"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."

It's Time for Josh Koenig to Get Back in the Game

New tag. Drupal set message "Power dating." Backstory on that is here, and I'll elaborate with new thoughts now.

Well, actually, first I start with self-quote, to illustrate just how sisyphusian this feels at time. From my report back from Baja, which feels like another lifetime:

I realized, for instance, just how blatantly I’ve been keeping myself out of range of romance out of fear more than anything else. Sex and love have always been intertwined in my experience, and avoiding one is a pretty good way to skirt the other. Much as I bemoan my lonely state, it’s my own choices and habits of action that render it so. I’ve been rationalizing this to myself as a kind of jaded maturity, but now I think that’s just bluster.

The truth is I’m afraid of what might happen: of getting hurt, of hurting someone else, of getting into unknown territory where the possibility of both those things just gets greater. It’s weak sauce, really, because this is what life is all about; but as they say the first step towards finding a solution is admitting you have a problem. So there’s that.

I also realized in conjunction with the above that I’ve been looking backwards a lot, for similar reasons, when really I should be looking forward. The possibilities of the future are almost literally endless, and when I begin to entertain them I feel a real true gut-level sense of trepidation — “don’t make plans; don’t invest; shit doesn’t pan out, remember?” — and it feels like it might be that good kind of Allen Ginsburg brand of fear. The kind I know I should pursue.

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Coachella Trip Report

So, this is woefully incomplete; In fact, it covers only the up-to-the-event story... I almost don't want to post it but I think it's good to get the first part out there. More likely I'll write the rest. I have a few photos which I'll add once I get back to the HC and can get 'em off my camera, and for the latter part of the story I can lean on Stephanie and Andy for graphics. Indeed, the above is an Andy Smith original (some rights reserved). In very brief: I had a great time, and it was actually semi-Important for me to get out of my routine and mix it up. All work and not play is not a pragmatic plan.

Travelling from SFO, Cheney drops me off at the airport, ran into the Girth's lawyerly friend Eric at the terminal. He's delayed on the way to San Diego so we have a beer. It's a little hard to make small talk since we've only met a couple times, but there's basketball, Cavs getting trounced by the Wizards, and that's en entre, and he's a good guy so we pass 45 minutes like that.

Flight in to LA is fast. Julia picks me up. New haircut. We talk about the important things first, how our respective love lives are going. You already know my scene (nada). She's got a man-friend who's got a moustache he likes to wax (to good effect, IMHO) but also says she's really mostly interested in "good sex and working on myself." I tell her that's very LA, but I also think it's great, and tell her that too.

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Well, in spite of getting a mild cold, possibly from dancing until 1am in a sweaty tent full of candy ravers (everyone kept asking me for pills), I'm feeling pretty dang good. After a little bit of a rocky start getting back into the grove with work -- it's still a tenuous thing for me to take a vacation -- I'm riding higher than before, in large part thanks to getting the fuck out of my routine, shifting gears. I be riding my new Mission Bike fixie any day now, but I still think this is important: gearing lets us tackle bigger hills, and also go faster.

It's a wild world out there. I forget that a lot these days, and it's important to remember, to know in yr bones. Praxis is hard, but dancing helps. Driving fast helps. Getting a lusty little crush going helps. All these things that tap into feelings and challenge our notions of control, they're important to keep up. I realized this past weekend that I haven't been doing enough emotional exercise, and the result isn't pretty. I've been feeling bland most of the time, nervous-to-terrified the rest, and it's getting worse. This ain't no way to be, so I figure I better stop.

People have been telling me for years to get out of my comfort zone, and they're right. It's hard though. I'm pretty good at getting comfortable wherever (benefits of a big limber brain, y'see) and there's a certain innate conflict between pushing ones boundaries for the sake of rut-jumping, and pushing ones limits for the sake of getting worldly things accomplished, a pull of internal/external focus.

I was talking about this stuff w/Julia down in LA, before we went to Coachella, and her response was "yeah, these days I'm more about really good sex and working on myself." It's a refreshing perspective to consider, as I've been about neither for quite some time now.

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Don't Give Your Heart To Any Old Ramblin' Man

I decided to take a peek at my google analytics the other day, and I discovered that by far and away the most popular post on my site over the year to date is one I'm actually rather proud of: Me And Maslow's Pyramid of Human Needs Down By The Schoolyard. Almost 1000 people have seen that so far this year. Even assuming half of them were robots (and hey, robots need philosophy too), that's still immensely gratifying.

Its no secret I've been burning the candle at both ends lately. When I come down to SF it tends to get worse, feeding my workaholism. Even though this is ostensibly a thriving cosmopolitan metro area, I really have no life here, and with an office it's easy to stay at work to the point where coming home is just a trip you make to sleep before getting up to do it again. It reminds me of the MFA days in a way, or college. Any of those times when I was doing stuff for 16+ hours a day and having no sex.

Not that I'm complaining. Coming home late and hungry and unable to find a can-opener to make myself some tuna salad notwithstanding, I'm a ways away from the point where this pattern really generates any kind of meaningful irritation or negative response. Indeed, for as long as things can be kept in the power curve -- never forever, but what is? -- this isn't a bad way to exist. It makes me productive and relatively happy w/feelings of accomplishment, etc, and possibly even provides good grist for later milling when time is less tight.

And still, I can't help but feel like something is slipping past me here. I mean, the impending birthday is probably driving these feelings, sure, but I can't shake the sensation that I'm whistling into oblivion. I can't help but note the toll my current pace of activity (and past times of uber-business) put on my existing relationships, the massive impediment it poses to forming new connections.

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Proj On

Rocking a little free underground internet here at the Embarcaderro. I got royally soaked riding down from the office at 10:30pm when I finally arranged my exodus. Such is life in the KoneZone of late.

It actually felt good to ride in the rain. Really good. It's not ideal over the long haul, and I hope it clears up by tomorrow, but it's been quite some time since I felt the spatter of cool spring water on my face; swishing down slick glinty city streets flickering with yellow orange sodium vapor light... It made me feel young at heart, free and easy, like projing on home to Brooklyn back in the day.

I used to be much more rugged and rough, much more obviously confident, risk-inclined. If my train went off the track I picked it up, picked it up, picked it up. Those were glory days. Not the glory days oh ye of the nostalgia police, but a set of days glorious and undeniable. Their memory is worth keeping alive, the better for their spirit to live again.

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Ribonucleic Acid Freak Out!

Flashing through the accumulated images of the past week, it's a heady mixed bag. Trying to work my way from being a direct-actor to a manager. Trying to get ahead of the curve. Trying to continue my studious avoidance of all feminine diversions. Trying not to get boring as I get old. Trying to figure out what I want to be when I grow up. Trying to communicate. Trying to love. Trying to speak correctly. Trying to listen. Trying.

And a few things occur to me.

In the smear of pint-night down at Everett's, veterans of the military and Gillman st telling stories early, Kelly and Zya creating interpretive dances to Neil Diamond, then the kids coming in as the evening sets in; there emerges a ray of light in shiny blue tights, sheer brilliance, such as to make me avert my eyes. She looks pretty good at the coffeeshop usually, but this is another level, enough to make a man reexamine his beliefs. It occurs to me that my "my head's not in it" excuse for studious avoidance of such is a self-fulfilling prophecy with real limits in its utility. Something's got to change, but for the moment, hey, at least you've got a collectable pint glass to duck into.

And from this, a potential remedy for my romantic listlessness, a possible self-concept, an avenue of habitual action. How does "power-dating" sound? It's more applicable than my retired manslut persona non grata, and it could be useful to get me out there in some way. It ties in with ambition and other shadowy forces that need outlets. I don't know how it squares with living half-n-half between here and the Bay -- where exactly do I set my sites? both? -- but it seems worth trying.

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Observation on Small Town vs City Life

In a New York City, and presumably other big cities, one builds a vital sense of community out of the people with whom you have regular pattern overlaps: fellow commuters, the workers at the coffeeshop when you like to go, the corner deli staff, one or two people in your building you see often. Otherwise, you're awash in strangers, and points of familiarity tend to be a welcome surprise and a comfort, even when they're discovered through the mediation of customer service.

In the HC, you've probably seen everyone before, several times, possibly even picking up enough information along the way to form opinions about these people even if you don't know their names. Unfamiliar faces are rare and precious, and people often use the mediation of social roles -- again customer service comes to mind, but there are other examples -- as a means of creating pseudonymity where none actually exists, a way of escaping omnipresent social information or obligation.

Clearly these are generalizations, and deeply colored by my own bias. Still, kind of interesting.

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That's One For You Nineteen for Me....

The taxman cometh. I just forked over about 52% of my total take-home income from the past year to the federal government and state of California. This is where having a business that works out becomes painful, though I can't help but think that a more devious accountant (yes, more devious than a ninja) could have done at least a little bit better.

In many ways the deck is stacked against us entrepreneurial types. We're taking advantage of the simplest and most flexible business structure, the LLC. We still pay self-employment tax, and our desire to build up the business and hire people means we're leaving money in the bank that we could be taking for ourselves, yet the IRS considers that as profit from a business and personal income whether we draw it or not.

So in an effort to expand we knock ourselves up a couple tax brackets without increasing our take-home pay a cent. I've been saving for it since last fall, but it still feels mightily deflating. No refund for me.

Oh well. First-world problems. If you're on the other side of the great class divide and wondering what to do with your Bush Money, here are some neat ideas.

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The Springdom, the Flower, and the Glory

It's a fantabulous day here in the HC, going beyond the beauty of sping and offering a legitimate preview of what we enjoy come Summer. The sun is hot and the breeze is fresh. I spent the first half of the afternoon lazing about the plaza at the farmers market. I was hoping to score some organic cucumbers (for to make deliciously infused gin) but it's too early. Most people are just selling plant sprouts, herbs and gourds and leeks and salad greens.

But it's still a good place to hang out, to see and be seen. For instance, I ran into Aaron from Green Wheels, who's sort of a socially entrepreneurial peer for me here. He put a quote from me into his quarterly newsletter. I may try and help them out with the Drups on their website, etc. It's all part of putting down my own roots locally.

Farmers market is also a nice place to people-watch; solar power demos and pretty ladies. Nothing much happening there, just some hippy guy catching paper on fire and me lurking around, watching for beauty. Pretty cool though, and important for me to get out in the world. It's gotten to the point where people in #drupal tell me to "go meet real girls" (I'd said I had "a date with some javascript this weekend"), and it feels a bit like I've entered into a situation comedy based on how often people seem to want to fix me up. Not that I mind that, but it's definitely a new phenomena. New can be good though.

Anyway, I'm not stressing it. Someday I'll find a nice girl who'll talk nerdy to me and things will just click. The flutter will return. I feel pretty confident in that, even if the meantime is a tad lonely.

Well, I'd better get back to that javascript date, and my taxes. I want to wrap it all up and go see a play!

(Photo by Hamed Saber)

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Back in the HC

After a late-night drive I've returned to the HC, home of struggles over code enforcement and many other great things. I got out to a late start, but it was allright since there isn't any traffic in Santa Rosa at 8pm and I got a tip to check out Radio Lab, which provided great entertainment for the first four hours of the trip.

I woke up this morning and noticed how quiet it was. Contrast is nice.

Lots of goings on around here. Always more to do. It looks like I'll be burning the candle at both ends and also melting into it from various points in the middle between now and my 29th birthday (May 10th, also the date for the Country Soul Carnival!).

I'm hoping to have the time and energy to get my writing back into gear also. It may not happen, but I'm hoping my high-functioning nature continues kicking and I just operate at more RPMs rather than getting burned out and overwhelmed.

We'll see.

(Photo by Lynda True)

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