I'd love them.  Just haven't gotten around to it yet.

Started The Settlers: Rise of an Empire (or, the Settlers 6).  Burned out on first-person shooters.  Needed some strategy.  And it delivers.  Was up past my bedtime last night by a bit.  Quite a bit.  It's so...resource management.  And that's just how I get my jollies when I'm gaming.  Even in a shooter, I'm always scavenging for ammo, making sure I have the best equipment I can carry.  All the shooting is just what I do in between the awesome scavenging part.  

That's all for now.

(no subject)
Mellow Jon
Halloween party was okay.  Pretty weak actually.  A few good costumes.  The Evil Dead/Bruce Campbell thing went over pretty well.  (I don't have any pictures, which I'm still kicking myself over.  I wanted pictures.)  After we showed off our costumes, the women and kids ate inside, then went trick-or-treating, while all us guys sat around a chiminea, smoking cigars and drinking fine bourbon. 

Or rather, they did that, while I smoked the hell out of one cigar that was on the verge of dying the whole time, had one sip of bourbon, then promptly felt sick and dizzy the rest of the night.  I was ready to keep drinking, and it was really nice bourbon too.  And there was this guy there who kept bragging about the number of times he's been shot and stabbed and blown up in Iraq, and how many college girls he has waiting for him back in his room, even though they're half his age, and he kept saying "Do you blame me?  Do you blame me?"  God, no, nobody blames you for being a dirty old man and taking advantage of college girls, whilst being an incorrigible son-of-a-bitch.  It was locker-room talk the whole night, but it got too bad for even me.  Myself and the party host just sat there and kept to ourselves, while the rowdy boys shared their rowdy stories.  Try though I may, I'll never really be far from being just an intellectual. 

I'm working on a guitar piece that I plan to webcam-film and post.  And I know I need to say it out loud, or it'll never happen.  So there, now the heat is on.  I don't know when that's going to be, I need a little more practice.  

More facebook friends getting married and having kids recently.  I felt really lonely last night, but not for either of those things.  Been calling a few friends lately, which I don't usually do.  But I've been neglecting them more than usual.  Still no word from the matchmaker.  I keep this dating idea at arms length, because I realize that my solitary lifestyle is part of my identity.  Or at least, I think it should be, or I want it to be.  I still can't see how I could add someone to what I have right now, and not make it worse.  But you know, my boss and coworkers, I don't blame them for ribbing me about getting a girlfriend.  That's how they perceive happiness, and they want me to be happy and vulnerable like they are.  Which, one one hand, seems kind of complimentary.  But then on the other hand, seems kind of xenophobic.  "Shun the outsider, who is not like us.  Make him like us."  I try not to just hate what I don't have, that's not productive.  I'm just torn.  Nah, I'm not torn.  I just want to care, and I don't say that ironically.  I think it'd be worthwhile to have those feelings.  I'm just not there, and I don't know if going straight there, as fast as possible, is the "right way".  Man, apathy is a great defense against everything, but eventually you find that it's a suit of armor that can be hard to take back off.

The importance of having a spine
Mellow Jon
So my guitar and I made peace.  I started playing it pretty regularly again, every few days.  I had a revelation about my guitar - that the strings on there have been on there for over a year, and they're probably beyond shot.  And also, kelaria had a good point, that I can go to lighter strings if I want.  And I think I want that.  This guitar has always been a source of frustration for me, like a high school class that I hated.  But no more!  It'll always take hard work, but the music I can make for myself, is, I think, so important to my stability, my struggle for happiness.  I've loved songs that made me angry at the time, but no song has ever made me smaller, or more closed-minded, or stupider, I think.  Oh, and I haven't given up on the digital piano thing yet, it just felt like things got very busy lately.  I still really like the Yamaha Digital Grand, it's all the features I'd want for the best price. 

Also, serendipityidea commented on my guitar hand, and said some nice things (Thank you :) ), and I feel bad now, because that wasn't really my hand.  And I know it's not actually a big deal, but I felt that if I let that slide, that it would be setting a bad precedent.  That in the only place where I can really be myself, I would still not really be myself.  So, guitar hand reposted, and this one is actually me.  And I'm sorry, I would've just replied to the comment, but I don't think it lets you put pictures in comments.

My geek ex-coworker friends invited me to hang out in front of one of their houses.  I told him the story of the girl I dated over halloween that really messed me up, and how I was going to just sit around at home and try to not let anything as bad happen this year, and he insisted that I join them.  Probably good for me.  We're going to sit out in front of his house and get drunk and smoke cigars, while passing candy out to any children we don't scare off immediately.  They're dressing up as ren-fair-style pirates and swordsmen, and a few people aren't dressing up, but I figured I better dress up because I'll have more fun.  So I went to the costume store this morning and just wandered around, dreading all the terrible costumes that I could buy out of panic and desperation.  And then I found a really, really cool break-over double-barrel shotgun, and it hit me.  I have to be Ash from Evil Dead this year.  So I got a toy chainsaw from the horror-movie side of the store, and a flannel shirt for a lumberjack.  No fake blood to splatter myself in though.  Not sure about how into this I'm going to get. 

I'm on kind of a kitchen purge right now.  Ever since the cooking disaster, I've been throwing away everything that's expired, and just kind of eating my way to cleanliness.  I'll clean everything hardcorely when I've used up enough stuff, and then try to reboot my shopping style to buy what I'll use, and then try to actually use what I buy.  I just got back from the grocery store, and it was pretty much just milk and cans of soup.  I consider it a culinary tactical retreat.  I've just felt very distracted lately, like I can't focus on anything.  But I'll get it back.

OH!  The presentation went well.  Passive-aggressive coworker was pretty cruel to me on Wednesday morning, when I was freaking out getting ready for the presentation, talking about me behind my back when I had my headphones on, and saying "Tick...Tock..." while walking by (letting me know how little time I had to finish my presentation).  I thought we were okay, but now, we are definitely not okay.  I'm the group scapegoat, in a way that has just been kind of cute and tongue-in-cheek up to now.  But it's gotten out of hand.  And it's my fault, in part, because I give myself that role, so as to help calm the waters and tie everyone together.  I've had opportunities to stand up for myself, which I usually let slide, because I was taught to "turn the other cheek", like Jesus, when I was growing up.  We never got to the part of the bible where it mentions that it's good to have a spine, apparently, because I didn't have one for most of my childhood.  Spines are difficult to build from scratch.  Anyways, it was good in the end, because the people who matter, liked my presentation. 

That said, there was a round of e-mails after my presentation that I think I started, where I was addressed by my work nickname: "Gamer".  It's really only my nickname from the passive-aggressive coworker, though a handful of people have picked up on it.  Still, after I was called that in the e-mail chain, a few people lept to my defense, calling out the silliness of nickname, and suggesting equally silly nicknames for other group members.  It was charming, really, how people stand up for me when they see that I won't stand up for myself.  Still, it gave me these flashbackey feelings to middle school, where the same episode would play out.  The bullies making me their target, and the "good guys" making a stand for the those who can't defend themselves.  And all the while, I just feel like a fucking experiment, like some kind of sociological straw-man, a person who exists just for the sake of argument.  Like I'm just the poor bastard getting shocked in The Milgram experiment on obedience to authority figures.  It gave me these really rageful feelings, wanting to scream at everyone to stop fighting, to stop fighting against me, or for me.  Anyways, I still feel overloaded at work, and I know there's more overtime in my future.  But I feel good things about my job.  I like where this is going.

(no subject)
Mellow Jon
Okay, so the guy at work who's been kind of getting passive-aggressive at me, and a freaking fit at me today.  Came over and started in with how my fasteners are all wrong, and I need to give him good part numbers, if he's going to help me.  We kept talking about it, and learned something about the fastener part numbering style that nobody knew yet, and I e-mailed him back the good part numbers.  He just kept raging on me, augh!  This attitude like "Well, you're an idiot, and let me explain why." 

I have a presentation on Wednesday for kicking off a database system that nobody wants to use, and I know he's going to be a difficult audience member.  And I'm not ready for the presentation.  I'm so not ready.  I have that, "night before the final, and I haven't started studying yet" feeling.  I pulled a 12 hour day today, working through lunch, to try to get caught up and ready.  Probably a 12 hour day tomorrow.  The overtime is nice, but I'm so sick of the hours.  I want to go HOME for dinner.

I messaged-back the robotics coach's wife about the game that I missed.  I haven't heard back from her, but given her persistence, I know I will.  It's inevitable at this point.  I have started down a path that there's really no getting away from.  And now, I see the ending.  A long-term relationship, or a breakup.  That's wrong, and I'm trying to cure myself of that - live in the moment.  The moments you spend with someone before you have a "relationship" are really precious, I think, because they are finite.  They are so limited, and once they're over, they're really gone.  Which shouldn't be a big deal, if you have a good relationship.  

Still, I've done this so much, I already see all the endings, it's almost boring to me.  "Unspectacular Breakup".  "Unexpected Breakup".  "Angry Breakup."  "Breakup that makes you swear off dating another woman ever again... for the next few months, breakup".  My mood swings so much as this goes.  For some reason, I was suddenly into this idea Friday night.  Now that I've re-engaged my brain, I'm not really into this idea.  I don't like rejection, so I judge myself for other people.  I'm going to be not-religious-enough, or too nerdy or too boring, or too flabby.  I don't really let other people have the chance to tell me what they really think, and maybe some people aren't going to be as hard on me as I am on myself.  

(no subject)
Mellow Jon
I decided I was going to go.  Go to the football game where the robotics coaches wife would set me up with this girl I've never met, under the guise of just happening to end up at the same high school football game.  I re-read the facebook message just as I was going to send a reply.  It's not tomorrow.  It was tonight.  Fuck my life.

On a high note, I went to the two coolest piano-dealing music stores in town this afternoon.  The only two that you can find a grand piano at in this town.  The first one was a smaller store that sold only pianos, but they had all kinds.  They didn't carry Yamaha, they had this "too-good-for-Yamaha" vibe about them.  But I got to try several.  Several Kawai's, a Korg, and a Roland.  Lots of Kawai digital pianos, must be their favorite brand.  They all sounded fine.  Several nicer console style digital pianos, and a few that had all the synthesizer features.  I talked to this guy there the whole time, a short guy with a white beard, and he was so friendly and talkative.  To give me the background on the digital pianos they had, he started the story with pipe organs.  I didn't get a 3 hour long history, but he had a very meandering style.  I was enjoying it - it was very cool to be around a musician, and be treated like a musician again.  I explained to him a little about what I was trying to get out of it, to reconnect with the artistic side that my job is killing.  I made some comment about "us soulless engineers" and he said, very matter of factly, "You don't seem soulless to me".  It cheered me up.

That Yamaha still sticks out in my mind, from the store from last week.  It just seemed to have everything I wanted, sound good, and be pretty inexpensive, like 400 less than anything at the cool store today.

I went to the second store afterwards, wasn't there long.  Their usual piano guy was gone for the day, and all of their stuff was pretty unremarkable.  I might go back there later, just to collect more information.

I tried my acoustic guitar finally tonight.  That damn thing still stresses me out.  I had lessons with my old high school band teacher during high school and my first year of college.  They were really bad lessons in hindsight.  The recurring themes were how good he was with a guitar, and how all pop songs ever use the same four chords.  Which, that was true at least.  I just, still feel like such a beginner, even after all this time.  The strings on that beast feel so stiff.  I could never do any chords that required you to bridge all six strings with one finger.  My teacher said it's something I'd get with practice.  I still can't get it.  But then, I never practice.

Everyone once in a while, I pick it back up, and try to squeeze a little more blood from this stone.  I just can't make it feel good.  I need to change something - maybe lighter strings, or a tune up at the music store repair department.  The low strings buzz really badly, and that kind of sucks some of the joy out of it too.  But I do want to get good at it again.  And I think I'm just grumpy, because all my fingertips hurt from the strings, because I don't have the callouses a guitarist needs yet.  It was just an inexpensive Fender DG-8 that I got, but I think there's some good sounds in it yet.  Man, I feel like if I can learn to play this, I'll be able to play anything.  

Why I Hate Matchmakers
Mellow Jon
I went out to dinner with the Robotics coach and his wife about a year ago.  When it came up that I was single, his wife immediately started mentioning people she could hook me up with.  She has not stopped since then.  She's sent at least three messages/e-mails since then with blind-date plans for me, which I have all either politely refused, or conveniently forgotten about.  I got a new message from her today, about a football game for our high school team that we could all go to, with her and the robotics coach, and her friend Carrie.  It gave me anxiety.  Like, hand-clenching, scream at the ceiling anxiety.  Because every time this happens, I go through it all over again - having the same internal conversation:
Do you really think you're ready, Kevin?  No, of course not.  But why not?  Because I'm a pendulum between emotional void and desperate, passionate codependency.  Leave me alone.  But what's the harm in one date?  It doesn't mean you're dating.  That doesn't matter, even one date creates a litany of expectations, ESPECIALLY if you're being set up.  But come on already, it would be fun!  Huh, yeah, fun for you, you matchmaker.  Well gosh!  Do you want to be alone forever?  Ahhh,, but I DO want to be alone right now.  But why?  I don't know!  I don't know!  Augh!

I think this will be the sixth set up that I've avoided, in the last couple of years.  I've been loosely keeping track.  It's a unit of time for me.  "Time since last blind date avoided".  Under normal circumstances, they all seemed nice.  A few were even my type.  And I don't know why I have to keep them all away. 

Work was weird.  Boss was out sick for the second day in a row.  Not really his style.  But it takes some of the heat off of my half sick day last week.  Fine by me.  I'm getting caught up.  Modeling changes were supposed to be done last Friday.  Then this Wednesday.  They're still not done, because we keep getting new changes.  This is going to cause some overtime at this rate.  Which would be okay, I could use some extra time away from my thoughts.

A coworker of mine tried to add me on facebook, one of our "class clowns", who I usually get along pretty well with.  I declined, and told him the next day that I try not to add coworkers, so as to keep work and home lives separate.  He was visibly hurt, and was a little passive-aggressive about it the whole day.  He's the kind of guy who'd love to have a little dirt on me, and bring up awkward old details as much as possible.  Sorry sir, but I've been there before.  Friend me again after one of us has lost our job.

I feel like I want this Saturday to myself so badly, but it's our big robotics competition.  I'm pretty apathetic about our team's rank in the competition - I volunteered to teach, not to win.  But the ceremony and spectacle of it all is pretty exciting.  Maybe I'll leave just a little bit early? 

(no subject)
Mellow Jon
An old video I'm a big fan of, that I held on to:

"Luv (sic) pt. 2" by Nujabes feat. Shing02

I tried to cook tonight.  I failed.  It was bad.  I don't want to go into all the gory details, but it involved several expired ingredients, a dangerous dose of stubbornness, and a half-eaten dinner that got washed down the garbage disposal.  I had cookie dough ice cream for dinner instead.  So, after that, a bottle of beer, a dose of mouthwash, and a glass of whiskey, I pretty much have the taste out of my mouth.  Still can't get the smell out of my nose.  I hoped it was just the condiments I was using - I was doing a pretty cookie-cutter stir fry from a cookbook that I've done dozens of times before, but winging it on the quantities.  That was the first time I tried to cook anything since the breakup.  It's going to be a while before I can cook again.  Being a bachelor is hard sometimes. 

Work was okay.  I knew I was going to get a little crap for missing on Friday.  "Surgery to remove my third nipple" was what my coworkers assumed it must have been.  The people who mattered were pretty cool, being it my first absence since I started there in March.  Had a few pretty intense conversations about a few of my projects.  They're moving forward, but in the way that an airplane moves forward just after completely losing all its engines.  Also, the airplane is on fire.  

I think I'm going to go keyboard/electric piano shopping tomorrow.  I have a bunch of music stores written down, most of them I've never been to.  We had a keyboard growing up, but all the keys were just like on/off switches.  No opportunity for "expression" from the keys.  No matter how hard or soft you pressed them, you just got the same flat tone.  Okay for my older brother to practice his piano lessons, or my mom to find a pitch for her choir practice.  Not good for much else.  I mean, what is the point of music without expression?  Without passion?  Anyways, I think the trick is getting something nice enough that I'm going to actually want to play it, but cheap enough that I don't feel ball-and-chained to succeeding at this at any cost.  Something I could play for a few months, and then not for a while, maybe?  I don't know.  It's been a while since I've touched a piano.

Took my truck into the shop this weekend.  90 dollars and four hours for just a check, and they told me that I'd need a new fuel pump assembly, because the fuel pump check valve that's built in to that assembly is going bad.  Realistically, it just means that I have to let my fuel pump prime for a few seconds before I fire the ignition right away.  Something that I could probably live with for years.  Which I hope to do, because they quoted me 800 dollars to replace the assembly.  I feel stupid, I could've known that, I could've done the research.  Ultimately though, I'm no mechanic.  And I'm happy to let the professionals do what they're best at.  Honestly, the next thing I wanted to do was pull the starter out, and take it down to O'Reilly's for a Starter Motor check.  That would've been a waste of time, apparently.

Oh!  And I went to see the movie Red with my old roommate, Tango, this weekend.  We were in the main auditorium, which was awesome.  We got inside a few minutes late, and it looked full, but most of the front section was open.  We found seats dead center, several rows back from the front.  They were good seats.  I ended up sitting next to a girl who was there with her boyfriend.  Which was terrifying.  She was friendly, she explained a joke in one of the previews that Tango and I didn't get.  Reminded me of when I went to movies with girls.  I have fond memories of that, but the idea frustrates and bores me nowadays.  It was always the struggle between "chick flick" and "action-hero film", and there was always a winner, and a loser.  I enjoyed "500 Days of Summer", but that was a time that she won.  And she put up with "Watchmen", but that time, I won.  And if you "lost", the winner always owes you something.  And that sets the pendulum in motion, the pendulum of pain and retribution.  Always owing, or being owed.  Not so much a vicious cycle, as just a cycle.  Like the student driver alternating between mashing the accelerator, and mashing the brakes.

I thought about my kill-switch this weekend.  I don't know if it really is a kill-switch, as it is an "On" switch.  It's more like, my emotions only get turned on sometimes.  And what flips the switch is alcohol, late-night fatigue, or really, really good music.  And when all three converge, my god, I feel everything. 


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