Wednesday, January 19, 2005

The Plan

I often preach to my friends (as those of you who know me have no doubt) that the best way to go about finding love is to throw yourself completly into your life. No matter what particular culture or subculture you are in, the people that you meet are most likely going to be people doing the same things you are. If you are out drinking, looking for whoever, then you're probably going to meet a drunken whoever that has no more idea about you than you do them. But, if you are out participating in things that you enjoy, then at least the people you meet while doing them will also enjoy it. There is a core of something common in it, certainly not a thing on which to base all of love, but it is at least something.
There is this second puberty that gay men go through after they come out. I don't blame them for it, and I went through it too. This puberty is generally marked, in the great generality, by a need to relearn how to relate to people in a sexual way. Only, in the gay community there is no pressure for monogamy or even a dating structure; one is not provided by society and culture, and it is a slow thing to grow. I could expound a lot on my ideas of the mechanism for this, but thats not the point of this entry. This entry is about me, damnit!
My second puberty was a little bit different. When I came out of the cloest (actually was outed in the cafeteria one day) I used my suddenly very decoupled emotional state to start reforming my character on an almost fundamental level. See, I had been very shy in my first puberty, and utterly uninterested in girls throughout it. By the time I went to college I had settled into and solidified into an unaltering introvert, though I always wanted to be more of a participant in the world. I thought that I had a lot to say.
When I found my second puberty, and began to realize that the entire community went through it to one degree or another, I started forcing myself into different habits. This time I went up to people and I talked to them. I'd stand closer and smile in the right way. I wouldn't be scared of them, and I wouldn't be rendered so silent by people who were attractive. And now it is very hard to see any part of the introvert I used to be, though many of my extroverted characteristics still bear its mark.
Well, with any willfull change in ones personality and habits, there are going to be ramifications. I am no longer as focussed on my work, and I am letting my trained abilities slip away quicker and quicker every day. And all those skills that I picked up as I matured a second time are being wasted now on bars and barkind, when I even find the inspiration to go and mingle. I rely too much on my laurels, and frankly these days, they don't so much carry the weight.
The complaints of my life are many. I go out too much, I don't work enough, I procrastinate and don't take very good care of my health. I sleep to late cause I stay up too late, and I drink a wee bit too much. I obsess over men and pay attention to all the wrong details. I don't spend my time in thought, and I don't explore as much as when I was a child. There are others, but I don't want to turn this into some sort of self accusation. My life stands in a place better than it has in a great many years, these complaints are mostly just cleanup work.

So this is the plan:

I am going to go through a radical reconstruction of the details of my life over a few months. The goal is to move into our new house with all of the details of my life intact, with all the proper attitudes and perspectives. It is my hope that the inspiration of moving into a house once I am in the habits of my new embodiment can be sparked into more of a fire.
These are the goals:

Body:
1. I am going to get into shape. And Im not talking about just the bare basics, I mean that I am going to get tight. Six pack, arms, legs, butt, you name it. I have a drastic inability to develop muscle, so I am going to take advantage of that and simply tone out all the ones I got to pure perfection. Wheel on a stick and crunches are on the agenda for every day or two from now until....well, I guess forever.

2. My clothes have got to go. Everything that I once really liked is either gone or in horrible condition. I don't really want to restrict myself to any sort of 'scene' here, but I need to get an entirely new wardrobe. I have a few ideas on the directions I want to go, but I think that I am going to enlist some of my more trendy friends to go window shopping with me.

3. I have to get in command of my hair. To this end I am going to go to one of those grand and grandly expensive stylists. Again, what I am hoping to find is some sort of inspiration on a direction that I should go. My hair hates me, it never wants to cooperate, and I need to go to someone who can teach me how to take advantage of that.


Mind:
1. I must begin to start doing physics again. I once loved it with all my being and threw myself completly into my studies and my work. This began to falter in my character, and now I have fallen into a habit of simply not thinking about it except for what I need in order to teach my class. I need to crack out the old textbooks and study from them a few nights a week. I think that the best way to do it would be to treat it like a class, and go through the book over the span of a few months.

2. I need to NOT chat online anymore. It is rotting my brain in the same way that television is, and it's just the bars all over again, although there are one or two interesting people hiding in the cracks, you just have to look for them. Still, I think that it is as much an addiction as anything else in life, and I want to make sure that I don't fall into chatting for hours and hours when I have nothing else to do. Besides, I want to meet people that I share commonalities with, not people who like the pic I put up.

3. I must start working harder for Mr. S. The opportunity that he is giving me is amazing, and I need to throw myself into it. There is a lot of potential to be successful at this, if I would just start going to the task.

4. I came here to begin teaching, and I need to make that more of a priority in my life. I love the time that I am in class, and I don't think that I am failing my students, but I don't think that I am giving them quite all I have to offer. With a bit more discipline, and just a few more hours of my almost inexhaustable supply of free time, I could really show so much more of the beauty of the universe. The aspects of existence are numinous, and with just a bit more planning I think that I could show that so much better to my students.

5. I must take better control of my money. To this end I have created a budget and opened a bank account. I am making too much money to just leave it sitting around the house. Besides, I want to go to Germany for December (more of that inexhaustable free time) and I need to make sure that I wont haphazardly spend that money before then.

6. I will quit smoking. Not sure just when yet, but it will be very soon. Probably when I am more in the habit of exercising it will be easier.

7. I will participate more in the life of the Austin community. There are a lot of amazing things going on here, and I want to know that I am being a part of what I can only describe as an amazing place.

8. I make a commitment to write something every day. I want to start going out to the parks and various sites around Austin and take advantage of the wandering muses.

Well, I had hoped to finish with all my points, but I need to write more on my lecture.

John was supposed to come home tonight, but I haven't heard from him. Hopefully he will get home soon, I know that he has been looking forward to it.

Monday, January 17, 2005

And already today......

Its only 9am and I have already been awake for about two hours. In the land of Thom that is quite an accomplishment. I have to say it hasn't been half bad. Already I have battled the ice, took Jason to work, fell in love with the Scissor Sisters, and well, not much else. But thats enough!
There are a whole lot of things that I should get done today. I've had pink eye the last few days and Isaac's dad has been here for the weekend, so I haven't accomplished as much as I would like to have. Today I will:
1. Finish my evaluation package.
2. Work on some patent stuff (perfectly billable hours, and I need to catch up)
3. Clean my room.
4. Call and get tickets for Kat's show.
5. WRITE!

I have to remind myself that by definition, revolutions begin at home.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

I could sit and watch the dancing of a candle for hours. A tiny happy spirit that, if I let myself pay attention to it in the right way, will sway along with the music in a glorious and chaotic dance. Sometimes calm and easily known, sometimes beyond my ability to predict in any way, a thing on its own, like a tiny shard of God.
And yet we know the secret of how the fire steps, and the words to the song that it dances to. We know what the spirit is, we know its name and its nature, and from what stuff it is made.
Variations in pressure draw the flame. Currents in the air, the thermal variations in pressure around the flame, natural eddy currents that could form in the bowl of wax, all are the chords to the flames dance. Cold descriptions, perhaps, but words whose understanding lets you see that this candle is desperately telling you about the invisible dance of the air.
If you look with the proper understanding you can see the way the wind moves around the candle and the path that it is taking by the way that the candle moves. It catches the air like a partner and holds on tight to one part, like one of a line of invisible wisps has taken it suddenly from amongst a line of them that sweeps along around a path all together. And the candles flame writhes in a thermal dance of its own, though staked to the wick, its body, its source, its incarnation. It is a thing on its own, a thing which can be understood, but it is beyond our knowing.
See, we also know what the fire is made of. How the wick gives it life. How the fire gives life to the wick. Because, you see the fire is a plasma, and the fastest moving atoms have which are pumping out of the combustion reaction are emitting photons due to the jumping of electrons. Light shoots out because a charges all over the place are wigging around at almost every possible combination of speeds, with some much more likely than the others. God, luck, or evolution would have it that the frequencies of light which plasmas such as this candle or the sun would emit would be in the range in which we could see.
So that is the nature of the flame, but there is something else about it. The very ideas that tell us the nature of what the fire is tell us also that it is beyond our prediction. Any flame in the real world cannot be perfectly modeled. No machine or intellect could ever know all there is to know about the flame. Broad predictions could be made, but true knowledge is forbidden. The mechanisms of the universe call the fire into existence, the fire is compelled, it can do nothing but obey. Still though, the reality of its nature is hidden to everything except that flame, the wick, and Truth. And the wick can only see part of the story.
But really the wick is where the magic is happening. Its where the fire finds its birth, the imperfections in the wick give it its personality, and it is in the violent destruction of the wick that the flame will dance for me.
It reminds me of a life.
Sure, I could model the wick and with a fast enough computer I could even make a fair replica of the flame. A model of chaos that reveals its nature to us as it sputters through its existence, as if we were very slowly watching it with the eyes of God, only with less understanding and far less focus. But it is a model, an algorithm with behavior like a flame. Nothing but a series of numbers and points on a screen unrelated except by the program that drew them.
But the fire is a thing like me, like this table; its a thing that exists and is imposed upon reality. Like the flesh of my body or the momentary configuration of the current in the circuitry of my brain.

****

I am going to quit smoking tonight. The money I save each day from not buying a pack of cigs is going to go into my savings account, so that I can spend Christmas in Berlin.

--Thom