rhetorical questions

“Cool this madness down.”

I wanted to write a song to channel all this into something good, but I’m never satisfied with what I come up with.

Back in January, my plan was to be awesome all the time. Sometimes, I lose that plan and am not awesome. My old personal ad (step #6 of awesome 2009) said I chose awesome 70% of the time. That off-hand random number has been turning out to be rather accurate in the long run.

Well what I did today was programmed some more for this rally thing I’m doing, cataloged the stack of records I recently bought, listened to a bunch of those records, attempted to write a song and practiced some songs, played Epic Pet Wars for a million hours, screwed around on Facebook and added more people I don’t really know, uploaded some rally car photos and make a rally blog post, watched The Office episode that I missed, and that’s about it, really. I wanted to list it all here and then look at the list and say, “Hey, that’s not too bad.” but that isn’t happening right now. I feel physically rested, but mentally restless. I’m too impatient these days.

So, now how to turn it around? Do I delete all the not awesome lying around here? Maybe that would be dishonest. Part of being awesome is being honest. And I don’t think I am out of line for saying what is going on in my head. I’m not asking anyone to do anything about it, I’m just blasting it all out here in a vain attempt to figure out how to figure it out. It would just be nice to know what the hell I am doing.

Well, let’s re-cap on the plan progress, then. Let’s place our eyes firmly back upon the prize.

1. be physically active
2. attend at least 50 shows this year
3. finish the house
4. start a vegetable garden
5. go to europe
6. meet new friends and new ladies
7. listen to music constantly
8. play fewer video games
9. volunteer for some charitable organizations
10. do something musical 30 minutes a day
11. fix my posture

1: (exercise) currently weighing in at a svelte 150 pounds, putting me at a BMI of 23.5, in the “normal” range. I skateboard once or twice a week. I have to go on more walks, but I need more time or a walking partner. I might even consider running. Ugh. Martial arts wander around my peripheral thoughts, but nothing concrete.
2: (shows) seen 14 shows so far, that puts me on course for 56 shows this year. doing well.
3: (house) I hate this place. Researching a refinance and buying a property out in Ocean Shores. But this week I worked on this hellhole for the first time in months. My dad and I installed the water piping to the gas hot water heater. There is no gas yet. I got angry when the pipes we just hooked up leaked. I hate this place so much. I need a new housemate, by the way.
4: (garden) I pulled some weeds in the front yard. I blasted some fertilizer spikes into the ground around the fruit trees. I think I’ll tear up the garden space in the back and plant that cherry tree I wanted. I don’t want a garden. I don’t want a house.
5: (europe) I have a eurail pass. I have a plane ticket. I bought a ticket for my brother to meet me in Finland. I have a deposit on two spots on a Finland rally tour. This goal is all about success!
6: (friends and ladies) I am reconnecting with old friends and filling up my phone’s contact list with new acquaintances (I count 10 new entries in the last few months). I had some random lady give me her myspace and then grind all up on my leg at a show. I’m trying to be more conscious about my social persona. It takes a lot of energy, but whenever I leave the house, that consciousness is there. I almost talked to the guy in the band that I exchanged emails with, but then I was all grinded up on. I’m on the road to social butterfly, though my car is really slow.
7: (music) I have bought 48 records this year. I have a fancy stereo hooked up to my computer and try to play music through it whenever I can. This was one of those goals you set that you already do so that you can say you’ve accomplished one of your goals.
8: (video games) My PS2 is sitting on the floor, ready to be ebayed. I’m almost done with Colin McCrae Rally for the mac. I need to work on this one, though.
9: (volunteer) I sorted apples for Food Lifeline for a couple hours. I’m signed up to collect money before the Sounders game on the 25th for them as well. I have a list of other things to sign up for.
10: (30 min. of rocking daily) I think I’ve played piano every day this week. I have a notebook of lyrics. I sorted through my recordings and found some stuff I like. I just have to put it together.
11: (posture) Whenever I sit in my car, I use the “sport” seats to correct my posture. Whenever I walk down the hall at work, I try to think about posture. My BFF and my dad have both pointed out that my posture has improved. Some days, it’s improved so much that my lower back muscles hurt from telling my shoulders and humpback what to do all day.

Yes, that was exactly what I needed to do. I’m making real progress on some of these things that I want to do. I have direction despite my seeming stagnation. Despite my unassailable desire for perfection in the things I have no control over, I am pretty much ruling the things that I do have control over. My life is going well. And though it could be going awesome, I have to forget about that life for now. I have to focus on “good enough.” Which is, of course, giving up. But maybe I can keep the fact that I really haven’t given up a secret from myself just long enough until I forget about it. Or until my Alzheimer’s finally kicks in and I can re-live the best years of my life just like my Grandpa did.

rhetorical questions

The second good day of 2008.

Up until yesterday, the best day of 2008 was 9-6, the Hot Water Music/Bouncing Souls show in Portland, Oregon. It might still be the best day of 2008, but perhaps 11-21 is a close second.

School was pretty interesting, I got to call the main office and have the nurse come down and transport a student to the nurse’s office and then call someone to take him to the emergency room for severe back spasms. I’m hoping he’s alright. But the rest of the folks in the class reminded me just how great of a school I teach at as they kept calm and offered help when they could and were generally polite and courteous the whole time. I ended the tension by telling them the story about the guy who fainted during the midterm my first year of teaching.

Speaking of teaching, I am now going to brag about myself. Last year, I went through a process called National Board certification. Essentially, instead of a state credential, a National Board Certified Teacher has a national credential and can teach anywhere in the U.S. New York, California, heck even Minneapolis if I wanted to. Furthermore, in Washington, legislation exists that rewards National Board teachers with a $5000 stipend. The National Board Certification takes hundreds of hours, requires your class to be filmed twice, costs about $2500, requires a massive test on content and ability to teach that content, and a 50+ page detailed portfolio of achievements is judged by several independent graders.

3 days of fun

At a National Board meeting, I met a sweet and thoughtful lady who became my BFF. We helped each other through the National Board process and spent many hours typing and proofreading and questioning and organizing together. For that I am quite thankful.

In March of 2008, months after starting the process, I sent off my application to be scored.

d, u, n, done.

In May of 2008, I took the 3 hour test of my mathematics and teaching skills.

On November 11th, 2008, I got the results. Passing score is 275. I earned a 325.

I got five thousand dollars!

Next summer, I will be blowing the entire sum on a month-long trip to Europe.

In the meantime, to celebrate, my BFF and I invited all her friends out. We went to Redwood on Capitol Hill, which was a pretty cool place. Not as awesome as the Twilight Exit, not too fancy for a dude like me. The shotgun shell x-mas lights were pretty amazing. I had a vegan chili burger which was pretty good. However, the sweet potato fries were delicious. After the Redwood, we walked over to B&O and got dessert. I got carrot cake. It was pretty fantastic (and it has vegetables, so it must be good for you, right?). At this point, we’d been celebrating for 4 hours, so most of the crew went home. However, it was my housemate’s birthday celebration yesterday as well, so I went to Ballard to find his crew. Found them at The Viking, another awesome bar and one that hasn’t been corrupted by the condofication of Ballard yet. Next stop on the Shane’s Birthday Tour was the Lock and Keel. Not my favorite bar in Ballard, but not my least favorite either. I got a ride from Dave and proceeded to be awesome for the rest of the evening. I was socializing it up. I met several people: Brian, Dan, Clare, Clare 2: electric boogaloo, Jennifer, Josie and Janae. I talked like a mostly normal person with a couple of Shane’s friends that I knew: Dave, Adrian and Rob. I spoke at some length with Clare, who was here on a student visa from Australia. I kept conversations going and even started new ones all night, actually. Now, I know it may not have seemed like I was a spectacular socializer, but consider where I have come from, those of you that know me. I continue to progress in my slow skill-building exercises and will eventually consider myself confident in groups larger than three or four people.

So, around midnight, my second good day of 2008 came to a close. After visiting four fine establishments, I drove home satisfied with my accomplishments and it was only on the edges of my thoughts that it would be nice to be driving home to someone to tell those accomplishments to. Eventually, I hope to be able to just focus on the satisfaction of a job well done. It’s a difficult task to alter your perception of the world and change it from “Oh, that’s good but…” to simply “Oh, that’s good.”

I wish there was a National Certification process for that.

rhetorical questions


Tomorrow will be better.

(thanks, i’m looking forward to pinning your art to my wall when it gets here.)

rhetorical questions

captain adventure

Once, in third grade, we had a spelling bee in class.  All the boys were on the left and the girls were on the right.  The word was captain.  One boy got it wrong, and then, somehow, all the other boys spelled the word the exact same wrong way.  Including me.  c-a-p-t-i-a-n.  Oops.

It may seem like there’s been a dearth of adventures around the donproject parts these days, but it is a half-truth.  I’ve been on adventures, just not reporting about them, I guess.  They’re not really adventures that other people would consider adventurous, mostly just people like me.  The picture below reminded me that I haven’t yet given up on the idea that I need to try new things.  That I’m not a failure yet.

For example, I went to the Cha Cha lounge with my BFF the other week.  I was pretty awesome, socially.  Though my overall grade is still a C, my grade for that test was an A-.

I went to a union party last night.  Grade: B.

Went for a walk the other week by Lake Washington.  Not so much a social adventure (just my BFF there), but I did find a dinosaur eating a teletubby.

So, in short, things are progressing.  This is a pretty good spot to be in.

rhetorical questions

say hello to my little friend!

A little while back I decided I should spend money only on the things that make me happy. Well, not exclusively, but I should buy more stuff for myself instead of spending it on crap I don’t care about, like this house or whatever. Anyways, what I’m saying is I bought something. I used up all my tattoo money to do it. But I had to. Here it is (click to make these shots bigger):

I just need to learn how to play it.

Rhodes electric Piano.

Now, it’s definitely not perfect, but I only paid $600 and a nice one can go for 3 times that. It sounds great in the middle register, needs some work in the low and high ends. Here’s a recording of it!

[audio:donproject/rhodestest.mp3|titles=rhodes test|artists=The Don Project]

Man, this is going to be a great winter! EXCITED!