Improve Thyself

I’m back home now, freshly and officially divorced. Freya is adjusting well to her new home. Maybe it’s just shellshock, but I feel pretty resolved, finally… the actual divorce (all 5 minutes of it) seemed to bring a certain amount of closure, which is appreciated. Despite all the stress and tension over the past few months, Mickey and I managed to part friends, and I wish her the best with her life.

As for me, I’m on a bit of a self-improvement kick. I’ve hung out with usual crowd the past two nights (since I got back), and I’m just not feeling like I’m fitting in, and I’m kind of ready to get into a more productive mode. Even girl watching isn’t all that appealing right now. I just want to dive into all the things I’ve wanted to do, but didn’t for various reasons. I purchased my books for the upcoming semester yesterday from Amazon, and I’m looking forward to jumping head first into the topic. I also went over to Borders today and ended up picking up O’Reilly’s Learning Java, and Killer Game Programming for Java, plus a collection of Kanji Cards and a introduction to Japanese course (book and 8 discs).

I’m looking into the possibility of auditing a programming course at Dartmouth… I need to talk to Admissions tomorrow about what the process will be to do it. I’m also looking into taking ballroom dance classes with my friend Liz. I definitely need to haul ass on these, since the Dartmouth semester starts soon and dance classes start the 22nd.

The last time I felt like this was three years ago.

In other news, the more I read about the next generation consoles, the more I want to develop for the Nintendo Revolution. Here are a few reasons why. On a related note, I’m currently working on building a backlog of essays for Critical Games, and will be reviving the site once I get a few weeks ahead (I want to post an essay a week, and want at least a month’s buffer).

Back and Forth

I’m currently in Seattle, and will be for the next few days; the court date for the divorce is Monday at 1:30pm. This is a pretty stressful time, and I’m trying to keep things low key. I’m sitting at Caffe Coccinella, drinking white velvets (it’s a white chocolate mocha latte), and in theory will be having dinner with Mickey this evening. I’m planning to head down to Portland tomorrow to hang out with Dano, and then seeing Mickey again on Sunday. Monday, we deal with the last few things we needed to deal with, and then have the court date (my car is also getting serviced, but we can drop it off anytime, and collect it after the divorce, since we’ll be down in that area anyway). Monday night is anyone’s guess, and then Tuesday I head back east.

God, I wish this was over…

The Power of Posting Compels You!

I’m not sure if folks have noticed, but despite my recent lackluster and whiny posting lately, there are several new readers, which makes me happy. As much as having friends and family post, it also feels good to know that people you don’t know are not only discovering you, but finding your work worthwhile enough to comment. It’s a bit of a warm fuzzy, and thanks for it.

This has been one hell of a summer, and I’m frankly looking forward to it being over. It started back in April with my marriage abruptly falling apart, continued on into family deaths in June and August, and has wrapped up with selling my house and needing to drive out to Seattle to finalize the divorce and collect Freya (my dog).

Things are showing the potential of shaping up, however. Maybe it’s the crisp air (my favorite time to be in New England is August into early October), but I’m finally starting to feel like my head is clearing, and I’m feeling a little less desparate for a relationship, and ready to actually focus on the things I want to do with my life. While I’m broke at the moment, we managed to sell the house for a pretty decent profit, which means that I’ll be able to pay for my final semester of school and get things back on track. And before you say it, I know that I should treat that money as capital towards another investment, not spending cash, and I intend to do that with most of it (probably putting the majority into a money market or a short term CD while I finish school).

I came to something of a revelation last night while hanging out with friends, namely to not play the game. The things that bother me I should simply ignore, rather than letting myself get dragged into the same arguments over and over. This may sound like common logic, but it really does feel different when it actually strikes you, and you realize you’re just as much at fault for escalating it as they are for doing it. I’m sort of feeling done with the area, which isn’t exactly a great feeling to have when you’re about to settle in for the winter.

My family reunion was this past weekend; I was sick for most it, and thus not really up for chatting as much as I might have liked. It was still fun though, and nice to see faces from 5 or 10 years ago. I was supposed to start driving to Seattle yesterday, but a few days prior to that, Mickey called me up and told me that we could do a power of attorney for the sale so I wouldn’t have to rush out (which was something we discussed briefly several months ago, but apparently she’d completely forgotten about until talking to her father). So instead of starting my drive and then scrambling to find a place to stay for two+ weeks out in Seattle with no money, in theory I should now be able to stay here until probably the 5th, when I need to leave in order to make it out for our court date on the 12th, and to pick up the dog. This makes things considerably easier, and holds at least the potential of receiving my share of the house settlement before I have to start driving (which would make the return trip not only easier, but possible… one semester’s tuition doesn’t go far when you’re paying for anti-depressants and therapy bills and replacing a dead computer plus day to day living expenses like gas and food).

Speaking of the trip, I randomly heard from my friend Berrian, so I may go visit her on my way out, and if she’s interested, drag her along. It’s been years since I actually saw her, so it’d definitely be an experience. In either case, I’m really looking forward to seeing her again (four years is a long time). I’m supposed to give her a call next week to figure things out.

Dobra Redux

I’m back up at Dobra, for my third time. Jasmine needed a ride up to Burlington to pick up her car, so I took it as an excuse to spend some time with my friend, and to make it back over here. The atmosphere remains relaxed and laid back, as ever. The music is ecclectic but mellow, and the entire space just makes you feel more calm and at peace.

Which I definitely needed. I wish I could bottle up that calming essence and bring it with me, because lord knows I haven’t been this collected in ages. Even on the drive up, I was frustrated and upset, despite the excellent company and conversation. I’ve been lousy at communicating lately, with everyone including myself. I still can’t even begin to explain how I’m feeling, and I’m somewhat loathe to just dive in, lest the miscommunication continues. I do think I need to try, however, so take this caveat for what it’s worth.

I have been quick to care for others, and have been criticized for this lately, that I’m trying to fill the gap left by the divorce. Well, I’ve always been quick to love, this is not anything new. Those that I take an interest in I’m taking an interest in for a reason, and despite the occasional evening where I may sound like it, that reason isn’t sex. What I’m looking for is unconditional acceptance. I want to be wanted, someone to be unabashed about their feelings. The last time I felt that, I married the girl. And now she’s moved on, and that’s the rejection that I feel, that’s the void I want to fill. I feel like the last kid picked.

I lay my heart on the table; this is who I am. I am intensely earnest about life, and that includes my emotions: regardless of whether anything is done with that information, I would rather get how I feel out in the open. I know this changes perceptions and interactions, but I would rather deal with that than hide my emotions. I realize this is probably not a common sentiment, but I feel false to not get it out there.

I bitch about how it seems like every girl who shows any interest that I’m interested in ends up having a boyfriend (I’ve begun calling it the Probabilistic Theory of Attraction: the more I’m attracted to a girl, the higher the probability of her having a boyfriend. At a certain point that probability reaches a level of certitude that a boyfriend will spontaneously come into existence). I’m not actually upset that a girl has a boyfriend, and in fact I think it’s great that they have someone and are loyal to them despite any interest they might have shown or admitted to me (yes, some of the time they do in fact admit it, it’s not like I’m being a delusional twit and thinking every girl “wants me” just because they smile at me when I say hi). I do feel a little bitter because it happens so consistently and compounds with everything else that’s been happening, and it just makes me feel like I can’t get a break. So, chill out, and let me have my rant, and keep in mind that I do in fact know it’s not as bad as all that, and any bitterness in my voice isn’t directed at the person at all.

Yes, I’m still broken. Yes, I appreciate the company and the well wishes and the support. It doesn’t stop me from feeling alone and hurt sometimes, but it does help, and I do appreciate it more than I sometimes say. I’m also aware that I’m extremely dysfunctional lately, and haven’t really accomplished much of anything. Hell, even just making appointments for a haircut and an oil change made me feel more accomplished than I had in weeks. I feel like I have to some extent wasted my summer, and despite whether or not I had “good reason,” I still wish I’d been more productive. It doesn’t help that lately every time I’ve tried studying or doing anything productive, I feel driven to distraction and unable to focus, and my head starts throbbing. Perhaps it’s my body telling me I should be working on more internal things, but that doesn’t stop me wishing otherwise.

Anyway, battery is getting low, so I guess that’s enough rambling for now. Thanks for listening and taking it all with a grain of salt.

Less Broken

Things are a bit better today. Mickey called (before reading my post or any sort of prompting, I should add), and we talked for a bit, which was good. I knew I was painting a bleaker picture than the reality, but that doesn’t change the fact that it was how I was feeling. So that was a good thing.

I slept in today, and ended up sleeping for around 11 hours, finally getting up around 1pm. I puttered about the house for a while, and then Mom got home with the mail, and I discovered that my application for a free subscription to Game Developer magazine had succeeded: August’s issue, including a disc containing the ATI Speakers and Presentations from GDC 2005. This really made me feel a lot better, and from there I gathered enough gumption to actually call and make appointments for hair cuts and oil changes, both of which I’d been putting off for quite some time. Being productive is a good feeling, even if it’s little things. And frankly, getting those two things accomplished made me feel more productive and functional than I’ve been in two weeks.

I helped Dad bring the futon downstairs and set up in the living room, and then went to lunch with Mike and April, got coffee, and then wandered over to Collis, where I’ve been hanging out the rest of the evening. It’s been a very quiet evening, which I kind of appreciate. JJ swung by for a little bit, as did Jasmine. Caroline came by and hung out/studied, which was nice (I haven’t mentioned her before because I haven’t known her that long or very well… something I would like to correct). Jasmine swung by again after her Aikido class, and that brings me to the present moment, where I’m sitting by myself in front of Collis on Dartmouth Campus in Hanover, New Hampshire, in the United States of America, North American Continent, Earth, Sol System, Milky Way Galaxy, Greater Magellanic Cluster, somewhere adrift in the Universe.

So, yeah, I’m doing a bit better today. The general consensus is that I need to get back into therapy. They’re probably right… but I doubt it’ll happen until I get back in September. I suppose I could go for a session or two before needing to drive west, though… we’ll see.


All in all, I think I’ve been handling my current situation pretty well. I’ve made a point of going out and meeting new people, and trying to remain upbeat and thinking positively. Sometimes it works, sometimes it doesn’t. Lately, it’s been more of the latter than the former. There have been nights where I sit there, hands kneading my face, lacking the energy or capacity to say anything but “Fuck… shit.” Over and over. I’m so desperate to feel connected again (or more precisely, to not feel rejected) that I end up sabotaging my chances of success. Some days are really fucking hard, where it just starts to feel like nothing can go right or my way, and any time I think it’s going well, I should just wait a minute and it’ll change.

I’m told that it would be healthy and normal for me to yell and scream and cry and be bitter and vitriolic. It probably would be pretty cathartic. Instead, I’m fucking tired all the time. I simply don’t have the energy to give to it. I was just starting to feel confident in my abilities and myself, getting treatment for depression, getting on my feet when all this happened, out of the blue. I’m a fucking mess, and lately nothing has been helping, hence my radio silence (for the record, I don’t like writing these sorts of depressed, whiny posts, so I’ve been opting to not post at all). It doesn’t help that Mickey stopped calling, once she no longer had to in order to keep me informed about the house. I was in the hospital for two days back in April because of what she did. That bill finally came in, after being bounced around and processed by insurance, and after it’s all said and done, I owe several hundred dollars, which I don’t have. I called her to let her know… she never responded, until after three days when I tried calling her again. Not that it really matters, every call is the same: we talk about the house, we talk about the dog, she tells me what she’s been up to, and then I start telling her what I’ve been up to and we either get disconnected or one of her other friends calls and she has to go. Maybe it really is just a spot of bad luck that that’s how it goes every fucking time, but its frustrating to say the least. Because lord knows, it’s so fantastic to find out about all the exciting things she’s doing with her new boy and her new friends and her new life, and then not even be able to respond, assuming I even had the capability of being functional after that.

But hey, it’s for the best. Right?

I turned off comments because I just needed to complain for a bit. I’m sure that tomorrow, I’ll look at the post and realize how bleak and skewed a post it is and possibly even delete it, but sometimes you just gotta rant, you know?

Faux Intellectualism

We signed contracts yesterday, agreements to sell our house. It’s kind of weird, but hasn’t really impacted me as much as those around me expected it to. I’ve already said my goodbyes to the house, so this simply is what it is: another nail in the coffin of our marriage, but really, the lid was already secured well before now. Instead, I’m just trying to look to the future, what to do with my share of the proceeds from the sale of the house — my current idea involves buying some land in northern Vermont. I’ve found some acreage within my price range, just need to get it perk tested to see if it’s a worthwhile purchase (I’d hate to dump money into a property and then not be able to do anything with it). What I do after that is entirely up in the air. My first priority is to finish my final semester and get my degree. Beyond that, I have some ideas, but nothing I’m willing to commit to. As to why I’m not willing to commit, it’s a lot of reasons, often contradicting each other. As much as I want to move on and “feel” ready to, I still end up catching myself say “my wife Mickey” and realize that I’m probably not. I’m frustrated and tired of being in limbo, but when it comes time to do, my mind fades into bleary dissonance. I guess it all comes down to wanting to believe that I’m functional, and then discovering that I’m still not.

The title of this post is “faux intellectualism,” and there’s a reason. It’s how I feel sometimes, when I sit and write. Sometimes I feel like I’m being an elitist or getting in the way of communication for the sake of a false sense of eloquence. This is something I do out of habit: my own favorite posts are those where I feel like there is a strong voice in the writing, which is sort of antithetical to the notion of literary or intellectual snobbery. It’s something I resort to when I’m tired, feeling tapped, trapped, apathetic, and pathetic. Which is definitely how I feel right now. I’m very frustrated with my life, my attention being stretched in many directions, none of which where I want to. Here’s what I want right now: I want to be myself, at my own pace, working at my own schedule, living at my own schedule, balancing friends and studies. I want to have the option to be around people and the option to NOT. If I’m going to be thrust back into the role of being single, I’d like to actually have the benefits that come with it, you know?

Uri’s been in town for the past 10 days… he flies out bright and early tomorrow morning. It’s been great having him here, even if for unfortunate circumstances. I’m sure he’s looking forward to getting home and sleeping in a real bed — he’s been crashing on an air mattress and sharing a room with me. We’ve spent nearly every evening out in Hanover, talking to people at Collis, which has been fantastic. The general group has been Uri, Mike, Jasmine, and myself, with Eli and JJ both also making regular appearances. This evening, we had quite the passle of people: Adam H, Ann, Eli, Pia, Tegan, Adam P, Matt, JJ, Jasmine, Mike, Uri, and myself… we completely filled two tables in front of Collis, and made use of a power strip Eli has begun bringing with him to power everyone’s laptops. We also tossed around the idea of getting together a laptop lan party out here in August when Uri rolls back into town.

There’s a lot that I need to think about, a lot of feelings to sort out, and many decisions to be made. I’m left wondering when this will happen… I hope soon. I am scattered to the winds, and now it’s time to re-collect myself. I had a conversation with Jasmine this evening about what makes me happy, and the results of that conversation leave me wanting to get back to it.

The Time for Pain has Passed; Now it is Time for Healing

Sitting around at the coffee shop in Bellevue, killing time until I need to go to the airport. The sun is out, it’s 65 degrees, a light breeze is keeping the air fresh, and the leaves on the tree outside are wafting in the wind in a general state of being alive. All in all, not a bad final day in Seattle. It was weird this morning, leaving my keys to the house and Mickey’s car on the kitchen table, and realizing — REALLY realizing — that this was most probably the last time I would be in that house. Our house, the house we bought, the house we owned, the house we lived in. I am a sentimentalist, and perhaps that is why leaving has made such an impact. In either case, it’s left a definite weird vibe this morning.

I was thinking about it all on the drive up to town to drop off the rental car. That’s where the title of this post came from. Whether or not others feel I’ve let all the angst and anguish out, I feel like it’s done, and continuing that path would simply lead to [self]destruction. The time for pain has passed; now it is time for healing. It is time to embrace my feelings, to embrace my memories — the good and the bad, and appreciate each and every moment I can for what it is: an experience unutterably unique and inextricably linked to all other moments in my, or anyone’s life.

I’ve been trying to understand the world around me, and how I fit into it, what my role in the Grand Scheme of Things™ is. I still don’t know. I know that I do not wish to be a cog. I do not want the 9 to 5 life. I don’t want the fucking suburbs. I know that if I’m going to get what I want, I need to get out of my own damn way. I have carried myself as far as introspection can go, and now it’s time to burst out of my shell and take the steps that I have been afraid to make. It is time to truly grok myself.

Last Day in Town

So much to say. Tomorrow evening, I get on a plane and fly back to Vermont. I am looking forward to going home, but at the same time, I’m not sure what’s really going to change beyond the location. My physical state may change, but my mental state I am less sure of. Not that my mental state is all that bad given the circumstances, so much as it is still fixated on the divorce. I’ve tried accepting, I’ve tried letting things slide, but it remains there. It’s like a splinter that you can’t get out; you just have to wait until it leaves on its own.

I moved all my files off Mickey’s computer (which had been formerly mine; we upgraded her to it when we moved out to Seattle) today, then deleted the user account. In the process, I saw things I probably shouldn’t have, and really have no one to blame but myself for looking at. It’s like a train wreck: you know you’re not going to like what you see, but you can’t bring yourself to look away. It left me feeling in a sour funk, so I went up to Bellevue, and discovered that the coffee shop was closed. The owner happened to be there, and he let me hang out for a little while, even gave me a free drink, which was very cool of him. Uri called, and then swung by, and we went to lunch, followed by Episode III (which he had not yet seen, and I’d seen once). I wouldn’t call it the best of the series, but it was CERTAINLY the best of the prequels. By far.

After the movie, I had dinner with Mickey, and I talked to her about the stuff I found, and we managed to get back to a reasonably good spot, which is definitely a nice place to be when I’m leaving the following day. The details are irrelevant, and actually relatively harmless taken in context, but it left me questioning our interaction, and how much of what she had been saying was placation, and how much was reality. Suffice it to say, we’re still talking to each other and parting friends. I wouldn’t say “best” friends, but I hope things can continue to improve over time, and as our comfort grows and pain lessens.

The plan for tomorrow is to pack up the last of my things (shaving kit, toothbrush, stuff like that), drop off the car, and then go do one last coffee. Then I get dropped off, and wait around for my red eye flight back east. Should be jolly good fun: fly out around 10:30pm, arrive in DC (Dulles) shortly before 7am, get on my next plane a little after 8am, and get into Manchester around 9:45am. All in all, that’s less than a 9 hour trip, given the time zone difference, so that’s not too bad. I plan to sleep most of the day, do dinner with the folks, and then go out and see people Tuesday evening. (Yes, that’s a hint. I’ll have been gone for 3 weeks, you can put up with my sorry ass for an evening, eh?)

This used to be a much different post. I started writing it before having dinner with Mickey, and got up to about 3 pages of writing about the details of what happened. I deleted it all and wrote what you see. Sometimes it feels like a really good idea to get it all out there, for commiseration if not validation. Then you realize who you’d hurt in the process, and think better of it. At least, I hope you do.

Holistic Imagery

The title of this post is drawn from a conversation I just had with Dallas, another regular here at the coffee shop. He’s working on something called Form Syntax, which is basically creating a linguistic reference for visual concepts. It’s pretty cool stuff, from what I could see — complex in concept, but the idea is a good one. It was an interesting discussion to say the least, and the best way that I was able to encapsulate the concept is to call it holistic imagery — showing the interconnectedness of form, function, and emotion within design.

Earlier in the day, I went and had lunch with Robert, which was good. We ended up going to this strange little Hawaiian place near his office, which was odd but fun. I hadn’t seen Robert in a while, so it was nice to catch up with him a bit, see what’s new. He’s apparently gotten serious with a ladyfriend, kudos to him on that, and has also picked up a new car (Penny Arcade is doing well). It’s an Audi Quattro convertible, leather interior, climate control, all the bells and whistles (yes, Penny Arcade is doing THAT well), and I was quite envious. When I finally get back into town (who knows when), he told me to look him up and we’d hang out more.

Last night, I discovered to my joy that Muppets Season 1 will be available on DVD August 9th. I have been spreading the gospel ever since. Also, they’re doing a sequel Dark Crystal, and other fun projects, and that makes me happy — it’s always nice to see Hensons doing cool things, though I must say I still miss Jim.

Yesterday was… odd. I ended up not leaving the house all day, and just sat around online, looking at movie trailers and reading comics and chatting. I was feeling pretty isolated, but unable to bring myself to change my situation to fix that. I’m ready to head home (3ish more days, I fly home on Monday, arrive Tuesday), and am mostly just killing time until then. It just feels weird to be where I am, I suppose. Mickey’s coming down tomorrow to move shelves and stuff to the garage to be craigslisted. Then comes the weekend, and we may go do something, or do some more cleaning if needs be. We’re still friends, and even marginally functional, just getting divorced is all.

Yeah, this is a bit of an amalgam post, but such is life sometimes. I’ve been thinking about what steps I want to take this summer, and I think I have a regimen that should work:

  1. Wake up
  2. Go hiking or swimming
  3. lunch
  4. study programming, game design, writing

Dinner onward is variable, depending on what friends and family are doing. But that’s the routine I’d like to get into, and I think it’s a reasonable (and simple) regimen, one that I think I can maintain. By the end of the summer, my goal is to have at least 8 books from my bibliography read and hopefully annotated, and to have a solid grounding in Objective-C and the new features in OS X 10.4, and to be in better shape than I currently am. These three goals are accomplishable and worthwhile towards my goals. Comments, concerns, anyone want to join in?