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37 + 11

A week and a half ago, after playing basketball with some officers, I met up with a girl I saw for a hot minute this year. I think she wanted to gauge and feel me out. Let’s be honest, sometimes the memories you leave behind make an eternal space.

I could go into the infinity reasons why but I’m getting really into fitness. Part of it is trite, some of it is even petty, but also most of it is not. But I’ve always been driven like this….way I see it, there was just a period where I was filling other unsatisfactions with known copes such as a big relaxing meal. Food nurtures good company. And after coviding and being a bit dissatisfied with home life, yeah, food fills.

And she we had what we had before this too.

And there’s a lot more that’s changing. Work, compared to where I was a year ago? Not even the same ballpark. I have a team. In practice at the office, I say our team because that’s righter, but I could say my team. And it’s great, and it’s part of a wider team. Let’s put modesty aside: my leadership is demonstrable and skilled and talented. For the most part, I. Feel. Successful. And. Grateful.

So…smaller roles….capable, but less capable….apt to settle….apt to diminish how I feel in the long term for cool short terms…..that’s not me anymore. Not my life.

And I love that.

So I sat down with this qt. And I wanted to gauge her too. We fell out because the communication wasn’t constructive and I wouldn’t say that’s on my end. And she was still gorgeous.

But still drinking a lengthy ton. Coming from me, that’s a statement. I saw it again, still wanting to live out nights at bars. And as I’d later learn, the communication might not be so good and turn into gamification b.s. if I indulged that. And in the end I’m sure it’ll again leave me confused and overthinking things I’d then realize I shouldn’t, which would lead to frustration.
But I still appreciate her. Just maybe we’re not each other’s cup of tea.

That’s still ok. There’s still respect. There’s still appreciation.

We haven’t talked yet but I appreciate that she’s there and reached out and my smile is nothing but genuine.
I say hi, and I haven’t yet taken off my jacket and she doesn’t yet know I’m a different composition constitution and shape now and that’s ok too.

And I smile and crack a joke.

And she looks genuinely confused.

“Your voice changed.”

“Did it?”

I’ve been feeling for months now that it has, but I’m 37. That doesn’t make sense.
Is it psychological? Did I get a cough that never fully reverted? Because I agree, I’ve felt like it has.

I hear it differently in my head at least.

“Why has your voice changed?”

“I finally hit puberty.”

“Huh?”

“I guess my balls just dropped.”

This is one of those jokes that’s loosely rooted in reality. It’s funnier when I don’t spell it out.

Because I could: I have grown. Drive wise. Emotionally. Strategically. Upward and Outward.. What I give a fuck about. How, and moreover, what I escalate.

I’m so curious where life will go. I remain so curious how life will grow. I remain curious how far I will literally move, and for what and why and how. I rewatched some old youtube videos last night and on one hand…cringe….I can tell I had so, so fewer resources at my disposal, but a raw aptitude that wasn’t without cringe. On the other hand, that guy seems so younger to me now. That guy makes me go, “You haven’t achieved your final form, but you’re interesting. Weird, for sure. One day you will successfully manage a life in one of the toughest cities on Earth and you will be able to generate help for others because you won’t need it any longer and you will love it.”

I don’t know what the point of this entry is besides to talk about me, but it’s Thanksgiving, and I have tons to be thankful for. New communities. Team building. Team building exercise # 9. Working — and I don’t mean as a career, I mean knowing that I work in every way I want to. New communities. The recognition of potential and connections not yet made, but the potentials and connections that could so very be there. The capability to. Efficacy.

I realized one of my closest buddies and I have known each other for 8 years now. Other besties. A quarter of a century. My family is still rich in stuff besides money. I feel that genetic jackpot too often too.

Shit sneaks up on you in a good way sometimes. I’m thankful. If you’re not, work to be thankful too. When you are, you’ll know success.

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Playing the fool is always an interesting choice.

People who compel you too, are almost always bringers of the tragic. People who influence you to, are almost always bringers of comedy.

I still remember finding out that one of the (then) new consultants was uh, what’s the technical term?…oh, a liar. He lied. Week one of the job he did a stupid thing, and rather than own up to it he out of something pride-based, maybe shame or embarrassment or some over-confident belief that he could protect his reputation by just lying, did a lie that started with “definitely…”

And I was able to copy and paste to him the thing that showed he was definitely lying.

I just took a deep breath, because I guess that’s my entire point in a nutshell. Strangely, I think that playing the fool can result in the most insight.

Playing the fool for me turns into a game of chess. The “When should I show my hand?” question becomes a constant one. It sounds like a stupid game, because it is, but the whole process also gives you insight on a person. How much more they’ll double down. Casually lie. How good they are at lying. What they’ll employ their confidence for. Why.

It’s very, very, very, very different than actually being a fool. It’s also more dangerous than being transparent, or bullheaded with regard to every red circle.

Note: not for the bull.

I think resilience is a key component of strategy. Resilience gives rise to patience, and results in not having to be so reactive to the point that the resilient person can demo a level of patience that good plays can result from strategy.

Whether or not it does, or is the most ideal way forward for a few steps is not good post-fodder for here. I just don’t think I’m wise enough to understand that part.

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One time at UB I was taking this “Love and Intimacy” psychology class because it fulfilled a requirement, and at night, and who would find this uninteresting? I was in lab-boy mode most often at this time. This meant being a little more awkward, and assuming that everyone was most interested in what a book said and how said book could be added to.

The class unfortunately discoursed a bit like cosmo articles. Cherry picked correlations with well-intentioned advice. It wasn’t the woist, but it didn’t have the intimidating rigor that some of the neuroscience classes did. Anyone with a good heart could guess this stuff and not fail.

And the instructor was making a class fun by having a “True or false” and the class was supposed to say true or false together, and then the census would be checked by the “right” answer.

One of the questions was “Women can experience two kinds of orgasms.”

……

And this class that was predominantly women gave mixed responses, that much was clear. I said “false…”, and that got a little washed out in the mixed review. But what wasn’t washed out was when I continued my sentence with “there are three.”

So essentially

Professor: “True or false, women can experience two kinds of orgasms”

Quarter of class: “True”
Me and different quarter of class “False….”
My dumb ass alone: “…. there are three.”

So there’s a pause and the whole room is looking at me. In my head I’m like “that sounded really confident. Shit. Why did I said that. Shit, I think I read this somewhere. Wasn’t it like *is sure of two kinds but not the third* shit here it comes”
There are like 2 other guys in the whole class and I’m getting many sideways looks.

Lecturer clicks next, and slide reads something along the lines of:

“FALSE! Research has shown that women can have three kinds of orgasms. Including [*insert some stuff you can google*]”

Teacher lady goes “Eric, I am a woman and I don’t know how many orgasms a woman can have so I want to know how you might know…”

At this point I was trying not to blush and heard myself completely go from badass to asshole by saying “Ask your mother.”

And I don’t think she heard me because she started saying, “but I can’t date my students! I can’t date my students!”

I think we were both trying to be funny. And if we were succeeding, maybe it wasn’t in the way we wanted to be funny.

Anyway, no I did not get lucky with any person in this class as a result of this story, but one guy thought I was cool and offered me drugs about a week after — because college.

The End

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Has nightmare
nightmare is we have received instructions, species style, for space expedition on Saturn
For some reason I am invited and say sure.
Goes along for ride
Due to dream time, am then on Saturn
Apparently there is a shuttle to visit moon
Doesn’t think getting on shuttle is good idea but ok
Gets on moon
Starts exploring with team
See’s weird alien temple in distance
Hears drums
Shuttle explodes
Fire people start coming out of temple
Me, “They don’t look friendly. Is this ritualistic dancing from a bad 80’s movie?”
Gang: Derp derp
Watches giant space-fire-dragon exit temple like some WoW boss
Its teeth are the size of my head
Its eyes look made of fire
Me: “Oh GOD DAMNIT.”
Gang: “Gee maybe we should go”
Me: Is so annoyed that all these expeditions took one shuttle to this stupid moon
Me: Thinks about how there is no known ride off of this rock
starts calculating the logistics of being trapped on a moon on saturn
Decides that even if I am not eaten by a giant space dragon that I don’t have the survival skills or resources to live very long on a Saturn move
wakes up
cat is glad I’m awake
cat shows me butthole
realizes that there may be a flaw in a new project given to me at work that no one else has realized yet

I think this was a weird work-stress dream.

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I don’t mean to be political but I’m gonna share a personal experience that piddles me off to this day:
When I was in college I went jogging. At night. Because I felt like it and could and this type of activity needs no justification.I was on a track field. I was running to rammstein. I was getting into it and jumped over a thing that I wasn’t sure I could jump over and felt mighty and went “Yeah!”

Five minutes later, no exaggeration, at least three cop cars pulled up, followed me, and I turned around to shining lights and a cop pointing a gun at me — finger on the trigger.
I had to be very diplomatic, cautious, and slow because I trust what that finger was capable of more than the thinker behind it. There was no crime. One of the cops was parked there and when he heard me go yeah, called for back-up because he thought that might be the yeah of someone raping someone.
…….This is actually the explanation I got. The way and fact that they explained it makes me think that these people are so stupid that they don’t understand that summoning a small army instead of having the guts to investigate a weird yell made by one person is um….shitty tactics. The decision to pull a weapon on one person, so as you can MAKE SURE they don’t get away from your imagined crime…. man.

Little eager to assume horrible felonies, aren’t we?

Anyway, I certainly wasn’t traumatized, but to say the least I was very weirded out. I remember not wanting to even tell my mother, because that incident would do nothing but cause her worry. I remember sitting in my dorm room thinking that if I was a true asshole, or hadn’t heard the cop, that maybe I’d be the worst kind of news story. I think most of those cops weren’t responsible. I think one of them even apologized as soon as we had everything sorted and even offered to drive me back to my dorm, but I FELT much safer walking home by myself instead. Something about having a guy draw a firearm on you and yelling demands has that kind of effect.

And I feel like way more pressure was on me to de-escalate the situation and help the cops sort out their issue, than the issue was on the professional cops.

Guns aren’t bad. Cops aren’t bad. But people who don’t have what it takes to be responsible enough with their gun should be banned from having guns and, if they still want guns, they should be told that they have to responsibly take care of a cat for 60 years first. It seems to me that the Kyle Rittenhouse trial is disillusioning this entire country to the reality that too many people who possess guns aren’t responsible enough to use them appropriately, and that too many of them won’t actually be held responsible.

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I, do want to soapbox although also not really. I sort of want to talk to the sky and make points of my thoughts to the point where at the end I can lower my head and go “of course.”

Coffee, is a very dangerous drug.

It looks like I’m about to go full-time. I don’t super care about that.

I know there are elements to the picture that I don’t yet see, but I do know that good work, earning a good reputation, and satisfying curiosities and giving a damn are key points that I feel like, shucks. Yey. I do super care about all of that.

But unless something tragic happens, I’m very, very much looking forward to new opportunity and challenges, and it has me feeling way, too, corny.

And it’s not all juicy good too.

There’s also a side that is like “what challenges will be brought when the pendulum swings the other way?” Waiting for the other shoe to drop can make you feel heavy. I didn’t always have that side feel as tangible, but people are also less risky as they get older — right?

Here are some tips that I’m all about:

Politeness and courtesy should be basic parts of professionalism. This doesn’t mean be a fucking battery of bunny rabbit positivity. But people like working with people who they like working with. And consciensciousness, pleasantness, and even a good joke cracked at the right time adds tons. I still don’t understand why I’ve met some professionals who are hellbent on being unpleasant — they’re not the majority, but they do exist. And I have to wonder if they have a survivor’s bias — where they think that being a cheeky asshole constantly about to pucker was a key to their success. Just because they’re around that must prove it’s best, right?

nah

If you’re not curious, you’re not growing and you’re not driven to grow. The best projects for a person are going to make them curious about stuff.

Issues aren’t problems. Issues can be caused by problems, but problems are much, much worse.

A good way to decide if you need to say something is to go “Does this need to be said?” and also “Do I need to say it?” This is also great if you’re working with multiple chiefs, because by the time you think this through someone else might be chiefing it.

I’m a product of my era and have a softspot for people calling me “man” but, only if there’s a hard-established mutual respect in this relationship. People who start calling me buddy, or things besides my first name make me wonder if they’re presumptuous folks who presume that they’re slick enough to make me malleable for unprofessional reasons.

Don’t assume malice if incompetence is a possibility.

Patience and a few words is almost always better than reactiveness in a bunch of words.

Synergy is a weird buzz word. Optimize is just a good word.

Sometimes agilitating is the most optimal word.

Yep cool that’s enough.

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Proposals aren’t easy on guys. Like it’s a great problem to have, but I didn’t want to have a standard story.

So last Tuesday I picked up the ring but told her I was going to petco. I’d also planted the seeds that I wanted more water conditioner a few days in advance, by doing REALLY CLEVER stuff, like saying, “Man, I should buy more water conditioner!” on the Sunday. And then, “crap, too late to go out now I’ll pick some up tomorrow.” Ah yes. You can take it from me, a master deceiver, that no one — even me — was the wiser.

I did actually go to petco too. While there, I took a picture of a great looking oto and texted it with the caption “OMG A SHINY OTO LOOK AT IT.” This was to succesfully annoy her. Then at petco I asked the guy to give me a bag of water. He looked at me like I was a goddang weirdo. I told him I’m also buying water conditioner and I want to test it first. He kept looking at me like I was a goddang weirdo. I smiled and told him I’m kidding, but I’m about to (maybe) get engaged and want to put the ring in the bag and pretend it’s a fish to surprise her. He still kept looking at me like I’m a goddang weirdo, but he also finally gave me the bag. I paid and went home. Before I went upstairs I put said ring in said bag.

This is the moment that’s quite scary.

At home she saw I had a bag with what looked like ANOTHER swimmer and I went “THIS ONE’S REALLY COOL.” and went into my fishroom/office. I heard her sigh, but she also likes seeing the swimmers so, she came in. I put the bag on my desk and went “So….I got that water conditioner.”

“Uh huh…..”

“And, also, I got a new shiny…”

and then I got on the knee.
Oh man. I wish I had a video of her eyes. The bag had like a liter and a half of water, and the ring is something I can put a lot of pride behind, but it’s like….not so obvious in a big bag — trust me, a fish that wasn’t sunken to the bottom would be easier to ID. But she still sees that I’m genuflecting and starts freaking out. Like she was looking at me, the bag, me, for an escape route, then the bag again, within 3 seconds.

“Wait, are you serious right now? WAIT. Is that a fish. THATS NOT A FISH. OMG ARE WE DOING THIS.”

After about 2 minutes I had to go “So …..yes?” because I’d been kneeling / holding for a long while and the bag was getting really heavy. I hadn’t factored that part into my plan, so, isometric work out was me.

She said yes, and minutes later her fitbit went off because her heartrate was so high it thought she’d just had a work out.

It’s been as much of an eye opening experience for me, as anyone. I don’t even want to detail it further than that, but having a new f-word in my vocabulary is enrichening. I was technically wealthier before we did this, but it sure doesn’t feel that way.

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I’m taking a 15 minute break to point out,

some weird mental stuff happened this weekend. There’s a good battle scene in my favorite fantasy trilogy where the overly skilled, plot-armored main characters are trying to complete a battle but they’re just….exhausted. And I don’t really melee, but was reaching that level of burn-out — even depression, but,

I slept

I slept a LOT. I think I slept more than 40 hours in the last 4 days which is pretty alarming.

I’ve been getting 4 hours on most work-nights. And this three-day, man that helped. After sleeping so much, learning the value of a physical exercise and how I can make it meditative, man

Life might not be perfect,

I might not end up being every point of relations perfect cup of tea,

but I feel swell! Cool enough to have drive but not be impulsive and also explore — and that too me is a verve that’s the opposite of depression.

I want to say that my greatest privilege in life is being able to work towards results I can be proud of, and here we are 🙂

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You’re walking in the woods

There’s no one around and your phone is dead.

In the corner of your eye you spot hi-

No I kid.

I still don’t really have a hard definition for smarts…..I don’t like thinking of myself as smart. I prefer thinking of myself as “not dumb”. Dumb is easier to define and prove. Dumb is “Doesn’t get solutions.” Dumb is “results in problems.” Smart is easy to define as “the opposite of dumb” but, that’s not the most precise definition. It’s still problem-oriented, and there’s a solution-oriented definition that’s even cooler.

The thing is, there’re so many ways to create solutions to most things! And relativity fucks up all objectivity — trying to figure out who is smart in a room full of smart people is usually the type of juice that’s not worth the squeeze. That room should bring different solution bringers that prove why smart is an x factor. That guy who’s creative enough to see past the functional fixation of an object (“This pen can be a stabby device too”) and be resourceful is smart. That gal who can retain data AND have it at hand enough to gain insight based on an established set of details is smart too. That worker who is self-knowing enough to recognize what effort is needed, how long it will take to apply, and conquer with a work ethic is also smart. And that idea guy who can innovate a novel solution based on knowing what’s possible is also smart/the literal genius……there’s a reason that a smarter definitions of “smart” is not-dumb.

Shmart.

Well one thing that makes a humans one of the most uniquely powerful forces on Earth I think is perceptual problem solving. Saying “what don’t I understand to achieve solution” and then getting it, is genius. And we’re talking more than relabeling something — you can ‘expand’ a vocabulary by relabeling known-words with new word-sounds — but compare that with expanding a vocabulary by learning new words with new meanings.

Originally, I thought that humans had creativity over AI….and we still do for a bit longer, but if AI can still only expand a known ruleset in amazing ways, then creativity isn’t our chief advantage.

I think the actual spark of human genius is being able to see outside of what’s internalized. That ability to go from a baby with sensory overload to understanding why the sky is blue is something really special. This means that psychologists can have a certain genius that programmers reach for. Being able to see and intuit mentalities outside of our own little scope and world-view, that’s something special.

And it’s almost as if that drive to see and understand new things explains a lot about why smarty-pants are also often curious folks by nature.

If you think there’s wisdom in saying “we see everything through ourselves”, consider “it’s basic to see everything through your own lens.” Some folks are so quirky and different that understanding them isn’t a far cry from understanding why the sky is blue.

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