"Undermining my electoral viability since 2001."

Going Good

Things are going good!

I had a pretty great weekend, following up on the positive momentum of the week. Friday after work I hit up my favorite dingy little workout room down at the Community Pool, then rolled back over the Humbrews to eat some good bar food, drink a couple heady beers and watch the Golden State Warriors beat up on those pretty boys from Dallas.

Shortly I was joined by Mark and Sarah for a beer, and ended up piggybacking on Sarah's evening plans and catching a ride to go out dancing down in Eureka at a place called the Pearl, which turns out to be the most urban/cosmopolitan place I've been in the HC, brushed metal interior and Tanquerey on the rail.

It was decent; a bit crowded and the soundsystem needed some more speakers, but the music (obscure hip-hop b-sides and sci-fi instrumental quasi-hyphy) was generally danceable and the crowd was good. It was very good for me to go out with people I don't hang out with every day, and then sweat and shake in the same room as some attractive women. That doesn't happen often enough.

Saturday I hung out with Sarah and Ryah (I slept on their floor) at the Farmers Market on the plaza, which is a good hippy-ass scene with kids running around and people learning to juggle and bluegrass and massive squashes and all that jazz. Got a ride home eventually with the Mark man and we made a huge bonfire in the newly cleared back yard and bro'd down for the evening.

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Days in the Life

It's been a pretty good week overall. Not without some troubles, but for the most part they are challenges which have been overcome. I'm starting to feel like I'm getting a good pace going. So, here's a step through where things are at:

This has been the biggest weight on my mind lately. We're getting very close to having a truly stable business, but it's (as I've mentioned) a very two steps forward/one step back kind of affair. I've been struggling with my responsibilities. I handle a lot of the day-to-day organization and scheduling of the work that we do -- taskmaster stuff -- in addition to taking on the harder Drupal coding. I've also got more business experience than my partner, so I tend to have the skeptical/devil's advocate role in those discussions.

I'm not used to being in a position like this, and it's definitely a learning experience figuring out peer-leadership. It's good though, because that's the future.

It hasn't been helping that lately we've been under external pressures. Matt had a run-in with the muni track on his bike, and he's been laid up for the past couple weeks. Has a screw in his wrist. Luckily the man has his own health coverage; we're still about a month away from providing.

Then there was tax day, which is never fun, and at the beginning of the month we lost a big high-profile client before we managed to get started, which was a bummer. Things are picking up, but it's hard with a man down. These are a challenges I'm confident we'll overcome, but it definitely adds tension, and just as I'm coming to appreciate how important it is to keep a cool head.

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Two Steps Forward, One Step Back

Lately my life feels very much two steps forward one step back. It's frustrating. One of my little personal mantras for many years has been Believe in the Divinity of Your Forward Momentum, which becomes harder to do when you're getting jerked around. Nobody likes it when divinity is a tease.

Perhaps I'm a spoiled and petulant man-child who can't handle a setback. Or maybe I'm an uncompromising idealist. Or maybe I'm just impatient.

Currently I'm leaning towards the latter; impatient with a touch of insecurity, which is a deadly combination. It seems that most of the times lately when I've been uptight or freaking out about something, a few days later things change and everything is alright.

For instance, I'm about to go and write myself a paycheck for the month of March, 20 days late. It's not super-awesome to be behind on this, and the whole month-to-month business thing produces the same kind of stress -- though obviously less dire in nature -- as living paycheck to paycheck did back in the day. Yesterday I was upset about it. Today we finally got one of our clients to pony up, and things suddenly look better.

This kind of manic swing is the sort of thing that doesn't really help, and which I'd frankly like to buffer on out of my life going forward. It's a pattern that goes far beyond my work experience. Something to think about for sure.

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Shooting For The Stars

Rolling over the clouds, chasing the sun, looking back at the expanding crescent of the earth's shadow in the sky behind, it hits me all over again.

I'm going to have to find my own way.

And the only way that works is if I've got the pride, ego, confidence, vision or whatever you want to call it to make it happen on my own terms. I spend a lot of time second-guessing myself and guarding against hubris -- a well-known tragic flaw -- but it's too late at this point to hope that some ordained path will mystically arise. I'm not destined to fit into a "career track," too independent (cocky) to go into apprenticeship, and I'm certainly not going to find some guru to hand me down my purpose on a silver platter. That much is clear by now.

My experience as a performer (and with a few other things) has given me a bedrock belief in my power to create moments of sublimity, to temporarily transcend the normal boundaries and limitations of humanity and make contact with the divine. It's real, glorious even, but also ephemeral. You can't live it, although you can do your damnedest live for it, by it, and through it. For better or for worse that's how I roll; seeking the edge.

This past year and a half I've struggled with my rambling nature, trying to settle down in one way or another. It hasn't really taken. I've learned a lot about myself and gotten into some really great things -- and so I have no real regrets -- but I'm coming to the conclusion that now is not the time for me to put down roots in the conventional sense, and indeed that "conventional sense" may simply not apply.

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Batteries Low

I'm on my 12th day of travel and I'm beat. Currently I'm tanking up at the office and fixing to meet with some do-gooders downtown and then make the haul back to the HC.

A few things.

  • After getting my monthly dose of Cable News courtesy Jetblue airlines, I wrote a blog on FM about the disintegration of Don Imus, who will forever be "Anus in the Morning" to me thanks to a play I did back in the sweaty Lower East Side summer of 2002.
  • Driving over the Bay Bridge into SF today, I saw a gas station in downtown that had their fuel priced out at $3.99 / $4.19 / $4.29. Clearly they're an outlier, but the only other place I've seen that is Trinidad, the last branded gas before you head into the Redwood National Forest on 101. Get ready.
  • Also on the plane, I wrote a big high and heady companion blog to the "Missing the Old You" post below. It felt not quite so good the next day, but I'll throw in some afterthoughts and post it soon.
  • Need some outrage? Try this.

I'm ready to go home and take a weekend off.

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Missing The Old You

One of the things I do of late when I come back to NYC is see women I used to be involved with. I'm a big believer in maintaining connections, especially the ones that have meant a lot, and it's been a point of pride for me that I'm friendly with virtually all my lovers and girlfriends.

Life in the Woods is more romantically lonely (lots more) than my urban days have been, so I really enjoy these dinner dates, remembering what it was like. I've no real agenda in mind, but it does wonders for my psyche to sit down with a beautiful girl and have a good conversation and realize that I'm still a likable guy. My day-to-day doesn't offer me much evidence of this -- again, speaking in a romantic context -- and my self-confidence is fragile enough that after spending enough time without positive feedback I begin to regress.

So last night I was having a great chat with this tall, enterprising, quick-witted beauty at the still-excellent Great Jones Cafe, and the topic of nostalgia comes up; my saw being that it feels depressingly premature to be looking back like that at the tender age of 27. She has a really great insight: the devilish thing isn't reminiscing for "the old times" as it's inevitable and arguably proper to cherish your own personal history, and anyway if you want to do the things you used to do, the odds are you can do them again. That's just a question of will. The real bugger is missing the person you used to be.

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In the Hive

I'm in NYC for a spell, and have spent the last two days inside a big ol' corporate office once more. The project is actually pretty interesting, and the people I'm working directly with are great, but the whole experience still gave me a healthy dose of The Fear.

My old friend, mentor and colleague Peter Crawford once pointed out to me that Corporate America is a lot like High School. It's an astute observation. Subsequently, I've come to see this as a common thread in most institutional settings, but having been off and running around politics and other scenes, I'd forgotten just how much the corporation creeps me out.

In part its because the modus operandi cuts against my own passionate (and arguably excessive) intermingling of life and work. It just seems like such a limiting thing, being in this big building, in your little cubicle or office, wearing some outfit, eating lunch in a cafeteria, renting away your days to make some other people rich.

It also irks me how corporations (any bureaucracies, really) tend reward ladder-climbing, don't-rock-the-boat, playing-office-politics type behavior rather than real innovation, drive, results, etc. It's a really different set of values than the world I inhabit most of the time. There are lots of rules about who's allowed to access what; a closed-source approach; personal fiefdoms wrapped in red-tape.

Anyway, it's good -- if a bit dispiriting -- to be reminded that this is how most peoples' work-lives really are. Dispiriting because it makes me momentarily pessimistic about humanity's chances ("this is the best we can do?"), and sad for all the squandered human potential. Good though because it reminds me how lucky I am, and also makes me optimistic based on how much progress is possible.

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Spring Awakening

A little bit of the now trip: things are going good! Last week's bay-area activities were draining but ultimately quite productive, and then Julia was up here for a couple days and that was real nice. I can talk to her about (girls) things that are harder to talk to other people about around here for whatever reason. She has a way of breaking through the general feel-good supportive "you can do it" kind of friend-talk and getting right down to a level. That's really valuable to me.

Thursday I made my old bike ride to Murphy's in Trinidad and back. It was gorgeous. I roll along Scenic , which is a fantastic ride both in view and in terrain, good hills and many vistas. I was pleased to see that my half-assed winter gym habit kept me in good enough form to ride it with tenacity. There's a big difference between riding some stationary cycle, and taking a real ride, even a simple six mile jaunt. Good to get out and run and feel the fresh air. More of that soon.

Spring Awakening is on, nature bulging and shameless with it's newfound power. The sun comes through strong now on most days. The smells are everywhere, the colors, the bird calls. It's really something to be in the middle of this big biological ramp-up. I love it. It gives me a buzz, a sense of rightness, a deep and rhythmic excitement.

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From The Archives: How To Combat Hipsterism

So, my mom tells me the other day:

leelatour: had dinner with ethan last night...think there may be ways we can hook up with him
leelatour: a great guy!
leelatour: when ethan made the connections to the "youngins" at the co-op that I was your mom...they said, "oh, josh, the hipster."
leelatour: told them i'd pass that along..lol
leelatour: and explained your disdain for such creatures

From my archives:

January 29th 2002: The Troubles

The troubles are with me strong. An abortive day. I made it all the way to Grand Central, eventual destination White Plains, when I got the call that the whole show is postponed until tomorrow. Then waiting around for the bike shop to open (need a new derailer) and it never does. Sitting in a trendy Williamsburg cafe, wanting not to look the part that I'm looking. Like a fucking hipster. In retaliation, I composed a list of ways to fight back:

  • Smile Lots (don't pout, whine, complain, bitch)
  • Love to Sweat (work, exercise, exert yourself)
  • Embody Raging Lumberjack Masculinity
  • Take a Western (as in west-coast) Attitude
  • Maintain Unbridled Optimism in the face of Total Narcissistic Cynicism

Also, reading "Sometimes a Great Notion" by good old dead Ken Keasy. He's from my neck of the woods, and his writing makes me miss Oregon something powerful.

Hard to believe that was Five Years ago.

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Best Use Of Cell Phone Yet

This is one of the many reasons to go to conferences. You might end up at your nominal competition's rented beach-house, watching drupal 5.0 release maintainer Neil Drumm open beers with a cellphone.

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