Having been out of town for most of August, I’m just settling back into my groove at home & work finally. Selinsgrove never quite happened; a conference came up that I was recommended to attend, so that’s where I ended up instead. First week of August was in Madison, WI, followed up by a couple weeks back in Minnesota & North Dakota visiting my family & friends. Despite coming down with some sort of a cold at the end of the conference, I kicked that pretty quickly afterwards & did manage to enjoy most of my time in Minot, Fargo, and Minneapolis.

Coming back to Toronto was rough. The twelve or so hours to get from Madison to Toronto is a long (albeit not terrible) drive. Then to get back and immediately throw the laundry in, unpack everything else, and realize my apartment still needs a sweeping/vacuuming, I really should have taken an extra day to get most of that under wraps. Instead, I just charged back into the work week & powered through it.

Thank god for the long Labor (Labour?) Day weekend. Gave me a chance to catch up with everything: sweep & mop the floors, clean the bug guts off the car, cook some dinner, buy some groceries1, do some laundry, run some errands, and just catch up on some goddamn sleep. I even snuck in a trip down to the Canadian National Exhibition early Friday afternoon, but much like the trip to the Minnesota State Fair over the vacation, I killed an entire afternoon & evening seeing the sights & devouring the food2. I meant to get around to watching Se7en & Ali G Indahouse3 as well, but I’m just a bit hooked on finishing season three of The Walking Dead right now.

I’ll get around to posting about the rest of the summer a bit. World Pride, once I finish up postprocessing all those photos. Madison. Minneapolis. Minot. Fargo. Minneapolis again with the State Fair. One last stop in Madison before the long haul back. But for now, it’s getting back into that groove between work & home. Except this time, I’m trying to play the juggle between my work & personal life a little more generously.

1I had hardly anything to eat besides leftover pasta sauce. I couldn’t realistically expect much of my usual staples to keep for three weeks in the fridge…
2The big reason for both of these events was to really just consume the food!
3This is suddenly on my “to watch” list because I had no idea Martin Freeman is in it, in an utterly atypical role for him!

When I was younger and in high school and college, I used to think I was fairly cheeky and/or humorous. It wasn’t the crude or obnoxious type either1, just a little sarcastic and cynical. I just had the right crowd of friends or something, and I fit in pretty well.

That is a lot of what makes me miss my friends back in the Midwest (and a lot of that lifestyle with it). I fit in much better there. Perhaps it was just the group of people I came into graduate school with or that I got exposed to shortly after I got here, but it never quite felt like I fit in as well here. My humor certainly didn’t get the same type of response. I felt like I had to work to get a laugh out of people. It just didn’t come naturally here.

Last week or so, one of the newer graduate students in the interdisciplinary program has been around a bit more when I hang out with a couple of my friends. Upon finally paying attention at one point, she seems to get a kick out of my remarks far more than most of my friends have2. Thinking about that a little bit, she’s also from the Midwest region (just a bit further south).

It’s completely speculative at this point, but some of it may really be just regional mindsets, or some sort of bias among them. I know there are personality differences that broadly seem to change from region to region within the US. I suppose it’s entirely possible that humor types could lump in along with them.

Regardless, it was very refreshing and nostalgic to hear her enjoy that sense of wit. I know it sounds dramatic, but it gives me hope that I will run across a few more like her that I feel I could establish stronger friendships with that feel a tad more natural3.

1The lack of exposure to any television that may have been the result of this can solely be attributed to my parents. I think the raunchiest thing I ever got to see in my high school years was a Cheech and Chong film, and not even one of the worse ones.
2The ease and flow of the laughter was much like I got back in college. Most of my jokes here just get way-sided or ignored either because I try to squeeze them in and then someone else just keeps running on a funnier theme, or they just don’t provoke any response. It just doesn’t fit the discussion in their own minds, I suppose.
3More natural = less like people are sketchily avoiding me. I get this uncomfortable feeling that people don’t enjoy hanging out with me, but they just will not tell me. I often feel like (especially lately) people are hiding things from me, deliberately trying to obfuscate things. I have enough trust issues with others; the last thing I need to think is that people cannot trust me either.

So my ten year reunion is coming up at the end of this July. I’m really unsure of whether or not I really want to attend this, mostly because of the precarious predicaments currently going on in my life right now. Regardless of if I attend it or not, I will be driving back to Minot to at least see my family, and maybe discretely coax/coerce/beg them for a few choice items to help me out after I get moved into my new place (a toaster oven would be fantastic!.

As with every trip I have taken back to the Midwest, I will be stopping in and seeing my remaining friend in Fargo. Albeit, I had a wonderful weekend in Buffalo, MN, last weekend with Adrienne and company, she’s unfortunately one of my closer friends that I don’t get to see nearly enough. That, and I have some others that I haven’t seen in nearly three years (e.g. Brenda in Valley City), so I have some catching up to do if I can manage it. Between that, and probably taking three to four days of relaxation in Minot to decompress and maybe see the North Dakota State Fair (it’s been years since I’ve been to that), hopefully I can clear my head of some things that have preoccupied my thoughts as of late.

Better yet is coming at the end of September. Over the weekend, I was pleasantly surprised to find out that Andrew Bird is playing at the Murat Theatre in Indianapolis on September 29th. That’s cool and all, I thought. It might be neat to see, but that was looking like a long trip just to hear him live. What I noticed second was the accompanying group below his name on the ad that I saw: St. Vincent. Holy crap! Bird and Vincent, both, live, $28…I think I started to drool at the thought! I have been listening to Andrew Bird ever since Sarah spoiled me into his realm of musical wonder a little over a year ago. Even more so, I’ve been captivated by St. Vincent’s latest album, Actor, since it came out and have been listening to some of her older stuff as well (just Marry Me at the present). I really want to get a listen of Blue Angel, Stairwell and Oh Oh Love as well, but so far I just love her stuff. I really miss finding music with all these unique melodies that my ears just love to eat up! Just look at my Last.fm history for the past three months if you don’t believe me!

Needless to say, I jumped on buying these tickets as soon as possible. I was up at (a woefully late) 8:30am on the day the tickets went on sale (they officially started selling at 7am) and picked up a four-pack of tickets at $28 each. So, if any of friends reading this think they would like to join me in Indianapolis on September 29th to go see these two amazing musicians live, let me know! I offered one to my brother since I will likely crash at his place in Bloomington when I drive down, so I have at least two tickets available (so far). If he declines it, I will have three. Regardless, I’m looking to get someone to take each one, ’cause I know this should be an amazing concert!

On that note of amazing concerts, is anyone interested in coming out to see any off the following at Lee’s Palace in Toronto, ON, Canada?

My heart and concern really goes out to my friends in Fargo who have to deal with the insane flooding that is coming this week. One of them is trying to take some pictures (for my curiosity and likely others) of the natural disaster in process. You can get an idea how quickly the river is rising from some of her Flickr photos below.

backyard March 22

backyard March 22

Backyard March 23 early afternoon

Backyard March 23 early afternoon

Backyard March 22

Backyard March 22

Backyard March 23

Backyard March 23

Here’s a look at the hydrologic data for the Red River in Fargo, ND, as it pertains to this mess as of the date embedded (midnight of March 24th):


I’m missing out on this…and -10˚ to -20˚ temperatures.

And I miss this.

Yes, you can tell me I’m crazy. I’m a freak for crazy weather…Buffalo just doesn’t offer very much of it! Sure, lake effect weather is a nice phenomenon, but I’m living in the wrong part of the metro area to really take advantage of it.

Digging up the past, whether it be intentional or accidental is always a bit reminiscent (no, really?) and somewhat awkward in feeling as well. I was scouring through my old emails in an attempt to relinquish some working password to my old website hosted through an old friend, but that failed miserably. That site may stay still until the end of time. I almost feel embarrassed that it’s up, but considering it doesn’t even appear to register on reputable search engines, I’m not terribly concerned.

Anyways, back to my point, digging through my old saved messages, I was surprised to see whom I still had emails from. It’s interesting to see how my social structure has changed since my middle years of college. Thinking back on it, I have this split urge to come off as a more mature, refined individual. Yet, daily, I have these urges to let the childish nature lash out still to unleash wanton and hilarious silliness to lighten the mood. It’s a really odd feeling, and I feel one will persevere and the other will ultimately die out, although I do my best to main both in my day to day life.

It really boils down to my concern on the opinions of others. I still have that urge to always come off well to other people, and worry less about myself in the process. It’s an odd habit I’ve always had, and thankfully it’s toned down over the years. Sometimes, it would just be nice to be rid of it, right? Although, yet again, I digress.

So, as I was pondering over my old communications, I reflected on the kind of people they were then. I look at the people I know now and I can see a definite difference between the social crowds. I still feel like I fit in awkwardly here in Buffalo. I don’t have that same kind of niche I had back in Fargo. Hell, I was just finally getting comfortable with the niche after three to four years there. I wish I could find that same kind of niche here in Buffalo, but that remains complicated by a few factors. Firstly, I have to realize exactly what it was about that niche that made it “home” to me. Secondly, I have to find some of those people. Sometimes it feels so agonizing to meet people and sometimes suffer yourself through their inane discussions as you’ve realized thirty seconds too late that you probably should not have introduced yourself.

In other thoughts, I’m trying to visualize a look to my main-page that I could put together as a sort of portal to my blog and other connections. I really like the look of JannyGirl‘s portal page (still bookmarked so I can track down her massage service if wifey and/or myself want to give it a try…she sounds like she’s pretty good), but I don’t want to come off as a blatant rip-off of that. Regardless, I’m sure it will share some of the elements her designer used…it’s slick, it’s simple, it’s great!

My cat trusts in me pretty unconditionally. She’s been with us long enough to realize that despite the fact we try to get her to swallow pills, and we bathe her weekly just to follow with a sulfonated lime dip, that we still feed her, love her, and pamper her far more than she probably needs to be. That trust is simple and easy to understand. Probably a bit blind in devotion, but it’s there nonetheless.

Trust with other people has never been that easy. I know Holly and I trust each other deeply, but there are times when my mind worries that I’ll break the trust, despite what she may think. I’ve come to notice that I don’t have many female friends here in Buffalo; this is something that was quite the opposite back in Fargo. The majority of my friends in Fargo were female, with a minority of males that I also spent time with.

Things are a little different in Buffalo. I’ve got a good handful of male friends (more casual than I’m used to for most friends), and very few (if any) female friends that I spend time with. I was pondering this slightly last night when I caught up with an old friend of seven years now. I noticed that I really had no female friends here…I just happen to keep up with a lot of them from the Midwest. I pondered this today at some point while I was at work, and I realized that I was concerned that Holly could/would be jealous of something like that. I don’t mind her spending time with her male friends here, so I really had to wonder why I was so concerned she’d be upset with me spending time with female friends.

We broached this subject, and obviously she mentioned she’s not concerned in the least. She admitted she might be slightly jealous that I’d choose to spend some time with them instead of her, but sometimes you just need a little change in your social life and so one would have friends for just such an occasion. I thought about this train of thought (yay for redundancy!) a little more, and I think I’m scared I might actually really like the female if I spend a fair bit of time with them. I worry that despite my love for Holly, my desire (be it altruistic or more wanton) in such a case would lead me to feeling unfaithful. Yet again, this made me realize that I probably worry too damn much!

So I plan to worry about this a little less. Sure, this seems like a trivial thing to be blogging about, but this has been a recurring issue in my past: my over-thought concern with regards to other people’s feelings about me. I don’t worry enough about myself, and lo and behold that may be a substantial contributor to my stress levels! Again, it’s time for me to worry a little less and not chastise myself over the consequences unless it’s something that’s really warranted.

That, and just tell Holly if I’m worried about something. I like a girl? Big whoop! I’ll let Holly know and just leave it as is! Remind Holly that I love her, and let her know I’ve found a new good friend, guy or girl alike!