What I need.

Posted in General on April 18th, 2010 by josh

Well, I suppose it’s about time for an update:

Friends are leaving, someone I care about is leaving, change is happening all around from the pieces I don’t care about any longer to the things close to my heart and in my soul. Change is even happening to me, but it’s small compared to the kind of change I really need. My need is for a change in scenery. It needs to be a change that’s so drastic that who I am today is like some sort of strange dream. I don’t go to bars and clubs any more. I don’t care for what I used to. I don’t want to go out, hook up, be the scene or any of that stuff that was so important for my twenties. It’s been like this for awhile, but I’m just starting to wonder: What do I do instead?

One plan is to get an RV and live in it. I’m actually working towards the plan now. I’m saving up and am learning some programming so I can work from anywhere. My ideal situation is to be in the deserts of Montana. I’ll work as I feel like it and otherwise spend my time following other pursuits while the large sky and lack of people and chaos I can no longer handle lets my mind slow down.

I think I’ve written about this before, but it feels relevant to this post as well as my life in general. When I used to do ballet in my teen years, I was once at the studio. I was the only person there except for the instructor and piano player. After my class, the piano player and I were talking. He said he could read palms, so I asked him to read mine. He said, “You will have a very long and full life, but you’ll end up alone”.
Now, I don’t know if I’m making that come true or if it’s actually happening, but I have such a hard time taking anything with almost anyone to the “next level”. The one’s who work out have other things going on and it keeps them from being with me. The one’s who don’t work out, well, they just don’t work out.
Besides the RV dream, I have a dream of companionship. Real and lasting companionship in which we do things together but are not co-dependent. And by doing things together, I mean we get to share our lives, homes, beds and selves until we grow old.

I want it and need it.

I see life as a flowing river and we are bits or maybe the water floating or flowing down it. We’re going to get to the lake or ocean eventually, but during the journey, we’ll be hitting all sorts of things and turning over and over. I have enjoyed the Universe carrying me through and have rarely pushed back to go a certain direction, but it’s time for me to make a little more effort and swim in a direction I want to go.
So far, I’ve pushed back a little. It’s been primarily self-improvement.
I’ve definitely (and finally) become comfortable with myself thanks to Bikram Yoga and other exercise, eating right, sleeping, minimizing my things and mental processes along with other practices.
Next is to ask the Universe for everything to work out so the companionship I want and need works out in a way that is best for me and my partner.

Being present in relationships & with yourself

Posted in General, SimpleFocus.org on March 23rd, 2010 by josh

This is from my second post on my other blog: simplefocus.org

A lot of relationships I’ve been in generally end up like this:
We spend a lot of time together doing things. In the downtime, we hang out and watch tv or sit around doing things on our computers.

It’s nice to work on your projects and enjoy downtime with someone you’re seeing, but I’ve only had one relationship where these kinds of things didn’t happen.
That pattern goes like this: We see each other between 1 and 3 times a week and each time, the computer is put away, there’s no TV on. We cook, eat and spend time together. There are no distractions because there’s only one thing to focus on, and it’s more important than anything else: Each other.

Looking back over all the those focused times, I see those interactions as the building blocks of a complete and wonderful relationship. I can remember all the times with a clarity that most of my other relationships don’t have.
Of course, there are going to be times when two people are going to just want to hang out while doing other things, but those moments should not be the norm. That stuff can be done when there isn’t a person you like or love sitting next to you. Time is precious and life is short. The people in your life who are present at a specific moment deserve 100% of your attention.

This morning, during my drive to work, I was listening to the NPR program, To the best of our Knowledge. The subject was about noise. A woman being interviewed talked about her practice over that last 17 years of being completely silent every first and third Monday.
One of the things she has learned is that we feel almost obligated to remain busy.
We have constant self-imposed distractions, such as checking email, websites, listening to podcasts, music or whatever. It’s rare that we take a moment to just be quiet.
I started thinking about relationships in which both people remain present with each other while listening to this program. After a while, I narrowed down my thoughts about this topic to myself, or the individual.
I was thinking that the wonderful feeling of clarity you can share with someone can be felt with yourself if you just give yourself the same kind of undivided attention.
If we can take actual time for ourselves; real time where we don’t watch, listen, read and/or produce something, we can start to build relationships with ourselves.

Just start being present with yourself. Set aside blocks of time to sit in silence or to walk and feel your body and watch your thoughts roll by. As time goes on, you will gain a sense of clarity and understanding of yourself. This practice can build a person up from the inside out and create an inner focus and confidence that others will instinctively pick up.
I believe that if we can pull ourselves away from the need to be doing ten things at once and just give ourselves 100% of the attention, we can become fully realized who and what we are. This will carry over into all kinds of relationships, whether they are intimate, professional, friendly or casual. You’ll know what your body and mind need instead of blindly fumbling through the world surrounded by visual, spatial and auditory noise.

Be present with yourself and the rest will follow.

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Cryptic sad post…

Posted in General on February 28th, 2010 by josh

Been really sad lately. A change with what feels like an uncertain outcome is coming in my life and I have no power over it. It’s not the loss of power, but the change that makes me sad.
I’ve been trying so hard to just focus on getting ready for my show and working, but it’s difficult right now.
Work is still a great job and I have great friends and everything, but I just feel lonely because this one major thing in my life is changing. It makes it harder when I’m supposed to just go to work and be a normal person. I want a big change as well.
I’ve finally found something I’ve been searching for for a long time but soon it’ll be far away. Maybe everything will still be fine with some work, but it sucks.
Additionally, it’s kind of messing with my living situation. I’ve been loving living in my place in Oakland for a year now after having a hard time with it the year before, but not knowing anyone else in Oakland has left me feeling isolated and sad. With this change, I can see my home once again becoming a place that I want to avoid, but it’s not like it used to be when I used to want to avoid it. This time, there’s nowhere else that I can go to feel comfortable. I don’t want to move to SF, nor do I want to move somewhere else in the east bay. I don’t want to be in the south bay just so I can be closer to work. I don’t think I want to be anywhere near here. I think it would be best if I went to another place far away to give me what I want. I don’t think I can come home anymore when things actually change.

Still, I’m hopeful and will definitely be putting forth the effort to remain happy.

Change of schedule, other updates

Posted in General on February 23rd, 2010 by josh

In Jan, I changed work schedules. I used to work noon to 11 pm, but now I work 6 am – 5 pm and it’s awesome. When I sleep in, it’s only until 8 am.

Other things:
Music is going. I’m preparing for a show in about 2 weeks.
Work is fine.
I’m going to try snowboarding for the first time this Thursday.
My parents are flying to New Zealand on Sunday. I’m hoping I’ll be able to join them for a week. My sister, her husband and their friend are already out there to continue their ‘around-the-world’ sailboat trip. They took a little break for about 7 months so they could get home, work and save some more money, but now they’re back. I think they might be heading out into the water in a month or so. Meanwhile, my parents will be staying in a rented RV. If I can get out there, I’ll be camping.

Bike ride

Posted in General on December 4th, 2009 by josh

I got a new bike about two weeks ago and haven’t really had the chance to take it out for a proper ride until today.

I used a program on my iphone to record all sorts of things about the ride. Unfortunately, I didn’t turn it on until maybe 1.5 hours into the ride. Here’s what I did record:

east bay ride 12/4/09 (Road Biking) | Berkeley, CA, USA

A MILLION DOLLARS….sheesh!

Posted in General on October 23rd, 2009 by josh

Today, I spent so much money on just my car.
My registration expired about 6 months ago, but for some reason, I was slacking on getting it done. Even after all that time, I wasn’t pulled over or stopped by any officers until last Tues. An officer pulled me over in Menlo park for the registration, but he said I had a warrant for some sort of traffic violation in SF and gave me a new court date instead of arresting me (which was very nice of him).

The next day, I was in the police blotter. The day after that, my police blotter thing was in one of the newspapers. That’s fantastic..
It said I was arrested, even though I wasn’t.

Then, driving home last night, I was pulled over again. This time, the officer took a look at my previous ticket and let me go. Both officers were very nice, but I’ve had enough. I transferred $800 from my IRA sometime last week and it finally became available today.
This morning, I paid a bunch of way overdue parking tickets. Then I went and got my smog test done. After that, I went to the DMV cause I wanted the sticker now, not next week. One of the tickets I paid this morning was included on my bill for the registration, so I paid it twice. The DMV person said I had to go to the Oakland parking division to get a refund, so now, after all those tickets, the smog test and the big registration fee, I’m out $902. Holy crap.

All this is especially terrible given that I got a red light violation in Menlo park sometime in Aug. I paid it in Sept. It was about $500, which is ridiculous. The worst part is that I remember the light was yellow when I went through it. However, the video I watched of me going through the light shows it as red for a few seconds before I even got to the light. I still have to finish traffic school and take a test in front of a notary public before Dec.

Still to deal with:

  1. Two parking tickets I couldn’t find online
  2. Two NEW parking tickets (one for an expired registration and one for street cleaning). To be paid after 11/1/09.
  3. My warrant court date and $290 fee. To be dealt with by late Nov.
  4. Finding an officer to dismiss my the registration ticket the officer gave me.
  5. Finish traffic school for the red light violation (I hate menlo park).
  6. Take traffic school test in front of notary public.

….and then to make it just a little more special, I get to do Alameda county Jury Duty in Nov. Basically, I get to visit all sorts of state government offices and have a lack of money. Prematurely withdrawing from my IRA is not really something I like, but it really helped me. I paid a lot of money cause of some stupid mistakes, but I’m almost back to normal.

9/23/09 – Third day back

Posted in Travel, Trip to Europe-Sept.2009 on September 23rd, 2009 by josh

Cough is almost gone. Throat still hurts a little. Was super tired driving from work last night, but made it without having to stop. I can feel my jet lag waning and my spirts rising.
Funny thing: I discovered that I have 33 hours of vacation left. I thought I had none. If I knew that before, I would have stayed a few more days. Oh well…more for next year.

9/22/09 – Second day back

Posted in Travel, Trip to Europe-Sept.2009 on September 22nd, 2009 by josh

Still fuzzy. Still have a cough. Body and mind are confused. Doesn’t help that my office has no windows. It was a beautiful day outside and I wanted to enjoy it.
Ended up going for an easy run at work during lunch. Did some sit-ups and pull-ups on the course. I think that helped a lot.

9/21/09 – Back to work

Posted in Travel, Trip to Europe-Sept.2009 on September 21st, 2009 by josh

Work was slightly odd. Things changed a little with how we work, as they do almost everyday. It took me a long time to really catch up. Felt very confused and fuzzy all day. Didn’t take a lunch so I could leave early, but ended up not leaving early. As I was driving home, I was so tired that I had to pull off for a little nap. Woke up after a minute or two, wondering where the hell I was and eventually found my way to the freeway.

9/20/09, Salzburg to Frankfurt Airport to Calgary to SFO

Posted in Travel, Trip to Europe-Sept.2009 on September 20th, 2009 by josh

Street in Salzburg

Street in Salzburg

00:00 – At the hotel:
Arriving at the hotel after our trip to the bar, I bought 3 beers and a bottle of water for the trip. The bar was actually closed, but it’s a small hotel and there was one lady in attendance. She happily sold me the drinks. The water was in a beautiful glass bottle, but it was heavy. I decided to bring it with me and I’d keep the bottle as a souvenir.
Rob was going to rest a bit and then ride with me to the train station when I left in about 2 hours. I turned the tv on to chill for a bit and we watched Resident Evil 4 in German while I drank another beer. He passed out and I drifted in and out. Eventually, I woke up, took a shower and then got my stuff ready. Rob still wanted to ride with me, so he came downstairs. The hotel exit door was locked and the lady was nowhere to be found. It was the kind of lock where you had to use the key on either side. It caused me a little bit of a panic since my train departed in about 10 minutes (the train station was not far). I found the lady sleeping in the community room and woke her. I suggested that Rob stay because he may not be able to get back in so we hugged and said goodbye. I thanked the lady and rode my bike to the train station. The bike rental place was almost at the station. I locked it up and put the key in the key drop box and walked the last bit to the station and got on my train.

02:00 – Train 1:
The train attendant helped me find my reserved seat. It was one of these cool train rooms that lock with curtains over the windows. A girl was in the room trying to sleep, so I tried to stay as quiet as possible while I layed down on my side of the compartment. I slept off an and on for about maybe an hour during the 4 hour trip. At some point, a woman came into the room speaking German. I said “No sprechen ze deutsch” and she repeated in English that she had a reserved spot in the room. I moved over so she could come in.
As I was wondering how I would get rest sitting instead of lying down, the girl who’d been in the room the whole time pulled her seat and the seat across together to meet and create a bed. I did the same thing and was able to sleep longer.
After about 4 hours, my alarm went off and I started collecting myself together. We stopped a few minutes later at Stuttgart train station and I got off the train.

06:00 – Train 2:
Got on the train to Mannheim train station. Decided I was over having my beers and left them in the cabin.
When we arrived, I had about a minute to find the next train and get on it.

07:00 – Train 3:
ICE train. Just barely made it on the right train to Frankfurt airport.

Flying over Frankfurt

Flying over Frankfurt

08:30 – Frankfurt Airport:
Got my ticket, went through security, customs and walked a long time. Got some coffee and a pastry and sat for a few minutes before walking onto plane.
My seat was fairly far back, but I had a window. The flight was long. We did an arch up north, across greenland and down into Calgary. I watched two movies: ‘The Hangover’ and ‘Angels and Demons’ while drifting in and out of a very light and uncomfortable sleep. They served us two amazing meals. My first meal was sausage and sauekraut at the beginning of the flight. The second was vegetarian dumplings towards the end of the flight.

Flying over Calgary

Flying over Calgary

9 hours later:
We landed really fast. It’s the fastest landing I ever remember experiencing and was a bit scary. They people on the plane applauded when we slowed enough to feel comfortable.

The plane was late and I had 1 hour to make my connection.
I learned very quickly that: the way it works going from International to the US through Canada is lame.

You have to walk really far, go through Canadian customs and immigration, back through airport security and finally through US Customs. The lines were long and I would have missed my flight if I hadn’t asked every single person in line if they would mind if I skip ahead of them. Almost everyone was nice about it, but a few people gave me attitude – not because they were late, but just because they didn’t like someone cutting in front of them. One guy even said to me, “You know, some people mind” as I asked him. I said, “That’s why I’m asking everyone before I step in front of them in line. It’s what the customs official told me to do.” He smiled one of those shitty smiles you get from someone that wants a fight and I asked the person in front of him if I could skip ahead and on I went. Eventually, I made it to a very nice woman who said she didn’t mind, but “those people” do (as she pointed to a couple). They refused to let another woman pass who was also on my flight and doing the same thing as me. Fortunately, we were almost at the front.

The US customs lady grilled me about my trip. She asked what I bought that cost $80 (I put that down on my declaration form). I told her about the Beer Stein (awesome german cup) I bought. She seemed suspicious, but dismissed it. She also asked where I worked. It sounded almost made up when I told her because, right behind her was a large poster of people from the place I work. I felt strange saying it because I wasn’t supposed to mention it while out of the country and was still in the mode of saying I work somewhere else, so my voice kind of faltered. Eventually she let me pass. As I was walking away, she yelled, “Is that ALL the luggage you have?”, referring to my single backpack. I said yes and she said ok. I walked on through and to my plane just in time.

Coming into SF!

Coming into SF!

The plane was one of those really small ones. I was in the very last seat on the left. My window was murky so I couldn’t really see out and the space was tiny. I stayed engrossed in my PSP and tried to sleep a little for the 2 hour ride so I wouldn’t notice how small a space I was in or how bumpy the ride was. After what felt like 5 hours, we landed really hard in SFO. It wasn’t scary though, because I’ve landed much harder. I’m pretty sure our pilot was former air force by the demeanor of his voice and the language he used. That made me more comfortable the whole trip. He flew the airplane more like someone who flew in combat and has to tone it down a little. I prefer that because it makes me feel like he knows an aircrafts limits and can handle it well.

15:30 – SFO:
Pulled money out of the ATM. It looked weird.
Got on BART, went home, did laundry and went to Trader Joes. Was practically dreaming with my eyes open since I’d been up for 40 hours.