Continuing to strike a balance

Vacation time has weird, magical properties. It begins slowly, passing like standard time. Suddenly, before you know it, the week’s over and it’s time to go back to work. I realize, of course, I’m getting ahead of myself. Tomorrow’s Thursday, which means I have three more days of this week. Possibly one next week, but I can’t remember my own schedule (This is somewhat embarrassing, I should note, as I make the schedule. Womp womp.) at the moment. I’ll be heading back to good ol’ Altoona in the morning, which means I’ll be getting to cleaning and unpacking and whatnot. Alternatively, I still have plenty of time to squeeze in a little more rest and relaxation.

Tonight’s title is a bit inaccurate, as I’m only gradually migrating back towards striking a balance in terms of how much fiction writing, blogging, and reading I do in a week. I’ve done more reading and writing this week than previous weeks, which isn’t saying much since my fiction writing has been lagging. So has my reading. Shit happens, really. The important part is that I’m making progress, so instead of belaboring the point I’m going to enjoy a bit more work on my novel-in-progress later, but not before enjoying the company of my mom and stepdad.

Meanwhile, enjoy this lovely song from Steven Universe:

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Monday musings

Today has been a fun blend of good and bad, but I can’t really complain at this point since the good presently outweighs the bad. My trip to the dermatologist was relatively uneventful, but I have to get another mole removed so as to avoid continuing the somewhat time-honored tradition of potential skin cancer developing. Some inspiration may have struck, but now that I’m thinking it through I’m a bit iffy (the novel writing will, sadly, wait until tomorrow). In light of feeling like my skull has been used as a volleyball today (Yes, I know I spend a lot of time with headaches. It’s the blessing of having molars that extend into my sinuses.), here’s some of today’s thoughts, events, and creative (or not-so-creative) ideas.

  • Fudge Brownie ice from Rita’s Italian Ice tastes how I imagine Tootsie Rolls would taste if you melted them down, then froze them. I’m not saying this is a bad thing so much as a bit of an odd taste experience.
  • I was told to switch to Dove body wash today, as Old Spice is apparently drying out my skin. My dermatologist said Old Spice body wash is more about the perfume, which explains why I’ve been such a manly-stinking lizard of gross, shedding skin lately. She clarified that there is Dove for Men, and seemed puzzled when I responded by saying I just want something that doesn’t make me dry like the desert.
  • My Of Monsters And Men concert shirt has emerged from its hiding place! I apparently left it in Carnegie forever ago. It still fits, which means I’ve not gotten too much fatter since seeing OMAM in concert. Small victories, people.
  • The go-to response to seeing my tattoo is some variation of “I didn’t think you were a tattoo kind of guy”, followed by asking me if I really thought it through. I don’t take offense to this, however, as nothing comes close to having someone ask me if anyone has ever asked if they can lick my tattoo. No, by the way. No one has. I’d like to keep it that way, thanks.
  • I have a pretty good idea as to where I want to go with the next chapter of A Princess, A Lich, and Some Murders, but I’m actually still on the fence. It’d be another sort of intermission chapter, building some much-needed humor back into the narrative, but…Actually, now that I think about it there are more pros than cons. No spoilers!
  • Mango Habanero chicken wings are my favorite kind of chicken wings, but no one does them nearly as well as Buffalo Wild Wings. Perfect balance of heat and sweet (I didn’t set out to make that rhyme, but I also had to take a good bit of ibuprofen to make my head stop hurting…so I’ll blame the headache).
  • Carnegie will always act as a second home to me, if only because living near Pittsburgh has spoiled me. Do I want to go out to eat? Plenty of choices. Movies? What theater should I go to? Or maybe I should buy tickets to a play or musical (or sporting event or concert and so on and so on)? That said, I still think most Pittsburgh drivers, especially everyone else on the Parkway, are completely insane. To be fair, those people probably call me insane (as well as other, more profane things).
  • I really want to get my next tattoo, but I also have to pretend I am a responsible adult who can manage his money without immediately leaping at shiny things. The reality is that I’m a magpie, and I need shiny things. Womp womp.

At any rate, I should be winding down for the night so as to make sure I get enough sleep for tomorrow’s doctor’s appointment/mole removal. I hope that you all, wherever you are and whatever you’re doing, are having a relatively pleasant start to the week.

And so my vacation countdown begins

Yes, I know I sort of started said countdown already, but the official marker of “I’m almost on vacation” is really that I have one workweek between me and freedom. It’s not even a vacation about the destination so much as it is just not being at work for a week (and a few extra days), as I have reached a level of fried that is typically reserved for batter-smothered Oreo cookies and overheated hard drives. Sadly, I’m really proud of that joke because it came to me naturally despite my brain being all liquefied and so on. I’m constantly somewhere between high-strung and ready to pass out, which probably isn’t particularly healthy.

Thinking forward to vacation and bypassing this upcoming week, however, has also created something of a conundrum. In the same way many people yearn for the next weekend, I’m wishing away much of next week (including the drive to Pittsburgh next Thursday, which is further complicated by the Carnegie on and off ramps being closed on the Parkway; thanks for that, PennDOT) for the sake of next week, which could be excellent or terrible. It’s still just potential. I mean, I know seeing my family for the first time since Christmas will be fantastic and all, but there’s no guarantee the other bits of my vacation will have been worth this wishful bit of time traveling. That’s one whole week of time, complete with possible and probable good experiences, that I’m attempting to will out of existence. That, too, is probably not very healthy. There’s a lot to be said on the way many people live for two days of the week and exist the other five in hopes of making it to those two previously mentioned ones. On a related note, I’m beyond ready for my next tattoo…so that’s probably a strong indication that an addiction is a-brewin’.

Defending my wishes to bypass next week, and all of the hideous responsibilities it threatens, are the following: Jason, my brother-paladin, and Chrisy, my New Yorker sister who has accomplished far more than I ever will, are going to be home when I am. I will also get a chance to see my grandma, possibly my father, and some other relatives, so that, too, is wonderful. There will be much reading and writing in the later hours of downtime. At some point, I need to make stuffed french toast because cooking for people is loads of fun. I can’t, therefore, be completely damned for looking forward to these wonderful times, even if the bulk of my actual vacation will be spent cleaning up my apartment because there’s still shit in boxes from the move.

Ultimately, I’m going to get through the bad parts of this upcoming week by reminding myself of how much fun I’ll have with my family (and thinking about the impending Comedy = Tragedy + Time tattoo). I also vow to enjoy the good next week brings, no matter how limited it may be. Makes for a bit of a win-win situation until I’m on vacation, I think.

 

My pledge to no longer be bored

I think it’s safe to say that one of the most commonly heard phrases, especially in people around my age group and younger folks (You dern whipper-snappers and your selfie-sticks), is “I’m bored”. Earlier today, after having completed my tasks for the day and then-some, I found myself thinking exactly that. I’m bored.

Somewhere between stopping at the liquor store to purchase the other ingredients required to make a Blood & Sand–a decision I entirely support, especially after making one and enjoying it quite thoroughly–and contemplating dinner, it occurred to me just how awful saying “I’m bored” is given just how much I could be doing with my time. I’m not talking about endless writing or spending hours promoting things on social media, interspersed with the conversations I’ve grown famous/infamous/unknown for having. Louis C.K. said it better than I ever could, in fact, and so I found a convenient image on the internet with his words placed on it to share to make my point here.

louis-ck-im-bored-useless-world-endless

There’s a lot of fantastic truth in this quote, and it got me thinking even further. There is, at no point, really a good reason to be bored. I’m not going to preach about the miracle of consciousness. I think it’s more about finding the things that matter most in this sea of constant information and distractions.  Continue reading

Revisiting my journey to Chicago

Between yesterday and today, I drove eight-ish hours, and traveled here from one hour into the future. Needless to say, I’m still pretty well exhausted. I did consider going for an easy, lazy post again, but I know my brain well enough to know some of the details will start disappearing before long. The steel trap of my memory. Yeesh.

That being said, where to even start? What to even say? This post is going to wander into some very sentimental territory, so I feel like I’ll have to balance that out by posting nothing by snide remarks and biting comments tomorrow.

I’m not even sorry to say this, but home is most certainly where the heart is. By that reasoning, I’m at home in the Pittsburgh area, Hollidaysburg, and Chicagoland. This trip only acted as a strong reminder that home isn’t necessarily just one location, and it’s certainly a good feeling to know I’ve got a couple places I can go to feel like I’m where I belong.

Let’s not discount how I drove further than I’ve ever gone before, and that really made my trip an adventure. I’ve talked about the drive there, so I’m just going to take a quick moment to repeat how I’m glad I didn’t die or get lost towards the end. Continue reading

One Hundred Days of Blogging – Day Forty-Eight

There seems to be a storm a-brewin’ in them thar hills just outside. Or something that one day aspires to be a storm. It rained for a solid thirty seconds or so, just a proper and sudden downpour, and then nothing. I hear the occasional rumble of thunder here and there, but I’m not sure it’s not one of the neighbors making a bit of noise.

Okay, it's definitely thunder. Also: holy crap, look at these beautiful, wild and crazy clouds.

Okay, it’s definitely thunder. Also: holy crap. Look at these beautiful, wild and crazy clouds.

All of this, of course, is being posted from the Chicagoland area (specifically Plainfield). That means I survived my first-ever long road trip! I am a weird blend of highly enthusiastic and road-lagged, the latter being slightly exacerbated by woes of a non-vacation variety creeping in from one time zone away. Thankfully for everyone, those woes are not what this post will be about. Instead, let’s talk about my adventure, and it certainly was an adventure, from Carnegie to Plainfield. And how the end of the trip involved Mother Nature making an attempt on my life.  Continue reading