Tuesday, March 25, 2008


In case you missed it in my last post: I got into Syracuse. I'm not exactly jumping up and down about this development. I got my letters about a week and a half ago and the feeling I experienced as I retrieved the envelopes could best be described as "dread".

The issue here I think is motivation. I decided to apply to grad school towards the end of summer because I was pissed at how awful work was...at that point. Actually, it was going to be law school that I was going to focus on since I had an LSAT score that was set to expire. I also wanted to try to create some leverage with Tom to see if maybe, just maybe, my job might get turned into a real position. Of course, both Tom and I knew that applying leverage to the top of the boulder isn't going to cause it to move. It wasn't until the drive to the Pittsburgh tournament that Tom and I discussed the issue further. We eventually settled on the idea that perhaps grad school would be a better fit -- despite the obvious consequence of me having to leave the lanes.

I was still waffling on whether or not to apply, despite taking the GRE over Fall Break. I ended up seeing a therapist shortly after Thanksgiving due to some emotional and stress related issues. During the course of our first meeting, she suggested that I follow through with applying so that I could confront a fear of rejection that seemed to be coming up as a recurring theme in our discussions.

Syracuse did not hold up on its end of the "confrontation". I thoroughly did not expect to get in and I'm still a little surprised that I got into both programs I applied for. Honestly, I feel like Syracuse is calling my bluff, which...crap.

What sucks is that, despite the setback of last summer (which I know this summer is not going to be a repeat), I REALLY like my job. But it still isn't a real job and I don't know if I can afford it. But is the best alternative to take on what could be $40,000 of additional student debt? I haven't really told a lot of people yet about getting into Syracuse, mainly because the people who do know ave expressed their concerns about "what happens next"? "I don't know" doesn't put them at ease, specifically Tom.

James and I had a pretty lengthy discussion about the situation this afternoon. He brought up the good point that if I enjoy what I'm doing so much, why stop doing it? I confided in him that when I go to visit the campus next week, I secretly hope that I hate it there and see nothing but red flags. And then the fire alarms went off. My job still holds surprises.

I hate this -- I really don't know what to do. I have until May 1st to send in my matriculation deposit. It's going to be a challenging five weeks. Any feedback would be appreciated.

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Wednesday, March 19, 2008


So the always awesome Kathy has been blogging about her adventures in the realm of ritualized dieting and I think it is high time that I update about my own adventures.

It began with an epiphany of sorts during staff training last August. The first day of First Year Orientation is also the same day that the entire staff meets for the first time to go over procedures and introductions. One of the odd things about this year is that, up until February 29th, the days and dates this year matched up with my first year back in 2001 (I'm not an FTL! I'm launching, I swear!). For some reason, this bit of nostalgic trivia was bubbling on the back burner of my mind as I looked over the staff. The overly-athletic-or-at-least-otherwise-trim-staff. And then there was me. Back in 2001, I was under doctor's advisement that I needed to lose some of my 240 pounds, which, thanks to avoiding evil roommate and a co-op diet that included poorly cooked kale, I was able to do. I think the lowest I ever got was 205 by the middle of my first year - a number I gradually crept away from as the years moved on.

Although I did try going to the gym a bit more (as in, ever) during the fall, my motivation wasn't really where it needed to be. Specifically, the mantra "get thin for him" which...no. I'm sure there were tiny results, but nothing that counterbalanced the constant dining out and weekends spent with TiVo and Pepsi. It wasn't until I started getting information about this year's class reunions that I realized a major shift was needed. You see, this year's 5-year reunion is for the 02-03-04 cluster of grads. In other words, all the older cool kids when I was a bright-eyed first year. Thinking back to people who may have last seen me in 2002, I could honestly see their reaction being "wow, he really let himself go." Not really the best way to kick off reminiscing.

Oddly, I haven't treated that perception as a mantra during this process. Basically, I'm using Alumni Weekend as the end-date goal, which is so much more helpful than an open-ended process. Right now I'm just trying to get under 200 and I'm getting pretty close. I was at about 230 in December and, as of this morning, I'm down to 207. I'm less intimidated by the weight room, though I'm still befuddled by a number of the machines. Still, I'm learning, which is good. My endurance is much higher than I think it has ever been and I'm not dreading the process the way I have in the past.

There is one disadvantage I am noticing. I have this pair of pants that I call my "hot pants" (boot-cut jeans from H&M, NOT booty shorts) which I used to pull out for special occasions or when I want to create the effect of sausage casing. They have now entered my regular rotation because they are the only ones that fit me comfortably now - the rest are a bit too loose. I am also in need of new belts - partly because I am apparently too abusive to some, partly because a couple are too big and there aren't any more notches. Money is tight at the moment, so a new wardrobe isn't really an option at the moment. But I'm making progress. I just need a belt.

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Friday, March 14, 2008


With March Madness approaching, I'm actually finding myself anxious about selection Sunday and going into Bracketology discussions about a subject that I really know nothing about. Last year my pick of Albany going all the way to the Final Four was described as "Ballsy" in a "Bless his heart" kind of way. Although I actually enjoy watching college sports, I find rallying behind teams almost impossible -- and I hold my education fully responsible.

I have come out on the loser end of the mascot lottery since kindergarten. I went to Woodworth for K-4 where we were the Hornets. Since inter-school competition doesn't really start until 5th grade it's a little difficult to get jazzed about a purple and gold bug when there's nothing to root for. I spent fifth grade at Henry Ford Elementary where we were the Pintos. Theoretically, we explode on the basketball court -- usually with the lightest of impacts. Moving on to middle school, we were the Stout Falcons, a place where I got fat and had my soul pecked away by predatory birds. Boo metaphorical interpretations.

While most of the people at Stout moved on to Edsel Ford (the same namesake for the car), I moved on to Fordson where we were, wait for it, the Tractors! Because at the time the school was built, the Fordson Tractor was one of the most popular Ford products. Fifteen years earlier and we could have been the Model-T's. How do you rally behind a piece of farm equipment? I suppose it was somewhat fitting that I went on to Oberlin to become a Yeoman. Not because of the farm connection, but because of the "what the hell kind of mascot is that?" question.

The evolution continues. This morning I received my decision letters from Syracuse. I got in to both the Advertising and Television Studies programs. It still hasn't fully sunk in yet that once I send my deposit check I will be an Orangeman. Not orange the color, orange the fruit. For a school in Upstate New York. The student webpages are referred to as "MySlice". There is an orange with a couple of leaves at the top of the Financial Aid page. Dan speculated that it was along the same lines as the Stanford Cardinals: not the bird or the religious figure, but the color Cardinal Red.

I'm sure there are worse mascots out there. They just better not screw up my bracket.

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Tuesday, March 11, 2008


So I got an e-mail from the Syracuse Financial Aid office today. It told me all about how to access my portfolio and see how much debt I will accumulate. Potentially. I still have not received a decision letter and it looks like this e-mail was sent to all applicants. Why must you toy with me, oh Orange ones?

I'm getting antsy. As your calendar has likely informed you, we are transitioning from "beginning of March" to "mid-March", the time when decision letters will be mailed. It's been well over a month since I submitted my application and it's been a patient waiting game through February. I still have no idea where I stand in terms of getting in and I just want to know so I can figure out if I need to plan a move or not. Honestly, I'm totally okay with not getting in, as I have renewed my infatuation with my job and current life situation. What I'm not okay with is waiting to check my mail every day to see if my letters have arrived while getting electronic mixed signals from the school.

At worst, I have another e-mail address for the time being. What is with me and mixed signals? Gah.

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Thursday, March 6, 2008


You know that John Cusack movie where he holds the stereo over his head and that Peter Gabriel song starts playing and everyone in the audience, dudes included, get all "squee!"? Big romantic moment, right? But imagine if another song were playing, like, I don't know, The Beatles' "Run for Your Life" or something. Instantly fucking creepy. Oddly, the way that romantic obsessive love and creepy stalkerish obsessive love can be conveyed cinematically are somewhat similar: standing outside the house of the object of affection in the rain, staring at their window as s/he thinks "if only..." The major difference: if there's lightning, call the cops.

Anyway, I've been thinking about that duality lately and I'm in the process of working on a mix invoking that theme. I'm calling it Coming on a Little Strong. I'm combing my iTunes right now trying to pick out songs that are super romantic/sweet/squee and then I'll comb that list for ones that, if listened to with a flip in perspective, can be...uncomfortable. Let me give you a few examples:

#1 Crush ~ Garbage
Ring of Fire ~ Johnny Cash (the link has an awesome story about the writing of the song)
Obsession ~ Animotion
Daughters ~ John Mayer (why do I have this song, anyway?)

I've got quite a bit more combing to do, as I'm still in the J's ("so here I am...with OOOOOOOOOPEN ARRRRRRRMS..."), but I'm curious what suggestions y'all might have. As you can see there is a range in terms of subtlety (I'm looking at you Animotion) and I'm sure there are some that are so obvious that I've just passed them without thinking.

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Tuesday, March 4, 2008


For about the last week and a half, I've been feeling like I'm riding on the edge of falling into a bad patch lifewise. Things have been going okay for the most part, great even, but I just have this sense of foreboding not unlike the sighting of the Big Gray Ass Cloud on the horizon every October.

I've been making some positive changes in my life that are actually reaping benefits. I've stopped drinking pop and have been more or less off the stuff for about a month. The only exceptions were a disgusting cream soda that I tried a couple weeks ago (they did come in nice bottles) and a can of Cherry Vanilla Blue Sky, also kinda gross. I've developed tunnel vision at the grocery store, essentially avoiding the junk aisles and hanging out in the produce section and the deli. I've focused more on exercising, be it rocking out on DDR or going to the gym. I'm losing weight, if the gym scale is to be believed, and have made a surprising amount of progress. Hockey is helping too, especially this past class. We had our first scrimmage, and my first interaction as a defenseman almost broke out into a hockey fight. I've got some good bruises going on.

But there is still the foreboding. This morning I woke up early (another benefit, as my Blood/High Fructose Corn Syrup Content is much lower and not causing insomnia) so I could take my car in to have the brakes checked. As I described it to the woman at Midas when I made my appointment yesterday, the breaks are grinding and they just sound unhappy. Anyway, I turn on the computer and my cell phone. My cell phone has no service and an unregistered SIM. Great. You see, I decided to switch phone companies and get a new phone (QWERTY phone, woot!) and keep my number. The number transfer went through, but I don't actually have the new phone yet. Great. I check the UPS tracking and the phone is "out for delivery". This is good news, except for: I have to drop off my car at 9:30 and have no way of changing my appointment since I can't call Midas; the only way Midas can contact me is through my work number, so I have to stay at the lanes; if UPS doesn't have a key to get into my building, they have no way of reaching me since the doorbell phone calls my cell phone (which they are delivering). Oh, and everything is frozen over because it's Ohio. Awesome.

I got the call about my car at about 10:30. The woman was very nice, though when she broke the news about what was wrong and how much it was going to cost she delivered it the same way that a vet would tell you that your six week old puppy will have to be put down. I guess this is why I have a savings account, but geez.

I'm still skirting that edge, but one push and it's going to be a hard fall.

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