The Nut House and messages from the universe

New Years Eve: usually anti-climactic. I mean, first of all, it’s just an arbitrary date. Nothing changes new years day, really. I had already spent a lot of time reflecting on 2010 but I did take a few minutes alone a few minutes before midnight to put a couple of things out there to the universe. Of course I can’t remember now what they were. But I am sure I meant them.

Earlier in the day I had gone up to New Hampshire to visit a couple of friends who I knew I wouldn’t see the next day. I also revisited the site of my sprained ankle: the last time I was in that restaurant I ordered a beer and then felt lightheaded and sat down on the ground because there were no chairs around, and the bartender thought I was drunk (a reasonable assumption under the circumstances actually!). Well, this time I managed to finish my beer, and actually extract myself despite several attempts to get me to stay and hang out longer, because I had promised a friend I would drive with her to a H3 New Year’s party up in the Great White North.

We were what you might call fashionably late: arriving at around 10pm, but not too late to see the fireworks (well bottle rockets), until a very nice officer showed up and asked us to stop. Now how interesting can a party be to people who weren’t there? Not very, although I got the bright idea somewhere along the way to store in my phone the funny things that people (including myself…) said. And thank goodness for that because there is no way I would have remembered the half of these things later on!

This party did feature a beer basement, which was AWESOME, and a couple of very intense one-on-one conversations that I remember quite clearly even in my inebriated state. Some things in life are just so vivid that you can recall them through the haze of, well, I guess your drug of choice. Good times though.

So my friend and I left quite early the next morning (or later the same day, depending on your POV) to hit up the 150th Seacoast trail. This was a party I didn’t want to miss, because last year’s was very memorable. This year’s was no exception (although sadly the Nittany Lions lost to the Gators), trail was relatively long, the bloody marys were spicy, and I had my first really good laugh of the year.

For some reason the entire time we were driving to Seacoast I was possessed with this inescapable urge to go back to the other party. It was strange, and it wouldn’t go away, even though it really made no damn sense whatsoever. So when the universe sends you messages, it’s best not to ignore them so I texted my friend that I was coming back, got back in my car and drove all the way back up there.

Why did I do that? I have no idea. The most obvious reason is that within 30 minutes or so of being there the guy who was hosting the party agreed to come visit me in Cape Town (we had only met the day before, but we know each other by reputation so it’s all good). I also got to know a couple Boston people better than I did before (the night before was kind of a bit nuttier). AND I got to drink the Four Loko I acquired on the last trip. You know a party’s not really a party until the Four Loko comes out.

Also, I learned the best excuse EVER not to come drinking with your friends. I think it’s the New England version of “I’m changing the water in my goldfish bowl” and it is … drumroll please … “I’m fixing my snowmobile.” Yes, someone really texted this excuse: once at around 10pm and once again around 11. I think this was the first thing I remembered the next morning when I woke up, and it sent me into an uncontrollable set of giggles. True story. The best part? There wasn’t even any snow the next morning because the 50 degree weather (~10C) had melted it all! Apparently the attempted repairs just broke the thing more, so I guess that will teach us all a valuable lesson. But, I now have a line I can (and trust me, will!) use from now on if I ever don’t want to go out drinking (or, you know, need to go home early).

The rest of the evening involved playing South African DJ (thanks YouTube), more raiding of the beer cellar, and then we sort of watched Avatar. The last thing I remember was that the DVD kept freezing and it was at this point that I finally fell asleep.

Sunday I drove back down to Boston and made it to the hash late mainly because of unexpected traffic (both times I made fantastic calls on detours or I would have been another hour late!), so I set off to follow a poorly-marked Cajun trail by myself. This worked out somewhat fine until I got extremely lost in the MIT steam tunnels and I felt like something out of a late 1980s computer game so I finally decided that discretion was the better part of valor, went and called for help and then caught up with the pack on the other side of the river. Another 4-5 miles later, we ended at the Hong Kong which is ironic because I was just saying that I didn’t want to go back there because I had so many great memories of it before it burned in a fire, and the old, unrenovated Hong Kong was still living on in my mind. Well, it was not to be … THEN I ate some pizza because it was there and I was feeling too tired to hassle anything else. Let me tell you … gluten is pure evil, my stomach swelled up like a big balloon after! So it’s official: I am NOT making that mistake again.

Probably running trail with a wicked sore throat wasn’t the smartest idea I’ve ever had, but at this point I was severely annoyed with my body for continuously being sick, and other than the throat I felt fine. Well, I do still struggle with decisions that I know are bad but I make them anyway. Free will or determinism …. Not sure. We’ll see how long this sucker lasts. Actually, I am starting to die a little bit inside, it hasn’t been this long since I worked out since I think maybe last April? If it wasn’t for the illness I would probably be tearing someone’s head off by now.

Lunch featured a discussion of shades of grey vs black and white, some advice, and an offer for seed capital should I decide to come back to Boston (although the terms aren’t exactly suitable to me, but then again I’d be a lousy business person to take a first offer a), and b) take any offer without being properly prepared!). Earlier this evening I met up with a couple of ex-co-workers to talk about the new CEO, and other such exciting events.

My friend Katie wrote a pretty awesome blog post about two months ago that I just read, aptly titled “Self-Esteem: You’re Doing It Wrong.”. Now I suggest this to anyone: she is absolutely right about this. I am not sure it’s possible or desirable completely not to care what other people think (that might put you over the line into sociopath or make it impossible for anyone really to relate to you or vice versa). But, I completely agree with her bottom line and also you know how people say you never wish on your deathbed that you’d worked more (I might debate this one, but that’s a subject for another day…)? Well, I bet no one wishes on their deathbed either they had bent over backwards to please other people. There is enough of that going around in fact; as social creatures we do actually need to compromise in order to make other human relationships work. Think about it: as parents, children, lovers, co-workers, service providers & customers …. The list goes on. So, when something is really important to you never settle. Nelson Mandela is a wise man, and this is my all-time favourite quote of his: “Never settle for a life that’s less than the one you’re capable of living.” Don’t sit around on your deathbed and think you’ve failed to reach your potential because you’re afraid or you’re busy being worried about what other people will think of you.

Self-serving? Yes. True? Well, I’m not in the habit of saying things I don’t mean. Lies of omission, sure, but that’s a subject for another day.

While I’m doing my bit to make the internet a more hyperlinked place, I also made a guest appearance on my friend’s blog these last few days. Oddly enough I think I wrote more about these workouts than he did; little did I know that was the last time I would work out for a LONG time.

And since Stanford snapped UConn’s insane win streak AND just beat the VA Tech Hokies in the Orange Bowl, let me take this opportunity to say that they still suck, and the tree is still the stupidest mascot in all of sports. No, I don’t really feel any better now.

• “Alcohol’s not a drug, it’s a grocery.” – Meta
• “The last time I saw him, four out of the five subjects he brought up were his abs.” – Doug
• “Everyone always uses my shower. That’s why I never lock my door.” – Gimp
• “Am I drunk or is that Brigham? I must be drunk; I’m seeing blonde people who don’t even live in this country!” – 2nd
• “Are you leaving?” “No, I’m putting on fireworks.” – Brigham, and I can’t remember but I’m going to go with Brokeback because he’s the biggest pyro around
• “Medical marijuana is, like, real marijuana.” – Friar
• “No, really, I have a pickle stuck in my throat.” – Brigham
• “He almost killed a lot of people. Including himself!” – Gimp
• “I’m not drunk. I’m hammered. There’s a difference.” – Kick Me, while buying flights to Cape Town
• “IF he comes. IF he comes.” – Brigham, in reference to a male hasher
• “This is the best 2011 ever!” – Kick Me (I think…)
• “Oh we passed inappropriate a long time ago.” – Brigham
• “This doesn’t count as real life.” – Kate
• “I joined another cult.” – Brigham

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