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Andy M.
creamynougat
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Two Mega-stories from today's field work.

Story the First
I arrived to work in the field at 7am (this is Sunday, just to set the mood). It's Father's Day, the 10th one since my Dad passed. I parked the car, and looked out at the rain. It was thick. I started making up the data forms for the day, and kind of zoned into my uber-depressing mental state of overthought, as one can do when solo in the field...

I thought about the previously mentioned C-Hill friends, two of whom had not responded yet to my offer of 'one last all-u-can-eat-mussels night' that I had left yesterday....which could mean they're ignoring me...which means they may be pissed I left semi-abruptly at the going-away-party last weekend [I had my reasons, mainly in the form of the ex getting snuggly with a new beau, blatantly in front of me].
I thought about the project that I had now worked a month straight on (including nights and weekends) and still may not get done in a satisfactory timeframe [having been pushed back 2 months by the lawyers and managers (each making several times what I do) fine tuning the wording of a pointless contract] I thought of the overtime I had to put in, yet was still making less than many of my cohorts who dropped the job at 5pm.
I thought of the poison ivy rash on my hands...not many other jobs that will expose you to such awful allergens on a daily basis.
I thought about being cold and miserable for the entire 'day of rest'.
I though of the general unfulfillingness of my current life phase.
 
I sighed and opened the passanger side door and clamoured over the seat [my driver's side door doesn't open]. The rain came down hard. As I opened the back of the truck, the rain suddenly petered out, and stopped altogether. I looked up in amazement at the overcast. One thought rang in my head 'it's father's day, and there's only one guy I know who knows the crap of working in miserable conditions off the clock because "the job has to be done."' Tears welled up. The forecasted rain held up until I was done the day in the field. Happy Father's Day, Dad.

Story the Second
It has oft been joked, that, as my curreny project is surveying the scrub lands on the south shore of Brooklyn, I am destined to find a dead body. Ha ha ha...

Today I stumbled across a dead body. Of a dog (or some such other canine predator). BUT, it was extensively decayed (only bones and a few pieces of skin remained), partially covered, and I didn't see the skull or much of the limbs when I first spotted it. All I saw were the sholder blades and vertebrae, which are VERY similar to a human's. And it was a big dog. So for the first minute, I did think I had found a human body.

I was surprisingly calm when I saw it, thinking 'oh god, it's a body...an actual human body.' I thought immediately to call the police, but how to describe it 'I'm in marine park, about 800' East of the Paedergat Bridge, and about 50' in from the curb...you'll have to exit and drive along the walkway for...', thought of the horrible things that must have happened, became slightly nauseated by the odor and image (all sorts of bugs too). I, out of biologist's instinct (but also some morbid curiosity), moved the mugwort away from the skull (looking both for confirmation of the species, and also maybe looking for a cause of death). The teeth were of a carnivore, so I sighed a small breath of relief that it was 'only a dog'. But then I felt bad all over again. What happened to the dog? Who could do this? Did it just run away, or did someone actually kill it out here. Regardless, it was not a situation to get the police involved anymore. I'll call the park authorities about it tomorrow.

With that, now to power nap before data entry.

I am most definately moving this summer. Likely within a mile, just to my own place. I have reached a point where I will forgo other luxuries just to be rid of roomates. Not that my current roomates aren't the best I've had, but they still will dominate the kitchen, still will potentially be watching reruns when I bring a date home to 'watch a movie,' and there's just a background level of stress to keep the volume down or moderate my behaviour, even when I'm home. 
Currently, one of them has a friend over, and they are dominating the common space (plus I can hear them far too clearly in my room).  While we get along, we're not buddy-buddy. They don't augment the life experience at all. I don't begrudge them, in fact they're great, but they are people I have to share with.

However, while my neighbourhood is doubtless the best for me, I want to move further. The social scene in the Clinton Hill 'hood has fallen considerably for me, largely due to the fact that the people I know here are/were mutual friends with myself and Kathleen, and while they profess to want to continue being both our friends, Kath's hard-line zero-contact-with-exs policy forces them to choose which to invite, and they have invited me to one event in the past three months since Kath and I broke (which Kath was at, besides, which is a whole 'nother rant aside that! - needless to say I'll always love her, but she really can be an inconsiderate $*%^).

So my C-Hill friends have downgraded themselves, whilst my band-friends left for Astoria long ago. They miss me, and I them. Perhaps it is time to follow, but Astoria is so retirement-village, and far from any real nightlife. Plus I have recently begged off one of the Astoria crew who wanted to date me...awkward! Plus my job has almost fully shifted to south Brookly (the opposite direction from Astoria), and doubling the commute is a really bad idea.

Of course, my job continues to get more frustrating and not deliver on promises of increased compensation, so maybe it's time to pull up from NYC altogether. I have obtained the 'project manager' title that was the goal since I started nearly 2 years ago, but all that comes with it is frustration and extra work. It was supposed to be power and pay raises, but there has been zero benefit so far.

It's 7:45am. I slept 2 hours last night, and I feel guilty about it. The data entry I said I'd have done by now is still nowhere near done. I predict at least 3 panicked phone calls from my supervisors this morning, maybe one will relate to this data, the others will be sudden 'emergencies' borne of someone else's unpreparedness, a client's illogical request, or another stupid loophole in the paper trail that nullifies the 10 hours of Hercule Poirot-ing I've done to figure out this company's internal paperwork. I haven't had a actual day off since May 17 [it was great, yes]. The people I know on Unemployment only make about $200-300 less than I do per month.

Blerg. Two more weeks of this, then I'm taking a long-long weekend.

Current Music: Beatles - Night Before

The previous date went smashingly. A great evening with a girl I further realized I was crazy about, ending with a long goodnight kiss.

Unfortunately, I got an email today from said girl telling me that 'we weren't the right fit.'

I fully believe it was my cynicism that cost me that relationship.  A cynicism borne of being surrounded by such behaviour for the past decade or so. I don't really know who I am anymore, but I intend to start peeling the layers back, lay me bare, and see which ones still make sense  Pardon the upcoming behavioural irregularities. Some will be temporary. Others will hopefully be permenant. [and, again, pardon the sudden serious tone]

Current Music: Great big Sea - Walk on the Moon

I have a 2nd date tonight with a girl I very much like, but developed a poison ivy rash over the weekend. It's on my face and arms, the two areas of skin that will be exposed at dinner.

Le sigh.

Current Music: SNL - Motherlover

I blew nigh a week's paycheck yesterday, paying a stubhub scalper for a ticket to the Paul McCartney/Ringo Starr reunion on Saturday. I weighed it outit, figured it was a once-in-a-lifetime event, and I had the money (living below one's means can pay off), and pulled the trigger. It pissed me off that I had to pay so much, as I was dillegently at my computer thje second the tickets went on sale, to no avail. But it will be an absolutely legendary night.

A week ago, I had just returned from another legendary concert, Great Big Sea with Spirit of the West. When I heard that these two would be playing on the same night, I drove up to Montreal to catch the closest show to NYC. And it didn't dissapoint. I saw 'The Crawl' (the definitive North Vancouver song!) performed 5000 km from home! Plus an encore of both bands taking the stage to do a couple of songs together! Plus the general awesomeness of Montreal! Good beer, great food, absinthe, smarties, culture, laid back kattitude...

I have scored a major boon at work: Project Manager for an upcoming arborist project. Which, all things being karmic, should include an official promotion and raise - not to mention massive amount of power [plus 6 years of straight guaranteed work]! I'm looking forward to having a little more control over my hours. Work has had a habit of beating overtime out of me when I really needed to be doing other things.

Like tonight, which was the first day in forever that I had an evening free. I was able to do some needed cleaning, and actually had the time and resources to cook a good meal (my time usually in short supply, and my roomate usually dominating the kitchen; I am oft forced to get take-out) and have time for both relaxation and personal maintenance. Is this what the typical 9-5-er gets EVERY DAY? No wonder everybody else seems so functional...I look forward to it!

Current Music: No Line on the Horizon - U2 [I really don't like it, but maybe it'll come]

So little in life is constant these days. My job swings wildly, and social relationships are all in bursts.

I spent nearly a month and a half straight in the office (literally straight over the past two weeks to make a bumped-up deadline), now, I probably won't set foot in the office 'til April - tending instead to daily fieldwork in the outer boros. With this comes regular use of my truck, which has been largely un-used over the past month.

I saw several friends last Thurs that I realized I hadn't seen in nearly a month. I used to see them all the time, but the transport distance seems to just be too much to 'just hang'. Many other friends are seen only every couple of weeks. Tho' at least the time spent is of high quality.

Goddamn, I want a drummer more than air.

I currently am the ruling Steward of the Ecology Department at work. Mostly due to the fact that everyone senior to me got to go to the Bahamas this week (for a research project). I wanted desperately to go, but someone had to stay behind to hold the fort. Unfortunately, I'm not in the office to transform our section into the coolest row of cubicles evar! Plus, all it takes is one fuddy-duddy to not appreciate the awesomeness of my redecoration, to get me in trouble. Bleh.

1. Was going okay on cutting back on useless crap, until the combo of a 10-hour delayed 'til cancelled flight, and an underwhelming raise threw me into unproductive doldrums. Still working on it.

2. Finally got to the gym after a hectic week of work and personal bullshit. Scheduled to go again on Tues (may sneak in on Mon just for the cardio).

3. The underwhelming raise @ work (it was promised to be a double-raise, instead it was a standard). This emphasizes the need fo rinter-personal force. I was advised to 'let other people handle it', well, other people done fucked up and I am the one who's left making significantly less. I will be taking this up with the boss when he's in this week.

4. I'm moral enough.

New Year's Resolutions [not terribly exciting, but I feel I have to write them somewhere]
1. 90% reduction in cultural detritus.
This is specifically aimed at websurfings like fark, facebook, imdb and pretty much anthing that invests time without widening the depth and breadth of the life experience/personal development. [I'm somewhat violating that by taking the time to write this, but that's why I said '90%'].

2. Gym becomes a priority
No longer a 'if I'm doing nothing else' , gym time will take priority over all but the most vital after-work activities.

3. Increased inter-personal force
Many of the great unhappinesses in life were allowed to develop by my not being forceful when other people were slacking in a way that actively screwed me. Upon realizing a negative condition, it will be dealt with immediately and without sugar-coating. People also deserve, in general, to be dealt with immediately.

4. Revert moral sensibilities
I've been slipping, from a moral point-of-view, for years now (blame NYC, but I blame personal exhaustion). I don't feel good about it.

Continued progress in: environmental consciousness, vegetarianism, evil.

I arrived home last Saturday, full of the promise of a 2-week holiday with friends and family in my hometown. In the week since then, there has been a total of about 6 hours when the snow subsided enough to get away from the house. I have taken to shoveling the driveway, even when it didn't need it, to get some blood flowing (and get a reprieve from the family dynamic within).

Xmas was pretty lame. The power went out on Christmas eve, and wasn't restored 'til nearly noon on Christmas Day. Candles and fireplaces were used, but it failed to create an 'old tyme Christmas' atmosphere. Xmas dinner was scaled back as people couldn't make the trip - it was with but the same 4 people I'm snowed in with (mom, bro, and sis-in-law), and we didn't even move into the dining room (from the less-grand kitchen table).

Gifts received were extrodinarily lame. Every actual package I unwrapped was clothing (a sweater that was far too frat-boy for me, and a package of underwear - I swear to Zuul - my own mother gave me, on my 31st Christmas, a pack of underwear). [to those who don't know, I actually have a good number of good-quality and good-condition boxer-briefs, and my mom has not been in a position to assess this collection for years] 

The rest of the gifts were cash, which makes sense, honestly. It's less fun to unwrap, but at this stage in life, all gifts have to be transported back to NYC on a plane, and my main focus is saving enough to put a downpayment on property. Yes, the market's good right now, but I haven't got the capital, nor am I in a position where I can say 'here is where I want to live for long enough to bother buying a place'

And that pretty much establishes the mood of the past year. No relevations really - I live and work in the same place I did in 2007. Not even a promotion or an exciting new project. No earthshaking experiences either -  past a February drive to Cape Cod and a week returning to the roots in B.C.'s Caribou. The band didn't progress, spending 3/4 of the year getting the new drummer up to speed, and the last 1/4 trying to find a new one. My last grandparent passed away, but she had had advanced Alzheimers for years, and hadn't really been there for a while. Perhaps the only significant changes were (a) a increased probability that I'll be wearing 'professional clothes' at any time, and (b) the loss of about 15 lbs from the midsection.

But there is hope in the new year. There are possible projects to lead @ work.  Though being at work long enough for those to start depends if they come through with the double-raise I have been promised. [Last year's promised raise fell through cuz the admin people got distracted with selling the company. I know it's not one person's fault, but collectively, it's an insult that demands some reparations.] The band will be recording, cuz either we find a full-time drummer in the next week, or we'll pay a merc to do the bloody album the rest of us have been ready for for three years.

Anyways, too long already...more musings later.

Current Music: Great Big Sea - Fortune's Favour
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