Monday, March 16, 2009
Odds and Ends
There's a bit of a new paradigm at work lately (departmental realignments, new responsibilities, longer hours) and it's starting to affect my life outside the workplace. I've been feeling really...disconnected in recent months. The economy has everyone on pins and needles and so I haven't dared to be seen surfing the net during work hours. It doesn't matter that I'm usually here quite late and fifteen minutes online will most certainly be made up later in the evening. Most of my time online is spent at home in the wee hours and, frankly, by then I'm not much in the mood. I have a huge backlog of emails to deal with. (I recently heard from a really good friend of Mike's...and mine...from college who just heard the news of his death and haven't had the time—or the heart—to respond yet.) And, worst of all, I don't think I've picked up a pencil to draw in two weeks. I've often referred to myself as a compulsive doodler (something my art teacher in high school called me) but lately...I got nuthin'. It's very disconcerting. Never in my life have I experienced this. There have been many times when I've hated what came out of my pencil and just wanted to give up. But I've never gone this long without the overwhelming urge to create something. Even just a head sketch on a post-it note.
Part of it is frustration at work. We're being expected to learn a lot of new software that I'm really excited about but we're not being given any training or even the time to learn it ourselves during work hours. Nobody has come out and said it but I assume they want us to stay after hours. Since Suze and I ride in together, on the occasions I don't have to work late, we usually run for our lives. And besides, there are so many other things I want (or need) to do on my own limited free time that the conflict is starting to drive me nuts. I think that, with all these demands on my time, I've gotten to the point where I don't want to face any of it and I'm just shutting down. Which is not good because now is the time I need to dig in my heels and start accomplishing as much as possible.
I keep hearing Mike in my head. Whenever I'd get like this and complain to him about it, he'd get frustrated with me and say, "You got a job? You got health benefits? And a retirement plan? Then what are you complaining about? Shut the *#@% up and do your job!" Then I'd realize he was right and laugh and take his advice. So I'll try that now.
A couple of bright spots. A new theater recently opened here in Richmond and they're trying something new. Since they're new, they installed digital projectors (something established theaters are reluctant to spend the money to do) and sound systems so the presentation is incredible. This is the theater at which we saw WATCHMEN. And, this past Sunday, THE MALTESE FALCON. I've always been a fairly big Bogie fan and FALCON and THE BIG SLEEP are my two favorites of his films. The Bow-Tie Cinema (as it's called) has something called "Movies and Mimosas" on Sunday mornings. As you can guess, mimosas are served in the lobby...no alcohol in the theaters...and then they show classic movies. This is my chance to see all the great old movies I've loved my whole life (like just about all of Hitchcock's films) but never got to see outside my living room. Not only that, but this sort of thing doesn't attract the element that ruins the movie-going experience for me. You know the type: people that don't want to see the movie but want to be seen at the movie, usually going to extreme measures to attract attention to themselves. None of that at M&M. Going to see FALCON with Suzanne and a theater full of people (It was a packed house!) who actually were there for the movie was nothing less than delightful. I hope they keep this going for a long time.
Also, Suzanne and I are nearing the end of our 10K training. I have to say that this year has been a bit of a waste for me. I haven't made any progress and have actually gotten in worse shape. Just walking six miles on Saturday laid me up for the rest of the weekend with aching hips and back. A bad cold and an endless series of back injuries really took their toll this year and I'm probably going to end up walking the race for the first time this year. That makes me sad but at least I'll get to hang with Suze this time. But one thing I have managed to keep up with is my weight training. I missed a couple of weeks because of the back problems but I've really made a point of keeping up with it. I feel like that's the one thing I can control these days. And though I'm not really in any better conditioning than I was in January, I'm a lot stronger. If I can keep my back healthy for a while, I may be able to accomplish something.
Okay, that's it for now. If you're a friend waiting to hear back from me, I'll do my best to do that this week. In the meantime, I'm going to make a deal with myself to not post until I have something to show. And hopefully that will be soon.
Posted by Matt Wieringo at 4:32 PM