I’m really still alive. Seriously. Just killing myself in other methods1. The past two weeks have been a minor hell that will not be going away anytime soon. This next one will be a little hectic, as I won’t really have any down time.

    Stuff I need to do:

  • Get that blog post about resolutions thoughts (although I’m really a little late about that)
  • Get my head on straight and get to some productivity in the lab again (the last few days in the lab have been horrible for that)
  • Finish my blog post on Plex and using it as a home theater tool2
  • See an optometrist and get a new prescription for contacts and order new glasses
    Stuff that I already have to do this week:

  • Go hit the gun range with a friend who has been meaning to get out and fire off a few rounds
  • Do the weekly dinner thing over at The Place3
  • Having my friend from the Baltimore area up for the weekendCANCELLED (2/10/10)
  • Figure out when to go eat sushi with a couple friends

I know this should not all feel stressful, but I feel like I can’t get any quality “me” time in. But I’m not really looking for “me” time, I’m looking for quality, relaxation time with someone I can just prattle away with for a while. Someone new, hopefully; I just need something to stir up some invigoration within me and feel like I am not just stuck where I’m presently at, that I can/do meet new people.

On a more random note, what the hell?

Verizon Has Blocked Access To 4chan, But What Are They Gonna Do About It? – Verizon 4chan – Gizmodo: “Last year AT&T blocked access to 4chan for about a day, due to a DDoS attack against the site. I’d love to see how Verizon manages to avoid the inevitable shitstorm headed their way.

1Emotionally distraught and generally angry at the human population as a whole. Long story. Another blog post later if you must know.
2No. Really. I have to finish. It is sitting in my “Drafts” folder in WordPress at the moment!
3Info here or here. I swear, one of these days I’m going to throw something more substantial up for them to get the word out.

The Good
The 3rd ASM Conference on DNA Repair and Mutagenesis in Whistler, BC, Canada, was amazing! Six days of intriguing (for the most part) talks from peers in the field, despite the fact that my work doesn’t necessarily fit in the best with the theme of the meeting. The lab that I’m working in is pretty heavily interested in coordination of repair in general, but I have my own little niche of work in that grand scheme as well.

Whistler in general was beautiful! I was completely out of shape for a good hike up either of the major ski slopes, Blackcomb and Whistler mountains. I did try to take plenty of pictures when I could, despite hardly having the time to a few days. We did get a fair amount of free time, with about 3ish hours every afternoon to squeeze in a lunch and our choice of activities. The best part of the free time activities easily had to be the ZipTrek zip line tour of the Fitzsimmon’s Creek valley, between Whistler and Blackcomb mountains. For being afraid of heights, this was a great way to start breaking that fear!

Unfortunately, I did wear myself a little thin at the conference. I went out every night of the conference, meeting new people and having a few drinks every time. In combination with that and getting up relatively early to make breakfast at 7:30 each morning, I rarely got more than six hours of sleep a night, hardly more than four for the last couple! A wretched but brief cold set in as I was coming back, and I’m thankfully just clearing the remnants of it from my system now as we speak.

The Bad
Holly and I have been married nearly four years now. For the last couple of years, we’ve been steadily recognizing and somewhat trying to deal with problems we’ve had between each other since moving to Buffalo shortly after getting married. Since February of this year, Holly signed us up to go see a couples’ counselor in order to help address some of the issues between us.

Since then, the sessions have helped us to open up and address more issues between each other and realize what we’re trying to achieve from these sessions, but at the same time it’s also opened our eyes up to what we’ve been expecting from each other as partners and reevaluating whether or not the other is really going to meet that goal. Just short of a month ago, Holly broke the news to me that she had come to the realization that she just didn’t think the marriage was going to work out: there were expectations we had of each other and they really weren’t accomplishable without significant changes in each other. At this point in our lives, we don’t think we should have to make sacrifices that great in our core principles for the other, and despite our strong connection, maybe we’ve pushed a good thing that we had (in a great friendship originally) a little farther than we should have taken it. I felt similarly about these issues, but I asked for a few weeks to think it over and ensure that I (and Holly as well) believed this was the best course of action to go forward with.

A week came and went, and then I was in Whistler for another week, and we revisited the subject Monday evening of this last week. After seeing what’s in store for my future as an eventual post-doctorate and potentially even a primary investigator (PI), I couldn’t feasibly see myself gaining any additional time to really work on making things better right now, and Holly was surprisingly pleased with the freedom she felt in my absence. So on those notes, we both felt even more assured in our decision to go forward with a separation/divorce (depending on how complicated NY state makes it for the immediate future). It’s a strange and awkward time now, but we both feel this is for the best for both of us. We have no hard feelings for each other, we’d still like to remain friends and keep in touch, and will strive to try to make this as easy as possible for the other as we carry through with it.

Hopefully plans will pan out at least comparable to what we’re hoping for. This is obviously new for the both of us, so it’s hard to predict just how well we can keep things as close to ideal as possible.

The Ugly
This is going to be one crazy summer. I have already gone to three conferences for the summer. I had plans to go camping randomly throughout the summer, and take day-trips mountain biking in some parks in western New York. Holly had plans to be gone for six to seven weeks for a summer immersion program to fulfill her remaining elective credits for her M.A. at UB. I was going to drive back to North Dakota and drop in for my ten year reunion in late July.

Plans have obviously changed to some extent. I likely won’t get the chance to go camping nearly as much as I would like. I would still like to find some time to take day-trips to go mountain biking at least a couple times this summer. Holly got screwed out (by a lack of communication from UB) of her summer program and will have to instead attend it next summer (thanks Mr. Advisor, we never knew she needed to file a Consortium Agreement in order to study abroad, let alone verify that the credits will transfer). The drive back to Minot, ND, will likely come at a bad time in late July as Holly and I will be looking for our own places to live in and move in to around that time, so the end of the summer is looking particularly grimacing.

Sorry for the surprise to those of you who knew nothing of the qualms that Holly and I were having with each other. It was something I don’t typically speak of due to my nature to try and address things on my own first, although I’m sure some of you reading this already know about this, either through Holly or myself. Hopefully this summer will turn out okay, I’ll still have my good friend (despite losing her as a wife), I’ll find a place to live in and get moved into without too much hassle, and I can get some kickass research done.

*deep breath* Time to get started, I guess!

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!