What do you get when you cross $450 at Super Target, a few hundred elsewhere, a mishmash of kitchen supplies from your parents, an occasionally-delivered Denver Post, and 14 file boxes worth of stuff with a job that leaves little time to put things a way? A full living room with no furniture. Once I cleared away all of the styrofoam, cardboard, and shrink wrap I had plenty of room for Michelle (former circle mate) and Zane (her boyfriend) to lay out their Thermarests and sleeping bags.
After looking at a topo map, we opted to hike Nightbird Trail to watch the Equinox sunrise (my 8th consecutive predawn solar holiday celebration). After explaining that because of daylight savings time, the sun would rise at 6:00, not 7:00 like it did for our hike last fall, we set the alarm for 4:45. Like clockwork, the sun rose due east between North and South Table Mountain. Despite a finger-numbing wind, warmth has returned to the Front Range, even in the early mornings. You'll see pictures soon.
The words "The sun is returning" at Yule, Imbolc, and Ostara typically hold symbolic meaning for me, but this weekend gave them life. A month and a half sitting down was also a month and a half inside, and flourescent lights don't provide much Vitamin D. A week ago I walked around my new neighborhood for the first time. I discovered a park and an elementary school, as well as Nightbird Trail. I started taking lunch by walking four or so blocks to Wild Oats and eating at tables on patios. And I embrace the sun like a great friend I haven't seen in too long. I sit at a picnic table and breathe in the outside air as I look across I-70 and feel the beauty of being alive. And then I go back inside and write some more Java.
The great thing about watching the sun rise is it doesn't interfere with your plans for the rest of the day. I wrote quarter calls for the 11am ritual and then drove to my parents' house in Boulder. I hadn't driven north on 93 during daylight before, so several hills seemed new and interesting. Five adults and a six-year-old engaged in a ritual about balance, which I'll post soon as well. My main balancing act is between work and life. I accepted the fact that I wouldn't have much of a life for the first few months, and my project is near a deadline. I said I'd try to work forty hours this week. Starting with 10 on Sunday isn't the right way to do that, but the underlying sentiment remains. I will play games at the Bakery on Wednesday. I will make it to Shadowfist at Valhalla's on Thursday. I will do something interesting for my half birthday on the 26th. I'm thinking about hosting a party on Saturday, but I don't think I can be ready by then.
In a larger sense, it's a balancing act between what I enjoy about student life and the requirements of working life. I miss taking a study break for an interesting film at IFS. I miss picking up a paper copy of The Onion. I miss meeting new people who aren't behind a cash register. I miss walking and taking the bus. I miss talking about philosophy with psychology majors and talking about science with literature majors. I miss being around lovely and intelligent women. I miss living in a place where the phone and Internet work when I walk in the door. (Qwest claims I'll have phone service today, two weeks and two days after I ordered it. It's not like they have to install a new line.) I miss waking up to KGNU. I miss eating in the dining halls and living in the dorms. I miss Zippy the Pinhead.
It's not that I don't like work, though. The atmosphere is pretty relaxed, aside from the long hours trying to meet deadlines. The development environment is keen. I'm working on an interesting project: given a form that's been scanned with OCR, figure out which type of document it is. Oh, and give me the important names from it. Then highlight them on the picture of the form and stick the names in a text box. It's the sort of thing that people can do really easily. Especially indexers who work for the county and can type over 100 words per minute. But getting a computer to do it is a challenge to which I can bring all of the AI and language knowledge I acquired as a Masters student. Who'd have thought graduate school would be immediately applicable to the real world?
Resuming the narrative of my day, I met up with Lucile (mother of slyviolet
and wife of burlyhimself
) and increased the roominess of the Burleson Boulder Bin by feeding two futons into a large white rhino (a vehicle which solves lots of problems, creating just the two: gas and parking). After beating the demons^W
dust out with a stick, I met up with Andy and the New Vista improv workshop at the Boulder Public Library (another thing I miss). We performed an interesting performance art experiment: what happens when seven people become an inchworm in downtown Boulder? Each of us mimicked the person "in front" of us, occasionally changing the leader "most in front." We did this while spread out, typically across half a block of the pedestrian mall on Pearl St. Some people didn't notice us, others looked at us kind of funny (like when we all pointed at the security cameras). One guy was totally blown away. He went up to other folks and said "It's like fuckin' follow the leader, except nobody notices it! It's amazing!" He even started taking notes. Someone else told us to stay off the brown crack.
Sun, spontaneity, and play were just what I needed to balance a week of work. I concluded the day by driving the futon to my place in Golden, unloading it, driving back to Boulder, and driving my mom's (now essentially my) car back down. I'm glad I moved somewhere that offers a pleasant drive to my home town. Driving through T-REX four times in a day wouldn't be as fun.
So yes, you heard right, I have, in fact, moved. I also love commas and embedded clauses, it seems. I have a journal post about it in my head, but you'll have to wait for it to come out my fingers.
In the mean time, you can check out infrared porn
. Of if that's not your speed, check out the latest discovery in the Stone Empire. No matter where you go in the country (and now the world), you can run in to someone who knows my family. I learned recently that Soloman, a fantastic guy I met at nerd camp, is in the JET program teaching English on Shikoku (the smallest of the main islands of Japan). So now, somewhere in Shikoku, two gaijin
are writing journals.
(Speaking of journals I've helped with
, Lucile asked me about web hosting. I threw some rough numbers out for "service if you have a daughter you can call who knows what's up" and she said "Or an honorary son." For two people who aren't in a relationship, Emily and I have the best in-laws. Her mom gives me furniture. My mom gives her research papers about fairy tales.)