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14 May 2017

A Dozen Years of Bloggy!

It's a time for celebration!  "Randomness" is twelve years old today!

I've baked the traditional bloggy cake for this inarticulate pre-teen, and all is well.

I've been back in my hometown of Girard for the weekend, to help out again with the National Association of Letter Carriers' "Stamp Out Hunger" Food Drive and to celebrate Mother's Day with my family.  The Girard and Lake City community donated 4676 lb (2121 kg) of food, which we were much better equipped to handle this year than last.  Mom and I went to see the University of Notre Dame Concert Band, who happened to be in town putting on a local benefit concert, and then the family had dinner with my grandparents and my now-103-year-old great-grandmother.

All that has left this weekend pretty jam-packed.  So this blog post is short, in part because I had to keep my daily streaks in Pokémon GO alive before midnight, as well as the usual race against the clock to finish this post.  Busy, busy!

I should write about my actual life here, too, soon, because it's actually pretty good lately.  (A welcome change!)  But for now, happy birthday, Bloggy!

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01 January 2017

2017

I'm not quite sure how to start things off.

That about sums up my feelings on this blog post, as well as this year.

Just like I felt at the dawn of 2011, with literally nothing bearing down on my life's calendar, 2017 is starting off as its own enigma. Maybe it's something about prime-numbered years (I doubt it).

Six years ago, I took that relative freedom as an opportunity to reset my bearings and chart a new course. Where I'm at today is the complex result of that journey. It's not exactly where I was aimed at the outset, but it just might be a better place.

Similarly, this year I recalibrate and adjust, having reached enough of one set of goals that it's time to start forming the next. It's an opportunity that ought to be taken, even if tomorrow feels the same as today, since life doesn't typically allow for such compartmentalization.

But I think my next major goal, life-wise, is better decompartmentalization.

To wit, I finally managed to get my hands on a piano a few times over this holiday season, and it felt really good. Here's to trying to restore music, which has often had to take a back seat the last couple years, into my natural balance.

This ties into thoughts I have about my general health and fitness, getting more cleaning done around the apartment (a chronic struggle!), and more intentfully fostering friendships both new and old. I've never been one for resolutions (certainly not in January), but I think most of this stuff is in the scope of typical American resolutions and is stuff I'd be interested in working on anyway. So, eh.

And maybe I want to get a little better at graphic design for these annual doodles. ;) I never want to get to the point where this post just feels like "another year, another doodle." I was a little rushed this evening, as I was actually, ya know, enjoying the day… but I think I keep doing alright at making this meaningful, if for no one else but myself.

Anyway, now that I've gotten out of the instability of the past few years and moved onto a pretty stable work situation, the sorts of "life goals" I have this year seem a bit more actualizable this time around… even if I have no clue what the end result might be, or if "I'm not quite sure how to start things off."

I'm pretty sure I'll figure most of it out.

Random tangent: Compared to other years this decade, saying "twenty-seventeen" seems a little long and unwieldy, but it really isn't. I pointed out in 2007 that "two thousand seven" was the same number of syllables as "nineteen ninety-nine". Not only is "twenty-seventeen" also just five syllables, but those syllables have the same accents and emphasis as most years in the 1990s (apparently, a trochee and an anapæst, now that I look them up). We'll be fine.

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31 December 2016

Taking a Step Back

It wouldn't be New Year's Eve if I weren't semi-frantically running around — physically, metaphorically, or otherwise — to cram things in before the end of the year.  Today has been no exception.

Part of that involved doing duty for the Pitt Band Alumni pep band at this afternoon's basketball game against Notre Dame.  Since I got a couple tickets to give away, I invited my friends Ed and Erin to watch the game.  Unfortunately, Pitt lost 78–77 in overtime, but fun was had by all.

It's also the end of an era in Pittsburgh, with the Port Authority of Allegheny County changing its fare policy for the first time since its inception on 1 March 1964.  Among other changes, paper transfer slips are being eliminated, so I spent a little time to get a small keepsake.

And of course, there was the leap second this evening at 23:59:60 UTC (18:59:60 EST), which obviously had to be celebrated by a nerd such as myself.

Now I'm racing against the clock blogging, and I'll be eating hastily-made New Year's Eve Nachos shortly.  You'd think I'd learn...

But enough about my day... this is the day I traditionally talk about my year.  So let's take a step back.

At the end of 2014, I wrote that it had felt like a continuation of 2013, "with many of the same accomplishments and many of the same struggles."  I think 2015 and 2016, taken together, can probably be construed similarly for me.  Maybe part of that is simply the natural course of things, as my personal perceptions of time accelerate.  Certainly there's been a lot of adversity in my life this year, but there have also been several successes, and most of what happened in both spheres this past year have simply built on what happened the year before.

Probably the most notable for me has been my recent shift into the once-elusive "gainful employment".  I still can't quite believe it — to be honest, I don't think much of what 2016 actually brought was on my mind at the start of the year — but that's certainly something I'm pleased about.

In a lot of other ways, though, 2016 has been rough for a lot of people, and I think almost anyone would be lying if they said they'd come out unscathed.  But amidst all of the chaos and uncertainty, I think that there's a lot to have gained from this year, and that I'm all the stronger for having lived it.

Random tangent: It's a Ryan Seacrest year here tonight, although that's made much easier by the fact that Carson Daly's show is only airing from 23:30 to 00:30.  There's a little of Anderson Cooper and Kathy Griffin mixed in, though, for flavor.  At least "twenty-seventeen" has clearly won out.  Can you imagine "two thousand seventeen"?  It's already a lot of syllables as it is!  (Gloria Estefan said "it's almost 2007".)

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14 May 2016

Exhausted in a Good Way

I'm glad my blog's birthday is in May, because it's an excuse to force myself to update this blog.

It's been a busy several months, filled with new and old, deadlines, projects, friends… you name it.  In case you couldn't tell already, I think one of the most revealing things here was that I didn't get to write anything here on 29 February this year.  (I was pretty upset that a few major deadlines kept me busy right up until midnight that night.)  I guess my thoughts from 2008 and 2012 will have to suffice.

Today was no exception to the busy nature of 2016 to date.  Last night, I borrowed a friend's car and drove up to Girard for a little-more-than-24-hour visit wherein I spent 8 of those little-more-than-24 hours volunteering, as every year, with the National Association of Letter Carriers' "Stamp Out Hunger" Food Drive.

And this year, the food… Did. Not. Stop. Coming. In.

We blew past our previous record and ended up taking in 7436 lb (3332 kg) from the Girard and Lake City community — which will all go right back out to those members of our community in need of it in due course.  But while things usually die down in the sorting and shelving effort after 16:00, there was no real end in sight for us today.  We decided to stop shelving at 17:00 like normal, and just get everything else we could out of the way for volunteers to continue processing on Monday.  (Pictured here is about half of what was leftover when we stopped.)

But exhausted as that left me, I had to drive back to Pittsburgh, because I have a couple good friends graduating from Carnegie Mellon University tomorrow morning.  And although at the start of the year, I alluded to hoping to post more often here (and I always wish that can be the case!), for now I've been "posting" more to them personally, in real life, and that's been really great.  So I wouldn't miss the opportunity to celebrate this milestone with them for anything.

But I still made time to bake some bloggy cake.  Eleven!  Today really is a day for big numbers.

Now if you'll excuse me, I'm really tired and need to go to bed.

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