Friday, September 28, 2007


Today I did something I never would have ever thought I would do in my lifetime (had I been asked six months ago) - I signed my divorce papers. You might think that there would be some emotion involved in this, either sadness at the finality of the marriage, or relief that the process is finally finished, but I don't think that I really feel anything. I've already dealt with everything and paperwork just doesn't mean much of anything at this point. I'm glad that the process is nearly complete (the court date is in one month, which I don't have to attend, meaning my responsibilities have ended), but why should there be any emotion tied to signing a document? The marriage has been over for months in my mind.

To tie this back into yesterday's post about music, I tend to listen to certain bands depending on my moods. When I first realized that I was going to have to leave the marriage, I listened to Coheed and Cambria a lot... A LOT. The song "Welcome Home" from Good Apollo I'm Burning Star IV, Volume I: From Fear Through the Eyes of Madness, was probably played multiple times during my daily commute. The lyrics really echoed what I was feeling at the time:

"You could've been all I wanted
But you weren't honest
Now get in the ground"

- Coheed and Cambria from "Welcome Home"

That's obviously just an excerpt but the full lyrics can be found by following the link above. I, obviously, would never act on the literal expressions found in the lyrics, but figuratively, they are dead on accurate.
I had known and liked this track long before it meant anything to me. I would be willing to bet that Coheed's songwriter has gone through a similar experience in his lifetime, especially for me to identify so well with that particular song. At that time I was very angry, which has long since subsided, and I can safely say that track has not been played during my commute in months. I'm not angry, sad, remorseful or even upset any more. It's over, I've moved on and I'm not looking back.

Thursday, September 27, 2007


When I'm driving to and from work or wherever, I tend to be the type of driver that is crazily singing along with the radio/CD playing in the car while driving incredibly fast and moving through traffic . I have no idea how other people perceive me as a driver, they may think I am insane or just ridiculously angry. Honestly, I don't care. Even with distractions, I know that I'm a much better driver than almost anyone else on the road and I trust my instincts. I haven't caused any accidents with other vehicles but have avoided many, sometimes very narrowly.

Music tends to keep me in a lighthearted mood and generally calms me down. When I find music that I like, I usually end up knowing the guitar parts, guitar solos, lyrics and vocal styling so well that I could probably perform in a band if I really had the urge to (as a vocalist, I know what the guitar parts sound like and can reproduce them vocally, but I never learned to play the guitar - maybe I should work on that). A few months ago, I joked with my brother and (now) sister-in-law that I would volunteer to perform a song at their wedding. I'm sure that they knew that I really had no intention of doing this (especially since the song I suggested was Pantera's Cowboys From Hell), but I could have and even sounded reasonably like their lead singer. Will I ever use my talent for musical mimicry? The answer is probably no... but I'm sure it would be a lot of fun. Maybe I will give it a shot someday.

What is the album currently in my car CD player? Thanks for asking - it's Shinedown's Leave a Whisper from 2003. Wow, what a great album. Four tracks from this disc received radio play and they're all great songs. Most of the other tracks are pretty damn good also. Check it out if you haven't heard it. I will conclude this post with some deep lyrics from this Shinedown. I think that probably everyone has felt this way at some point, but the end of the verse, I think, is the right attitude to have. Everyone will be perceiving you as you are walking down your own life's path. What is the point in trying to conform to everyone else's beliefs? It's your life, make your own way.

"I can't escape the pain

I can't control the rage
Sometimes I think that I'm gonna go insane
I'm not against what's right
I'm not for what's wrong
I'm just makin' my way then I'm gone"

-Shinedown from "Fly From the Inside"

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Halo 3

I think it's time to lighten this up a little bit... I don't know how these posts read to others, but they felt pretty intense while writing them. So, I'm going to try something a little different. After one of the biggest and most anticipated video game release of the year, Halo 3 will probably be eating up my time for the next couple days until I play through it. Hopefully it will distract my mind from what's been a roller coaster-like couple of weeks. I could use some simplification, but it seems like all I want are things to be complicated. I keep trying to do and bring more things into my life when I should probably be just relaxing for a while. Don't get me wrong, I can handle a lot of stress and complication, but this might just be the last time in my life where I have the ability to just sit back and relax... but whatever reason, I have no desire to do that. So much for trying to lighten things up, I feel pretty tense now, maybe Halo 3 can push me into a relaxed state.

Tuesday, September 25, 2007

Highs and Lows

My life seems to transition from highs, to lows, and for some reason, I never see the shift from one to the other coming - or seem to spend much time in between. I don't claim to be any sort of expert in psychology, but I have a pretty decent grasp on human nature and understanding of how my life has progressed in the past, but I haven't figured how to level out my attitude/emotions/motivation so that I don't have to go through these unnerving cycles.

The past week was pretty much the perfect example of this. Early last week things at work were monotonous at work and I was having problems with my contacts, mostly just minor annoyances, but still I felt generally down. By midweek things at work picked up, my eyes were feeling better with fresh contacts and I had a great time at a Royals-White Sox game despite seeing my beloved team shut out at home. I had a trip out to KU on Thursday for work that turned out great and Friday I was flying high with the first day of the reunion. Now, in retrospect, things started turning after returning home from the reunion Friday and receiving an email containing an unfortunate result from a coworker. But I shrugged that off after having the nice evening and being somewhat saturated from the festivities. Saturday morning/afternoon was enjoyable - shooting pool with old friends, but the evening reunion event didn't live up to the previous night's expectations.

At this point I think I realized that things were going to get worse, but was going to just ride it out and see what was going to happen. Sunday was more socializing, watching the game at a friend's place, which was nice - the Chiefs won in somewhat ugly fashion, but they desperately needed the win. I probably shouldn't have stuck around after the game for the Wii party though. I was an outsider, and I knew that I should have probably taken off beforehand, but an appropriate exit never became available. The reason that I wanted to stay was out of selfishness and I had already realized before the party started that I should vanish after the end of the game. However, I did not. Then Monday morning comes and I find that I had left something out at work over the weekend and will cost me more time in the lab just to get back to where I was when I left on Friday. Then even more bad results from work from my coworker and I'm pretty much at the low point. Now, I'm just trying to keep positive and try to plug through the rest of the valley before things can hopefully turn positive again.

It's really hard to be motivated to get out of the ruts when you don't know how deep they are and it's tough to plan for the eventual drop from the high because you don't want it to end. In this particular cycle, have I even hit the bottom yet? I hope so, I think today has been a pretty neutral, so my best guess is that things are getting better. Of course, I've already mentioned that I can't always see these transitions, maybe it's just an illusion. Only time will tell. I've been much better about being positive in the last few months - hey, I'm not in grad school any more. Even with everything that has happened in the last six months, and let me say the lows have been much, much lower than the highs, but I'm still in a much better mood and just generally happier than I was during grad school. Thankfully that's in the past, it can only get better... right?

Sunday, September 23, 2007

The Reunion Part III

Nearly every statement made about the reunion in the last posting... should be reversed after going to the actual reunion. Wow, those were two very different events. However, Mike, Jim and Lori - you still rock.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Reunion Part II

Well, here I am again, awake at 4am for the second straight night, so what the hell, I may as well try to just clear my mind and just deposit it all here. I have to admit, I wasn't really looking forward to last night - the start of the ten year reunion, going to a high school football game then hanging out with a bunch of people that I barely remember. I was more concerned with catching up with just a few people and chatting with them. I thought this event would be a lot like high school was - cliques would form right up front and then everyone would stick to their groups throughout the night. I am very glad that things don't happen exactly as I expect... I think my life would be rather boring if I could predict how everything would unfold. Thankfully, we skipped the game and went straight to the bar, which turned out just fine.

I don't know if my class was just special in some way, but this seemed a lot less like preening and bragging about how great everyone was and how much money everyone makes - and a lot more like a group of people that actually wanted to be there just to catch up with each other. Social status didn't seem to matter, everyone seemed to talk to everyone. I think I had longer conversations with some people tonight than I did throughout high school (and in a couple cases, maybe even from grade school through high school combined). I have to admit, I am not a very social person and I don't tend to do a lot of mingling at parties, but tonight it didn't seem to matter. I felt comfortable talking to just about everyone and everyone seemed very genuine. I really don't remember being that accepted in high school, and I don't remember being able to sit at a table with my closest friends and have people come to us to talk - especially people that were cheerleaders or jocks back in the day.

I'm also shocked to find out that the number of people in my class that have finished or are close to finishing PhD or equivalent degrees is actually over ten now. What the hell? What was in the NKC water for this class? Ten PhDs from a class of 300 - that's absurd.

Anyway, day one of the reunion was a smash hit in my book. Tina and Shanna deserve a lot of credit, they did a great job. Now, I'm actually looking forward to tomorrow's events. One more quick note - Mike, Jim and Lori, you guys rock - I couldn't be prouder to have you guys as friends!

Friday, September 21, 2007

Reunion Part I

Well, today is the beginning of the NKCHS 10 year reunion. I really can't believe that it's been ten years since I left KC for school. What's even more depressing is that it's been ten years, and I still don't have a "real" job. I'm working as a post-doc now, which is basically the transition from graduate school to a more permanent job. It's fulfilling some of the "experience" that constantly shows up in the job postings. Every body wants someone with experience in the field... but how do you get experience in the field coming out of school... apparently you put in your time as an indentured servant, then, maybe, if you're lucky you can get an actual job.

Anyway, for the first day of the reunion, some people are meeting at the park across from the high school for a picnic, then heading to watch the old alma mater play their weekly football game. I'm not too excited about watching high school football... since I'm not in high school or have children or friends with children that are in high school. Don't get me wrong, I'm a huge football fan - I just prefer to watch football being played "well". College football is good, but pro football is better. I'm not sure that high school football is even on my map. But, some of my oldest friends are going to the game, therefore, I'm going to the game with them. Bowing to peer pressure once again - works every time.

I'm sure that the game will be uninteresting, but catching up with old friends should be fun. A couple friends that I've known since middle school or before , but have since lost contact with after leaving for college, are coming into town for the reunion. I've wondered for some time how they've been doing, but actually lacked the motivation to actually find out. Why does this happen? I really should be better at keeping up relationships with friends than I have been - it only takes a couple minutes to send an email. I say this, but I probably won't do anything about it.

I will be posting more on the reunion as it happens. I hope that I'll run into some people I'm not expecting... we'll see if anyone even remembers me. It should be interesting at the least, but I'm not expecting much. The lower the expectations, the less likely you are to be disappointed - a good motto to live by.


Clearly, I am dedicated to posting on this blog... I created the account about two weeks ago, posted that night, then haven't written anything since. I'm still not sure what I want to to talk about here, but there's a lot going on in the near future. The big ten year high school reunion is this weekend, maybe I'll talk about that in the next posting. It should be interesting, catching up with long lost friends or seeing how pathetic some former classmates have become.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

The Dreaded First Entry

Deciding what to write in the dreaded first post is tricky. It could set the tone and direction that this site will follow for its duration... or maybe not. I have no idea where this is actually heading, but we'll see. Thankfully, I'm guess that very few people will ever see this - or at least this post.