Sunday, August 23, 2009

August Update

It's August, and I haven't posted for a while.  Let this be a general update for those of you whom I'm friends with and whom I haven't talked to in a while. 

But since I've moved to Lincoln, I've been spending a lot of time working and not very much time socializing, outside of a pretty small circle.  I spent so little time socializing while I was in Oakley (if you exclude Wednesday night basketball, I think I went to a grand total of 3 social functions (defined as a planned social interaction with one or more persons) outside of school the entire year... not exactly a huge number) that it's been weird getting back to where I know people in town and where I hang out with people in town.  All the same, I'm still apparently quite the hermit, though I'd probably love to see you. 

Back To School

Or, rather, not.  This is the first August in about 20 years that hasn't featured me getting ready to go to school/back to school in some capacity.  College classes start up on Monday.  The kids in the school district in which I used to teach go back on Wednesday (their teachers have been in in-service for about a week now).  The kids in the school-district here in Lincoln have been back for a few days.

I miss teaching, and interacting with students.  Several of my kids from Southeast have expressed quite a bit of disappointment that I'm not teaching this year.  I guess I'm somewhat disappointed, too, but it might be nice to have a job that doesn't require me to swallow my philosophical/moral beliefs, and which doesn't make me hate myself.  I'd like to return to teaching someday, but when I do, I'm going to be very careful about how I do it, and where.  The moral sacrifices required in most school districts right now, though, make me too sad and angry for it to be a viable option.

That said, as my kids from Southeast are heading off to college, I'm getting all nostalgic.  Best of luck to you guys.  I know you'll do amazing things.

Speaking of Jobs...

While I left Oakley to pursue a project as director of student outreach for a non-profit here in Lincoln, that opportunity pretty quickly became untenable (for a variety of reasons, at least some of them my fault), and so I will not be doing anything even resembling that.

Well, sort of.

I've been spending large parts of the Summer working with Ryan at setting up a new business.  Without divulging too much, we'll be an Arts and Entertainment hub, likely in downtown Omaha, with two 100+ seat theatres (for performances), a full-scale cafe, and a gaming center.  My job is to run our community outreach programs, and to do whatever I can to make everything else function smoothly, efficiently, and effectively.  Right now, we're narrowing down our list of buildings in which we might put this thing.

It's given me a chance to meet a lot of interesting people, and I've been spending a lot of time learning all sorts of new things.

That said, I've also been pulling 60-100 hour weeks most weeks, with more than a few 14-16 hour days.

Who knew starting a full-scale effort like this from scratch would be so much work?

First Crickets, Now This?

You may remember my ongoing battle with crickets from about a year ago (1, 2, 3).  I haven't had any insect problems in the new house, which I share with 3 members of the Lincoln slam community, but instead we've had slightly larger, squeakier problems:


At least 3 of them.  They live in our ventilation system, which means the various humane traps we've placed around the house have done exactly bupkus, as have the slightly less humane sticky traps.  I called an exterminator about a week ago, but so far, we haven't been able to get them out of the vents long enough to catch them, humanely or otherwise.

Last year, I'd have entered into some type of long, moral dilemma regarding the ethical course of action.  But I've hardened quite a bit since last year, and now I just want the mice gone.  It'd be preferable if I could find another place for them to live, but frankly, timeliness is my top concern. Very specifically, I want them gone, and I want them gone now.

If I had a moustache and a 12-gallon hat, I'd even post a "Wanted (out of my home): Dead or Alive" poster and call all of my roommates "Pardner", but I don't have either of those.

Sorry, little mice.  You are so very cute with your whiskers and your twitchy noses.  But find somewhere else to live.  You are no longer welcome here.

Back to the Basics

A few interesting developments have sprung up this Summer: a house without internet, and lots of walking.

I do not have internet access at my house.  I can see several wireless routers in the area, but all of them are protected by WPA/WEP (or equivalent), and so they are unusable.  So we have no internet access whatsoever (no cable, either, for what it's worth).

I never thought I'd say this, especially given how the internet was, in many ways, my lifeline while in Kansas, but I like it.  It means fewer hours surfing facebook. less checking my e-mail, and almost no online gaming.

It also means that if I want to send an e-mail/facebook message to someone, I have to physically move somewhere with internet access, which in turn means I usually just pick up the phone and call, or I don't worry about it.

When you couple this with how I've been walking most places, it means that I spend less time sitting around on the internet, or if I am going to sit around, I have to walk 20 minutes first.  The only time I drive is if I don't have to pay for parking, or if I need the ability to get to different places quickly, or if it's going to rain.

I don't know why, but I never walked anywhere while I was in Oakley. I drove to school (which took, at most, 3 minutes), drove to the grocery store (another 3 minutes), and drove to the next town when I needed things I couldn't get at the grocery store (that one's reasonable, as the next town over is about 22 miles away).  But I never really walked, except when I was walking to a football game to film it.

I don't know why that is.  Maybe I wanted the ability to leave quickly after I was done for the day? Maybe I was just lazy?  Maybe it was nice just knowing that if I wanted to, I could pick up and go somewhere else?

Whatever the psychological reason, I find it strange that I rarely (if ever) walked while in a small town, and now that I live in a mid-sized city, I walk almost everywhere.

I'm still de-compressing from last year, but being in Nebraska feels healthier.  I have issues remembering to eat regularly (or sometimes at all), and I'm pulling ridiculous workdays, but I'm generally much more relaxed now than I was even 6 months ago.

Some of this is because I've gotten rid of a lot of the distractions I used as intellectual anesthetic (I no longer feel the need to stop thinking and be still), and some of it is because I'm getting a lot more social interaction than I've been used to.  A lot of it is because I'm getting a lot of physical activity, between walking everywhere and playing tennis.

But it's nice. I am writing and sleeping and sometimes even eating, and I think I am happy.