Monday, February 28, 2011

Five Weeks

Another month, another update for the faithful blogonauts here on the remote fringes of the blogosphere. The dozen of you who have been paying attention will notice that the picture on the blog's banner has morphed from a milky bowl of oatmeal to...some mountain thing. Well, it's not just any mountain thing, I'll have you know. It is, in fact, a picture of Mount Bromo, a volcano in East Java that attracts tourists like gadflies to cowpies. I figured, hey, it's been more than a year with the same miserable bowl of porridge at the top of my page -- why not shake things up? I'm going to be living in East Java for more than two years! Might as well make my virtual residence match up a tad better with my soon-to-be geographical surrounding. Please, please, don't flood me with e-mails demanding a return to that classic, tried-and-true dish of gruel, for my mind is made up. Conservative readers, forgive me. History parades forward; we must not be left behind.

Assuming the date of departure is still April 4th (word on the street is it might be pushed back a day), I have exactly five weeks until it's au revoir to Uncle Sam. [Aside: Has anyone else ever noticed that Uncle Sam = U. SAM = United States of AMerica? The initials for US are obvious, but Sam-as-States-of-America is pretty clever. It must be intentional, right?]. A few days ago I finally received an e-mail with a packing list and a bunch of more specific info about pre-departure, departure, and training. So, there are a few items on my to-do list:

  1. Shopping for Indo.
  2. Packing for Indo.
  3. Everything else, including, but not limited to:
  • Road trip up the east coast with Craig, stopping all the way up to visit peeps and places. Specifically looking at DC and New York, perhaps Savannah, perhaps Atlanta, maybe Philly, and Boston (if Mimi can't drag herself down to NYC). And anywhere else that seems like a good idea.
  • Last gasp in Gainesville. There are some special people there I want to spend a bit more time with.
  • Get hold of whatever money I can to accomplish all these things.

I am in a peculiar state of stress at the moment. The time is melting away like an ice cube in a frying pan. Half of me is trying to embrace the new and impending reality. The other half is clinging hard to the people and situations around me right now, focusing on how to do the things I still need/want to do before the kaleidoscope hits the floor.

In my life, more stress means more music to cope. I've been listening to a lot more. Maybe it's because there are so many new albums to deal with. I have a feeling that the second annual Thought Porridge Top Albums of the Year awards will be much more competitive than the inaugural edition. Plenty of albums are making a strong push, and we're less than 20% of the way through the year. (Some early competitors: The People's Key by Bright Eyes, The King of Limbs by Radiohead, The Fountain OST by Clint Mansell, The Coming Insurrection by Exitmusic, and Kiss Each Other Clean by Iron & Wine. Also looking forward to hear what my dawgs in Greenland Is Melting put out when the new album is released. Also looking forward to hear what the Strokes have come up with after a five-year hiatus. Also looking forward to EVERYTHING).

And that's not all, there's more to talk about. Excuse me for running long on this one -- it's been a while since I posted or wrote much at all, really, and now that I've gotten it going, I don't want to stop. One thing I've learned about myself is I'm the type who does NOT like to analyze too heavily in preparation for something. I always thought that applying for undergrad was the process that instilled this trait in me, as it does in so many others. Looking over your application, torturing over every word, generally overthinking everything. After a while, I think I mostly shed this brutal perfectionism. One doubles or triples stress levels to make a marginal improvement, if any, in whatever process one is focusing on. I didn't torture myself over the resume or aspiration statement: I waited for a time when I felt ready to write/edit them, and I did it expeditiously. The trouble, for me, is being around people who obsess over the details. I have to remind myself not to take on their habits.

That's it for now.