Thursday, June 19, 2008

It's been awhile...

...since I could hold my head up high
And it's been awhile, since I first saw you.
And it's been awhile, since I could stand on my own two feet again
And it's been awhile, since I could call you...

And it's been awhile since I could write. I'm not sure what the reason is; a lot's been happening, yes, but it's not like I've been too busy. It's not laziness, precisely, either, because I've been surprisingly productive over the last few months (though noticeably less so in the past couple of days) just... not when it comes to writing, any sort of writing.

It's pretty ironic, I guess; I look back two entries before this one, and find myself all happy poingy to be writing again. Note to self; life runs on irony. Do not cheer about how well things are going, or she'll kick you in the teeth.

But anyway, here I am on the day watch, scribbling away in my Moleskine, and with any luck this entry will find itself typed up and blogged. And, if you're reading it, I guess it is.

So, how to summarize the last two months of my life... well, in brief, it's gone by smoothly enough. I'll try to hit the highlights as best I can. For starters, our much vaunted shipyard period was not in Norfolk, as I was expecting, but instead in Charleston, South Carolina. Remember what I said about irony? Anyway, that's where I stand now - Detyen's Shipyard, North Charleston. The shipyard used to be the old Navy Yard, and many of the buildings around have that beautiful, slightly baroque architecture from the early part of the last century, although in many cases, the years have not been kind. It's warm, as one might expect from South Carolina in June - warm enough for me to start wearing shorts, which is adamantly not a pretty sight. The heat hasn't bothered me quite as badly as I figured it would; I guess there's one positive to having spent last summer in the molten hell that is the Persian Gulf, everything under 110* (F) feels uncomfortably warm rather than blisteringly hot.

My friend Jason has gotten me interested in a couple of new hobbies; I know, not like I didn't have enough already, right? But I think, overall, these two are a net positive. The first is guitar playing. Back in late March/early April (around the time of my last entry, amusingly enough) Jason gave me a battered six-string acoustic that had been kicking around his house for an untold number of months or years. It was beat to hell and someone had drawn all sorts of crude, hippie rainbows and unicorns and sunsets on it (fortunately in a washable marker), but with a little cleaning and some new strings, she sounds okay. I didn't get much practice on it until the ship went out for about a month of straight sea time, doing exercises with the Navy off the coast of Florida - I've been trying to average thirty minutes or better of practice time every day since, although the last two weeks have seen me slacking off overmuchly.

The other hobby I've gotten interested in is backpacking. It's one of those things I flirt with, every now and then; I've been talking about hiking at least some of the Appalachian Train since I was in high school, and I always enjoyed camping when I was younger, although it's been a number of years since I've been out to the wilderness. Unlike guitar playing, most of my efforts to pursue this hobby have so far been planning and theory; I've purchased a number of hiking books and trail guides, and I'm trying to put together an exercise regime so that I'll be fit enough to hike trails and carry a decent sized pack without embarrassing myself horribly. I've been shopping around for equipment, too, but I've yet to commit to anything.

I've got a strange love/hate relationship with exercise. Once I get started, I enjoy it - but starting a routine, and maintaining one, well, for whatever reason that's always been tricky. I had a pretty good run last year, in the Gulf, but eventually lost the flow of things. Laziness - apathy - I don't really have any excuses. Last deployment sucked.

Anyway, those are the big things for me: shipyard, guitar, and exercising. Amusingly enough, being in the yard has been really good for those latter two. Since I'm not going home every night, hanging out with friends, or being distracted by the internet, I have more time to devote to other things. I fall out of routines much easier than I can work myself into them. This last week, for example, was spent at home, on leave - during that time, I completely failed at either working out or practicing my guitar, and I haven't quite gotten back into the rhythm of either, now that I'm back to work.

On the other hand, I cleaned up my house while I was home, completely rearranged my bedroom, bought and built a futon and four bookshelves for my library, hung out with friends, played D&D 4th Edition, went to a beer tasting, saw "The Happening" (short review: it sucked. Longer review: it sucked hard), went to an anime convention, and bouht some incredibly sweet new swords (which can be seen on my Flickr account)... so, I have to say that it was a pretty nice, productive, but far too short leave period.

One thing that I haven't done lately is write. I've been taking an extended hiatus from RDI lately, which means's Paladin's been MIA... there's a number of reasons for my absence, but what it mostly boils down to is that the chat just wasn't fun for me anymore, and I lost interest in keeping up with the forums. Lately I've been getting that grumbling in the back of my head, that tension that means I've got the urge to write, but no outlet... so, I think I might be making a return to the RDI forums, at least, pretty soon.

We've got about a week left in Charleston. My "to-do" list for that time period consists of:
*work (8-hours daily)
*sleep (as needed)
*write (as able)
*play guitar (30 minutes - 1 hour daily)
*exercise (30 minutes - 1 hour daily)
*see the city and take pictures (remaining time)

There's a lot of cool things to see, even in the limited environs of the shipyard; I haven't gotten out much while I've been here, mainly because I didn't bring my car down when the ship first sailed. This time, however, I have - a little mobility goes a long way.

So, what else is new in my life? Um... finally got my car paid off. Five years now I've been making monthly payments on my PT Cruiser, and now I finally own the damn thing. The funny thing, it's only recently gone over 50,000 miles... a side effect of never being home to drive it. I've been thinking about trading in - the car du jour changes with my mood, but the Jeep Wrangler and Toyota Prius have both come up as candidates, for very different reasons - but in a rare fit of sensibility, I think I'll keep my Cruiser. The only real reason for a trade-in would be that "newer, shinier toy" complex, and that's a pretty damn silly reason to take on debt now that I'm clear of it.

My little sister's back from England; she had a great time, but really missed people and things here in the States, so she's glad to be back. She's slowly moving into her first apartment, with some friends, a decent looking place in Norfolk converted from an old knitting mill. Looks pretty cool, although some things - like the lack of openable windows - would drive me batty.

My motorcycle's been down for the count lately - probably just a bad battery, but getting her into the shop for a tune-up and a thorough inspection is the next best thing to impossible, thanks to her age. It's sad, because as the weather gets warmer, I find myself wanting to ride more and more. I've thought about buying a new bike a couple of times - I'm sure I've mentioned that here before - and so far there's been no resolution. Oddly enough, my dad's stopped encouraging me to buy a Harley (has actively begun discouraging the idea) and is instead bugging me to look into Victories and Triumphs. Which, I confess, look like really sweet bikes. So... round and round I go on the subject, with no end in sight.

I finally bought my Eee, and it's just as tiny and cute as I imagined. Ended up going for one of the low end models because, honestly, I already have two laptops and didn't need another "I can do anything!" machine, I needed something to replace my MobilePro, that I could carry around with me without thinking about it and use to spring into writing action at any time, any place. The tiny keyboard is frustrating and taking some adjustment, but she (I haven't named her yet, but I'm leaning towards 'Alice') has Open Office and Mozilla, so she does everything I require of her. Also bought a new camera, a Nikon Coolpix L16 to take the place of my defunct Kodak; I still need to fix or replace the flash on my Canon, though.

Speaking of pictures, my parents finally got a Flickr account. They don't seem to have done much with it yet, but hopefully soon. Still working on talking my siblings into getting one, but forecasts there seem doubtful - James doesn't take many pictures (with his camera, at least; he rather likes mine) and Jess usually puts hers up on her facebook account.

Script Frenzy: bombed it. I'm 0-2, and thinking screenwriting may just not be my forte. I'm not quite ready to give up on it altogether, but it definitely cements my determination to not fail NaNoWriMo this year. I'm going to start my planning earlier than usual (that is, before October) so that I'm ready to hit things hard come November 1st. I'm thinking about doing a fantasy this year, but we'll see if that changes; something I've learned over the last three years, you're never really sure just what story you're writing until you're in the middle of it, and even then things are subject to change without warning.

It's just after noon now, and the storm that's been threatening all morning has finally delivered its contents on our heads; torrential rain, yellow lightning bolts, and haze thick enough to conceal the bridge just down the river from us in a black fogbank. Yet, even at its peak, we can still see shreds of blue skies through the black overcast - and even as I write this, the winds still and the rain slacks to a steady drizzle. Pretty soon, things will calm and the still heat will once again dominate the day... but for now, it's cooler, and pleasant.

The Rebecca has just IMed me; it was her acerbic comments last night that prompted me to start writing this update, and she's just chimed in her disappointment that I haven't posted it yet. So, here you are, Rebecca - this one's because of you. Thanks for the kick in the rear.

And... I guess that's it, for now. More updates forthcoming soon, hopefully, along with some creative writing. Wish me luck.

1 comment:

Rebecca said...

I always knew I was special! <3 And an UBER update! Makes up (almost) for all the MONTHS missed.