Categotry Archives: Quick Updates

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Blue Pyramid Flooded!

Categories: A Day in the Life, Blue Pyramid News, Quick Updates, The Agony of the Wait is the Agony of Debate, Tags: , , ,

Welcome everyone!

Apparently today is the biggest day for traffic at the BP since May 2008. And it’s only midday. Not sure exactly what’s going on, but I’m not going to complain. Hope everyone gets comfortable with the site, its updated sections and archives, enjoys the quizzes, and finds something to keep them coming back.

In other news, I think I may be allergic to the Debate House. As in, seriously. There’s a lot of dust in here. We did sort of rush the building/maintenance people out of here so we could start running practice rounds and using the space, but the consequences may be contributing to the general plague filtering around the team. Hopefully it’s just allergies and not contagious.

I keep meaning to take pictures of the DH too, but there’s rounds to judge and ballots to review and spreadsheets to make and grants to write. And I’m trying to give myself a solid weekend every week too, spanning Sunday/Monday. There are times this starts to feel like just another job and then I remember that I get to be a debate coach for a living and it all seems okay again. Just need to keep my focus on the stuff that makes this fun and not just slogging through requirements.

A good lesson for life generally, come to think of it, not just work.

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Bridge to the Fall

Categories: A Day in the Life, But the Past Isn't Done with Us, Metablogging, Quick Updates, The Agony of the Wait is the Agony of Debate, The Long Tunnel, Tags: , , , , ,

Quick update here to observe the passing of the theme here at StoreyTelling as this incarnation of the blog steams toward its fourth anniversary to be achieved in October. I’m going to more or less let this theme speak for itself, though the color scheme is full of the kind of bold dark warm colors that I really most enjoy. It’s almost nifty enough that I might ride out the October change this year, especially since there was no pumpkin-carving party last year from which to draw thematic imagery.

Facebook’s been obsessed with telling me that it’s two years to the day since Emily and I arrived in Jersey after our summer roadtrip in 2009. My update recounting the stats there (39 days, 6,200 miles, 16 states) has eerily reminded me how similar said sojourn was to the roadtrip I just wrapped (34 days, 5,800 miles, 25 states). And putting everything in context that no matter how much progress I’m making a building a new life, there are shadows and echoes in my even being here that will be challenging to transcend in daily existence.

My apartment is almost where I want it to be, though, and I’m hoping to have some pictures up on Facebook (and maybe here as well) soon that document the place as one remade in my own efforts as much as possible. The new couch and armchair have already been put to good reading use and while I’m probably going to cancel Netflix, I don’t know if I’m quite going to take the step of taking the TV down altogether. A few things yet to determine, as there always will be – a place one lives in tends to be a living place. And before I know it, I’ll have the whole debate building to decorate as well, or at least my office therein. We’re still on pace for a 1 September opening, but I’m expecting it’ll actually be closer to the 8th or the 15th given how these things tend to run. Still exciting stuff all around.

About to be hurtling headlong into one of the busiest phases of my life. Teaching a class will be an exciting new challenge and the current projections for the size and scope of the debate team are going to test the limits of my capacity and the entire team’s. If last year was our breakout, this year will be the growth spurt, and hopefully we’ll blossom into one of those precociously mature adolescents who everyone’s dazzled by instead of the gangly awkward kid who has more limbs than they know what to do with. Stay tuned.

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Monday Fun Facts

Categories: A Day in the Life, From the Road, Let's Go M's, Quick Updates, TH'HEAT 2011, Tags: , , , ,

1. I am in Kansas!
2. Kansas is not as flat as you think it is.
3. I am going to Manhattan, Kansas this evening, which I’m afraid will be very dull. It was really fun when I was there in 1987. I was an impressionable 7-year-old.
4. The Seattle Mariners have lost fifteen (15) games in a row.
5. I have not seen anyone I know for thirty-two (32) hours. It will be even longer before I see someone I know again.
6. I will be in Topeka tomorrow, a key setting in Loosely Based. I have not been there since I wrote said novel.
7. I used to regularly compare things to “the size of Topeka” to indicate their largeness.
8. “Largeness” is probably not a word, but Firefox has not red-squiggleyed it for spelling. Firefox has now chosen to red-squiggley “squiggleyed”. And “squiggley”.
9. I get a little punchy on the road. This mood is preferable to the incredibly sad/angry spells I get at least once an hour when on the road alone these days.
10. This list has more than ten facts.

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Truth in Advertising

Categories: A Day in the Life, All the Poets Became Rock Stars, From the Road, Just Add Photo, Quick Updates, Read it and Weep, TH'HEAT 2011, The Long Tunnel, Tags: , , , , , , ,

I guess it shouldn’t be surprising that having access to all of one’s e-mails for several years should allow the refinement of particularly effective advertising. Still, seeing these two back-to-back was a bit jarring this morning:

GMail20110721

Thanks a lot, GMail. Are there really people out there who are worried that Facebook is closer to taking over the world than Google?

As Goo Goo Dolls would put it, “Scars are souvenirs you never lose. The past is never far.”

In other news, while it wasn’t the most impressive book overall, methinks it was particularly well-timed for me to read Siddhartha this week. There’s a lot of insight in there about the particular paths that might be tempting at this juncture of life and good reminders of what roads are full of folly. Especially interesting as I play some poker and wrestle with the material reminders of my past that I want to haul out to Jersey.

Been sleeping and dreaming too much lately. The hazards of being home. Have extended my home visit a little bit and then will probably be taking about a week to cross back over the country. Leaving Saturday maybe? Still a little bit in flux. Might hike in Rocky Mountain NP, but definitely skipping Grand Canyon and LA, as were possibilities even a couple days ago. Feeling daunted enough about driving another 3k-4k miles at this point.

Next immediate stop: The Frontier!

For those without Facebook, here’s the latest album of pics: Volume 3.

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Don’t Go

Categories: A Day in the Life, All the Poets Became Rock Stars, Primary Sources, Quick Updates, TH'HEAT 2011, The Agony of the Wait is the Agony of Debate, Tags: , , , , ,

I haven’t had a lot to say the last couple days, but it’s not for lack of activity. Friends have been in New York and I went to see them, other friends came to New York and I went to see them. So much of me wants to just scrabble up the current life plan and return to a previous one, but I also know that fails to recognize the incredible blessings incumbent in the current one. People still get this wide-eyed look when I talk about the opportunities I’ve got with the debate team right now and I have visions of all the things that I think we can accomplish and I’ve already become really reliant on this community of people. I just so so so wish it were somewhere in the West, or at least not in New Jersey. I have people nearby, everywhere around, but not here, and efforts to get people here seem to be stymied by the fact that it’s New Jersey and everyone else recognizes that too. Next life, I think I want a planet that’s 500 miles around or maybe to be born into one of those feudal villages where a trip to the city walls is a big adventure.

In any case, on this particular planet, I’m staring down an epic roadtrip in less than a fortnight that’s got some event changes possible at the front-end that I’ll update as soon as I know what those are. In the meantime, I wanted to share a tour video from another roadtripper, the herein over-discussed Allison Weiss, who just released a recording of one of the new songs as she played it at the Princeton show I attended! This song, like so many of hers, captures exactly how I’m feeling, but this day in particular. And it’s a rerun of something I already saw. The world is like that all the time, kids. Just open your eyes and your mind.

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Squinting at a Mirror in the Early Morning Hours

Categories: A Day in the Life, But the Past Isn't Done with Us, Pre-Trip Posts, Quick Updates, The Agony of the Wait is the Agony of Debate, What Dreams May Come, Tags: , , , , ,

Two mornings ago, I awoke from a dream in which I’d been debating competitively and before an interventionist judge. At 7 minutes into an 8:30 speech, he told me “That’s seven minutes,” stopped flowing, and started flowing the remaining on-case arguments across. I continued to speak but got flustered, lost my train of thought, and, feeling derailed, sat down. He then started coaching the following speaker (the MO) through his speech. At a certain point of over-fond encouragement, I stood up, ripped off my sunglasses (because who doesn’t wear sunglasses while observing MOC’s?), threw them down to break on the floor, yelled “This round is under protest!”, and stormed toward the tab room. Wherein I lodged a formal complaint with a highly ironic person who happened to be running tab at that tournament.

This morning, I awoke from a dream in which I had to save a drowning child of indeterminate age (he was about six years old when standing next to his mother, but an infant once he hit the water) from murky algae in the waters beneath the enormous bridge that spans from Astoria, Oregon to the southwestern tip of Washington. The three of us were about to cross said bridge on foot, a recurring theme I have in dreams in the last couple years for no particularly good reason I can discern. Then the kid took a dive and the mother looked at me helplessly and I immersed myself in the muck through which I cannot swim in real life to fish the younger and younger child out and induce him to cough up the briny sea-river water he’d ingested.

I submit these vivid awakenings without much comment or interpretation – it mostly eludes me anyway, except to note that debate is on the brain in a way it’s rarely been at any time save perhaps my 50-tournament streak from 2000-2002. Even the drowning baby can probably be tied to debate discussions about when its morally compulsive to save such people. I’ve been meaning to compose a post for a while that’s as much excuse as interesting, about how much of the rest of my life is on hold as I sort out what an official and increasing commitment to debate looks like and how the rest of my existence sort of shifts around that weight. It’s almost like the organ-shifting that occurs during a pregnancy – how previously important functions like waste filtration and breathing take a slight back seat to incubating a living, breathing team. Maybe the metaphor doesn’t wash, but given the late impact on my health and other uses of time, it’s apt enough. And I’m fine with it – having to balance things against life as a professional debate coach is sort of the benchmark for “good problems to have”.

It’s sort of amusing to reflect on the New Year’s Resolutions I came up with just before 2011 in an epiphanic shower that I couldn’t wait to write about and how few of those seem relevant now. Constantly re-promised vows to pay more attention to this site and write more quizzes, of which a bit of work has been done but with seemingly less relevance and vigor. It’ll happen if it happens, I now must admit. The commitment to find a new city to live in, now indefinitely on hold. Even the devotion to the fourth novel, stalled out of the gate at a handful of pages after the negotiations and then formation of my new existence. And how it all folds together into a life so unplanned and unfathomed, stapled and duct-taped together but still managing to hold water somehow, as friends all around observe how impossible it is that Storey Clayton is committed to a life in New Jersey, alone.

Today we take the seven-plus-hour tour down to William & Mary, a school I don’t think I’ve been to since I was a patriotic seven-year-old freshly moved to Washington DC and absorbing all the information about the colonial days I possibly could. My parents bought me a green-and-gold sweatshirt of the school, my first-ever college paraphernalia, a reaction to my adoration for the most beautiful campus I could’ve comprehended, and I spent the next few years telling everyone that this would be my college of choice when the time came. Only a massive devotion to urban campuses took W&M off the list. Now, I return.

Once you get to this age, your whole life is spent in some sort of reflection.

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Reset

Categories: A Day in the Life, But the Past Isn't Done with Us, Politics (n.): a strife of interests masquerading, Pre-Trip Posts, Quick Updates, The Agony of the Wait is the Agony of Debate, The Long Tunnel, Tags: , , , , , ,

I don’t know whether I find it more remarkable that I haven’t been to the Brandeis campus in nearly four years already or that I haven’t posted here in over a week. Both of them strike in the way of sudden jolts punctuated by the morbid dread of rising tides. The nature of time and its passing being capable of swallowing whole swaths of time whole and rendering an empty landscape in its wake. The cold sinking fear that one could awaken at a certain molded age unaware of how the last few epochs even transpired.

It is a good problem to have, frankly, that I have been busy enough in the last few days to not notice minutes in their flight. Compared to the endless drone of ticking seconds in agonizingly steady progression of the prior few months, a session of too-full overwhelm is precisely what everyone was prescribing. And yet filling that prescription and cashing that check has prompted quick unanticipated concerns about how much time was endured in limbo and whether sufficient long-term decisions were made there. Uncertainty is not the favored state of most beings, but I am not most beings, by definition, nor do I share much with them. In the freedom/security balance, I have always been for not only closing Gitmo, but also opening all borders. I mean this in equal measures to be about my own life and everyone else’s.

It has been a good month, the first of a new age, and I mean that in a relatively unqualified stance. It has been a great month, considering, but even a good month on its own standalone merits. Any of the recently coined measures of quality of life, the leading emotional indicators of the current existence and stance thereon, are setting record highs and aiming for new barriers ahead of any prior sketched schedule. Time is not to be thanked for any of this, of course, but circumstances, though a skeptic could surely argue that one creates the other. Time in a vaccuum, though, I will always argue, does nothing without concrete tangible changes therein. And a vaccuum is where time seems to have been going, both micro and macro.

So I relish the return to alma mater, to a drive even that I perfected with love and deftness over the course of consecutive weekends. To replace the hat I gained in 2007 on last visit and lost somewhere along the way, along the journey from a literal picture of distilled happiness to a newly wandered path with destinations unknown and even less predictable. To sit in an unpredictable living room among old cohorts of this very campus and shake one’s head in wonder at the luge-like course of echoing time, of the dictates and mandates of sequential decisions that in narrow order make sense but sum to unheralded madness. How condemnatory I am of others in such downhill flight, yet how I must shrug and smile and stick my tongue out at its reflection in my own uncontrolled trajectory. How I know the difference to be a certain moral check (perhaps this is my sled, or my sled’s possession of a rudder), but this is more to mitigate the slopes and angles and not erase them entirely. Is it sufficient to enjoy the ride and the howl of the wind of relativity in one’s hurtling escape from the mountaintop? Or should the aim be to find time to reflect and direct while amidst a breakneck decline?

I am peeking through the helmet now, just briefly, before tucking and driving into the next hairpin turn. The exhilaration of having never seen this course, never practiced this run, is both what makes the effort irreplaceable and terrifying. There are no previews, no redos, no maps or graphs. There is something to be said for milisecond decisions replacing measured observation of the same blind corner, though. Ice is ice and tunnels are tunnels and there are only so many ways a course can turn or bend or tilt. In the end, the most we can do is steer our damndest and pray that the earth will stay flat, the supports stable, and that the bottom of the course is still above water.

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Drops

Categories: A Day in the Life, Quick Updates, The Long Tunnel, Tags: , ,

He tosses and turns in the vain effort to get to sleep. There is throbbing in his head, the natural consequence of this sort of upheaval, this sort of discombobulation of schedule and energy and the flailing inability to stay at rest for more than two-hundred and forty minutes at a time. It is a vicious cycle, the pain creating the need to sleep creating the need to awaken creating the pain. There is ticking in the background, the gentle click of time in its passage, meting out empty hours between newly filled hours that march for a hazy horizon gaining clarity but still no certainty whatsoever.

One never knows the exact moment that one falls asleep. It is the magical nature of losing consciousness that one is never around to feel it. One can beckon it or hasten it or trick oneself toward it, but one never gets to feel that precise moment of final drift into oblivion. The closest that can be reconciled is to awaken shortly after and realize that one had just drifted, to start-stop-start-stop and try to simulate the sensation by being aware of its close proximity. But this approximation only highlights the nature of awakening and not asleepening. Namely, surprise. One is always surprised to wake up, not merely because life is a gift, but because it indicates the news that one had fallen asleep, which till then had not officially registered with the office of consciousness.

He awakens to the comforting but unstable sounds of rain on the roof, thunder in the distance, the roil and tumult of running water on tin, asphalt, concrete, glass, marshy grass. The contrasting symphony of collisions blending into a familiar din that might be soporific were he not dealing with the fresh consciousness that predictably comes after four thin hours. There is renewal of the tossing and flipping, but he knows how this scene ends and eventually the covers are cast aside in something just better than disgust as he rises to face 3:52 in the morning and all that it implies.

I have yet to adjust to this life. To any part of it. I am awash in reflection, anticipation, appreciation, exhaustion, and resignation. Five parts, equal measure. I grow weary of even categorizing how I feel or what I hope for, but it’s automatic to the point where I can no longer even imagine how to avoid it. It’s nice to be too busy to notice, sometimes, fleetingly, but the schedule increases the impacts of the inevitable moments when not noticing is impossible. The next step will be reducing the headaches, or sleeping through the night, or finding a situation that can help me with either.

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Hello Dali: the Life and Times of a Surreal Week

Categories: A Day in the Life, Quick Updates, Telling Stories, Tags: , ,

Have barely a moment to update things, so this will have to be short and sweet. As regular readers will have noted from the string of Duck and Covers with no other content lately, it’s been an insanely busy week. Not only is it my first official stint on the job working officially for Rutgers University in a professional capacity, but we’re hosting the tournament this weekend, making everything that much more time-consuming and challenging. I love tournaments, I love running tournaments, and I most especially love running tab rooms, so there’s a lot of love for this weekend. But there’s also an incredible amount of preparation required and I’m just barely surfing the top crest of it.

As though notching the first week of my life as a pro Debate Coach weren’t surreal enough, today marked the announcement of the second round of the Amazon Breakthrough Novel Award contest advancers, a demarcation that culls 80% of the 5,000 entrants in the General Fiction category. For the second year in a row, I’m pleased to announce that a novel of mine (last year it was American Dream On; this year The Best of All Possible Worlds) has advanced. I was less sure about my pitch this year than last, but am much more confident about future rounds since the opening portion of this book is much tighter and less depressing than the start of ADO. Last year, I felt nervous about the first round and confident about second, though ADO ran into a stonewall of readers who only want things light and fluffy, no matter how much character development is thrown at them. This year, I was even more nervous about first and even less about second, so hopefully I’ll be in this thing for a while to come. Quarterfinalists will be announced on March 22nd.

Like before, the least I’ll get out of the contest is written feedback from two writers about the first few chapters of the book. The most I’ll get is a lot of publicity or… well, there’s always a chance of winning the thing. And given what the book is about and the unending surreality of my life right now, how could I rule it out? I’ve been due for some upside after the worst year of my life, but plenty of people who deserve good things don’t get them. I may never feel lucky again, quite, but I have to recognize that my life has been filled with incredible peaks and valleys. And who would I be if I didn’t yodel from the peaks?

Today is a good day, without reservation.

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It’s Wednesday

Categories: A Day in the Life, Let's Go M's, Quick Updates, The Agony of the Wait is the Agony of Debate, Tags: , , ,

Truly random musings, because it’s that kind of day and I’m in that kind of mood:

1. Life is a lot better when one isn’t in chronic tooth pain.
2. I’m really wildly excited about our tournament, now just nine days away. You should check out how much fun we’re having with our theme.
3. Yoga can be quite painful, especially for one’s head/neck. I am not trying to play with headstands any more.
4. In related news, I think there’s something wrong with my system when it’s held upside-down. I’ve always hated upside-down roller-coasters and last night my head felt much like it does after going on one. This may be related to migraines or just having a thin skull or something.
5. Baseball season is likely to increase quality of life soon. At least, until the M’s are 20 below .500, which will probably be about late May or mid-June.
6. I have/get to spend the weekend on the Princeton campus. This should be… interesting.
7. Computers seem to corrode my discipline. Showers enhance it. Food is a crapshoot.
8. I need to find a place to feed ducks regularly when spring comes. This is one of those random little aspects of life, like having an armchair or burning candles regularly or talking to people more, that is really easy to do and really ups my attitude about everything. I think at the end of life, it’s easy to ask why we didn’t fill our days with more tiny little enjoyable activities.
9. Most things seem worse in advance than they actually are. This should be the basis for fearlessness, especially in accumulation. Look back on all the things you dreaded and got through. Is life really worth dreading?
10. I think whenever I next get a pet, which could be years from now, it will be a rabbit. Preferably an English Spot:

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Dis Content

Categories: A Day in the Life, Metablogging, Quick Updates, The Agony of the Wait is the Agony of Debate, Tags: , , ,

The creation of some sort of winter theme has become almost as much of a staple on my blogs as the annual takeover by the ghosts and squash of Halloween. I like its colors, I like its feel and texture, I like having something that matches the exterior display of snow and now sleety slush that has been collected on my front yard just outside the office window.

I particularly like this year’s entry: that the titles are foggy and almost hard to discern against the backdrop of leafless trees and oversnowed shrubbery. The centerpiece here is Old Queen’s, the revered elder statesbuilding on campus that we’ve scored as the epicenter of our tournament in somewhat of coup that, once again, reflects Rutgers acknowledging debate as perhaps its foremost intercollegiate team. The tournament’s just over a month away already, a more valued spot on the schedule reflecting APDA’s recognition of our improved place in the world.

I toyed with the idea of trying to jumble together all the possible imagery of this time on a muddled canvas that might wholly embody the tangle of my mental frame at this juncture. A tunnel, a stack of books (both mine and others), a rising blue pyramid in the distance. But I like the simplicity of this more, the cold starkness of the reality. It is not a time, for better or worse, for collecting various possibilities and pulling them in. It is a time for breathing icy gusts of harsh air in, swallowing, and finding the strength to gulp again.

Bundle up!

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What I’ve Learned in the Last 48 Hours

Categories: A Day in the Life, But the Past Isn't Done with Us, Quick Updates, Read it and Weep, The Long Tunnel, Tags: , , , ,

There seems to be a directly proportional (or close) relationship between pain and learning. Or at least challenge and growth. Our muscles exist as a metaphor for the way we are supposed to advance ourselves. With the tearing of new wounds comes the opportunity for new advances. Now muscle tears may be more acceptable or reasonable than psychic rips. The paradox persists that even though pain is an opportunity for growth, it’s no reason to actually incite violence or cause pain to others. A reason to not despair at receiving such pain, however, it may be.

In any event, it’s been a heck of a ride lately. My Dad would probably claim that there are larger forces in the universe that made, say, the 13th a really difficult day and today much better. Maybe so, maybe so. But I like to think we all have a little something to do with our lives as well. And so I present some haphazard collections of platitudes that I’ve gleaned or reinforced in an intense two days:

  • I made the right decision in staying in Jersey for this year. I had long suspected this, but this trip has fully confirmed that New Brunswick is/was preferable to the available alternatives for the annum. This is very exciting, because people often make the right or good decisions and never get confirmation of their correctness. I’m lucky to have such early affirmation.
  • Teaching something is like a mantra or a prayer that reminds the teacher of the value of whatever one is teaching. Conveying something thus has almost as much value for the one conveying it as those hearing it for the first time. This also makes teaching something of a religious, or at least philosophical, exercise.
  • Thomas Pynchon just isn’t very good. He’s clever and occasionally hilarious, but I suspect a great deal of his success comes from incoherently talking above the heads of most of his reviewers, thus being received as brilliant for surpassing his capacity to be understood. I remember the same principle applying to some bafflingly successful debaters back in the day. Also probably applies to a number of philosophers. The one redeeming trait he has is capturing the sentiment of creeping universal paranoia that those who are paying attention to the universe may get from time to time, but there are ways he could do this without sacrificing cogency.
  • Computers have gotten a lot cheaper lately. Thanks, Recession.
  • It’s good to be impulsive sometimes.
  • It’s often easier to feel good about life when the weather is terrible outside. There’s a passage in the middle of Watership Down about why humans like winter when other animals don’t – because they get to feel safe and secure and insulated from the dangers the season of bad weather brings. To expand this idea, it may often be easier to feel good in opposition to something than in favor of it.
  • Not just because of the above, Seattle is starting to look really promising for 2011-2012.
  • When in doubt, reach out.

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Budget Update: October 2010

Categories: A Day in the Life, Quick Updates, Tags: ,

There are a lot of one-time costs associated with this chart that are hopefully more inflated than they’ll regularly be. Suffice it to say that I overspent this month by a decent, though not atrocious margin. Still, this included bills for kidney stone procedures (had a doozy of one come in during debate last night, which was exactly as much fun as you’d guess) and Prius service and upfront costs for my cell phone and this website.

Of course, all of this will matter a bit less if I manage to get that job. Though then the transportation costs will also spike. Everything in life is about trade-offs. Hopefully ones that still outpace their drawbacks.

Goal for November: get Recreation above 1.4%.

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Ellipsis

Categories: A Day in the Life, Quick Updates, The Long Tunnel, Tags: , ,

I’ve been up for almost a day now and I’m ready to get unconscious again. I’ve been waiting to have something wise or summarative or conclusive about the day, but that’s not working any better than me having something like that to feel about my life generally. There are no conclusions – there is only time in its impervious march toward oblivion.

Shortly after walking home from the soup kitchen early this afternoon, I came upon a couch exactly one block from my home. It was outside, ratty, retaining a little water from the morning’s rains, but perfectly suitable. It seemed like a heartening sign, though I was so downtrodden. But soon I discovered that the timing was bad for people to help me with it, and by the time they could, the couch was gone. Who knows why it was outside? Bedbugs, possibly, or the holes and tears were more systemic than I thought. It probably wasn’t worth the trouble. But the appearance of the couch, initially seeming a metaphor, paled in comparison to the metaphor of its rapid subsequent disappearance.

I am impossibly tired, the kind of tired when it seems legitimately challenging to walk from one’s desk chair to one’s bed. And yet I revel in the idea, because sleep has become my refuge. I just can’t tell you how bizarre that is for me. In a life turned upside-down, the consistent desire for sleep may be the most obvious evidence thereof.

Miles walked today: 5.5

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Back to the Beans

Categories: A Day in the Life, Pre-Trip Posts, Quick Updates, The Agony of the Wait is the Agony of Debate, Tags: , , ,

Boston, it’s been a while.

Today is slated to mark my first return to the city I lovingly call The Beans since a 2006 trip to compete with Emily in the Boston University tournament four years after our graduation. Wouldn’t you know that this weekend will be my first return to APDA-style competition as well? I guess I’m not allowed in Boston unless I’m going to debate.

The Harvard tournament never traditionally smiled on me much in my four-year tenure, though Zirkin’s and my trip to semifinals in 2000 would have been fine had we not run into perhaps the least enjoyable case I ever hit in my life in said round. Other visits included missing Saturday by oversleeping in ’98, getting tanked by a capricious judge all the way to being the bottom 4-1 in ’99, and visiting the 1-2 bracket in ’01. Remarkably, it’s not expected to rain the whole weekend, which may be a first not only in my experience of the Big H’s tourney, but in its entire history.

Here’s hoping that Harvard goes better all around for my young charges from another big red letter, the R. And it wouldn’t hurt for Jake Campbell (BU ’10) and I to have a little luck on Sunday too. For details on the competition, you can read this.

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…It Pours

Categories: A Day in the Life, All the Poets Became Rock Stars, Quick Updates, The Long Tunnel, Tags: , , ,

This is getting absurd.

The Counting Crows show was a great experience overall, despite manifesting as an emotional woodchipper that forced me to hysterical tears during at least six songs. I’ll write up that whole situation at some point – I was excited to post the setlist and review after spending a first night here in Princeton.

Turns out I wasn’t so lucky. I went to sleep with a good deal of pain in my left side and it was so excruciating at 5:00 in the morning that it woke me up. I spent a panicky half-hour wanting to throw up and being unable to, then looking up appendicitis, discovering my pain was on the wrong side, and still being concerned anyway. I wound up deciding to head to the ER. After all, no one’s here living with me to talk down from the ledge or reassure me or offer me anything anymore.

Turns out, five hours of hospital later, including my first-ever CAT scan and first-ever IV, that I have kidney stones. Yeah. Also known as perhaps the only human experience more painful than childbirth. Because that’s what I needed about now. A good old-fashioned medical walloping. Hooray.

Lots more doctor’s visits to come to determine why I’m getting them and what I can do to mitigate. If you need me, I’ll be ducking and covering under the bed and trying not to blink.

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Public Service Announcement

Categories: A Day in the Life, Politics (n.): a strife of interests masquerading, Quick Updates, Tags: , ,

If you haven’t seen it already, please immediately proceed to your local video/DVD rental dispensary, be it brick-and-mortar or online, and watch “The Corporation”. If you have to, download it from somewhere. I’m sure the movie’s creators wouldn’t mind.

It apparently came out in 2003, but it looks like it was just produced yesterday. If anything, its being seven years old justifies a little bit of its naivete in places, though it usually counterbalances this with an appropriate amount of cynicism. It prominently features Howard Zinn, Noam Chomsky, Michael Moore, and Naomi Klein. It has probably never been more relevant than it is right now, in the wake of the BP spill, at a time when it seems like many are starting to understand the depths of the problems innate to capitalism.

Unless, you know, it gets more relevant in 2011 and 2012. Which I’m afraid it will.

We now return you to your regularly scheduled Thursday night.

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Leave this Website!

Categories: A Day in the Life, Pre-Trip Posts, Quick Updates, Upcoming Projects, Tags: , , ,

Not much time to post at the moment, but hopefully yesterday’s gave you something to chew on. If not, and you can’t get enough of playing Pac-Man on Google, my Dad is apparently considering selling his Pac-Man table if the price is right.

In any case, the main point of this post is to get you to go off-site, but specifically to two key sites from the women in my life.

The first is my wife’s new blog. Those familiar with past efforts may be the slightest bit cynical, but this is likely to stick since she’s blogging specifically about her upcoming internship in Liberia. Given the massive lack of distractions in Liberia and the overwhelming fascination the trip itself will likely inspire, I’d say it’s going to be a mighty interesting series of posts, assuming the internet stays up. So stay tuned there.

The other site is my mom’s sock doll auction to benefit KUNM, the Albuquerque NPR station. For those of you who’ve seen her adorable sock dolls, this is a chance to get two for the price of whatever the ABQ public deems appropriate while benefiting a good cause! Pretty neat all around.

The blog runs through the end of the summer (at least) and the auction runs through June 6th.

And I’ve gotta run because we’re going to Philly and DC for a whirlwind weekend before Em ships out Wednesday.

And if you want to leave not only this web site, but web sites altogether, may I recommend you head to the Barrow Street Theatre and watch Our Town? Em and I did last night and it was a religious experience. Seriously.

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Ghost of Christmas Past

Categories: A Day in the Life, But the Past Isn't Done with Us, Let's Go M's, Quick Updates, Telling Stories, The Agony of the Wait is the Agony of Debate, Tags: , , , , ,

Who would’ve thought that a day in, I’d be almost missing April?

Since writing my last post, I have:

  • Had a migraine, making April’s total fourteen.
  • Developed some strange but persistent non-migrainous pain and possibly swelling in the soft tissue over my right ear.
  • Gone to a “Prom” held for students in Emily’s program.
  • Watched the M’s cough up a game where they had the bases loaded with one out in the bottom of back-to-back extra innings.
  • Judged the 102nd Harvard/Princeton/Yale Triangular Debate, specifically a Princeton-hosted match against Harvard.
  • Written 17 pages of The Best of All Possible Worlds.
  • Finally bought a new batch of coffee to test my bad-batch theory for the April Migraine Spike.
  • Run – almost literally – into my second girlfriend on the street in Princeton. Yes, that one. No words (or blows) were exchanged.
  • Discovered that said girlfriend and her husband have been living less than a mile and a half away since we moved here.
  • Watched the film adaptation of Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, which I loved and Em hated.
  • Finished reading 2666 by Roberto Bolaño, a novel which is neither about 2666 nor is finished.

I think it can all best be summed up in four words:

My head is spinning.

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