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Writing; Thanksgiving; Christmas - Omnia mutantur, nihil interit.
December 25th, 2006
12:10 am
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Writing; Thanksgiving; Christmas

I received a notice from LiveJournal that my paid account was going to expire, and I had pretty much decided to let it happen in spite of the loss of my extra userpics, but Ratha extended my account in response to a gift I gave her. I used to value chronicling everything that happened to me, but that's obviously slipped off a lot lately. I guess I've simultaneously felt more overwhelmed and less interesting. Nevertheless, writing has been a big part of my life and it's been a bit frustrating to let it slip away. Perhaps I should try to write at least once a month—it doesn't seem like that should be too much to accomplish.

I took a vacation for the whole week of Thanksgiving. I flew into New York City, where I visited Ed for a couple of days. It was interesting to see Ed in his natural environment and realize that although he is a much more social person than I am, he was basically just working connections and his environment, and would probably be lost for at least a while in a completely foreign environment, as I basically have been for the past year and a half. I'm not quite sure what his friends thought of me—I don't think I made a huge impression. Oh, I did see Misha, which was a blast from the past. Actually had a whole conversation with him. At the club we went to, after a couple of hours, I got “angry-bored”, as Ed described it—apparently this is an emotional state that I manifest and most people don't. The next day I talked with Ed, then later went out for dinner and to see Casino Royale so Ed could work, and the day after that (Monday) I took a Greyhound bus to Albany.

I visited my sister, my mom, my dad and my grandfather, and on Tuesday I went up to Charlie's. Aside from watching an episode of House and our normal hanging out, the conversation led me inexorably to the conclusion that I need a plan that goes beyond the next 10 years, even if it is vague and mutable. A basic concept has now been formulated, though it still needs a lot of work.

Thanksgiving was spent with my mom, Vic and my sister. There was good food, including artichokes at my request.

Saturday was my grandma's memorial service. I cried. Everything was very beautiful, except that I have to admit I found the religious parts of the ceremony offensive. I guess I feel that definitive belief in an afterlife trivializes the world where we are now. I drove my grandfather to the gravesite and back to the church. Later, we played pinochle. Actually, I think we played pinochle and/or pool at the Pavilion (an assisted-living facility where my grandpa now lives) every night I was in Catskill. It was also nice to see my relatives.

(For the record, I hate the usage of “passed away” instead of “died”, but I used it anyway in my last entry because I thought other people would probably prefer it.)

Sunday, my dad and Nance drove all the way to JFK Airport so I could catch my plane. It was a very long drive, and I'm not sure I would have asked them to do it if I had realized how long. But they didn't seem to mind. We stopped at a restaurant on the way there that had amethyst geodes half the size of my head for sale.

This Christmas I'm spending alone, in Dallas, by my own choice. I mean, it could have been difficult to get the vacation from work, particularly since I also wanted pretty badly to spend New Year's in Pittsburgh, but I also just felt like staying here. So Christmas starts in 11 minutes, and it will be the first time I haven't been with family.

This weekend, I've been spending a lot of time cleaning and cooking. I haven't managed to set up my home theater PC yet, so I've been trying to move forward on that. I watched The Godfather today, which I had somehow managed not to see until now. It really is a classic; I'll have to watch 2 and 3. I also want to swap my bedroom (currently downstairs) with my office (currently upstairs) and have been trying to plan exactly how to do this, though I'm not sure I can accomplish it without assistance due to the heavy lifting and awkwardness involved.

I do have 5 packages here that I'll be opening, and the Hamm Family Christmas will be celebrated while I'm in New York. I'm flying there after New Year's in Pittsburgh. And I have Kat. I can't complain.

Current Location: Dallas, TX

(4 comments | Leave a comment)

[User Picture]
Date:December 25th, 2006 06:23 am (UTC)
You just happened to be around for the most social day I've had since coming to New York (barring from consideration HOPE, the hacker conference where a fairly large number of CMU people showed up for a few days). In actual fact, it did take me a fairly long period of time, with consistent and sustained effort, to get to that point. If it hadn't been for Kat (whom I serendipitously met in my second week there), I likely would have spent the first several months completely lonely, even considering the built-in society provided by going to school. It's only very recently that I think I've gotten to a point comparable in any way to how things were at CMU (in terms of society and radius of my circle of friends).

Also, regarding what my friends thought of you, as I recall people were generally positive about you, and Genevieve did enjoy talking to you. I can't remember anything more specific than that, as my memory fades quickly :D
[User Picture]
Date:December 25th, 2006 04:48 pm (UTC)
Yeah, and work plus non-work chores plus leisure has so easily added up to more time than I have that it's been too easy to simply ignore even attempting social progress, particularly as I wouldn't really know how to do it and would expect very low success for quite a while anyway.

Looking back, I think when I wrote that I didn't think I made a huge impression I was both stating something almost certainly true (how often does a guy you don't know, visiting from out of town, whom you see for a few hours, make a huge impression?) and also hedging my bets, as I got the impression that I did or at least could have irritated a few of them. Glad to hear that that's apparently not the case.

Regarding memory, I'm amazed I remembered so much about my Thanksgiving vacation myself. I actually could have gone on for three or four times as long as this post, but that seemed tedious and unnecessary. I think I remember so well at least partially because so little of note has happened to me since then.
[User Picture]
Date:December 27th, 2006 07:28 am (UTC)
Interesting idea to swap your bedroom and office. I guess the main reason this would not be the default configuration is because of the reduction in privacy due to having your bedroom in an open area, but since you live alone it doesn't seem like it should matter. Is there any reason you decided to do it besides variety?

Having a plan that extends beyond 10 years: This is something that's been nagging at me for a long time, but I still haven't totally faced up to it yet. I wonder if turning 30 in a month is an appropriate milestone for trying to get more serious about it.
[User Picture]
Date:December 27th, 2006 03:58 pm (UTC)
There are actually very, very good reasons to swap the two rooms, although not ones that would have occurred to me until living there for some time. First, upstairs is hotter, year-round, and I strongly prefer to sleep where it's warm. Extra heat doesn't seem particularly beneficial for an office, either.

In addition, because the office is up a flight of stairs I end up not using it as often as I would if it were on the same floor. It's too much of a hassle to go there, bring stuff (a meal, Eris) up there and have to go back down if there's anything else I need to do. But I don't think I would feel any resistance to going upstairs once a day to go to sleep, and if I did, hey, I've slept on the couch before and it didn't kill me.

As far as very long-term plans, I think it's important to recognize the limitations. For example, I think it's reasonable and almost necessary to pick a general geographic area in which I plan to live, but I'm not going to attempt to choose a particular city at this point. Of course, your parents seem to feel no particular need to stay in one place for more than a few years, so not only the answers but even the questions need to be personalized. If you stop and think, though, I think it will be pretty obvious which questions you need answered now and which you can figure out as they happen.
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